Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Take Time

Take Time

When asked what is the first (chief/primary/foremast) commandment, Jesus answered:
  • Mark 12:29-30 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.

Loving God with all that you are is not a part-time endeavor. Following Jesus is not a hobby or short term commitment. Christianity is not about pretending to be something you aren’t (that is hypocrisy). A relationship with Jesus Christ requires surrendering all that you are and taking the time to become all He intends you to be. It takes time to live a life the honors the Lord. 

Take Time to Pray
  • Luke 5:12-16 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” 15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
    • The more miracles Jesus performed, the more those in need sought Him out (see also Luke 9:11). Although He was very busy doing the work His Father sent Him to do, Jesus made time for prayer. Ongoing prayer is a very important part of our walk with the Lord (Matthew 6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17). It takes time for meaningful prayer!

Take Time to Obey
  • Luke 6:46-49 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
    • Obedience is a key factor in our relationship with God (1 Samuel 15:22, John 14:15). God has given us a lot to do – the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), shining as lights in a dark world (Matthew 5:16), and so much more. It takes time to build a life of obedience!

Take Time to Praise
  • Luke 10:17-21 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather[f] rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
    • Jesus rejoiced in the blessings of the Father. Heartfelt praise for the Lord in response to the goodness and perfection of His ways bring glory to Him and bring us closer to Him. Bless the Lord with all that you are (Psalm 103:1-2). It takes time to rejoice in praise for all the good that God does!

Take Time to Listen
  • Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
    • There is always much good work to be done. But we must take time to listen to the Lord. God speaks to us through His Word, His Holy Spirit, His church, the Godly wisdom of other Christians, circumstances, discipline, and many other ways (Hebrews 1:1-2, Hebrews 12:5). It takes time to discern what God is saying to us!

Take Time to Count the Costs
  • Luke 14:27-33 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
    • Following Jesus is the greatest purpose for any life. But there are costs; there must be change (Mark 8:35, 2 Corinthians 5:17). Opposition from Satan and the fallen world are promised for those who surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus (Ephesians 6:11, John 15:18). And although we are made perfectly righteous and complete before God when we accept Christ’s gift of salvation, it takes time to become in practice who we are in position (Hebrews 10:14, Philippians 1:6). It takes time to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Take time to understand, appreciate, enjoy, embrace, embody and share who you are in Jesus.

As a Christian, you are part of something special, Christ’s church. Anything you lost or left behind has been replaced with better and eternal blessings.
  • Luke 18:29-30 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Taking time for and with God is an act of discipline and an exercise in patience.
  • Discipline – Intentionally and regularly setting aside time for those things that exemplify a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Patience – Faithfully anticipating those times yet to come when you will realize the fulfillment of God’s purposes and promises.

Take time to love God with all that you are!!!


Eternal Heavenly Father, I pray that You will give Your children the faith, wisdom, power, strength, patience, endurance, courage and hope needed to live a life that honors You. Guide and teach us, protect and comfort us, enable and encourage us as we take time for You. I praise You for Your faithfulness. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015



God had a perfect plan before the creation of the earth. He knew that man would sin. He understood that Christ would be the only means of reconciliation between Himself and His creation. And He knows exactly when He will create a new Heaven and a new earth and restore all things to the perfection He desired from the beginning.

God Created Creation
  • Proverbs 3:19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;
    • In His perfect wisdom God created all things perfectly.

God Cursed Creation
  • Genesis 3:17-18 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
    • God gave man the freedom to choose between obedience and sin; he chose poorly. Adam’s sin led to the earth being cursed.

God Will Cleanse Creation
  • Romans 8:21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
    • God’s creation is desperately longing for the reconciliation of all things – the time when the curse and it’s effects have been washed away.

The birth of Jesus (‘Savior’) Christ (Messiah, ‘Anointed One’), Immanuel (God with us), marked a turning point in history. Prior to Jesus, the Old Testament promises of deliverance and restoration seemed distant and uncertain. But when a virgin named Mary gave birth to a baby boy in Bethlehem, those promises became extremely personal and very real.

Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth and the hope of eternal reconciliation that comes only through Him.
  • Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
  • Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
  • Colossians 1:19-20 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 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.

Jesus is the living hope of God’s creation!










You are Part of God’s Creation
  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
  • Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
    • Have joined all of creation in rejoicing over the birth of Jesus Christ?

According to God’s plan, Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins and made a way for the reconciliation of all people to God!
  • Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
  • Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
  • Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
  • Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

God gave the greatest gift of all; the gift of His Son Jesus. Although we didn’t deserve it, He gave us this gift so we can be eternally reconciled to Him!
  • 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.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Christmas - for some;

So many presents.  So many parties.  So many obligations.

Christmas - for followers of Jesus Christ;

Just One way to a right relationship with God!
  • 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.

Rejoice in the true meaning of Christmas!


Gracious Heavenly Father, please reveal the true meaning of Christmas to those who are blind to the reason for the season. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. Draw the lost to You for salvation in Christ. Sanctify Your children. May Your will be done in all things. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for eternal life. Thank You for the joy of Christmas. I pray in the Holy and precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why I Read God’s Word

Why I Read God’s Word

God has given me a tremendous hunger for His Word (a strong desire to know Him through studying the Bible). A healthy helping of scripture is the only thing that satisfies this craving. And although there are many opportunities to snack on the Bread of Life (sermons, small group Bible studies, daily devotions, etc.), a steady diet of personal Bible study is my primary source of spiritual nutrition. And though I greatly appreciate the information and insight I receive from preachers, teachers, mentors and friends, my growth as a Christian depends more on what God feeds me during my personal reading, prayer time and related life experience than on the nuggets I chew when others spoon feed me.

  • Psalm 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
    • As children of God, we should crave and enjoy His Word.
  • 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.
    • Diligently seeking God involves confirming for yourself what other say about the Word of God.

I pray that you share in this appetite for God’s Word and that you expect and enjoy the inevitable changes in you that result from spending time in study, contemplation and application of God's Word.

Here are some tremendous verses that make clear the importance of learning Biblical doctrine (teaching):
  • 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.
    • Studying and applying God’s Word will transform you and help you understand His desires and plans.
  • Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
    • Followers of Jesus must earnestly pay attention to what the Bible teaches us to avoid carelessly losing sight of who we are called to be in Christ.
  • Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
    • Learning God’s Word is a required element of maturing as a Christian. This protects us from the deceitful intent of those who want to see us fall away from following God (see also Colossians 2:8).

Here are three fundamentally important reason Why I Read God’s Word:

To Know God

To Know That God Exist
  • Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
    • The existence of God is undeniable (see also Romans 1:20). But ignorance of the one true God leads to man creating his own gods. God’s Word proclaims His existence!
To Know God’s Character
  • Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
    • God has told us much about Himself. His Word teaches us about His love, grace, mercy, omnipotence, immutability, omniscience… God’s Word proclaims His character!
To Know God’s Purposes and Plans
  • Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
    • All we know about God’s designs and intentions are presented in scripture. God’s Word proclaims His purposes and plans!

To Change Me

To Change My Relationship with God
  • John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
    • God’s Word leads me to a right relationship with Him through Jesus (see also Romans 10:17)!
To Change My Mind and Heart
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
    • God’s Word declares that in Christ I am born again - I have a new nature and a new and eternal life!
To Align My Life with God’s Purposes and Plans
  • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
    • The indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit guides me according to God’s will – He gives me the desire and ability to honor Him with my life!

To Impact Others

To Show God’s Love
  • Mark 2:29-31 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.”
  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
  • 1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
    • God’s children are commanded to love – Biblical love demonstrates God’s love!
To Share God’s Truth
  • 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.
    • The clear and simple truth of the Bible is that a right relationship with God is only found through Jesus Christ!
To Support God’s People
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
    • Christians support and encourage each other!

There are so many more reasons I read God’s Word – but most of them would fit into one or more of the three categories above. 

Let reading God’s Word regularly
be one of the primary ways
you diligently seek Him;
For how do you love and serve
a God you don’t really know?


Father in Heaven, I beg You to fill those who know You with a burning desire to get to know You better by reading, studying and applying Your Word. Also, draw the lost to Yourself by instilling in them a curiosity about, an interest in, or a specific purpose for reading Your Word. Please allow Your Holy Spirit to illuminate all with the truth of Your Word. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sons, Saints and Slaves

Sons, Saints and Slaves

As God’s chosen people, the Nation of Israel has an amazing heritage through their relationship with God. He has richly blessed, justly chastened and lovingly preserved the Jews.
  • Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
  • Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
  • Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

In the Old Testament, Jews in right relationship with God were His sons, saints and slaves.
  • Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Lord, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.
    • There are references to God as Father in the Old Testament; however, God was viewed as the Father of the Nation of Israel. The idea of an intimate, personal and loving Father-son type relationship was not prevalent before the time of Christ.
  • Psalm 34:9 Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
    • Old Testament Jews who sincerely repented of their sins were ceremonial cleansed by sacrificing animals. Before the once and for all final and perfect payment for sin by the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, additional sin required an additional sacrifice – ceremonial cleansing was not the same as a permanent right standing with God.
  • Psalm 34:22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
    • Redemption during the time before Jesus was only possible by keeping the law of God. Truly faithful and obedient Jews demonstrated their reverence for God by living as bondservants to His commandments.

But when Jesus came, everything changed. Having a proper relationship with God transitioned from conformity with commandments to reliance on relationship. God’s law was fulfilled by God’s grace.
  • Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
  • Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

After Jesus’ death, animal sacrifices became useless. 
  • 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.
    • The only way for Jews or Gentiles (anyone who is not a Jew) to have a right relationship with God is through Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
    • ‘both’ refers to Jews and Gentiles.

God has promised and delivered a better covenant.
  • Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
  • Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

Now our faith in our Savior, not our works, makes us right with God. We long to glorify our Lord and obey His law out of love, not obligation.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

Through Jesus, all followers of Christ (both Jews and Gentiles) enjoy permanent and perfected relationships with God as sons, saints and slaves.
  • Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
    • Followers of Christ frequently and fervently call out to their loving Father in reverence and reliance. This is a close personal relationship.
  • Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
    • Followers of Christ are made forever righteous before God through the shed blood of Jesus (See 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 10:14). Jesus shed His blood to cover all our sins; past, present and future.
  • Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
    • Followers of Christ are freed from bondage to sin and self so they can faithfully and humbly serve and glorify God. Jesus died and rose from the grave so that we can have eternal life in Heaven with God.


Father, thank You Lord for making me Your son, saint and slave. You have given me a personal, positional and purposeful relationship with You. I pray that you will use Your Word and Your Holy Spirit to reveal this blessing to all Your faithful followers and to draw unbelievers to You for salvation in Jesus Christ. I praise You and love You. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.