Friday, December 27, 2013

Being the Beatitudes

Being the Beatitudes

Many of us will begin 2014 by making New Year’s Resolutions. These commitments, goals, promises, etc. often focus on bettering ourselves or impacting the world around us. Lots of people use this time of year to refocus their efforts in obtaining health, wealth or happiness.

As Christians, our focus everyday of every year should be to become more and more like the person God intends for us to be. Our only hope of success in this transformation is the goodness and faithfulness of God (see Philippians 1:6).

In Matthew chapter 5 (verses 3 – 10), as Christ began the Sermon on the Mount, He listed eight characteristics that lead to being blessed (or happy). This well know section of scripture is known as ‘The Beatitudes’. Perhaps a great way to step into 2014 would be to focus on ‘Being the Beatitudes’.

The call of the Beatitudes:
  • Blessed are the poor in Spirit; for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.
    • What I Have – Without God, I have nothing that matters for eternity’s sake; I am spiritually bankrupt; I must depend on Him for everything good and meaningful.
    • Recognizing this, I turn to Him: for forgiveness, sanctification and purpose (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
  • Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
    • What I Feel – I am broken over sin. I ache over the pain and sorrow and emptiness that consumes all who suffer the consequences of living in a fallen world.
    • Real and lasting comfort comes only from God: His work in our lives and the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit (John 14:27).
  • Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
    • What I Am – Gentleness may appear as weakness to some; but there is great power in restraint. God enables us to show love and kindness when we desire to lash out.
    • Christ, the incarnation of God, was meek. I am called to be like Him (Matthew 11:29).
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
    • What I Need – Restoration before a perfectly holy and righteous Heavenly Father.  Salvation and righteousness before God come only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
    • He calls and justifies those He knows will surrender to Him (Romans 8:29-30).
  • Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
    • What I Give – Patience, forgiveness, love and hope.
    • What God has done for me I am called to do for others (Ephesians 4:32).
  • Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
    • What I Want – My thoughts and desires are focused on those things that please my Lord and Savior.
    • Only a heart made new in Christ can be pure (2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 4:8-9).
  • Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.
    • What I Do – Vengeance belongs to God. As a follower of Christ, I must never stir up or delight in trouble, arguments, fights, etc.
    • Christ brings peace to my life. Peace should characterize my interactions and influences with others (Proverbs 15:1, Romans 12:18).
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
    • What I Experience – Serving Christ will lead to persecution. The frequency and extent of that persecution is in God’s Hands. How I respond to it is in mine (by His grace, power and presence in my life).
    • Christ, the only sinless man to ever live, suffered persecution. So will I (John 15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12).
Being the Beatitudes is only possible through the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). However, our transformation will not be completely fulfilled until we are with Christ (1 John 3:2).

May God bless you in 2014.


Holy, righteous, perfect Father, I long to be blessed by You by living my life for You. Enable me to become the man You have ordained me to be. May my life be a blessing to others as I surrender to You and show others the love of Jesus. I love You and Praise You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights
Celebrating the birth of Christ is a joyous occasion. But for those without Christ, Christmas may be just another opportunity for vainly attempting to fill the emptiness inside with pleasures, distractions and possessions. Most everyone celebrating at this time of year, Christians and non-Christians alike, can face the added stresses of juggling schedules, yearend deadlines, traffic, traveling, etc.
Christmas is a great opportunity to let the light of Christ shine through regardless of the circumstances.
  • Philippians 2:14-15 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Your attitudes, words and actions speak volumes to others about your relationship with Jesus Christ. So, wherever your holiday travels and traditions take you, whether your days are jubilant or jumbled, be sure to keep your priorities straight and your testimony intact.
Regardless of how stressed and stretched you get, be sure to:
  • Make Time for Church, Bible Study and Prayer
    • Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
    • Matthew 14:23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
  • Remain Humble
    • Luke 14:11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  • Put Other’s Needs Ahead of Your Own and Stay Pure
    • James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Remember that you have the gift that everyone needs.
  • The Lost for Salvation
  • The Saved for Sanctification
  • The Discouraged for Hope
  • The Joyful for Appreciation
Be a Christmas Light to everyone you encounter during the holidays!
Merry Christmas to all and may all be a light!
Dear Lord in Heaven, You have empowered me to be a light in this world. Forgive me when my attitude doesn’t reflect the nature and truth of Christ. Strengthen me when I am weak, give me courage when I am afraid, comfort me when I am hurting, lift my spirits when I am down, bring peace when I am irritated: all for Your glory. Help me to show Your love and share Your truth. May Christ, the reason for Christmas, be my focus and motivation throughout the year. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Up On a Roof

Up On a Roof

I Want
2 Samuel 11:1-2 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. 2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.
  • David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), when he should have been at war, got out of his bed in the evening and walked around the roof of his house. After seeing Bathsheba, he took what he wanted.
  • The resulting sins of adultery and murder led to ongoing tragedy in David’s life. Read David’s prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.
I Am
Daniel 4:28-30 “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29 Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’
  • Although Nebuchadnezzar had seen great works of God (Daniel chapters 2 & 3), his pride led to severe punishment.  
  • For seven years he lost his kingdom, his mind and lived like a wild animal. Read Nebuchadnezzar’s praises to God when his sanity was restored, Daniel 4:34-37.
I Will
Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
  • Satan is deluded and actually believes he will be equal with God (Isaiah 14:12-14). He tried to tempt Jesus Christ (God in the flesh).
  • Satan’s punishment will be damnation in Hell. Read about the eternal consequences of his evil ways in Revelation 20:10.
Is there somewhere you go where you feel:
  • Entitled – David walked about on the roof of his house.
  • Emboldened – Nebuchadnezzar walked around on the roof of his palace.
  • Exalted – Satan took Christ to the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Be very careful about exalting yourself; so you won’t have to worry about facing the consequences.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Loving Father, forgive me when I exalt myself. Help me to see the places I go in my mind and in my life where I praise myself. Once identified, please empower me to destroy or avoid them. You alone are worthy of all praise and honor and glory. I love You and thank You for all the blessings in my life. I praise You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Is God Waiting on You

Is God Waiting on You
When Moses went back up Mount Sinai for God to write the Ten Commandments on replacement tablets of stone (Moses destroyed the original set when he saw the golden calf), God made an amazing statement about His own nature and character:
  • Exodus 34:6-7 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” 
Throughout the Bible, history and our daily lives, God constantly and consistently demonstrates His essences through His words and actions. For example, even in the midst of pending attacks from Assyria and prophecies of judgment for generations of disobedience, God declared His gracious intentions to Judah.
  • Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
King Hezekiah, when faced with the imminent invasion by Assyria, prayed to God for deliverance.
  • Isaiah 37:20 Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.” 
In response to this prayer, the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians encamped around Jerusalem and the King of Assyria returned home to be murdered by two of his sons (see Isaiah 37:36-38).  
God’s goodness and love for us exceed our ability to fully understand. He wants to bless us. He knows just what we need. Sometimes He is just waiting for us to ask!
  • Matthew 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
When His desire and our Spirit led prayers align, amazing things happen!
  • 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Whether we are under attack from the enemy, anticipating discipline from our loving Heavenly Father, or facing any other trail or tribulation, God desires us to humbly turn to Him. Is God waiting on you to worship Him (in Spirit and truth) and pray to Him (in expectant faith)? 
Do you experience comfort and peace based on His love and promises regardless of the circumstances of your life? If not, perhaps He is waiting for you; waiting for you to acknowledge Him, to seek Him, to trust Him, to surrender to Him, to ask Him.
Dear Lord, forgive me from worry, fear and frustration. I know that You are waiting for me to give myself completely to You. I am asking You to deliver me from the bondage of doubt, to empower me with Your Spirit of Truth, to grant me wisdom for discernment and decisions, and to comfort me with Your Peace that passes understanding. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for Your Love. By Your grace I am saved through faith. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

After Giving Thanks

After Giving Thanks
Psalm 9:1-2 I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Hopefully you took extra time during the recent Thanksgiving holiday to praise God and thank Him for all He has provided. We can never thank Him enough for all He is, all He does and all He provides. Everything good in our lives comes from Him:
  • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
But with Thanksgiving behind us we turn our attention to Christmas. We celebrate the gift of Christ’s birth by giving gifts to one another. But of all the gifts we can give, what is most important?
Give yourself! 
  • Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Give yourself completely to Jesus Christ and then He can use you to:
  • Share the Gospel:
    • 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, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (see also 2 Corinthians 4:5-11).
  • Care for those in Need:
    • James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (see also Matthew 25:34-40).
  • And so much more:
    • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (see also Philippians 4:13).
Way too often we focus on what we get. Everything is worth nothing without Christ!
  • Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
When we give ourselves to Christ, He blesses us so we can bless others. We should be putting others ahead of ourselves.
  • Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
So, after giving thanks, give yourself to Christ and to others!
Dear Lord, I pray that I truly surrender all that I am to You. Use me as You see fit to share the Gospel message, to bless others, or for whatever purposes You desire. May all that call themselves Christians surrender to Your Lordship. Please help the church make Christmas about Christ. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Compassion of Christ

The Compassion of Christ
Consider the following verses from the book of Matthew:
  • 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
  • 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
  • 15:32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
  • 20:34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
Jesus’ compassion is in response to our need for Him! In the verses above, Christ saw the people as:
  • Shepherdess – wandering away from the flock without the guidance, protection or provision of the Great Shepherd.
  • Sick – whether it is spiritual, emotional or physical sickness, the Great Physician has the desire and power to heal.
  • Starving – want of food makes the body hungry; want of a Savior leaves the soul starving.
  • Sightless – when someone is physically blind they can’t see the world around them; when someone is spiritually blind they can’t see the Light of the World.
The word for compassion used here means, ‘to have the bowels yearn’ (feel sympathy or pity). The God of the universe loves us so much, that when He sees our brokenness, suffering, troubles and affliction, He yearns within Himself to bless us!  
God sees all the sufferings in the world. Imagine how He must be yearning for the day when He will restore all things!
  • Revelation 21:4-5 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
Never underestimate God’s love for us.  
Never underestimate how much He loves YOU!
Father, Your love for us is so evident. No wonder You tell us in Your Word that those who deny You are without excuse. But I know that Your love goes much farther and deeper than I can possibly imagine or understand. I praise You for telling us of Your compassion. I long for the day when I will stand eternally in Your presence, when there will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more death! May the compassion of Christ draw many to salvation. I pray these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Eternally Unique

Eternally Unique
As Christians, we all strive to be like Christ, yet we retain our individuality. We long for the character of Jesus to be revealed in our lives, yet we are never stripped of our eternal uniqueness.
With Christ as our example, 
  • 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
as we progress towards attaining the standard He lived out and requires of us, 
  • Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
and knowing that one day we will be like Him;
  • 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
it is amazing just how different we are all!
  • Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
It is very unfortunate, that in our fallen human nature we are typically drawn more closely to those who are similar to us (in appearance, interests, status, etc.). In God’s infinite wisdom and glory, He allows the indwelling presence and leading of Christ to be lived out without distinction by race, nationality, occupation, economic status, gender, personality type…
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Each Christian is adopted into God’s family by His grace, through the faith He has given us, not by what we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are depriving ourselves of tremendous blessings by not fellowshipping more openly with our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of how different they may appear to us. God will judge with impartiality. Why don’t we try it His way?
  • Psalm 98:7-9 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, 9 For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.
So why not start enjoying the diversity in God’s family? If you look past the surface, you will see Christ in each of God’s children!
Heavenly Father, please forgive my prejudicial preferences, my closed mindedness, and my tendency to sometimes only associate closely with those who I am comfortable with. I am sorry for not making the effort more often to get to know my brothers and sisters in Christ better and for not always watching to see how you are revealing Yourself in and through them. May Your Word and Your Spirit help me to see others how You see them. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sheep Need a Shepherd

Sheep Need a Shepherd
I am certainly no expert on sheep, but from what I have heard they are pretty dumb and very defenseless. Without a shepherd to provide for their basic needs, protect them from danger, and prepare them for various activities and challenges, they would be in big trouble.  
I love the 23rd Psalm for many reasons. But what has been on my heart about it lately are the first five words, ‘The LORD is My Shepherd’. All the proclamations David makes in this psalm are only true because of these five words.
David’s Proclamations in Psalm 23:
  • About Himself and His Life
    • I shall not want
    • I will fear no evil
    • My cup runs over
    • Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
    • I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

  • About His Relationship with God
    • He makes me to lie down in green pastures
    • He leads me beside the still waters
    • He restores my soul
    • He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake
    • You are with me
    • Your rod and your staff they comfort me
    • You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
    • You anoint my head with oil
Five more words I really like are, Jesus is the Good Shepherd!
  • John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
    • If you haven’t done so lately, I would encourage you to read all of John chapter 10.
I am so thankful I have a shepherd who provides all my needs, protects me from danger and prepares me for life!
  • Provides: Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord will Provide) Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
  • Protects: Jehovah-Nissi (The Lord is my Banner) Deuteronomy 20:4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
  • Prepares: Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (The Lord Who SanctifiesExodus 31:13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
Jesus is the loving shepherd who died for the sins of the world! And not only did He die to pay the price for our sins, but He also rose from the dead as proof of His deity and as a promise of eternal life for those who surrender their lives to His Lordship by accepting His free gift of salvation.
Dear Lord, I am so thankful to have a shepherd who loves me. You faithfully demonstrate Your love and consistently fulfill the promises You have made in Your Word. Without You as my shepherd, I would be lost and in grave danger. It is such a blessing to boldly proclaim and regularly experience the benefits of Your loving care and the relationship we share. Please bless all Your sheep while continuing to draw others into Your fold. Thank You for the beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm and how You have used these Words over the centuries to bless and comfort many souls. I praise You and love You. I long to be an obedient sheep. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Affordable Soul Care Act

The Affordable Soul Care Act
While the United States of America wrestles with the legal, moral, technical, financial and political issues associated with the Affordable Healthcare Act, every living soul on the planet will deal with the implications of the Affordable Soul Care Act. Healthcare is a temporary concern. But Soul Care has eternal consequences!
Every single person who has ever lived, other than Jesus Christ, has offended God. Our offense is called sin and happens as a result of our:
  • Inherent Inability to Reach God’s Standards
  • Irresistible Itching to Rebel Against God’s Laws
But because of His perfect love for us, He made a way to address the issue of sin.
  • Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
There are two critical aspects of this reconciliation:
  • First, we have peace with God through the death of Christ (a sinless sacrifice).
    • Colossians 1:20-21 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 
  • Second, we have eternal life by the resurrection of Christ (proof that He is God).
    • John 14:19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
Why is this so important? Because whether you are reconciled to God or not, you will exist for eternity (either in perpetual suffering or in unending fellowship with God).
  • Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So why am I calling this 'The Affordable Soul Care Act'?
  • Affordable – Salvation in Christ is a free and undeserved gift from God.
    • 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.
  • Act – To receive this gift you must understand it, believe it and then act on it by surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
    • Romans 10:9 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.
There is no broken website keeping you from the only insurance policy for your soul. So act now. Talk to God about your decision to follow Christ!
Father, You have done all the work and made all the provisions for Your physical children to be reconciled to You as Your spiritual children. May the truth of Your Word presented in this devotion touch the heart of someone who needs it. I trust Your sovereignty and praise Your providence. In the glorious and powerful name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jesus Saves

Jesus Saves
JJust as I was, my Lord died for me; (1)
EEven though I was shackled, now I am free. (2)
SSin was my nature, I had no love for God; (3)
UUnrepentant I ran down a path very broad. (4)
SSevere is God’s judgment poured out against sin; (5)
SStill shame and regret showed my conscience within. (6)
AAnd just when it seemed that my life was a waste; (7)
VVictory came when my sin He erased. (8)
EEverything’s different 'cause He rose from the grave; (9)
SSo before God I now bow, no longer sin’s dirty slave. (10)
  • (1) Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (1 John 4:10)
  • (2) John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Romans 8:2)
  • (3) Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (James 4:4)
  • (4) Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
  • (5) Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Ephesians 5:6)
  • (6) Romans 2:15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
  • (7) Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
  • (8) 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Peter 2:24-25)
  • (9) Romans 10:9 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. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
  • (10) Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (John 8:34)

Father in Heaven, I pray that the truth of Your Word will touch and convert many who are lost. I was blind to Your love. I turned my back on Your truth. I closed my ears to Your call. I lived a life worthy of damnation. Yet in Your grace and mercy, You saw fit to snatch me from the very gates of hell. Please father, use this devotion to draw others to Yourself. It is Your Word that brings freedom and eternal life. I love You and praise You in the name of Christ my savior, Amen.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

All Will Praise Him

All Will Praise Him
The very last verse in the book of Psalms presents an opportunity; an opportunity for every living thing to praise Yahweh, the God of the universe.
  • Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
I encourage anyone reading this devotion to take this opportunity to praise God now and forever more; not just in word or song, but in awe, reverence, love, relationship, submission and obedience. Give yourself to Him and praise Him with every breath, thought, desire, attitude, word and action.
Now let’s look at the last five verses of Psalm 145 (but please take a moment and read this entire Psalm; it is a beautiful song of praise written by David). What does David tell us about God in these few verses?
Psalm 145: 17-21
  • 17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.
    • His Character
      • God is the standard for right. All He does is right. And not by choice, it is His very nature. Every good thing He does is not deserved by those who receive His blessings. But He continues to bless.
  • 18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
    • His Presence
      • God is close to those who honestly and diligently seek after Him. He indwells us. He inhabits the praise of His people.
  • 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
    • His Faithfulness
      • God knows that when we truly reverence Him, our desires will align with His will. As a loving Father, He responds to the genuine cry of brokenness and repentance.
  • 20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.
    • His Judgment
      • God’s perfect love does not overrule His perfect justice.
  • 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.
    • His Creation’s Response to Him
      • David chose to praise the LORD. But there is coming a day where every living soul will praise Him: either as a loving servant; or as a regretful, defeated enemy.
So, if you have not chosen to praise God up to this point in your life, respond to His call and start praising Him now. This can only be accomplished by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and surrendering your life to Him.
Christ, as God, will be praised by every tongue!
  • Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 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, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus died for your sins. He was buried and rose the third day. He ascended to Heaven and is at the right hand of the Father. He did all this so you can have eternal life.
  • 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.
Dear Lord, if anyone reads this who does not know You as Lord and Savior, I beg You to draw them by Your Holy Spirit to salvation in Jesus Christ. Guide them in prayer. Send a Christian to minister to them. Provide a Church for them learn and serve in. And if a child of Yours has turned away from You, work in their heart now such that they cannot take another restful breath until they turn back to You and give You the praise You deserve. I love You Father and thank You for Your Word, the everlasting Truth! In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Harvest of Blessings

A Harvest of Blessings
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 
As always with God’s Word, a seemingly simple verse contains deep and compelling truth. This verse contains:
  • A Challenge‘let us not grow weary’
    • Where do we get the desire and strength to keep going despite our fatigue?
      • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
  • A Call‘while doing good’
    • What is the basis for our mandate to do ‘good’?
      • Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
  • A Covenant‘in due season we shall reap’
    • Who is the guarantor of this promise?
      • Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
  • A Condition ‘if we do not lose heart’
    • Why would God include a stipulation with this promise?
      • Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
      • Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
God gives us the promptings and the power to demonstrate true love for Him and toward others; and He promises that, when we persevere in faith, the good we have planted in love, will be harvested in the form of blessings.
I encourage each of you to prayerfully mine the truth of God’s Word for the treasure He has prepared for you in it.
Father, thank You for the depth, beauty, truth and applicability of Your Word. Thank You for the indwelling presence of Your Holy Spirit that guides me to an understanding of Your Word. I pray that I am faithful, diligent and relentless to complete with an attitude of love and humility good works as instructed in the Bible. I know that faith without works is dead. And I know that it is only by Your grace and the power of Your Spirit that I am equipped to serve You. I pray that the faith You have given me will lead to a bountiful harvest of blessings for those I encounter throughout my Christian walk. May Your will be done in all things. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

His Pleasure, His Glory

His Pleasure, His Glory
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Question: How hard are you working to try to please God?
Read the verses above again and pray that God will release you from the delusion that in your own strength you can work to please Him.
It is through the blood of the everlasting covenant that God works in us, through Christ, to sanctify and empower us. It is by His finished work on the cross and His perfect love for us, that when we surrender to Him, He gives us the desire and the ability to shine as lights in this dark world to bring Him glory. 
  • If you are humble, He gives you the desire and ability to be humble!
  • If you are obedient, it is because of Him!
  • If you are submissive, thank Him!
  • If you trust Him, praise His holy name!
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
Is God tugging at your heart and saying, ‘I have a plan. I have done the work. Trust and obey. Find rest in Me!’
  • Please God by trusting in His power, not yours!
  • Get over yourself and give it all over to Him!
  • If you think you have done something amazing for God in your own strength, or wisdom, or endurance, or commitment, how is God glorified in that?
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
I wrote this for me. I pray it blesses you!
When will I really live all that I believe? When will I trust completely in You instead of myself? When Father, when will I realize and admit that I can do nothing for Your glory without You? Forgive me for thinking I deserve some kind of praise, or perhaps a Godly pat on the back. Forgive me when I anticipate and desire the praise of others for something You have accomplished through me. Help me to find peace and to stop struggling to please You. I give myself over to You to use as You see fit. May Your perfect will be fulfilled in my life. Help me to pray without fear, ‘I Surrender All’. So be it, by the blood of the Lamb, in whose name I pray.

Friday, September 27, 2013



For a 'Christian'
  • One who has surrendered their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ

the 'gospel message'
  • Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial death on a cross to satisfy God’s wrath towards sin, resurrection from the grave, and bodily ascension into Heaven

means freedom from the repeated, lasting and aggravating results of 'sin'
  • Offending God by rebelling against or inability to meet His standards.

A Christian is delivered from:
  • The Everyday Control of Sin
    • Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
      • Although in practice we still fall short of God’s perfect standard and sin in the weakness of our flesh, having accepted the free gift of salvation, Christians are positionally perfect through Christ’s righteousness and empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
      • In our daily lives, we are no longer under the control of sin.
  • The Eternal Consequences of Sin
    • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      • Because of our sin we deserve the ultimate punishment; eternal separation from God. Yet through Christ we have forgiveness of our sins and the promise of everlasting life with God. 
      • In Christ we are no longer condemned by sin.
  • The Exasperating Contamination of Sin
    • Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
      • Even as we mature in the faith and sin less over time, we are disappointed by our own sin and frustrated by the pervasiveness of sin in the world around us. But one day we will be freed from the presence of all sin. 
      • In Heaven we will no longer be surrounded by sin.

The sinless Son of God delivered Himself into the hands of sinners to be unjustly executed so that we could be delivered from the rightful punishment for our sins.

Never stop giving Him praise and thanks and worship and all that you are in response to His precious gift of salvation.


Father, I thank You for salvation. I thank You for dealing with sin according to Your perfect will. I know that I do not deserve the forgiveness given to me. I pray that I honor You with my life. I yearn for the day I am in Heaven and no longer tempted by or surrounded by sin and its devastating effects. I praise You and love You. In Christ name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dare to Be Different

Dare to Be Different
As we live out our Christian lives in this fallen world, desiring to complete the work that God has planned for us, we sometimes encounter and interact with powerful, or even hostile entities (individuals, organizations, businesses, governmental agencies, etc.). Whether they are Christian or not, we must always Dare to Be Different. We cannot react to situations the same way unbelievers do. We are to bring glory to God in everything we do regardless of the circumstances.  
When Daniel and his three friends were captured and taken to Babylon, they modeled the behavior we must adopt in our lives.
  • Daniel 1:8-9 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.
Here are three important lessons we can take from Daniel’s experience and example:
  • Commit to living a life that honors God
    • As you engage the world, don’t compromise the holy life God has called you to live.
      • 1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
  • Seek support to fulfill your commitments to God
    • When needed, ask for support or permission from those who can help you achieve your Godly goals.
      • Nehemiah 2:4-5 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
  • Trust that God will give you favor in the sight of others as you move forward in His will
    • Be confident in obtaining approval/permission for your plans. If God has ordained it, it will come to pass.
      • Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Don’t be tempted to compromise what and Who we stand for by presuming ‘the end justifies the means’.  
  • Christ is our beginning, our ending and our means!
    • Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
    • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Heavenly Father, Your word contains so many powerful examples of failure and success in being faithful to You. Out of love, You have provided these historical accounts, parables and proverbs to impart knowledge and wisdom to us. I thank You for giving us the opportunity to learn from history and truth rather than always having to learn from trials and troubles. Thank You for including the example of Daniel in Your Holy Word. Please empower me, give me the desire, knowledge, humility, courage and wisdom to live a life that honors You. Enable me to live out what I believe and fulfill any commitments to You regardless of the circumstances or opposition I may face. May my life be an effective witness for You and the truth of Your Word. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keeping an Eternal Perspective

Keeping an Eternal Perspective
As Paul was nearing the end of 1 Corinthians he included some instructional encouragement. He started with:
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
    • Stay alert
      • We have an adversary
        • 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
    • Continue in your reliance upon and assurance in Christ
      • We have a faithful Savior
        • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
    • Act courageously
      • We have been equipped to overcome fear
        • 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
    • Increase in strength
      • We have the Holy Spirit’s power
        • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
But in the weakness of our flesh, we are in danger of:
    • Letting our guard down
    • Worrying rather than trusting
    • Focusing on our fears
    • Relying on our strength rather than God’s

In 2 Corinthians, Paul provides a great strategy to guard against these vulnerabilities:
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    • We honor God by Keeping an Eternal Perspective:
      • Our temporary sufferings serve much greater purposes and have eternal implications
      • Don’t be blinded by the temporary things that you see, focus on the eternal truths revealed in faith
As with so much of our daily walk with Christ, it comes down to faith.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • 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.
Father, please help me to keep an eternal perspective. Guard me against pride when things are going well. Lift me out of despair when life gets tough. Keep me focused on You and Your eternal plans and purposes regardless of my personal circumstances. Help me to remember it is not all about me. Use my weaknesses to show Your strength. Make me an encouragement to others. Enable me to comfort others with the comfort You have given me. Your word is truth because it stands, unshakeable, unchanging, for all eternity. May I rest in Your truth. I praise You, I seek You, I pray to You, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Challenged or Changed

Challenged or Changed
  • Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
As children of God, we know it is His will that our lives be different from those who don’t know Christ as Savior.
Hopefully, each time you come to church, the worship, preaching, giving, teaching and fellowship challenge you to become the man or woman that God has planned for you to be. The Holy Spirit uses these aspect of our corporate gatherings to convict you and prepare you for daily life as a Christian (growing closer to God, showing everyone the love of Christ, and completing the specific work He has for you).
However, when you walk away from church each week, excited by the challenge of what you experienced, but then you don’t put forth the effort to evaluate and apply what you were exposed to, you will never experience true change (transformation).
If you are a Christian, you are changed. You went from being an enemy of God to being a child of God. Your eternal destination changed from hell to Heaven. And so much more change than can be listed here (read Genesis through Revelation repeatedly for more insight).
The change that God is telling us about in Romans 12:2 is focused on your daily life as a Christian (what you desire, what you think about, what you say, what you do, where you go, etc.). This verse if focusing on the day-to-day changes that result in you becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
For the Christian, change starts with the challenge of knowledge:
  • What you are exposed to when you are active in a Bible believing church.
But change is realized by the personal actions that result from that knowledge:
  • What you do every day after you have been challenged at church and convicted by the Holy Spirit!
    • Demonstrated Obedience to God’s Word
    • Ongoing Submission to the Indwelling Presence and Immeasurable Power of the Holy Spirit
    • Daily Personal Bible Study
    • Frequent Personal Prayer Time
    • Relentless Pursuit of Holiness in Every Area of Your Life
God has a plan for you. He uses His Church to prepare you for and propel you towards fulfilling that plan.
  • Ephesians 4:11-12 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
LORD, I pray that through Your power, patience and provision that I am changing daily into the man of God You have planned for me to be. I know I fail often. Yet I pray that your sanctifying work is fulfilled as I diligently seek You. Thank You for the work of the church in my life. Thank You for the passion You have instilled in me to pursue You every single day. My life is Yours. You are my Lord and Savior. I love You! Amen.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Facing Your Fears

Facing Your Fears
What are you afraid of: problems, failure, sickness, death, loneliness, enemies…?
My greatest fear is failure: failing God, failing my family, failing my church family, failing at work…
What makes us afraid of these things?
I believe one significant element of fear is a fleshly response to the unknown.  
We fear the unknown outcomes of existing, anticipated or imagined:
  • Problems/Challenges
  • Threats/Attacks
  • Sickness/Disease
  • And so much more.
We ‘fill in the blank’ of the unknown with fear when we should:
  • Trust in the foreknowledge of God.
  • Have faith in His plans and purposes.
  • Fill in the blanks with faith in Him!!!!
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
When you recognize that fear is forming in you:
  • Seek Him First!
    • Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Seek Him Wholeheartedly!
    • Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Seek Him Diligently
    • 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.
Face your fears while focusing on God!
Loving Father, I confess that sometimes I let my fears control my thoughts, attitudes, desires and actions. I beg You to forgive me for showing how little I trust in You some times. I know that I know that Your Word is true and that You are faithful to Your promises. Please empower me through Your Holy Spirit to live out the faith You have given me. Enable me to focus on You regardless of what I am facing. Help me to trust in You even when everything thing in my flesh is causing me to doubt. Fill in my blanks with faith. I love You, I praise You, and I worship You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Technically we are all waiting on God. He holds the future in His hands – in His providence He is moving all things towards an expected end.
Psalm 27:14 is focusing on the attitude with which we wait.
A Biblically based, God honoring balance of several different types of waiting is best.
  • Passive Waiting – Be calm and acknowledge that He is God. Don’t worry. Don’t fret. Watch for Him to move.
    • Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 
  • Active Waiting – Let the light of Christ shine in you for His glory. Keep busy with what God has given you to do. Use your gifts and resources as you wait for Him.
    • Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
  • Confident Waiting – Rest assured with all that you are that He knows and will do what is best. Worry shows a lack of faith that He does all things well and for our benefit.
    • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 
  • Fearful Waiting – Don’t lose the awe and reverence of how God moves over time, in circumstances, and through people to bless us and accomplish His will.
    • Luke 9:16-17 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.
  • Anticipatory Waiting – Beyond trusting, expect God to do great things. He is always faithful!!!
    • Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
  • Open-Minded Waiting – As you expect God to move, don’t limit your thinking on how or when He will do what He does. If you develop ‘tunnel vision’, you may not recognize what He is doing.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
  • Appreciative Waiting – Are you being thankful for what God does in your life and all around you? What about being thankful for when He does what He does – HIS TIMING IS ALWAYS PERFECT!!!
    • Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
  • Spirit-Led Waiting – Waiting on God is such a way that the indwelling presence of God is revealed in your desires, attitudes, words and actions.
    • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Does your life reflect a Biblical approach to waiting on God?
Father, you know how much I worry. You patiently endure my complaining. I imagine You laughing as you watch me evaluating options and then weighing costs and benefits. Forgive me for not resting in Your love and power and grace and mercy. Forgive me for not trusting in Your plans. May Your Word and Your Spirit guide me and teach me to wait on You in a way that brings glory and honor to Your Name. I believe, but help my unbelief. I trust, please help me to live like it. Thank You for loving me perfectly. In the precious and powerful name of Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Smack Down

Smack Down

  • 2 Corinthians 12:8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
Have you ever come to God broken? Have you fallen before Him begging for help? Did you acknowledge to Him your inability to handle the situation? Were you desperate? Were you sincere?
And then, much to your surprise, things got worse. What you feared the most happened. More problems got piled on top of what you were already dealing with. You got pushed further than you thought you could go. The load got heavier than you thought you could carry.
This is what I selfishly call a Smack Down.
You came to Christ sincerely, trusting. You believed He could help. You pleaded for that help. You expected things to get better. But things got worse.
A Smack Down feels like God is making things worse for you. When in fact He is giving you just what you need. The feeling of being Smacked Down comes from your expectations not being met.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9a And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Christ’s grace is sufficient for every situation (His love goes beyond our capacity to fail). Christ’s strength is perfected in our lives when we submit to Him (He is glorified when we let His power enable us rather than trying to accomplish things in our own strength). 
A Smack Down happens when we come to Christ asking for what we want rather than accepting what He has for us.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Rather than asking for things to get better, we should ask Christ for:
  • Genuine Faith – to trust in Him regardless of our circumstances.
  • Godly Wisdom – to accept whatever He causes or allows in our lives.
  • His Strength – to endure any trial or tribulation for His glory.
So don’t selfishly think God has kicked you when you were down (SMACK DOWN).  
Celebrate the fact that He is willing to take you where you need to go, even when you don’t want to go there, and in spite of the fact that you don’t deserve the great things He has planned for you (SUFFICIENT GRACE)!
Remember, we have the honor of suffering such that His power can be revealed in us.  
Forgive me Father when I think I know best. Forgive me for so desperately wanting to avoid suffering and pain. Give me a heart of obedience. Help me to humbly accept whatever trials or troubles you cause or allow in my life. Thank You for the honor of allowing me to suffer so that Your power rests upon me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. I love You. In Christ’s name, AMEN.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Do you ever feel stuck? Are you up to your knees in the muck and mire and sinking quickly? Life in this fallen world can be tough (responsibilities, commitments, problems, temptations, failures, stress, etc.).  It can all add up and become very overwhelming!
As Christians, we must recognize that regardless of our circumstances, our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121). How we respond to these difficult circumstances is key to receiving the deliverance God wants to provide (Matthew 7:11).
Realizing Our Desperate Circumstances
  • Psalm 69:1-2 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
    • We all face times when life closes in and we feel like we are drowning. Don’t ignore the situation or your feelings, acknowledge them before God.
Recognizing Our Initial Responses
  • Psalm 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
    • In the weakness of our flesh we may become overwhelmed, upset, and impatient. This is natural, but don’t get stuck there.
Receiving Our Promised Blessings
  • Psalm 69:29-32 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. 30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. 32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
    • When our attitude becomes one of humility, recognizing our status and position before God, broken over our sin, praising Him alone, we can rest in His promises to deliver us from our afflictions, either in this world or in the world to come.
      • Matthew 5:3-4 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Maintain an attitude of reverence, respect and amazement towards God. Believe that He is and that He will reward you for diligently seeking and trusting Him (Hebrews 11:6). He will be your relief and protection.
  • Psalm 115:11 Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
Father: I fail so often when it comes to dealing with the pressures of life. I struggle and fight and kick and scream trying to overcome problems in my own strength. I pray that Your Spirit will guide me to You. I pray that I will acknowledge Your power, control and authority over all things. Help me to trust in You. Help me to humble myself before You. May I rest in Your arms rather than drowning in a sea of worry and doubt. May I find peace in the storms of life by submitting to You. I praise You, love You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who Do You Trust

Who Do You Trust
Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. (NKJV)
God is telling us that we have the option of being:
  • Cursed – Living like a bush in the dry, hot, lonely desert; just barely hanging onto life and unaware of future blessings.
  • Blessed – Living like a healthy tree planted near a flowing river; bearing abundant fruit and not afraid of future trials. 
We make our choice by either:
  • Trusting in Man - Turning away from God and counting on our own (or someone else’s) strength, knowledge, abilities, experience, resources and availability.
  • Trusting in God - Focusing on God while submitting to and believing in His power, providence, presence, promises, plans and perfect love.
Who do you trust?
God often uses other people to bless us. So trusting in God does not mean that you don’t depend on those He sends to provide, protect, support, etc. The difference in trusting in man or trusting in God is really about who you acknowledge and depend on as the ultimate source of all blessings!
  • All good things come from God:
    • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)
  • We have to trust that everything He causes or allows if for our good:
    • Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (NKJV)
Loving Father, in the weakness of my flesh, in the midst of trials and tribulations, I often turn my back on You and start trusting in myself or other people. Please forgive me! Your Word, Your Holy Spirit and the testimony of history and my experiences make clear that You alone are worthy of my complete trust. I choose to trust in You. Guide me in my daily life to always focus on You. I acknowledge You as the source of all good things. I believe that You are guiding all things to an expected end: and that for me, as someone who loves You, all things are working together for good. I praise You and love You. In the name of Christ I pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Dangers of Doubt

The Dangers of Doubt
Exodus 3:10-11 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
Jeremiah 1:4-9 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Both Moses and Jeremiah experienced doubt when God called them to service. However, as demonstrated in the lives of Moses and Jeremiah (and many others), trusting God leads to glorifying God.
As Christians, doubting God is one indication of the weakness of our flesh (whether we are being tested by God, tempted by Satan or influenced by the world). Doubting God is a very slippery and dangerous slope (James 1:12-16).
Doubting God is often the first step in disobeying God.
  • Questioning God’s abilities, plans or intentions.
    • Lack of faith.
  • Questioning the interpretation of what God is saying.
    • Lack of discernment.
  • Questioning if it is actually God speaking.
    • Lack of relationship.
  • Making excuses because of fear, ignorance or laziness.
    • Rejecting God’s providence.
  • Clinging to prior commitments out of stubbornness or pride.
    • Rejecting God’s priorities.
  • Declaring not to have the time, talents or treasures.
    • Rejecting God’s provision.
  • Deciding not to believe.
    • Rejecting God’s truth.
  • Declaring the truth is a lie.
    • Contradicting God’s truth.
  • Determining not to acknowledge.
    • Disavowing God’s truth.
  • Doing what is forbidden.
    • Sin
  • Not doing what is required.
    • Sin
When Jesus was crucified, there were two thieves crucified with Him (one on either side). Initially both thieves insulted Jesus (Matthew 27:41-44). Regardless of what other factors led these thieves to insult Jesus (self-pity, anger, desperation), at the core, doubt drove their behavior (they both doubted that Jesus was Messiah).
Yet one of the thieves turned from doubt to faith (Luke 23:39-43). The faith of this thief led to forgiveness, salvation and eternity in heaven.
At the first sign of doubt, turn to God: read His Word, pray to Him, worship Him, serve Him. As His children, He will always forgive us and ultimately restore us to right relationship with Him. However, the further you slip down the slope of doubt, the closer to sin and dishonoring your Heavenly Father you get!
Dear Lord, forgive me when I doubt You. Forgive me when I doubt who I am in You. Although my flesh is weak, Your Spirit indwells me and is infinitely more powerful. In Your strength, help me to trust and obey. Please give me wisdom, courage and strength. And when I do doubt, convict me and guide me quickly back to right relationship with You. I praise Your Holy Name and thank You for Your Holy Word. In Christ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wholly Holy

Wholly Holy
What does it mean to be ‘Wholly Holy’? Let’s start with some definitions:
  • Wholly – completely, totally, entirely
  • Holy – two meanings
    1. Morally and ethically perfect (God is Holy).
      • Morally – What we should be according to God’s perfect standards.
      • Ethically – What we actually are in real life.
    2. Separate/set apart
      • God is separate from/greater than His creation.
      • Christians are meant to be separate from the fallen ways of the world and set apart for special use by God.
Christians should be:
  • Totally perfect, both morally and ethically.
  • Completely set apart from the fallen world for special use by God.
    • But never forget, being separate from the world does not mean we are isolated from it. To show the love of Christ and share the gospel message, we must be engaged with the world. But we are not to be influenced to sin by the world.
Wait a minute! I know a lot of Christians (including myself), and not one of them seem to be totally separated from the things of the world or anywhere near perfect.
What does God’s Holy Word have to say about this?
We are commanded to love God with all that we are (Wholly)
  • Mark 12:29-30 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    • No need to get overly analytical with these scriptures. Christ is plainly telling us that the greatest of all commandments is to love God with all that we are. We are to wholly give ourselves to Him.
    • What part of yourself are you holding back from God; desires, attitudes, intentions, words, actions, school, work, hobbies, talents/abilities, spare time, money?
We are called to be Holy
  • 1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
    • Very straightforward wording here, we are called to be holy as God is holy.
We are declared to be Holy
  • 1 Peter 2:5, 9
    • 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
    • 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
      • Whether we feel like it, look like it or even act like it, we (Christians) are saints and we are holy.
In everyday life (practically), because of the weakness of our flesh, we fall short of God's standards (Matthew 26:41, Romans 7:18-19). But, in God’s sight (positionally), we have the righteousness of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This is the key to it all. Through the perfection of Christ, Christians are perfect (righteous) before God. Christ’s righteousness is credited (imputed) to our account.
So, in Christ, in the sight of God, we are morally and ethically perfect. All our sins, past, present and future are covered/forgiven by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Also, we have the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us and enabling us to overcome the weakness of our flesh, the temptation of Satan, and the corrupting influences of the world (John 14:16-17, 1 John 3:24 and Acts 1:8). Although we will never be sinless this side of heaven, we can overcome a lifestyle of sin. We are to live a life that is not defined by sin. We desire to live free of sin by submitting to the power of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9) and gaining more and more victory over sin as God refines us through varies trials (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6,7; 5:10).
To be Wholly Holy is to understand who and what we are in the sight of God (positionally) while submitting to His plan to transform us over time into the image of Jesus Christ in our daily lives (practically).
Father, You have called me to be holy. You have given me Your Spirit to enlighten and empower me. Your Word calls Christian’s saints, holy, a royal priesthood. Thank You for my perfection in Your sight achieved only through Christ’s perfect life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. I pray Your Holy Spirit will lead Christians to understand what it means to be adopted by You. I pray You will allow Your children to see that they are Wholly Holy. Thanks for what You have done. I know that I don’t deserve it, I can’t earn it, and it is only achieved through Christ and Your gracious, merciful love. I praise You and pray to You in the name of Jesus. Amen.