October 13, 2021
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”
Members of the United States military have one commission to uphold: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
No matter the branch of service – Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines or Coast Guard – the commission is the same. No matter the generation, training or assignment, the Enlistment Oath connects every service person who has ever worn the military uniform.
Even when a Marine argues his superiority over an Army soldier – one commission. Whether a soldier engaged in conflict or did not – one commission. Regardless if a service person retired as a four-star general or was discharged as a private – one commission.
As blood-bought, Bible-believing followers of Christ, we have one simple commission: go! God has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to every creature…When Jesus redeemed us, we were drafted into the army of the Living God…We are united under His banner and have received our marching orders…When His truth is ignited in the depths of our souls, we are compelled to share the message of the gospel with those who are outside of His saving grace…We must go and tell the life-changing things that Jesus has done for us!!!
October 12, 2021
Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”
We shine better together! Jesus looked at a group of people and said, “You are the light of the world.”
He spoke to each individual, since His light has taken up residence in each of our hearts. He also spoke to them as a group. Why? Because we shine brighter and better together!
Once we decide to try, to shine, to be difference makers, we must be willing to work with others. The church often suffers from an “I” problem – what “I” want, what “I” need, what “I” do. Instead, we must learn to ask how we can accomplish God’s plans together. How can we better reach this world?
How freeing to appreciate our differences! If we all are exactly alike, most of us are unnecessary. But He created us beautifully unique. Iron sharpens iron – one blade cuts against another – and friends hone the character of each other. In the places where one of us lacks, another comes to fill in the gaps; we come into agreement.
Under the cause of Christ, we unite to accomplish His purposes…Our God-given differences were made to complement – not compete with – one another…We are united in a purpose that is much greater than ourselves…Together, we will shine so brightly that His glory will pour out to flood the whole earth!!!
October 11, 2021
John 4:36 “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”
We love to celebrate big things! We bestow huge awards on people who perform better than everyone else. Behind every person who reaps the recognition, though, someone else has sown the little things.
In 1970, Dr. Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his extensive work in agriculture. Scientists estimate that his discoveries saved over two billion people who would have starved to death.
Along with Borlaug, we must recognize Henry Wallace, one-time Vice-President of the United States. As the former Secretary of Agriculture, he believed that if the world was going to be at peace, it needed food. He hired young Borlaug to study ways to feed the world.
George Washington Carver must receive credit, too. Before he became the genius of his generation, he volunteered to take his professor’s son on nature hikes. There, he taught young Henry Wallace how all plants were created by God and could be used for great reasons.
Before that, Moses and Susan Carver rescued George from a band of bushwhackers who murdered his mother and kidnapped him. To honor his mother’s memory, they adopted George as their own.
Do not despise this day of small beginnings…Only God knows what eternal fruit will grow from the seeds you plant today!!!
October 10, 2021
1 Timothy 6:18 “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”
One person who sees a need and is willing to try can change everything. A simple willingness to try can make all the difference.
Over forty years ago, Pastor John Hagee invited a nine-year-old boy to church. The youngster responded that he would love to go to church, but he did not have a ride. Pastor Hagee promised to find a ride for him. When he asked the church for a volunteer, a teenage girl raised her hand.
Every service the boy could attend, that young lady made certain that he made it to church. From the outside, it looked like a little thing, a mere good deed. In reality, she was a world changer.
That nine-year-old’s path changed the moment He surrendered his life into God’s hands. The course of his family destiny was altered for eternity. He became a pediatrician who has treated thousands of patients. For twenty years, he has volunteered as a Cornerstone Church cameraman so people around the world can tune in to worship. Thousands of people have been impacted by Jesus because one young girl was willing to try.
You are not responsible for a whole eternal destiny…but you can meet just one small need today…What a difference you could make if you were only willing to try!!!
October 9, 2021
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
You are not defined by your function. Who you are is not confined to what you do. You are a difference maker.
You might be a parent, a postal worker, a painter or a pediatrician, but that is not all that you are. Elevate your perspective: you are defined by the purpose for which God has called you.
As a parent, you impact future generations. When your children become tomorrow’s leaders, the difference they make will be determined by what you do today. More than having hot dogs with the kids, you are feeding a feast to future difference makers!
God told Jeremiah that He formed, called, and ordained him before he was even born. And God has a divine purpose for you! He prepared good works for you to accomplish today long before you arrived here – walk in them!
When every little thing that you do…wiping a nose…sliding a letter through a slot…splashing color on a canvas…making a diagnosis…is done in the name of the Lord Jesus with an attitude of gratitude, He infuses those actions with holy purpose…More than fulfilling a function, you are created to make an eternal difference!!!
October 8, 2021
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
You never know the difference you could make until you try. Little things make a big impact.
Think of how your own life has been transformed by little things. A smile brightened your outlook on a rough day. A handshake welcomed you into a room filled with strangers. Three simple words – I love you – set your feet on the road to happily-ever-after.
The slightest bit of effort can change everything. Destinies have been changed by a little invitation to church. Lives have been impacted by a little word spoken in defense. Suffering has been eased by a little willingness to reach into others’ pain.
Do not disqualify yourself from the exact place where God wants to fit little you into His bigger plan. You may feel inadequate for the task to which He is calling you, but remember that it is His Spirit – not your might or strength – that empowers you.
Little things in the hand of an almighty God make a great difference…Give God a baby in a basket, and He will deliver a nation…Give God a shepherd boy with a slingshot, and He will bring down a giant…Give God five loaves and two fish, and He will feed 5,000…Never underestimate how little becomes much when God is in it!!!
October 7, 2021
Matthew 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? You are the light of the world.”
We are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth. We are the difference makers that change destiny.
If salt loses its flavor, it has no value. If light is hidden under a basket, no one will see it. Are we doing what we were created to do?
We are the light of the world. This is not a simple statement made by a common man. Jesus has expertise in light. He was there when the Father looked down into the void of darkness. When God commanded, “Let there be light,” Jesus brought light to form.
And when Jesus looks at you, He does not see an ordinary, everyday individual. He recognizes inside of you the same power that changed everything in Genesis. The change agent that God used to dispel darkness in the beginning is the same power that exists inside your soul.
When you shine, darkness flees…When you shine, light breaks forth…When you shine, the glory of God rises over the situation…When you shine, new life is born…Your salt and light can change destiny!!!
October 6, 2021
Esther 4:14 “…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
“What difference does it make?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you talked yourself out of taking action with that question?
You are a difference maker! Every day, whether you are intentional or not, you make an impact – for the good or the not-so-good. You decide the difference that you will make.
Instead of counting our blessings, we frequently choose to focus on things we would like to change. When it comes time to take the action that leads to change, though, we often throw up our hands and ask, “What difference does it make?” With that question, we discount any strategy, action, or outcome that would help us achieve our goal.
Do you wish your boss appreciated you more? Show up early. Stay later. Do a little more than what is required.
Do you wish you were in better physical shape? Put down the remote. Take a walk. Make healthier eating choices.
Do you wish that your family life was stronger? Spend time together. Look one another in the eyes. Talk about your accomplishments and challenges.
The power to make a difference lives in you…God has chosen you…He has inserted you into this moment in history to impact the world for Him…Live in wide-eyed expectation for the difference He will make through you today!!!
October 5, 2021
Psalm 146:7 “Who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.”
In Psalm 146, ten verses give us ten reasons to rejoice for His kindness. We have good reason to shout!
The Lord sets prisoners free. Freedom – true, meaningful, spiritual freedom – cannot be found outside of Jesus Christ. Only He can break our chains and release us from sin.
We once were slaves to sin, and Satan was our slave master. But Jesus came to dwell among us. What He came to do in His earthly ministry, He has done in each of our lives. He touched the sick and set them free from disease. He touched the sinners and delivered them from the shackles of their past.
He spoke the Word, and the dead came back to life. The same hands that reached out to the sick and the sinful in the New Testament are the same hands that reach from Calvary, through the crimson stream, to touch us today.
The Lord has set us free…Like Lazarus, we have walked from death into life…Like Zacchaeus, we have walked from sin into salvation…Like Bartimaeus, we have walked out of the blindness of our yesterdays to see God’s purpose in our lives…Cry out for freedom…Lift your voice to declare your liberty…Now is the time to shout!!!
October 4, 2021
Matthew 28:20 “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
God is our help in times of trouble. But if He promises to never leave us, why does He allow the terrible trials that we all experience?
God will allow us to go through difficulties, but He will never abandon us. He is beside us every step of the way through every circumstance.
A tangible example of this promise can be found in our long-ago experience of learning to ride a bike. When we perched on the seat, someone older and wiser than we were demonstrated how to peddle and taught us to steer. Before we pushed off, we said, “Don’t let go!”
As we peddled, they jogged alongside. As we mastered the balance and gained momentum, they began to run. Suddenly, they disappeared, and we were doing it! Until we realized their hand was no longer on the back of the seat. “Where did you goooooo?”
But they were there to pick us up, dust us off, dry our tears and tell us, “If you want to learn to ride this bike, I have to let you go.”
In order for us to learn what God wants to teach us, He will allow us to go through some challenging situations…When we fall, He is there to pick us up, brush us off, and encourage us to try again…
October 3, 2021
Ezra 3:11 “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD…. Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD…”
Have you ever met someone who was excited about the win before the game ever began? That attitude sums up the shout of praise.
The shout of praise is something that you lift up before you see the victory. It is a shout filled with expectation and the certainty that if God has done it before, He will do it again.
The shout of praise is not rooted in denial; it is grounded in faith. You see a problem, but you know the Waymaker. You need healing, but you know the Great Physician. You need a miracle, but you know the Mountain-mover. In spite of how impossible the situation appears, God specializes in impossibilities.
He is worthy of your shout of praise…His great displays of power prove that He is able to meet your every need…He will part the Red Sea…The walls of your Jericho will crumble in the face of your shout…He will walk beside you through the fiery furnace…From the ashes of those dead dreams, He will resurrect your life…In anticipation of the victory, raise a shout of praise…Your faith is the victory that overcomes the world!!!
October 2, 2021
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
Whether it is a shout for help or a shout for joy, we know that it is not why we shout, when we shout, or what we shout. It is to WHOM we shout that makes all the difference!
We do not cry out to some unnamed cosmic force that is limited in strength. We do not plead with a disinterested power with no compassion for our plight.
We shout to the Creator of the universe, the One Who spoke the heavens and earth into existence. We shout to the One Who fashioned each one of us uniquely in our mother’s womb, Who knows the exact number of hairs on our heads, Who has designed our divine destinies, Who has been working on our behalf since the day we took our first breath.
He gently challenges us to call to Him – to shout out – and He assures us that He will answer…Not only will He respond, but He will reveal wondrous mysteries to us – things that were once hidden, that we were not able to comprehend…When we shout to God, He moves heaven and earth for us…When we shout to God, we lift our hearts and our shouts to the King of kings and Lord of lords…And HE makes all the difference!!!
October 1, 2021
Psalm 98:4 “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.”
Sometimes, our “Hallelujah!” breaks out with ease. We remember what God has done for us in the past. We see all of the wonderful things He is doing in our present, and we anticipate sunny days ahead.
When the storms come or the unthinkable occurs, our natural inclination is to fall silent, to shut in our shout. However, our shout for joy is not based on our circumstances. They change in a moment. Our emotions waver wildly. Our moods swing with our situation.
Our joy, though, is not a byproduct of circumstances. Fullness of joy is found in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11). If He abides inside of us, His joy – no matter what the situation – resides deep in our spirits.
In our season of need, we remember the Lord is our Shepherd; we shall not want. In our season of trouble, we sense His presence as we walk through the very shadow of death; His nearness comforts us. In our season of confusion, we find clarity in our Light and Salvation; we have no reason to fear.
Everything in our world need not be perfect before we shout for joy…In our very core, we recognize the fullness of God and His all-sufficiency to meet whatever it is we face…From that absolute certainty, our shout of joy erupts!!!
September 30, 2021
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
When we are overwhelmed, God is our safe place to hide. When we are in the grip of a crisis, He stands ready to assist. His ear is attuned to our shout for help.
In the middle of a storm, Jesus came walking on the water towards the disciples’ boat. Peter was the only apostle who had the courage to get out of the boat and walk towards Him. In a blink, he was drowning in waves he had been walking over moments before. As the sea crashed over his head, Peter shouted a short and powerful prayer, “Lord, save me!”
His desperation caused him to be blunt. Our humble “God, I need you” pulls Him into our situation. We will never be independent of Him, and grace says that we have no need to be. God wants us. His eyes are on us, and His ears are open to our cries.
If you are surrounded on every side, if you are going under for the last time, shout to Jesus for help…Your desperation may cause you to be blunt…Your despair may cause you to be bold in your request…But even as the cry is torn from the depths of your spirit, He will be there, leaning over with hand outstretched to catch hold of you!!!
September 29, 2021
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
The apostle Paul is a good example. After his conversion to Christ, he immediately withdrew into the wilderness of Arabia before returning to Damascus (Galatians 1:17). In total, he ministered some fourteen years in relative obscurity before being embraced by the leaders of the Jerusalem church (Galatians 1:21–2:2). An even longer period of obscurity was endured by Moses—forty years as a shepherd in Midian before God called him to go back to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out of captivity.
Sometimes God sets us apart in order to prepare us for what is coming next…There is always a purpose in His plans…
September 28, 2021
Matthew 16:15-16 “He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jerusalem was abuzz with the question: “Who is this?” Who was this humble man riding on a donkey amid a cheering crowd?
Some waved Him off; it’s just the son of Joseph and Mary. Others shrugged; He is just another prophet from Galilee. Still others saw Him as their rebel hero arriving to overthrow their oppressors.
Earlier, when Jesus posed this question to the disciples, Peter did not mince words: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How do we respond when others sense the Spirit of God in us and inquire, “Who is this?”
Do we make our faith something bland and boring? Do we portray Him as something they can ignore or do we proclaim Him in a way that they can never forget?
Because He is risen, we are alive…When we did not deserve it, He forgave us and showed us mercy…When we were alone, He called us His friends…When we were weak, He was strong…When we were abandoned, He showed Himself faithful and true…When we were in trouble, He was there beside us…There is no one like Him…Who do you say that He is?
September 27, 2021
1 Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Jesus is coming again! We can lose sight of this fact in the here-and-now directly in front of us, but every day brings us closer to His return. In the same way that He ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He will return again.
As the Day approaches, we will see signs and wonders: fire, blood, wars, and earthquakes. People will love themselves and their money. They will be disobedient and despisers of good, boasters and blasphemers, unholy and unloving.
But in the last days, He also will pour out His Spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophesy. Young men will see visions, and old men will dream dreams. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. When we see these signs, we will rejoice for our Bridegroom is on the way!
Instead of a Suffering Servant, He will return as a conquering King. With a shout and the blast of a trumpet, He will descend.
No crowds will clamor for His crucifixion…No corrupt powers will sentence Him to execution…On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father…Our King is coming back!!!
September 26, 2021
Psalm 119:160 “The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
All Scripture is God-breathed – inspired by Him – and is profitable for conviction, correction, and instruction. It re-sets the direction of our lives and teaches us to live in a manner pleasing to Him.
Our sophisticated world expresses skepticism about the veracity of the Bible; many even disregard the verses they choose not to believe. The Psalmist makes it clear though: all of His Word is true.
He always keeps His word. Always. Scholars count over 1200 prophesies in the Bible. Over 400 of those prophesies pointed to the coming Messiah. His life and death perfectly fulfilled every single one. Over 3000 promises beckon in the Scriptures. You can stand on every one.
The grass may wither, the flower may fade, but the Word of God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). Every jot, every tittle, every comma, every period, every letter, every line, every word on every page will all be fulfilled. God has magnified His Word above His name (Psalm 138:2) and watches over it to be certain that it is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).
The Word has been mocked by cynics, dissected by unbelievers, and diluted by frauds. Yet, for all the abuse it has taken, it still endures as a testament to His faithfulness. It is the whole truth of God!!!
September 25, 2021
John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The atmosphere was electric! Jesus came riding a donkey into Jerusalem on His way to the temple. The frenzied crowd threw down their robes across His path. Others waved branches as they shouted exuberantly, “Hosanna!”
Was this true worship? Because a mere few days later, this same crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!” This was not the Savior that they expected.
Jesus had confronted the Romans and the corrupt Jewish leaders; in Him was a political opportunity to overthrow their oppressors. Jesus took two fish and five loaves to feed 5000; in Him was unlimited resources. He restored Lazarus from the dead; in Him was the ability to raise up their wounded. They could not lose in a battle with Rome!
When their hero was arrested, their “worship” quickly disintegrated into contempt. If He could not give what they demanded, He was dead to them. They wanted Jesus to give them what they desired – not to give Him what He wanted. It begs the question of why we worship.
Do we worship Jesus for the blessings that He gives…Do we offer up genuine praise…Does our adoration pour from a true heart of gratitude…Do we bring to Jesus what He requires…Let us bow down before our Maker to worship Him in spirit and truth!!!
September 24, 2021
Revelation 1:18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
Jesus is alive! In the middle of busy, complicated days, we often need a reminder. He lives to redeem our lives from destruction, to declare the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to deliver the oppressed.
Two thousand years ago, His enemies crucified Him at Calvary. But three days later, He rose – victorious over death, hell, and the grave. Because of Him, we boldly proclaim, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55)
After His resurrection, He walked the earth for forty days showing Himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). Then, He ascended into heaven to sit in power at the right hand of God. All angels, powers, and authorities have been made subject to Him.
And there He intercedes for us…He does not rest or sleep…He watches over us…He fills us up with His power and His presence…Whenever two or more of us get together in His name, there He is right in the middle…Take a moment to inhale the wonder of Him – as near as your breath…Close your eyes and see Him there at the Father’s elbow – continuing to plead your cause…All around us, He is at work…He lives!!!
September 23, 2021
Psalm 136:1 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
God is good, and He is worthy to be praised! Not just on the days when the sun is on our faces and joy bubbles in our hearts. Even on the days when thunderclouds congregate and grief drives us to our knees.
Paul admonishes us to give thanks in everything “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18). But how is it possible to live with sincere gratitude in an often cruel world? Notice that he says to give thanks in everything…not for everything.
In the big moments – the salvations, the graduations, and births – give thanks…In the insignificant moments – a morning kiss, the first tulip of spring, a shared meal – give thanks…When we consider our past, thank God that it led us to Him…On the days we are overwhelmed, thank God that He walks beside us…In the face of a pink slip or a frightening diagnosis, thank God that He holds every tomorrow…that He holds us securely in His hand…Our gratitude demonstrates our trust in a loving Father…Our hearts are fixed unswervingly on a God Who is good to us in every season…No matter the circumstance, we believe that He is working all things to our good for His glory…We give thanks with grateful hearts!!!
September 22, 2021
1 John 5:11-12 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
For those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, we should overflow with the life of Christ. Our pasts are washed clean by His forgiveness. Our present is filled with the joy of His presence. Our futures brim with hope.
In the Garden of Eden, God breathed life into Adam. After he bit into the forbidden fruit, we inherited death. But Jesus came to redeem our lives from destruction. We were dead in sin, but He came to dwell inside and breathe new life into us. We became new creations.
He has redeemed our lives from destruction and crowned us with loving kindness. Goodness and mercy follow us; the blessings of God chase us down and overtake us.
How can we not exude life if we are filled with The Life?
Jesus assured us that, for every person who chooses to believe in Him, rivers of living water will burst forth from their hearts…Jesus assured us that joy and exuberance cannot be contained…Allow yourself to be swept up in the river of the Holy Spirit…Splash that living water on those who are thirsty and long for life overflowing!!!
September 21, 2021
1 John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”
After we prepare for conflict, we need to get ready for victory! No need to debate what God has declared. Every step brings us that much closer to His promise.
When God promised Jericho to the Israelites, He instructed them to march. Every circle around the walls gave them opportunity to prepare for victory. As they marched in silence, they must have remembered God’s faithfulness to them in the past.
If God delivered them from Pharaoh’s brick pit, He was well able to give Jericho to them. If He pushed back the waters of the Red Sea, He could surely topple these walls. If He could be a fire by night and a cloud by day, He could lead them to victory. Manna from heaven, water from a rock…God was with them, and He was for them.
With every lap, their faith grew. A shout was building. They believed that on the seventh day, when they lifted their hands, when their shout erupted, those walls would come down. Victory belonged to them!
As you march around your Jericho, get ready for victory…Rehearse the things that God has done for you in the past…Faith will bring down the walls to reveal His promise!!!
September 20, 2021
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
God sees us as victors! He expects us to win because He has already won the war. Before we are crowned as conquerors, though, we must prepare for conflict.
No one escapes this life without conflict. God gave Jericho to the Israelites, but after the walls tumbled down, the real hand-to-hand combat began. Victory was still assured, but they contended for the promise of God.
In today’s verse, Peter warned the church to expect the fiery trial – nothing strange about it. His next words were “but rejoice.” No whining in war, complaining in conflict, or bellyaching in battle! But rejoice!
If there is an enemy in front of you, rejoice that God is about to reveal His glory in you, and exceeding joy will break out. No one revels in a struggle, but we have this assurance: at the end of every conflict, glorious rejoicing awaits.
Do not fear the fight…Stand in the power of His Word and the authority of His name…The God that fights for you is greater than whatever fights against you…The battle belongs to Him!!!
September 19, 2021
1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Focus and faithfulness go together like faith and works. Without works, our faith is dead. Without faithfulness, our focus fizzles.
An overwhelming lack of faithfulness exists around us. Temporary commitments abound. We find a world grown weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). The moment that faithfulness runs up against discomfort, it fades.
True faithfulness is demonstrated in the difficult times. God desires a people who are faithful to read and obey His Word. He desires a people who pray continually – believing that He will respond. He wants a people who serve faithfully in even the small things. He wants a people who are faithful to bring their hearts to enter His gates with praise.
Faithfulness comes easily when life flows smoothly. But on the hardest day of your life, how do you remain focused and faithful? When trouble looms on every side?
You may not see the way through…Take one more step of faith…You may feel absolutely alone…Take one more step…When the darkness presses in, take one more step…Remain focused on the promise that He made to you…Remain faithful to take just one more step…He waits with hands outstretched on the path that He opens before you…He has not abandoned you…He is working everything out for your good…Take one more step…
September 18, 2021
Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When facing our personal Jericho, we have learned that we must work while we wait. We must be faithful. While we are waiting, we must remain focused.
We all begin with energy and expectation, passion and purpose. But what do we do when those things begin to wane in the reality of our situations? When every step looks the same? How do we plow through the monotony?
For the Israelites, the solution was to have a vision. They saw their destiny up ahead – full of the promise and potential that God had stored up for them. They made it through day three – not because of the idea that they would do the same thing on days four, five, and six – but because they knew that day seven held the promise of a shout!
Some lose focus because of the pain in their past…Some lose focus because of the problem in their present…Some lose focus because of the fear of the future…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith…He will lead us to the joy that He has set before us…
September 17, 2021
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
When God gave Jericho to Joshua, it did not come gift-wrapped with a pretty bow set on top. Instead, God told Joshua, “You will march.” If the walls of Jericho were to fall, work was to be part of the equation.
The walls of Jericho fell…by faith. And since faith without works is dead (James 2:17), we see that work was holding faith’s hand. Everywhere faith is found in His Word, work exists right alongside it.
After God gave Joshua his marching orders, he rose early the next morning. He did not delay to do what God asked. He did not waste time whining; complaint is a restraint. He put the plan into action.
Joshua was not where he wanted to be…yet. He went to work right where he was. He knew that God was too wise to be mistaken and too loving to be unkind. He worked while he waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise.
We work while we wait…We march around the walls…We speak His truth…We extend His heart…We put our hands to the task before us…Every step of faith brings us one step closer to the shout of victory…
September 16, 2021
Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”
The daunting walls of Jericho stood between the children of Israel and the Promised Land. If not for God, those walls were their mission impossible.
You may face the walls of a personal Jericho that are impossible for you to bring down on your own. But remember! God’s power begins where your strength ends. Even though every step of every lap must be walked before the wall crumbles, you walk by faith in a God Who makes the impossible possible.
Rather than analyzing the issue from every angle, choose to address your Jericho. You cannot change what you will not confront or finish what you are unwilling to begin. The victory of day seven only occurs after a first step is taken on day one. By faith, take the first teetering step that leads to freedom and laying hold of the promises of God to you.
One step in front of the other…one day after another we walk on by faith…When we march in God’s truth and in His way, a revolution of righteousness swells to sweep away the stubborn walls and carry us to victory…Our God makes the impossible our reality…
September 15, 2021
Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
As the Israelites prepared to take possession of the Promised Land, they stared up at the walls of Jericho. But in the middle of today’s difficult circumstances, God had some good news for Joshua.
As Joshua stepped into Moses’ leadership shoes, God assured Joshua that He was giving them the Promised Land. Every piece of land where Joshua’s foot fell belonged to him. No man would be able to stand before him all the days of his life. Just as God was with Moses, He was with Joshua. He would never leave nor forsake him.
As you march around your personal Jericho, be encouraged by the Good News. The afflictions of the righteous may be many, but the Lord delivers us from them all. If your heart is broken, remember that He has heard every prayer and has captured each tear in a bottle.
Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning. No matter your affliction – physical to financial – God’s Word contains 3,000 promises that apply to you. He keeps His promises from generation to generation, and He will not fail you.
No matter how many laps you have circled around your Jericho, if you are walking in obedience and making every step one of faith, your shouting day is coming…One day soon, a roar will erupt…Your shout will go up…those walls will come down!!!
September 14, 2021
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!”
We live in a complicated, fast-paced world that threatens to overwhelm and rob us of the simple joys in life.
Remember not to ignore the Good News when dealing with today’s news. Do not allow God’s promises to be overshadowed by the Jericho that you face. Remember to rejoice in this simple truth: you woke up this morning!
Your heart beats in your chest because He has a purpose for you. He has not forgotten you, and He will never abandon you. He loves you deeply and unconditionally. He has a plan for you. Even when life is difficult, be assured that a good God still sits on His throne. He is faithful to fulfill all of His promises to you. He will provide everything that you need according to His riches in glory.
The situation might look complicated in front of you, but God is not confused…He knows the path that you take…He has gone before you to prepare the way…He has moved the mountains of impossibility…If you need wisdom, ask Him…If you need strength, lean on Him…If you need joy He will be the glory and the lifter of your head…Whatever you face today, do not forget the good news as you deal with today’s bad news…God is on your side!!!
September 13, 2021
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
For forty years, the Israelites walked in circles in the wilderness. God planned to take them straight from Egypt to the Promised Land, but their unbelief and disobedience left them wandering.
Joshua’s first task in the Promised Land was to take another walk. This walk, though, was one of faith and obedience. When we walk by faith, we make progress. When we walk in our own carnality, we create work and frustration.
As we take another lap, our Jericho may be the same stubborn issue that needs to be solved, but something begins to happen. We are not the same people that we were on that last lap.
Every day, we are just a little stronger. We are just a little wiser. We are learning to lean more on a faithful God. His Word is growing in us. Our legs are stronger. Our faith is bigger. A shout is building in our lungs. Every step becomes one of progress when we walk in obedience to God’s will.
Even if our enemies scoff at us from the top of the wall. Even if they tell us how ridiculous we look. We are not walking blindly; we are in step with God Almighty. Just keep watching.
Jericho, He has given you to me…Jericho, He has promised me a victory…Jericho, your days are numbered…Jericho, you may be greater than me, but you are no match for the One Who lives in me…One step closer to victory!!!
September 12, 2021
1 Samuel 15:22 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…”
God promised to give Jericho into the Israelites’ hands, but when they would have marched into battle, He had another idea. Let’s spend seven days walking around this problem before we solve it!
We want to make progress, but God walks us in circles. We want to surge forward, but God forces us to take another lap. Why do we get so frustrated when we know that there is a lesson in every lap?
Our perspective of progress is nothing like God’s perspective. We measure success when we see what we want. God measures success when we are willing to do what He wants.
We want God to bless our businesses; He wants us to recognize Him as our Source. We want God to bless our marriages; He wants us to submit to one another. We want God to stamp out our tempers; He wants us to practice self-discipline. We want God to erase our hasty words; He wants us to control our tongues.
The next time God waves you on to another lap, stay alert for the lesson to be learned and for the wisdom He will whisper…Your willingness to put one foot in front of the other is better than any sacrifice you might make…The Lord delights in your obedience as you take another lap…
September 11, 2021
Joshua 6:2-3 “And the Lord said to Joshua: See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.”
If you have served God for any time at all, it goes without saying that His ways are not our ways. The path that He charts, the routes where He sends us are not normally the ones that we would choose.
Joshua must have felt the same way when God announced His plan to take down the walls of Jericho. Walk around the walls in silence for six days? What about weapons, battle strategies, and manpower?
In our spiritual lives, it often feels like we walk in circles around the same situations. However, God has built a lesson into every lap. When our common sense says that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, His is the path of righteousness.
We long for progress, but God gives us the opportunity to take another lap and learn another lesson. Our Jerichos are gifts – not burdens – so that we may witness the greatness of God and gain His wisdom with every step.
It might look like another lap, but God is leading us…He is growing us…He is demonstrating His goodness…When the walls fall flat, we will understand the lesson in every lap…
September 10, 2021
Psalm 68:1-2 “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”
When Joshua and the Israelites stood on the brink of the Promised Land, the intimidating walls of Jericho loomed between them and the land flowing with milk and honey.
What obstacles stand between you and the promises of God? Every one of us has cringed under the shadow of a stubborn wall. Whether it is emotional, spiritual or financial, they tower so high and so strong that trying to tear them down seems pointless.
Those walls that keep you from enjoying the fullness of God’s promise may be much higher and stronger than you, but they are no match for the God that you serve. He is higher and greater. He keeps His promises, and He tells us that we can do all things through Christ Who gives us the strength.
Your Jericho problem is no match for the Waymaker. Even if you must walk around the problem for a few days, He will walk beside you and whisper lessons in your ear that grow your faith and your determination.
That day will come when God commands, “Shout!” And with a voice of triumph and a roar of praise, the walls and the barriers in your life will fall down flat. Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered!!!
September 9, 2021
Numbers 33:55 “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.”
Joshua and the children of Israel stood on the brink of the Promised Land. The land flowing with milk and honey that God had promised to Abraham spread out before them. And yet…
There towered the walls of Jericho – mighty and intimidating. Joshua did not wish to deal with Jericho, but God made it clear: drive out all of the inhabitants in Canaan. If any were left behind, they would become a barb in their eye and a thorn in their flesh.
Jericho is not a problem that comes out to attack us. Jericho is a problem that shuts itself in and challenges, “Get rid of me if you can!” It is an issue that digs in, prevents us from seeing the goodness of God, impedes our progress, and causes us frustration on a continual basis.
In the same way that Joshua had to confront Jericho, we must address the painful issues that seek to take root in our lives…We must seek God’s face… We must listen for our marching orders…We must obey them fully…We cannot allow strongholds to diminish our faith walk…Whatever that stubborn situation, it must fall in the face of the God that we know…His victory allows us to forge ahead into the promises that He has waiting…
September 8, 2021
Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The book of John tells us that there is no truth in Satan. When he lies, he speaks his native tongue because he is the father of lies. How easily we fall prey to his accusations!
Today’s verse stiffens our spines and raises our heads though. When we find refuge in God, He comes to our defense. When we suit up in His armor, the fiery darts of the enemy fall powerless.
What shall we say when condemnation crouches with all its guilt and shame? God is for us. Christ bore our condemnation – along with our sin – at Calvary. No more condemnation for us!
What shall we say when old temptations whisper suggestively in our ears? God is for us. We are dead to sin and alive to the righteousness of Christ. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead rises up inside of us to help us resist the devil.
What shall we say when fear threatens to overwhelm? God is for us. The Spirit confirms that we are the heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; all of Their sufficiency is ours.
God will turn the things that Satan intends for our harm to work to our benefit…Through it all, nothing will separate us from His great love…God is for us, and that makes us more than conquerors…
September 7, 2021
1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
One of God’s most loving and enduring blessings to us is the gift of family. Through faith, we become sons and daughters of God – adopted into a diverse and loving family!
Membership in His family assures many benefits. We are always – fully and without question – loved by our Father. He gave everything that He had to adopt us as His own. In the household of faith, we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who love us with deep affection. We no longer are lonely strangers; we are accepted and beloved.
These brothers and sisters pray us to the finish line and celebrate our victories. They sit in the ashes with us when our hearts are broken. They gently admonish us when we wander off course. They offer hospitality and generosity when we are in need. They encourage us with songs, Scriptures, and wise words. We eat together, laugh together, grow together, and share our stories.
And when differences arise? We extend the same grace to others that Jesus lavishly pours out to us. We do not provoke others to anger, and we are quick to forgive. We insist that peace tie us together.
We are not created to go it alone…We are gifts to one another from our Father Who knew that we would need each other’s encouragement and love…Together, we are the King’s children and a family…
September 6, 2021
Psalm 90:17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Labor Day provides us the opportunity to honor the social and economic achievements of the American worker. Today, we pay tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the development, security, strength, and prosperity of our country.
As we celebrate, let us offer our gratitude to God for the gifts with which He has graced us in this country. Our Constitution names three inalienable rights available to every American: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our national and personal freedoms allow us the opportunity to chase our dreams and realize our goals.
Thank God for the breath in our lungs, the strength of our bodies, and the sharpness of our minds as we set our hands to the work that He has provided for us…Thank God for the jobs He has given so that we can provide for our families…Thank God for the value and dignity that He places on the work that we do…As we give thanks to our Father and offer up every word that we say and every task that we complete in the name of Jesus, we become co-laborers with Christ to achieve amazing accomplishments in this world…May the beauty of the Lord be on us..May He establish the work of our hands…
September 5, 2021
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
At the border of the cross, God sent His One and Only Son to draw all people – whoever believes – back into relationship with Himself.
“Whoever believes” is more than an intellectual acknowledgment because even demons know about Jesus. This type of belief involves commitment, confidence, and identification with Jesus that leads to trust and obedience.
When the Light of the world came, He shone a light on our sin – not to shame or humiliate us – but to bring us to repentance. God goes out of His way to interrupt our lives to save us with limitless, unconditional love. Like all gifts, we have to reach out to receive it.
“Whoever believes” means that He allows us the choice. He is not a master puppeteer pulling our strings and forcing us to comply to His will. At the Cross, He lovingly provided a way home. He held nothing back; He gave all He could give. Now, it is up to you.
If you will choose to believe, He will give you a brand-new life…If you will choose to believe, He will lift the weight of your burdens…If you will choose to believe, He will break the chains that hold you down…If you will choose to believe, He will heal your broken heart…If you will choose to believe, He will give you a home and a hope. Will you choose to believe?
September 4, 2021
Mark 1:41 “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be cleansed.”
The Son of God – sent by love, motivated by love, and reaching in love. We often see Jesus with His hands extended, reaching out to touch a wounded world.
He demonstrates His love with actions – reaching beyond racial, cultural, and gender barriers, beyond sin, shameful pasts, and societal condemnation, beyond time and space to heal and restore.
Standing at a well in the midday sun, Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman. Rejected by Jews and Samaritans alike, Jesus gave her living water so that she never need thirst again.
The scribes and Pharisees caught a woman in the very act of adultery. Instead of pointing an accusing finger, Jesus challenged the man who was without sin to throw the first stone. When they retreated, He sent her home to “sin no more” with no weight of condemnation.
When the disciples shooed away the children, Jesus took them in His arms and blessed them. When the blind man came seeking sight, Jesus took Him by the hand. When the leper begged to be made clean, Jesus reached out and touched his diseased body.
At the border of the cross Jesus still stands with hands extended…He longs to gather every person under the shadow and safety of His wings…May He teach us to reach with the same love that drove Him to the ultimate sacrifice…He is right beside you…All you need to do right now is drop to your knees in humble submission and He will show you the way…
September 3, 2021
1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
Our words have weight. Our stories have significance. Proclaiming them holds power.
Romans 10:9 tells us that we must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, AND we must openly acknowledge Him with our mouths. Believing in our hearts makes us righteous before God; confessing it with our mouths confirms our salvation. Saying it out loud makes it so!
Overcoming power is found in sharing our testimony – the story of God at work in our lives. And that overcoming power is not just for us; it is for the people who hear our stories and are captivated by the ways that Jesus Christ has taken up residence in our hearts and has enriched every aspect of our lives.
When we say it out loud, we welcome others into hurts that we have experienced…More importantly, we point to a Healer that made us whole…We were dead in sin…but He has given us abundant life…We were lost and alone…but He adopted us into His family…He broke the chains of habits that diminished our lives…When we say it out loud, others are drawn to this lovely Light…They find reason to hope again…They find strength to fight another day…They find tools to try once more…They find a Savior Whose love changes everything…Say it out loud…Testify!!!
September 2, 2021
Ephesians 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
For every person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ, the cross is not just a border of salvation. It is a border of triumph!
When God raised Christ from the dead, He sat Him down in heavenly places and placed everything under His feet. Everything includes every ruler, every power, every authority, every name that is named, in the present age and in the ages to come…everything!
From His throne, Christ directs galaxies and governments, planets and politicians, countries and kings. Nothing is exempt from His rulership. From now and through forever, He is over all.
Today’s verse informs us that God set up Jesus as the head over everything for the church. We are His body. Christ – the One Who fills the whole, wide universe – fills us up in every way. He speaks to us and acts through us so that we are His love and message to the world around us.
When we are full of Christ, His power and authority have rulership in our lives…He crushes Satan under our feet…We no longer are slaves to sin in a lifetime of bondage…The cross opened the door to salvation and liberty…Thanks be to God Who always causes us to triumph in Christ…
September 1, 2021
Joel 1:3 “Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
In our nation, we are suffering under the curse of division and discord. In the house of God, though, may we be the city on a hill that blazes forth the light of unity and love.
We believe that Jesus is returning soon for His bride. Until that day, we have a responsibility to work until He comes. While we remain, we must never stop telling our children about our Heavenly Father and the priceless gift of His Son.
We must show them how to love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. We must teach them the unshakable truth of God’s Word and the unsurpassed power of the Holy Spirit.
The next generation was created to worship Him. If we do not protect them, they could fall victim to the enemy. If we do not provide for them, they might seek out what they need in other places. If we do not prioritize them, who will?
May we give the best of ourselves to the kingdom of Christ…From father to son…from mother to daughter…from generation to generation…let our hearts be turned towards one another as we embrace the wisdom of one generation and the energy of another…Let us instruct our children to live for Jesus and teach the same to those who come after them…Let all of God’s children say, “Amen!”…
August 31, 2021
Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.”
Because Pastor Matt Hagee made the choice to submit to the spiritual authority of his father and pastor, John Hagee, they were able to achieve “generational leverage.”
He explained it this way: if a person needs a loan, he visits the bank and shows the little collateral that he possesses and requests a loan. When the bank loans him the funds, he leverages the little bit of his money with a whole lot of their money for profit.
When Pastor Matt was a new college graduate, his father said, “Son, if I only knew then what I know now and have the energy of my 20’s….” Pastor Matt replied, “Dad, I’m in my 20’s, and I have all kinds of energy, but I am all kinds of ignorant!”
He said, “Dad, if you will loan me your wisdom, I will leverage it with my energy.” Pastor Matt took his zeal and leveraged it into over four decades of his father’s experience. Together, much ministry has flowed out of that collaboration to the glory of God.
When the more mature generation lends its Godly experience, its vision continues into the future…When the younger generation lends its energy, the mission progresses with renewed vitality…And in that place of generational leverage and unity, God commands His blessings to flow…
August 30, 2021
Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
Pastor Matt Hagee has learned the blessings of submission under the mentorship of his father, Pastor John Hagee whose teachings I respect and follow.
Pastor Matt calls him “Dad,” but he also calls him “Pastor.” As a son, he might disagree with his dad, but he has never disagreed with Pastor John, his spiritual authority. He recognizes that, if he chooses to move from underneath that cover, he stands alone.
He began to understand the importance of submission when he was 17 years old. Pastor John asked him to prepare his first sermon. For months, the young Matt poured all his energy into preparation. He could not wait for his father to look over his 38-page masterpiece.
Soon, 36 of those pages were lying on the floor covered in red ink. On the remaining two pages, four lines remained, and the rest were marked out. Pastor John said, “Everything that’s all over that floor, it came out of you. If you’ll take the time to dig in to God’s Word and tell others what He says, they’ll come from all over the world to hear you.”
Pastor Matt had a choice to make. He could have complained about starting his sermon over again. Instead, he listened to the still, small voice of God and chose to submit to the spiritual authority God placed over him. He looked at his father and said, “Dad, I don’t know what to do. But if you show me, I’ll do it.”
Submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is critical for experiencing His power; and our submission to Christ is accomplished through the church (Eph 3:10). When people skip God’s spiritual source, the church, or skip the spiritual connection to heavenly places, or skip the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who is the head of the church (Col 1:18; 2:10), then they are not plugged into the system through which God delivers His power.
Who is a spiritual authority God has placed over you? Are you a spiritual authority God has placed over someone else?
Handle with care…
August 29, 2021
1 Peter 5:5 “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
Every generation has a unique role to play in the family of God. Each one performs its part for the church’s mission to be accomplished.
We are one body with many members, and God has set each one in the place that He pleases. Every person is necessary to the mission. We bring our individual passions and personalities, our experiences and expertise to this rich body of believers. We weave them together in unity.
In humility, we submit to one another out of genuine love and affection. We put aside our personal preferences to pursue the power of peace. We place higher priority on the cause of Christ than insisting on having it our way.
In wisdom, the more mature generation can lead the way. Engage with younger believers who need to hear your stories of God’s faithfulness through the years. Be reverent, sound in your faith, and patient as you teach good things (Titus 2:2-3).
Younger members are building on the foundation laid by those who have gone before…Honor those testimonies and allow them to inform your faith walk…Share the new things that God is speaking to you…Mutual submission accomplishes the mission with which Jesus has entrusted us…Our Christ-like conduct and our love for one another across the generations makes our faith appealing in every way…
August 28, 2021
Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”
Every generation has a role to play in the kingdom of God. From the oldest to the youngest, He has a purpose for each one of us.
From the more mature generation, the body of Christ counts on your mentorship. Tell us the stories of God’s protection and provision in your lives. We need the power of your prayers covering us. Encourage us to dig deep and dream big…like you.
From the so-called “sandwich generation,” the body of Christ relies on you to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations. We need to see the sacrificial ways that you minister to aging parents and your own children. Lead with character and the convictions that your parents poured into you. Show us how faithfulness to the Lord looks from one generation to the next.
From the younger generation, the body of Christ depends on you to carry the gospel into the future. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, we trust that you will hit the mark to bring down the schemes of Satan. We count on your devotion to God’s Word, your passion and your vision to advance Christ’s kingdom.
Each one of us has a vital role to play in God’s family…He places each member into the body and asks us to care tenderly for one another…It’s the role of a lifetime…
August 27, 2021
Psalm 33:11 “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”
When several generations share the same space, differences can create division that threatens our primary mission.
Churches have split over minor issues – the carpet color in the sanctuary, preaching styles, musical choices, etc. Those issues often boil down to preferences, a desire for one group’s wishes to prevail over another’s. So much energy has been diverted into quarrels and conflict. So much bitterness and anger have led to disagreements and discord. When it must be our way or the highway, we need to push the pause button.
Psalm 133 proclaims how good and pleasant it is for God’s people to dwell together in unity because it is there that God commands His blessing to rest. In order for us to fulfill the Great Commission – to reach the lost with the Good News – God knew that we would need to be united in mind, heart, and purpose. A house divided against itself will collapse in a heap.
As we pull together for His purpose, we may need to sacrifice our personal preferences for the sake of peace…Paul encourages us to practice humility, gentleness, and love towards one another as we work very hard to preserve the unity of the Spirit because He will tie us together with peace…We choose unity…We choose peace…We choose His purpose over our preferences…
August 26, 2021
Malachi 4:6 “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
Because of advances in modern medicine and technology, over 500,000 people over the age of 100 are alive today. As people live longer, it is not unusual for four generations to share the same space.
This togetherness has emphasized the gap – the power struggle – that exists between generations. The young believe the elderly are in error; the more mature believe that young people have wandered far off course.
For those in Christ’s family, though, He comes to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Since every person is created in the image of God – by Him and for Him – we respect others. If a person is alive and breathing, God has a purpose for him or her, and we honor His decision.
Abandon selfishness in favor of sacrifice…Honor God and fulfill the good works that He prepared for us to accomplish…Make room for one another…Honor the experience and the energy…Honor the tradition and the transformation…Allow for differences as we press toward the same goal…In the middle of the messiness of generations sharing the same space – in the center of it all – let your hearts reach for our Father…Let Him turn our hearts towards one another…
August 25, 2021
Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.”
The tree in the Garden of Eden and the tree on which our Savior died at Calvary represent the power struggle that exists in every human heart.
In Eden, Adam succumbed to temptation, and one man opened the door to all the misery that sin brings with it. But at Calvary, another Man – our sinless Savior – tore the veil to give us access to the grace and righteousness that flow out of restored fellowship with God the Father.
Stop returning to the scene of the crime. Stop looking to a tree weighed down with fruit that leads to death and loss. Look instead to the tree where Christ became the Remedy for the terminal illness of sin. Eat of the fruit of this tree to find love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Resist the temptation to waver between those two trees…Pursue Him relentlessly…Focus your eyes exclusively on Him…Strip away anything that would weigh you down as you run for the prize of knowing Him…Place your hand in the nail-pierced hand that hung on that tree in your place…Never look back…Be consumed by His holy fire…When you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him…Consider everything else a loss for the unsurpassed worth of knowing Him…Keep pressing on and reaching out for the One Who wondrously reached out for you…
August 24, 2021
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Because sin will kill the plans that He has for us, God desires to stop sin before it stops us.
Scientists tell us that the average person thinks about 70,000 thoughts per day, and approximately 70% of those are negative. After we confess sinful thoughts, we need to change the channel and bring every thought into obedience to Christ. When we recognize a thought that stands in opposition to God, we must put it to a stop.
When the temptation to complain arises, do not allow it to give birth to sin. Think instead about the blessings that God has liberally and richly poured into our lives. When tempted to undermine our relationships with harsh words and accusations, seek peace and unity instead. When tempted to gossip about another person, pray for them instead.
Tune in to the truth that those thoughts have no authority in your life any longer…The person that you once were – before you met Jesus – is dead and gone…You are born again with a brand-new nature inherited from Jesus Christ…Change the channel to meditate on that good report…
August 23, 2021
1 John 1:8-9 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God knows that sin will steal our potential and kill the plans that He has for us. His desire is for us to stop sin before it stops us.
Thoughts of sin lead to action. We must confess them to Jesus before they can conceive sin. Bring them out and show them to the Lord because He is the only One Who can do anything with our sin.
He is faithful and will not banish us from the family of God. He is fair and understands the temptations with which we struggle because He was tempted the same. His blood cleanses us from every sin.
When our children play outside after the rain, they often come inside caked with mud. They hold up their dirty hands to say, “Look!” As loving parents, we lead them to the sink and wash them clean.
God invites us to come freely to Him…When we hold up our sins and confess, “Dad, look what I have done,” He welcomes us with mercy, grace, and love…He washes us with the water of His Word and His shed Blood…When we are clean, He wraps us up in His robe of righteousness…Though our sins were like scarlet, He washes us whiter than snow…
August 22, 2021
James 1:14-16 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”
Each one of us is enticed by Satan with tailor-made temptations. When we act on those temptations, sin is conceived and produces death.
God knows that sin will steal our potential and kill the plans that He has for us. His desire is for us to stop sin before it stops us.
S – Sinful thoughts confessed.
When we continue to dwell on those temptations, they lead to action. Kill those tempting thoughts by confessing them to Jesus before they can conceive sin.
T – Think on these things.
After we confess sinful thoughts, change the channel. We must take control of our thought lives. Think about things that are pure, right, noble, worthy, beautiful, and good (Philippians 4:8).
O – Order our thoughts.
Take every thought captive. From sophisticated arguments to foolish fantasies, we must bring every thought into obedience to Christ.
P – Pursue Christ relentlessly.
In Christ alone, we find the power to overcome sin. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. With every temptation, He provides a way of escape.
Live with your eyes wide open…Live aware of the ways Satan will tempt you to sin…Stop sin before it stops you…
August 21, 2021
Romans 7:24 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
The tree in the Garden of Eden and the tree on which our Savior died at Calvary represent the power struggle that exists in every human heart – a struggle between right and wrong, between our selfish desires and the truth that sets us free.
Jesus died to give us victory over transgressions, but we slip back into sinful habits like a comfortable, old pair of shoes. Even the apostle Paul engaged in this struggle.
In today’s verses, he confesses that the good things that he wants to do, he fails to deliver. The evil things that he tries to avoid? Those are the practices that plague his steps. He is torn between the tree in the Garden of Eden and the tree at Calvary.
Paul is brutally honest when he admits that there is nothing good inside of him. As the power struggle rages, he recognizes that he is truly wretched, that help only comes from one Source – Jesus Christ!
Jesus bore our sins and the condemnation that comes along with them…We are no longer slaves to sin…We are no longer destined to do what we once did…Kick off those old sin shoes to come walk in newness of life…
August 20, 2021
Romans 6:22 “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
The God Who formed and fashioned you knows your future. More than anyone, He knows how sin can wreck all that promise and potential.
So, while we were still sinners, God sent Christ to die for us. He went to a cruel tree where He took on our temptation, our sin, and our condemnation. He was bound there that we might go free. He died that we might live. He wore a crown of thorns that we might become royalty. When He said, “It is finished,” He placed a comma where Satan intended a period.
Accepting Jesus does not merely make us better versions of ourselves…We become new creations…The old sin nature that we inherited from Adam is crucified with Christ…We are dead to sin…We have been cured from a terminal disease…We were all born with the cancer of sin…Sitting in a church pew will not purge our souls…We can not sing loudly enough or perform enough good deeds to humanly address this disease…When we accept this free cure of grace from Jesus, we are no longer slaves to sin and death…Majestically, miraculously, and mercifully, He goes to the source of our sin sickness and heals and sets us free to live again…
August 19, 2021
1 Peter 2:24 “…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.”
Two trees mentioned in Scripture capture our attention. Both deeply impact our lives, but only one has the power to change our future.
The first tree is found in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16-17). God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat their fill of every single tree except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
That tree opened the door to every kind of sin to destroy our souls: lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. If Eve would have seen that “fruit” hanging among the leaves, she surely would have given it wide berth.
Thousands of years later, we find another tree at Calvary. There, the Author and Finisher of our faith endured the humiliation of the cross. On that tree, the One Who was completely perfect died for us in our imperfection. The Eternal One laid down His life in exchange for ours. He opened the door to an endless future with Him.
Since the Garden of Eden, a power struggle exists in every human heart between right and wrong…between flesh and faith…between our selfish desires and the truth that sets us free…The tree in Eden left us a legacy of sin and shame…The tree of Calvary bought us the gift of grace that sets us free…
August 18, 2021
Isaiah 43:1 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”
Have you ever felt trapped by the deeds of your past? Covered with the dust of regret that you cannot seem to shake?
When you invite Jesus into your heart, He determines that you are no longer called by your deeds; you will be called by your destiny. He does not remember the stains of your past deeds; He sees only the promise and potential in you as a new creation in Christ.
In Acts 3, the man who laid at the Beautiful Gate was known as lame and crippled. Those people who dropped coins in his cup day after day had no idea that he was destined to become a leaping and praising miracle…but God knew.
As a believer, God has called you by a new name…Your sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west…He no longer remembers them…He has given you a new destiny…He has given you a new future filled with hope…Shake off the dust of regret…You will no longer be called by your deeds…you will be called by the destiny He created for you…He has given you a new name…He calls you “Mine”…
August 17, 2021
1 Peter 2:15 “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men”
What is God’s perfect will for my life? Many believers anxiously seek the answer to that question and worry that they might somehow miss it.
This simple truth frees us: when we fulfill the general will of God, He will show us the specific will He has for each of us. While some of our Bible heroes experienced dramatic moments of illumination, God’s will is more often a gradual revelation as we walk in obedience.
Consider Peter and John in Acts 3. They were fulfilling the general will of God as they went to join other believers for worship and prayer. As they strolled through the temple gate, though, God drew their attention to the lame man begging for alms. He sent them on a specific, special assignment that would forever change one man’s life.
God’s general will for us is to give thanks in every situation…to pray without ceasing…to hide His Word in our hearts…to fast before the Father…to live worthy of our holy calling…This is the preparation and the training ground for the specific will of God…Walk in His general will and expect divine detours as God reveals His specific will one step at a time…Every day is a grand adventure…Look for the extraordinary exploit He has He written on your calendar today…
August 16, 2021
Psalm 2:8 “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.”
Our tendency to focus on the negative greatly affects our perspective. It narrows our vision and minimizes our expectations.
When Peter and John approached the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, Peter said, “Look at us” (Acts 3). The crippled man looked up, expecting them to toss a few coins in his cup. Was he in for the most amazing surprise of his life!
When we major in the minor, it limits our ability to see beyond the problem to a God Who holds the solution. Even though this man must have heard the miraculous stories of Jesus and his disciples as he laid daily at the temple gate, when Peter and John stood before him, he could only hope for some change.
Since the disabled were prohibited from entering the temple to worship, God sent Peter and John to meet him outside. In the presence of the Lord, the lame leaped to his feet, forever changed.
Jesus stands before you to ask “What is the one thing that I can do for you today?”…Shake your cup and hope for a few coins…Lift your eyes to see a Savior Who is well able to meet every need…Ask out loud with expectancy…The supernatural is commonplace to Him…He longs to give good gifts to you…Why not drop to your knees and bow your head in humble submission and let Him know your needs…He is sovereign…He can do anything anytime anywhere He chooses…Watch Him work…
August 15, 2021
Song of Solomon 2:15 “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”
Science tells us that we are hardwired for negativity. This tendency to focus on the negative poses major ramifications. Those “little foxes” can cause much damage – and even destruction – in the sunny vineyards of our lives. They can rob our joy, sense of worth, and the ability to be productive.
Consider the lame man outside the Beautiful Gate in Acts 3. When Peter pulled him up, his feet and ankle bones were strengthened. Those tiny bones, which seem so insignificant when compared with larger bones of the body, had created many issues for him.
Jewish law prevented the lame from entering the Temple where he could experience the presence of God. He was forced to rely on others for daily assistance. He lived on the meager alms he could beg. Physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally – something so small had ruined so much for him.
If we focus on the negative, we can be impacted in much the same way…However, when we follow His example, we receive much more than we expect…Lift up your eyes…Take Jesus’ hand…Allow Him to pull you up…He will strengthen all those “minor” issues…you will go walking, leaping, and praising God…Don’t you think that’s a good reason to drop to your knees right now and thank Him???
August 14, 2021
Matthew 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
We long for God to pour out His favor in our lives. We pray for the anointing that ushers in the miraculous. We lay hold of His promises for prosperity.
The secret to experiencing the unexpected, supernatural move of God in our lives can be summed up in one word: faithfulness. And because God’s faithfulness is never in question, that secret is unlocked by our fidelity.
God expects us to be faithful to Him…even in the very smallest details. When He delivered the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, His first commandment to them was, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). The expectation was clear: I will be faithful to you; I expect you to be faithful to Me. When they refused to devote themselves to Him, the results were disastrous.
Too many people in our culture demand God’s faithfulness even when they choose to be fickle. However, Jesus did not say, “Well done, good and fickle servant.” Inconsistency does not warrant a command performance from God.
Our faithfulness is measured as we read, obey, and accomplish God’s Word and His will…When we are single-mindedly committed to Him in even the smallest ways over the fewest things, He rewards us with the unexpected…This is a simple secret worth sharing…
August 13, 2021
Acts 3:1 “Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer.”
Our faithfulness in simple and expected ways opens the door for God to do the unexpected things in our lives.
In today’s verse, Peter and John were on their way to pray at the temple. They had just spent three years walking with the Incarnate Son of God. Right before their eyes, they had witnessed Jesus raise the dead, calm the wind and waves with a word, walk on water, and turn a sack lunch into a 5000-person buffet. After the crucifixion, their mourning was transformed into joy when He rose victorious from the grave.
Yet, they were being faithful in this simple way. They were on their way to the temple, the very place that sent out guards to arrest Jesus on that fateful night.
They knew that they would experience God’s presence in His house. They understood that where two or three gather in His name, He joins them there. They expected to find the fullness of His joy, for burdens to be lifted, for yokes to be destroyed, for lives to be changed.
Faithfulness in its simple way leads to an unexpected, supernatural encounter for us just like for Peter and John…Something so simple invites God to do the miraculous…Why not drop to your knees right now and invite God to do something miraculous in your life…He will…Just like He promised…
August 12, 2021
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Are you holding onto a God-sized dream? One so big that you are afraid to say it out loud? One that will need the push and power of God behind it to come true?
Keep believing! When our joy is in serving Jesus, He gives us the things that our hearts desire. When we prioritize His kingdom and His righteousness, He adds the things that we need – and even desire – to our lives.
Keep asking, and He will give it to you. Keep seeking, and He will be found. Keep knocking, and He will open the right door at the right time – doors that no one else can shut. If our earthly, very human, fathers relish giving wonderful, long-anticipated gifts to us, imagine how God exults to give us good gifts when we ask.
Ephesians 3:20 teaches that the Holy Spirit of God is already working deep inside of us to bring about the answer to those far-fetched prayers. His Word assures us that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly, far beyond what we could drum up in our imaginations or would even dare to ask. Our highest hopes and deepest dreams do not raise His eyebrows.
What are you expecting God to do…Don’t lose heart…Every day unfolds with new mercy and delightful surprises when we walk with Him…Wait expectantly for the gift that will answer your prayers and make Your Father smile…Why not drop to your knees where you are right now and seek His wisdom about the gift He has for you…
August 11, 2021
Acts 3:6 “Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
When we are faithful to do the things that God expects, He will show us the unexpected! The miraculous becomes the expected.
In fact, Jesus declared that certain proofs would accompany believers as we are taught in Mark 16:16-18. We can expect the sick to be healed. We should not find it peculiar when principalities and powers are defeated. That is the sovereign God we serve!
In Acts 3, Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray. Nothing unusual to report here! They were going about their expected business.
A certain man, lame from birth, was lying in front of the Beautiful Gate. Every day, his companions carried him to this specific spot so that he could beg for alms – his expected daily routine.
As Peter and John walked past him, he called out. The two disciples stopped and focused their attention squarely on the beggar. “Look at us,” Peter said. The man looked at them, hoping to receive some coins – an expected exchange.
Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Instantly healed, he went walking, leaping, and praising God into the temple. Unexpected!
For those who believe, signs and wonders will follow…Expect the unexpected…why not drop to your knees right now in humble submission and place your faith in God…if you draw near to Him He will draw near to you…
August 10, 2021
1 John 5:5 “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Those truths that we believe at the core of our beings drive our actions. Our faith in the Son of God compels us to overcome this world.
We focus on the great things that people do, but those feats spring from a bedrock belief that moves them to act. David ran to meet Goliath because he believed in a God who was bigger than any giant.
Moses defied Pharaoh because he trusted the great “I AM” Who promised to go before him. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose the fiery furnace over a gold idol because they were convinced the Fourth Man in the fire was able to deliver them.
The early disciples were imprisoned for preaching in the name of Jesus. They believed so fully and so deeply in the One that God had raised from the dead that their faith was like a fire shut up in their bones. It could not be contained!
Let’s be people who are utterly convinced of the truth of God’s Word…who pray with deep faith and expectation…who expect the miraculous…That deep-in-our-bones belief propels us to blaze forth with His light and shout His truth from the rooftops…That hang-onto-it-at-any-cost conviction will lead us to fight a good fight and finish our race with arms raised high in victory!!!
August 9, 2021
Mark 9:23 “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
What we believe determines how we behave. The things that we hold true drive our actions.
Why do people go to the gym to exercise? Because they believe that the physical activity will benefit their bodies and minds. That belief motivates their actions…in spite of sore muscles or slow results.
Our outward behavior, more than any other tell, signifies what we believe on the inside. When our words say one thing, but we fail to act on what we say, it is the lack of action that betrays our true beliefs. Titus 1:16 says “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him…”.
We who confess Christ as our Savior sometimes falter at reading what we believe and believing what we read. We profess that the Bible is “inspired by God and is profitable for instruction in righteousness, doctrine, reproof, and correction” per 2 Timothy 3:16, but internally, we do not fully believe what it says and do not embrace it as the God-breathed Word of our Creator.
We are drowning in information overload…we are inundated with social media, TV news, radio chat, and newspapers…If we are not vigilant, our inward beliefs begin to develop based on accepting what we read rather than reading what we believe…Let’s determine to believe what Jesus says – and nothing else…May our actions confirm what we profess…If we can believe, all things are possible…
August 8, 2021
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.”
Placing our hope firmly in the Lord promises abundant blessings. Even in the most difficult days, God will carry us through when our expectation is in Him.
In today’s passage, the prophet Jeremiah describes a person whose hope is in the Lord as a tree that spreads out its roots by the river (Jeremiah 17:8). We draw vitality from Him.
This person does not fear when the heat comes or when he goes through the fire. Like the three Hebrew children, He will walk us through to the other side without even a whiff of smoke clinging to our garments (Daniel 3:27).
He will not be afraid, and his leaf will remain green (Jeremiah 17:8). When others pass out, we will prosper. In the year of drought, we will drink deep of the never-ending Living Water (John 4:13-14).
This beautiful tree will never cease to bear fruit. How comforting to know that, even in the desert times of our lives when the heat threatens to dry up our hope, we will continue to bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
Even if you are struggling through a year of drought, do not be anxious…Picture that stately tree planted beside a clear, rolling river with roots dug in deep to soak up the life-giving flow…Picture the wind tossing its green leaves and branches laden down with fruit…You are blessed when your hope is the Lord…Now would be a good time to drop to your knees in humble submission to show gratitude for His wondrous works…
August 7, 2021
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
Our properly-placed expectation draws us into alignment with God. He is able to protect whatever we entrust to Him. He is more than able to provide healing, move mountains, resurrect a dream that you may have giving up hope, and provide you the strength and courage to face any obstacles that may come your way.
We can have great expectations from our God Who never fails. We know Whom we have believed, and we believe that He is able to:
• release captives from prison (Luke 4:18).
• make the deaf hear (Matthew 11:5).
• make the enemies that come against you from one direction scatter in seven different directions (Deuteronomy 28:7).
August 6, 2021
Philippians 1:20 “…according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.”
If our expectations are in others, they inevitably disappoint us. If we seek the approval of others, we end up disillusioned. We can never give enough to secure the hearts of others, and they can never be enough to fill ours.
Our expectations are powerful. When you come into God’s presence, do you anticipate a powerful encounter with an almighty God Who has the ability to change your mind, heart, and life?
Our expectations form our beliefs which shape our behaviors. Our behaviors settle into habits. When we believe God will fulfill His promises to us, that expectation draws on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our belief causes Him to shift in our direction and pulls Him into our situations. This holy expectation brings fresh encounters with Jesus which mold our behaviors.
Like a wildfire, we will not be able to contain it…We will be compelled to tell others of the goodness of God…It will spill out of us to impact this world for Christ…
August 5, 2021
2 Timothy 1:12 “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
Why would we withhold the Good News? Are we utterly convinced of what we believe? Perhaps we fear rejection or carry a predetermined expectation that something negative will happen.
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul reminds Timothy in II Corinthians 11:23-29 of all that he has suffered for the cause of Christ. He was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, hungry, cold, and naked. He carried the burden of concern for his fellow believers…only to be rejected by them.
In spite of all that, Paul fiercely told Timothy that he was not ashamed. He knew Whom he believed in, and he was persuaded that God was able. He sought approval from no one else. His expectation was firmly planted in Jesus Christ, and he proclaimed with assurance: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” we are taught in Romans 8:31.
Let’s fully rely on God so we move from Sunday morning pew-warmers to those who fully embrace, believe, and tell…Let us go into the highways and hedges to share His amazing grace…
August 4, 2021
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
In the throes of battle, warriors are often wounded. Even valiant soldiers can suffer from fatigue.
In 1 Kings 18, the prophet, Elijah, went up against 450 prophets of the idol, Baal. In a miraculous blaze of fire from heaven, God showed Himself to be sovereign in Israel.
When Queen Jezebel heard, she put a death warrant on Elijah’s head, and he fled for his life. In the wilderness, he begged God to take his life. He believed his efforts were in vain, that he alone served God in Israel, and he was doomed to die.
Worn out, he fell asleep under a tree. God knew that Elijah was exhausted, so He lovingly allowed him to rest, and then sent an angel to bring nourishment for the journey ahead.
Elijah headed for Mt. Horeb, the very place where God had given the Ten Commandments to Moses. He needed to hear from the Lord again. As he waited on the mountain, a violent wind tore through. An earthquake violently shook it. A fire raged across it. Finally, a still, small voice caused Elijah to cover his face. God whispered what he needed to hear. Elijah was not alone; God was sending reinforcements.
If you are wounded from the battle…If you are exhausted from the fight…God sees you there…Find rest in His arms…He will heal your broken heart…Listen for His whisper of encouragement…He is sending help to make you battle-ready again…
August 3, 2021
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
When the shepherd boy ran out to fight the giant, he called out to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts…” (I Samuel 17:45).
David did not fight in his own strength but in the name of the Lord. Throughout Scripture, the name of our Lord carries weight, dominion, and power. There is something about that name!
In the name of Jesus, we believe and are saved. We are baptized in His name. We have life in that precious name. In His name, the disciples found boldness to preach and teach.
Even when they were beaten, imprisoned, and warned not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore, they continued to perform miracles and cast out demons in that name.
Colossians 3:17 encourages us to do everything – every word and every action – in the name of Jesus…When you open your mouth, speak in the name of Jesus – words that bring life…Do every small deed throughout the day in His name – a reflection of His love and an arrow that points back to Him…When we operate in His name, all of His power and authority stand behind us…He is glorified…It changes us and it changes those around us, too…
August 2, 2021
Deuteronomy 20:4 “…for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”
What was King Saul thinking when he allowed a young shepherd boy to face down a hulking giant? What chance did David have against Goliath?
In ancient times, warring armies commonly staged a dual between their two strongest soldiers. The winner of the duel determined the outcome of the battle and sent his fellow soldiers home to plant crops, build homes, and control their trades.
In the valley of Elah, the Philistines put up their champion fighter, Goliath. For forty days, morning and night, he challenged the Israelites to send out a worthy opponent. Goliath poured out his contempt when, instead of a battle-hardened warrior, a boy with his trusty slingshot stepped onto the plain.
God sent out a Warrior to fight for us. Jesus has proven Himself in the ultimate battle with the enemy of our souls. He won a war that He knew we did not have the power to win.
You will face giants every day…know that the Lord stands beside you…He goes with you to fight against your enemy…Whatever taunts and lies the enemy shouts at you, rest assured that the battle already belongs to Jesus…He has come to rescue you…He fights for you…He will strike the final blow that will send you home to embrace your life…Stand still and watch for His deliverance…See what He will accomplish for you…
August 1, 2021
Acts 11:23 “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.”
Every warrior needs a battle plan. Every warrior who goes into combat without a plan becomes a casualty.
As David prepared to fight Goliath, he went to the brook, found five smooth stones, placed them in a pouch, and grasped his slingshot in his hand. Most importantly, he went out to fight the giant in the “name of the Lord of hosts.” He got five stones not because he was afraid he might miss four times but because Goliath had four brothers he might also have to deal with.
Proverbs reminds us that a person can make many plans, but the Lord’s will always prevails. We purpose in our hearts to seek His direction and allow God to plot the journey. We may chart our courses, but He will guide our feet. To be certain that we are in step with Him, we await our marching orders.
We do not drift aimlessly into success. His Word is our guidebook that instructs how to respond in battlefield situations. Prayer keeps us in constant contact with our Commander-in-Chief. Every skirmish hones our skills and sharpens us for the next encounter with the enemy. And always at the front of the brigade, leading the charge, is our Lord of lords.
What “stones” are in the pouch at your waist? What weapon do you heft in your hand? In whose power do you wage war? Draw up the plan that will lead you to certain victory!
Now would be the time to drop to your knees and bow your head in humble submission to seek His plan…He always has a plan…just ask Him…
July 31, 2021
1 Samuel 17:26 “Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
David, the shepherd boy, stood on the hillside and listened to the arrogant dares of Goliath. The fighting men of Israel cowered in the shadow of the giant, but a fierce determination sprang up in David’s spirit.
He looked at the soldiers on either side of him and asked, “Is there not a cause?” David found cause to speak up and take action.
All around us are opportunities to step out and step up in faith. We step over our fear because we are captured by a cause that demands a response. We meet challenges “in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” as it says in I Samuel 17:45.
We focus on strong marriages that defy the odds. We determine to train up our children to love Jesus so that they will experience a lifelong relationship with a faithful Savior. We purpose to bring God’s light into our workplace, to speak up for those without a voice, to share the Good News in our communities.
God is asking you to step up…It could be as simple as putting down your phone to be more present with your family…It could be as difficult as foreign missions…Whatever He calls you to, do not delay…There is always a cause…Why not drop to your knees wherever you are right now and discuss the cause with God…He’s got a plan…He’ll show you the way…
July 30, 2021
Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
While we may never face down a Goliath with a slingshot, we all understand what it is to look a giant in the eye and realize that we are not enough to take him down alone.
When we put on the whole armor of God, we can stand firm in the power of His might.
Clothe your waist with truth. When confronted with the truth of God, the father of lies can gain no ground against us.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness. This piece of armor protects our hearts from which all of life flows According to Proverbs 4:23.
Protect your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. His gospel makes us surefooted as we carry out His plans.
Take up the shield of faith. This most important protection wards off flaming arrows of doubt. When locked together with the soldiers next to us, we create an impenetrable wall.
Wear the helmet of salvation. This piece guards our heads as we put on the mind of Christ to make every thought obedient to Him.
Fight with the sword of the Spirit. God’s Word represents the only offensive weapon in our arsenal. Know it to take down our enemy.
Pray always…Stay in constant communication with the Captain of angel armies…Armor up to stand firm against the attacks of our adversary, the devil…He does not stand a chance against you, mighty warrior…why not bow down where you are right now and let His mighty power strengthen you and give you wisdom and peace…
July 29, 2021
Psalm 77:11 “I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”
In the middle of a heated battle, even God’s toughest warriors can forget how He has been faithful time and again. Even after the dove had descended on Jesus and God’s voice had rolled down from heaven, John the Baptist still asked, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
God knew that we have a tendency to forget, so He encouraged some simple habits to help us remember. He told the Israelites to tie His words on their hands and foreheads, speak them to their children from morning until night, and inscribe them on the doorposts of their homes.
To remember His wonders, He instructed them to pile up memorial stones, build altars, and celebrate annual feasts to commemorate how He delivered His children. One generation was to sing His praises to the next!
In case of a memory lapse, look back and remember His works on your behalf…Remember the just-in-time job offer…the word of confirmation…the check in the mail…the miraculous turn-around when the doctors were out of answers…He was faithful to you in the past…He is not finished…He will do it again…Remember…and take heart…now would be a good time to get down on your knees and let Him know that you remember the things He has done for you and how thankful you are for each and every one of them…
July 28, 2021
Psalm 90:17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.”
As we go about the good work of building our marriages, we can be assured that the “beauty of the Lord our God” is on us and that He will “establish the work of our hands for us.”
As Nehemiah struggled to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he had to combat several enemies. He and his fellow Jews worked night and day to complete their mission as they contended with their mockery and threats to attack.
In the good work that we are doing to construct Godly families, we may face insults and threats from those who are jealous or do not understand our decisions.
His enemies attempted to divert Nehemiah from his work, to pull him away from the purpose for which God had sent him. They harassed him repeatedly, but Nehemiah worked steadily. He refused to leave his post and would not stop what he was doing to go down to them because he was busy doing a great work according to Nehemiah 6:3.
God sees the great work in our marriages and families…When others threaten us with slander, slights, slurs, and snubs, He promises to prosper and protect our marriages…Their words have no impact on our outcome…God has determined our success…His Word is the final word…Why not drop to your knees right now and seek His perfect will for your marriage…He has a perfect plan for you so you can be in His perfect will…
July 27, 2021
James 5:16 “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Marriage can take its toll in wounds and scars. As two people learn to live together, pain is inevitably inflicted on one another.
When we are hurting, the temptation is to isolate ourselves from others. The reasons vary: protection against ongoing pain, embarrassment over our weakness, fear of rejection, even passive aggression.
Just as Nehemiah enlisted help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, we must call on those we trust to help us rebuild the damaged walls in our marriages. We must insulate ourselves, surround our relationships with people we can count on to pray, encourage, and counsel us as we build our marriages and families.
Instead of pulling back and hiding alone, today’s verse admonishes us to confess our weaknesses to one another. When we agree together in prayer, our hurt is healed, and our brokenness is restored. The prayers of those who have gone through the battles, who have persevered through trials, and have come out victorious on the other side are powerful and effective.
When troubles come, do not fall into the trap of isolation…insulate your marriage with those who will assist you in the good work of building a strong relationship and family…seek advice from the Master Counselor…the best way to do that is on your knees in humble submission…right now…
July 26, 2021
Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The border of marriage stands as a covenant between God, a man, and a woman. More than a binding, legal contract, this covenant emphasizes the spiritual relationship between the three parties.
Ephesians 5 reveals how our marriages are a beautiful image of Jesus’ relationship with His church. The Bridegroom demonstrated His great love for His bride, the church, by pouring out His life as the sacrifice that brought her to His side.
Similarly, God calls husbands to love their wives just as Jesus loved the church. Just as you love and nourish your own body, cherish and protect your wife.
A man leaves his parents to be joined to his wife, and the two become one flesh. Jesus left the Father in heaven, wrapped Himself in flesh to dwell among us, and has joined Himself to the members of His church. Jesus and the Father are One, and we are to be One in them. It is a great mystery!
God calls for wives to submit to their own husbands like they submit to the Lord. When a man submits to God’s authority, a woman can confidently follow his lead. She demonstrates deep respect for him, and he treasures her.
As members of His glorious church, we are raised up to be all that God intended…In the mutual partnership of marriage, we find the love and encouragement to become all that God has purposed…What a holy and blessed estate!!!
July 25, 2021
Hebrews 13:16 “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Marriage has a way of shining a spotlight on our selfishness. It forces us to consider another person’s feelings and preferences.
It means remaining silent when we want to blurt out loudly, putting it back on the shelf when we prefer to buy it, pitching in to help when we desire a lazy afternoon on the couch. It means putting another person before yourself.
Genuine, loving relationship puts an end to selfishness. In fact, author David Young says, “If marriage doesn’t end your selfishness, your selfishness will end your marriage.”
In its place, Jesus exemplifies sacrificial love towards one another. The very definition of sacrifice tells us that we give up something valuable to ourselves for the sake of something more worthy or important. Jesus gave up His life so that we might come into a right relationship with the Father and be adopted as His children.
Isn’t love for our spouses more important than anything else? Isn’t the health and happiness of our marriages of utmost value?
Choose love above all else…Choose to do good…Choose to share with her…Choose to consider him before yourself…Choose to put an end to selfishness…Choose to embrace the sacrificial love that marriage demands…It pleases God…it makes for a happy house…Why not drop to your knees right and thank Him for your happy home and if it is not a happy home then ask Him to show you the way to make it a happy home…
July 24, 2021
1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Building a marriage and a family will prove to be one of the most difficult things that we accomplish in this life. Psalm 127:1 says “And unless the Lord builds our homes, we labor in vain”.
When the king saw how Nehemiah, the prophet, grieved over his broken-down hometown, he asked, “What do you request?” He demanded to know how he could help.
We have a Heavenly Father Whose eyes are on us, Who is attuned to our cries, and comes to our rescue. Psalm 34:18 teaches that “He is especially near to the brokenhearted, to those who are discouraged.”
When our marriages hit rough patches or our children make wrong choices, we have an Advocate in Jesus Who lives to make intercession for us. When you and your spouse boldly approach the throne of grace through prayer, He promises to hear and to work on your behalf. He never leaves us to flounder on our own.
Even in struggles, if we continue to honor each other and to recognize one another as co-inheritors of God’s grace, nothing can interfere with our prayers…And when you and your spouse agree together in prayer, our Father will give you the answer…Ask, and you will receive…Seek, and you will find…Knock, and the door will be opened for you…Our King of Kings is eager to know: “What do you request?”…Why not drop to your knees and bow your head in humble submission and let Him know your requests…
July 23, 2021
Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
As we live intimately with a spouse, we find that marriage brings out the best – and the worst – in us. We can choose to respond in ways that promote peace and unity.
Our verse today encourages us to concentrate on harmony and on the things that build others up and promote their spiritual growth. It is easy to major in the minor irritations that every relationship experiences. Instead, the apostle Paul urges us to not say or do things that would interfere with the free exchange of love.
While it is tempting to spew harsh words in the heat of the moment, they only cause hurt and division. Paul encourages us to speak words that are a gift of grace to the person who hears them (Ephesians 4:29).
Romans 12:10 teaches us that instead of arguing, treat one another with deep affection; prefer one another in love. Focus on ways to promote and honor your spouse.
Even when our spouse “rubs us the wrong way,” remember that person may be the very “sandpaper” that God will use to knock off some of our rough edges. He refines us in relationship. He speaks to us through our spouses.
He knew that marriage would create many opportunities to practice sacrificial love and service…We can speak cruelly or kindly, strengthen or weaken, lift up or tear down…We choose how we build…This would be a good time to drop to your knees and seek help from The Master Builder Himself today…
July 22, 2021
Nehemiah 2:18 “And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to this good work.”
Building a healthy marriage is much like a construction project. Whether you are praying to meet God’s choice for you or have been married for a while, certain principles hold true for the border of marriage.
Nehemiah, the prophet, returned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonians destroyed the city. He encouraged those Jews struggling to live in the devastated city.
He let them know that the hand of God was good upon him. And God’s hand is still good upon us today. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Architect of our marriages. When we follow His plans, we build on a sure Foundation.
Every construction project begins with a dream and a blueprint. Nehemiah had King Artaxerxes’ letters. The King of kings has spoken His direction for our marriages. In humility, we first submit to Jesus, and then to one another. In sacrificial love, we lay down our lives in the same way that Christ laid down His life for us.
With the hand of God upon us, we confidently rise up to set our hands to this good work…Hand in hand with Jesus, we will build loving marriages that stand the tests of time…loving marriages take hard work and skill…this would be a good time to drop to your knees in humble submission and seek help from the Master Craftsman…
July 21, 2021
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost”.
At the core of our beings, we long to be completely known and understood… accepted and loved. Also lurking inside of us is the fear that true transparency – the revelation of our flaws and frailties – might result in humiliation and rejection.
Here at this intersection of utmost longing and unspeakable fear, we find Jesus. He is intimately acquainted with us. He knows our thoughts and our very motives. He has counted the hairs on our heads. He knows when we wake and when we lie down to sleep.
He knows our past and all the secrets we conceal from others. He breathes life into our present and goes before us into our future. He understands our weaknesses and mourns our apathy.
Best of all, in spite of it all, in the middle of it all, He loves us – deeply, fully, irreversibly, and eternally.
Nothing we do causes Him to flinch or abandon us…Nothing we do can cause Him to love us any more than He already has at the border of the cross of Calvary…We are accepted in the Beloved…He takes the risk out of transparency when we stand in His presence…we are fully known and fully loved…No more hiding…No more fear…Oh, how glorious to be found in Him!!!
July 20, 2021
Psalm 107:14 “He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”
At the border of the cross, we find freedom. The weight of the world can crush the life out of us and make it hard to breathe but Jesus has come to break away those chains and set us free indeed!
Bondage and chains can come in many forms – depression, broken relationships, ingrained habits, addictions, financial debt. While we may feel shackled to these things, God’s Word is not chained as we are taught in II Timothy 2:9.
Luke 4:18-19 teaches that “God sent Jesus to proclaim freedom to the prisoner. He sent Him to set the oppressed free”. For those who were under the dominion of darkness, He has called us into His marvelous light. For those bound in affliction and irons, He brings us out of the blackness – even the very shadow of death – and He breaks our chains in pieces according to David in Psalm 107:14.
Remember Paul and Silas, bound in prison for preaching the gospel of Jesus? In the midnight hour, they lifted their voices in prayer and songs as the other prisoners listened. Suddenly, an earthquake shook the very foundation of the prison. Every cell door flew open, and every single chain fell off of every single prisoner. Salvation and celebration broke out!
Jesus has come to shake the very foundation of the prison where you are bound…He will cut the bars of iron in two…He will break your chains in pieces…He will set you absolutely free…why not drop to your knees right now and let Him know how much He means to you and how grateful you are to Him…
July 19, 2021
2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
Has your spiritual walk ever felt more like a crawl? Has your salvation seemed more like a struggle for survival? Do the words “overcomer” and “more than a conqueror” describe someone other than the person in the mirror?
Great news! Every promise in God’s Word was spoken to you. Every promise finds its divine YES in Jesus. He gets the final AMEN in your life that will give all the glory to God! If you want Him and are ready to do what He says, the Door is open.
He does not play favorites or pick and choose which one of His children receives a limited number of promises. Every good and perfect gift that comes down from the Father of Lights is available to you.
When you said yes to Him at the border of the cross, you came into agreement with Him…Through Christ, everything became possible for you…His blood washes away every imperfection for you…His perfect love has chased away fear for you…Every promise is available for you…His YES and AMEN became possible for you…No need to crawl…no need to hang on by a thread…When you look in the mirror, see an overcomer, see a child of God who is more than a conqueror, see someone destined to run in the path of His commands because He sets your heart free…down on your knees right now would be a good place from which to thank Him…
July 18, 2021
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
At the border of the cross, God has poured out His grace for salvation. God’s riches, at Christ’s expense, were extended to us. So undeserved!
From the beginning, He made us the focus of His love and planned to adopt us into His family as His own dear children. Through the generosity of the grace He lavished on us, we are now accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
His grace bought our redemption through the blood of Jesus. It washed away our sins and justified us in God’s sight. He sees us as clean, washed as white as snow, just as if we had never sinned at all.
Though He was rich, the Lord Jesus Christ emptied Himself and became poor for our sakes, suffering death on the cross. His poverty made us rich; we are now co-heirs with Jesus of every treasure that He possesses.
It is only by grace that we have been saved…We could never earn this grace…Nothing we could ever work up in ourselves could merit such favor…At Calvary, the glory of God’s grace was His gift to us…pure and simple…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and bow your head in humble submission for the sacrifice He made for us…
July 17, 2021
John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
How reassuring is this beautiful promise from Jesus! No matter what chaos swirls, we can rest confidently in His commitment to us.
Jesus declared Himself to be the Good Shepherd. He knows each one of His sheep. He calls us by name, and He leads us in and out of the sheepfold to find green pastures. We are so familiar with the sound of His voice that we will not wander off to follow a stranger. He loves us so much that He lays down His life for us. Nothing and no one can pluck us, His precious sheep, from His hand.
Centuries before this promise was penned in the New Testament, the Psalmist declared in Psalm 95 that “He is our God, that we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand”.
Safe in His hand, we can be certain that nothing reaches us that is not filtered through the loving fingers of our heavenly Father first. He promises to “strengthen us, to help us in every situation, and to keep a firm grip on us” in Isaiah 41:10.
Follow the Good Shepherd…He shelters and shields us… He protects and provides for us…Allow yourself to just be held by our Sovereign Father today…We are safe in His hands…
July 16, 2021
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this life, but He tells us to find peace in Him, to be of good cheer. Be certain, confident, and courageous!
If we are honest, trials can fill us with uncertainty. We are tempted to doubt God’s love and His good plans for us. Our faith shrivels into fear, and worry becomes our constant companion.
At the border of the cross, we have a choice to make. We can bring those burdens and entrust them to Jesus, or we can continue to bend under their weight. The apostle Peter has some reassuring advice for us.
If we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, when He deems the time is right, He will raise us up again it is written in 1 Peter 5:6-7. Peter encourages us to throw the whole weight of our anxieties on Jesus because He cares for us. His eyes are watching over us, and His ears are attuned to our prayers.
Peter speaks this beautiful declaration in 1 Peter 5:10: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you”.
In the middle of the trial, allow Him to come and fill you with His peace…Cast your cares on Him…You can trust Him to raise you up again…why not drop to your knees right now and let Him know just what He means to you…
July 15, 2021
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”
At the border of the cross, dead things cross over to life. And not just a barely-getting-by kind of life, but an overflowing-with-abundance kind of life!
We once were dead in sins and trespasses. We walked hand in hand with the evil in this world. We were governed by selfish desires and were headed for God’s wrath.
Even in this sinful state, God sent Jesus to die and rise again for us. At the border of the cross, God quickens the dead. He makes us alive in Christ!
We rise up to walk with Him. We now live and move and find our very existence in Christ Jesus. We are His offspring, the God-created. We owe our every breath to Him. He shows us what it means to truly experience a full-to-the-brim life of abundance.
Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God will do “exceedingly abundantly” above all that we could ask or think according to the power that is already at work in us…That same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now works in us…by grace you have been saved…That power will accomplish more than you can even imagine…You once were dead, but you now are alive…why not drop to your knees right now and humble yourself before your God and Maker…He likes to hear you give thanks for what He has done…
July 14, 2021
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
God has blessed us with borders, but these boundaries have not built walls between us. His ear is bent towards us. His arms are open. His heart longs for us.
He sent His Son to build a bridge back to Him. Through this Door, God is accessible and available to every single person. He is not angry. His face is not turned away.
Remember the story of the prodigal son? The father must have stood in the door, watching the road day after day because, when the son was still far away, he saw him. Did he slam the door? Did he turn away in disgust?
No!!! Luke 15:18-19 tells us that he was filled with compassion and flew down the road to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and called for a celebration even as his son cried out, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son”. The lost was found. The one presumed dead was alive again.
If the road has taken you far away from the Father, He stands waiting for you at the Door…Turn around, and come home…If you are praying for the return of a loved one, He stands at the Door with you, waiting and watching and longing, too…Now would be a good time to drop to your knees and bow your head and thank Him for the love, mercy, and grace He shows us everyday…
July 13, 2021
Psalm 119:160 “The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
God has blessed us with the border of His Word. The entirety of His Word is truth. All of it? Every word of it! Matthew 5:18 teaches that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but God will dot every “i” and cross every “t” of His Word”.
The Bible tells us Who created us and how we came to be here. It teaches us that He has a plan for our lives. We are not victims of circumstance.
It shares the story of a love so great that He stretched out His arms to die in our place, of a redemption so welcoming that those same arms are flung wide to embrace and pull us close. It instructs us how to live worthy of this wondrous gift we have received.
When confusion threatens, God welcomes the hard questions. “If anyone lacks understanding and needs answers, we can simply ask, and He promises to pour out His wisdom liberally and without reproach” according to James 1:5. Even when the news anchor contradicts it, when the professor’s words do not align to it, we can trust in its truth and the One Who gave it to us.
God’s Word is flawless…It unfolds to bring light and understanding…He has sent out His Word..it will not return to Him without accomplishing everything He has commanded it to do…We can stand on it…
July 12, 2021
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”
Centuries ago, God brought Abraham to stand under a night sky and urged him to count the stars. And He made a promise that, one day, Abraham’s descendants would be as innumerable as those twinkling points.
Thousands of years later at Jesus’ birth, the Light dawned on a people who sat in darkness, who lived in the shadow of death. When we invite Him into our hearts, this glorious treasure comes to live in our jars of clay.
God has chosen us to be the light of the world right here and right now. Philippians 2:15 tells us “He calls us to be blameless and harmless in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, to shine like the stars in the sky”.
He is not looking for a perfect people. God is looking for a people willing to live by His truth, to speak out against evil, to reach out and ease suffering – to shine a Light.
Submit your wounds and jagged pieces to Jesus…He will come to heal and reveal Himself…Throw all of the cracked places in your jar of clay…His Light spills out to reach those around us who still sit in darkness…
July 11, 2021
Leviticus 23:3 “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”
Mark 2:27 tells us that God did us a favor when He created the border of a Sabbath day. He did that for us…not for Himself.
He knew that our lives would move at breakneck speed, our calendars would be crammed, and we would overcommit. He knew we would need to rest and refocus.
Establishing a Sabbath in our lives causes us to recognize God’s governance of our time and helps us relinquish control to Him.
The Sabbath is a time for us to cease from regular daily activities. Set aside and resist the obligations and activity that consume most of your days. It offers us a sacred time to rest. We can sleep a solid eight hours, sit quietly, or doze in a hammock.
On this special day, do the thing that brings you joy, that recharges and rejuvenates you. Remember to spend time in God’s presence. Turn your heart to Him. Open your Bible, sing to Him or talk to Him in prayer.
Take this step of obedience…expect to hear from Him…Anticipate His refreshing and renewal for the upcoming week…Honor the Sabbath…It is His gift to you…you might want to thank Him for this gift…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and do just that…
July 10, 2021
1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
The very first commandment instructs us to have no other gods before the one true God. In our culture, though, many turn aside to worship the idol of self.
Many sacrifice to the idol of significance. We thirst for status and to be known. We seek greatness – but from small motivations. Significance seeks to make our names known.
God is calling us back to a “Jesus sufficiency.” Like the apostle Paul, we must determine to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Out of His great love for us, He laid down His life so we could find life in Him. There, we find our value and our worth.
His will becomes our priority. We must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and lose our lives for the sake of Jesus and His gospel. Our death to self brings life to others.
In His kingdom economy, those who desire to be first will be a servant to all (Mark 9:35). He calls us to sacrifice…not significance. Sacrifice seeks to make His name known.
When you make Christ known, you share the one thing that you have to offer a hurting world…Nothing of yourself will ease their suffering…Nothing of yourself will deliver them from evil..Nothing of yourself will promise them hope for tomorrow…We only have Jesus…He is more than enough…Now might be a good time to drop to your knees and thank Him…
July 9, 2021
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The evidence mounts with each story in the daily news. Our nation is struggling. When Israel found themselves in a similar situation, God gave some simple instructions in today’s verse.
We must humble ourselves. We must recognize that no political policy, no radical reform, no capital campaign will solve our problems. Apart from Jesus, we have no solutions (John 15:5).
We must pray. Before we can stand, we must kneel. We can boldly approach the throne of grace to submit our requests to a loving God Who alone has the power to redeem and restore.
We must seek His face. When we sit in His presence, look into His eyes, and listen for His voice, we hear from Him. We find that He alone is more than enough to provide all that we need.
When we spend time with Him, we are compelled to turn from our wicked ways. Paul tells us in Romans 2:4 that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance. He knows that repentance brings wholeness and the peace for which we long.
Four simple steps for profound change. The prayers of the righteous have tremendous power to impact America.
The first step is to humble yourself…you can do that right now by dropping to your knees and bowing your head…pray…seek His face…He hears you…He will heal your land…
July 8, 2021
1 Thessalonians 2:13 “when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
God has graciously given us the life-giving truth of His Word to guide and to guard our steps. It is a border and a blessing – the very foundation of our lives in Him.
When we choose to live within the border of His Word – and to not pursue our own paths – He blesses that obedience and rewards us with the promises found within the chapters and verses.
Moses understood this concept. When the children of Israel sinned, God told Moses that He would no longer travel with His chosen people. He would send an angel before them, but He Himself would not go with them to the land flowing with milk and honey.
Exodus 33:15 records that Moses went to meet God in the tabernacle. He told the Lord that he would rather call off the whole trip than to take one step without Him. It was not a hard choice for Moses. He preferred to stay in the wilderness with the presence of God than to go to the Promised Land without Him.
Commit yourself to walking within the border and the blessings of His Word…dedicate every step to the Lord…When the law of the Lord is in your heart, your steps will not slip or falter…if you need proof then this would be a good time to drop to your knees and ask Him…
July 7, 2021
Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
In 1 Peter 5:8 the apostle Peter warns us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”. And Jesus uses strong language in John 10:10 to let us know that “this thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy”.
Jesus contended with him when He walked this earth. After forty days of fasting, the tempter came to divert Jesus from His mission. In each circumstance, Jesus defeated him with the Word of God as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11. Little did Satan know that this battle was only an indication of things to come!
Satan thought that he was victorious at Calvary. When Jesus breathed His last and His body went into that cold, dark tomb, Satan believed that he had won. But he only struck His heel. Because three days later, Jesus crushed his head in defeat!
We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices we read in 2 Corinthians 2:11, and we are not helpless in combating them either. That same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead? That Spirit lives in us! We are no longer slaves to sin and death (Romans 6:6). We are not subject to the wiles of Satan. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us! (Romans 8:37)
The head of Satan was crushed under the foot of Christ….Jesus is now Head over all…He has filled us to the brim with overcoming power…scripture says “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”…if you need more reassurance just drop to your knees this moment and let God convince you of His power over Satan...
July 6, 2021
1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”
Satan is an enemy who attempts to draw us in, to bring us near. Since he is a roaring lion who walks about seeking whom he may devour, he knows that he needs to be close enough to pounce (1 Peter 5:8). When it comes to fleeing from temptation, Joseph provides us a prime example.
Young Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery; he was bought by Potiphar, the Egyptian captain of the guard. Because the Lord was with Joseph, Potiphar saw that everything he put his hand to prospered. He made him overseer of his household. Since he was a handsome man, he caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife. Day after day, she attempted to seduce him. Day after day, he refused her. He would not stoop to dishonor Potiphar’s trust or to sin against God (Genesis 39:9).
One day, when no one else was around, as Joseph went into the house to work, she grabbed hold of his garment and would not let go as she tempted him yet again. He resisted her pleas, pulled away, and left his garment in her hand as he fled. There was no shame in running away!
Instead, the Apostle Paul said to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” He goes even further when he encourages young Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” (I Timothy 6:12). When we submit to God and resist the devil, James tells us that he will flee from us (James 4:7)!
In all the places where Satan would seek to entice you to sin or where he would draw you close enough to pounce and devour, resist him…When we submit to God first, we do not stand to resist in our own power…Draw on God’s strength…drop to your knees right now and ask Him…He will show you how…
July 5, 2021
Galatians 6:2-4 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work…”
We cannot change what we will not confront. And even while confrontation is often uncomfortable, it is necessary for healing and restoration.
Second Samuel 11 finds King David walking on the roof of his house. On that spring night, his eyes fell on a beautiful woman as she was bathing. Upon discovering that she was the wife of Uriah, the soldier, David did the unthinkable.
He sent a command to have Uriah placed at the front of the fiercest battle so that he would be killed. After Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband, David took her as his wife. This evil deed displeased the Lord according to 2 Samuel 11:27.
The Lord sent the prophet, Nathan, to confront David regarding this grievous sin (2 Samuel 12:1). While the Bible does not give us the details of God’s direction, we can imagine Nathan’s trepidation at calling out the king in the error of his ways.
In spite of that possibility, Nathan obeyed. While confronting the king may have proven difficult, disobeying the King’s command would have reaped worse consequences. Situations almost never resolve themselves, and time only compounds the difficulties.
In obedience, Nathan presented the word of the Lord to David. Without hesitation, David acknowledged the truth in 2 Samuel 12:13 when he confessed, “I have sinned against the Lord”. He wept, prayed, and lay prostrate before God, asking Him to be gracious to him.
When David was confronted by his own sin, he faced up to and admitted it. With deep humility, he sought the Lord. David knew that change would not come until he confronted the depth of his own sin.
Whether God calls us to confront someone about their sin or we are the person who is confronted about our sin, humility before God and before others is essential…Let us examine our hearts and seek spiritual restoration with gentleness and honesty…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and humble yourself and ask your Father to show you how…
July 4, 2021
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free…”
Today, we commemorate our independence as Americans! From sea to shining sea, we celebrate with waving flags, marching bands, family picnics, and fireworks exploding in the night sky.
Our Founding Fathers placed such importance on liberty that they named it as one of the inalienable rights with which our Creator endowed each of us. We have staunchly defended, preserved, and advanced this freedom for ourselves and for others suffering under tyranny.
God understood the importance of liberty, the cry of every human heart to be free. He saw us groaning under the weight of unrighteousness, slaves to sin. We were in bondage to every form of evil and corruption, held captive by Satan.
In His lovingkindness, Luke 4:18 tells us that “He sent Jesus to proclaim the Good News, to bind up every broken heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to open up the prison doors for those who were bound.” He set us free! We have walked out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Though we were without hope, He brought us near to give us the promise of a glorious future.
Celebrate your American independence today…rejoice in the soul-deep freedom that we have in our Savior…True liberty is found at the foot of the cross…Proudly wave His banner…When Christ has set you free, you are free indeed…
July 3, 2021
Romans 6:6-7 “…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
When God brought the children of Israel to the brink of the Promised Land, He gave those warriors one order: “…drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you…” as it is recorded in Numbers 33:52.
Not only did the Israelites fail to follow this one directive, they also married the foreigners, adopted their customs, and even began to worship their idols. For hundreds of years, Israel was caught in this trap.
We can find ourselves ensnared in a similar trap. As beloved children of God, purchased with the blood of His Son, we are commanded to put away the sins of our past, to drive them out. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:11 that, as Christ followers, we are “dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. “And if we are dead to sin, how can we continue to live in it any longer”?
We must never allow sin to move in and blind us to the truths of God. We are called to live for righteousness (I Peter 2:24). Paul commands us to put away lying, stealing, corrupt words, bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling, and malice (Ephesians 4:25-31). These things have no place in our lives.
James tells us in James 4:17 that “for the person who knows to do good but does not do it, that is sin”. He encourages believers in James 4:7-10 to “submit to God”. “If we resist the devil, he will flee. When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. We must cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. We must humble ourselves, and He will lift us up”.
Refuse to be entangled by sin…In every place that sin creeps in, our relationship with Jesus is diminished…We must do what the Israelites failed to do…We must seek His face and His heart…Jesus gave Himself to redeem us from sin, from every wicked, lawless deed…He is purifying a people to be His own special possession, who are zealous for good works…Rise up warriors and drive it out…He will always be with you to help you…All you need do is drop to your knees and ask…
July 2, 2021
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”
Samson was a mighty warrior, but he forgot where his strength originated. His memory lapse proved to be his ultimate downfall.
For forty years, the Philistines ruled over the Israelites, but God had not forsaken them. He sent an angel to speak to Samson’s barren mother to let her know that her soon-coming son was destined to deliver the Israelites from their adversaries (Judges 13:5). As he grew, the Spirit of the Lord began to move on him (Judges 13:25). He served as a judge to his people for twenty years (Judges 16:31).
We cannot face our battles on our own. We do not possess the strength that we need, but we know the One Who does. How liberating to trust in His promises and to cease from the pressure and the striving that wear us out and break us down. We can rest in His strength and fight in His power!
When we cry out to Him, He makes us bold in the strength of our souls (Psalm 138:3). He arms us with strength for the battle and subdues those who would rise up against us (Psalm 18:39). When our courage fails, He strengthens our hearts (Psalm 27:14). He strengthens our faith when we might otherwise waver at His promises (Romans 4:20). He is our strength, song, and salvation (Exodus 15:2). We can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
Even when we are burdened beyond measure (II Corinthians 1:8), His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (II Corinthians 12:9). He alone is the secret of our strength.
July 1, 2021
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Declared as the “The Hall of Faith,” Hebrews 11 recounts name after name of the warriors of old who grabbed hold of the promises of God, and by faith, performed mighty exploits in His name.
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words, as believers, we have full confidence for the things for which we hope; we are completely certain of things that we cannot even see. It was this kind of faith that drove the saints of old and won them a reputation that stands today.
Hebrews 11 calls out some of these warriors by name:
-Noah, by faith, built an ark before one raindrop fell.
-Abraham, by faith, left everything familiar to search for a Promised Land.
-Sarah, by faith, gave birth to baby Isaac long after her childbearing years had passed.
-Abraham, again by faith, offered up that same long-awaited son on the altar…before God
provided a ram.
-Amram and Jochebed, by faith, disobeyed the king’s command and spared the life of their son, Moses.
-Moses, by faith, gave up the pleasures of Egypt to suffer the afflictions of his people, the Israelites.
-The Israelites, by faith, crossed through the middle of the Red Sea on dry land.
Hebrews 11:33-34 records that these men and women – and many others – “through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens”.
Can we ever hope to be so courageous and victorious? The answer is yes! Because none of these people fought in their own strength. They simply took God at His Word. They could not see the outcome with their physical eyes, but when God spoke to them, they took the step of faith that set them on a course to certain victory.
Whatever you face today, the battle belongs to the Lord…Take Him at His Word…Trust and believe…Take the first step, by faith – even as small as the tiniest mustard seed – and watch Him move a mountain for you…
June 30, 2021
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Matthew 19:5 says “Marriage is a holy institution created by God. A man leaves his parents to marry a woman, and in that union, the two become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:32 tells us that it is a beautiful mystery – one that symbolizes Jesus Christ and His church.
God never intended for our marriages to merely survive. They were created to thrive! Since these relationships signify how Christ interacts with His church, what picture are we painting for the world around us?
When the borders of our marriage are breached by the enemy or when they are weakened by internal neglect, we must commit to the good work of rebuilding those walls. We must not be deterred from the commitment that we have made – no matter what distractions we encounter.
When storms arise – as they inevitably do – we must assess the damage to our relationships. We must determine the role that we played in inflicting the hurt, and we must be quick to repent and restore.
When the walls are tall and strong again, keep close watch at the gate. Open up the gate to usher out the destructive things that bring death to a relationship. Open up the gate to welcome in the Holy Spirit and the perfect gifts that bring life to a relationship.
In the power of God, broken borders can be rebuilt….In the power of God, broken boundaries can be re-established…In the power of God, marriages can be reconstructed, and families can be reunited…God’s healing can revitalize relationships to bring wholeness, peace, and joy…Your marriage was created with God’s purpose to be a vehicle that will show the world how Jesus has given Himself in sacrificial love to His church…It was created to thrive…His love never fails…all you have to do is ask Him…down on your knees would be a good place to do from that right now…
June 29, 2021
Psalm 147:13 “For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.”
Rebuilding the broken border of a marriage relationship requires commitment and a willingness to change. It requires walls and gates.
What do walls and gates have to do with the husband-wife relationship? Walls and gates are distinct in their roles. They work together, but they possess different purposes. Walls protect, while gates act as points of access. Gates are pointless if the walls are broken down.
As children of God and as husbands or wives, we must guard the gates of our marriages. We are responsible for the things that we allow entrance. We also are responsible to escort out the things that bring harm.
We must ask the Holy Spirit to point out those things that need to leave and those things that we need to welcome. Perhaps bitterness or pain from the past has driven a wedge between you and your spouse. Maybe you are holding onto a grudge that weighs you down like a boulder. For some, it could be a behavior or a habit that eats away at the stability of your relationship.
Open up the gates to evict those things that can only drag down and destroy what God has planned for you and your spouse. Ask God to banish the bitterness, anger, and hurt. Ask Him to lift away the grudge or to deliver you from the habits that have a stranglehold on your marriage. Kick those things out of the gates and to the curb.
When you open the gates to escort out the bitterness, anger, and hurt, a wondrous exchange occurs…God ushers in His mercy, joy, peace, love, and renewed hope…When you welcome in the power and the strength of God, He reconstructs and builds up and refurbishes…He can give you – not just the marriage of which you dream – the marriage that He intends you to have and has designed for you and your spouse…Open up the gates…If you need His help just drop to your knees right now and ask Him…H will always be there with you and for you…
June 28, 2021
Nehemiah 2:20 “So I answered them, and said to them, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.’”
In our husband-wife relationships, we are responsible for maintaining the border of marriage. Nehemiah demonstrates a principle for us as we consider those who might discourage us in our endeavors.
In complete confidence, Nehemiah declared to the triple threat: “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us.” He put his enemies on alert. No matter what they said or how they attempted to thwart him, they had no bearing on his outcome. His outcome was determined by God alone. He was the One Who would protect and prosper them.
In fact, he went on to say: “…you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” He reminded them that the land on which they stood was covenant land. It was given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all of the generations following. Outsiders had no role in that covenant. They might as well pack their bags and leave now.
Many marriages have been destroyed by outsiders. Families have been torn apart because people who had no part in that covenant relationship wormed their way in to divide and destroy. We have a biblical mandate to take a stand, to shore up the marriage border, and demand that they find an exit.
God fights for our marriages. Are we protecting what He has promised to preserve in Matthew 19:6? “What God has joined together, let not man separate”. God desires to command a blessing on the unity in our relationships and to extend that blessing to our children and grandchildren. When outsiders who have no part in the covenant relationship attempt to breach the border, refuse to back down.
We are doing a great work in constructing strong marriages and families…Do not be distracted by detractors…Pull the border tight for your spouse, your family, and all the generations to come…Now would be a good time to drop to your knees and ask God himself to keep you focused and strong…
June 27, 2021
Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
In our marriage relationships, we will experience seasons of difficulty. Hurt will be inflicted. When two imperfect people unite, it is not unusual for friction to arise and damage to occur.
When damage has diminished our relationships, we must evaluate the issue privately. We must consider the role that we played in the rift, as well as the responsibility that we have to repent and reconcile with our spouses. Respect the intimacy of the marriage relationship; do not share issues haphazardly with those outside.
We need to take a journey of self-examination to understand the issues. We need to ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance. His Word and His Holy Spirit are best qualified to resolve marital issues.
What caused the walls of Jerusalem to be reduced to a pile of bricks? Internal neglect! When the Israelites walked away from God’s promises and neglected His covenant, the Babylonian enemy swooped in and destroyed the walls and the city.
We have an enemy, too. I Peter 5:8 says Satan “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”. When we do not keep God at the center of our marriages, we open ourselves to attacks and destruction.
We must choose to work with those we trust – those who talk to God more than others, who have no personal agenda but to seek God’s will for our marriages, and who have more experience than us. They live where we want to go and can help us build the marriages we desire.
When damage occurs and the walls of our marriages are breached, God will provide the tools that we need to repair and restore…Walls can be rebuilt with humility, wisdom, and love…If you need help to repair and restore then all you need do is drop to your knees right now and ask…God will give you wisdom and courage to do what needs to be done…
June 26, 2021
Proverbs 5:18 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth.”
Have you ever gotten excited about a movie preview, bought the tickets months in advance, arrived early at the venue, and settled in with your popcorn before the theatre got dark? Only you walk out disappointed two hours later because the best part of the movie was the previews.
Don’t let your relationships be the preview for a very bad movie! Don’t allow it to be false advertising for a sad outcome. Make certain that what comes next is better than what came before.
Let’s work at constructing strong marriages and relationships. Let’s put away our phones, look one another in the eyes again, ask questions, truly listen to the answers, hold hands, weave some new dreams, and say, “I love you” often.
Once Nehemiah received permission from King Artaxerxes to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the hard work began in earnest. Nehemiah left the king’s presence and went right to work. He was determined to restore his hometown. He was not to be deterred in his goal of rebuilding the walls and rehanging the gates. In our relationships, let’s make the next chapter the best one yet.
June 25, 2021
Isaiah 62:5 “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
Biblical marriage – one man and one woman before God for a lifetime – is a border that demands protection. Pledging our love to one another “until death do us part” is a commitment that requires serious consideration.
When the prophet, Nehemiah, learned that Jerusalem was demolished, he prayed and fasted to ask for God’s help. When King Artaxerxes offered his assistance, Nehemiah asked for a letter to rebuild Jerusalem. Before construction began, Nehemiah knew he needed to obtain the king’s permission.
Wisdom bids us to seek God’s permission before we begin to build a relationship. Is this the person whom God has chosen for me? Together, can we build a strong family? Our King of Kings, Who sees from the beginning to the end and Who has a plan for each one of us, desires to give us good gifts.
As we build our marriages, it is imperative to keep God at the center of the relationship. “An attacker can overpower one person, but two can resist him; a threefold cord is not easily broken though” according to Ecclesiastes 4:12. When a couple abides in Christ, they find the strength and sufficiency to weather every storm.
Let the Lord build your home…then your work will not be in vain…He blesses our partnerships and anoints them for His holy purpose…We find our “happily-ever-after” in Him…He will tell you just how He will build your home if you drop to your knees right now and ask Him…
June 24, 2021
Nehemiah 2:18 “So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to this good work.”
The borders that God establishes bring blessing to those who choose to honor them. One of the boundaries most in need of repair today is the broken border of marriage.
Biblical, God-honoring marriage between one man and one woman for a lifetime is under threat. The sacrificial love of which the Bible speaks, that inspires one person to give his life to another and to raise children in the fear of the Lord, has been forfeited. This breakdown of the family unit erodes the foundation for our future.
Great relationships require effort, practice, and intentionality. Good husbands, good wives, and good families are not born of luck. They are built by hard work.
For single people who desire to marry, you are working on your future relationship. Are you preparing to be a superb spouse? Or just hoping for the best? If you are a broken person before you marry, marriage will only further break down what is already broken. Wholeness is only found in Jesus.
For those who have been married for decades, be gracious enough to share how God has led you through the difficulties to find strong, peaceful marriages. You are surrounded by people who need help in the tough times. Make yourselves available to pray or have a conversation.
Commit to do good work in your marriage…Use words that encourage and build up…Cut away all bitterness and strife…Seek to love your spouse more than you love yourself…strengthen the relationship that God has given to you…Rebuild the broken borders of your marriage…You’ve got work to do…good work…You do not have to do it alone…Now would be a good time to drop to your knees and ask The Lord for a little help…
John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
From Genesis through Revelation, God demonstrates His deep desire to be with us. How amazing that the Creator of the universe longs to spend time with us.
In Genesis 2:7, God lovingly fashioned Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed His own breath into him. As He molded Adam and Eve, He formed them in His own image. He wanted us to recognize Him, to relate to Him. In the garden of perfection that He had created just for them.
If you are longing for fellowship with God Almighty, if you are reaching for Him, He is reaching back to you. II Chronicles 16:9 tells us that “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro across the earth”; He wants to show Himself strong on behalf of those who are loyal to Him.
Be careful not to confuse His longing with any sort of need. God does not need us. He is all-sufficient unto Himself. He needs nothing from anyone. How awe-inspiring that He wants us! He desires to spend time with us, to communicate with us, to revel in our presence just as we revel in His.
From the beginning through the end, God has shown us over and over, with deep love and faithful promises, that He longs to be with us…Whisper His name…He will be there…At your lowest point, He stands beside you…In your moments of quiet joy, He is there…Embrace the wonder – God wants you…
June 22, 2021
Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
For all that Jesus Christ did for us at the Cross, as much as He makes possible through His sacrifice, it is only accessible to us when we cross the border from unbelief to belief. Our faith unlocks His promises in our lives.
As we travel from country to country, when we cross borders, we are given forms and asked to declare certain things. From where are we coming? To where are we going? What are we carrying with us? How long do we plan to stay? When we come to the Cross — the border of salvation — we have some declarations to make.
We declare that we believe that the Word of God is true. We recognize that we are sinners in need of a Savior, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” as we read in Romans 3:23. We come from the other side of the border of salvation. And we come just as we are. We declare our sin, our brokenness, our rejection, our shame, and our pain.
The only thing that we cross the border with is the “shed Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin and washes us whiter than snow” as written in 1 John 1:7. We leave everything behind and walk through the door by His divine grace.
You are going to a land of light and liberty and a new home of happiness, wholeness, and hope…You will enter a kingdom where you become new creations….You will enter a kingdom where the condemnation of the past falls powerless…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and thank God for His Love, Mercy, and Grace…
June 21, 2021
1 John 2:14 “I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
Fathers, God has a plan and a purpose for each one of you! Those on “the home team” need you, our “most valuable players,” more than ever before. Fathers, your children need you.
Your children need to see you “loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” as we are taught in Mark 12:30. Your sons need you. They need a real-life example of how a man of God lives his life with integrity. They need for someone to demonstrate a strong work ethic, to tell them that diligence is worth the effort, to exhibit the honor in providing for and loving your family well.
Your daughters need you. They need your tender embrace, to know that your arms are a place to find confidence, comfort, and strength. They need you to show them how real men love and respect their wives, how they protect their household.
Your church needs you. It needs your dedication to the Lord, the boldness of a man committed to Jesus Christ. Your community needs the power of your testimony and your genuine desire to elevate those around you.
God in heaven needs you. He needs for you to recognize that He never intended for you to bear the load on your own. When the weight of responsibility is too heavy to carry, He needs for you to trust Him with it. Cast all your cares upon Him, and He will carry the burden that bows you low.
Fathers, we respect you…We love you…We need you…If you drop to your knees and bow your head right now The Father will gladly show you how to meet all of these needs…
June 20, 2021
Proverbs 17:6 “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”
In honor of Father’s Day, Pastor Matt Hagee, the son of Pastor John Hagee who inspires many of the postings you see from this ministry on Facebook, shared a personal story regarding two influential men in his life.
Pastor Matt was only nine-years-old when his grandfather passed away, but he cherished all the family events with him. They shared a love of the outdoors, and they spent countless hours on the lake fishing and hunting.
While he did not know him well, in the years since his grandfather passed, Pastor Matt’s father, Pastor John Hagee, has filled in the blanks. His grandfather was a man who loved the Lord with all of his heart and who loved God’s Word. He gave six decades of his life to preaching and winning souls to Christ.
What Pastor Matt did not know is that his grandfather grew up in a legalistic denomination that created personal torment for him, that made it difficult to enjoy life. The rules were based on a person’s own strength and works — not grace — and there was no room for imperfection.
One day, Pastor John began to share how difficult it was to grow up as his son, how he often would not speak one word to his family for weeks at a time. Painful memories spilled out.
In the following silence, Pastor Matt prayed for the right words to respond. Finally, he said, “Well, Dad, I guess I should write Grandpa a thank-you letter.” Pastor John exclaimed, “What?”
Pastor Matt explained, “If the way he raised you and all of the hurt that you had to endure is what helped you become the dad you are to me, then I guess I should write a letter and thank Grandpa. He never watched you play a game, but you never missed one of my practices. He might not have told you he loved you, but there’s never been a day you haven’t hugged me and kissed me and told me how proud you are of me. You let me know pretty quick, I was a hero. And you were mine. So, I want to thank you for being such a fabulous father.”
June 19, 2021
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”
Men, when you hear a Father’s Day message, two choices arise. Some men choose to look forward with hope and optimism to the fathers that they aspire to be. Others look back at the childhoods that they experienced, at the fathers that they had, and they are filled with regret or anger.
Not everyone had a great example, but that does not mean that you cannot be one. We have a Heavenly Father Who is an unsurpassed example of how to parent well. “He loves lavishly” we read in Ephesians 3:17-19 and “He will never abandon His children” we are told in Matthew 28:20. “His Word is true; if He said it, He will do it” promises Numbers 23:19 and “He is patient” assures 2 Peter 3:9.
If you did not have the father that you longed for, forgive him. For those of us in Christ Jesus, we are new creations. When we came to the cross, God forgave us. ”All of the old things passed away, and everything has become brand new” we learned in II Corinthians 5:17. We no longer carry the sins, the regrets, the guilt, the shame or condemnation from our past. You are free to become the man and the father that God has planned.
Decide to stop looking back. Teach your children that forgiveness is the key that unlocks doors and builds bridges. A grudge is too heavy a burden to bear. If forgiveness seems impossible, realize that you are not left on your own. Lean on the Lord Who will empower you through His Spirit and lead you out of the shadows of the past and into His glorious light. Always remember John 8:36 that says “If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed”.
Study the example of your Heavenly Father…He loves you deeply…let the power of His might help you become the father He intended you to be regardless of what your yesterday held…Choose to move forward…God has filled up your today with blessings…Tomorrow waits…fill your life with hope and every good thing…why not drop to your knees and let Him start right now…
June 18, 2021
We may have read Luke 11:21 that proclains “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace” but it is another piece of scripture that has much more significance than we might think.
Fathers, are you strong men? Are you fully armed? Are you guarding your palaces? Men, you are the protectors of your palace. Are you fully armed?
Technology has made protection much more difficult. Guarding your family means exercising diligence. It means paying close attention. It requires your strong presence and your willingness to provide a sense of direction.
Some fathers shrug their shoulders and relinquish control to their children. They decide to allow the kids to choose for themselves. Guarding and guiding requires discipline…for yourself, as well as the children.
Love them. Laugh with them. Talk to them. Train them. Get acquainted with their friends. Listen to their music choices. Guard them. Guide them.
Are you strong? This fathering business is not for the faint of heart. In Ephesians 6:10, Paul admonishes us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”. That is good news for the father who feels overwhelmed. You do not stand alone. You parent in the power of His might. You have the strongest of Allies as you guard your palace.
Are you armed? In Ephesians 6:11 Paul goes on to encourage us to “put on the whole armor of God so we can stand against the wiles of Satan”. That armor covers every part of our bodies – except our backs. We cannot turn our backs or we leave ourselves – and our families – exposed to the enemy. God puts two offensive weapons in our hands – “the sword of the Spirit that is His holy Word and the fervent and effective prayer of the righteous man” as we are taught in Ephesians 6:17-18 and James 5:16.
Suit up dad…Make sure that you are well-defended…Make sure that you are fully armed with the whole armor of God…with His Word…with the power of prayer…Stand in the gap for your family dad…Protect your palace…Get on your knees right now and ask God to stand the gap with you…He is always beside you…He promised to never leave you nor forsake you…
June 17, 2021
1 Peter 5:3 admonishes us to set an example for others and especially for our children saying ”nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
Fathers, God has entrusted you with your own “home team,” and He has called you to be an example to your family. He has provided some fundamentals that will help you succeed in this mission.
The very first – and most essential – fundamental is to read His Word, commit it to memory, and allow it to change the way that you think and act. An athlete cannot achieve well in his sport unless he is on the same page as his general manager. The Bible is the play book for the General Manager over all.
The second fundamental is to love. When the Pharisees pressed Jesus on which commandment was the greatest, He replied in Matthew 22:37-39: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment”. Dads, love the Lord in such an out-loud way that your children will learn to love Him, too.
Make sure they see you reading the Word and applying it to your life. They need to hear your prayers, to see you give thanks when God answers. Take them with you to the house of the Lord; worship Him with all your heart so that they, too, will begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness. The first God they will ever know is the One to Whom you introduce them.
The third fundamental is to lead. Ephesians 5:23 tells us that “As Christ is the head of His church, so the husband is the head of his wife, the leader of his family.” Dads, the trait that best qualifies you to lead is your ability to follow. If you follow Christ, He qualifies and equips you to lead. Every great coach is coachable. He never stops being a student of the game.
Hebrews 12:2 directs us to “look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith”, to be our example. When He walked among us, He taught His disciples by speaking truth to them and by demonstrating how to live it out.
He did not just instruct them to pray. He showed them how to pray. He did not just send them out to minister. He demonstrated what ministry “to the least of these” looks like.
Learn the play book…love out loud…lead by example…the General Manager promises to be beside you every step of the way…He will train and teach, encourage and inspire…He values your commitment to the home team…He recognizes your importance to its success…if you want more guidance just drop to your knees right now and ask Him…
June 16, 2021
How many times have we read Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” How many times did you wonder just what the Psalmist was really trying to tell us?
Fathers, if you wish to build a great family, you must recognize the Source from which true greatness flows. Greatness is found in God alone.
Today’s verse reminds us that “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Dads, your true and full success can only be tapped into when God is the foundation of your lives. When God is the foundation of your home, your children will have a secure base. When God is the Anchor to Whom you cling, your marriage can overcome any stormy sea that batters it. The Lord must build your house.
Our verse also makes it clear that we will labor in this life. That truth is an important one for a father to model and to teach his children. Some people work very hard at hardly working. Fathers, instill a strong work ethic in your children.
When examining the stories of the greatest coaches and athletes who ever played the game — whether it be baseball, basketball, football, golf or tennis – one unifying factor leaps to the forefront. They were not extraordinarily gifted; they were extraordinarily diligent at practicing the fundamentals. They mastered the basics and executed them over and over again.
If you have the privilege of being called a dad, God has established some fatherly fundamentals that every man can master…There are not great dads or not-so-great dads…There are fathers who are diligent and those who need to be diligent…Read the “playbook” that God has provided in His Word…Faithfully practice the fundamentals that you find there…Execute them over and over until you can accomplish them with ease…Greatness is within reach…God is within reach…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and reach out to Him…
June 15, 2021
The Apostle Paul was particularly concerned that children should be raised properly and know The Lord when he wrote in Ephesians 6:4 “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Fathers, your family should take top priority. Your children and grandchildren are your dynasty. They are the ones who demonstrate to the world that you are a leader that has thoroughly prepared them for life in a world that is not fair.
You must prepare your children for the opponents they will face. How you train them while they are yours is how well they will play in the future. You must train them to win, to live out the destiny that God has ordained for each child He has entrusted to your care.
One of the most important roles a father will serve is to train his family in the fundamentals that are required to succeed against the tremendous challenges they will one day face. Are they familiar with the “playbook” that God has given for instruction in righteousness that Paul preaches about in II Timothy 3:16? Are they listening for the Coach’s voice and following the plays He calls that Solomon writes about in Proverbs 3:5-6? Do they know how to come alongside their teammates to rally them on to victory like Paul does in Philippians 2:3-4?
Fathers, the home teams are counting on you…They need your wisdom, encouragement, discipline, and example…You must build a team of warriors at home that will be world-changers when they run onto the field of life…Let God be your assistant coach…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and seek His help…
June 14, 2021
Exodus 32:26 “…then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.”
The border of the cross which is the border of salvation is absolute. Jesus is the Door, the only point of access to cross the border into freedom.
After we step through the Door, we need to close it behind us. Many of us want the door to swing both directions. We choose to live on one side and then the other – not one side OR the other. We cannot live on both sides of the border. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with Me is against Me…”.
What is truly worth pursuing on the other side of the cross? On the other side of the cross are guilt and shame. On the other side of the cross are sickness and disease. Isaiah 53:5 says that on this side of the cross, “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed”.
On the other side of the cross are mountains that we cannot move and problems that we cannot solve. Mark 11:23 preaches that on this side of the cross, “whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says”.
On the other side of the cross, you have no hope, no power, and no ability…On this side of the cross, you have the authority of His name, the power of His Word, and the redemption of His blood…He makes it so easy for you to choose…Come on over to the Lord’s side…If you need help getting to The Lord’s side all you have to do is drop to your knees and ask Him…right now would be a good time to do that…
June 13, 2021
Many, many, sermons have been preached on the scripture in John 10:9 where Jesus says “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” but few know what Jesus wanted us to visualize from His passage. Jesus literally becomes the door or gate that keeps everything bad at bay. Just like the shepherd protects the sheep in the fold, Jesus protects us.
By faith, we come to the border of the cross. We open the Door that is Christ Jesus, and we walk from death to life. When we step across that border to the other side…we shut the door!
We already know the blessings that await us! We already understand the quality of the life that we want is to be found on this side of the border. We already recognize the things that we want to leave behind. Some of us, though, want an open border so we can cross back over anytime that we desire.
We still struggle with the chains of our past. We may be bound by generations of sin, by circumstances and issues that create link after link that tighten around us. How easy it is to begin to doubt the power of God to redeem us. We want access to the freedom and the liberty found in the salvation of Jesus, but we begin to believe that it is up to us, that we must figure out a means to disentangle ourselves from the chains that hold us down.
There is more good news for you…The Word of God is alive…The Word of God is powerful…The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword…The Word of God declares that we are not redeemed by any schemes or works that we might muster up…The Word of God says we are saved by grace through faith…And your faith is a gift from God…now would be a good time to bow your head and drop to your knees in humble submission and thank God for His Gift…
June 12, 2021
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Wow! Talk about a fresh start!!!
For those of us who have come to the border of salvation, who have stepped over that border into new life with Christ, we must be willing to leave our old lives on the other side of that border.
Our verse for today tells us that, when we step across the border of salvation, all the old things that have hindered and kept us from abundant life in Christ pass away; they are dead to us now. Everything in our lives becomes new, filled with hope and promise.
Most of us have loved ones who are no longer living. We refer to them as having “passed away.” For those who were believers, we know where they are now, but they are no longer accessible to us. They no longer exist in an atmosphere with which we can connect. In the same way, our old lives have passed away. We should no longer access or connect to it.
Problems arise when we attempt to leave our old lives on life support so we can reconnect any time that we choose. That verse does not say, “Your old life is in ICU getting fluids!” It declares that old things have passed away, that ALL things have become new.
Many attempt to hold onto life on both sides of the border. When they come to the border of the cross, they desire salvation and the liberty that it offers, but they also want to retain access to life on the wrong side of the border that feeds their carnal desires.
The apostle Paul said it this way in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. Jesus died for our sins once and for all. We, too, must step across the border into salvation once and for all.
Don’t look over your shoulder…Don’t turn back…Keep pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus like Paul did in Philippians 3:14…You are a new creation…You have no one to thank for that but God Almighty Himself…
June 11, 2021
If you have ever read Ephesians 2:13-14 where the Apostle Paul preaches “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…” it is very likely you had no idea what Paul was actually teaching.
God’s love compelled Him to create borders for us. Borders are blessings. Inside the borders, we find peace, provision, and protection. Life proves more challenging for those outside of the borders.
At one time, we were all outside of those borders. While we were “dead in our trespasses” according to Ephesians 2:5, God saw us there on the wrong side of the border. Overwhelmed with love, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to become the sacrifice that would bring us back into a right relationship with the Father.
He saw us in our bondage and in slavery to sin. He saw us bound in chains of addiction and abuse. He considered the burdens that we were carrying and the yokes that we were wearing. He looked into our futures that were void of hope without Him. He saw how the world would break our hearts. He saw how Satan would attack us, how he would steal our hope, rob our joy, and kill our potential.
When He saw the quality of our lives on the wrong side of the border, the gospel of John 3:16 captures His response: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
Hear that all-encompassing word: “whoever.” This border offers open access to all. It is available to anyone who chooses it. No matter how far you might have wandered, how broken you are, how desperate your needs. He saw you on the wrong side of the border, and He loved you.
When you were a stranger to the covenants of promise, when you were without hope and without God, He sent the remedy. He said, “I’ll take you.” He accepts the addict so locked in bondage that he cannot live without a fix. “I’ll take you.” He opens His arms to the abused so broken by the offender that they have lost all hope for tomorrow. “I’ll take you.” He offers love and acceptance to the lonely and isolated. “I’ll take you.” He welcomes the sin-stained and the shamed. “I’ll take you.”
With arms wide open, with eyes of love, He accepts all…He takes us to a place called Calvary…He takes us to the border of the cross where He cleanses us…Though our sins are like crimson stains, He washes us whiter than snow…To all those who come, He says, “I’ll take you”…right now might be a good time to drop to your knees and thank Him for this wonderful gift of grace and mercy…
June 10, 2021
We have often read and heard the scripture in John 14:6 that says “Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” but do you realize exactly what and why Jesus said this?
Consider the cross of Christ. There, we find the border of salvation. There, Jesus accomplished the work that would save us from a life of sin and redeem us to the abundant life He died to make possible. This border was built by the hand of Almighty God through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son when He humbled Himself and went to a place called Calvary.
There, He won an absolute and complete victory over every power, every principality, every force of darkness, over death, hell and the grave. The cross is a border of triumph!
The cross is not a border to exclude or prohibit; it was not built to keep out anyone who might approach. God provided it as a free gift to all people of all cultures and of all generations. The Holy Spirit calls, “Come!” to “whosoever will” as is written in Revelation 22:17.
This border is open to set people free, to offer asylum from the attacks against the heart, from the suffering and torment of this world, from the wiles of Satan, and the temptations of the flesh. To anyone who wants to immigrate from the guilt and shame of their past, the border is open. To those who want to leave behind the bondage and cross over to the liberty that only Christ can give, the border is open.
The best news about this border is that, though millions have flooded through the open Door that is Christ Jesus, room abounds for more.
This point of access is enforced by the Word of God…Entry is not allowed by any other means…Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”…There is no other way…Come, step through the Door, inside the border, and find a life overflowing with blessing…find it both now and forevermore…for the greatest gift ever known you might want to drop to your knees right now and thank God for even caring about you…
June 9, 2021
You may have read this piece of scripture many times but did you really understand what the David meant when he said in Psalm 16:6 “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.”
God has gifted us with the Bible – a book of borders. Those borders are blessings, the means to abundant life. By choosing obedience instead of our own paths, we live in the life-giving flow of God’s Word.
God has established borders for us. You may have chosen to violate those boundaries — spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially or relationally. Choose the Door that is Christ Jesus. Walk through that Door to repent and return to your rightful place inside the blessings of God.
He is not looking for a perfect people; God is looking for a people who are willing. Not perfect, but willing to live by His truth, to speak out against evil, to reach out to alleviate suffering with His heart, His hands, and His feet. We are willing to choose for ourselves and our homes that we will serve the Lord with gladness.
God has chosen us to be the light of the world, to be the salt of the earth, right here and right now. He calls us to be blameless and harmless in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, to “shine like the stars in the sky” as Paul says in Philippians 2:15. We are the seasoning that brings out the God-flavor in this world, that points others to Him. We are described as “The salt of the earth” in Matthew 5:13.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear – but of power, of love, and of a sound mind’ as written in 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul taught that “If God stands with us, who can stand against us?” in Romans 8:31. We also are taught that “Our faith is the victory that overcomes this world” in 1 John 5:4.
Commit to live within the borders that God has established…Your obedience opens the windows of heaven…Your obedience opens a pouring-out of the blessings that are exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or even imagine…Let yourself joyfully live within the boundaries so that you may see your King and be counted worthy to gladly enter into that holy city one day…
June 8, 2021
A piece of scripture that is seldom understood as to just what it is telling us to do is Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
God’s Word tells us that “righteousness exalts a nation” in Proverbs 14:34. God does something interesting in this verse: He combines an individual choice with a corporate organization. This is sometimes very difficult to understand.
The choices that we make as individuals create a blessing for the entire body. We often think of this in a backwards manner. Some believe that if we can get righteousness on a political platform, it will change everything. Wrong! Righteousness is not a political platform; it is a personal choice.
Righteousness is knowing to do right and following through with right action. It is a choice I make. It is a choice that you make. No candidate, no policy can force us to think and act rightly. Righteousness cannot be legislated. The personal decision to live rightly exalts a nation. If I do right, if you do right, if we all do right corporately, we begin to get better. It starts with you and with me. It is not an outside-in change; it is an inside-out change.
Change begins when we examine our lives, when we ask God to “search our hearts and reveal any wicked way that He finds in us” as we are told to do in Psalm 139:23-24. When we acknowledge where we have crossed the line, where we have crashed through the borders that He has erected for our best lives, we can repent and run back within the borders of blessing.
Let righteousness begin with you…Do not be overcome by evil…overcome evil with good…Establish the borders of God in your life…Return to His Word and His commandments…Change begins in you…this would be a good time to drop to your knees and ask Him what changes you need to make…
June 7, 2021
Psalm 103:17-18 Promises those that believe that “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”
God has given us the gift of borders. As long as we live within the boundaries He has designated in His Word, we receive His blessings, His provision and protection. The moment that we step across and outside of those borders, we stand against His will and undefended.
Before a mother even knows that she is pregnant, the child has blood. We read in Jeremiah 1:5 that God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. Before the man and woman ever conceived a child, before the mother even knew that she was carrying a baby, God knew that child.
Before a child ever draws a breath, God sees in them his image…God has chosen you to be the light of the world…God has chosen you to be the salt of the earth…God has chosen you right here and right now…The King of Glory has forgiven you the debt of your sin…The King of Glory paid the price to set you free when you had no ability to do so yourself…Choose to live within the border of His blessing…Tear down the barricade between yourself and God to restore His ultimate purpose in your life…a good place to start tearing down that barricade would be on your knees humbly thanking Him for His mercy & grace…
June 6, 2021
The Bible in Genesis 1:27 tells us exactly where we came from saying “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
God created us in His image. You are an expression of the manifested genius of God. He looked at this world and thought that this planet would be better off with you in it. He divinely designed you. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that “Before He even formed you in the womb, He knew you”.
Acts 17:26-27 declares that God determined the seasons of our existence, that He set the boundaries of our lives so that we might seek Him and find Him because He is never far from us. He chose you. He appointed you for a purpose. He placed you on this earth for this specific time. God made a choice when He created you!
God’s heart is towards you…He sent His Son Jesus to redeem you…Jesus died to save you…Jesus died to bring you into right relationship with God…Jesus died to bring you into the parameters of the borders that God has established for you…It is time to point back to the unchanging borders that God has created for you…Let yourself fulfill His expectations of you…if you don’t know what those expectations are you only have to ask…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and do just that…
June 5, 2021
We are told in John 17:17 that God’s Word is truth where we read “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Every border that God creates has a built-in blessing. In Genesis 2:8-15, God created a garden east of Eden. He did not create a global garden; He created a garden with borders, four rivers that encompassed Eden. He placed Adam and Eve inside those boundaries, and He gave Adam a job. He instructed him to keep and tend the garden.
He also established another border in the Garden of Eden when He warned Adam that he could eat of all the other trees in the whole garden except for the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam crossed that border, God withdrew the blessing. God did not choose. Adam chose. When he violated God’s border, even the natural borders became chaotic. Even the borders of truth were confused.
When we step beyond what God allows, we choose a curse instead of a blessing. As our verse today indicates, God’s Word is truth. It tells us who we are, how we were created, who we are intended to be, how we can be redeemed, and how we must live within His borders to be sanctified and receive the blessings of God.
When we choose to control those borders…When we submit our lives to the one true God…we find a Provider…we find a Protector…we find a Healer…we find a Savior…we find a Deliverer…we find a Friend that sticks closer than a brother…He sets life and death, a blessing and a curse before us…Choose wisely so that you and those who follow behind you will experience abundant life…are you on your knees yet thanking Him for The Truth…You should be…
June 4, 2021
Jesus said in John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
God is a God of order; He keeps order through borders. When He created the world and everything in it, the heavens and the earth, He established borders for His handiwork.
The sun does not shine when it chooses to do so. God created it with boundaries; it shines when and where He has determined. The stars that He calls by name twinkle at His bidding. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the animals of the land, the trees, the flowers – all of His creation, He blessed with a border.
If His creation operates within the limits of those borders, they are blessed. If they step across that borderline, they experience chaos. A fish out of water does not experience freedom, it experiences death. Consider all the natural borders in our lives of which we may not even be aware that still are blessings to us.
Outside of His borders, we will struggle. That is not just a natural truth. It is a supernatural truth. The reason that we are surrounded by so much pain and chaos on the earth is because we have crossed supernatural lines that God has drawn.
In our verse for today, Jesus proclaims Himself the Door. In John 14:6, Jesus told Thomas: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He essentially said, “I am the border. I am your point of access.”
God is against no person. In II Peter 3:9 He desires that “none perish but that ALL come to repentance”. Over and over, Jesus said, “Whosoever will… .” No matter your culture, what you have done, where you have been, how you have failed, Jesus is the Door. He is open to all! It is not about accessibility; it is about willingness.
Jesus makes Himself available to all…He is the Door…Be willing to walk through The Door that God has provided…if you don’t know where The Door is then now would be the time to drop to your knees and ask Him to show you…He is waiting…for you…
June 3, 2021
From the wisdom of Solomon Proverbs 14:34 points out that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Border control is a subject on American minds, a topic that cannot be escaped. People are examining it through many different lenses – politically, economically, legally, culturally, and ethically. Spiritually, we are struggling with righteousness-versus-unrighteousness, light-versus-darkness, and truth-versus-lie kinds of issues because we have violated God’s borders.
God has gifted us with the Bible – a book of borders. As long as we live within the borders He has designated, we receive His blessings, His provision and protection. The moment that we step across and outside of those borders, we begin to struggle. All around us, the world is struggling with all kinds of issues. Those issues are symptoms of a spiritual problem that we have created. We crossed the line!
We have changed our perspective on borders. Until recently, borders were considered blessings. Borders were considered the means to abundant life. By choosing obedience, instead of our own paths, we lived in the life-giving flow of God’s Word.
Now, borders are considered burdens. Many have believed the lie that, if we can step across that border, we can find a new level of freedom on the other side. The truth is that, outside of the parameters of God’s will, only chaos exists. We stand exposed and unprotected, and all the while, as we are warned in I Peter 5:8 “Satan is on the prowl seeking whom he may devour.”
God is not looking for a government policy or a political candidate to bring order back to our world. God is looking for the people whom He sent His Son to redeem, those for whom He bled and died, to become the kind of people that will obey what the Bible decrees, that will act as the righteous children He created us to be.
He is a God of order…He keeps order through borders…We can find a balance on border control as we return to being a people governed by God’s borders established in His book of truth…The Lord said in II Chronicles 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”…Righteousness truly does exalt a nation…this would be a good time for you to bow your head and humble yourself and pray on your bended knee…the sooner you do the sooner He will forgive your sin and heal your land…
June 2, 2021
In Isaiah 6:8 The Lord called out Isaiah and he responded “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, Here am I! Send me.”
The Church today is not so much guilty of the sin of commission or omission, but of no mission. We hang back and wait for the lost to enter our world when we need to enter their world with God’s love and His heart.
We have been rescued, saved, delivered, healed, showered with blessings, and highly favored. This good news should be so uncontainable that we are sharing it with every person we encounter. Instead, we often hoard it, hide it, and hope nobody asks.
We stall while we wait for the grand gesture – to speak to thousands, to touch the masses, to travel to a foreign land. But can we walk across the street and talk to our neighbors? Jesus’ example for us was often the opposite of the grand gesture. He held a child. He ate fish with his friends around a campfire. He touched a leper when no one else would. He discussed the Scriptures in the temple. And every one of those simple gestures had a profound impact.
Mother Teresa said, “God never asked me to be successful. God asked me to be obedient.” Let’s begin to think specifically about how we can obey the Lord. How can we be more intentional in the mission to which God has called us? Let’s stop drifting aimlessly.
Who can we invite to church?
Who can we visit in the hospital or nursing home?
Who can we ask out to share a meal?
How can we better use our finances for His purposes?
Who can we pray for tenaciously?
Can we give a cup of cold water to someone? Just start there!
Our whole world around us is floundering, flailing, and fading fast…We have the hope…We have the remedy…Jesus has already sent us out on assignment…Let’s fulfill our mission…starting right now…if you need a little direction now would be a good time to bow the head and bend the knee in humble submission while you seek God’s Perfect Will…
June 1, 2021
Matthew 20:27-28 shares the teachings of Jesus that says “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Social scientists have a name for the tendency to watch from the sidelines: The Bystander Effect. It’s a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any of them will help. Everyone thinks that someone else will do something or step in to rescue the victim.
It is easy, in the middle of our busy, fast-paced lives, to think that someone else will do what God is actually calling us to do. Someone else will witness to a neighbor or volunteer at our church or pray with a coworker. We often think that throwing money at a need relieves us of the responsibility of wading in and getting our hands dirty.
If we are all honest, God is prompting us at this very point in time to do something we have not done before that will stretch us beyond what is comfortable for us. So, why do we hesitate and hang back? Why are we content to watch while another believer steps in to meet that need?
For someone in your life right now, you are God’s Plan A…Jesus is counting on you to listen to His voice…Jesus is counting on you to obey His prompting…Jesus is counting on you to reach out to meet the need…Jesus created you for exactly this moment in history to perform this good work that He ordained…He created you for exactly this moment in history to be the answer to someone else’s prayer…A good way to find out who that someone is would be in humble submission to Him down on your knees seeking His will…
May 31, 2021
We are taught in Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
With great freedom comes great responsibility. And we have received the deepest and widest of freedoms through Christ. We are free indeed!
Romans 8:2 assures us that “We are free from the law of sin and death to live in the righteousness of God”. We are responsible to be imitators of God and to be examples “in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” as instructed in 1 Timothy 4:12. That may seem like a tall order, but once again, Jesus equips us with all that we need.
When we spend time with Jesus, we become more like Him. When we spend time in His Word, we begin to see things His way. When we spend time communicating with Him, our prayers become powerful and effective. We begin to speak His heart into situations. When we follow Him and step in His footprints, we begin to look a lot like Him who “is the image of the invisible God” like Paul taught the followers in Colossae in Colossians 1:15. We become imitators and examples.
When we spend time with Jesus, He leaves a mark on us that can be seen by those with whom we do life. He molds us, He shapes us, and He leaves His fingerprints all over us.
After Moses spent time with God on Mt. Sinai, he descended the mountain with the stone tablets in hand, his face aglow from the presence of the Lord. His countenance was kindled by the Light of God. In Acts 4, the crowds marveled at Peter and John when these uneducated and untrained men stood and boldly compelled others to accept the good news, but the people “realized that they had been with Jesus” as we learn in Acts 4-13.
Spend time in His presence…Allow Him to leave His mark on you…Submit to His shaping…Let Him kindle a fire in you…Let Him make you bold…You will become an imitator of God…You will become an example for others to follow…just as Jesus often bowed His head and dropped to His knees in humble reverence to God The Father, you might want to do that right now…
May 30, 2021
Paul preached in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We live in a culture driven by a consumer mentality. So many voices and choices compete for our attention. On any given Sunday, we are faced with the choice to attend church or spend our time elsewhere.
Even in the Apostle Paul’s day this seems to have been an issue. He writes to the Hebrews that they are to continue to assemble together for worship…even though some had given up the practice. He knew that we would need one another.
Have you ever thought that, perhaps, you might hold the answer to someone else’s prayer? That they will be sitting in the pew next to you, desperate for the hope you could bring? Philippians 2:4 encourages us to look out not just for our own interests, but to watch out for others, too.
Paul compares the body of Christ to the human body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Every part has its purpose, and every part needs to be present for the whole body to function at its highest potential. Without just one part, we would be off balance.
The body of Christ functions in the same manner. The gifts that you bring, your fresh perspective, your testimony of God’s faithfulness, sometimes just the mere fact of your supportive presence — the body of Christ needs you. When you are absent, the body is lacking. When you hold back, someone is left in need. When you do not share what God has given, we limp along without balance.
Be interconnected and interdependent…check in and watch out for one another…Grab a cup of coffee with someone…Make dinner reservations with another family…Welcome the newcomers…Show up at church…for someone else…That is how God created this family of believers…you have been gifted from God to make a difference in someone’s life…maybe if you drop to your knees and bow your head in humble submission He’ll show you just who that person is…
May 29, 2021
Ephesians 6:13 tells all Christians “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Americans boast a long history of “standing” — standing for civil rights, standing for women’s equality, standing for political freedoms or standing for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Christians, we stand on the promises of God and for the cause of Christ.
The Bible has much to say about standing. God often instructed people to stand – stand by the well, stand by the river, stand on the rock, stand before the priest, stand to minister or stand still. And when they followed His direction, something interesting was bound to occur. We are still standing today.
We stand by grace. This amazing gift steadies us. Romans 5:2 teaches that even in tribulation, we are filled with hope, and God’s love fills our hearts to overflowing. Because we have received grace, it pours out of our lives. We give it away freely because it will be measured back to us in the same way we extend it. If we give generously, Luke 6:38 tells us that it comes back in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over”.
We stand by faith. Romans 11:20 promises that when we place our confidence in God, believe on His Son, and lean on the Holy Spirit, we are established in Him. Our lives are marked with order, strength, and courage. Paul teaches in I Corinthians 16:13 that He seals us with His Holy Spirit, and in II Corinthians 1:22-24 that we feel His presence in our hearts.
We stand in the gospel. This good news has been proclaimed to us in I Corinthians 15:1, so we can stand and proclaim it to others. Our lives are grounded in its foundational truths that provide and protect us. We find hope in its promises.
We stand in liberty. According to Romans 8:2 we have been set free from the law of sin and death. We are no longer entangled in a yoke of bondage per Galatians 5:1. We are free indeed!
Because we are standing in the grace, faith, and liberty of this glorious gospel, we stand fast…As Christians, we are rooted in unity — one spirit and one mind — all striving to spread this glorious gospel story and to glorify our Father…this might be a good time to bow the head and bend the knee to let Him know how thankful you are for His love, mercy, and grace…
May 28, 2021
There are not very many things we can count on in this tough old world but Jesus told us in Mark 13:31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
We live in a world that makes less and less sense, where it becomes more and more difficult to discern fact from fiction. Charles Spurgeon even said, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather, it is the difference between right and almost right.”
To cut through all of the confusion, God has provided a resource to lead us to the truth. He has placed in our hands the Bible – the Word of God – the Holy Scriptures – the Good News of the Gospel – the Sword of the Spirit – the Law of the Lord!
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul warned that many deceivers and imposters would come claiming to know the truth, and actually living in opposition to all that Jesus taught. He reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 to go back to the one place that he could always find truth: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”.
Not only has He placed this truth in our hands, but He encourages us in Psalm 119:11 to “hide His Words in our hearts, so we do not sin against Him”. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that we “need to read them, study them, memorize them, carry them inside of us so that we can expose the lies and recognize the truth.”
The grass may wither…the flowers may fade…but the Word of God stands forever…Not one period or comma will disappear from His law until all of it comes to pass…When nothing else makes sense, His Word does…May it always be our true foundation…
May 27, 2021
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:18-19 “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Do you ever get discouraged by the routine of life? After all, most of us haven’t slain a giant like David, camped out in the belly of a whale like Jonah, led a million people across a desert like Moses, or healed the sick when our shadow fell across them like Jesus.
Don’t be discouraged! Shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors, farmers — our heroes of the faith were just everyday people leading ordinary lives until God put His finger on them to do extraordinary things.
Too often, we search for the huge moment that will define our faith. What we overlook are the small, seemingly insignificant places where God begins to build the character and characteristics for the plans He has in mind for us.
Jesus reassures us in Matthew 10:42 that, “if we do something as inconsequential as giving a cup of cold water in His name”, there is a reward in that small act. That is an easy starting point!
When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are full of power to impact our worlds, our spheres of influence…When we do small things well over a long period of time with great love, they add up to a life of big impact for Jesus…so make a difference…find someone who needs a cup of “cold water” today…ask God to lead you to that someone…bend the knee and bow the head…He hears you and will show you just what to do…
May 26, 2021
One of the greatest promises from God is found in Jeremiah 33:3 when the prophet is told to “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
We have been commissioned by Christ Jesus. He has entrusted the keys of the kingdom to us. He has given us the permission and the power to loose in heaven the things that we desire here on earth that are in agreement with His will for us.
How do we unlock those blessings though? We often struggle with the practical application of that spiritual truth. We all desire the good things of God to spill over out of our personal relationship with Him into our families, our homes, and our businesses. It is easy to bask in His presence in the church sanctuary, but is it reasonable to expect Him to fill up those other places too? Yes!
Businesspeople, do you wish for a happier workforce, more productivity, a stronger bottom line? Invite Jesus to be your Chief Executive Officer. Put Him first in all of your work; follow Him in the same way you would like for others to follow you. Colossians 3:17 admonishes us to “do everything as if we were devoting our work to Him — not to a supervisor”. Invite Him into the boardroom — He promised to be with you always.
Ask Him to guide you to make business decisions that honor Him. When you interact with employees, speak peace and positivity. Speak the promise of God over your workplace. Expect the providential turnaround. New opportunities, deals, mergers, acquisitions, trades — God gives it back when you surrender it to Him.
Many of us long for families of faith. Get on your knees and fight for your unsaved loved ones. Take the keys and unlock the promises of God in their lives. Claim the promises of God that your children are the inheritance of the Lord, that they are blessed and highly favored. Pray that your spouse begins to walk in the divine destiny God has decreed, that they do not belong to this culture, but they are set aside for the purposes of the Father. In prayer, use the keys to unlock the promises of the Almighty for their futures.
Know this, child of God that the keys of the kingdom are in your hands…Information without application leads to frustration…All of the access and authority belong to you…All of the permission and the power belong to you…In the mighty name of Jesus, unlock and loose…In the mighty name of Jesus, bind and lock…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and thank Him for the access and authority you have…
May 25, 2021
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25-26 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Now that we have moved beyond the curious to become the convinced and have committed our lives to Christ, He has commissioned us. He has given us the keys to the kingdom.
Let’s be honest though. We always approach commitment with caution. One of our first concerns is what it will cost us. What might I have to give up that I might not want to give up? How will that look? How will it feel? Will it be worth it?
Jesus gives us a new perspective in today’s verse: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” This is quite a paradox, but Jesus pushes the point even further: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Words like “deny,” “lose,” “sacrifice,” and “follow me,” understandably make us nervous. Jesus encouraged us, though, to stop focusing on what we have to lose and to, instead, think about all we have to gain.
Like the young boy who gave Jesus his lunch to feed the five thousand, he did not obsess about what he might lose. He willingly surrendered his all. And when he gave it to Jesus, it was out of his hands. Jesus took it, blessed it, and used it to meet not just his needs, but the needs of many. And then He gave the boy twelve basketfuls of leftovers. That was quite a return on his investment!
Hold nothing back from Jesus…He came to give us abundant life…He will not withhold any good thing from us…When we give our lives and all we value to Him, He will pour out blessings that we cannot contain…In Christ, we can love and live and give like we have nothing to lose…because we don’t…we have everything to gain…count your blessings everyday…you might want to drop to your knees and start doing it right now…
May 24, 2021
Matthew 16:1 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The person who holds the keys has the power to lock and unlock. He has the access and the authority. He can enter and exit freely.
In Matthew 16, Jesus has a heart-to-heart with the twelve disciples. He asks them this question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” In essence, He asked, “What do the curious say about Me?” The disciples tossed out some answers that they had overheard in the chatter surrounding Jesus. Some thought that maybe He was Elijah, perhaps John the Baptist, just a prophet like other prophets.
Jesus pressed a little harder: “But who do you say I am?” He had done enough; were they convinced? Impetuous Peter passionately blurted out, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Not only was he convinced, but he was committed.
Jesus rewarded him in the same way He rewards all those who are committed: He commissioned Peter. He said in Matthew 16:18 “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”. Jesus appointed and authorized Peter. He gave him the keys. Like a law enforcement officer who wears a badge or a soldier who wears a uniform, those keys represent authority.
Jesus explained the keys to Peter in Matthew 16:19, “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. Through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, we have access to the throne room of God. Because of the gift of His grace, we can freely enter. Whatever we have need of here on earth, we can unlock in heavenly places to be poured out on us. Whatever needs to be prevented here on earth can be locked in heavenly places.
If you are committed to Him, He has commissioned you…If you are committed to Him, He has entrusted these keys to you…If you are committed to Him, You cannot afford to lose them or stick them in your pockets and forget about them…Those keys give you the privilege, the permission, and the power…They grant you the access and authority to retrieve those things you need…What will you do with the keys entrusted to you by the Son of the living God…Don’t take them for granted…make good use of them…now might be a good time to drop to your knees and bow your head and thank God for trusting you with them…
May 23, 2021
Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
In every congregation or conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible, three types of individuals emerge. The curious came to hear what this preacher had to say. The convinced believed, through their experience and observation, that He had the power to change their lives. The third group of individuals moved beyond the curious and the convinced to a faith that changed the world – they were the committed.
One day, five thousand people came to hear Jesus – some walking great distances. He had compassion on them, and He healed the sick and hurting that came seeking His help. When evening arrived, though, the disciples urged Him to send them off to nearby villages in search of supper.
He said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” The twelve were convinced that Jesus was Who He claimed to be, that He had the ability to help, but they approached Him only to point out the problem…the hour was late, the people were hungry, and they didn’t have enough food to feed a crowd of five thousand.
In spite of the fact that they had watched Him minister to this group all day long, that they had witnessed the healing miracles from morning to evening, the disciples faltered in moving from the convinced to the committed.
One young boy demonstrated what it looked like to be committed. He brought everything he had – just five loaves and two fish – and presented them to Jesus. This faith-filled boy was all in. He saw a need. He looked at what was in his hands. He knew it was not enough. But he believed that, if he gave all he had to Jesus, something miraculous could happen. He was committed.
Most of us stumble to a stop at convinced. We are content to point out our problems to Jesus. We know He can help if He wants to do so. The truth is that Jesus did not come from heaven to suffer what He did if He is not willing to fix it for us.
Like the young boy be committed…Look at what is in your hands…You know it is not enough…You are convinced that Jesus can do something miraculous for you…Be all in…Take all that you have…Take all that you are…lay it in His hands…Like those fish and loaves He will bless what you commit to Him…He will fill you up to overflowing with every good thing…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and bow you head and give thanks…
May 22, 2021
Hebrews 11:6 declares “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
In every congregation or conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible, three types of individuals emerge. The second type are those who are the convinced. They have seen God do some miraculous things. Through their own experience and observation, they are convinced that He is Who He claims to be and that He has true power to change their lives.
Multitudes of people followed Jesus from city to city. The crush of the crowd was overwhelming at times as people came to witness how His teaching challenged the spiritual leaders. They brought their sick friends and family members in hopes that this miracle worker would touch them and relieve their illnesses.
They were convinced that Jesus was a great Teacher. They marveled at the miracles that He performed. They were convinced of His ability to heal their diseases, to deliver from demons, and to comfort the afflicted. They were certain that He had come to rescue them, to set them free from oppression and bondage.
However, when Jesus taught a particularly difficult doctrine one day, John 6:66 tells us that “many of His disciples turned away and no longer walked with Him.” They were convinced, but they were not committed. There lies the problem with simply being convinced. In James 2:19, we learn that “even the demons see and believe…and they tremble”. But that conviction has not led them to serve Him or commit themselves to Him.
When a person leans on their own observations and experiences, that is shaky ground. Sometimes, what we see consists of a piece of the story. What looks like tragedy can result in our ultimate triumph. What looks like the impossible may be setting us up for a miracle.
When we move beyond the curious to the convinced we believe that Jesus is Who He claims to be…When we move beyond the curious to the convinced we believe that He can do what He has promised to do…That faith will propel us to take the next step to commitment…Faith without action is worth nothing…it is faith that moves us to commitment that leads to victory…
May 21, 2021
We have heard many sermons concerning scripture from Matthew 19:16 that goes “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’”
In every congregation or conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible, three types of individuals emerge. The first are the curious. They were simply inquiring minds who wanted to know! They showed up in the crowds to check out all the fuss. They wanted to hear what Jesus had to say and to see why the priests were so confounded. They wanted to witness a lame man jump to his feet and go running through the temple. They had lots of questions.
What was so special about a carpenter from Nazareth? Wasn’t He the son of Joseph and Mary? Why was this guy from Galilee stirring up trouble for them? Why did fishermen follow Him and Pharisees despise Him? Why did tax collectors and prostitutes make dinner reservations with Him? By what power did He work these astounding miracles? How did He speak with such intelligence regarding Scriptural mysteries that even the religious leaders couldn’t understand?
Matthew 19:16 is about a rich, young ruler who came running to ask Jesus a question: “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus repeated a few of the commandments to this inquisitive young man. He assured Jesus that he had kept all the commandments since he was a young child. He demanded to know what else he lacked. When Jesus told him that he should sell all he had, give the proceeds to the poor, and come to follow Him, the ruler went away sad because he had much wealth. He was curious, but he wasn’t willing to commit.
In our everyday encounters, many are still curious about Christ. They may have attended church and experienced His presence. They may have felt that inexplicable tugging in their hearts. They may have witnessed a family member who encountered Jesus and had a radical change when He made them a new creature. Could He do that for them?
If people are curious about Christ, they are headed in the right direction…When that curiosity leads to conviction and is then followed by commitment, they will experience the satisfaction and joy of fully knowing Jesus Christ…A good place to get to know Jesus is on your knees with your head bowed in humble submission…are you there yet…
May 20, 2021
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”
Our commitment to Christ is the key to unlock the ability to pull down the spiritual strongholds of Satan in our lives. What are spiritual strongholds? Paul defines them clearly for us in today’s verse. Paul said “Strongholds are arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” — fortresses of lies against the truth of God in our lives.
As followers of Christ, we engage in spiritual warfare with the mighty weapons God provides. This spiritual struggle ensued long before we arrived on the scene, but we are not helpless in the face of evil. We take back spiritual ground that our enemy, Satan, has stolen from us and those we love.
We are not created to hide behind the walls of the church, to merely defend ourselves from the schemes of the devil. We are created to offensively establish God’s kingdom here on earth, to ward off the fiery darts of the evil one, to make war in heavenly places, and to gain ground for the cause of Christ.
In Matthew 11:12 Jesus told us that the “kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force”. This spiritual violence of which Jesus speaks describes how Satan strikes at us. He is intent on our defeat and our destruction. He sets out to disrupt, damage, and ultimately, destroy our lives. He will infiltrate our emotions, relationships, health, and finances. John 10:10 makes it plain that “he comes to kill, steal, and destroy.”
No matter the spiritual violence that he attempts to wreak on us, as believers, we can set him in full retreat through the power that we have through Jesus Christ…When we submit our lives to God we engage the mighty weapons God has given us…When we submit our lives to God we resist the devil and he will flee before us…When we submit our lives to God we have authority through the name of Jesus and the power of His Word and His overcoming Blood…When we submit our lives to God our Savior will crush him under our feet and lead us to victory…
May 19, 2021
Genesis 41:38 “And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’”
This is a seldom quoted piece of scripture but a very important one that addresses what troubles reveal.
It has been said that difficulties don’t determine who we are but rather, reveal who we are. Said another way, the same heat that softens butter can make mud hard as a brick. It all depends on how the thing being heated responds. The same with the human heart. Difficulties can soften one heart and harden another.
Joseph in Egypt, and Daniel in Babylon, both revealed their character to their pagan masters.
Their difficulties caused the presence of God to be manifested through them. In the New Testament, no one endured more difficulties over a longer time than the apostle Paul writing in 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 11:23-29 as he described his difficulties as being “hard-pressed,” “perplexed,” “persecuted,” and “struck down.” But never “crushed,” “in despair,” “forsaken,” or “destroyed”. He called his troubles “the dying of the Lord Jesus” so that “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in his body”. His troubles revealed the “treasure of Christ within” in verse 7.
Job 5:7 says “Troubles in life are normal”. Our response will manifest Christ to the world—or not.
Henry Drummond once said “To become Christlike is the only thing in the whole world worth caring for.” A good bit of wisdom.
God never said there wouldn’t be troubles in our lives…He said He would take us through the troubles in our lives…all we need to do is call on The Lord…now might be a good time to drop to your knees and bow your head and seek His help…
May 18, 2021
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”
In honor of Mother’s Day, Pastor Matt Hagee shared the privilege it is to call Ms. Diana Hagee his Mom. Like many women, she fills a multitude of roles, but the one role that supersedes all the others is that of being a mother.
Pastor Matt verifies that his mother has only one speed: overdrive! He is the first to confess that, if you have a mom who loves you in overdrive, you are blessed indeed. If you need help, she is knocking on the door. If you need a friend, she is there to hold your hand and dry your tears. If you need food, buy a larger refrigerator, because you are going to get food!
For over forty years, she has ministered alongside Pastor John Hagee. The greatest gift that she has given to the church – and to many outside the church – has been to teach them how to love one another. In John 15:12, Jesus said to His disciples, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Diana has provided a walking, talking tutorial on loving one another. Her life has been a humble demonstration of how to love each other well.
She has loved her husband, her family, and the members of Cornerstone Church. As importantly, she has taught them to do the same for one another. When church members visit one another in the hospital, when they reach out to someone who is ill, when they bring over a casserole in a covered dish, it is not because one of the pastors instructed them to do so over the pulpit. They do so, because Diana has been an example of loving and taking care of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus issued a new commandment to us in John 13:34-35 saying that “in the same way that He loved us, we should love one another.” When a watching world sees the love that we demonstrate towards one another, how we tenderly care for and stand up for one another, they will know that we are His disciples.
For the virtuous woman, Proverbs 31:28 says that “her children rise up and call her blessed.” Pastor Matt Hagee is grateful for his mom and the legacy of love that she continues to build.
Maybe you see your mother in the memories Pastor Hagee shares about his…maybe you haven’t told her about what an impact she has made in your life…maybe she is still with you…this might be a good time to drop to your knees and thank God for the woman that raised you…maybe while she is still living you could hug her neck and let her know how much you love her…
May 17, 2021
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.”
In honor of the recent Mother’s Day a week ago and in fulfillment of Proverbs 31:28, Pastor Matt Hagee shared this sweet story regarding his wife, Kendal. She was born at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio on May 10. Just a few months later in July, Pastor Matt was born at the same hospital. In anticipation of things to come, he assured us that she left her name and number at the nurse’s station.
In 2001, he was not married, was not dating, and his parents were getting worried. He took matters in hand, and on October 21, 2001, he wrote and taped this note into his study Bible:
“Dear Heavenly Father, these things I promise to pray every day without ceasing until You provide the desire of my heart, a wife.
- That she would love You and Your kingdom with all of her heart, her soul, her mind, and her body.
- That she would love me for me and nothing else.
- That she would have a good understanding of family because I’ve got a big one.
- That her parents would value and cherish marriage.
- That she loves children.
- That she loves people.
- That she has a servant’s heart.
- That I could trust her with my heart.
- That I would be able to tell her anything.
- That I could be me in front of her.
- That she’d never be ashamed of me or what God has called me to be.
- That she would be pure under the blood of the Lamb.
- That she would have a deep hunger for God.
- That she would love to be treated like a queen.
- That she would have dark hair and blue eyes.
… when God heard me praying for a wife, He answered my prayers with you, [Kendal].”
If you are single and longing for a spouse with whom to share your life, if you are married and yearning for a child to hold in your arms, even if Mother’s Day has little to do with you and your dreams, follow this simple step. Take your longings, yearnings, and dreams and write them down, make them plain, and pray them out to our loving Heavenly Father. He knows how to answer those prayers.
May 16, 2021
Philippians 4:19 makes a bold declaration when Paul The Apostle says “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
In his conclusion of thanks to the Philippians for their generosity, Paul encourages them. Paul was confident that God would meet their needs because they were generous in their giving. This is not a promise of wealth, or even an easy life. Rather, the concept of “need” has to be considered according to God’s will. What we “need” and what we “want” are not always the same thing. That being said, God tends to bless those who will use the resources they have according to His purposes. This is something Paul observed specifically happening with the Philippians.
Their needs would be met through Christ, the one who made and controlled all things. They would never lack with Christ as their provider. From the earliest pages of Scripture, God has been known as the Lord who will provide. As Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Even with our needs met, we stress out over our wants. Philippians 4:19 tells us that “God will supply our needs”, but He never promised to meet all our wants.
God is providing you the means by which to earn money. He gave you natural gifts for free so that you can cultivate and use them to earn money therefore providing for yourself and your family.
In exchange for supplying our needs God makes certain demands…He expects us to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind…He expects us to love others as we love ourselves…He expects us to love others as Jesus loved us…He expects us to accept His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Savior…He expects us to give our lives to Him and in so doing develop the character of Christ…we should be thankful God wants so little in return for supplying all of our needs…this might be a good time to drop to your knees and bow you head and humbly thank Him…
May 15, 2021
The Bible is filled with verses that can bring peace in the middle of struggles, worries, and fear. If we ask God, He promises us HIS peace “that passes all understanding”! When we take time to step back from the pressure of life and come into the presence of God, He is able to speak promises of hope and comfort over our circumstances. The Bible verses that follow about peace are good for meditating when you feel overwhelmed and do not know the next step to take.
2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
1 Peter 3:11 “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
When you are filled with anxiety and worry find a quiet place to pray…read Scripture…listen to encouraging worship music…God wants you to have a life lived to the fullest…God wants you to have a life that includes being at peace…You experience the peace of God when you come to Him in humility and accept the blessings He wants for you through Jesus Christ…now would be a good time to drop to your knees and bow your head in humility and ask Him for peace beyond all understanding…
May 14, 2021
Genesis 2:23 “And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’”
In the beginning, Genesis tells us that God created light, the sky and sea, the land, the sun and moon and stars, and all living things. He spoke, and all things came into existence. He declared it all good.
On the sixth day, God formed a man, Adam, from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. God made him a living being. At the end of the sixth day, He looked around at all the things He had created and declared it “very good.” On the seventh day, He rested.
In short order, though, God declared in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him”. After bringing all of the animals to Adam to be named, they recognized that no other living being existed that was a complementary companion for Adam. So, God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and He took a rib from his side and formed the woman, Eve.
This world that God created does not work well, does not function properly, does not exist as it should, without the presence of a woman. God created a man with a specific role and responsibilities. God created a woman with specific roles and responsibilities. Neither is more important than the other. Neither subsists without the other. Ephesians 5:23 proclaims the husband as “head of the wife.” Some have taken that to mean that the man is in charge. Not so!
A head cannot function without a body…A body cannot function without a head…If the head is dysfunctional it impacts the body…when both work together, side by side, merging their unique strengths, God’s plan comes together perfectly…bringing their differences together to make the sum of the parts a beautiful whole…neither is inferior…neither is less than the other…both are created by God exactly the way God wanted…
May 13, 2021
A seldom quoted urging we may not remember is 2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
The greatness of God living inside of us causes us, as Romans 8:37 says, to be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. We must rediscover our identity as the Church Triumphant. We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. The way to triumph is not by force, but with the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ.
The church cannot afford to remain silent in the face of evil. Romans 12:21 commands that we do not be overcome by evil, but that we go on the offensive to overcome evil with good. We triumph over deception and lies with the voice of truth.
When the church sees a need, we must move to meet that need. We triumph over poverty and lack with empowerment and kindness. We triumph over selfishness with sacrifice, over greed with giving. We triumph over sorrow with joy, over despair with hope. Where does that triumph originate? It does not come from a government plan or a social service. That kind of triumph flows from a God Who is greater and Who has placed that greatness in us!
He is greater than every enemy. He met His enemies at Calvary and conquered them there.
He is greater than every sickness. He bore our diseases on His back. “By His stripes, we are healed” we are told in Isaiah 53:5.
He is greater than every need. Philippians 4:19 states “Our God shall supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory”.
He is greater than every bondage and addiction. He is the Anointed One Who breaks the yoke of bondage and Who sets captives free. “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed” the apostle tells us in John 8:36.
“He is greater than every mountain that you face. He can take that mountain and cast it into the sea” proclaims the scripture in Matthew 21:21.
“He is greater than every sorrow. In His presence, we can find fullness of joy” David tells us in Psalm 16:11.
This Greatness is not a secret to be kept…Let’s turn it loose into a waiting world…We are His light shining forth..We are like a city built on a hill…impossible to hide…God uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume…He causes us to triumph…maybe now would be a good time to drop to our knees and humbly give Him thanks for the great power He gives us…
May 12, 2021
Psalm 37:3-5 teaches us to “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
The Greatness of God that lies within each one of us, by virtue of our relationship with Jesus, requires a wholehearted commitment. This Greatness merits more than excuses, procrastination, and carelessness.
We must be committed to this Greatness. We must consistently pursue the purposes that God drops into our hearts. The difference between a wish and a reality is hard work. We will never accomplish the destiny that God designed for each one of us if we are unwilling to commit to the necessary work to achieve it.
God designed us for industry and achievement. When He blew life into the dust that was Adam…poof! Adam became a living being. Even as he was still rubbing the dirt from his eyes, God said, “Get to work!” He built a garden, and He instructed Adam, “Go tend it.” He created all of the animals, and He directed Adam, “Give them all a name.”
Adam could have responded many different ways, but he didn’t. God designed him. God created him. God put him to work.
In the same way, God designed us. He created us, and if we intend to realize the Greatness within us, we must be willing to get to work. What would you attempt if you knew that you could not fail? What would you try if you knew that whatever you set out to achieve, you were guaranteed success? Jesus Himself gave us this promise in Mark 9:23: “All things are possible for one who believes”. If we will believe, that belief will spur us to act. Whatever we pursue from His purpose and plan – that Greatness inside of us – will come to pass.
Commit to greatness…don’t procrastinate any longer…the first step is the most difficult…don’t sabotage His plans with indifference or idleness…stop dreaming and start doing…make no more excuses…commit to the Greatness within you and that greatness will lie ahead…
May 11, 2021
A seldom quoted but valuable admonishment from God found in Galatians 6:4-5 tells us to “Let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”
One of the three unalienable rights endowed on Americans by our Creator, according to the Declaration of Independence, is the pursuit of happiness. It sounds so simple. However, the Declaration did not grant us the “guarantee” of happiness…only the right to pursue happiness. Since God has granted us life and liberty, each one of us has the responsibility to pursue happiness.
We are responsible for how we reach our individual happiness. Each one of us chooses a path and pursues it until we possess it. The work and effort required for the end goal is where we sometimes get derailed. It turns out that the pursuit of happiness may be one of the greatest struggles of the human condition. This pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee; it is an opportunity. Each one of us is responsible for what we do with that choice.
In 1 John 4:4, John told the Ephesians that God has placed greatness inside of every believer. By virtue of Jesus living in our hearts, we have His greatness to meet every eventuality. As Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” The battle for greatness is won and lost — not in a voting booth or on a ticket — but within each one of us.
What will we choose to do with the Greatness inside of us? How will we face down our giants? How will we handle lack? How will we reach out to those in need? What will be our attitude when opposition rises? Will we choose words that build up or tear down? How will we stand for the defenseless? Jesus paid the price for this greatness, but we are responsible to grasp its promise.
Lean into that greatness…apply yourself in heart, mind, soul, and strength…apply yourself in loving God…apply yourself in loving your neighbors…there you will find the contentment… there you will find the fruitfulness…there you will find the happiness of a life well lived…if you don’t know the greatness God has given you this might be the time to get down on your knees…humble yourself…and seek His wisdom…
May 10, 2021
In Ephesians 2:10 The Apostle Paul says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
You are not an accident. You are here on purpose. No random whimsy of act has dropped you here haphazardly. Almighty God has chosen to insert you into this moment in history for a specific reason.
We often, and quite unintentionally, discredit the greatness of God inside of us when we say, “I guess I was just lucky.” Luck had nothing to do with it. That was God working all things to our good because we are told in Romans 8:28, we are “called according to His purpose”. Sometimes, we say, “I was just in the right place at the right time.” And you would be right…because God led you there. Let’s give credit where it is due!
In the Old Testament, we read of the beautiful, Jewish girl, Esther. She found herself in the king’s palace with the weight of the survival of all Jewish people sitting squarely on her young shoulders. Mordecai, her cousin, urged her not to shrink from this enormous task. He was certain that she had come to that place “for such a time as this” he said in Esther 4:14. With the prayers of her people and Greatness inside of her, she rose to meet the challenge.
God did not place you here to merely exist. He deliberately sent you here for such a time as this. He did not place you here to merely get by or survive. Embrace the Great inside you! “Let that light shine so that others will see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” just like we are admonished to do in Matthew 5:16.
He knows you…He knows exactly what you need…He sees where you are and what you have walked through to get here…Whether you realized it or not, He was walking with you…He knows where you are headed…He has gone on before you to prepare the way…Don’t let the world weigh you down…Don’t let the critics slow you down…Don’t let the burdens bring you down…Let the greatness of God arise in you…His enemies will scatter before you…Rise up and shine!!!
May 9, 2021
Most often when we celebrate Mother’s Day and think about our own mother we read and share the scripture in Proverbs 31:29-30 that says “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”
On this special day when we honor mothers, Proverbs 31 offers us a wonderful reminder of all the traits that add up to a virtuous woman and wife. She is a treasure worth far more than precious jewels.
The virtuous wife respects her husband. Every day of her life, she finds ways to treat him well. He can trust her completely, and she enriches his life in every way. He is a well-respected leader in the city because of the support she affords him.
The virtuous wife works hard to provide for her family. She rises before the sun, and her lamp burns into the night. She brings food for her family. Her hands are busy, and her arms are strong. She is industrious and entrepreneurial. She sews and spins and creates beautiful products to sell for profit. She buys a field and plants a vineyard. She watches over all the aspects of her household.
We all know these women – up before dawn, dropping the children at school, heading off to jobs before returning home with the groceries to prepare a meal and help with homework, cheer from the sidelines, and organize tomorrow’s tasks before falling into bed late at night.
The virtuous woman cares for the poor and the less fortunate. She opens her heart and extends her hands to help. She does not sit idly by waiting for someone else to take action. She picks up the phone. She mails a card. She volunteers her time.
She lives with a quiet confidence in God, and she senses the value of the work that she completes. She speaks with wisdom and kindness, and she faces the future with a smile. Her strength is evident. Her actions speak for themselves.
Her husband sings her praises…Her children admire and recognize that she is blessed…A woman who fears the Lord and places all of her hope in Him will reap the rewards of a life spent with Him and for Him…This would be a good time to drop to our knees and give thanks to The Lord for our mothers…
May 8, 2021
1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
How many times we have heard today’s key verse 1 John 4:4. How many times we have just let it go by without really comprehending just what it means when The Bible says “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
In today’s verse, John the Apostle writes to the believers at Ephesus to make a very important point. Greatness lies within them. They did not need to go in search of greatness, and neither do we. As believers of Jesus Christ, we have received His greatness by virtue of Him living in our hearts.
All around us, creation testifies of His magnificence. From the rising to the setting sun, from the tiniest atom to the far-flung galaxies, there is no one like Him — no one above Him or beside Him. He laid the foundations of the earth. He established the boundaries for the oceans and told their proud waves where to stop. He stores up snow in heaven’s treasuries according to Job 38. That same God Who hung every star and called it by name knows your name declares John 10:3. He keeps count of the hairs on your head we read in Luke 12:7.
Before you were born, God masterfully wrote on the blank pages of your life. He inserted beauty, pain, struggle, tears, joy, and, yes, greatness! Every day has been recorded in His book! promises Psalm 139:16.
If you choose to surrender to His quill — His plot line with its twists and surprises, your divine destiny — He will redeem all the pages and weave together a story of adventure, passion, mystery, and the greatest of loves. He will make you His living love letter to the world as we are told in II Corinthians 3:1-3, pointing them to the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Before He even formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew what you would need for this life. He has equipped you with great gifts and talents to use to bring glory and honor to His name. Most importantly, He has brought all that He is and all that He has to live inside of you.
He empowers you to do the impossible…you are His workmanship…you are His masterpiece…He will show you the way to complete the good works that God has planned for you…He will show you the unique purposes for which He created you…Look no further….You have Greatness inside…if you get on your knees and ask He will show you just what that greatness is…
May 7, 2021
Have you ever been in the presence of true greatness? David said in Psalm 18:35 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.” David knew he was in the presence of true greatness. That is why God called David “a man after my own heart.”
To be after one’s own heart means that someone is in compliance with one’s own intent, will, or inclination. This, in current use, is the same as being “someone I can agree with”. To be in compliance with one’s own will means that someone is in agreement with one’s own will. David was in full agreement with God’s own will.
Nineteenth century English dramatist, Henry Taylor, once said, “The world knows nothing of its greatest men.” Two hundred years later, this statement still rings with truth.
In our media-saturated culture, superficial notoriety is often substituted for true greatness. People have traded the valuable for the vain, dignity for disrespect, kindness for callousness, and restraint for rebellion. They think that money, power, and fame represent the marks of true greatness.
Many people are willing to do many things for their fifteen minutes of fame. Grasping for short-lived celebrity, they break boundaries and push limits. Fame may garner some notice, but it does not constitute greatness. Attention spans are short. Spotlights fade.
Some equate money with greatness. People invest their lives in the pursuit of wealth and gain. The principle of living simply within one’s means has been discarded for a more-is-better, pay-with-plastic mentality. Money may fill someone’s life with stuff, but it cannot buy greatness.
Some correspond power with greatness. Since the dawn of time, people have striven for power. Armies have marched, emperors have schemed, kings have killed, executives have plotted. People scrabble over others to climb to the top of the heap, to demand deference and force fear, but coercion does not constitute greatness.
To ever be considered great, we must submit to the Source of greatness Himself. Jesus had much to say about true greatness in the Kingdom economy. For those who wish to be genuinely great, “learn to be the least” Jesus said in Mark 9:35. He pulled a small child onto his lap — the picture of unassuming innocence, no fortune, no fame, no power — as He said those words.
True greatness lies in the character that is forged through a relationship with the One Who emptied Himself…He became as nothing, and humbled Himself to go to His death on the cross…He came seeking no fame, fortune or power…He came only to do the will of His Father Who sent Him…And therein lies true greatness…we should humble ourselves in His presence…down on your knees would be a good place to do that…
May 6, 2021
Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”
You may have read Psalm 8 many times but did you ever stop to contemplate just how magnificent this world is that God has put us in and why He did it for such lowly creatures as us?
Greatness is more than a catch phrase, much more than a campaign slogan. If we pause long enough in any moment of any day, we will become aware of the greatness all around us.
Genesis 1 tells us that God created light on the first day. On the fourth day, He set lights in the heavens — a greater light to rule the day, and a lesser one to rule the night. He also set the stars in the sky — so numerous that they are impossible to count. Every morning, that greater light rises over the eastern horizon and sets in the west. It warms our planet to create an ecosystem finely balanced to sustain life. Greatness!
At night, those smaller points of light twinkle against a black velvet sky. For many years, humankind believed that our solar system was the only one that existed. We now know that many galaxies spin outside of ours, that innumerable stars shine beyond our sight. Telescopes have given us the ability to gaze deeper and deeper into space, and the deeper we search, the farther it stretches — beyond our vision and our mathematical calculations. God’s greatness on display!
Amazingly enough, Psalm 147:4 assures us that God knows the number of the stars. Not only does He know the number, He knows all of their names.
The breathing process? The easy, unconscious inhalation and exhalation, the act of taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, comes from Him. God breathed the breath of life into Adam and created a living being. Job declared that “the breath of the Almighty gave him life” as told in Job 33:4. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord for His greatness!
Consider the handiwork of God all around us…See it in the watercolor of an evening sky…Smell it in the raindrops…Hear it in the birdsong…And in the moment, breathe out a prayer of gratitude to the Creator for His greatness…a good place to do that would be down on your knees…
May 5, 2021
Proverbs 4:20-22 repeats Jesus’ command that says “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.”
You may have read Psalms and Proverbs many times. They are two of the most popular books in The Bible. But, did you really know the significance of this commandment in Proverbs 4:20-22?
Healing comes through the Scripture and the Spirit. “Not only does He forgive all of our sins, He promises to heal all of our diseases, too” just like it says in Psalm 103:3.
The Word of God speaks healing to us. Psalm 107:13,14,20 teaches us that “When we cry out to the Lord in our troubles, He sends His Word to heal us, to deliver us from distress and darkness, even the very shadow of death. He breaks our chains into pieces.”
Our verse for today says that His Words bring life and health to our flesh. As we read His Word, as we memorize and internalize it, as we apply it and walk it out, it translates into healing and wholeness for us. One of the most powerful things that you can do to improve your health is to read God’s Word.
Not only does God heal through His Word, He heals through His Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:11, the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead. As believers, that same Spirit lives in us. The Word tells us that the Spirit will quicken our mortal bodies. He will bring new strength and new vitality to us — now and eternally.
As we immerse ourselves in the words of the Father, our faith unfurls and blossoms. Mustard-seed faith can move mountains of medical impossibility! As the Spirit comes alongside to convict us of our sin and convince us of His righteousness, we recognize our need to confess. He trades our sin for salvation and mends our broken hearts. As we heed His counsel, we find the power to forgive. When we find the strength to let go, we are set free.
Our Good Shepherd anoints our heads with the oil of His Spirit…we flourish even in the presence of our enemies…The Lord is our Healer…We are His people and the sheep of His pasture…He is The Good Shepherd…All we need to do is call on Him…Are you on your knees yet…
May 4, 2021
Matthew 6:14-15 warns us by saying “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
One of the greatest barriers to receiving the healing of God in our lives is to harbor unforgiveness. The individual who holds an offense against another builds a barricade between himself and God that may last for eternity.
The disciple Peter, asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who had wronged him. Seven seemed a generous number! Jesus corrected him and upped the ante to seventy times seven. Essentially, Jesus said to forgive so often that it becomes a lifestyle. Forgive so many times that the practice becomes an ingrained habit.
We sometimes hold onto a long list of grievances against others. We believe that no one understands the harm they have done to us, the pain they have caused, the rejection they have inflicted, the burdens they have heaped upon us. Our Good Shepherd does. And still He urges us to “forgive them and cast all of our cares upon Him” as we are urged in I Peter 5:7. He comprehends the weight of carrying around that unforgiveness which is why He wants us to let it go. As long as we hold that list so tightly, He cannot pour healing and blessing into our hands.
Jesus told the story of a servant who owed ten thousand talents — about 50 billion dollars in today’s terms — to his master. His master had every right to judge him, to sell him and all his family for recompense. However, when the servant begged the master to have mercy, not only did the master pardon him, but he forgave the debt entirely.
The servant went out and found a fellow servant who owed him fifteen dollars. He demanded immediate payment, and when the man could not pay, he had him thrown into debtor’s prison until he could pay back what he owed. When the master heard, he angrily reciprocated and threw the first servant into jail with the same sentence. Instead of two men going free, two people lived in bondage.
The King of Glory has forgiven us the debt of our sin…He paid the price to set us free when we had no ability to do so ourselves…How can we not forgive those who have offended us…It’s your choice to forgive…It’s your choice to release the bitterness and the rage…Tear down the barricade between yourself and God to receive the healing you crave…When you set that person free, you open the door to your prison cell too…seek God’s strength to forgive…try getting down on your knees to ask Him…He is faithful and just to forgive us…He will help you be faithful and just to forgive others…
May 3, 2021
Matthew 21:22 promises “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
How often we have all been disappointed that our prayers were not answered right away or in a different way than we asked. If you had every prayer answered when you wanted it answered and the way you wanted it answered…God wouldn’t be God – you would be!!!
Jesus is our Healer! Evidences of this fact are scattered throughout the New Testament. He reached to touch a leper, He smeared mud in blind eyes, He stuck His fingers in deaf ears…and they were healed. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus is exactly the same — yesterday, today, and forever.” He still heals!
So, why do many go without a healing? One simple answer zeroes in on unbelief. The writer of Hebrews 3:12-13 cautioned the believers to beware of an “evil heart of unbelief” that might cause them to be “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin”. The children of Israel, because of their unbelief, were led astray to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Their rebellion and disobedience kept them from entering into the Promised Land.
James, the brother of Jesus, in his no-nonsense manner, said that “a person who doubts should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” when he wrote James 1:7-8. Indecisiveness, an inability to make up our minds, causes us to be unstable and wavering. Matthew 13:58 recounts that “Jesus was unable to do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief”. Their lack of faith tied His hands.
In the gospel of Mark, we read the story of a desolate father who came to Jesus. His son was possessed by a mute spirit that would seize him, throw him to the ground, and cause him to convulse and foam at the mouth. The father had taken the boy to the disciples, but they were unable to help him. If these men – who saw firsthand the miracles of Jesus, who looked into His face and asked the hard questions, who were sent out by Him – could not lay hold of healing for this boy, how can we do any better? But wait – there is hope!
Mark 9:14-29 recalls how the despairing father brought his child to Jesus and told him that the spirit often threw the boy into the fire or the water to try to completely destroy him.
Sadly, the father looked to Jesus, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus already knew He could do anything, but he wanted this sad father to know, too. “If you can believe,” He told him, “all things are possible to him who believes.”
The desperate father, wanting to wholeheartedly believe but knowing there were gaps in his faith, cried out tearfully, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”…it was enough for Jesus…He rewarded the man’s mustard seed faith and healed his son…He will do it for us, too…why don’t you ask God right now…try doing it down on your knees…God loves our respect and faith in Him…
May 2, 2021
David said in Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The 23rd Psalm may be the most memorized passage, that contains more than a few verses, that we learn in our lifetimes, but, have you ever thought about just what a shepherd means to his sheep?
The Lord is our Shepherd. In Israel, making a living as a shepherd was not a status symbol; it was considered one of the lowliest positions of service. For the psalmist David to liken Jehovah God to a shepherd seems quite the paradox. How could our Lord Above All, Who created the heavens and the earth, be so down-to-earth as to walk among the sheep?
King David, who started out as a young shepherd boy, understood that God is with us, never far away, walking beside us, and providing all we need so we do not want for anything. David also understood that a good shepherd was not just a provider, but he was also a healer. David remarked in Psalm 23:5 that God “anointed his head with oil, that his cup ran over”. Every shepherd carried oil with him – a mixture of olive oil, fragrant frankincense, and myrrh which was a natural pain killer.
In the rainy spring season in Israel, lambs graze in the fields. The sharp, new blades of grass cut the lambs’ tender noses, and something dreadful occurs. Flies lay their eggs in those tiny wounds so that when they hatch, the maggots work into the nasal passages of the sheep where they cause serious agony. The sheep will run from place to place and butt their heads into rock or trees to jar those tormentors loose. When the shepherd realizes the situation, he pulls the oil flask from his belt and pours it over the head of the sheep. The fragrant oil runs over the sheep’s faces and into the wounds where it eradicates the pests and brings healing and relief.
Satan, whom Jesus referred to as Beelzebub (meaning Lord of the Flies), seeks out the wounds and sore spots in our lives. He embeds himself there and begins to torment and terrorize. He brings such agony and pain that we will not know what to do except to run from place to place, pounding our heads against anything that might bring a measure of relief – anything that might deaden our pain.
We have a Good Shepherd who will leave the other ninety-nine sheep to come looking for you…He will take you in His arms and pour in the oil of the Holy Spirit…He will tenderly anoint you until it runs into every wound and every spot that brings anguish and torment…He will bring relief and healing and peace…In His arms, you will know what it is to want for nothing…if you have unmet needs you can tell God about them…maybe now’s the time…are you on your knees yet…
May 1, 2021
Psalm 107:19-20 declares “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
Psalm 107 is, above all, a hymn commemorating the power of God. Despite the transgressions of the Israelites, the Lord forgives them. The psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord “for the purpose of making the Lord’s works known to humankind, so that they too can join in the praise of the Lord”.
In Exodus 15:26 God declared Himself to be “the Lord that heals us”. Jesus came to “heal the brokenhearted, to give sight to the blind, and to free the oppressed” as we are taught in Luke 4:18. In all the places where we suffer, Jesus is our Healer.
Our verse for today tells us that God sent His word to heal, deliver, and save. In John 1, we read that ”in the beginning, the Word was with God and was God. Everything was created by Him. Life and light were found in Him. That Word became flesh and came to earth so we could behold the glory of the Father. He was sent to heal us”.
In Isaiah 5:13, God says that His people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge. In Hosea 4:6, He laments that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. In many of our lives, what the world says has taken precedence over what the Word says. We have placed our faith in other things and have learned to treat only the symptoms.
We cannot experience the healing power that the Gentle Shepherd provides simply because we do not take God at His Word. The power of this Word cannot work in our lives if we do not build our faith based on its promises. How do we build our faith? “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The sound of it has gone out to all the world, to the ends of the earth” as told in Romans 10:17-18.
We need healing in our hearts, in our minds, in our bodies…Open God’s Word and read it…Ask the Father to open your eyes to understand this rich inheritance that He has given us…the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us to accomplish mighty things…As we read over the pages we will find a Lamb who took stripes on His back so that we would be healed…As we read over the pages we will find a Good Shepherd who comes to pour in the anointing oil that brings relief from our pain and suffering…As we read over the pages we will find a Savior who went about healing the lame, the blind, the paralyzed, the epileptic…As we read over the pages we find a Savior that heals all who come to Him…read His Word…wrap your head around it…wrap your heart around it…wrap your hands around it…His Word was sent to heal you…are you on your knees yet…that would be a good place from which to be giving Him thanks right now…
April 30, 2021
1 Peter 2:24 recounts that Jesus “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 teaches us that “Our God is a Healer. Jesus purchased our salvation at Calvary, and He paid for our healing. He was wounded for what we did. He was crushed for our crimes. He was punished so we could find peace. He was hurt so we could be made whole”.
We have read this message throughout The Scriptures many times during our lives but have we ever really contemplated just what it means and just how much our Savior suffered for us?
We serve a Deity who loves us. He is not mad at us; He is mad about us. If we need healing in our emotional lives, in our spiritual walks or in our physical bodies, He is our Healer. If we want His joy to return and be our strength again, if we want His peace to be our portion, if we long for our broken hearts to be restored, He has power to heal. He sent His word to heal us. No sickness, no disease, no ailment or infirmity exists that He has not conquered.
Throughout The Psalms we are taught that “He not only forgives our sins, but He heals all of our diseases. He redeems our lives from destruction and makes us young again (Psalm 103:3-5). He heals the brokenhearted and bandages our wounds. He renews our hope and heals our bodies (Psalm 147:3). Malachi 4:2 paints a beautiful picture for those of us who honor and worship His name. He promises that the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings, and we will leap forth like well-fed calves released from the stall – healthy and happy in the presence of our Healer!
Jesus, our Father in the flesh, went about healing all kinds of sickness and disease. The leper and the lame, the mute and the maimed, the blind and the brokenhearted, the hopeless and the helpless – He healed every one. Yesterday, today and forever, Jesus remains the same (Hebrews 13:8). The stripes on His back that He received at Calvary still have the power to make us whole.
When you are hurting ask Him to heal you…When you are tormented ask for the touch that brings liberation…When you are brokenhearted ask Him to bind up your wounds…When you are afflicted with disease ask for the word that brings deliverance…From the very beginning, God has assured us in Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord Who heals you”…Take Him at His word today…bow your head and bend your knee and He’ll lovingly reassure you of His Love and Power…
April 29, 2021
We all want to know that what we are doing for our children makes an impact on their lives. There is nothing more powerful that you can do in the life of your child than pray for them. You can train them and teach them every trade you know. You can give them experiences in sports, music, art, and charitable deeds. But if you do not talk to God about your child, you are missing a dynamic piece of the puzzle. God holds each of our lives in His hand. He holds the power to change a heart and heal a mind.
With mental illness on the rise, temptations looming at every turn, and a sinful world begging for the heart of our children, we have an advocate that can help. No matter if you are waiting to conceive, anticipating delivery, or are on the other side of parenting awaiting grandchildren, it’s never too early or too late to lift a child’s life before the throne of God.
Here are ten simple prayers to pray over your child no matter what age or stage they are at. Simply pray. With each prayer is a verse to proclaim. Speak it out loud and trust God to work on the heart of the child you are praying for.
1. Lord, I pray my child would believe in you with a devoted heart.
“I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1).
It’s not enough to believe. The Bible reminds us that even the devil believed. But pray that your child would fully and completely devote their hearts to God.
2. Lord, I pray my child would let you transform their life.
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).
Life change is what we all desire to see in our child. We want the old to be made new. And we want our children to walk in truth. We can force our children to follow rules and tow the line. But there will come a day when they will step outside the boundary of home and decide for themselves what the rules look like. Rather than pray that they would obey a list of unwritten rules, pray that they would let God grab hold of their hearts and mold it into the masterpiece He wants them to become.
3. Lord, I pray my child would get caught when sin creeps in.
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
This might seem like a harsh thing to pray for someone that you deeply love. But this is one of the most loving things you could ask God for on behalf of your child. Sin’s result is always destruction, devastation, disappointment, and a lack of discernment. If your child gets caught when sin creeps in, they will be less likely to continue to let sin abound. If they never get caught, they may never quit the thing that has a grasp on them.
4. Lord, I pray my child would get caught doing right.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3).
Just as much as you pray that your child would get caught doing wrong, pray they would get caught doing right. Children are a result of what they believe they are. If they believe they are worthless, they will respond with actions that lack value. But when we see them doing right and tell them what a great job they are doing, they will be more prone to want to continue doing right. Praise goes a long way.
5. Lord, I pray my child would believe the truth about who they are in Christ.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Identity is foundational to each of us. Most of us take on an identity early in life and many times it sticks with us for life. It could be as simple as the school drop out, the pastor’s kid, the tall one, or the most popular. What if kids learned early that they are a child of the Most High God? What if they really believed they are chosen, and loved by Almighty God? Their identity will live with them for a long time. Pray that they would believe the truth about who they are in Christ.
6. Lord, I pray my child would listen to your still small voice.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
We are bombarded by noise. Social media has swallowed us up into a land where it’s hard to hear from God. Pray that your child would be sensitive to the still small voice of God. Pray that when they hear they would respond and tune their ear to listen to what God has to say over what the world is telling them.
7. Lord, I pray my child would make wise choices in the face of peer pressure.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Peer pressure is not something new. We had to deal with it growing up too. The sins are the same, just with different ways to access them. Pray that your child would stand strong against the pressure to give in and let other people sway their beliefs and decisions.
8. Lord, I pray my child’s mind would be protected from evil.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Protection is something we seem to naturally ask God for when it comes to the people we love. We can put kids in a bubble and guard them for a while, but eventually they will emerge and live in the real world. Pray that God would do the protecting while you do the preparing. Prepare them to live in the real world and trust God to protect them from the forces of evil.
9. Lord, I pray my child would have compassion on others.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).
The pride of life might be our biggest struggle in this generation. Sometimes we believe that if we could just teach our kids more about loving others, then maybe they wouldn’t be so selfish. But the only thing that can transform a selfish heart is the Savior. Trust God to do what only He can do.
10. Lord, I pray my child would love you with their heart, soul, and mind.
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).
This is a challenge for most people so it should be no surprise that it’s a challenge for our kids. Ask God to specifically help your child love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. This covers their entire being.
This may overwhelm you as you think of all the things you want for your child. But if you invest in this one area, you are doing an amazing thing. Give your child the gift of prayer. Don’t just read this and move on. Take time to let your child hear you pray. Try printing this out and praying one prayer each day. God hears and wants the best for your child. Ask Him.
April 28, 2021
You have probably read many times Psalm 97:12 that says “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” But have you ever meditated on just what the Psalmist meant to say?
Because of the work that He completed at Calvary, God has given Jesus Christ a name above every other name as we are taught in Philippians 2:9. Acts 3:16 tells us that Faith in that name makes us strong. I Corinthians 6:11 states “His name justifies us”. John 20:31 clearly states that The name of Jesus brings life.
The Book of Acts teaches us that In the name of Jesus, signs and wonders are accomplished. Miracles occur! In the name of Jesus, demons are cast out. They must flee! In Jerusalem, after the Day of Pentecost, the disciples preached the word with boldness. Thousands were saved and baptized. The disciples healed the sick. They cast out demons. And they did it all in the name of Jesus. The religious rulers were so disturbed by their behavior that they arrested them, beat them, and commanded that the disciples no longer speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They departed from the council, rejoicing that they were worthy to suffer shame for His name, and they did not cease to teach in His name.
The name of Jesus Christ has dominion today! When we speak that name, all of heaven stands behind it. When we speak that name in prayer, all of the power and authority of God come to our aid. Speak it out loud and often! In the name of Jesus, leave my family alone because they belong to the King of kings. In the name of Jesus, leave my marriage alone because what God has brought together, let no man separate. In the name of Jesus, leave my body alone because by His stripes, I am healed.
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Your life can be revolutionized if you bring every action and every word that you speak under the name of Jesus…it will it look different…it will sound different…our homes, workplaces, and cities will change when we declare the banner of Jesus over them…there’s comfort and confession…there’s hope and healing…there’s a bandage and a battle cry….speak the name…especially when you are on your knees…
April 27, 2021
1 John 1:7 Teaches us that if we are in sync with God’s will, we are pleasing to Him and He desires to have fellowship with us by saying “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
The Blood that Jesus spilled at Calvary was no ordinary Blood. His Blood washes every stain. His Blood breaks every chain. The Blood of the Lamb of God reaches farther than that of any other lamb ever sacrificed. The Blood of the Only Begotten soars to the highest heaven and plunges to the lowest hell. It knows no limits.
His Blood makes all men acceptable to God. Slaves are now set free because Christ became the Servant of All. We are told in II Corinthians 5:21 that “The One Who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Him”. The Apostle Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:13 that “We were once far away from God, but we have been brought near through the Blood of Jesus”. We now have access to the place where grace abounds and mercy is poured out. “We once were enemies of God, but we have been reconciled to Him through the death of His Son” according to Paul in Romans 5:10.
Because we are justified by His Blood, we are saved. Saved to live our best lives. Saved so that the stain of sin has been washed away. Our past is forgiven. The weight of shame has been lifted. What the Law demanded was satisfied when Jesus shed His Blood. “Our debt has been paid. Through His Blood, we are now adopted as children, and we can call God our Abba Father” according to Romans 8:15. We have been made free indeed.
Do not allow the guilt of yesterday to keep you from where God made it possible for you to go. Do not allow any yoke of oppression or chain of bondage hold you back. The Blood of Jesus makes you righteous. Your sins have been washed as white as snow.
Satan, the accuser of all of our brothers and sisters, is overcome by the extraordinary Blood of Jesus, our spotless Lamb, and by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:10-11). Jesus has shed His Blood…Let us stand and testify to His work in our lives..Because He died, we are alive…Because His grace is greater, our sin is forgiven…Because He endured the shame, we do not carry it…The promise of our future is greater than the guilt of our past…Only through His Blood can we be saved…all we have to do is call on Him…Are you on your knees yet…
April 26, 2021
We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that “For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Jesus was no ordinary man nailed to no ordinary Cross. He was the Son of God sent at the appointed time to rescue us in our broken state. His death on the Cross, this gospel story, is the power of God to bring us to salvation.
At Calvary, God acted to silence the cynics. He wanted the doubters to know that this was not just another criminal, but His Son. Jesus was there when the mountains were formed. He exalted when the seas were fashioned. He flung the stars against the velvet of a night sky. He delighted in the dust that became a living soul with the breath of God. For all those who ignored a baby born in a stable, He became the Lamb.
At Calvary, the earth trembled as rocks saluted the Rock of Ages. Isaiah 53:5 tells us that at Calvary, “those who were sick began to be healed because He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and by His stripes we are healed.” The One Who made the lame to leap had His feet nailed to the Cross. The One Who brought the dead to life died for all mankind. The darkness of this earth wrapped itself around the Light of the World.
At Calvary, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” And God ripped the veil in the Temple. The sin-separation was over! The distance between us was dispelled. Jesus Christ, the Sinless One, died so that we could be set free. The relationship that God longed for since Genesis could now become a reality. He is heaven’s hope! He is hell’s dread! He is the Great I Am! He is the Conqueror over death, hell, and the grave! He is the King of Glory!
God moved heaven and earth to be with us. He defeated hell and all its principalities. We no longer need a priest. Jesus is our High Priest Who sympathizes with our weakness. We do not need to wait for a specific day. Jesus is our Mediator at the right hand of God always interceding for us. We do not need to come in any certain way. His arms are open to whosoever will. Every moment, He is poised to listen and respond.
Enter in behind the veil…Don’t wait for someone to lead you…walk boldly in where Jesus gave us access…approach the throne and raise your hands…bow your head…pour out your heart in worship to our worthy Savior…on your knees…
April 25, 2021
Exodus 40:21 records “And Moses brought the ark into the tabernacle, hung up the veil of the covering, and partitioned off the ark of the Testimony, as the Lord had commanded Moses.”
Sin separates us from God. It comes between us and cuts off the blessings of God in our lives. Scripture details God’s holiness and His zero tolerance for sin. Even though our culture has become comfortable with sin, God has not. Without grace and mercy, His holiness would consume us.
In the book of Exodus, God told Moses that He wanted to dwell with (to tabernacle with) the children of Israel. However, the sin issue had to be addressed. He commanded Moses to create a barrier, a veil, in the Tabernacle. He dwelt between the cherubim above the Ark of the Covenant behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies. The priests and the people lived on the other side of the curtain because if they approached God in their sin, His holiness would destroy them.
This was no ordinary curtain. God gave specific design instructions to Moses. Bible scholars say the veil was 50 feet wide and 30 feet high, made of fine linen with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn. It was so heavy that it took 300 priests (150 to the right and 150 to the left) to pull it back for the high priest to enter through the middle. To raise and lower it, 150 oxen were used to pull it into place. It was comprised of 200 embroidered squares that, when put together, displayed beautiful gold cherubim.
In the Old Testament, forgiveness was not a simple matter of confession. A significant amount of effort had to be extended. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to atone for all the sins of Israel for the year. Bearing the sacrifice, he went in with bells around the hem of his robe and a rope around his ankle. If the bells ceased to ring, the priests would use the rope to pull out his body.
When Jesus died on the Cross, Hebrews 9 tells us that He, as our perfect High Priest, entered the heavenly Tabernacle with His own Blood to make atonement once and for all for all of us. Mark 15:38 tells us that “As Jesus breathed His last, God ripped the Temple veil from top to bottom”.
His body was torn on the Cross…His Blood was shed…we now have bold access to the throne of grace where we can obtain mercy…No ordinary Savior became no ordinary sacrifice to tear through no ordinary curtain…if you want to know more or better understand what you do know, God is waiting for you…down on your knees would be a good place to meet with Him…
April 24, 2021
Paul The Apostle was teaching Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8-9 that he wanted Timothy to “share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began”
Have you ever gone house hunting on a budget? Whenever you do anything on a budget, you know you are not looking for something perfect; you are looking for something “as is.” As is, it may look like a disaster, but a person who can see potential will call that chaotic mess “a fixer upper with good potential”.
When God looks at you, He doesn’t see a hopeless cause; He sees potential. He loves you “as is,” but He loves you too much to leave you that way.
If God has given each of His children unlimited potential to do great things in this life, why isn’t everyone living joy-filled, successful, abundant lives? There are two main things hindering people’s potential: excuse making and instant gratification.
There are people who make good and there are people who make excuses.
Stop whining. Stop making excuses. Take charge of your life. Believe in the power of your potential. When you blame someone else for your inability to do something, you have empowered that person to control you. They are now in charge of your life. Take charge of your life or someone else will! No more excuses!
The second way people destroy their potential is by demanding instant gratification. They want microwave Christianity. They want love without commitment. They want benefits without responsibility. They want success without work. Well, the only place you’re going to find success before work is in the dictionary!
The goal is not to be an overnight success, or to be in the right place at the right time. The goal is hard work, never giving up, and learning to be patient with the process.
The greatest tragedy in life is not death…The greatest tragedy in life is to fail to fulfill your purpose and potential…The fact that you were born is proof that God has an assignment for you…God has something special planned for every believer…Don’t dare go to your grave with unused God-given talent, Don’t dare go to your grave with unfulfilled God-inspired dreams, and Don’t dare go to your grave with missed God-ordained opportunities…if you don’t know your talents,dreams, and opportunities, you should be on your knees right now…asking God why…
April 23, 2021
You may have read Philippians 3:13-14 where The Apostle Paul says of himself “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
But…do you really know what he meant or how it might apply to you?
God never consults your past to determine your future. Your potential is not what you have done. That is your history, and there is no such thing as potential history. Your yesterdays are not nearly as important as your tomorrows.
Some destroy their potential by living in the glow of some shining moment in the past. If you are in sales, did you break all sales records last year? Forget it. You can starve to death remembering how great you used to be. Did your business have its finest year last year? Forget it. The economy could plummet this year, and you’ll be looking for a job in the next twelve months. Students, did you make the honor roll last year? Forget it. Go home and do your homework and do it with excellence. The challenge is still in front of you. You didn’t learn all there is to know. Athletes, did you make the all-star team last year? Forget it. That was last year. Turn off the TV, get off the couch, go exercise, lift weights, run and improve your athletic skills or next year you could be sitting on the bench.
Your potential is in the business you can do but haven’t done yet. Your potential is in the grades you can make but haven’t made yet. Your potential is in the souls you can win but haven’t won yet. If you’ve won a soul to Christ, win two. If you’ve won two, win four. If you’ve won four, win eight. If you’ve won eight, win sixteen and thirty-two and sixty-four. Let those multiples run because nothing is impossible with God.
Do you know how quickly America could turn around if we would just realize the power of multiplication? If every Christian won just one soul to Christ each year, in four years we would dominate this country with the glory of God. That’s a fact! But we’ve got to get Jesus out of the church buildings and into people’s homes. The unchurched are suffering. They need to hear the Gospel message of faith, hope and love.
If you are you tormented about your past just search out the pages of Scripture…you’ll find joy unspeakable and full of glory…you’ll find peace in the midst of the storm…you’ll find the love of God that heals and unifies…you’ll find hope that is unshakeable and unbreakable…you’ll find the Lord your Savior who makes your sin whiter than snow…you’ll find your past is buried in the deepest sea, never to be remembered against you anymore…if you don’t know where to look in the scripture it might help to get on your knees and seek wisdom from God who offers it without rebuke…just because He’s that kind of God…
April 22, 2021
Luke 23:34 quotes Jesus on The Cross saying with His last breath “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Have you ever thought you needed to forgive someone but just couldn’t quite bring yourself to do it? Keep reading this and learn that it is possible to forgive anyone, anywhere, and anytime but prepare to be humbled over your petty issues with forgiveness as you read about Jesus and His experiences.
It was during that Last Supper with His disciples that Jesus announced that one of them, who was dipping his bread in the same dish that Jesus used, would betray Him. All of the disciples denied that they would do any such thing. In Matthew 26:25 we read that even Judas said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi,” to which Jesus replied, “You have said it yourself.”
Judas went on his way and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray. He knew what was coming, and He knew who would betray Him. Yet, when Judas showed up with a loud, angry mob, Matthew 26:50 recorded that Jesus said to His disciple, “Friend, do what you have come for”. Even in the moment of being betrayed, Jesus calls His betrayer “friend!”
But that is not the greatest act of forgiveness that Jesus did in His lifetime. In His final moments, having been beaten and torn and ridiculed and hung on a Cross to die, Jesus demonstrated the act of forgiveness that we, as Christian believers, are to follow. According to Luke 23:34 His exact words on the Cross were: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.
Our Redeemer used His last breath to forgive a brutal Roman empire that had harassed Him and His family from the day of His birth. As blood flowed from His hands and feet, mercy flowed from His lips. They killed Him because they feared Him. They feared Him because He healed, He raised the dead, He used a boy’s sack lunch to feed a multitude, and He upset their sense of order.
They didn’t kill Him because they thought He was the Prince of Peace…They killed Him because He was considered an insurrectionist too dangerous to be allowed to live…Jesus was crucified because He fought a battle for your soul and mine…On that Cross He shed His Blood for the forgiveness of our sin…yours and mine…the iniquity of the whole world’s sin was forgiven and forgotten…buried in the deepest sea…never to be remembered any more…if you can’t remember let Jesus tell you…on your knees would be a good place to listen…
April 21, 2021
Romans 8:26 promises “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
We all pretty much know that Jesus is our intercessor in Heaven. He doesn’t sit on the throne but He sits beside it interceding on our behalf when Satan tries to lie about us to God by falsely accusing us of things that are not true. Jesus represents us to the Father just as an attorney would represent us in a court of law.
However, we don’t often think of the Holy Spirit as an intercessor but more of a comforter who leads, guides, and directs us to carry out The Father’s Will. In fact Jesus, just before He ascended back to Heaven, called Him The Comforter in John 16:7 when He said “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”
Did you know that when you are so discouraged, downtrodden, and hurt, that you can’t put into words just what you want to pray, you don’t need to say a single word or think a single thought. The Holy Spirit knows what is in your heart and communicates to God the Father with “groanings which cannot be uttered.”
This language is GodSpeak – a language that only God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit can speak and understand…Therefore, God The Father always knows you needs…whether you know them or not…you still need to get on your knees…not to talk with God but to show respect to God…you might want to stay for a while and let The Holy Spirit do His job…it can take time…be patient…
April 20, 2021
Christians know that when Jesus died on the cross He died to pay for all of the sins we have ever committed or ever would commit. We tend to believe that since our sins were paid for they would automatically be forgiven. Not true.
Matthew 6:14–15 clearly defines the terms under which we may be forgiven saying “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgive me for being so blunt, but if you don’t practice forgiveness, it will destroy the quality of your life on earth and even put at risk your entry through the gates of heaven.
Write that on your bathroom mirror. Forgiveness is that important.
Forgiveness is serious business, but it isn’t complicated. You don’t need a seminary degree to understand that when you forgive, you will be forgiven; and when you don’t forgive, God will not forgive you.
The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12 endorses heaven’s policy on forgiveness: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. We recite that prayer but seldom practice it. It’s not only important to know the words but understand its message and to obey it. Forgiveness is not optional. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that. The Word and the will of God are made perfectly clear: we can freely ask God’s forgiveness once we have fully forgiven others.
Saint Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” When I was a boy, my mother lived this principle. She truly believed that if you can’t say something good about someone then don’t say anything at all.
Paul continued teaching the New Testament Church by saying in Colossians 3:12–13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
This truth is clearly affirmed by God, Jesus, and Paul – forgiveness is not optional…If you won’t forgive another person, God will not forgive you…The words “forgive” and “forgiveness” appear sixty-six times in the New Testament…one-third of those are tied to the forgiveness of others…Why so many?…Because the power of forgiveness is that important…a good place to ask for forgiveness is on your knees…but you are wasting your time if you still know someone you have not forgiven…
April 19, 2021
Hebrews 11:1 defines Christian Faith by saying “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
“I wish.” We all have wishes for ourselves and other people for the future. These wishes are our perception of what we think would be best for us or believe would satisfy us.
When I was a boy living in the country in Graham, NC, my family called the Sears and Roebuck Catalog “The Wish Book.” As a six-year-old, I poured through the pages of that catalog at least three times a week wishing for a Daisy Air Rifle. That Christmas, my father gave me what I wished for. He gave me that BB gun. My older brother, Woody, tried to take it away from me on Christmas Day. He was twice my size, so I shot him. Don’t worry. I did the Christian thing and merely shot him in the leg.
I can assure you, when my father caught up with me, I was not singing “Joy to the World” but rather remembering that famous sermon of Jonathan Edwards’, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” My dad took the air rifle I had dreamed of and waited so long for and had only played with for 30 minutes, and bashed it to smitherenes on the sidewalk. Lesson learned.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and fully understand that millions of Americans are looking in a “wish book” for our future and selecting the poison of socialism. Socialism is a fraud! In history, it has never worked. In the past century, it has killed over one-hundred million people under the leadership of socialists like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.
The Daily Caller reports that one-in-three millennials in America see socialism as favorable, and seventy percent are prepared to vote for a socialist. Why? When we don’t educate our younger generation about the historical truth, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace the endless promises of socialism, which will be the absolute destruction of the United States of America.
But hope is not wishful thinking. Saint Paul writes in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hear these two words: “substance” and “evidence.” Our hope is based on the “substance” of what God has done in the past and the “evidence” found in the Bible.
God’s provisions are in His promises…they are all found in His Word…If God did it in the past, He will do it today…your hope is based on God’s performance…He is faithful to His Word which accomplishes all He has assigned it to accomplish…if you don’t know what those promises are you might want to get on your knees and have a talk with Him…right now…
April 18, 2021
How many times have you read the scripture in Proverbs 25:28 where the wisdom of Solomon proclaims “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls”
Personal responsibility begins and ends with each one of us. While we cannot control every circumstance around us or many of the things that happen to us, we are responsible for how we respond and react.
In every place that we refuse to accept responsibility, we forfeit liberty. People who forfeit liberty surrender to dictators.
Most dictators in this life are not elected. A dictator overtakes and sets up rule. A dictator quells opposition, hoards all the power, limits the rights of his subjects, and abolishes freedom.
When we refuse to accept personal responsibility – when we blame, avoid, or play the victim – it creates a power vacuum into which an emotional dictator will swoop. When we refuse to take responsibility for our personal attitudes, we submit to emotional dictators. Rage, bitterness, jealousy, and offense are dictators that will overtake us and leave us defenseless against the wiles of Satan. “Like an Old Testament city without its protective walls, the enemy will breach the barricade and pour in like a flood to steal, destroy, and kill” we are warned in John 10:10.
Poor financial decisions become dictators when we are careless stewards over the resources that God has gifted to us. When we owe more than we earn, when we rob God by withholding our tithe as we are admonished in Malachi 3:8, when we ignore those in need, we relinquish our responsibility and our rights. A financial dictator will destroy relationships, steal our peace, and usurp our power.
No matter how we like to consider ourselves masters over the universe, we truly control nothing but ourselves. We have the power to respond and react in ways that bring honor to God, as well as health and harmony to our daily lives.
That power is rooted in relationship with Jesus Christ. When we welcome Him into every aspect of our lives, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live with self-control.
We are told in II Corinthians 10:5-6 that “Through the spiritual weapons that He provides, we can capture every thought, impulse, emotion, and action to bring it under the rulership of Christ”.
When we choose to do so…when we act as responsible men and women of God that He created us to be…the opposition of the enemy is quelled…The Holy Spirit fills us with power for right living…We embrace all of the promises and provision of God…We dance in freedom…if you don’t know the promises and provisions of God then now would be the time to get down on your knees…He will tell you if you only ask…
April 17, 2021
The Apostle John shared The Lord’s desires for and promises for peace with us in John 14:27 saying “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Jesus further urged us in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” So it is also biblical for us to make peace as well.
Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30 that along with peace He would promise us rest when He said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace is not the absence of storms…peace is the presence of God…His presence makes it possible for us to weather the storms…God is a God of peace beyond all understanding…we don’t need to understand it…we only need to ask for it…maybe now would be a good time to get down on your knees…
April 16, 2021
The Apostle Paul gives us the secret to a life of thanks in three little words in Ephesians 5:20: “Giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father.”
Giving thanks is a biblical directive as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Have you ever pondered this thought? “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” It was inspired by Misty Fitch of Fearfully Made Ministries and this Thought For The Day is credited to her. It really gives you something to ponder.
What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today? Think about what that would mean. We go to God so often with requests, pleas, and burdens. I know I do, at least. What about the praises?
How about you? What things have you been thankful for today? Not too long ago, Misty did a challenge in her ministry where they spent days not asking for one request no matter how big or small. They prayed only prayers of thanks and saw some incredible things happen. It really made them aware of how often we go to God asking for things but giving thanks a lot less often.
Misty recalled when she and her husband were dating and the new had worn off. They hit that point where they felt like they knew everything about each another and we were kind of taking each other for granted.
They decided to start writing a gratitude journal. In this journal they wrote 2 things they were thankful for in general and two things they were thankful for in the other person. Then, every Sunday they would read it to each other.
There was a “catch,” though. They could never say the same thing more than once, and it got difficult sometimes because they had to get creative. She recalled that they absolutely loved when Sunday rolled around, and they got to read the week’s gratitude to one another. Misty remembers some of the things her journal said:
– I’m thankful for the mama bird that decided to make a nest out of my hanging plant on the porch. – I love watching the baby birds as they’ve hatched and grown.
– I’m thankful I had money to get the car fixed this week.
– I’m thankful Eric bought Raman noodles for us so we could have dinner. (They were full time students in college, both living in apartments with bills to pay, and they were dirt poor).
– I’m thankful Eric surprised me by washing my dishes this week.
Misty says she thinks almost everything on that list is something she wouldn’t normally give thanks for. The journal caused her to look at things she would take for granted on most days. They both really enjoyed doing this and plan to start again but this time out loud around the dinner table where all of them say something they are thankful for from the day. But why only do this at Thanksgiving?
What are you thankful for?
Why don’t you start your own gratitude habit? Whether it’s a journal or something different, think today about ways you can keep track of your gratitude for the blessings you have. It’s a great way to help you through a difficult day, too, because you are forced to find something to be thankful for. It’s something to look back on later so you can be thankful for those things all over again.
If you get stuck not knowing what you’re thankful for, ask yourself this question, “What if I woke up tomorrow with only the things I was thankful for today?” I bet you’ll find something.
To get you started, I’m going to list some things you might not think of but would be very sad to see it gone tomorrow:
– That friend you just texted
– Homework (I know, it’s a long shot, but imagine if you didn’t have school ever. How well would you function in today’s society?)
– The computer you’re using right now whether it’s your own or someone else’s
– The blanket you woke up under this morning
– The soap you used when you showered
– Water to shower
– The music you listened to today when you were feeling down
– Your jacket that kept you warm when you went to school
– The washing machine so you didn’t have to hand wash your clothes
– The tv show that made you laugh today
These are just a very few things that you may have never thought about before. Start documenting your gratitude each day. Feel free to share some things with others that you’re thankful for if you’d like. They might love hearing from you.
Find someone to do this with you, and see how much fun it is to come together and hear what you both are thankful for each day.
April 15, 2021
Do you think the apostles actually understood or could comprehend just what Jesus meant when He told them in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
It’s dark out there.
If you had any doubt that our world is broken and fallen, a glance around should relieve you of all uncertainty.
Thus, it’s no surprise that many of God’s people are overwhelmed, pessimistic, and despondent. Some have lost hope and given in to despair. But that is not the appropriate mindset for a child of God. Believers have been given the power to turn things around — for ourselves, for our families, for our communities, and for our country.
I’m talking about heavenly power. Divine power. Supernatural power that changes circumstances and destinies. Power that turns the fate of nations.
Two-thousand years ago, Jesus lived on Earth. He raised the dead, He healed the blind, the lame, and the deaf; He touched the rotting flesh of lepers and healed them. Jesus calmed the violent winds and waves and walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
He ordered demons to come out with a word. He did not interview them or scream at them all night. He spoke a Word and they obeyed. He fed multitudes with a boy’s sack lunch and there was enough left over to start a Jewish delicatessen. He turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Jesus spoke with such authority that the politically correct crowd was stunned with silence.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Power…There is power in His Word…There is power in His blood…There is power in His name…There is power in His presence and in His presence is fullness of joy…this power can be yours if you just ask Him…a good place to do that would be on your knees…right now…
April 14, 2021
When No One’s Looking… Who Are You?
David said in Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.”
In Matthew chapter 5, the Lord Jesus Christ gives us beatitudes—attitudes that ought to be. Not platitudes but attitudes that deal with Christian character. They are a blueprint for happiness, a blueprint for your character. They’re foundation stones for building your home and your life.
The beatitudes don’t say, “Blessed is what you have,” or “Blessed is what you do,” but “Blessed is what you are.” Your reputation is what others think about you, but character is what God knows about you.
Friend, let’s face it, all of us are going to die, and when you do, you’ll leave behind all that you have and all that you’ve done. But you’ll take with you all that you are. It’s character that is so important. That’s why it’s more important to seek blessedness than happiness.
It has well been said that a child rejoices in what he has, a youth rejoices in what he does, but an adult rejoices in what he is. The more mature you are as a Christian, the more you will rejoice, not in what you have or what you do, but in what you are through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Find your self-worth in what you do…realize it’s not what you have…Confess it before the Lord…Meditate on the attitudes you ought to have…if you don’t know what that is try getting on your knees…God will give you wisdom to know…
April 13, 2021
Matthew 5:16 instructs us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
When God redeemed us through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our eternal future was assured forever. And as we live as strangers in an alien world, where Satan has become the god of this world for a season, we are blessed indeed for it is God who works in us, both to do His Will and to do to His good pleasure.
In other words the good works that we do in spirit and truth are not our own good works, for by ourselves we can do nothing that is worthy of God’s praise. The good work that we do is the new-life of Christ within us, that is working through us. It is the new, born-again life of Christ that we received when we were born from above, that carries out any good works that we do so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in heaven. Indeed we have this light in earthen vessels, to demonstrate that the good works that we do are from God, and not from us.
Christ is the true Light that came into the world when we trusted Him as Saviour. He is the light and life of God who filled our human spirit with His Own pure light. God desires that all His children will grow into spiritual maturity.
Let us seek to grow through humble obedience to His Word…our baby life will grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ…that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…you will soon see HIS power that is at work within you…find out what God wants you to do with your new power…a good place to do this would be on your knees…
April 12, 2021
Mark 9:23 “Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”
Jesus Himself said that if we can believe, everything becomes a possibility. As we ask for the things that we need from God, we have a responsibility in this equation, too. If we can believe, all things are within our grasp. If we can hang on to hope, we can receive. If we can keep the faith, we will find the answer.
As Christ-followers, we sometimes stumble over this obstacle. We stop believing and begin to endure. We stop believing that the situation will improve, and we simply endure the circumstances that trap us in their grip. We stop believing in a better government and endure the flawed machine that is now in place. We stop believing for better schools and send our children to the institutions that exist.
The temptation is to stop believing that the church can make a difference. We stop believing that the Gospel has the power to change the world. We stop believing that God has the ability to improve our emotions, our relationships, our health, or daily lives. We stop believing in the promises of God as alive, true, and available to us. We have laid down the weapons of our faith. We have lost our fighting spirit.
So stir up your faith again! Throw off the apathy that threatens to suck you into the undertow. Bolster your belief in our mighty God. Do not hope that God might answer your prayer; believe that He inclines to hear your slightest whisper and then dispatches a response before the words have left your mouth. Do not hope that an answer may emerge from the fog of confusion; trust in Jesus as the Answer to every question, the Way Maker, and the Mountain Mover! All things are possible to them that believe.
Do not just believe that God can…declare that God will…Declare that His blessings are alive….Declare that His words are true…Declare that He is the Answer to every conundrum…Believe that He is rising up on your behalf…Believe that He is coming to your rescue…Believe that He defends you in the fight…Believe that His generosity is coming your way…if you can believe it God will do it…but only if your desire is honorable and in His Will…If God always did what you asked He wouldn’t be God…you would…better get on your knees and make sure your wish is part of His master plan…
April 11, 2021
Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
I realize this Thought For The Day is very similar to the one for yesterday but exalting The Lord demands the greatest part of our total existence because that is not only what we are to be doing in this world but for all of eternity. It should never cease.
When God saw the extent of Jesus’ sacrifice, our verse for today tells us that He exalted Him. He elevated and extolled Him. He gave Him a name that is above every other name. There is no one above Him or beside Him.
At the sound of that name, every knee in heaven bows. The book of Revelation tells us how the twenty-four elders will fall down before the Lamb. All the angels pause to revere the Great High Priest, the Victorious One.
At the name of Jesus, every knee on earth will bow. Every human being on earth will bow their knee to Him. Each person will choose to honor His sacrifice and humbly serve Him here and now or will be forced to bow to Him later. He who sits on the throne of a kingdom that has no end. Everyone will worship the Almighty One, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
At the mention of that name, every knee under the earth will bow. Every power and every principality that was already defeated at Calvary will submit to the Alpha and Omega, the Lord of All. Jesus is now at the right hand of God in heavenly places. He is far above these powers and principalities, all power, all might, and dominion, and every name that has been named not only in the present, but in the time that will come.
As Joshua of old declared in Joshua 24:15: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”.
Paul told the Ephesians in Ephesians 1:20-22 “God has put everything under Jesus’ feet.”
It is not a matter of if…it’s a matter of when…knees will bend…that’s every created being will one day…let us confess that He is indeed the Lord of lords…He is incomparable and unrivaled…let Him know that you know…a good place to do that is on your knees…
April 10, 2021
Jesus Christ stretched out His arms and gave all that He had to give at Calvary. He emptied Himself to pay the price for our sin. His blood washed over our sins and set us free. In our lives, that sacrifice demands a proper posture and a proper proclamation.
The Apostle Paul instructed the followers at Philippi the proper way to respect The Lord God when he told them in Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
As today’s verse signifies, our proper posture is a bowed knee in reverence to His name. That bending of the knee is an outward symbol of an inward work – a bowing of the heart that recognizes our deep need for Him and humbly accepts Him as Savior and Lord.
Our proper proclamation is the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Paul assured us in Romans 10:9 that “if we believe it in our hearts, if we confess with our mouths that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved”. The word that saves us is as close as the tongue in our mouths, as near as the heart in our chests. This word of faith – boldly said right out loud – welcomes Jesus in and sets things right between us.
Our bowed heads and surrendered hearts acknowledge that He gave Himself in our place for a debt that we could not repay. How amazing that we will never receive what we truly deserve – mercy! Instead of being slaves to sin, He has given us power over it. Instead of condemnation, He gives us confidence to approach Him boldly. Instead of death, we are raised to life eternal.
Our bent knees and proper proclamation pay homage to our King of kings in recognition of a battle that He waged, for an enemy that He vanquished for us. How amazing that we receive what we could never deserve in our own puny efforts – grace! He made it possible for us to become co-inheritors with Him of all that heaven has to offer. His very presence enriches and enlivens our days.
Bow your knee…Surrender your heart…Speak the welcoming words that make Him Lord…His sacrifice merits the proper posture and proclamation that position our hearts with His…We bow in reverence…we boldly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…what are you waiting for…are you on your knees yet…
April 9, 2021
In the Acts Of The Apostles Acts 5:30 we hear Paul telling Jesus’s followers that “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree” because they wanted some demonstration that Jesus was really sent to be The Messiah.
Freedom comes at the expense of sacrifice. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” His statement has been proven true from Valley Forge to Afghanistan. Citizen soldiers raised their hands and swore to protect and defend this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic.
The Apostle Paul taught his followers in Galatia as told in Galatians 3:13 that “God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to become the sacrifice for the sin that separated us from Himself. Jesus humbled Himself, wrapped Himself in flesh, and obediently went to Calvary. He became cursed for us by hanging on a tree. The Lamb of God shed His Blood to wash away our sins.” His sacrifice bought our freedom. When we were captives to sin, He paid the ransom that released us.
Unlike the tree of liberty that is watered with the blood of patriots, Hebrews tells us over and over that Jesus made this sacrifice “once for all” in Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10. Jesus, our High Priest, entered the Most Holy Place – not with the blood of goats or calves – with His own Blood to suffer once for all. Every separation, the barrier that sin had erected between us and God, was destroyed.
At the moment that Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom. This veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. The veil itself was about 60 feet tall and six inches thick. It prevented people from entering the presence of God unworthily. The Holy of Holies housed the Ark of the Covenant, and it was there that God’s presence presided. It was there that the High Priest entered – only one time a year – to make atonement for the sins of the people.
As Jesus breathed His last, God Himself tore the veil from the top down. No more separation! No more barrier! We now have direct access to the Father because Jesus bought our freedom once for all. As the Blood and water flowed, as the light and the love rushed from the Holy of Holies, a new covenant was born. Jesus Himself is our Mediator.
The Cross truly became our Tree of Liberty..There, once for all, He purchased our salvation…He suffered and shed His Blood…His sacrifice bought our freedom…Oh, what a Savior…if that doesn’t drop you to your knees what will it take…
April 8, 2021
The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:7 was teaching followers just how much God loves them when he said they should always be “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
We should never worry about our safety as Isaiah 41:10 instructs us saying “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
We don’t even need to worry about tomorrow asJesus taught in His Sermon On The Mount recorded in Matthew 6:34 saying “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We shouldn’t ever worry about our necessities in life as Matthew 6:25-27 instructs us “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
What happens when you worry? You bring tomorrow’s difficulty into today. God didn’t give you grace for tomorrow’s difficulties. He only gives you grace for today.
When you reach into tomorrow’s troubles, you overload today’s circuit. Worry doesn’t take the sorrow out of tomorrow, it takes the strength out of today. Then, when you meet tomorrow, you’re out of breath because you’re already overloaded from today. Worry, therefore, does not make you ready for the future; it really makes you unready.
Worry will eat your lunch…It’ll eat your breakfast and dinner, too…Confess your worries as sin…because they are sin….Put your concerns at the throne of Almighty God…trust Him to provide…tell Him your needs…a good place to do that would be on your knees right now…are you there yet…
April 7, 2021
In 1 John 2:22-23 The Apostle addresses those whose ideas about The Trinity – especially God The Father and God The Son – are distorted when he says “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also”
In today’s verse, the apostle John has harsh words for anyone who denies the Father and the Son, for anyone who rejects Jesus as the Christ. He declares that person antichrist – not the Antichrist, as the man who will rise up against God in Revelation – but one who exhibits a spirit that rejects God and His plan. Those who are not for Christ have pitted themselves against Him in an antichrist attitude (Matthew 12:30).
John goes on to say in John 4:2-3 that the spirit of the Antichrist already abounds in the world around us. Most of us would never blatantly deny Jesus, but can an antichrist attitude subtly invade our thoughts and the manner in which we live our lives?
When we refuse to read the Word of God to pick up the latest bestseller instead, what does this omission say? When we reject Jesus’ admonition to give and hoard every resource as if it were ours and not His, where have we placed our trust? When the Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing, and we fly through our days without giving Him a thought, how deep is this relationship that we claim? When we stand against His instructions, when we deny what He requests, isn’t this, in essence, against Christ? When we know right, and we do not choose to do right, it is antichrist.
We can easily point an accusing finger at the spirit of Antichrist in the culture all around us, but every time we choose to fall back on comfort rather than take a stand for conviction, the antichrist attitude wins again. Every time we excuse corruption rather than speak against it, every time we soften the message of the Gospel rather than proclaim it unashamedly, antichrist wins. When we hide His light, when we do not stand in the day of evil, when we are more concerned with public opinion than honoring God, we bow to the antichrist attitude.
If we are for Him, if we are on His side, let us cast off our lukewarm lives…Let us fully embrace all that He requires…Let us deny ourselves…Let us choose to sacrifice our will for His…Let us embrace the responsibilities as well as the rights of a life hidden in Christ…Let us let Him know we are for Him…a good place to do that would be on your knees…
April 6, 2021
The Apostle Paul when preaching to the Church in Ephesus urged them in Ephesians 3:19 to more fully appreciate the love of God and to be more like Him saying “I pray that you know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”
French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, alluded to a God-shaped hole inside of each one of us in his work, Pensees. Augustine, in his Confessions, declared that “our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”
We can find ourselves attempting to fill that aching void with the obligations, pleasures, and busyness of this life. We earn advanced degrees. We pursue careers with single-minded ambition. We devote ourselves to the health and welfare of our children. We aspire and achieve more and more, yet never seem to arrive. We often are left exhausted and empty by the pursuit. We can become so full of ourselves that there is no room for the God we claim to serve.
Will we deny our own ambitions to serve Jesus? There is a place of surrender where our will is exchanged for His, where we submit to His purposes, where we are filled with the fullness of God. We may need to draw boundaries, to be stingier with our “yes” to lesser things.
When we pour out our lives to Jesus, we find ourselves empowered and energized by the Holy Spirit…When we co-labor with Christ things begin to happen…His plan is brought to fruition in our lives…Along the way, we find love, joy, peace, and goodness…Let us be filled with the fullness of God Himself…A good place to get filled is on your knees praising God and giving Him thanks and asking Him how you can serve…
April 5, 2021
We find ourselves in the middle of an all-about-me culture. We live out our lives in selfies and social media. This is me waking up. This is me eating breakfast. This is me working out. This is me arriving at work. This is me walking. This is me talking. This is me. This is me. This is me.
We are urged in 1 Peter 2:17 to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king”. Believe it or not it is not always all about you or me.
We climb into the car in our garage and drive to work where we sit in a personal cubicle and stare at a computer screen all day. On the way home, someone loads our groceries that we ordered online into the back of the car. We drive home, raise the automatic garage door, glide into the garage, and hit the button to close out the world. In an increasingly larger world, we have become ever more isolated and self-centered.
The Christian community to which we belong runs counter to our culture. We are adopted into this diverse, loving, noisy, happy, and sometimes messy family. We are called to love and unity, discipline and celebration. We are to live in an affectionate relationship. We gather to encourage one another with songs and scriptures. We restore those who fall. We reach out to those who are thirsty and hungry. We laugh with those who rejoice. We break bread and build bridges. We erase barriers and ease the burdens of those who are bowed down.
In this all-about-me world, we should place the spotlight squarely on Jesus Christ…It is all about His will and His way…He alone deserves center stage in our lives…He alone sits on the throne of our hearts…His mission is our mission…keep your doors, your hands, and your hearts open to those who need healing and hope…include yourself too…you are invited…there is a place for you here…Come and stay…Welcome home….
April 4, 2021
Although Jesus cried out from the cross as he was about to die “IT IS FINISHED”, He didn’t mean everything was finished – just His death for our sins. He had much left to do. He was going to heaven to make a home for us and coming back to take us there as foretold in Thessalonians 4:16-17 declaring “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Acts 1:11 questioned the disciples “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven”
Since the day that Jesus ascended, disappearing in the clouds over Jerusalem, the eyes of believers have scoured the sky. Could this be the day that Jesus Christ returns in glory? Even though the world and the church – even Jesus Himself – do not know the day or the hour when He will return, we can be assured, now more than ever before, that Jesus is coming soon.
When He comes, may He find you faithful.
When He comes, may He find you working in the fields to bring souls to salvation.
When He comes, may He find you shining His light and His love.
When He comes, may He find you serving one another with gladness.
Until He comes, child of God, put on the whole armor of God. Stand for right in the day of evil. Tear down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. When the world takes to the streets, may we take to our knees until God heals our land. When the world clamors for their rights, may we take up our crosses to follow Christ with all our hearts until the day of His return.
May our eyes never cease to search the skies until the day our faith becomes sight…
April 3, 2021
Everyone has to answer to someone, that is, everyone except God Almighty, because He is sovereign. Jesus told us this in Romans 14:11 when He declared “For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God”
In this country, we are blessed by the sacrifices of brave Americans who have served before we arrived and others who continue to serve in arenas around the world. The liberties and the freedoms we enjoy were not purchased by our own actions but rather by others who were willing to take a stand in our stead.
Our grandfathers, fathers, aunts, cousins, and the friends who sat next to us in class are the individuals who sacrificed so we could continue to live in liberty. Freedom is the result of sacrifice.
In the almost 250 years that this nation has existed, we have not grasped the fullness of this freedom. In all of our history, our stories past, our painful pages, our difficult years, in all of the blood shed and the sacrifices made, we still do not understand what we have in our freedom.
The Bible reveals the same truth: freedom is the result of sacrifice. Jesus’ death on the cross bought us freedom from the weight of our sins, from guilt, and the shadow of death. He paid the price for our restored relationship with the Father, for our future, and our resurrected hope.
Responsibility for freedom begins and ends with us. Choosing to be responsible is a personal choice. If we do not choose well, we forfeit liberty. Choose this day whom you will serve. Will you choose to submit your life to Christ, the One Who bought and paid for it? Will you bow your knee to the only One worthy? And will you rise to fight for those who have not grasped the freedom available to all? Will you stand? Will you speak? Freedom is the result of sacrifice.
Someone fought…Someone died…Someone stood…Someone spoke…Someone sacrificed…Freedom is not the liberty to do exactly what we want…Freedom is the freedom to do exactly as we should…exercise freedom responsibly…protect freedom for the coming generations…you are going to need God’s help…Now would be the time for you to get on your knees and start talking with Him…
April 2, 2021
So just why is it that we believe that The Blood Of Christ was necessary for our Salvation? Well, Jesus said so, that’s all there is to it, and that’s enough for me! It was His decision and His alone. God is sovereign!!!
We are told in Hebrews 9:22 that “according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
The idea that sacrifice is the purchase price of freedom is not new. In the book of Genesis, we grieve as Adam and Eve hide in humiliation after eating the forbidden fruit. God, in His mercy, sacrificed an animal to cover their nakedness and shame.
In the book of Exodus, we watch as God set His divine plan in motion to free His chosen people. As the Israelites packed their bags and prepared to walk out of Egypt after four hundred years of cruel slavery, God commanded a curious thing. Each family was to sacrifice a spotless lamb and apply its blood over the doorpost. God set apart and spared His own at the sight of that dark stain.
Later, as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God demanded that an animal be sacrificed, that its blood be poured on the altar for the cleansing of their sin. The blood was the means by which the Israelites could experience communion and relationship with God.
For those of us who did not belong to the nation of Israel, we stood outside of this arrangement that God forged with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his descendants. Before the cross, we were far away from God, outside of this covenant, and without hope in the world.
But Jesus Christ was our Hope! “He came as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the earth” according to Revelation 13:8. When John the Baptist looked up and saw Him, he cried out, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” in John 1:29. Jesus came as the sacrifice for our sin.
When He went to Calvary, He shed His blood “once for all when He offered up Himself” as He is quoted in Hebrews 7:27. What the blood of goats and calves could not do, His blood accomplished. He “obtained eternal redemption” for us we are instructed in Hebrews 9:12. Because of that sacrifice, every barrier, every separation, has been torn in two. We now have bold access to the Father!
We now have freedom to enter where we could not go before…to receive what we could not claim…we have hope…we have salvation…we have life…Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the purchase price for our liberty….His is the sacrifice that won our freedom…how can we ever thank Him…we can’t…but we can try…a good place to do that would be on your knees…
April 1, 2021
We are told by John The Revelator just who our true leader is when he declares in Revelation 19:16 “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”
“Jesus is coming again! His return is imminent!” Those phrases have resounded throughout my life – from childhood through adulthood. Over and over, they rang out as an alarm and as a promise. As we look at the world around us, they take on greater urgency. As Bible prophecy is fulfilled in daily headlines, with confidence I say, “Jesus is coming soon!”
He Who is called Faithful and True, the King of kings and Lord of lords will split the eastern sky and return for His faithful bride, for a Church that is without spot or wrinkle. This time, He will not visit us as a lowly babe in a humble manger or as a suffering Savior, a Lamb led to slaughter. The One Who is faithful to redeem you is coming in power and great glory. The One who is faithful to provide for your every need is coming to reign from His throne for a thousand generations. The One Who is faithful to heal you is returning with healing in His wings to restore the nations.
The Fairest of Ten Thousand will shine like the noonday sun. The Bread of Life will restore the broken. The Lamb of God will bring peace. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will rule from the city of Jerusalem. Out of His mouth will come a two-edged sword with which He will destroy the enemies of Israel. He will cast the antichrist and the serpent of old into the lake of fire. He will set his foot on the temple mount, split the eastern gate, establish His throne, and of His kingdom, there will be no end!
Most assuredly, Jesus is coming…When He returns, will you be found waiting and watching…Will you be found alert and about the Father’s business…Will you be found a faithful follower…will you be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…you be with Him forever…We are told to “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” in Luke 21:28…
March 31, 2021
For those who don’t know if God hears their prayers or will even answer them, please read 1 John 5:14 where The Apostle John says “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Jesus created quite a ruckus in the Temple after being hailed with a hero’s welcome when He arrived in Jerusalem. He drove out the money changers. He turned over their tables. He reprimanded them sharply. Afterwards, Matthew 21:14 tells us that “the blind and the lame came to Him there in that holy place, and He healed them”.
That seems fitting to us, the perfect place for Jesus to perform miracles. However, in Jerusalem, tradition dictated that the blind and lame – anyone who had a physical impairment – were not allowed to enter the Temple. Their imperfection denied them the right to be admitted to the very place where they could receive healing.
Jesus broke through the barriers, tore through the tradition to welcome the hurting. Can you imagine the crush of the crowd? Can you see their eager faces? Here, where they had only found rejection and resistance, Jesus reached out to heal blind eyes and lame limbs. Those who had never seen before received their sight. Those who had never walked went running and leaping and praising God. The Temple walls must have resounded with exuberant shouts. Tears of joy and gratitude must have wet their cheeks.
Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus reaching out in welcome: sharing a meal with tax collectors, pulling a child onto His lap, touching a leper, plucking Peter out of the sea, taking a dead girl’s hand, smearing mud on a blind man’s eyes. He welcomed their questions and their complications, their illnesses and infirmities.
He is still reaching, still welcoming. His arms are open. His eyes are smiling. No fear of rejection here. “We can boldly approach the throne of grace with full confidence to obtain mercy and grace” as we are promised in Hebrews 4:16. We are surrounded by the spiritually blind, those who have overlooked the important and cannot see what is needful. We are surrounded by the spiritually lame, those who may see what they need but are too hindered to get to it. We can bring them to the throne, too – with full confidence of acceptance and love.
Make sure you share the promise with all…we would all be without hope if we didn’t know the promise…give thanks all the time for the promise Jesus brought into this world…make it a regular time everyday..on your knees is a great place to do it…are you there yet…
March 30, 2021
Ezekiel The Prophet tells us in Jeremiah 20:9 “Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
This is an often misunderstood piece of scripture that, until you have personally felt the need to shout your praises to The Lord, you will not know what he was feeling.
Ezekiel was consumed with passion for the Lord. His zeal could not be contained. Even when he tried to control himself, the words burst past the barrier. Are you full of fiery faith? Or has your faith become so bland, benign, and boring that it is met with yawns?
When someone asks about Jesus, we must be ready to share the life, truth, and hope that has revolutionized our lives. Share the kind of Savior that no one can ignore. Proclaim a Redeemer that no one can forget. Leave them in no doubt that He is everything.
We were dead, lost in sin, bound for hell, but He rescued us. He saved us, set us free. Where there was sorrow, He gave us joy. Where there was weakness, He became our strength. When we were alone and lonely, He became our Friend. When we only deserved judgment, He extended mercy.
Jesus Christ is not some powerless, dead historical figure. He is alive. He is present. If you are thirsty, He is the Living Water. If you are hungry, He is the Bread of Life. He protects. He intercedes. He fills us up. He satisfies our souls. He is awesome in strength and mighty in power.
He is the Lamb of God. He is the Lion of Judah. He is the Indescribable Gift. He is our Great High Priest. He is our Mediator. He is our Hope. He is our Peace. He is our Burden Bearer. He is our Good Shepherd. He is our Refuge. He is our Strength. He is our Rock. He is our Sword. He is our Shield. He is our Way Maker. He is our Miracle Worker. He is our Wonderful Counselor. He is our Everlasting Father. He is Lord of lords. He is King of kings.
There is no one beside Him…no one above Him…none like Him…an ever-present help in time of trouble…He is great and greatly to be praised…If we refuse to praise Him, the rocks will pipe up in our place (Luke 19:40)…Stir up the embers within, and blaze forth His glory…a good place from which to do that would be on your knees…
March 29, 2021
As Christians we should never experience despair which means being without hope. Because we know Christ, we have eternal hope in our hearts and should always be ready to tell others about the joy that brings. 1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…”
Are you always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you? We have found our hope in Jesus. Hope for salvation and strength, protection and perseverance, for safe haven and stability.
This hope anchors our souls for today and gives us bright expectation for tomorrow. How do we explain the reason for this overflowing hope?
In Matthew 21, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on the back of a young colt. An exultant crowd lined the streets shouting “Hosanna!” and threw down their coats and tree branches to line his path. Thousands of Jews from the then-known world had traveled to the city to celebrate Passover. The crowds were moved by this joyful parade. “Who is this?” they asked curiously. The multitudes answered correctly, but “just the facts” did not amount to the whole truth.
This is Jesus, a prophet. That was a fact, but it was not the whole truth. Hundreds of prophets roamed Jerusalem at that time. Some of them enjoyed fame; others ministered in anonymity. To call Jesus a prophet was to classify Him and assign Him a place among a faceless mass of others.
He is from Galilee, a city in Nazareth. That was a fact, but it was not the whole truth. Nazareth was a hill country town in northern Israel. It was not Jerusalem, which was known as a religious center. It was not Athens, which was known as an intellectual center. It was not Rome, which was known as a political center. Creator of all…but they attempted to give Him a mailbox.
We live in a world that still wants to know Jesus. They do not know that He is more than a prophet. They don’t know the peace He brings to a tormented heart, the joy that He brings to those who are without strength. They don’t know the burdens He can lift, the yokes He can destroy, the chains He can break. When they ask, are you ready to give a reason for the Hope inside you?
Be careful not to make this great, big, beautiful Savior a small thing…Beware of putting Jesus in a box…it only gives opportunity for people to put a lid on it and push it aside…Be ready to make it all about Him…all about the Hope that fills our every waking moment..Hope that promises an even brighter tomorrow…we have many thanks to offer Him…better get started right now…are you on your knees yet…
March 28, 2021
James 5:15-16 commands and encourages us with these words “And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Few pains cut so deep as that of the Christian parent whose child has wandered far from God. We raised them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but they have rejected the faith of their youth. We trained them in the way they should go, but they have forsaken that path for their own. Like the father of the prodigal son, our eyes scan the road each day, looking for signs of our child’s return from a far country.
Too often, we run to their rescue. We defend and debate. We coax and cajole. We aid and abet. Instead, with hearts full of faith, we can relinquish them to God’s hands. We can trust His good heart towards them. He alone can stir up a hunger and thirst for righteousness. He knows how to arrest their attention. Even if their hearts are broken, He will collect all the pieces and give them brand-new hearts. Even in utter desolation, He can restore and return the years the enemy has stolen. He knows how to capture their hearts again.
Now, more than ever, we should be full of faith for our children. We do not give in to despair or defeat. Every prayer will be a sharp, pointed arrow targeted to bring down the evil schemes of the enemy in the lives of our children. Now is the time to pray in faith without doubting as we are instructed in James 1:6. Now is the time to hold on tight to God with both hands. Now is the time to open our hands and release our children into His hands.
He will whistle, and our children will come running to be set free according to Zechariah 10:8-9. In Isaiah 43, God encourages us to trust Him – don’t be afraid. He is in our corner. He will round up our scattered children and pull them in from the east and the west. He will send orders to the north and south to send back our sons from distant lands and our daughters from faraway places. “I want them back, every last one who bears my name, every man, woman, and child whom I created for my glory, yes, personally formed and made each one” Jesus said in Isaiah 43:5-7.
Be full of faith…stand in the gap for your beloved sons and daughters…don’t give up…don’t back down… As long as you have breath…pray for their joyous return…now would be a good time to fall on your knees and do just that…
March 27, 2021
David gratefully states in Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.”
Incorruptible, infallible, inerrant – those are some impressive words that perfectly describe the Word of God! Scholars have dissected and debated it for centuries. Men and women were beheaded, exiled, burned at the stake, banished from their homelands, and labeled heretics so we may have the privilege of studying this sacred Scripture.
This Word has withstood the flames of the trial; it has been tried and been found true. Cynics have mocked it for centuries, but it has silenced its scoffers. It has been debated in classrooms, diluted in pulpits, and misused by scheming men. For all of the abuse leveled at it, the Word of God endures. It is sharper than a two-edged sword. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, it cuts through everything – all of our doubts and defenses – to open us up to believe and receive what God says. It exposes and sifts, analyzes and judges the very thoughts and purposes of our hearts. No one is impervious to its truth. Just like Hebrews 4:12 claims “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”.
When we ingest it, this Word comes to abide in us. It takes root in our hearts to make us strong according to I John 2:14. It establishes and steadies. The Psalmist declared that God’s words were “sweeter than honey” in Psalm 119:103. Jeremiah devoured the words of the Lord and declared them “a joy and a delight” in Jeremiah 15:16. In Job 23:12 Job said that he “treasured God’s word like his daily bread”.
Isaiah assured us of that in Chapter 40:8 saying “the grass may wither, and the flower may fade, but the Word of the Lord endures forever”. It will stand for eternity. Every jot, every tittle, every comma, every period, every letter, every line, every word – all will be fulfilled in Christ. No deception can be found in its pages.
Like Job…hunger after God’s words like the food that is necessary for life itself… Like Jeremiah, gobble them up…Take joy in all the discoveries and the mysteries that you unravel…Find the character and the promises of God in His Word…Allow its truth to become the bedrock foundation of your life…Allow that truth to transform your mind, your heart, and your very life…just ask Him…a good place to do that would be down on your knees…are you there yet…
March 26, 2021
Another commandment we often ignore was quoted by The Apostle Paul in Thessalonians 5:18 repeating what Jesus said “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Here we are – miles away from Thanksgiving! Months away from turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Many miles and months to go before the calendar turns, before the leaves turn, and before we turn to a table laden with scrumptious bounty and surrounded by those whom we love the most.
For the Christian believer, Thanksgiving is not just a holiday that we tick off our to-do lists the third week of November each year. Thanksgiving – gratitude – should be hardwired into our DNA, rooted in our hearts, and evident in our everyday lives.
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul instructs us to give thanks in every single thing. It’s easy to breeze over that verse with a confident, “Of course!” But are we giving thanks in everything? When we are satisfied and safe, happy and healthy, praises roll easily off our tongues. What about the other times though?
Paul practiced what he preached. The book of Acts tells us about a particularly tough time for this Christ-follower. In the town of Philippi, Paul and Silas were attacked, stripped, beaten with rods, thrown into jail, and restrained in stocks. That’s a bad day! Deep in the night, a sound reverberated through the prison cells as the other inmates listened. Was it crying, complaining, kvetching? No, it was the triumphant strains of praise, prayer, and the singing of hymns recalled in Acts 16.
Paul had figured out how to be content. In poverty or prosperity. Whether famished or full, abased or abounding, thanksgiving flowed from his grateful heart. He recognized his Source in every situation and shared it with us in Philippians 4:13 saying “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Our thankfulness demonstrates to God that we trust Him more than the affairs of the world in which we live. In everything – not for everything – but in every condition, under every circumstance, through every situation, give thanks to God.
In the big moments, give thanks. In the small, seemingly insignificant moments, give thanks. On the good days when everything goes according to plan, give thanks. On the bad days when everything seems against you, give thanks.
Consider your past…give thanks that God carried you through it…when you are overwhelmed in the crisis give thanks that God will never abandon you to cope alone…when you consider all of your tomorrows, give thanks that God goes before you to smooth the path…in everything and for everything always give thanks…are you on your knees yet…that’s the best place to do it…
March 25, 2021
Galatians 2:20 Inspires us with the reality that once we accept Christ as our savior He will take control. The apostle Paul says “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The reality of this Christian life, as the hymn proclaims, is “joy unspeakable, full of glory,” and “the half has never yet been told!” Because Christ lives in us, we overflow with His life. This present life is not the one we once endured, but a sins-washed-away, guilt-free, arms-wide-open, I’m-a-brand-new creation kind of life. All the old has gone, and His life has flooded in to fill every nook and cranny with lavish love, perennial peace, and jubilant joy. We should radiate that life.
Jesus proclaimed Himself the life in John 14:6 saying “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. He brings His great big presence to so fill our hearts that it must spill out into our lives. Paul pointed out in Acts 17:28 that “in Him we live and move and have our being”. Amazingly enough, He lives in us, moves on us, and works through us.
No matter the circumstances around us, “the joy of the Lord is our strength” as we are taught in Nehemiah 8:10. Too many of us are living a “someday out there” life. When things get better or when we get through this rough patch or when we all get to heaven, “someday out there,” we will live our best lives. This is a right-now kind of salvation! This is the in-the-moment life of Jesus working on the inside. When the clouds open over our heads, pop up the umbrella of joy, and dance in the rain. Under His protection and provision, we still live with gladness and contentment. Jesus inside of us brings all that He is to bear on all that we experience.
With that Life comes power. Power to live with joy. Power to live with peace. Power to live with laughter. Power to live with self-control. Power to live with hope. Dynamite power on the inside of us – impacting our families, our communities, and our world.
Jesus Christ is alive..The King of kings…the Lamb of God slain…conquered death, hell, and the grave to bring life everlasting…No need to wait and see…No need to postpone…He is alive…He is life…And He lives in us…We are filled with Life, full of life, and carrying that Life to the world…Live…let The Lord know how much His love and care mean to you…a good place to start might be down on your knees…right now…
March 24, 2021
Luke tells us in his book of The Bible, Luke 15:10, that it’s party time in Heaven when another soul has booked a reservation to come there someday! He said “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Whenever one individual on this earth professes Jesus Christ as Savior, the angels in the presence of God rejoice. Imagine a sinner who bows his head to whisper a “yes” to Jesus, “the Friend to sinners” according to Matthew 11:19. Consider how God might lean down to catch that desperate plea, how all around the throne, activity ceases and silence reigns as He smiles a “yes” in response. And at that final amen, all of heaven erupts in a party of praise! Innumerable angels shout for joy as one more receives a Savior that is worth having.
Do you ever take time to think about heaven? John the Revelator describes in Revelation 7:9-10 “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”. Beyond the mysterious creatures, the crystal river, the thundering horses, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah, do you ever think of the people who might stand next to you before the Great Throne?
A nomad with stars in his eyes who believed the promise of God. A young upstart who felled a giant with one smooth stone. A woman of ill repute who hung a scarlet cord in her window. A frightened maid who unflinchingly said, “Let it be to me.” A brazen professor who nailed 95 Theses to a door. A frail woman who reached out her hand to lepers. These shadowy figures who helped to shape our faith – their faces and philosophies, their doctrines and disciplines, their treatises and tenets, their hearts and hopes – will emerge from the mist to sing the song of the redeemed alongside us.
And, of course, there will be those even closer to our hearts. A grandfather who prayed for the generations to follow. That parent who sang hymns of deliverance over her children. The lovingly-anticipated child who never knew his mother’s embrace. The pastor who sacrificed for his little flock.
Consider that moment when all those faces around you turn to the Lamb who was slain for our sins…when the great song of redemption bursts from our lips in glorious praise…when the angels revel in silence as that melody rolls through heaven..and our faith finally becomes sight…all because one Man emptied Himself and was obedient even to death on the cross…Jesus is a Savior worth having…are you on your knees giving thanks yet…now would be the time…
March 23, 2021
The main thing you have to do to be assured that you will go to heaven when you die is summed up in one sentence in Romans 10:9-10 where in very simple terms it says“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Jesus is a Savior worth having. He is so rare that no other like Him has ever existed. He is so capable that nothing is impossible for Him. He is so reliable that He has never disappointed one person who chose to trust in Him. He is so loving that when everyone else has given up on you, when no one else sees any good thing in you, He reaches out His hand and says, “I choose this one.” He is so good that, if you have not accepted Him as Savior, He is waiting with outstretched arms.
Today’s verse tells us how to become a child of God, to accept Him as Savior. If you believe in your heart that Jesus exists, that He came to die on the cross to forgive your sins and that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you acknowledge Him in your heart and say it out loud, Jesus can be yours.
You may think that this is an impossibility, but the Bible tells us in John 3:15 that “whoever believes in Him will not be lost, will not perish, but will find eternal life”. Whoever believes…every single person who looks up to Him, trusting and expecting, will gain a real life, an eternal one.
No matter what you have done…where you have been…whom you have let down…what you have gone through…what others say about you…as long as you want Him…He wants you…Find out for yourself the magnitude of His goodness…the unsearchable depths of His love…down on your knees would be a great place to start…are you there yet…
March 22, 2021
Psalm 5:11 reminds us that He can be trusted to always be there for us no matter what we are going through. David said “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.”
Jesus is a Savior worth having, One worth praising. He is not angry with you. His welcome mat is always out. His porch light is always on. His face is turned towards you. He does not tire of you or find you too needy. He knows your name. “His thoughts toward you are too many to count” we are told in Psalm 139:17. His plans for you are good, and He is orchestrating every detail of your life to draw you closer and to make you shine like a star in the sky. He loves you.
When you sat in the ashes of a broken life, He loved you. When you were surrounded by the consequences of a thousand bad choices, He loved you. When you were stripped of dignity, He saw you clothed in majesty. When you were certain of your nothingness, He gave everything to call you His. While you were a sinner, He loved you. At the lowest point of your life, God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. Jesus took your place. He became the substitute, the sacrifice, for you. The IOU with your name scrawled across it. He drove a nail through it, signed it in blood, and paid the debt in full. He gave all to bring you near.
Does your heart thrill at the thought of Him? For those who profess faith in Christ, those who have asked Him to abide in their hearts, those who have received this Savior worth having, He merits our gratitude, our soul’s best song. If it had not been for the Lord on your side, where would you be? David instructed in Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”.
Take a moment to celebrate all that Jesus is to you…all that He has done for you…all that He has given to you…take a deep breath – oh wait, that came from Him too…so did your beating heart…it keeps time because He set it in motion…pour out your gratitude to Him…are you on your knees yet…what are you waiting for…
March 21, 2021
Zephaniah 3:5 is all about HOPE. It says “The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails…”
Jesus is a Savior worth having. Many people measure the value of something based on its reliability. Is it of good quality? Will it perform consistently? Can I trust it? If you have ever owned an old jalopy, you quickly come to appreciate the value of dependability!
We live in a shifting-sand world. A man’s word is no longer his bond. Contracts and legal clauses are required to seal the deal; mere handshakes no longer suffice. Promises seem made to be broken. Conflicting voices make guarantees they do not deliver. The ground beneath our feet can be unstable and insecure. Stories are slanted. Perspectives are perverted. Expectations are exhausted. Vows are violated.
If you are weary of the disappointment, consider the Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4). “In Jesus, we find the stability, the solid ground beneath our feet.” “ In Him, we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28). Across the centuries, “no person who ever put their trust in Him found themselves disappointed or without hope” (Isaiah 49:23). “He will not walk away. He will not turn His back” (Hebrews 13:5). “He is not fickle. He does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). “He is the tried and true, utterly reliable, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
We can take Him at His word. “Heaven and earth will disappear, but His word will remain forever” (Matthew 24:35). “His promises to us are always “Yes” and “Amen” (II Corinthians 1:20). His amen is a “truly,” a “let it be so.” John the Revelator called Jesus the “Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (Revelation 3:14). He is proven. We can trust Him.
Unwavering…secure…dependable…trustworthy…Jesus is a Savior worth having…We find shelter under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8)…He holds us lovingly, safely in His hand, and nothing nor no one can snatch us away (John 10:28)…We can count on His welcome…His smile…His good heart towards us…He never falters…He never fails…If you aren’t on your knees yet to give him thanks, you need to be…
March 20, 2021
Ephesians 3:20-21 taught us to pray with great expectation saying “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!”
Jesus is a Savior worth having. When it comes to determining the value of something, people often base their estimation on what it can do. Why choose many things when we can choose one thing with a multitude of functions? We want an impressive array of applications and capabilities. The more things something can do, the greater its value to us and the greater its impact on our lives.
Consider, for instance, our smartphones. Only a few decades ago, our phones were affixed to our kitchen walls. Today, we all carry one in our pockets or purses. No longer are they simply tools to communicate, they boast a variety of practical applications. They capture photos, allow us to pay bills online, order a birthday gift, or check into our home security systems. We find them invaluable, irreplaceable.
If it is a multitude of applications you seek, Jesus has the answer you need. As today’s verse Ephesians 3:20-21 indicates, “He is able to do anything that we could ask or even think to ask. And then, He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above even those things. Even more than those things that have entered our limited brains, He comes to give those things we are unaware we will need, that we have not been able to articulate, all that we need for abundant life.”
He has created each one of us with divine destiny, with a Godly purpose. When we accept Him as Savior (yet another gift!), we say yes to all those plans that He has for us. And when we run up against those God-sized tasks and realize that we do not have what it takes…look at today’s verse. The power that we need is already working inside of us. He does not leave us helpless. As we are going about His work, He will fill us up with joy and peace. And above all? We are completely, utterly, unquestionably loved. He knows our names, our thoughts…even the number of hairs on our heads (or not!).
All things become possible through Jesus…The very best that we can imagine is Jesus just getting started…Oh, what He can do for us…Oh, what He has already done for us…He removes the limits…Jesus is a Savior worth having…maybe you should get down on your knees to thank him…
March 19, 2021
Jesus is a Savior worth having. When it comes to something worth having, people want to know its worth. What is its value and how can we determine it? Often, the worth of something is dependent on its rarity. How available is it? How many exist? Can it be duplicated?
If you travel to Paris to visit the Louvre Museum, you might wander into the gift shop where you can purchase a poster of the Mona Lisa. You will only spend a few dollars because thousands of reproductions have been printed. However, if you went to the curator of the museum and asked to place a price on the original painting, you might experience a serious case of sticker shock. Many experts estimate that the work of art is priceless.
Jesus Christ is an original, a treasure beyond measure. No one like Him graced the planet before, and until He returns to set His foot on the Mount of Olives, no one ever will again. In I Timothy 2:5-6 Paul declared that “there is only one God and one Mediator between God and men, and that is the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all”. In Matthew 16:16 Peter declared that “there is no other means of salvation, that His is the only name by which we are saved.” He passionately proclaimed that “Jesus is the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah”.
Our Savior cannot be duplicated. He is irreplaceable. There is no substitute or alternative. This is wonderful news! Oftentimes, if given a multitude of options, we choose unwisely; we make the wrong choice. Here, we find no margin for error. We can choose with confidence.
For every person that needs deliverance from sin…Jesus. For every person who needs the pain of the past erased…Jesus. For those who need the weight of guilt lifted off their shoulders…Jesus. For those who need the chains of bondage broken off of their lives…Jesus.
Only He can step into your yesterdays and erase the regrets…He is the only One who sets us free…He is the Lamb for sinners slain…He is the cornerstone precious and elect…He is the One Who died in our place…He is the One Who conquered the grave…He has been given the name above every name…at that name every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He alone is Lord over all…Jesus is a Savior worth having…if you don’t know that yet you better get back down on your knees…
March 18, 2021
The Bible is clear when it declares in Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
We live in a world that places a premium on options. We like having choices. In fact, we are convinced that the more options presented to us, the better able we are to make the best decision. Our culture is consumed with preferences and having it our way.
Think about ordering a simple breakfast. Coffee? Would you like that black, with sugar or creamer, decaffeinated? How would you like those eggs: hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, over easy, sunny side up? Toast: white, wheat, multigrain? Breakfast meat, anyone? Your choice: bacon, ham, sausage patties or links, or steak.
Every day, the average person makes dozens of decisions. Our society affords us the luxury of many choices. We are so addicted to choices that we are offended when options are not available. However, that privilege can be abused. We become so accustomed to options that we begin to create choices where none truly exist.
The Pew Research Center released a poll of thousands of Americans. When asked if there is more than one way to heaven, 80 percent of Americans said yes. Forty percent of those claimed to be church-going Christians. Eight out of 10, under the age of 25, claimed that multiple religions offered multiple ways to find eternal life. They also believe that neither Satan nor hell exists. God, however, is not sitting on the throne, scouring poll results, and making adjustments to His plans based on our preferences.
God, in His infinite grace and mercy, has offered us ONE option when it comes to salvation. The only choice is Jesus Christ. No viable alternatives exist. Acts 4:12 is very clear and requires no explanation when the scripture says “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”. When it comes to salvation, there is no other option.
In John 14:6 Jesus told the disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” Jesus did not speak on His own authority, but that of the Father (John 14:10). He did not create this claim or argument. God had already said in Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.” And again in Hosea 13:4, God says, “For there is no savior besides Me.”
No alternatives…No Plan B…No other options…Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation….He alone is the beloved Son of God…the Alpha and Omega…the Author and Perfecter of our faith…if this isn’t clear enough you haven’t been on your knees long enough…better get back on them until you understand…it will save your life…
March 17, 2021
The Apostle Paul told everyone Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Jesus longs for all of the members of His church, His body, to become one just like He and the Father are one. We have an enemy who is just as determined to wreak havoc on our unity with one another. In John 10:10, his goals are clearly stated. “He has come to steal anything that pertains to life” – our relationship with Jesus, our marriages, our prosperity, our health. He has come to kill – our dreams, our purpose, our children’s futures. He has come to destroy – our peace, our joy, our very lives. He exults in driving us away from God and away from one another.
He knows that if he can disrupt the unity in the body of Christ, he can staunch the flow of blessing in the church (Psalm 133:3). He knows that, if he can sow doubt and discouragement, he can set us against the one true Source of help. As long as he can divide us, he wins. However, if we ever unite, if we ever band together, if we ever decide that it will be God’s will and not our own, Satan can do nothing about it. He will stand helpless in the face of the church victorious. He is indeed a defeated foe.
You and I have the authority of God’s Word. We have the authority of His blood. We have the power to pull down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. These mighty weapons He has given empower us to wage supernatural war against the enemy who seeks to divide, isolate and overtake us. Jesus has come to lead us into abundant life.
We know better…let us do better…we know the Word of God…let us apply it…until we seek unity, we will not accomplish it…until we are willing to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters, we will not be joined as one…God can accomplish anything when we stand together in unity…let’s join our hearts, our minds, and our hands…together we stand…divided we fall…let His blessings flow freely…His peace, power and prosperity will pour out…turn your cup up…It is Jesus’ great desire that we be one…
March 16, 2021
We are taught throughout The Bible that The Lord wants us to be “The Body” of Christ. In order to be a single body and serve Him well as such, we must serve with peace and harmony together and this is summed up in one word – “Unity”. The disciples of Jesus did this very well as stated in Acts 4:32 saying “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul”.
Solomon pulled no punches in the Proverbs 6:16-19 where he flatly declares that “there are six things that the Lord hates, seven things that He loathes”. Every single one of those detestable things inhibits walking together in unity.
A proud look. Conceit, comparison, and competition are the enemies of unity.
A lying tongue. The words that proceed from our mouths come from our hearts (Matthew 15:18). If lies, deceit, manipulation, and exaggeration pour from our lips, there is no basis for trust, no foundation upon which to build relationship. Lying destroys unity.
Hands that shed innocent blood. A man raises his hand against his wife. A lone gunman walks into a crowded theater. Children are sold into slavery. Everywhere abuse occurs, where innocent lives are poured out, where blood is spilled, life is diminished and destroyed. Separation and disconnection — not unity — preside.
A heart that devises wicked plans. The Joker and Lex Luthor might come to mind when we think of wicked plans. While global domination may not figure into our future, any plan that leads us away from God’s plan— a secret tryst, an illicit social media post, a dishonest business transaction — is evil. Such scheming leads us away from unity.
Feet that are swift to run to evil. Moral depravity pulls at us from every side. No need to plan – how easily our feet slide down this slippery slope. Sin — evil — always leads to broken relationship with God and with those we love here on earth. Those who hurry to pursue their own wicked desires break off unity.
A false witness who speaks lies. In a specific context, someone who perpetrates untrue statements about another can lead to unfair judgments and imprisonment for the victim. In a broader sense, slander and gossip can initiate and perpetuate untruths against another that lead to ruin. Marriages break up. Partnerships dissolve. Reputations are destroyed. False witnesses inhibit freedom and sabotage unity.
One who sows discord among brothers and sisters. The very word “discord” indicates conflict, friction, hostility and disagreement. Most of us say, “Well, I would never!” But it only takes a small spark — one eye roll, one raised eyebrow, one pointing finger, one whispered accusation, one well-placed insult — to stir up a conflagration that rages for years. Discord burns unity to the ground.
Look around…see the disunity in your relationships with spouses…co-workers…fellow Christians…examine your own heart…look for the practices above that have driven a wedge…God has provided a way back…repentance leads to restoration…repentance begins on your knees…
March 15, 2021
1 John 3:16 reminds us of Jesus’ love for us saying “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Many people today suffer from serious “I” problems. They have a chronic condition that plagues their everyday lives. It manifests itself in some persistent symptoms:
-The way that “I” want it.
-The way that “I” see it.
-The way that “I” think.
-The way that “I” feel.
-The way that “I” want to do things.
Christians often trip over that “I” issue. Real unity requires real sacrifice, but “I” is the enemy of unity. “I” demands its own way. “I” refuses to budge. “I” never prefers another. “I” is only interested in his own comfort or her personal agenda. Paul warns Timothy to be certain that church leaders are not self-willed in Titus 1:7, and Peter warns against false teachers who are self-willed, insolent egoists who despise true authority in II Peter 2:10-11. Self-will sabotages unity. Self-will refuses to submit to God, our true authority, and refuses to sacrifice to promote unity within the family of God.
Self-will makes unity impossible. As long as our preference takes priority over our purpose, unity will be impossible. The body of Christ can be divided by preferences: “I didn’t like the song selection” or “His sermon was too long.” Churches split over issues as unimportant as the color of the carpet. When we finally put “I” aside and come into the sanctuary to gather in HIS name, to lift up HIS Son, to read HIS word, and to worship in HIS presence, preferences are forgotten as we remember that our purpose is all for HIM.
When brothers and sisters in Christ dwell together in unity, God commands His blessing in that place as David tells in Psalm 133:3. Where unity exists, the blessing of God is guaranteed. Those blessings come when we sacrifice our will for His, where we lay down our lives for others. The wind of the Holy Spirit blasted into the upper room as 120 believers cried out as one voice declares Acts 2:1-4. Three thousand people rushed to salvation when Peter stood, with the eleven disciples beside him, to preach the Gospel in Acts 2:14. A lame man went running and jumping when Peter and John shared what they had in Acts 3:8.
“I” must submit to Him…Self-will must succumb to sacrifice…His purpose must take priority over our preferences…Only then will He command His blessing…Only then will His anointing and power rush from the throne of heaven to fulfill His purposes through us…are you on your knees yet…can you hear Him yet…united we stand divided we fall…
March 14, 2021
The simplest definition for sin is anything you might do that is against God’s will. This is much more difficult to understand than you might realize. For example, let’s say you want to go to Africa to teach lost tribes about Christ but God wants you in lower Manhattan comforting the homeless. If you go to Africa – even though it is a very worthy cause – you have sinned. Starting to see the point about why you need to know God’s will for you?
God has a plan for all of us just like He told the prophet in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You might think you have a better plan – and very earnestly pray to God to change His plan – but if you could do that – as one great preacher I once heard say – “God wouldn’t be God – you wouldbe”.
For whatever it is that God wants you to do He will provide whatever you need to get it done. The book of Hebrews 13:20-21 promises that “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
To know the will of God is the highest – and most necessary – of all wisdom…living in the center of God’s will rules out all falseness of religion and puts the stamp of true sincerity upon our service to God…you can be miserable with much, if you are out of His will; but you can have peace in your heart with little, if you are in the will of God…you can be wretched with wealth and fame, out of His will; but you can have joy in obscurity, if you are in the will of God…you can have agony in good health, out of His will; but you can be happy in the midst of suffering, if you are in God’s will…you can be miserable and defeated in the midst of acclaim, if you are out of His will; but you can be calm and at peace in the midst of persecution, as long as you are in the will of God…The Bible reveals that God has a plan for every life…if we live in constant fellowship with Him, He will direct and lead us in the fulfillment of that plan…the best place to hear God tell you about his will for you is on your knees…are you there yet…
March 13, 2021
In the Bible, to be at the right side “is to be identified as being in the special place of honor”. In ancient times, a person with high or highest rank stood to the king’s right side. Even today, a person may be called someone’s “right hand man” or “wingman” when he or she serves as the closest person to another leader. An example of this can be found in Genesis 48:13-14 where Jacob blessed the child who would receive a greater blessing with his right hand. The right hand of God likewise relates to this concept of someone being right next to God, acknowledging both authority and closeness to Him.
God told Isaiah in Isaiah 41:9-10 “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Leave everything in God’s hands and eventually you’ll see that God’s hands are in everything. If we look back over our lives we can readily see where God was right in the middle of every celebration of joy and every devastating crisis we faced. God affirmed this to be true in Isaiah 66:2 when He told Isaiah that “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word”.
No need to fear or be dismayed, because the presence of God is pronounced and personal. He strengthens and helps His children by His Spirit and upholds those He loves by His totally trustworthy right hand. Jesus died and committed His spirit to His Father so He might fulfill the promises of God salvation for all who believe and the sufficiency of His grace to name two. Faith unfolds by leaving everything in God’s hands and by beholding His hands in all things.
The joy of leaving everything in the Lord’s hands is seeing the Lord’s hand in everything. An answer of “no” today, becomes God’s better answer of “yes” tomorrow. everyone.
What do you hold, even loosely that you need to place in the hands of your heavenly Father? A child, a hurt or an opportunity that is slipping away? Place your fear in the hands of the One whose hand calmed the sea, and He will calm your heart. Leave your hurt in the hands of the One whose hand gave sight to the the blind, and He will heal your wounded heart. Put your financial desires in the hands of the One who owns everything, and He will give you peace and security.
Put your personal view in the hands of the One whose perspective is perfect and He will give you clarity. By faith we can leave everything and everyone in the Lord’s hands and begin to look for His hand at work everywhere all the time.
March 12, 2021
We are taught by David in Psalm 133:1 that we are meant to live together in peace and harmony when he said that we should “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
We live in a world divided. All around us, people are separated by suspicion, rivalries, differing opinions, and struggles for justice. Even in the church pews, we find division and fractures. Evidences of this brokenness are all around us.
On the night that He died, Jesus prayed gentle words over the disciples. The focus of His prayer was the unity of believers – both then and now. Even as He and the Father were one, He asked that the disciples – the body of believers, His church – would be one unified in heart and mind and action.
Jesus’ mission here on earth was one of reconciliation. He came to reconcile us to God through His death and resurrection. He came to reconcile us to one another as members of the same body, His church. Yet, here we are a few thousand years later divided into denominations and separated by schisms.
The Bible gives no indication that heaven caters to a specific sect or preferred persuasion. Jesus will not assign us to gated communities based on how we choose to worship on earth. Baptist? The neighborhood behind that wall. Pentecostal? The neighborhood beyond this wall. Catholic? The neighborhood on the east side. A narrow way exists that leads to one gate; His name is Jesus. When we finally and gratefully enter in through that gate, we will encounter people there that we sought to exclude with our criticism and our condemnation.
Jesus laid down His life so that we would be one – with the Father and one another. What could we lay down to promote unity within this body of believers? To whom could we extend the hand of fellowship? When could we speak tender words to dispel tension? Where could we seek the similarities and disregard the differences? The Spirit within us calls out for peace and unity.
Paul urged the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:3 to “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
Thank Jesus for His gift of reconciliation…pray for unity in the body of Christ…surrender to God’s will so that peace may begin with you…be an instrument to tear down whatever divides and destroys relationship among believers…experience God’s power, grace and glory as you dwell in unity…Eternity lasts a long time…
March 11, 2021
Contentment is finding joy in what we already have in our lives, feeling or showing satisfaction with our possessions, status, or situation. It’s being happy without trying to find fulfillment in acquiring more material possessions.
Happiness is generally defined as the experience of frequent positive thoughts, such as joy, interest or pride. Contentment is generally defined as a longer lasting, but a deeper feeling, of satisfaction and gratitude.
If you feel content, you’re satisfied and happy. The content of a book, movie, or song is what it’s about: the topic. This word has two main meanings. The first has to do with being pleased and satisfied (feeling content) or making someone else feel happy and at peace with things (contenting them).
Paul reminisced in Philippians 4:12 that “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
The Apostle Paul passed this advice along to his protege, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 6:7-8 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
When you find yourself unhappy with someone or something, pause…stop buying stuff you don’t need…show people you appreciate them….practice gratitude…learn to enjoy simple things…things that don’t cost money…live in the moment…a good place to find contentment is on your knees giving thanks To God that your heat comes on when its cold…that your refrigerator is full…that your children still come back home to visit…that your spouse shares prayer time and devotions with you…if you don’t feel contentment with these things…you need to stay on your knees until you do…
March 10, 2021
What do you hang your hat on every day to help you face the times we live in today? Did your bank account keep you from catching the Corona Virus? Did your perfect attendance in Sunday School last year keep your roof from being blown off during that last hurricane?
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” What hope resides in this promise from The Bible!!! When it seems that everything is working against us – a deadly virus, enforced isolation, supply shortages, loss of income – God is right beside us.
Not one ounce of defeat can be found in this verse or the ones before and after it. Paul agrees in Romans 8:18-25 that yes, “we will suffer in this world, but it is nothing compared to the glory that awaits. We look with eager anticipation for what God will do on our behalf.”
Paul wrote in Romans 8:26 that yes, “we will experience weaknesses, but the Spirit will help us”.
The Psalmist declared in Psalm 119:71 that “it was good that he had been afflicted because he learned to trust in God’s Word”. Paul had learned to “run to the secret place of the Most High, and to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty” as he recalled in Psalm 91:1.
The sun comes up and we are breathing, so God has a purpose for us. For the person who might be feeling overwhelmed or defeated, turn to the Lord for His provision and peace.
God is for us…God is in our corner…God is championing us…God created us to be more than conquerors…God made us in His image to be like Him…pretty good role model don’t you think…
March 9, 2021
What is sin? Some call it “errors” or “mistakes” or “poor judgment.” This may be a good starting point, but as we learn more about God and the Bible, we see that it’s something much more serious. Sin is falling short of the perfect standard God has set. Simply put, sin is anything that is against The Will Of God.
By our very nature, we are all falling short of His standard. We are all guilty. We have all sinned against Him.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and Romans 6:23 declares that the “wages of sin is death”. But the good news is that in Matthew 1:21 we are told the angel announced to Joseph that the Child in Mary’s womb should be called “Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins”.
David was unsure whether he would even knew for sure when he had sinned. In Psalm 139:23-24 David asked God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Avoiding sin requires change. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference” are familiar words of the “Serenity Prayer” penned by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. To anyone who has ever struggled with change, it can prove exceedingly difficult, and like Neibuhr, we know that it requires courage.
Even Paul, battle-hardened apostle though he was, declared in Romans 7:19 himself a wretched man. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I do”.
The first step towards change is admitting the issue. While it sounds simple enough, we recognize our humanity. We blame; we avoid; we ignore; we justify; we put off the inevitable. Whining about what we wish to change is futile. Ignoring what we are afraid to change leaves us powerless.
We cannot change what we will not confront. Often, calling the issue for what it is – putting a name to it – brings it out of the darkness into the light of Jesus’ love, and it breaks the power of it to harm.
Satan does his best work under cover of night. When we bring our situations boldly to the throne of grace, Satan’s lies drop powerless in the presence of God’s absolute truth.
Once we confront it, change requires commitment, a stepping out by faith. We don’t have to do this alone. First Corinthians 3:9 refers to us as “co-laborers with Christ”. He does not leave us to confront and change on our own. When we come to the end of our puny self-discipline, His “strength is perfected in our weakness” according to 2 Corinthians 12:9. He supernaturally accomplishes what we are helpless to address in our own strength. With Paul the apostle, we can then proclaim, as he did in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Is there conflict in which you are engaged? That secret sin with which you struggle…that situation from which you cannot escape…in the power of Christ you can confront it today…call it by name…bring it into the light…rise up like a warrior intent on victory…do not let the fear of change diminish the plans God has for you…He alone gives power to overcome…talk to Him…are you on your knees yet…
March 8, 2021
When was the last time you blamed God for something bad that happened to you? Was it days ago? Hours? Minutes? Probably not even several minutes but just a few if you are honest with yourself. Just reading this Thought For The Day invokes memories of some bad event that you think was all God’s fault. You are not alone. We all have those thoughts because we are all human. Anything bad that happens has to be someone else’s fault – right?
JOB UNDERSTOOD WOUNDS. The words he used to describe them were more than patronizing platitudes and theoretical proverbs. He’d been there and back again. He could write about intense inner suffering in the first person because of his own massive ocean of pain.
No one would deny that the man called Job who was described in Job 1:3 as “the greatest of all the men of the east” had earned the right to talk about suffering first hand. He had earned that title through years of hard work and honest dealings with others. His very name was a synonym for integrity and godliness. Therefore, nobody begrudged his wealth.
Then, without announcement, adversity thundered upon him like an avalanche of great, jagged rocks. He lost his livestock, crops, land, servants, and—can you believe it?—all ten of his adult children. Soon thereafter he lost his health – his last human hope of earning a living.
Please, right now, stop reading, close your eyes for sixty seconds, and put yourself in the skin of that good man—crushed beneath the weight of all that adversity.
The Old Testament book that bears his name records an entry he made into his journal soon after the rocks stopped falling and the dust finally settled. JOB 1:21 tells us that with a quivering hand, the utterly broken man from Uz wrote: “The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”
Following that immortal statement comes this amazing analysis: In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.
How could anyone handle such a series of grief-laden ordeals without blaming God? Think of the aftermath: bankruptcy, pain, ten fresh graves . . . the loneliness of those empty rooms. Yet we read in JOB 1:22 that “he worshiped God, he did not sin, nor did he blame God as the cause of his catastrophe”.
Now, why? Why didn’t he? At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, consider three reasons: Job claimed God’s loving sovereignty; he counted on the promise of resurrection; and he acknowledged his limited understanding.
When under an avalanche of hard situations remember what you just read…be like Job…hang on tight…trust The Lord…He’s there for you too…
March 7, 2021
When God opens a door, it should bring peace, not confusion. That’s not to say that open doors won’t be scary at times, but you can still have peace in Him.
It isn’t a matter of if God opens doors, it’s the matter of which doors He opens and if we are willing to walk through the door. Other times we may not understand what God is doing but if we are willing to do His will, then we must walk by faith and not by sight.
When God opens doors in our lives don’t try to close them because of the trials, which are sometimes required. No one can close an open door that God has for you so have confidence in the Lord. If it’s God’s will it will be done. Remember – He always has a plan.
Watch out as well for doors that God closes. Some doors are not God’s will for you to enter and God closes them for your protection. God knows everything and He knows if you’re on a path that leads to danger.
When God opens a door He will never cause you to compromise or contradict His Word. Many times God will confirm His will through His Word and through others such as godly counsel.
Usually you know it’s an open door from God when you have to rely on Him. Some people try to do things by the arm of the flesh, but when it’s God’s will we must ask Him to bless the work of our hands. We must ask Him to strengthen us and help us daily.
When it’s an open door you know that it is God who is really at work. Once again remember that the Holy Spirit will give you an uneasy feeling if He wants you to keep a door closed.
Keep on knocking on God’s door. Sometimes the door is a little cracked open and God just wants us to persevere in prayer. When the time is right He will fully open the door.
Pray to God continuously to know His will…rely on the Holy Spirit…it will tell you if something is God’s will…allow the Spirit to guide your life…sometimes we don’t see the door God just opened because we’re still looking at the one He just closed…
March 6, 2021
Does Anyone Care? Do you? How easy it is to drift into the background and get lost from sight and memory of those who once loved you so much.
On an icy January morning, in a twenty-five-cent-a-night flophouse, a shell of a man who looked twice his age staggered to the washbasin and fell. The basin toppled and shattered.
He was found lying in a heap, unclothed and bleeding from a deep gash in his throat. His forehead was badly bruised, and he was semiconscious. A doctor used black sewing thread that somebody had found to suture the wound. All the while the bum begged for a drink. A buddy shared the bottom of a rum bottle to calm his nerves.
He was dumped in a paddy wagon and dropped off at Bellevue Hospital, where he would languish, unable to eat for three days . . . and die. Still unknown.
A friend seeking him was directed to the local morgue. There, among dozens of other colorless, nameless corpses with tags on their toes, he was identified. When they scraped together his belongings, they found a ragged, dirty coat with thirty-eight cents in one pocket and a scrap of paper in the other. Enough coins for another night in the flophouse and five words, “Dear friends and gentle hearts.” Almost like the words of a song. Why would a forgotten drunk carry around a line of lyrics? Maybe that derelict with the body of a bum still had the heart of a genius. For once upon a time, long before his tragic death at age thirty-seven, Stephen Foster had written songs that literally made the whole world sing, such as “Camptown Races” and “Oh! Susanna!”
There are many forgotten lives on this earth. Some are in prison. Some in hospitals. Some in nursing homes. And some silently slip into church on Sunday morning, terribly confused and afraid.
Until someone steps in and, in love, rebuilds a life, restores a soul, rekindles a flame that sin snuffed out, and renews a song that once was there, these forgotten souls drift all around us until the day The Lord mercifully takes them home. Read carefully God’s penetrating perspective:
Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Hebrews 13:3 asks us the question “Can you put yourself into the pain of those who suffer? Can you pause long enough to show the love of Christ to them?”
Well…can you put yourself in someone else’s place so you understand what they feel…the way they feel…how often they feel lost and forgotten…are you on your knees yet…God will show you who needs your love and attention… if you will but listen…
March 5, 2021
In Romans 8:37 The Apostle Paul declares “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
We all know people who fit neatly into these categories. When you start pointing fingers be sure you point at yourself too!
We celebrate warriors. We enjoy winners. We are irritated by whiners. Who has any use for a wimp? Each of these people earn the title. While they may be greatly different, they have one thing in common: they earned the title they wear based upon how they responded to struggle.
A winner is not crowned as champion until she overcomes the struggle. A warrior demonstrates valor only when he endures the adversity of battle. We recognize the whiner right away when trouble breaks out and the complaining commences. The wimp invariably puts her faith in fear, her head in the sand, and waits for someone else to solve the problem. The common denominator is struggle.
Job assured us in Job 5:7 that struggle is inevitable pointing out that “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward”. The headlines shout at us – global conflict, economic inequities, political stalemates, racial strife, class discrimination. No shortage of struggles exists.
On the home front, you may be wrestling with questions that seem to have no answers. You may be staring at a zero balance wondering when provision will come. You may be contending for a marriage that seems shattered beyond restoration.
John 16:33 assures us that “In this world, we will have trouble”. How will you respond? Will you engage like a warrior? Complain like the whiner? Or ignore it like the wimp? Rise up, and be what God created you to be – a winner!
Jesus Christ bought you with His blood, so you are able to stand and declare, “I am more than a conqueror!” You were born to win. When you came to faith in Jesus, an amazing transformation occurred as described in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. Regardless of the circumstances or the person that you once were, the day that you received Him by faith, you were born to win.
Through Him, you are a warrior not a weakling…a winner not a loser…a vanquisher not a victim…the battle belongs to you…you are a chosen champion…you were born to win…rise up and stand on your own two feet…
March 4, 2021
Romans 8:20-21 tells us that “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.”
Nowhere on earth is truly safe. One couple moved from California to Missouri to avoid earthquakes only to be killed in a tornado. Natural disasters occur every single day—wildfires, earthquakes, floods, landslides, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, and all the rest. On average, natural disasters kill 60,000 people globally each year. The Bible teaches in Genesis 3:17 that “when Adam and Eve sinned, a curse fell over the earth”. Romans 8:22 further states that “Since then, the entire creation has groaned and labored as with birth pangs”.
That’s why Jesus came, in order that we might have hope, suffering at Calvary and rising from the dead. He came to free us from the curse of sin and to provide eternal protection from the disasters of life. One day He will create new heavens and a new earth, free from natural disasters, death, disease, drought, and sin.
Our God rules over every area of life, including natural disasters. We can trust Him who died for us and who will one day soon establish His new creation for all eternity.
The Bible presents both the reality of human suffering and death along with hope for a better future.
Life is tough…the world is not fair…we can’t make the curse go away…only God can do that…it’s why He’s God and we aren’t…
March 3, 2021
James 1:17 teaches that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. In other words, God The Father is the source for every good thing we have and He can be counted on to always provide them.
The Bible says that our Heavenly Father gives us the gift of eternal life in Romans 6:23; the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Ephesians 2:8; and the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38. Romans 4:17 says, “He gives life to the dead”, and Romans 8:11 promises “life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells within us”.
We serve a kind and gracious God…He gives us good gifts…the most indescribable is Jesus Christ…all He wants is our faith and love…He gives us so much and expects so little in return…doesn’t quite seem fair…but then again…that’s what grace is all about…without it you couldn’t afford God’s gifts…
March 2, 2021
King David spoke from experience in Psalm 27:14 when he urged us to “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Scripture referring to waiting on The Lord or patience occurs from a minimum of 127 times to a maximum of 164 times in The Bible depending on the translation. The average from all translations is about 141, which is closer to the NKJV number.
The promises of God’s Word may take longer to come to pass than your impatient self wants, but if you wait on the Lord, The Bible teaches that “He will strengthen your heart and keep His promises. He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. He is the God who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask or think. He’s the One who said that when you call on Him, He will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you know not. He’s the One who said that He will provide your every need according to His riches in glory. He’s the One who brings you peace that surpasses understanding and joy in the midst of great sorrow. He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”
1 Samuel 13:13-14 shares the consequence for not waiting on God as Samuel tells King Saul: “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” Instead, the Lord sought a new King to replace Saul.
During the waiting season, God will ask you to be still…so be still and wait on the Lord…He is God…Be still and watch Him work…He is in control…He just might know exactly what He is doing without your help…
March 1, 2021
Isaiah 66:9 tells of God promising the Israelites that He would not let all of their pain and suffering be for naught but that He would make for them a new nation. He said “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born”.
This promise was found to hold true throughout many painful things we experience in our lives as well. A baby being born for instance.
God did not promise us a life without pain but He promised us His grace and mercy would be sufficient to endure it. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
We are also taught, and our life experiences prove, that all things have a reason and purpose. In Romans 8:28 Paul declares “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The Apostle Paul knew these things to be true as he preached in Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Throughout The Bible we are encouraged by God’s promises to take care of us as David said in Psalm 34:18 speaking from experience “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” and in Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
But of all the scripture that speaks to our pain and suffering and what God will do to help us endure, the best promise of all is that ultimately it will all be ended as John says in Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
It’s ok..cry out to God when you hurt…He is always listening…always caring…always merciful…no pain no gain…
February 28, 2021
We are told in Luke 11:1 the story about when Jesus taught his disciples to pray as He often did. The story goes “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” The disciples had watched Jesus pray many times before but probably didn’t know for sure what He was doing, thinking, or saying.
None of us just wake up one day as a prayer warrior; just like the disciples, we have to learn to pray too. The disciples saw very clearly what was happening in the ministry of Jesus. They saw Him walking on water after He had spent the night in prayer. They noticed that when He prayed, the fishes and the loaves were multiplied and fed thousands. They heard what He said when He drove out a demon—that “this kind” only comes out when you fast and pray. If the disciples knew they needed to learn to pray, don’t you think we should learn, too?
How was it that Christ in John 14:12 had the confidence to say, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do”? He could say that because He had taught the disciples to pray.
When you learn to pray like Jesus prayed you can walk in the power of the anointing that gave Him the ability to move heaven and earth…when you learn how to live the life of “greater things than these shall you do,” you have the chance to turn the world upside down…enter into the power and the privilege you have when you learn to pray…are you on your knees yet..get ready to move those mountains that need moving…
February 27, 2021
Each of us is different—utterly unique. There’s no other person on earth like you, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be! Of the billions of people on the world’s stage from Creation to the return of Christ, only one person is like you—and it’s you. Jesus wants to use your strengths and weaknesses, your idiosyncrasies and quirks, your gifts and talents, your abilities and disabilities.
This very message was told to Esther in The Old Testament in Esther 4:14 “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
David knew he was made special by God and for a special purpose as he declared in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” You are a gift from above…you are one of God’s perfect gifts.
We are uniquely created by God to serve Him…we should never bemoan the way we are…Let Him control every part of your life…ask Him to work through you to His glory…get ready…you’ll know when the moment comes…all you have to do is be willing and available…God qualifies the called…He doesn’t always call the qualified…you are one of God’s Perfect Gifts…
February 26, 2021
Take a moment to consider all that God has done. Everything in your life is the Lord’s doing. Your salvation is by grace through faith, the gift of God that no man can boast. It is the Lord’s doing. Every ounce of success you’ve ever known is not because you are so amazing. It’s because God has given you the strength to succeed and the mind to achieve. It is the Lord’s doing. Every struggle you’ve made it through, every battle you’ve ever won is not because you are so brilliant in strategy or so capable. It’s because God has a plan to protect you and pull you through that storm and bring you to the other side. It is the Lord’s doing, and He is greatly to be praised!
Psalm 118:23 reminds us that “This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”
Child of God, you don’t have to wait for the mountain to move or the crooked place to be made straight before you can start rejoicing in the joy of your salvation, before you can start celebrating the great things that God has done. Ephesians 3:20 describes God as “him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”. Psalm 145:3 further declares that “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”
When God does something, man does not deserve one ounce of credit…all glory, all praise, and all honor are to Him alone…there are things that happen in our lives that we can’t make sense of…we do the best we can…it is not enough…so God took over…don’t try to make heads or tails of it…get on your knees and tell God “This is the Lord’s doing!”…do you understand…are you on your knees yet…God does not like to be taken for granted…
February 25, 2021
The hurt of feeling alone isn’t new to our day. Indeed, the pain of isolation echoes off the pages of the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Often attributed to King Solomon, the book captures the sorrow of those who seem to lack any meaningful relationships. The speaker lamented that it’s possible to acquire significant wealth and yet experience no value from it because there’s no one to share it with.
But King Solomon also recognized the beauty of companionship, writing that friends help you accomplish more than you could achieve on your own; companions help in times of need; partners bring comfort; friends provide protection in difficult situations.
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 teaches that “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
“It can be an affliction more harrowing than homelessness, hunger or disease,” wrote Maggie Fergusson in The Economist’s 1843 magazine. Her subject? Loneliness. Fergusson chronicled the increasing rates of loneliness, irrespective of one’s social or economic status, using heart-wrenching examples of what it feels like to be lonely.
Loneliness is a significant struggle…God created us to share the benefits of friendship…when you’re feeling alone, God will help you form meaningful connections with others…you will find encouragement in the reality that as a believer you are never truly alone…Jesus’ Spirit is always with you…
February 24, 2021
You and I have probably read Genesis 1:16 many times in our lives and truly believe it when it says “And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.” But, did you ever see the significance not of what God did but how significant – or should I say insignificant – it was in His mind.
One of the qualities of God we don’t focus on very often is just how modest He is. We don’t picture God Almighty quite the way we should because we are so overwhelmed and amazed at His awesome wisdom, power, and strength that we don’t associate adjectives like “modest” with Him.
With so much of the scripture throughout The Bible describing in great detail God’s unbelievable accomplishments such as creating everything – that’s everything mind you – and in six days – one would think when He tells us that He created 100 million zillion stars with enough energy to burn for 100 million zillion years to light the heavens for 100 million zillion miles in every direction, He might actually show a little more pleasure and pride of accomplishment with what He did. But no. He basically said “Oh, by the way – just in case you didn’t notice – I created the stars too when I had a spare moment. Almost like an afterthought.
Genesis 14-19 describes the fourth day of the creation week, during which God created the sun, moon, and stars. The sun and moon are pictured as two great lights, one each to govern—or “rule”—the day and the night.
This verse ends with tremendously underwhelming and profound understatement: “He made the stars also.” Given what we know of the immense universe surrounding us, this is the most awesome and incredible display of power that has ever or will ever exist. The idea that God created the whole expanse of our universe in a day, with a word, should astound and humble us. Not only does our view of the heavens help us track time, it is also intended by God to provoke us to worship Him, through the immensity and beauty of what He has made as David declares in Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard”.
February 23, 2021
Faith is the source for everything we have and hope to have. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith by saying “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Romans 10:17 explains where faith comes from by saying “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Mark 5:36 tells us that Jesus said “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” In other words Jesus said that if we have faith He can and will give us courage.
With God’s protection and guidance, we should be able to conquer our fears and live a life full of determination. It is God that commands us to have courage, for that means having faith and confidence in Him. Through scripture, we can find the courage God desires us to have.
Deuteronomy 31:6-8 teaches us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Finally, David said in Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God, I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” David simply told us that when he was afraid all he had to do was trust The Lord and he would be given courage for whatever he had to face.
Let us be thankful that our courage will always rise to the level of our faith in The Lord…our faith will always rise to the level of our love for The Lord…our love for The Lord will always rise to our level of time in His Word…and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God…
February 22, 2021
When we think about God being a trinity – God The Father, God The Son (Jesus), God The Holy Spirit, we sometimes tend to have an easier time relating to Jesus, God The Son, because we can visualize what He might have looked like.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us a little bit about Jesus saying “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”
There is just something about the name of Jesus! His Name is the most beautiful of all names. This verse shows us that Jesus radiates God’s very glory, and He expresses the very character of the Father. John 14: 9 says that Jesus said ”he who has seen me has seen the Father.”
The reason this is so important is that many times we do not fully understand God, because we have never seen Him. But when we look into the Gospels and we read about Jesus, He shows us who God the Father is. You see, Jesus was a healer, and a provider. He let John lay His head on His chest. Jesus is the One that calmed the storms and raised the dead. He is the One who promised those that believe in Him that we will have eternal life.
When we understand that to look at Jesus is to see the Father, we know that the Father will heal us, and the Father will calm the storms in our lives. He will provide for our needs, and He wants us to lay our heads near His heart and rest in Him. You see, the Father loves us just like Jesus does. The Father and Jesus are one, and the great love that Jesus showed by going to the cross to die for you and me is the same love that the Father in heaven has for us.
Jesus said not to pray to Him…we are to pray to our Father in heaven…in His Name…and He will answer us. So today, get to know the Father…He loves you and cares for you…to know Him is to know life…enjoy His presence in your life…each and every day…
February 21, 2021
There are many trials we are going to face in this life where we just have to hold on and endure it until it passes just as a sailor lashes his body to the mast of a ship during a storm.
You know what we can’t do? We can’t fight anxiety by convincing ourselves there’s nothing to fear because there is! We could make a long list of rational fears very quickly. It won’t take long for us to whip up an anxious whirlwind of worry.
And how about the morning of your precious friend’s surgery to remove cancer. Right on the day when one of our worst fears is realized. Are you anxious? Worried for the outcome?
You may not have a mast handy to which you can lash yourself but you can cling to the Word of God. In every storm He is our anchor. Following Christ means lashing your whole self to Him as a sailor lashes his body to the mast of a ship during a storm. You don’t need to worry about being able to hold on because He promised He would hold on to you!
Oh, to be near Jesus in a storm! He is so good and so calm it would make us feel good, safe, and secure just looking at Him!
Remember Peter and the boys when they were caught in a storm? Mark 4:38-41 tells the story “And they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be Still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
When they found themselves about to go down, they cried out to Jesus. They knew their own limits – but were surprised to find there is no limit to peace from the One who commands even the wind and sea to obey.
We can’t always enjoy fair winds and calm seas. Storms will come but we have hope because Psalm 145:14,17-19 promises us that “The Lord is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.”
In looking back at your Christian journey so far, when did you experience the most spiritual growth? For many of us, it was during seasons of great discomfort enduring the storms of life. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that we “will encounter difficulties in the world”, but that doesn’t mean we should just go about our life with resignation, waiting for something awful to happen.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to “run … the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus”.
We should try to think of waiting as an act of endurance…something that makes us more like Christ…remembering that endurance looks different for each of us…increasing in prayer…seeking wise counsel…giving thanks….
February 20, 2021
For anyone that has ever attended church or been around Christians for any length of time, you must surely have heard talk about the Romans Road & the ABC’s Of Salvation. Today’s Thought For The Day is intended to make you stop and think about what you know, what you believe, and what you may need to do to make sure you know that you know you will be going to heaven when you die. If I am “Preaching to the choir”, so to speak, this will provide you information to share along with your testimony to make sure others, whom The Lord puts in your path, can have the same sweet assurance which you have that they can go to heaven too!
As a means of getting started, just what is it we are talking about here? Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering. To save is to deliver or protect. The word carries the idea of victory, health, or preservation. Sometimes, the Bible uses the words saved or salvation to refer to temporal, physical deliverance, such as Paul’s deliverance from prison in Philippians 1:19 when he said “For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.”
More often, the word “salvation” concerns an eternal, spiritual deliverance. When Paul told the Philippian jailer what he must do to be saved, he was referring to the jailer’s eternal destiny. This is recorded in Acts 16:30-31 when the jailer asked “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and Paul answered “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
What are we saved from? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, we are saved from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment of sin. Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death as told in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves the removal of sin.
Who does the saving? Only God can remove sin and deliver us from sin’s penalty as we are told in Titus 3:5 that God “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
How does God save? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, God has rescued us through Christ like The Bible tells us in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation. Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God and is only available through faith in Jesus Christ as we are instructed in Acts 4:12 that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
How do we receive salvation? We are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then, we must believe—fully trust the Lord Jesus to be your savior. This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ and calling on the name of the Lord as as follows.
A definition of the Christian doctrine of salvation would be “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.” Salvation is available in Jesus alone and is dependent on God alone for provision, assurance, and security.
So what is “The Romans Road To Salvation”? The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans. It is a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation.
We are all sinners. The first verse on the Romans Road to salvation is Romans 3:23, ”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is innocent. Romans 3:10-18 gives a detailed picture of what sin looks like in our lives.
The penalty for sin is hell. The second Scripture on the Romans Road to salvation, Romans 6:23, teaches us about the consequences of sin – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The punishment that we have earned for our sins is death. Not just physical death, but eternal death!
Jesus died to pay for our sins. The third verse on the Romans Road to salvation picks up where Romans 6:23 left off, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ died for us! Jesus’ death paid for the price of our sins. Jesus’ resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus’ death as the payment for our sins.
We must confess our sins. The fourth stop on the Romans Road to salvation is Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
We must call on The Lord. Because of Jesus’ death on our behalf, all we have to do is believe in Him, trusting His death as the payment for our sins – and we will be saved! Romans 10:13 says it again, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rescue us from eternal death. Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is available to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
So just what does this mean to you? The final aspect of the Romans Road to salvation is the results of salvation. Romans 5:1 has this wonderful message, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through Jesus Christ we can have a relationship of peace with God. Romans 8:1 teaches us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Because of Jesus’ death on our behalf, we will never be condemned for our sins. Finally, we have this precious promise of God from Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I know this is a long read…but eternity is a lot longer…where you will spend it and where your family and friends will spend it depends on you…
February 19, 2021
There is much scripture teaching us how to be good and righteous. The Bible contains more than 400 commandments, rules, and precepts for living the way God intended us to live.
At The Last Supper Jesus summed up everything into three things He wanted us to do after He was gone. “Love one another as I have loved you, Forgive one another as I have forgiven you, and Remember me.” We go from one extreme to another – all of which is good – but there is another piece of scripture in Romans 12:9-21 that establishes a Christian’s Rules For Daily Living in plain and simple terms:
9 Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good.
10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.
11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord.
12 Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.
13 Take care of God’s needy people and welcome strangers into your home.
14 Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them.
15 When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad.
16 Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you know more than others. Make friends with ordinary people.
17 Don’t mistreat someone who has mistreated you. But try to earn the respect of others,
18 and do your best to live at peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, “I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.”
20 The Scriptures also say, “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.
Anyone can read this and understand how to live from day to day…no Bible Commentary required…no message from the pulpit to interpret…no self taught online lessons to study…just Paul’s words to the Romans based on what God had revealed to him…
February 18, 2021
Proverbs 3:5 teaches us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding”. But do we really know what that means or even requires for us to accomplish?
If the Internet has given the world anything, it is an abundance of the ridiculous. There is no shortage of grumpy cats, dancing babies, and fake news. Foolishness is glorified. Yet the world still longs for wisdom. Parenting tips. Marriage advice. Leadership principles. Personal growth. Life hacks. Fancy words describing one thing – wisdom.
Proverbs 3:15 says “wisdom is more precious than rubies”. James 1:5 further tells us that “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
So are we willing to pay? Talk is cheap. Wisdom costs. Wisdom is only words if not applied. Words become wisdom when they are internalized and the heart changes. And that is a sacrifice only a few are prepared to make.
Mark 12:30 teaches us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
The key to getting wisdom from God is to fully trust Him, love Him, and obey Him.
Trust is a deteriorating quality in today’s world. Coworkers play office politics because they cannot trust one another’s motives. The public doesn’t trust the government and vice versa. We have apps on our phones to check on the safety of our homes and bank accounts. We’ve learned how not to trust.
In the midst of a world where trust can be so difficult, you have every reason to fully trust the God whom you serve with your whole heart. When you see how He gave His only begotten Son to forgive and cleanse sinners, who sets free those who believe in Him and gives them everlasting life, you can declare as Romans 8:31 does that “If God is for me, who can be against me?”
I’ve learned that the faster we trust the Lord, the farther we can go. The delay between us receiving His blessing and His willingness to pour it out is the time it takes for us to trust that His promise is true.
The less time we spend worrying about what if and what will be…the less strength we waste in our own effort…the more we are able to accomplish…God’s goodness is poured out the quicker we trust Him…
February 17, 2021
Romans 8:28 is one of the most memorized and quoted verses in the New Testament because it promises “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This Scripture brings comfort, direction, and hope to Christians every day. Sadly, it’s also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood verses in the Bible. There are three things about this popular verse you may never have noticed.
First, Romans 8:28 includes Loving God and Being Called to His Purpose. To understand the truth of this scripture quote, we can’t just quote the part of the verse we like: “And we know that in all things God works for the good…” and skip the rest, “of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 is a promise for believers. Real believers. Those who are living for Christ. Not those who claim to believe in God but are living like the devil.
This verse says to those who love God and are doing their best to obey his commands, “Even though bad/sad/evil/wicked things will touch your life, I (God) will use them to ultimately bring about good, both in your life and in the world.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, an inspirational speaker, author, and singer, is a quadriplegic who has been confined to a wheelchair for more than 40 years. When people ask her why God allows suffering, she often says, “God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” And what does God love? For people to enter into a relationship with himself and become more like him. Joni’s life and ministry are a stunning testimony of how God can use a tragedy like a paralyzing diving accident to impact the lives of millions.
Second, Romans 8:28 doesn’t mean all things will be good. No matter how rose-colored our glasses are, there’s nothing good about cancer, sex trafficking, or death. Until Jesus returns and conquers Satan once and for all, sin will continue to drag its poisonous tentacles across our world, damaging and destroying everything in its wake.
The truth of Romans 8:28 reminds us that although sin and Satan are powerful, God is more powerful; He is able to redeem and restore anything for our good and his glory. All things may not be good, but God can and will use all things for good.
Third, the Importance of the Verse following Romans 8:28 “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”
A wise Bible teacher once told me, “God allows everything into our lives for one of two purposes—either to bring us into a relationship with himself or, if we already know him, to make us more like His Son.”
We find perhaps the greatest comfort of Romans 8:28 in the first three words, “And we know.” Adrian Rogers, in the Billy Graham training seminar, “Rising Above Your Circumstances,” said, “This is not conjecture, this is not happenstance, this is not perhaps, this is not maybe; this is ironclad certainty. ‘We know that all things work together for good.’”
As long as we live in this world, people will attempt to reconcile God’s sovereignty with humanity’s suffering.
Romans 8:28 assures us that no suffering is wasted…God is always at work for our good and his glory…When we cannot comprehend why trials come and struggle to imagine that anything good can come from them, we can rest in the security that God is still in control…always has been…always will be…because of this, we can have hope…
February 16, 2021
Oftentimes we get together and talk about things we’d like to change in the world. When we see the conditions of morality in this nation and the current direction our country is headed, and we know that many churches are abandoning the truth of God’s Word to be politically correct, it’s easy to feel hopeless because we don’t feel as though we have the ability, the power or the strength to make a difference. The reality is that not much will change until we talk to Someone who can change things. Regardless of how corrupt our world has become, the truth remains that this earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness. God is still on His throne, and He still governs the affairs of men.
Jeremiah 33:3 reminds us that God said “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
So if we want to see change, we need to talk to the One who can change it. Paul told us in Philippians 4:6-7 “don’t be anxious, but through prayers and supplications let your concerns be made known to God.”
The only One who has the ability to change the direction of this nation is not running on a party ticket…the only One who has the ability to fix what is broken in your world is the One who created it…the only way to speak to Him is when you pray…don’t you think it’s time to pray…humble yourself…call on Him…let Him show you something great and mighty…
February 15, 2021
Job 37:5 says “God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.”
When we see what God does, we should marvel and give Him praise. When was the last time you just stood awestruck at God? It’s one thing when you see the waters of the Red Sea part, and then take the tambourine and dance and praise Him for His wonders. When you see Jericho’s walls fall or Goliath slain, it’s easy to be awestruck by God’s greatness.
But when was the last time you just closed your eyes in your everyday life, took a deep breath, and said, “My God, how great Thou art?” When’s the last time you got up to walk and thanked God that you could go to church? Or, you used your fingers and thanked God that you could turn the pages of your Bible? Or, you saw the birth of your new born grandchild and thanked God that He gave you the ability to see it? Or, you heard something wonderful and thanked God that He gave you the ability to hear it?
When was the last time you said, “God, life is marvelous in my eyes, the way You’ve created this world, the way You’ve protected me and provided for me, and all the wonderful things that You’ve done?”…now would be a good time…on your knees…head bowed…in awe of what He has prepared you to do…
February 14, 2021
Many of us misinterpret the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:26 when he tells the church in Ephesis “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” It is easy to misread and think the apostle says “DO NOT be angry…” There is nothing wrong with a little righteous indignation when used in the proper way at the proper time.
Remember the story of Jesus in the temple with the money changers? That story is told in Matthew 21:12 where it says “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Sounds kind of mad to me…
God’s Word tells us to be “slow to wrath” in Proverbs 14:29 and James 1:19. There’s nothing that will do more damage to your relationships than unwanted, unwarranted anger.
If you are given to anger, let me tell you a couple of things the Bible says, and it won’t be flattering.
First, the Bible says you are foolish. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “anger rests in the bosom of fools.”
Second, you have a weak character. Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Uncontrolled anger is like throwing a rock into a wasp nest.
If you have a short fuse…confess it to the Lord…ask yourself what need is not being met…give that need to the Lord…
February 13, 2021
Romans 10:17 states explicitly just how important the The Bible – The Word Of God – is to our relationship with God. It declares “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith to believe God’s word is the very essence of receiving the promises that He says we can have.
We often take our Bibles for granted. But have you ever considered how astounding it is that the God of the universe cared enough about humanity to give us His written Word so we could know Him? The Scriptures record God’s thoughts, words, desires, and purposes as well as His interventions in human history. The climax of His revelation is encompassed in the coming of His Son as our Savior, His plan of redemption, and Christ’s future return as King of Kings.
Amazingly, the Scriptures were compiled from the writings of more than three dozen people, recorded over period of about 1,400 years! Each book of the Bible reflects its human author’s personality, background, and vocabulary, yet every word was inspired as God Himself spoke through each writer (2 Peter 1:20-21). What’s more, though written by multiple hands over multiple centuries, Scripture is a cohesive compilation: Its message is consistent in truth, purpose, and prophecy.
Without God’s Word, we would know very little about Him and nothing about redemption. So never take your Bible for granted. Each time you open it, you are hearing God’s voice speaking directly to you. Take advantage of this privilege and read it regularly.
Philippians 4:8 urges us to not just read The Word but to absorb The Word admonishing us by saying “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
David said in Psalm 1:1-2 that “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” He knew how much God wants us to love The Word.
Though the Lord surely wants you to talk to Him about what is going on in your life—your struggles and victories, your praises and your hurts—He also wants to talk to you. Prayer is when you talk to God…Meditation is when you listen to God…
February 12, 2021
“Love your neighbor as yourself” was often taught by Jesus as He said in Mark 12:31. Who among us wouldn’t agree with that statement?
When you’re sitting in a pew on Sunday and your pastor teaches that concept, you, along with everyone else, probably nod your head in agreement. When you’re having quiet time and happen upon that verse, do you feel confident and slightly proud of yourself? Of course you love your neighbor. God told you to.
It’s easy, right? Well, yes—until it’s not because reality is rarely as simple as the theoretical. I love the idea of loving my neighbor, truly. I profess love and try to live in such a way as to practice it. I want to offer to others what God gave so freely to me.
But when you look, literally around your neighborhood, what do you see? Houses you pass every day filled with people you’ve never seen. People to nod at as we drive past, but whose names we do not know. Houses that are suddenly empty, and we can only assume someone passed away because maybe your impression was that an elderly man once lived there, but we’re not even sure.
What kind of neighbor does this make us? I’m not wanting to beat myself—or you—up, but the truth is, we all make mistakes when trying to love our neighbor. Even if we mean well, even if we’re intentional about reaching out, there are likely things each of us could do better.
Billy Graham summed it up perfectly in one of his devotions. Dr. Graham said that this age in which we live could hardly be described as conducive to a sensitivity of the needs of others. We have developed a veneer of sophistication and hardness. Abraham Lincoln once said, characteristically, “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it is laid on the other man’s back.” Much of the world is calloused and indifferent toward mankind’s poverty and distress. This is due largely to the fact that for many people there has never been a rebirth. The love of God has never been shed abroad in their hearts. Many people speak of the social gospel as though it were separate and apart from the redemptive Gospel. The truth is there is only one Gospel. We must be redeemed, we must be made right with God before we can become sensitive to the needs of others. Divine love, like a reflected sunbeam, shines down before it radiates out. Unless our hearts are conditioned by the Holy Spirit to receive and reflect the warmth of God’s compassion, we cannot love our fellowmen as we ought.
Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:35-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Next to loving God we learn that the next most important love we share is between each other.
When we consider how to love our neighbors, sometimes we forget about the second part, which is loving ourselves. The quote, and Jesus’ command, after all, is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Which means that in order to love our neighbors as best we can, we must love ourselves. Self love is a continuous process, and often a hard one.
Jesus commanded us to love God, love ourselves, and love our neighbors…let’s honor him by doing these things because he loves us…use his love for us to inspire love within ourselves for ourselves and for those around us..loving communities are valuable…especially in times of crisis…like we are going through now…
February 11, 2021
What if I told you that tomorrow our world was coming to an end. What would become important to you? Would you seek to buy more stuff? Would you spend the time catching up on your favorite TV show? Most likely, you would spend time with those you love or even begin sharing Jesus with anyone you could find.
The truth is that no one except God Himself knows when “The End” will come as it is written in 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
While it may not be tomorrow (even though it is possible), the bible shares with us that one day everything we know will change. There will be no more money to collect, or a career to build or earth to stand on. The only things that will remain are those things that are eternal.
While money may someday be burned up, when we give money to the Lord, it changes lives for eternity. On the same note, our careers will not last forever, but when we take the time to witness to a co-worker, we have just helped form a relationship that will last forever. God has created us to be eternal beings. Our greatest purpose is to love God and enjoy Him forever. What’s great about that is that we don’t have to wait to fulfill that purpose. As we start loving God and loving others, we begin sowing into eternal things and forever changing our world.
The change we see around us serves to keep things the same. Biologists call this “stasis.” That might sound contradictory, but think about it for a moment. A baby is born – that’s change. The baby grows into a child and then a young adult. That’s more change. In the end, though, a new generation is born to replace the last generation, and things are as they were. It’s the cycle of life, common to all living things.
What’s more, the interrelated life cycles of all living things complement each other. Plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make oxygen and food, which are needed by the animal kingdom and human beings. Each generation of living things reproduces after its own kind, helping to keep this balance in tune.
The change we see all around us was designed by the Creator to renew the creation so that it might remain stable – the same. We can truly say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. However, this state of affairs will not go on forever. One day – and perhaps soon – the world will end. The Son of God, Who was the instrument of our creation and the instrument of our salvation, will return. Are you ready to meet Him?
If you have never accepted God’s grace you will never experience true peace in your life. Jesus Christ says in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.”
The Bible promises eternal life to all who receive Christ as it is written in 1 John 5:11-13 “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. I write these things to you who believe.”
If you have not asked Jesus into your life you can receive Jesus Christ right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is just talking with God. He knows your heart, so don’t worry about getting your words just right. You could simply say “Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Saviour and Lord. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
It’s not too late…be ready when Jesus knocks…listen – there may be someone at your door right now…see who it is…welcome them in…it may change your life for all eternity…
February 10, 2021
In the Bible, there are many times that God provided protection for His people from natural storms. While we still seek shelter from physical storms today, we can look to scripture for encouraging words during the symbolic storms of our life. Times of grief and despair can be represented by storms as moments to endure until the sunny days of happiness and safety arrive.
The Bible provides wisdom and guidance to get through the storms of our lives and follow the path of God through difficult times as told in Psalm 107:28-31 reading “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Are you facing an enormous storm in your life? Do your circumstances seem overwhelming? Do you fear the future? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, it is important that you remember that God is bigger than your circumstances. The Bible assures us in Joshua 1:9 “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”.
It’s important to have faith in God even when you’re dealing with any storm in life, but this can be especially difficult when you’re anxious or fearful. This is easier said than done when you think of all the things around that can insight fear and despair. Being anxious-natured can make your problems feel colossal and cause us to lose sight of the one thing that can pull us through – our Father in Heaven.
The truth is, we have hope through the promises of God that we can find directly in Second Corinthians 12:9 where God tells the apostle Paul “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
God will give you strength when you’re dealing with the storms of life. When it comes to dealing with life’s circumstances, know that there are certain things outside your control, so don’t focus on changing every little thing. Instead, identify, celebrate and embrace what you can learn from the situation. Instead of dwelling on the “what ifs” and the negatives of a given situation, focus on the power you have within yourself to define your own happiness; living one day at a time and enjoying one moment at a time. When you let go of the little things, you can see life in an entirely new way.
Psalm 91:1-2 reminds us that “Whoever goes to the Lord for safety, whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, can say to Him, ‘You are my defender and protector. You are my God; In You I trust.’”
God isn’t always trying to teach us something new in our trials and hardships. Sometimes, God wants to unlearn certain habits, patterns and behaviors that hold us back from being our happiest. He also wants us to trust in Him as our protector and a guide for growth. When you can accept hardships as pathways to peace, not looking at circumstances as forms of defeat but as opportunities for growth and strength, our lives can then be transformed.
In Psalm 57:12 David pleads “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
God has taught and continues to teach many things through life’s storms. He is teaching us how to live out of His strength by walking after His Spirit. Through faith, you will find your identity in Christ, which will calm the pounding waves that make you feel fearful, desperate or worthless. Jesus accepts us for who we are in Him rather than how we perform. This truth will calm your soul in the midst of life’s storms as David in Psalm 46:1 proclaimed “God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
We are called to this Earth for a specific purpose, with a specific purpose, even when we don’t always know what that purpose is. What we should always focus on is the fact that we are safe with God and that He is in control. Learn to accept that you can’t control or change certain life circumstances, so we need to relinquish control. The only thing you can change in life is you. Have the courage to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Take an honest look at yourself and acknowledge that you’re not perfect and work on what you can. This is the first step on the journey of change within.
None of the storms you will go through in life will be enjoyable. They can cause much pain. Yet, even in our regrets, God comforts us with His faithfulness. Whatever battle you are in, you stand victorious when you trust in God.
One great way to combat the storms of life is to pray…the great thing about prayer is that it can help us channel a hope that we didn’t even know we could access…so let the power of prayer work on your life…watch incredible things happen…are you on your knees yet…
February 9, 2021
The book of Lamentations, probably written by the prophet Jeremiah, is a dark but beautiful book that reflects the pain of injustice and human loss. It’s filled with crushing emotions: anger, desperation, fear, loneliness, hopelessness.
If you are personally wounded when reading Lamentations, you may feel strangely understood and comforted knowing you are not alone and that God is always near. In Lamentations 3:22-23 Jeremiah recognizes that “His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.”
David knew God was looking out for him saying in Psalm 28:6-7 “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Do you ever feel like the world is hungering for more of God’s justice, mercy and love? These three things that the world seems to be lacking are mentioned time and again throughout the entire Bible as both a description of God’s character and a call to action. God is just. He is merciful. He is love. And He asks us to be the same.
God knew that evil in the world would cause us to divide against each other, hold grudges, hate our neighbors and selfishly turn a blind eye when people are hurting. But He wanted more for us, and He encourages us to live above the ways of the world.
What might the world look like if we followed God’s call for Justice, Mercy and Love?
Scripture frequently mentions the mercy God provides for sins we commit…if we are willing to repent…nobody is perfect…He knows we have all fallen short of his glory…His mercies are new every morning…
February 8, 2021
What do you do when you’re distressed and helpless to help yourself? Do you call a friend and hope he answers the phone? Maybe he will and maybe he won’t. Our lives are so full we can’t always be there when someone needs us.
David had many occasions to cry out for help as King Saul chased him relentlessly across the land seeking to kill him out of a jealous rage. David knew who he could call and who would always be there to answer his call as he said in Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” He not only knew God would answer his call but that it didn’t matter when he called as he said in Psalm 55:16-17 “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”
David never took God’s help for granted. He always asked and never just assumed that God would help. David often pleaded to God as he did in Psalm 4:1 begging “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer” and in Psalm 143:1 sobbing “Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
David’s prayers were consistent, respectful, thankful, and unassuming. We can take a lesson from Psalm 17:6-8 where David says “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
What struggle today has you on the brink of brokenness? You’ll never feel the comforting touch of God’s mercy until you impound restraint and let a little tenderness run loose. He feels all your sorrows—and wants to carry them for you. Remember what the psalmist wrote about our merciful Father saying “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears.”
Call on God when you need him…you’ll never wear out your welcome…you’ll never need to worry He might be too busy…just make sure you’re not too busy to call Him…
February 7, 2021
We’ve all grown up with phrases that instruct us to do things correctly such as
* Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
* If you don’t have time to do it right the first time where will you find time to do it over?
* There is order in the universe – it must be maintained. (My favorite)
We are instructed throughout The Bible to do things properly and correctly just as 1 Corinthians 14:40 says “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
We are also encouraged by the scripture to urge and help each other to do what they are supposed to do and to do it the way it should be done. Hebrews 10:24-25 repeats this saying “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another”. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 reiterates the same advice instructing us to “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
When we work to serve The Lord, in whatever He has called us to do, we are guided to work together as a team in perfect harmony. 1 Corinthians 12:13 reminds us that “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
We are also urged by the apostle Paul to avoid those who would upset team harmony and cause division in Romans 16:17 where he says “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
Paul also reminds us that we are especially empowered by The Lord to do all these things when he wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Are you doing what you should..the way you should…when you should…as a team player would…if not, you may be giving up your opportunity to get into the game at all…
February 6, 2021
In Psalm 145:3 David proclaims to all who would hear that “Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.”
Because David was one of the worst sinners in The Bible but considered by God to be “a man after His own heart” David shouts his thanks to God from many of the Psalms in The Old Testament such as in Psalm 100:5 where he proclaims “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” and in Psalm 145:21 saying “My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” and Psalm 34:6 where through tears of joy he reminisces “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”
When was the last time you praised The Lord…for your salvation…for your family…for your calling to serve Him…for eyes to read His Word and the heart to understand it…for anything more than a sunny Saturday to play golf…are you on your knees yet…it is never too late to start…
February 5, 2021
Think back to when you were a small child. Were you ever afraid? Sure you were. Everything was new to you and you learned at a very young age that new and unfamiliar things tend to make you anxious and afraid. This continues all through life.
Aren’t we blessed to have a Lord that understands how we feel and is committed to taking care of us just like He did for Joshua when He told him in Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
David looked to The Lord for his protection just like he said in Psalm 34:4-5 saying “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
David truly believed this because he said in Psalm 16:8 “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” David often reminded himself of this as he did in Psalm 118:6 repeating “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.”
When Psalm 16:8 says “I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” that is the best place for you to be…that’s where your mother and dad were when you were afraid…right beside you…hand in hand…ready to face the world…regardless of the direction from which it comes…
February 4, 2021
Every day is new. God made things that way for a good reason and we need to realize that with any new thing we get, whether a new car, new game, or new spouse, we need to learn all about it and how best to get the value out of it for whatever God intended. We need to trust God every day to show us how to make the best of the day and get the value from it that he intended by showing us the way we should go. Psalm 119:49-50 quotes David telling God how much his hope in God means when he says “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Then David passes his experience on to us in Psalm 31:24 where he says “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
No one likes turbulent times, but until we reach heaven, they will be a part of our life. The underlying foundation for understanding the storms we encounter is found in Psalm 103:19. No matter what the apparent source is, God ultimately directs every situation, because His sovereignty rules over all. In Jeremiah 29:11 God reassures us when He says “For I know the plans I have for you,plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
He uses storms to bring us to repentance. Sometimes we create chaotic conditions with our own sinful choices. Yet like Jonah, we’ll discover that the Lord is always with us—even in our disobedience—drawing us back to Himself.
Storms are a regular, beneficial, and meaningful part of our lives but they never last. Psalm 30:5 reminds us that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Storms serve a purpose and then life goes on. God never lets anything happen that does not glorify His master plan for us.
He uses storms to grow us spiritually. Trials force us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. We learn to endure, persevere, and submit to the Father so He can make us more like Christ.
He uses storms to reveal Himself to us. Turbulent times give us a more accurate perspective of God and the way He works. Sometimes this understanding comes when we look back on a storm and see how He brought us through. Then we realize His strength was sufficient and His purpose was good.
Take comfort in knowing that God controls your storms, and His mighty power and unfailing love govern whatever comes your way.
An old Elvis Presley song should be our plea to the The Lord every day…you may not know the song but you know the feeling…and you know who he’s talking to…
When the storms of life are raging – Stand by me…
When the storms of life are raging – Stand by me…
When the world is tossing me like a ship out on the sea
Thou who rulest wind and water – Stand by me…
When I’m growing old and feeble – Stand by me…
When I’m growing old and feeble – Stand by me…
When I do the best I can and my friends misunderstand
Thou who never lost a battle – Stand by me…
Thou who never lost a battle – Stand by me…
February 3, 2021
“What? Me sing? I can’t sing. I would die if I thought anyone heard me sing.” Does this thought fill your mind when you sing to The Lord? If so, you are not alone! Less that 10% of us actually feel confident enough to sing solo in public!
The Bible speaks often of praise and worship through singing to The Lord. Psalm 100:1-2 says “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.“ Ephesians 5:19 also reminds us that we should be “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”
So what does this mean to those of us who “can’t carry a tune in a bucket”? The answer is just do it. If it pleases The Lord, just do it. We need to do it because it pleases God and not because it pleases us. Psalm 95:1 instructs us to “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”
So do what David did when he said in Psalm 104:33 “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
Guess what? God doesn’t care how you sound…He only cares about what comes out of your heart…not what comes out of your mouth…He only asks for a joyful noise…not a sweet sound…
February 2, 2021
In life, we sometimes face circumstances that are simply out of our control. Very often, no amount of our own planning or efforts can alleviate the struggles or even prevent such trials from happening. The enemy wants nothing more than to keep us enslaved to feelings of deep anxiety and crippling fear. Such feelings are just a few of the enemy’s most powerful tactics against God’s people. Yet we have weapons too – the Word of Truth and the power of prayer. Through prayer, we can stand strong in the power of God’s truth.
He is greater. Always. And He gives us the power to live courageously, boldly, and fearlessly while our surroundings tempt us to be anxious and afraid. His truth whispers sure and strong to the deepest core of our spirits in Isaiah 41:10 where God asked that we “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
When He said “I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God promised to uphold us. More than that, He promises to uphold us with His righteous right hand. That means, when you lose your footing, He’s going to be there to hold you up, if you’ll trust in Him…regardless of your circumstances.
Discouragement is probably the greatest attack of Satan in our lives. He uses discouragement to his advantage because it is extremely powerful. It can cause people to quit on something that God has told them to do, it can cause sickness, it can lead to sin, it can lead to atheism, it can lead to bad decision making, and more.
Don’t let discouragement stop you…if God is holding you up not even Satan can knock you down…do not worry about His hand…it’s holding yours not yours holding His…
February 1, 2021
The dictionary defines heartbreak as “crushing grief, anguish, or distress.” In today’s world, the term brokenhearted usually describes someone who has suffered a failed relationship or loss of a loved one. A search of the internet makes it appear as though almost all heartbreak comes from divorce or being dropped by a lover. But a broken heart may be brought on by a myriad of causes such as disappointment in a child’s lifestyle, loss of possession, loss of job, etc. Whatever the cause, the pain of a broken heart can be enormous.
The Bible teaches that our God is a God of love, mercy, and grace and when our heart is broken we need all three.
Psalm 34:18 states specifically that God cares for us by reminding us that “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 147:3 further promises that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
The events in Job’s life may be the earliest biblical record of heartbreak. In one day Job lost his children, almost all worldly possessions, his health, and his means of livelihood. What was Job’s response? Job 1:20-21 says “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’”. Job grieved. Yet, he worshiped God and remained faithful. Although he had doubts as to God’s goodness in these terrible events, through the trial he grew closer to God through God’s revelation of Himself.
Job learned what all believers can learn through heartbreak…God is faithful and good and trustworthy…your broken heart can be mended too…God made it…He can fix it…
January 31, 2021
Genesis 1:27 says “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them.”
David realized it was God by whom he was made and is quoted in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
We are further reminded by David in Psalm 139 that “God made all the delicate, inner parts of my body. He knit me together within my mother’s womb. I was made wonderfully complex. God knew me as He was painstakingly designing me with much loving care.”
We didn’t just evolve into what we are. We have been created and designed with a purpose. And the blueprints of you are similar to other human beings but they’re not exactly the same. You are unique—and so are we all.
The human body is a unique design of multiple systems that all work intricately together. The cardiovascular system gives you the energy to move. The muscular system gives you the ability to move, lift, and hold things. The digestive system processes food into energy and discards waste. The immune system keeps you healthy. The hormonal system determines your gender. The eyes cause you to see. The nose lets you smell. The tongue and mouth let you eat and taste. The ears enable you to hear. And your skin enables you to feel textures. You have the ability to encounter an incredibly diverse world with an equally amazing diverse body!
Then you were also blessed with a brain so you can think, process, and create. Isaac Asimov said the brain is “the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the universe.” Your emotions help you to relate to other people and feel compassion.
All of these systems (plus many more) were uniquely designed to make you who you are.
Maybe…just maybe…God knew what He was doing after all…
January 30, 2021
Philippians 4:7 promises each of us peace in whatever circumstance we find ourselves by reminding us that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 4:8 proclaims that the peace we get from God is so calming and restful that “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety.”
The Bible is filled with encouragement that can bring peace in the middle of struggles, worries, and fear. If we ask God, He promises us HIS peace “that passes all understanding”! When we take time to step back from the pressure of life and come into the presence of God, He is able to speak promises of hope and comfort over our circumstances.
The best thing you can do when you are filled with anxiety and worry is to find a quiet place to pray, read Scripture, and listen to encouraging worship music. God wants you to have a life lived to the fullest and that includes being at peace. You experience the peace of God when you come to Him in humility and accept the blessings He wants for you through Jesus Christ.
Do you feel His peace and presence yet…are your eyes getting heavy…enjoy your nap…God is watching out for you…peace is not the absence of storms but the presence of God…
January 29, 2021
No one likes turbulent times, but until we reach heaven, they will be a part of our life. The underlying foundation for understanding the storms we encounter is found in Psalm 103:19 when David claims “The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…”. No matter what the apparent source is, God ultimately directs every situation, because His sovereignty rules over all.
He uses storms to bring us to repentance. Sometimes we create chaotic conditions with our own sinful choices. Yet like Jonah, we’ll discover that the Lord is always with us—even in our disobedience—drawing us back to Himself.
He uses storms to grow us spiritually. Trials force us to rely on God’s strength rather than our own. We learn to endure, persevere, and submit to the Father so He can make us more like Christ.
He uses storms to reveal Himself to us. Turbulent times give us a more accurate perspective of God and the way He works. Sometimes this understanding comes when we look back on a storm and see how He brought us through. Then we realize His strength was sufficient and His purpose was good.
Take comfort in knowing that God controls your storms…His mighty power and unfailing love govern whatever comes your way…peace is not the absence of storms but the presence of God…
January 28, 2021
In Psalm 145:14 David says “The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
How great is the love of God that doesn’t leave us in such a pitiful state lying on the ground. He holds up all who fall – ALL. That means ME! That means YOU!
What we tend to take for granted is that in order for Him to pick us up, He has to be there, right there, watching all along. He saw. He sees. He knows. He is right where we are, ready to comfort us and deliver us. He doesn’t shame or scold or punish, He simply lifts us up so that we can start fresh again.
Psalm 37:24 reminds us that “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
When we’re broken and scattered in our huddled mess, lying and sobbing in a heap on the ground, He effortlessly reaches down and holds us up. Our messes are never too difficult for His love to redeem. Our wounds are never too deep for His grace to heal. Our sin is never too great for His mercy to forgive.
He is always waiting to forgive. Always ready to heal. Always there to lift us up.
Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
We don’t have to whisper. We don’t have to wonder. His word says that we can approach Him with confidence and know that He will mercifully and graciously help us in our time of need.
No matter where you are, no matter the struggles you face that have knocked you to the ground or frozen you in your tracks…God hasn’t forgotten you…He hasn’t left you behind…He hasn’t stopped loving you…He is always close enough to take your hand…He is never more than an arm’s length away…
January 27, 2021
Mornings have always been a special time for God and very important when dealing with us His children.
We are reminded by Psalm 118:24 that “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”. This means that no matter what the day brings, it was brought to us by God and we are to make the best of it and believe that God knew what He was doing when He made it.
With God each day is a fresh start. No matter what the previous day brought, the new day promises to bring better. Psalm 30:5 promises that God’s actions in our lives yesterday – painful as they might have been – are past by proclaiming that “his anger endureth but a moment; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
God has a storehouse of love and mercies for us that never runs empty. It is refilled every morning as described in Lamentations 3:22-23 that declares “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”
King David said in Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
David is a wonderful example of a man of prayer, who trusted the Word of God. His prayer life was regular, systematic, orderly and faithful – and he prayed with expectation that God would answer his prayers. Morning by morning we are told in The Bible that he directed his thoughts to the Lord, and lifted up his voice in prayer and praise to the God of his salvation. Day by day he discovered that God’s mercies were fresh and new every morning, for he knew that the Word of the Lord endures for ever and ever.
Too often we have a perception of how God will answer our prayers and when our petitions should be answered.. but God’s ways are not always our way.. and His timings do not always coincide with our eager expectations – but His way and His timings are always the best for each life, for He knows the way we should take. Let us reflect the prayer-life of David, who was an example of a man who prayed regularly, systematically, faithful and expectantly, and who cried: “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”
No matter what today holds for you…whether joyful or painful…it will not endure…tomorrow is a fresh start…a fresh lesson is coming…get a good night’s sleep…
January 26, 2021
Psalm 91:4-6 Tells of The Lord’s promise to protect us by saying “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
Psalm 3:3 further promises that The Lord will raise us up when we are pressed down when David says “But thou, O Lord, are a shield about me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head”.
David was fleeing from a massive army, sent by his own son, Absalom. It was only through the influence of an ally that this army did not rush on him in a vulnerable moment (2 Samuel 17:15–16). Pretty much everyone was writing David’s situation off as hopeless (Psalm 3:1–2). And yet, as he had in the past, David successfully overcame his enemies’ threats and taunts by trusting in the Lord.
He addressed the Lord as a shield around him, his glory, and the lifter up of his head. Just as a shield protects a warrior from swords, arrows, darts, and spears, so David envisioned the Lord protecting him from his enemies. This is the same confidence David expressed as a youth, when he confronted Goliath. At that time, 1 Samuel 17:45–47 says he called out to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand…For the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand”.
Why does your head need lifting today? Is it hung in guilt or shame? Is it pressed down by those who seek your destruction? Or, is it just too weak to lift because of sickness or depression?
God does not discriminate. If you are His child because you trust Him as your savior, He will be with you to hold your head up too…regardless of why…regardless of how long…
January 25, 2021
Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
This is who we are: the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. And this is the truth, whether we are aware of it or not: The Lord is near us.
That is not the way we always think. When is God closest to us? We tend to imagine that it is in times of ecstasy. People go to churches where they can “rock out,” raising their hands and jumping up and down, hoping through movements and mantras to get themselves into an altered state of joy. I don’t fault them for that; we all need joy, wherever we can find it.
Some would say that God is closest to us when we are in awe of the beauty of creation—standing on a mountaintop, looking into the Grand Canyon, watching the crashing waves, seeing the sunset from Block Island. Others might say God is closest to them in family moments—in the faces of grandchildren, in the grasp of a newborn’s fingers, in the comfortable embrace of your life partner. Some find God closest when a miracle happens—when someone is healed after we pray for them, when money shows up unexpectedly, when a car crash doesn’t happen somehow.
But this psalm offers us something different: God is near us when we are brokenhearted. It doesn’t always feel like that, does it? Sometimes we think God is absent, playing hooky, as if God had turned his back on us. C. S. Lewis said after his wife died that he could hear the door closing and the lock being double-bolted. There are plenty of other psalms where the poet cries out, “Where are you God? Do not be so far from me. How long will you hold back from helping me?”
The Bible is honest that this is sometimes our human experience: We feel that God is far away. But Psalm 34:18 counters this with a description of where God really is: God is near to the brokenhearted.
Is it true? Do you think it is? Ask yourself: When have you felt God’s nearness most clearly? If you are honest with yourself, I bet the times you were touched most fiercely by God’s nearness were not times of ecstasy or beauty or family joy. I bet the times you felt God’s presence with you most clearly were times when you were broken, times when there was no one else, times when your world was falling apart. That’s when God showed up right in the middle of your broken heart: “I’m here. I love you. I will never leave you.”
Do you feel him yet? Is He close? If you don’t yet, you can be sure you will…life is hard…God is on the way…
January 24, 2021
God told us to set aside one day out of seven for a very good reason: He knew we needed it. If we work all the time, not only will we wear out physically, but we’ll also neglect our relationship with God.
This is why one of the Ten Commandments says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:9-10). (The word “Sabbath,” incidentally, comes from an old Hebrew word that means to cease or stop doing something.)
This also is why we observe the Sabbath best when we use it for both rest and worship. Our bodies need rest, and that’s why the Old Testament decreed, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21). But our souls also need renewing—and that’s why the Sabbath also should be a time for worship and instruction in God’s Word. Jesus regularly attended worship on the Sabbath (e.g., Luke 4:14-16).
I’m afraid we’re in danger of forgetting this commandment today—but when we do, we pay a price both physically and spiritually. Instead, God loves us, and He wants to bless us by giving us rest and restoring our souls. May this be true every week for you—and every day.
We are meant to serve the Lord in community, not just on our own. It is also a public witness to the claims of Christ. Our praise proclaims Him Lord and Savior, Healer and Baptizer, ever-present Friend, and soon coming King! True corporate or public worship is one of the most evangelistic things the church can do! Public worship helps Christians to achieve a deeper understanding of the Bible, the life of Jesus and Christian teachings. It also enables those who receive Holy Communion to welcome Jesus into their hearts.
Public worship does not mean you have to be present in a church building. That building is not the church – we are!!! Public worship may be in an elegant cathedral or a bench in the park. According to The Bible, Public Worship is “wherever two or more are gathered in My Name says The Lord”. This can be with your family around the breakfast table at home, in your room at the hospital with friends, or in a nursing home from your bed where you are a permanent shut-in. When we know Christ, every day is an opportunity to love Him and serve Him more.
People don’t miss church because they live too far from the building…they miss church because they live too far from God…
January 23, 2021
Fears, anxieties, regrets. We all have them. Maybe they are little ones. Maybe they’re regrets like wishing you’d gone to your friend’s wedding. You really let her down. Or maybe they are bigger ones that latch onto you and never let go.
Do you have a burden so big you think only you can, or should, carry it? Are you scared about something that threatens your stability and faith?
What does it look like to give our burdens to God? And what truths and verses can we cling to in times of crisis?
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us that we can come to him when we are weary. That we take his yoke upon us. That means he will bear the weight of what weighs us down. God tells us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Regrets and fears, on the other hand, weigh us down till we can no longer look up.
Psalm 55:22 tells us we can cast our cares on the Lord and he will sustain us.
Romans 8:32 tells us that God did not spare His most valuable possession, but instead, He gave him up for us. And if God gave us Jesus, how can we believe anything we ask God even compares to that?
Titus 3:5 tells us that we could not get to heaven because of the righteous things we had done, but because of God’s mercy, he saved us.
Matthew 14:13 tells us that Jesus slipped away from the crowds and got alone in a boat. Jesus sought comfort and guidance from his heavenly Father, as we’re encouraged to do.
Matthew 14:23 tells us Jesus went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Luke 5:16 refers to Jesus slipping away to the wilderness to pray. And in Mark 14:35 he brought a few of his disciples with him and went on a little further to pray.
If God’s own Son found the need to talk to God, how can we think we can get through our lives without prayer…
January 22, 2021
God definitely has a plan for our lives. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
All we have to do to let God’s will be done in our lives is, as Micah 6:8 reminds us, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
All God wants from us for performing His perfect will in our lives is to be thankful for what He does. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
God’s will for our lives has reason and purpose. It is through scripture, where we can find meaning and principles discerning God’s will. if you are interested in knowing God’s plan for your life, then you must learn to walk with God. You need to develop a relationship with Him. Christianity is all about a relationship and spiritual connection rather than just religion. You will cultivate that relationship best by spending time in His Word, taking time for prayer, and taking every opportunity you can to be involved in church and small group Bible study opportunities. When you seek these disciplines in your life, God will begin the first steps to revealing His plan to you.
Many times when we say we are seeking God’s will, what we are really wanting to say to God is this: “OK, God, here’s what I’m planning to do. Now I need you to rubber-stamp this, all right?” I must tell you that this is not really effective in finding His true will. Before God will begin to reveal His will to you, you must be committed to doing whatever it is that He desires for you to do. Seek God’s will and plan for your life through obedience, prayer, and listening to the Holy Spirit.
God will likely be slow to show you His plan if He knows you will likely not do that plan anyway…
January 21, 2021
As our nation has just gone through yet another highly divisive election season, our tendency can be to draw firm lines between ourselves based on which candidates we supported, and that can in turn lead to personal dislike for one another, anger towards those who lead, and eventually division.
As Christians, we are to live in a fine balance; standing for that which is true while seeking unity among ourselves whenever possible, standing firm in the faith while showing grace to those who do not, holding our leaders accountable while praying for their wisdom and well-being.
We are to learn from the words of Ezekiel 22:30 where God said “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
We are to be those who stand in the gap, who lift up our nation with all it favors and faults before the throne of God, and pray that He continues to work in our midst.
R.C. Sproul said “There is not one piece of cosmic dust that is outside the scope of God’s sovereign providence.” This includes our nation, government, and we the people…
God has always been in control, is now, and always will be. Pray for our leaders whether you like them or not…
January 20, 2021
Our purpose in life is the very meaning of our existence and without knowing this we often suffer ignorant of our own significance. We fall prey to the illusion that our lives don’t matter and we have no connection or impact on the world around us. The Bible offers many insights into man’s purpose on Earth and living within a meaningful mission.
Psalm 139:16 tells us that God knew everything about our entire life on this earth before we were even formed in the womb where David says “God’s eyes saw my unformed body and all of my days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be.”
Jeremiah 29:11 further states that God said “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Proverbs 19:21 also reminds us that it is God’s plans and not ours that will determine what we do in this world where it says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
Ephesians 2:10 says we are made to do good things, all of which are outlined before we are even created by reminding us that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Psalm 138:8 instructs us that God’s plan will be accomplished in our lives when David said “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.”
There are many more statements, precepts, and directives in God’s Word that promise us that God does indeed have a plan for us, it is a good plan, it will be accomplished, and that we will be enabled to perform our part.
We should never pray for God to change what is happening in our lives but to help us understand it, show us what we should do to make it happen, and help us to see the good that will come from it.
If we could pray to God and get Him to change His mind then He wouldn’t be God…we would…
January 19, 2021
Exodus 23:25 clearly states that God promises that if we “Worship the LORD your God, his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you…”
Jeremiah 30:17 further tells us that God said “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds”
Isaiah 41:10 also tells us that God said “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The Bible speaks often of miraculous healing through the work of Jesus Christ and faith in God. Our Lord is able to provide comfort and healing for you and your loved ones.
When you are overwhelmed with health problems, bad news, or relationship struggles, the Word of God can be your source of supernatural help. Don’t give up! God promises greater things in store – a future filled with promise and hope!
There is no other book on earth that makes so many promises we can count on to be true than our Holy Bible. The Bible is the most sold book in the history of the world…and yet the most dusty from lack of use…maybe it’s time to do a little dusting…
January 18, 2021
The Will Of God and His plan for our lives always works for the best. We are reminded in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Hebrews 12:6 says “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” Like the old saying goes “No pain, no gain”.
Sometimes God’s Plan involves training and training is often painful and exhausting. Olympic athletes train for years and run 1000’s of miles just to prepare themselves for the ultimate test of running the 100 yard dash! All those years and miles for less than 10 seconds of fame! Almost all of this Olympic training is done in silence and alone. The athlete’s trainer certainly won’t be running all of those miles of training along side their future star but it doesn’t mean they aren’t running beside them in spirit.
God may be silent but he is not absent. Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When you hear God’s silence and feel his absence, trust his presence. … God is with us and God is active even when God is silent…
January 17, 2021
Have you ever stopped to think about your thoughts?
“Let’s face it,” Billy Graham wrote. “In the course of a day, all sorts of thoughts lodge themselves in our minds—some good, some not so good. Those thoughts can, in turn, give birth to all sorts of worries and anxieties; they may even lead us to do things that are wrong or destructive.”
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that Christians have the ability to “take every thought captive to obey Christ”. In other words, your thoughts don’t have to be random, and they don’t have to control you. With practice and God’s help, you can control your thoughts by meditating.
Some Christians are wary of or reject meditation, on the grounds that the roots of meditation lie in non-Christian influences such as Buddhism but meditation is biblical. Joshua 1:8 says “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
While meditation has been widely used in eastern spirituality for centuries, there is nothing inherently non-Christian about the practice of meditation, and, it is increasingly being accepted as a mainstream practice in the promotion of well-being and mental health. Without knowing it, you have enjoyed many periods of sweet meditation. Think back to the last funeral you attended for a very close relative or friend. While the comforting music was played and the fond remembrances were shared, did you not slip into a place in your mind when you and the deceased were enjoying good times in the past? You were meditating. Maybe not voluntarily, but you were meditating. It was a time of meditation that promoted comfort and healing didn’t it?
Christian meditation is nothing more than a time of peaceful focus on God, His Love, His Mercy, and His Grace. Christian meditation can focus on a single word, or as I prefer, a collection of verses from the Bible along with pictures and graphics that promote thanksgiving, devotion, and a desire to grow closer to God and to serve Him.
Think about it…if your mind is full of thoughts from God’s Word, where will Satan find room to store the evil thoughts that tempt you to sin…
January 16, 2021
Matthew 4:4 tells of when Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. This was the ultimate showdown – Satan vs God – high noon. Jesus had no weapons of defense except The Word Of God. When Satan tempted Jesus to prove that He really could make a miracle by turning stones into bread Jesus said “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
If you are a child of God, you are engaged in the same spiritual warfare that Jesus Christ faced in the wilderness temptation after His baptism (Matthew 4:1–11). The devil tried to get Jesus to question the Word of God, and that’s exactly what he’ll do with you. Jesus did not enter into a debate with Satan, but to each accusation, He answered, “It is written…” He spoke the Word of God, and finally He declared, “Away with you, Satan!” That being the weapon Jesus used, you need to do the same.
You drive the enemy out of your life by speaking the Word. When he tries to come into your finances, you drive him out by saying, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.” When he comes against your household, you say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” When he comes against your marriage, you declare, “What God has brought together, let no man put asunder.” When he comes against your physical body, you say, “By His stripes, I am healed.” When he comes against your children, you declare, “No weapon formed against them will prosper.” You have power to drive the enemy out of your life in Jesus’ name!
God’s Word is your most powerful weapon…keep your weapon loaded with lots of memorized scripture…be quick on the draw…aim for the heart…
January 15, 2021
The Will Of God always works for the best. We are reminded in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
It is God’s will that leads us out of one door He just shut and into another door that He just opened. The journey from door to door is more often than not very difficult and strewn with pain and suffering. We have to rely on God’s mercy and grace to make our way.
God has a rich supply of mercy and grace that we can tap into by simply doing what Hebrews 4:16 instructs when it says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
By praying and approaching the Throne Of Grace we are promised by 2 Corinthians 9:8 that “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
By following God’s Will and seeking His Mercy and Grace we are encouraged by 1 Peter 5:10 that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Grace and Mercy are always mentioned together throughout The Bible because we always need both. They go hand in hand. Grace without mercy is not any more useful than grace without mercy…we need both…aren’t you glad He has enough to go around…
January 14, 2021
Romans 8:28 tells us “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This is often very difficult to see in the trials and tribulations that come our way every day but when we look back, many times – not always – but many times, we can see how some difficulty caused us to take a different path and discover rewards we did not anticipate.
Psalm 118:24 is often misunderstood when it says “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, and be glad in it.” This a verse we often say to give thanks for a good day we are having, but on the contrary, this verse is God’s directive for us to make the day He is giving us a good day regardless of how terrible we perceive it to be.
Look for the opportunity in a difficulty you are given today and you might – just might – be able to rejoice and be glad in it…
January 13, 2021
Isaiah 55:8-9 Tells us that God is way more smarter than we are and so much more so that even when explained to us we still don’t always understand. God said “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” which reinforces the fact that we need to just let God come up with the best plan.
Even further, Psalms 27:14 tells us to “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.” If we don’t understand how God is working to accomplish His Will then how can we even hope to expect how long it should take. Slow down and give Him some time.
The story of Jonah and the whale is a perfect example of this lesson.
Many people say that Jonah was the wayward prophet, but he wasn’t wayward; he was stubborn. God spoke to him specifically that he was to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent. But Jonah was so prejudiced against the people of Nineveh that he said, “God, I’d rather die than do that,” and so he bought a ticket to a boat going the opposite direction. Some people would say that the ensuing storm that God sent was His judgment on Jonah, but the storm was actually God’s grace. Sometimes difficult times are God’s way of getting our attention, and Jonah knew why it was happening. But even then Jonah did not fall on his knees and say, “Lord, forgive me. Make the weather better, and we’ll turn the boat around.” He was so stubborn that he preferred being thrown overboard. Now that’s hardheaded!
Some people also mistakenly say that Jonah’s being swallowed by a big fish was God’s judgment rather than His grace. But in His mercy, God waited three days for Jonah to finally say, “I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed.” That was all of grace and miracle-working power.
Don’t mistake trouble for judgment when it’s really God’s grace…
January 12, 2021
Joshua 1:9 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” This is but one example of many found in The Bible where God offers a plan, the hope and confidence to carry out the plan, and His protection while the plan unfolds and reaches full implementation.
As God’s plan for our life continuously unfolds throughout our entire life in this world, He is constantly closing one door just as He opens another.
Don’t miss the next step of God’s plan for your life because you are always looking behind at the door that just closed instead of ahead for the one that may have just opened…
January 11, 2021
When I was a little boy my father used two words, “Be Still”, to handle many situations from correction to comfort.
If I was misbehaving he might say “Be Still!” in a stern tone which meant that if I continued doing what I was doing there would definitely be corrective and probably painful, action forthcoming.
If there was a terrible thunderstorm in progress that frightened us children so badly we shivered in fear, he might say “Be still…” in a gentle and comforting tone which meant not to worry he would take care of everything and that there was nothing to fear.
When God says “Be still” it covers all situations because He is saying that He is in control and nothing is going to happen that he cannot take care of.
So when you are troubled or in doubt or fear, be still…He is God…aren’t you glad…
January 10, 2021
Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The Plan Of Salvation is so simple that many lost souls just can’t believe that all they have to do to go to heaven when they die is to admit that they are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for their sins and arose from the tomb on the 3rd day, and then confess their sins and just call on The Lord.
For many nonbelievers that have made the decision to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior, the part of The Plan Of Salvation that they struggle with most is just how they are to call on the name of the Lord.
Praying to The Lord is merely talking to Him respectfully like you would anyone else. It does not need to be flowery language with lots of words but merely the most simple and straight forward conversation you can offer with as few words as needed to let God know your need. The most simple and effective prayer offered in The Bible was when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and asked if he could to. Jesus told him to come on and walk on the water to Him. Peter started out very well but when he took his eyes off of Jesus he started to sink and was in fear of drowning. Peter didn’t compose an eloquent 5 minute long prayer to ask Jesus to save his life – he just said “Lord save me!!!”. Jesus saved Peter and you can use the same 3 word prayer and Jesus will save you too.
Just keep it simple when you talk to God…He is not impressed with the great oration that comes out of your mouth…He is impressed with the great feeling that comes out of your heart…
January 9, 2021
Numbers 14:18 says “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” and Proverbs 17:9 reminds us that “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.“ What good advice and straight from The Word Of God!
We can only have peace in this world if we listen to Hebrews 12:14 that warns us to “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
To forgive requires the highest form of love…To love requires the highest form of forgiveness…Sometimes we must forgive ourselves before we can forgive others…It takes a strong person to say they are sorry but an even stronger person to forgive…Jesus did and you can too…
January 8, 2021
As we enter into a new year there is always excitement about what a new year might bring. Maybe a new job, a new home, a new baby. There is so much to anticipate that we can hardly contain our excitement and anticipation of the rich and glorious beginnings that await us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “When anyone becomes new in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
If you want the most excitement imaginable you only need to do one thing. If you don’t already know Christ as your Savior then you can make that decision right now and everything you are and everything you will ever be will be brand new just like 2 Corinthians 5:17 says.
1 Corinthians 2:9 tells of one of God’s greatest and richest promises when it says “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
What are you waiting for? Even if you already know Christ yourself, you could be telling someone else who doesn’t know for sure if they are going to heaven just how they can too, and you will share in their joy…
January 7, 2021
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
Some Christians are wary of or reject meditation, on the grounds that the roots of meditation lie in non-Christian influences such as Buddhism.
While meditation has been widely used in eastern spirituality for centuries, there is nothing inherently non-Christian about the practice of meditation, and, it is increasingly being accepted as a mainstream practice in the promotion of well-being and mental health. Without knowing it, you have enjoyed many periods of sweet meditation. Think back to the last funeral you attended for a very close relative or friend. While the comforting music was played and the fond remembrances were shared, did you not slip into a place in your mind when you and the deceased were enjoying good times in the past? You were meditating. Maybe not voluntarily, but you were meditating. It was a time of meditation that promoted comfort and healing didn’t it?
Christian meditation is nothing more than a time of peaceful focus on God, His Love, His Mercy, and His Grace. Christian meditation can focus on a single word, or as I prefer, a collection of verses from the Bible along with pictures and graphics that promote thanksgiving, devotion, and a desire to grow closer to God and to serve Him.
Pray to God first so He knows your need and then meditate so He can tell you what to do. Make prayer and meditation a part of your daily fellowship with God. Keep your pen and paper handy…
January 6, 2021
Are you feeling kind of insignificant and unimportant?
The Bible actually has many passages that tell us what God has to say about our worth and our value in His eyes. Genesis 1:26-27 says “we are made in His image, the very image of God.” Psalm 139:13-16 says “we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and all the days of our lives were written in God’s book before we were ever born”, confirming God’s prior knowledge and plan for our lives. Ephesians 1:4 says “God chose His children before the foundations of the earth were ever formed”, and in Ephesians 1:13-14 we’re told “we are God’s own possession, chosen for the praise of His glory, and that we have an inheritance in heaven with Him as His children.”
But notice the wording in each of the above phrases: “are made,” “are fearfully and wonderfully made,” “were written,” “God chose His children,” “we are God’s own possession,” and “we have an inheritance.” These phrases all have one thing in common: they are things done to us or for us by God. These are not things we have done for ourselves, nor have we earned or deserved them. We are, in fact, merely the recipients of “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Therefore, we can conclude that our worth is not really of the “self” at all; rather, it is worth given to us by God. We are of inestimable value to Him because of the price He paid to make us worthy—the death of His Son on the cross.
Since The Bible teaches “God chose His children before the foundations of the earth were ever formed”, then He’s been thinking about us for a long, long, time. I’d say that makes us pretty important don’t you think…
January 5, 2021
A New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the new year. Regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year. Resolutions can come in many forms. Some people make a promise to change a bad habit, such as quitting smoking or eating less junk food.
It seems that every new year we spend the first few weeks trying to sort through the numerou