Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Take Heed What You Hear!"

And he said unto them, "Take heed what ye hear: with the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you: and to you that hear shall more be given." Mark 4:24

I believe that as the new year approaches there is a 'resolution' here in this verse that we as believers need to take a closer look at and to understand what is really available to us in the days ahead.

Jesus spoke these words just after the disciples came to Him asking Him to explain the parable of the sower. He explains to them about the seed being the Word that is planted in the various types of ground, (hearts) and the effects that take place. He ends with the whole... bear fruit, some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold. He then tells them that a lamp isn't brought to be put under a basket or under a bed. But to be set on a lampstand and that there is nothing hidden or secret that won't be brought to light. Again he says, " He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

It is at this point that He speaks the words above to them. "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use it. It will be measured back to you." In other words, "You reap what you sow." If you apply His word to your life just a little? You reap? But what if...? What if we as His people decide to "take heed" and say, "Yes! I believe!" to the words he speaks. What if we decide that because he said we could speak to mountains we actually do it! What if we decide to truly trust Him to meet all our needs! What if we don't just hide His word in our heart but let it illuminate our lives. What if we as His people trust and believe His word to the point that we actually live, breathe, walk, talk, and act like Jesus.  "What if we, His people, decide to, 'take heed' and use(apply) every ounce of love, grace, mercy, faith, forgiveness, anointing...etc. that He pours into us on those around us? What possibilities would that bring? Thirty? No. Sixty? No. A Hundredfold? Yes!

 The disciples "tarried until they were endued with power from on high' because Jesus told them to!  What if we say, "100% yes!" not just to Jesus but to the Holy Spirit just because He said to. What if we take heed to every word that He spoke and we apply it and use it in our day to day lives? Would thousands be added daily? It happened for the disciples. They lived by the words of Jesus and were totally surrendered to the workings of the Holy Spirit. They didn't just use His words as words they applied them, obeyed them, and lived them as the Spirit led them. They lived anointed overflowing lives.

Luke 6:18 Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

Take Heed what you hear! Use It! And Then Reap A Harvest!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hometown Heroes

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34

As Christians, we need to be aware of the times. We need to be on the look out for Jesus’ second coming. We don’t want to be unprepared. We don’t want to be unaware. 

We have to be tuned into God, or we are going to be completely lost. 

“‘I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’ Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” Exodus 6:8-9

“And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ And he said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” And he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.’”

Moses and Jesus are both examples of the church missing what God was doing. We can’t let difficulties drag us away from God, and we can’t let disbelief live among us.

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

However, we need to be focused on God so that we can also tell what’s of God, and what’s of the devil. We need to be immersed in God, so that we don’t miss Him, so that we are not fooled, or weighed down. We need to be focused, so that we can be the hometown heroes. The ones that know the signs, and see Jesus.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Get God And Go Big"

For this cause I bow my knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That He grant you, according to the riches in glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. 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 'throught out all ages, world without end.' Amen Ephesians 3:14-21

For this cause ... I bow my knee... Paul took time to pray for those he ministered to and according to his last words, just before the "Amen," It means you and I are included in this prayer as well.

There is way too much here to hit on in a simple devotional so I'm going to just pull out a highlight that I believe is His heart for us today. "... That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..."

We need to remember that the plan is to live abundantly in and through Him! Paul had just asked the Father 'that ye might be filled with the fullness of God.' He then tells us that He is 'able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.' Don't you love how those that get God, go big! What I mean by that is this. If you have an expectation and someone exceeds that expectation than you already have more than enough. If you have an abundance of something than you already have plenty. Paul doesn't stop with those two words. He uses one more. Can you imagine what 'Above' exceedingly and abundantly all that we ask or think looks like? He says one more really important thing here. He says it happens 'according to the power that worketh in us.' Read His Word. Its is full of examples of when God moved in 'exceedingly abundantly above all that was asked' in the lives of those that surrendered to the fullness of God in their lives. They understood, "That its not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord."

Jesus said in John 10:10 that "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." The enemy would steal the fullness of God from your life. He would rob you of your abundant life in God by telling you that the Holy Spirit, signs, wonders, miracles and the love of God are not real or that 'they are not for today.' He will try to kill your faith and steal your joy but know this: Abundant life; a life filled with the fullness God; It is possible! After all, Jesus Himself said that He came ...that they (YOU) might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY" So, my best advice, "Get God and go big!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Army, Not a Hotel

"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. The it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first . So also will it be with this evil generation." Matthew 12:43-45

Unless you are careful, no, unless you are diligently focused, committed, and solely fighting for God, evil will come back. All the things we have conquered this year will do no good if we let the enemy into our hearts like we are a nice Bed & Breakfast. We, as the body, are not a place where fear, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, and temptation can come back to stay awhile. We are not a hotel. We are an army! So we need to be God's army.

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle." Psalm 144:1

"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 firm." Ephesians 6:13

Only with God, can one fight off the enemy. Let Him train us, so we become a Heavenly army. As one, let's take up our swords, immerse ourselves in God, and stop renting our hearts out to the enemy!

Let's fight back.


Friday, December 27, 2013

"A Deeper Place - Overflowing Passion"

In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped out first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. John 5:3-4

I don't know if you have ever experienced verses leaping off the page before but that is exactly what these verses did to me this morning! Stirring up the water! What a thought for the approaching new year! In this account we see that an angel would come stir the water and the first to make it into the water was healed of whatever ailed him. It says that a multitude of sick people just laid there waiting and waiting for the water to be stirred. This account is about a man who had been paralyzed a long time because he had no one to help him. Then, Jesus came along and just like that he was 'taking up his bed' and became a walking, talking testimony!

As the words 'stir up the waters hit me' the Holy Spirit brought to mind these words as well, 'Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you..." 2 Timothy 1:6. As the new year is drawing near I believe that He is calling His people to a new, deeper place in Him! A place of overflowing passion.

His heart is to stir up our gifts and callings so that rivers of living water will flow out to the lost and dying world around us. "He who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:38

He wants to stir up the water of the word that flows out of us! ...that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Ephesians 5:26

He wants us so stirred up that this fountain of water springs up with such passion that as we speak words of faith they touch all who hear them so that salvation and healing will come to all who have a need. "...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14

This man had been waiting a long time because there was no one to help him. The multitude of today is no different. They too are waiting, sick, blind, lame, paralyzed and sometimes alone with no one. We need to really understand this - our multitude is no different! They too are waiting for a move of God.

His heart is to stir up those living waters within us to overflowing! He wants to flood the nations with living waters so that All, not just the first one in, but All who thirst receive His touch!

As His vessel of living water, are ready to be stirred up to overflowing?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Best Part of Christmas

It's the day after Christmas, and sometimes people ask me, "What was your favorite present?" or "What was the best part of your Christmas?"

When I was little, the answer was easy: my favorite, new toy. When I got older it changed to new clothes or a book I had been begging for all year.

This year I adored seeing the looks of each and everyone family member and friend as they opened their presents, and as they watched us open our presents. It is the kind of joy that comes from God.

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

And as wonderful as this Christmas was, nothing will ever match the joy God experiences when His children open the greatest present He has ever given them. His Son's gift of life. 

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

"For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2:30-32

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
Ephesians 2:8

And I think that's the best part of Christmas. Every year.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Mary's Response"

"Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" Luke 1:28

Believers all over the world are reading, hearing, speaking, or thinking about these words as we celebrate the birth of our Savior today. As I was praying about what to share on this special day this is where He led me. I hope He blesses you as much as He blessed me.

I'm going to title this message, "Mary's Response" because that is what He would like us to take a look at today. God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary. He called her, 'highly favored one' in his greeting and a little later in the conversation, in order to calm her fears, He also reassured her by telling her that she had found favor with God. He then proceeded to fill her in on 'the plan' that she would be bringing Jesus into the world. He then took time to speak to her doubts, answer her questions, and give her some confirmation type news that ended with, "For with God nothing will be impossible."

Next, Mary's Response: "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

His message for you today is; "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you! You have found favor with Him! You too have been chosen to bring Jesus to your generation!"

He has called you! Will you have a response like Mary's? Will you bless Him today and say, "Yes, Lord, I'm all in. Use Me." "Will you let His plan for your life unfold as you trust His words to you today?"

"For with God NOTHING will be impossible!"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One of the Wise Ones

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'" Matthew 2:1-2

These guys saw a star in the sky, and eventually that led them to the Savior. There was no Heavenly chorus, no handwriting in the sky, and no Gabriel. These men witnessed a sign that could have been missed for something normal, mundane even, when it was truly a miracle.

It's almost like a fairy tale. Perhaps that's the problem with the rest of the world. It's no secret that the devil is trying to snuff the wonder of God's love, our trust and hope in Him into mere fairy tales. Sadly, it's been working. Many people look at this story of the three wise men as just that, a story. When they look into the stars, they no longer see the reminder of a miracle. They just see the same stars they have always seen.

The wise men were wise because they knew God well enough to see His sign in the Heavens, and believe. They got to meet the baby Jesus because they stopped to notice God's work. When we get focused, when we get logical and "adult," it is so easy to miss what God is doing around us. Strive to be the person who will see God's signs. Look for God. Be one of the wise ones.

Have a Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 23, 2013

"You Never Know When God Is About To ...."

You never know! You never know when God is going to do something special and show up in your life. In Luke 2:8-20 we can see some unsuspecting guys, going about their everyday business one minute and totally changed the next. There they are in verse 8 minding their own business, doing what they do, day after day, tending what is theirs to tend, and the next thing you know, in verses 9-13 they are being challenged by an angel to check out for themselves THAT God has just done the most amazing thing! He provided all men with a 'Savior, who is Christ the Lord'. Next, in verse 15 we see these same grown men decide to go get a look for themselves at this great thing that God had made known to them. In verse 16 it says that they 'made haste'. Can you picture grown men, leaving duty behind, and making a run across fields to get to the place where they could see this newly born baby in manger.

In verses 16-20 we see different men. We see that that encounter changed them. It says that from that incredible encounter with this special baby in a manger caused them to 'make widely know' the saying which was told them concerning this child. What that means is they started telling anyone and everyone they could,..."Today, in the city of David, The Savior, who is Christ the Lord was born!"

You never know when God is about to rock your world with a revelation of Him that changes your everyday completely! The men that we see returning to their flocks are not the same men we see in verse 8.

'Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.'

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Light, Sweep, and Seek

"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so,I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:8-10

So we know this passage as The Parable of the Lost Coin. In the literal, we can relate to this passage so well! Just this morning, I lost something precious to me, and I started to panic. The woman in this parable, she didn't collapse in a chair crying hysterically. She got some better light, swept, and sought diligently.

If we relate this parable to lost souls, then what are we doing?

The woman lit a lamp. Jesus is the light of the world. He shows the way clearly. Use Him when you're looking.

The woman swept the house. The thing about sweeping, there is always dirt, and there is always random stuff you didn't expect to find. A button, an earring. We save those things, and we get rid of the junk. Ask God to save save that precious person, get rid of the junk in their heart, and get rid of any junk in us, so we can truly help them.

The woman sought diligently. Jesus never gives up on someone. Sometimes when we can't find something, we give up. We stop looking and that item is covered with dust and filth under the dresser. I've started trying to ask God to help me find whatever it is that I am trying to find instead of panicking and being defeated. When I don't, when I give into the mess, the darkness, and the weariness, when I give up, then I don't find it. No matter what you do or who you are, we all have the ministry, the calling, the responsibility to help seek and save the lost. Never give up.

The Parable of the Lost Coin isn't just a literal example, and it isn't just telling us what God does, it is an example of what we are supposed to do. Light, sweep, and seek.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Hear His Words To YOU"

But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. And immediately He talked to them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Then He went up into the boat to them...Mark 6:49-51

The disciples took one look at Jesus walking across the water and decided that he was a ghost and they cried out in fear. Jesus immediately responded with words of encouragement. "Be of good cheer! (Cheer simply means - courage, or boldness.) "Be of good courage! It is I, do not be afraid." Sometimes, we like the disciples look at our circumstances and in the natural we only see something to fear. Jesus will always respond in the same way in those times. With words that would encourage us to trust HIM and with words that speak the truth. "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." His next move was to climb into the boat with them to reinforce His words with His presence!

If you, in this very moment, are in a place of fear at what you see in your circumstances then please Hear His Words to YOU, "Be of good Cheer! It is I, do not be afraid!" Oh, and you might want to take a close look - you'll see His Presence right there with you!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ready, Set, and Step Up!

"The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, 'Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.'" Mark 8:11-12

We all know people like this. "If there's a God, prove it. Tell Him to give me a sign."

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

God, Jesus, and faith have never been about the signs. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) It is about the believing.

I despise step ladders. The one we have is a giant, and it's only three steps! What I'm really afraid about is falling off this ladder. Maybe it will collapse under me, and maybe it won't. A sign that the ladder will support me would be reassuring... Or I can believe. I may not be able to see if this ladder will support me from down here, but I can take my assurance, hope, and conviction and believe that it will hold me!

We all have a spiritual step ladder. We can stay at the bottom and demand signs from God, or we can take steps of faith up the ladder of belief. But you will never get anywhere without believing. And that starts with Jesus.

Ready, set, and step up!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Old Or New Its The Way To Go"

But you ARE a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now we have obtained mercy 1 Peter 2:9-10

So? What does it mean to be a peculiar people? According to the Strong's Concordance in this verse it means - acquisition, preservation and it comes from a root word that means - to make around oneself; through, all over. A peculiar people are a people that God has acquired and preserved (By the blood of Jesus shed on the cross). A peculiar people are a people who allow the Holy Spirit to work in, through, and all over their lives. Sounds like being a peculiar person means being so immersed in Him that He envelopes, fills and flows out of.

Also, did you know that God Himself was the first one to use this word in reference to His people in Exodus 19:5 on the day the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. In the Hebrew the word peculiar means - shut up; wealth, precious. God Himself is saying that He will consider you precious treasure. His people! His peculiar people if we will hear Him, obey, and keep His Word with our lives.

Sounds like to me, old Testament or new being a peculiar people seems to be the way to Go!

I love this quote by a man that was definitely a peculiar servant of the Lord! 'I refuse to be an ordinary man! "Why?" you ask. Because I have an extraordinary God who makes extraordinary people, and because we either believe God's plan or we do not.' Smith Wigglesworth

Trust Him. Surrender to Him. Be immersed by Him. Be treasure to Him. Be His very own peculiar people. Amen

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Way Cooler Then Frosty

I've heard "Frosty the Snowman" a lot lately. I've found myself humming it more then I care to admit. But there is one part that always drives me crazy:

"Frosty the Snowman, knew the sun was hot that day,
so he said, 'Let's run, and we'll have some fun now, before I melt away.'"

He knew the sun was hot! He knew he would melt away! Why, oh why, did he run around, instead of hiding from the sun?

It got me thinking about Someone else Who ran towards the sun...

"And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, 'See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise." Mark 10:32-34

The logical side of us tells Frosty the Snowman to go hangout in a freezer so he won't melt. Think about Jesus. Jesus went straight to Jerusalem. He didn't run, hide, or even stall. He went straight there when it was His time. There are so many facets to Jesus dying on that cross, and one of them is that He knew what kind of pain, torture, and hell was coming up for Him. We wouldn't blame Jesus for stalling.

However, our God is awesome, because Jesus marched His way into Jerusalem, and He didn't look back. He went straight into the sun...but He didn't melt. No, He emerged victorious.

He is a way, way cooler then Frosty the Snowman.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Don't Be A Blue Donkey"

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God?"

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of His understanding

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:27-31

So, here we have a very tactful response to what I would call an 'Eeyore' complex/mentality. You know the one, "Woe is me." "Everything/everyone is against me." "God doesn't hear my prayers." I think if we are to be totally honest we all suffer from such a 'woe is me' complex at one time or another during our lifetime. Personally I think my response might simply be, "Stop your whining! Of course He hears you!" Verse 28 is such a better way to address this 'God has forgotten me,' attitude and to bring about a measure of reassurance to the person feeling this way.

Instead of my, "Stop your whining," approach we get to see a gentler, kinder way to handle it with this,  wait, remember who He is! He is the Everlasting God. The Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth! He never faints or gets weary and there is no understanding His plan and purposes. He gives power when we are weak and increases our strength when we need increased strength!

Everyone, even youths get tired and weary ... But, but, but, but, BUT those who WAIT on the Lord SHALL renew their strength; they SHALL mount up with wings like eagles, ..."

According to the Strong's Concordance the word wait means; to bind together (perh. by twisting). So, the next time you are feeling blue, with your head hanging down, your tail held on by a safety pin and "Woe is me." is coming out your mouth remember! Remember who He is and that the best way to move beyond an Eeyore moment is to wait on God. Don't be a blue donkey! Bind your circumstances up together with Him and then watch Him help you soar!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Even One

Do you ever fell so unworthy of God's love that you wonder why He bothered to save you? Sure, He saved millions, but what if it had been just one? Why would He bother to save one undeserving mess?

In Genesis 18 you see God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because the outcry against them was great and their sin was very grave. (Verses 20-21)

Abraham goes to God and says, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" He asked God if fifty righteous men were found in that detestable place, would He still destroy it? The Lord said he would spare it for fifty righteous people. (Verses 22-26)

Slowly Abraham worked his way down with five missing here and there. He got all the way down to ten people. God told Abraham He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for ten righteous people. He would spare the city for their sake. (Verses 27-33)

God's love and compassion for the theoretical ten people was so real, that He would not destroy them with the evil people of that land. God doesn't just say stuff like you or I. When He says it, He means it.

"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

God's love for us surpasses all knowledge. It is so strong that He went to the length of death to save us from the depths of hell. But even if He could only save a few of us, or even just one, He still would have gone to hell and back.

He bothered to save us because of His amazing love for you and I.

Whenever the feelings of unworthiness come, remember that Jesus died for you, and let His love fill you.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Take It To The Bank"

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:12-17

Again we see the words, 'most assuredly' used by Jesus. Once again we can take His next words to heart and know that we can count on them to be the truth. In other words we can, in today's vernacular, 'Take it to the bank' and count on them coming to pass. We have no problem today, taking the money we earn for a days work to the bank, depositing it and driving away knowing that when we need it, it will be there for us to use for whatever act or purpose that we desire. We trust the bank to hold onto it and to keep it safe till it is needed.

Jesus is explaining to His disciples that He is going back to the Father. They have concerns about this and the above verses are His answer to them to comfort them. He is telling them that they have one thing that they need to do to have His unlimited resources available to them. Believe Him. Believe that He and the Father are one. Believe that He is going to the Father for their greater good. Believe Him when He said He would send them a Helper, the Spirit of truth. Believe that if they have a need and ask in His name it will come to pass. His works, and even greater works are possible if we believe because He kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit to Help and equip us.

You and I have access to 'Those works, and even The greater works' when we believe. In the middle of this He makes a really simple statement, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." He had just told (commanded) them to Believe, to do works, and greater works by asking in His Name, and to receive the Holy Spirit. I would challenge you today, to believe, right now in this moment for the thing you have need of whether, it be for salvation, receiving the Holy Spirit, healing, or something else. Just believe, ask in His name and then stand back and watch Him move in your need. After all, He did say assuredly!

Oh, here is a perfect example of the disciples following His instructions: "Silver and gold we do not have but, what I do have I give to you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Acts 3:6

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Once Their Back Was Turned...

Have you ever known a kid (Or perhaps you were this kid!) who would wait until the adult's back was turned before sneaking into something? Once caught, this child was as contrite as could be-until opportunity presents itself again!

 "Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways." Judges 2:18-19

Perhaps the worst thing about how the people were living isn't that they were waiting for their judges to die before chasing after false gods, but that they consistently took advantage of God's mercy. Then without another thought for all He had done for them, they turned their backs on Him.

How does the adult feel when the child keeps waiting until their back is turned, and then running into mischief?

God has pity, mercy, grace, and pure love. Carelessly throwing that into the wind, is heinous. The fact that God could still love and forgive us is nothing short of miraculous. I pray that we don't live our lives, grieving the God Who loves us.


Friday, December 13, 2013

"All Expenses Paid Vacation"

..."Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Luke 12:40

Time. Time is a concept that we all understand. It takes time to accomplish a task. We need to be someplace at a certain time, we don't have enough time before something is due to happen, and so on. Game shows are big on TV these days and they all have something in common. A big clock ticking away. They almost all have timers that determine whether people win the big prize or they lose it. If they complete the task, answer the question, or run the course before the time runs out then they win the desired prize. Often times it is an all expenses paid vacation that they are thrilled about and they are willing to do whatever task the game requires to win it.

Time. We as human beings tend to take time for granted. We assume that the next minute, hour, day, week, month, year will always come. We assume we will have tomorrow to get ready and do the things we desire to do for Him. The truth is we don't know what day and hour He will come. The truth is there will come a time when it is too late choose the right answer.

We too, like all the game show contestants have the opportunity to receive an all expense paid vacation in the ultimate location. We don't have to answer some bizarre question, perform some bizarre task, or run on some bizarre course. All we have to do is say, "Yes!" to the Savior who paid the expenses for our ultimate paid vacation. There is only one stipulation. It needs to happen before time runs out!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Security Blanket

Did you ever have a security blanket? A blanket you would take with you everywhere. Through rain or snow, sunshine or dark nights, dirt and mud, that blanket accompanied you. Then one fateful day your parents tell you that you can't take your blanket to your first day of school. It is the end of the world. So what do you do? You hide your blanket in your backpack and pray your parents don't find it.

"So Jacob arose and set his sons and his wives on camels. He drove away all his livestock, all his property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to the land of Canaan to his father Isaac. Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father's household gods."

Rachel had a similar moment when she stole her father's household idols. When her father caught up to them, she ended up sitting on them and lying so he wouldn't find them.

There have been a lot of times where I wondered why she stole them. Perhaps the reason wasn't because they were so stylish, but maybe because she needed the security of those "gods" in case this God failed.

In the back of our minds, are we expecting God to fail? Do we put more faith in medicine, technology, and money then we do in God's ability to provide and care for us? Do we have a security blanket stashed away when it turns out God isn't enough?

"Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." Proverbs 26:11

It is just gross and foolish to put more faith in our security blankets then we do in God.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"A Healthy Choice"

BUT the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

So often we talk about the fruits of the Spirit as if they are just automatic byproducts of being a Christian when in truth they too are a choice. In the natural fruits are good for us. We need to have our fruits and vegetables in order to be and stay healthy. So we make a choice to add them to our diet and to eat them. We pick our favorites and they become a part our regular food intake. Why? Because they taste good and we like eating them.

The word but in the verse above tells us that these fruit of the Spirit are listed to contrast something else. The something else can be found in the previous verses and it is a whole long list of the works of the flesh. In verse 17,18 it says that... the flesh and the Spirit are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Sometimes I think that because we are Christians we think we will automatically choose the right response when these verses very clearly tell us it is a choice we make.

Just as in the natural we make a 'healthy' choice to eat fruit we need to make a healthy choice to walk in the Spirit. We can choose to love over hate. Kindness and goodness instead of meanness etc. We make a choice to walk in the Spirit or in the flesh and the fruit of that choice is, (as verse 19 tells us) is totally and completely evident to those around us.

So the question is... Have you had your daily allowance of fruit today?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Memorial Stones

The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' For the Lord you God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord you God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever." Joshua 4:19-24

Joshua said that those stones were a memorial. A testimony of what God had done for His people. Joshua was direct with this command. He said when their children asked, tell them what God had done. No skidding around it, no made-up story, just the complete truth. God had done a miracle, and the pile of stones would attest to that forever.

There may not be a pile of miracle stones where we live, but there are "memorials" all over the world that attest to the miracles God has done. Take Christmas for example. The real reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus was born-the Savior had come! What does the world make it out to be? A holiday dedicated to a gift-giving man in a red suit, and a reminder for the children to behave themselves.

Are we ignoring the memorials dedicated to God? Are we telling people what they really mean? Or is everything just a pile of stones now?


Monday, December 9, 2013

"Watch It Move"

...Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast him out?"
So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:19-20

And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away." So Jesus answered and said, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, 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 come to pass, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:21-23

And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6

So often, we, like the disciples ask, Why, Lord? Why can't we?" "How? The tree withered! Show us how." or maybe even "What else do I need to do? as we look to Him for more faith."

Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you." He assures us! Did you catch that? He assures us that it only takes a little bit of faith, a little bit of believing and then we use it to speak to the mountain.

Here is a question for you. 'Are you saying?' - He said I assure you if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will, (emphasis on will)  say to the mountain, "Be Moved!"  'Whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and cast into the sea." Catch that? Whoever says. "You can say to the mulberry tree be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea." Again, you can say to ...

In all three of these examples Jesus is telling his disciples to trust Him with this one point. Have faith in God and then speak to the mountain.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

If we want faith that is alive and active than we need to start speaking faith to our mountains.  Jesus assures us that if we start speaking than, nothing will be impossible, we will have whatever we say, and the mountains and trees in our lives will obey!

It is time that we, His disciples get it done. So. Here, now, today. Go grab your mustard seed and Go Speak to the closest mountain and watch it move!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Take an Ear

In Revelations chapters 2 and 3, there is a phrase that is said seven times, to each of the seven churches. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches." God says this to each of the seven churches, so it must be important.

He didn't say those with a Bible degree. He didn't say those who run a healing ministry. He didn't even say adults. He said he who has a ear. You don't even need two ears!

God wants everyone to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the church.

A church needs Godly leaders who will lead and guide them, but a church needs people who will hear God's voice. Sometimes it will be a big message for the church, and other times it's something deep  and personal for you...but that won't happen unless you listen. His voice is available for all of us to hear. So let's take an ear, and hear the Holy Spirit's voice.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Our Best Defense"

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him At all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed in the balances, They are altogether lighter than vapor.

Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase Do not set your heart on them.

God has spoken once, Twice have I heard this: That power belongs to God.

Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
                                                                                                                 Psalm 62:5-12

This whole Psalm is about setting your focus on God! Trusting Him with everything! He is our best defense against those things in our lives that would take our eyes away from Him.

Like David we need to take time to tell our soul to be still and focus on God, not the things around us that would cause us concern. David had his share of concerns. His day to day life was full of distractions and concerns. In this psalm he is warning us to put our trust in God rather than focusing on money, trying to gain power, trusting in others, or even trusting in our own strength to overcome.

He is God and salvation belongs to Him. It is His power and strength that we need to trust in not our own. We trust Him when we, 'at all times pour out our hearts before Him' and then wait as He shows Himself faithful.  In His infinite wisdom,  power, and mercy He will always make a way.

He will always be a refuge to those that pour out their hearts before Him! Time with Him is our best defense!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Journey to God

"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp." Exodus 33:7

Moses would set up the tent of meeting outside the camp. Why? Why not just set it up in the middle of camp? Safer, smarter, more convenient. Seems like a no brainer.

It would have been easy to set it up in camp. Too easy.

In order for them to spend time with God, they had to take time, walk to a specific place, and focus on God. The journey was all about God. If the tent of meeting was in the thick of the camp, there would be distractions. People, chores, and concerns clamoring for attention. Eventually the journey to God would become a few halfhearted minutes, instead of time devoted to God.

It's important for us to go outside the camp. To leave the presence of the world, and enter the presence of God. Church, a park, or even just some quiet time in your cozy chair. The point is we need specific time with God. We all need places we can go, physically or spiritually, where we are alone with God and far, far away from everything else.

We need to steal away and journey to God everyday.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Personal Choice"

And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" So they answered and said, "John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the prophets has risen again." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." Luke 9:18-20 NKJ

So, you may have already gathered, what the question of the day is.  "Who do you say that He is?"

First, Jesus asks the disciples what the crowd thinks about who He is.  He receives an answer that includes multiple possibilities. Then He gets specific and actually gets personal and asks who do they say that He is. I guess the thing I noticed here is that the disciples knew the answer. They knew what the crowd thoughts on the subject were. They were with Him every day watching, listening, taking in all that He was saying and doing but still they were listening to and aware of the crowds opinion.

Over in Luke 8:49-56 they come and tell the ruler that his daughter is dead. Not to trouble the teacher any more. Jesus responds to that with these words, "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well. It goes on to say that when Jesus came to her and said that she wasn't dead but sleeping that the crowd, laughed Him to scorn.He then put then out and proceeded to raise her up.

In Mark 10:48 we see blind Bartimaeus, "that many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stops and gives the man his sight.

We need to remember that what the crowd thinks, what others think is what really matters to the outcome of things in our lives. What others say isn't what is important. The worlds opinion or rather the worlds declarations or their 'laughing to scorn' are not what matters. What really matters is "Who do you say that He is? If the ruler had listened to others instead of making a personal choice to believe in Jesus his daughter would have stayed dead. If Bartimaeus had listened to those trying to silence him instead of making a personal choice to believe in and pursue Jesus he would have stayed blind.

You and I need to be able to answer the question, "Who do you say that I am?" We need to make sure that the crowd doesn't sway us from knowing that He is the Christ, the Anointed of God and all that that brings into our lives as we serve Him!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Share Your Burden

"The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?' And Moses said to his father-in-law, 'Because the people come to me to inquire of God and his laws.' Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.'" Exodus 18:13-18

Moses had quite the responsibility here. He had been entrusted with the whole Israelite nation. He was trying to take care of them, lead them, and guide them. So all day, every day, he would listen to their problems and questions. I just picture Moses sitting on a rock, with a line of people stretched out for miles who were waiting to talk to him.

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, saw the problem: Moses was going to burn himself out, and the people would grow impatient, and rebel. The rest of Exodus 18 is Jethro's solution. Moses would represent the people before God, but he needed to find some Godly men who would be set over 10's 50's 100's, and 1,000's. They would handle some of the disputes, questions, and general burden of the workload.

I don't know about you, but delegation has never been my strongest trait. How often do we find ourselves burned out because we are trying to handle it all by ourselves?

"Bear one another's burdens, ad so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." Galatians 6:2-3

It's not easy letting someone share in your burden, but don't deceive yourself into thinking you are the exception.God's plan was never for you to go it alone. But in order to fulfill this law of Christ, we need to let someone bear our burdens, just as much as we need to bear their burdens.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Are You Persuaded?"

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

I love this passage of scripture! It reminds me that no matter what, God still loves me. It also reminds me of how much I love Him! I think my favorite words are these three words, "I am persuaded."  I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of tribulation because I know that He loves me and He is with me! I am persuaded that I am a conqueror when I am distressed because I know that He loves me and He will help see me through! I am persuaded that I am more than a conqueror during persecution for His name sake because I know that He loves me and that He honors those who honor Him! I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of famine and nakedness because I know that He loves me and 'He knows what I have need of' and He will provide for all my needs. I am persuaded that I am a conqueror in times of peril because I know that He loves me and He is my sword, 'my shield and my buckler.'

There is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. It is constant and ever present. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His love for us, His creation, never changes. His love is the lifeline that sees us through and it is the one thing that we can always count on. His love for us is the thing that is more powerful than death, life, angels, (including fallen angels),principalities and powers, heights, depths, or any created thing.

I too, am persuaded that nothing can separate us from  His love and ...

As for me and my house, we will LOVE the Lord!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Follow God's Heart

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God." 1 John 3:18-21

Following your heart. That's a big thing. You see all kinds of "stars" talking about how they knew that this decision was right because they are following their hearts.

Our hearts are easily swayed. Slapped with fear and emotion that won't guide us in the right direction. Our hearts are not a trustworthy decision-maker. Verse 20 says that when our heart condemns us, God is greater then our heart because He knows everything. God is the one we should go to with our decisions and questions.

Verse 21 says that if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence in God. That means that person is going to God with his questions and life decisions. That person is not being betrayed by a human heart. He is being guided by the Lord. He has the utmost confidence in God's leading. He is following God's heart.

God is greater then the things that would try to influence us. He will lead if we will follow. We need to put all our trust in Him. We need to have confidence that God will guide our hearts. That starts by following His heart because His heart is for us.


"Faulty Hand Washing"

Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash hands their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. Mark 7:1-3

I found it interesting that two groups of men who have different views that usually separate them came from Jerusalem together to go to Jesus to 'find fault' with something as simple as washing your hands. The traditions of the elders was obviously a powerful thing! Clean hands were not enough, you had to wash in just the right way making sure you were washed ceremonially. Washing your hands before you eat should be a simple enough task that anyone can accomplish without criticism but there it is the disciple couldn't get it right.

The Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, 'Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" Jesus responded pretty strongly. He immediately, with His first statement, lets them know what He thinks of their 'finding fault' process. He tells them, "Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other things you do."

Hypocrites. He called them hypocrites and then proceeded to explain why. He listed off a few examples supporting their habit of rejecting the commandment of God for their traditions and then He ended by turning His attention to the multitude. He had something important to say. He called the people to Him and He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from the outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear let him hear." Mark 7:14-16

Remember, its easy to find fault with people, with the way someone washes their hands, or how someone else does things differently, but the truth is, all of that isn't what is really important. Keeping our hearts and minds set on Him is the best way to keep our hearts clean so that what comes out is the love of God.  What really matters is loving God, keeping His commandment, and loving others.