Saturday, December 24, 2016

Have Yourself a Humble Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Humble Little Christmas

At this time of year, as Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let’s take just a moment to reflect on some important reminders from scripture about the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 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.

For all who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior:

Christmas is a Reminder of God's Call to Humility
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
    • Followers of Jesus are commanded to be humble (loving, kind and respectful – not weak).

Christmas is a Reminder that Jesus is God
  • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    • Clearly proclaimed in scripture, difficult to fully comprehend, a blessed truth at the core of Christian faith.

Christmas is a Reminder of What Jesus Gave Up for Us
  • John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
    • Without diminishing the reality of His Deity, Jesus voluntarily (because of His eternal love for us) and temporarily (between His birth and death) surrendered the right to independently exercise some of His Godly attributes.

Christmas is a Reminder of Christ’s Humanity
  • Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—
    • Born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a Roman cross for the sins of the world – fully Man and yet fully God.

Christmas is a Reminder of Christ’s Humility
  • Luke 2:12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
    • Spat upon, mocked, beaten, murdered – Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon Himself.

Christmas is a Reminder of Why Jesus Came into the World
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
    • There is only one perfect, priceless and permanent payment for our sins against God – the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is a Reminder of God’s Great Love for Us
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
    • When we didn’t deserve it, at great cost, God gave the greatest gift of all to reconcile us to Himself – Jesus.

But for those who haven’t heard, accepted and surrendered to the truth about Jesus:

Christmas is a Call to Reconciliation with God
  • John 1:10-13 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 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: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
    • Hear and heed the Good News!
      • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
      • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      • Romans 10:9-10 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. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Christmas is the Perfect Reminder
For All People
Christian or Not
To Respond To
God’s Call to Humility


Blessed Holy Father in Heaven, may the joy and truth of Christmas draw many closer to You. May Your disobedient children turn back towards the loving relationship they already have with You. May those who don’t know You as Lord and Savior surrender all that they are to Your Love and Your Truth. I offer this prayer in the name of my Savior Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Obedience Means Possibilities

Obedience Means Possibilities

From beginning to end the Bible is very clear, obedience to God is critically important to our relationship with Him.
  • Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
    • God spoke to the Nation of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai – obey Me and you will be blessed.
  • 1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
    • As Saul, the first King of Israel, made excuses for his blatant disobedience, God used the prophet Samuel to make clear God’s priority – obey Him.
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
    • Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was unambiguous as He told to His disciples what true love for Him looked like – obedience.
  • 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?
    • Whoever we obey is our master – God shared this plain truth through Paul the Apostle.

Obedience Means Possibilities! Read on to see some of the ways God uses the obedience of His people.

Note - Familiarity with the historical Biblical characters discussed below is needed to appreciate the possibilities realized through their obedience to God. 

Purposes Accomplished - Moses
  • Exodus 12:40-41 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
    • Whether delivering the Nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt or delivering the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to a lost person, obedience leads to God’s purposes being accomplished.

Prayers Offered - Hannah
  • 1 Samuel 1:15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.
    • Faith in God leads to prayer to God. Worship, thanksgiving, confession, requests and much more are all a part of our ongoing fellowship with God through prayer. God tells us to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Pride Destroyed - Naaman
  • 2 Kings 5:13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
    • When we put our logic and standards above the commands, standards and principles of God, in pride we are turning our backs on Him and His blessings. Don’t try to rationalize what God says – do what God says.

Perseverance Demonstrated - Job
  • James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
    • We live in a world that is broken by sin. Losing our possessions, our loved ones and/or our health are tragedies that must be endured by keeping focused on the compassion and mercy of our loving Heavenly Father. Show your obedience by trusting in the Lord with all your heart, not leaning on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Power Displayed - Gideon
  • Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
    • Whatever the odds, whatever your history, whatever your doubts – faith in and obedience to God are an unbeatable combination.

Peace Attained - Mary Magdalene
  • Mark 16:9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.
    • No matter the burden you carry, no matter the struggles you face, surrender your life to God through Jesus in obedience to His call. Jesus longs to give you peace (Matthew 11:28-30).

Pruning Endured - Peter
  • John 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
    • Pruning can be painful – but it is a necessary part of growing in our faith and producing more fruit for the glory of God. Even when we fail in the moment (rebuking Christ when He predicts His own death – see Mark 8:31-33 or denying a relationship with Jesus – see John 18: 15-18, 25-27), moving forward in obedience, despite our failures, leads to maturing in our faith.

Perceptions Changed - Thomas
  • John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
    • Jesus showed true love and patience as He dealt with Thomas’ doubts. Because he obeyed Jesus’ instructions, Thomas came to understand the truth of His resurrection.

Preaching Delivered - Stephen
  • Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
    • Don’t pass by the opportunities to speak the truth of God’s Word when the Lord provides an opportunity. Don’t trust in yourself – trust what His Word will accomplish.

Persecution Experienced - Paul
  • 2 Corinthians 11:24-25 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
    • Jesus teaches that we are blessed when we are persecuted for His sake (Matthew 5:11-12). Don’t let disobedience stand in the way of your blessings.

As you celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas,
Celebrate the obedience of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

Problems Endured - Joseph
  • Matthew 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
    • Obey the Word of God – Watch as He deals with the problems in your life!

Promises Honored - Mary
  • Luke 1:30-31 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
    • Obey the Word of God – Witness the miracles He performs!

Prophesy Fulfilled - Jesus
  • John 17:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
    • Obey the Word of God – Wait on the Lord; He is faithful to complete what He has started.


Blessed Father, I fall so very short; but I know You love me anyway! Please Lord, help me to be an obedient servant. Give me the strength, courage and humility to obey You quickly, completely and joyfully. Use me for Your glory. Draw those who don’t know You into a loving relationship with You. Help all who love You to obey You. I pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Awesome Adventure

The Awesome Adventure

Surrendering all that you are to Jesus does not mean that you will have an easy life. With Christ as your Lord and Savior, you now represent the message of the Bible – Jesus Christ is the one and only way to a right relationship with God. Most who have heard or will hear the good news about Jesus Christ and His love for the world are offended; they reject the truth as lies, bigotry, hatred, narrowmindedness…
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
  • Matthew 7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

But we press on. In His truth, strength and love we persevere. We find joy and peace through obedience to Him and satisfaction in seeing His plans fulfilled. Each time another lost soul comes to salvation in Christ, we praise His name and thank Him for His unending love for all. Nothing and no one can separate us from His love. We endure persecutions with rejoicing, knowing that heaven is the ultimate destination for all who love Him.
  • Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
  • 1 Peter 3:13-14 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”
  • Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The trials and tribulations, the triumphs and thanksgivings, the high and lows, the peaks and the valleys, each Christian must take up their own cross and follow where the Lord Jesus leads. And although it is impossible to characterize the individual experiences of every Christian, here are some common aspects of the awesome adventure experienced by those who walk with Jesus.

  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    • Creation declares God’s existence (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:18-20). But the truth about Jesus Christ cannot be figured out by observing nature – the gospel message of salvation is contained in the Words of God (The Holy Bible). To become a follower of Jesus, a person must be exposed to the gospel.

  • James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
    • A person must not dismiss the truth. The Holy Spirit of God uses the truth of God’s Word to draw the heart of those who don’t know Jesus as Savior.

  • Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
    • When drawn to Christ by the Spirit of God with the truth contained in the Word of God, a person must make a decision about how they will respond.

  • 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.
    • Agreeing with the truth of God’s Word through a profession of faith in Christ to God leads to spiritual rebirth – a new and eternal life in Christ.

  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
    • Digesting the Word of God is a vital part of maturing as a Christian. Personal study time, listening to sermons, personal or group Bible study, devotions, etc. can all play an important part in growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • 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.
    • A new way of thinking, a new focus, looking at life through the lens of truth which is God’s Word; scripture changes your perspective and understanding of life and eternity. Truth gives you purpose.

  • James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
    • Learning more about God is a good thing; but genuine faith results in loving works. Faithful obedience means doing what God requires of His children.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Recognizing who God is and what He has done for you and others results in humility and gratitude.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
    • Christians are the earthly representatives of God’s Kingdom. People will draw conclusions about God and His church based on how we conduct ourselves.

  • Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
    • Everybody sins (falls short of God’s standards and expectations); that includes Christians. That is why God had to come to earth as a man (Jesus) to pay the debt for our sins by dying on a cross. But Christians, with the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit and by obeying the Word of God out of love for Jesus, should sin less and less as they mature. Sin is very uncomfortable for a true follower of Jesus. Confession brings cleansing and restoration.

  • John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
    • Christians live in a state of joyful and confident expectation for the time when they join Christ in Heaven.

  • Matthew 28:19 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,
    • Christians share the truth of God’s love with others.

  • Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
    • Only those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior will spend eternity in Heaven.

Want to learn more?
Want to live The Awesome Adventure?
Read the Bible.
Attend a Bible Believing Christian church.
Seek God with all your heart
Respond when He draws you to Himself!


Father God, please encourage Your children in their walk with You. Please draw those who don’t know You into a reconciled loving relationship through Jesus Christ. I praise Your holy name and ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Best Science Book Ever

The Best Science Book Ever

The other day I was on a long drive and stumbled across a radio program that was discussing ‘The Best Science Books of 2016’. Seeing how I have always really liked science, I decided to listen in. The host of the program and his two guests were very intelligent and informed. Not only did they discuss their favorite books from the last year, but they also took time to talk about different styles and purposes of writing about science: books that explain/teach, books intended to persuade, science novels, children’s science books, etc. The program also included calls from listeners who mentioned their favorite science books and added to the discussion.

As interesting as some of the discussion was, it didn’t take long before I found myself very saddened by what I was hearing. Without fail, all the discussion and commentary on this program discounted the absolute truths found in ‘The Best Science Book Ever’, The Holy Bible. Without acknowledgement or apology, the fundamental premise of this program was to dismiss the possibility of God and the truth of His Word by celebrating the brilliance of man and the glory of human theories and discoveries.

‘But how can you trust the results of your process when before you even defined your hypothesis, began your research, conducted your experiments, documented your observations, performed your analysis, confirmed your results, reached your conclusions, and shared your findings, you rejected a viable fundamental premise?’, I asked myself.

When you discount the possibility of God,
any evidence or conclusions that suggest the existence of God
are dismissed as either erroneous or ridiculous.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth.

As much as I would like to use the rest of this devotion to share scripture about how God created all things out of nothing, made the stars and other heavenly bodies, gave life to every living creature, created man in His own image, and so much more; that is not what this devotion it about. And as much as I want to provide you a list of scripture about how God alone has the authority and power to violate the created order He established (miracles), that is not the purpose of this devotion. And though I believe that impartial science proves the existence of God, I won’t be expounding on that subject either.

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
I seriously considered calling into the radio program.

I really wanted to engage in the discussion and share the truth as given to us by God through creation and scripture.

I strongly desired to make the case that the Holy Bible is The Best Science Book Ever.

But I didn’t call in.

I thought it was a waste of time and effort.

I felt certain that I would be disregarded or dismissed.

And though I didn’t fear ridicule or criticism, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to clearly articulate what the Bible has to say about these matters.

Why would they listen to me?

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world
His invisible attributes are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made,
even His eternal power and Godhead,
so that they are without excuse,

  • Instead of trusting in the power of God’s Word
  • Instead of relying on His Spirit to work through me
  • Instead of stepping out in faith

I judged the hearts of those I should have shared His Word with!

Matthew 7:1-2
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 For with what judgment you judge,
you will be judged;
and with the measure you use,
it will be measured back to you.

I discounted the power of God’s Word!

Isaiah 55:11-12
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

This devotion is:

A Confession
  • I evaluated the situation from my perspective instead of trusting God.

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.

A Praise
  • Not matter how many times I fail Him, He is always there for me!

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, 
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Lord, have mercy on me a sinner.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The God Who Sees Me

The God Who Sees Me

God promised Abram many descendants; but his wife Sarai could not have children. Instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise within the bounds of her marriage, Sarai took matters into her own hands – she told her husband to have a child with her female servant Hagar (Genesis 16). The Bible doesn’t tell us what Hagar thought or how she felt about these developments. She was a slave; she had no option but to do what she was told. Was she disgusted, angry or scared at the thought of being forced to have a child with her master’s husband? Could she have been honored, hopeful or brave when she was told about the arrangement to marry and bring forth a child with the patriarch of God’s chosen people? We just don’t know.

But what we do know is that once she conceived a child with Abram, she became proud and despised her master Sarai. Then Sarai, empowered by Abram to do so, treated Hagar cruelly in response to her attitude. Trapped in this horrible situation, Hagar fled.

Slavery, impatience, anger, pride, jealousy, retaliation, hate…, our sinful actions and reactions result in human suffering. Hagar was in a no-win situation and ran away from it. She was pregnant, homeless, with no means of support; she had no hope.

But God, our loving Heavenly Father was watching. He came to Hagar and told her to return and submit. God revealed to Hagar that her descendants would multiply exceedingly through her yet unborn son Ishmael. In her darkest hour, feeling desperate and alone, Hagar encountered and was encouraged by ‘The God Who Sees Me’.
  • Genesis 16:13-14 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
    • Beer Lahai Roi – ‘the well of the Living One who sees me’

Regardless of Our Situation
Regardless of Our Past
Regardless of Our Hurts

God Sees Us
  • Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

God Knows Us
  • Psalm 139:1-3 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

God Thinks About Us
  • Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

God Has Plans for Us
  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When We are Broken
When We are Humble
When We Turn to Him

God Hears Us
  • Psalm 22:24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

God Forgives Us
  • Lamentation 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

God Blesses Us
  • Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

God Saves Us
  • Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

The God of Heaven sees you!
Jehovah loves you! 
His desire is to be in a right relationship with you!

So, whether you:
  • Already know Him as Lord but have sinned against Him
  • Have turned your back on the One you trusted
  • Have never surrendered your life to Him
  • Have denied that He exist
  • Are confused and not sure where to turn

Humble Yourself Before God
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

Confess Your Sins To Him
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Accept what Christ Has Done For You
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Surrender Your Life to 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.

Begin Your New Life
  • 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.

Embrace Who You Are In Christ
  • 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:


Dear Lord: You are the God Who sees me. You are the God Who loves me. You are the God Who died for my sins. Help me to remember that, as a loving and faithful God, Your eyes are always on me. You keep watch over me and all Your creation. May the attention and care You show for me and to me inspire me to honor You in all that I do. Turn many hearts to Yourself Dear Lord. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

First Things First

First Things First

There is no shortage of good works, worthy causes and meaningful tasks for those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • Sharing and Showing the Love of Jesus
  • Speaking the Truth
  • Standing for what is Right
  • Strengthening Families
  • Serving Others
  • Supporting the Church and Those in Need

But, to bring honor and glory to God by doing these and countless other things, there is something else that must come first – you must put Christ above everything else in your life.

Christ’s Preeminence

Understanding Who Jesus Is
  • 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.
    • Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with God the Father.
    • Jesus is the embodiment of God’s eternal truths.
    • Jesus' sinless life, sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead is how our sins are forgiven and our eternal life in Heaven is secured.

Acknowledging Who Jesus Is
  • 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.
    • Every knee will bow to Jesus
      • You can bow in worship and surrender to Him as a joint heir to His inheritance in Heaven and spend eternity fellowshipping with Him
      • Or you can bow in defeat and defiance as a condemned foe of His and spend eternity suffering in a real place called Hell separated from Him

Honoring Who Jesus Is
  • Colossians 1:17-18 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
    • Jesus Christ is to come first in our lives; He is ranked above everything and everyone else.
    • Jesus Christ is to be the number one influence on and in our lives; we take our direction from Him.
    • Jesus Christ is to be our absolute top priority.

The preeminence of Jesus doesn’t cause us to neglect God honoring relationships and endeavors; putting Him first enables us to excel at all we do for His glory, to further His Kingdom, and to love and serve others.  To be the best we can be for all those we love and in all that we do:

No Person Should Come Before Jesus
  • Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
    • Love others better by loving Jesus first.

No Possession Should Come Before Jesus
  • Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
    • Your relationship with Jesus is the most valuable thing in your life.

No Purpose Should Come Before Jesus
  • Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
    • Wherever it may take you, your number one goal must be to follow Jesus in love, submission and obedience.

First Things First

Put Jesus Above All Else


Father, there are so many ways I don’t put Jesus first in my life. Please forgive me for not making Your Son preeminent in all areas of my life. Guide me by the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit to the place where Jesus is Number One in my life. Work in the hearts and minds of those who love You to make Jesus their top priority. And for those who don’t know You through Jesus, please Holy Father, draw them to Yourself for salvation in Jesus Christ. I pray in the name above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Battle To Do Good and Right

The Battle To Do Good and Right

Although we are in a war with Satan and his demons, and though we live in a fallen world where perversity and injustice are the norm, for followers of Jesus Christ, the battle to do good and right ultimately comes down to an internal struggle. With God living in us, we long to be the lights in this world that He has called and empowered us to be. But the fact of the matter is, in each and every moment, in each and every struggle, we have to make a decision about how we will think, what we desire, what we say and the things that we do.

Victory is not found in good intentions. Although God is pleased when we make right and good decisions based on the truth of His Word, God is glorified when we follow through on those decisions. We must live out our faith!

We know what God expects. We desire to please and honor Him. But our flesh (that part of us that rebels against God) is the final obstacle to living out His perfect plans for us. In Romans Chapter 7, the Apostle Paul shares very openly about his struggles with the flesh.
  • Romans 7:18-19 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

And when it comes down to how we treat other people, if we are faithful to our duty to share the love of Christ with others, it comes down to our attitudes and our works.

AttitudesHow followers of Jesus are meant to think.
  • Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
  • Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

WorksWhat followers of Jesus were made to do.
  • Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Working together, our attitudes and our works are meant to express the love of God to everyone we encounter.
  • 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.”

This is all well and good in theory; but what about practical application in our daily lives? Jesus didn’t beat around the bush – He made this very real and personal for each person who professes faith in Him. Here are a few powerful examples Jesus gave as documented in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 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,
  • Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Matthew 25:34-36 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

We have been called and commanded to emulate God’s character. We are His ambassadors on earth.
  • Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
  • Luke 6:35-36 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

But how; how can we actually do this? Our spirits are willing, but our flesh is so weak.
  • Matthew 26:40-41 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The power of God’s Holy Spirit lives in us. When we surrender ourselves to Him and obey His Word, we win the battle to do good and right.
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

As Christians, we are called to be like God. We are called to extend grace and to show mercy. It is easy to love the loveable, to forgive the repentant, to give to victims, to right what we see as wrongs – that feels so good and we are so proud of ourselves when we do it.

But what about when we think someone doesn’t deserve what we have worked so hard for? The battle with the flesh begins with thoughts like:
  • ‘She hasn’t made good decisions; she needs to learn from her mistakes.’
  • ‘I’ve worked hard for what I have; he needs to get a job.’
  • ‘I’m only supposed to help those who are willing to help themselves.’
  • ‘We don’t want to be enablers.’
  • And so on...

If God had used this type of ‘logic’ with us, we would be headed straight to hell!
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


Imitate God, forgive, don’t judge the heart of man, etc., so…
  • Matthew 5:45-47 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?


Father God, Your Word, Your Spirit and our circumstances all reveal the battle to do good and right that rages within. Please dear Lord, guide us, help us, strengthen us to fulfill your commandment to love others as we love ourselves. Help us to generous and kind, not stingy and judgmental. You have set the example and have provided all we need. I pray that those who have given themselves completely to You will honor You by truly loving others; the loveable and the ones that we may not see that way. I praise You and pray to You in the name above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Think Before You Speak

Think Before You Speak

‘Think before you speak.’ I have been saying this to myself a great deal lately. Not because I have been saying anything that is necessarily bad or wrong; I’ve just been talking too much and sometimes focused on the wrong thing. The Holy Spirit of God has been dealing with me about this.

I have found myself saying things to:
  • Be witty; although I had the opportunity to share Godly wisdom
  • Get people laughing; when I should have been shining as a light for God’s glory
  • Entertain; rather than engaging the hearts and minds of others with the Good News of Jesus Christ

I have always used humor as a way to break down barriers and facilitate discussion. And to some degree, this has been effective and useful. Yet even as I grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I have found myself doing this more and more in social settings, at work, and even at church.

When my words and/or attempts at humor become excessive, I am bringing attention to myself rather than pointing others to the Lord. The Bible has a lot to say about talking too much. Here are few examples:
  • Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
    • When you talk too much, pride, self-centeredness, ego, bragging, etc. are often at the center or your words. Withholding your words can be a sign of wisdom.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:3 For a dream comes through much activity, And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
    • Achieving a goal takes hard work; but some would rather talk than work.
  • Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
    • Even with God it is possible to talk before you think: prayers where you uselessly and/or endlessly repeat the same thing over and over without conviction or meaning; trying to make a ‘deal’ with God; hastily making a vow/commitment to God; praying for something that is inappropriate…
  • Also see Proverbs 15:2, Psalm 37:30, James 1:19, James 1:26, and many other verses.

The Bible also provides examples of when the wrong focus caused someone to speak before they carefully considered what they were saying.

What was Peter focused on when Jesus spoke of His upcoming death and resurrection?
  • Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
    • Peter had just proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-16).
    • Could he have been more focused on his expectations of Jesus rather than what Jesus was saying to him.
    • Jesus’ response reveals the danger of not stopping to think before you speak – Peter received a very sharp rebuke from Jesus.
      • Matthew 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

What was Jephthah focused on when he rashly made a vow to God?
  • Judges 11:30-31 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, 31 then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”
    • Although years earlier Jephthah had been driven away by the elders of his people, now he was being promised the position of leadership over all the people of Gilead if he could lead them to victory in war (Judges 11:1-10).
    • Could Jephthah have been more focused on his possible rise to power rather than honoring God in the battle to save the Gileadites?
    • Because he spoke his vow without stopping to think, although he won the battle, Jephthah lost his only child.
      • Judges 11:34-35 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it.”

Being overly focused on humor is just one of many possible contributors to not thinking before you speak. Are you prone to any of the following?
  • Trying to sound smart?
  • Wanting to come across as tough/indifferent?
  • Focused more on making a point rather than listening?
  • Trying to sound ‘religious’?
  • Gossip/rumors?
  • Attempting to make yourself look good by criticizing others?
  • Other items not listed here?
What could these or similar tendencies indicate about who and what you are focused on?  Whoever you are talking to, Think Before You Speak!
  • Ecclesiastes 5:2 Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.
  • Proverbs 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.
  • Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
  • Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
There is an appropriate time to every purpose under heaven. Let your words reflect a clear understanding of this truth.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:4-5
    • A time to weep,
      And a time to laugh;
      A time to mourn,
      And a time to dance;
      5 A time to cast away stones,
      And a time to gather stones;
      A time to embrace,
      And a time to refrain from embracing;


Father, I confess that I am sometimes focused on the wrong thing and that I often talk before I think. Please Father, help me yield to the convicting work of Your Holy Spirit in my life. I long to bring honor to You. Whether it is a time for laughing or a time for crying, a time to be serious or a time to relax, help me and all who have surrendered to Jesus honor you with all we say and do. And please Lord, draw many to You for salvation in Jesus Christ. I pray all this in His precious name, Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2016



In verse 37 of Romans Chapter 8, Paul declares, ‘Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.’ Praise God! Christians are equipped and empowered to do, be and accomplish what God has ordained. In Jesus, no power, person or phenomenon can separate us from the love of God and all that His love means for our lives (Romans 8:38-39). In Christ, we are overcomers!

Being an overcomer is a reality we must embrace to experience. There are always doubts, hurdles and impossibilities that stand in the way of achieving what God has gifted and called us to do. But as overcomers, we must press on in obedience regardless of how and what we or others feel, observe or think. To live like the overcomers we are, we must move forward in faith; even when everything else is screaming at us to stop where we are.

We fulfill our call to be overcomers because of who lives in of us.
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
  • Ephesians 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

But we can fall short of our call to be overcomers because of things external to us. Here are some common barriers to living as overcomers.
  • Concerns raised can initiate invalid Opinions
  • Constraints recognized can intensify impenetrable Obstacles
  • Calculations rendered can imply impossible Odds

Diligent, obedient and faithful servants of God break through these barriers in His strength for His glory.

Opinions – Joseph
Is God glorified when concerns cause us to question what God has called us to do? No.
  • Genesis 37:8 And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
    • At seventeen years old, Joseph’s understanding of what His dreams foretold was limited at best. But his brothers had very strong opinions; to them, Joseph’s dreams validated their hate – not only was he their father’s favorite son, but now they viewed him as arrogant.
    • Yet despite being sold into slavery by his brothers, and being thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Joseph honored and obeyed the Lord through his actions and decisions. Many years passed before Joseph’s family saw the fulfillment of God’s plan; Joseph ruled over Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, and not only saved his family, but also all the people of the land.
    • Joseph was an Overcomer!

Obstacles – Moses
Is God glorified when constraints cause us to avoid what God has ordained? No.
  • Exodus 14:11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?
    • Soon after being delivered from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites found themselves trapped – Pharaoh and his army approaching from one side and the Red Sea on the other. All the Israelites could see was the obstacle that blocked their escape – in horror they longed to return to Egypt and run from the destiny God had ordained for them.
    • But God was faithful and Moses was obedient; the Lord miraculously parted the Red Sea and created a safe passage for His chosen people to escape. Moses led the people as they left behind hundreds of years of slavery and moved forward towards the fulfilment of God’s covenant with Abraham.
    • Moses was an Overcomer!

Odds – Gideon
Is God glorified when calculations cause us to doubt what God can do? No.
  • Judges 7:2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’
    • 300 against 135,00; what chance could these Israelites have in a battle against the Midianites? Do the math – no matter how smart, no matter how strong, no matter how experienced in battle, the 300 soldiers of Israel could not win this battle.
    • Well, that’s exactly the point. Using Gideon, the least in his father’s house, from the weakest clan in his tribe, as only He could do, God brought victory and freedom from oppression despite impossible odds.
    • Gideon was an Overcomer!

When we believe God and obey Him,
we fulfill our call to be Overcomers!

Consider what happened when Moses sent men to spy out Canaan – ten of the twelve spies he sent did not overcome the barriers listed above. As a result, the Nation of Israel did not enter the Promised Land at that time and were made to wander in the desert for forty years
  • Number 13:27-28 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
    • Opinions – ‘the people who dwell in the land are strong’
      • They felt that the people of the land were too strong to overcome. They did not trust and obey God.
    • Obstacles – ‘the cities are fortified and very large’
      • They observed that the fortified cities could not be breached. They did not trust and obey God.
    • Odds – ‘moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there’
      • They determined that they couldn’t win in a battle against giants. They did not trust and obey God.

But forty years later, Joshua, a faithful and obedient servant of God, led the Israelites into the Promised Land and on to victory.
  • Joshua 1:8-9 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
    • Joshua heeded God’s Word and embraced the instructions and encouragement he received from God. Joshua trusted and obeyed God.
    • Joshua was an Overcomer!

Christians are Overcomers!
But do we live like it?


Faithful Father, so often I fail to embrace the reality that in Christ Jesus I am an overcomer. I am guilty of letting doubts, fears and perceived impossibilities stand in the way of victory in the things You have called me to do. Please forgive me. Please help me to trust and obey. Bless Your people and help us all to live as the overcomers You made us in Jesus. May the truth of Your Word draw many lost to salvation in Jesus. For it is in His precious name that I pray. Amen.

Sunday, October 16, 2016



LORD – Jehovah, Yahweh, YHWH, ‘He Is’, ‘I Am’; the formal name of God. The LORD is the eternal, self-existent, all knowing, all powerful, never changing, ever present creator and sovereign ruler of the universe; the author of the Holy Bible; the architect of our redemption and eternal life in Heaven with Him; the standard of what is good, right and just; the ultimate judge of every living soul; gracious; merciful; perfect…

Because He is infinite and immaculate, and we are finite and flawed, any attempt to fully describe or completely understand the LORD falls immeasurably short. We can’t fully know Him now, but we can know what He has revealed of Himself through His Creation, His Works and His Word; and we can have a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

The LORD is my Lord (Jehovah is Adonai) – He is my master, owner, sovereign. I have surrendered all that I am to all that He Is. I recognize Him as the only true God and as the Savior of my soul. Because of His grace and the shed blood of His Son, Jesus, to pay my sin debt, I will spend eternity in Heaven praising, serving and learning about Him.

Jehovah is:

The LORD of Eternity
  • Psalm 90:1-2 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
    • Jehovah and Jesus have existed from eternity past and will exist forever!
      • Colossians 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

The LORD of Truth
  • Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
    • Jesus is the personification of Jehovah’s truth!
      • John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The LORD of Life
  • Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
    • Jesus gave His life to satisfy Jehovah’s wrath against our sin so that we 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.

The LORD of Love
  • Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
    • Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s love.
      • Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The LORD of Hope
  • Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.
    • The hope of Jehovah is in Jesus Christ.
      • 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

The LORD of All
  • Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
    • There is no end to the reign of Jehovah and Jesus. They sovereignly rule over all things for all time.
      • Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

I also included verses about Jesus under the headings above because Jesus Christ is the human incarnation of the LORD God; He is God in the flesh.
  • 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.”
  • John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
  • Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

If you don’t know Jehovah, there is only One way to Him, through Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s one of a kind/unique Son.
  • Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
  • 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.

Here are a few verses from the Book of Romans in the New Testament that explain the truth about sin, its consequences, and God’s means of dealing with it.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Every person falls short of God’s standards (everybody sins).
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • Sin results in separation from God (death). But God loves us so much, He made a way for us to be in right relationship with Him (which is eternal life).
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    • God doesn’t ask us to clean ourselves up (He knows we can’t). He sent Christ (the human incarnation of God) to pay our sin debt by dying on a cross – shedding His precious blood to satisfy God’s wrath against sin. Now that is love in action.
  • Romans 10:9-10 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. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    • Accept the truth of this good news and surrender your life to Jesus Christ. Believe it, accept it, act on it – talk to God right now. Tell Him you believe the truth about Jesus. Ask Him to save you from the punishment of sin.

Without a right relationship
with Jehovah through Jesus,
You will be separated from God forever
in a place call Hell.

Search Your Heart. 
Ask God to reveal Himself to you now.
Today is the day of salvation!


Loving Father – draw many of the lost to hear and respond to the truth about You, about Jesus, about sin, about Hell, about Heaven. Only you can bring life to those who are dead in their sin – please bring many to know You through Jesus. I pray in Your Son’s name. Amen.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Give Me Understanding

Give Me Understanding

Understanding God’s Word is a journey of discovery. As we travel with Him, we gain more and more insight into His character, truths, expectations, purposes and plans. And the more we understand about God, the more we understand about ourselves and others. But this journey of discovery is not a mental exercise – it is a process of transformation and application. As we learn and grow, we become and do.

Knowledge of God is a gift from God. Understanding of God is enabled by God. It is prideful to suggest or believe that our understanding of God is achieved through our own intelligence or ability. The realities of God are beyond our human nature. Without the Holy Spirit of God, we are incapable of grasping and applying the spiritual truths of God.

A Need
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    • Human effort alone will never lead to the uncovering of spiritual truth. The gift of understanding is enabled by the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Don’t give into the lie that you are smart enough to figure out God. He reveals Himself to you as you diligently and humbly seek Him.

A Promise
  • James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
    • Understanding and application of God’s truths are not limited to a select few. God has promised that He will generously and graciously grant wisdom to all those who love Him and ask Him for it; but this promise is conditional – you must truly believe and trust that God will grant what He has promised in order to receive it.

King Solomon is a great example of these truths.
  • 1 Kings 3:9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
    • After making a sacrifice to God, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him, ‘What shall I give you?’ Solomon, recognizing his own limitations, asked in faith for God to give him understanding. And not only did he ask in faith, but he asked with the right motivation (because he wanted the ability to effectively serve God and lead God’s people).
  • 1 Kings 3:11-12 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.
    • God was faithful and honored Solomon’s request; He gave him a wise and understanding heart.

There are five verses in Psalm 119 where the writer asks God for understanding. Examining the motives of these requests reveals some of the blessings and responsibilities that accompany God-given understanding.

Understanding Leads to Diligence
  • Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
    • We pay attention to what we understand. We heed the warnings and believe the promises. We respect the boundaries and acknowledge the responsibilities. We fulfill the obligations, realize the benefits and honor the One who establishes the standards.

Understanding Leads to Ownership
  • Psalm 119:73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.
    • Once you understand something, no one can take that from you – you own it! Ownership brings responsibility. Our Heavenly Father expects us to responsibly apply what we understand about Him – for His glory and the benefit of others.

Understanding Leads to Accountability
  • Psalm 119:125 I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.
    • God knows our hearts and minds. There is no denying what we understand – we can’t claim ignorance. We are slaves to the truth whether we acknowledge that or not. We are all slaves of something – what better Master could we hope for? His gift of understanding makes us His servants.

Understanding Leads to Relationship
  • Psalm 119:144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live.
    • Everyone has a relationship with God, they are either serving Him or rebelling against Him. God longs to be in a right relationship with every person He has created. Understanding of God opens the door to right relationship with Him.

Understanding Leads to Perspective
  • Psalm 119:169 Let my cry come before You, O Lord; Give me understanding according to Your word.
    • There is no limit to the application of God’s eternal truths. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, understanding God helps us to see and appreciate the bigger picture of His love, desires and intentions.

I pray that these final verses will help stimulate your desire to understand and serve our loving, gracious, merciful Father.
  • 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7-8 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
  • James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.


Father God, please give us understanding; Godly understanding that enables a life that honors You. Teach us, change us, mold us and guide us. Empty us of pride, grant us Your wisdom, open our eyes to Your ways. I pray that Godly understanding will transform lives. I pray to You Father in the name of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Real Change

Real Change

I understand why Christians advocate for and participate in the processes of establishing laws and societal norms that honor our Heavenly Father; followers of Jesus long to live in a world that values, respects and conforms with Biblical principles and standards. But as noble as some of these efforts are, I believe many in the church of Jesus Christ are overly focused on these strategies to transform our culture.

Consider the following statements:
  • You can’t change a person’s behavior by judging them.
  • You can’t force another person to adopt your way of thinking.
  • You can’t legislate what a person believes.

Are we, light bearers in a dark world, hoping to create a utopian society where everyone pretends to be something they aren’t. Certainly not. If that were true, the church would be nothing more than a hypocrite making machine.

Thankfully, we serve a wise and loving God. Jesus gave clear instructions regarding our primary purpose:
  • 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.

As tools in our Maker’s hands, we are to go throughout the world teaching (sharing and demonstrating) the truth and love of Jesus Christ and the gospel message. Some plant, some water, but only God can give life to that which is dead.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Real Change starts on the inside. Externally motivated change, at its best is temporary, at its worst is insincere. The Bible contains many examples that demonstrate this reality. Here are just a few.

Rules without relationship breed rebellion.
  • Judges 3:7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.
    • The Law in Israel was initiated and established by God through Moses; but the Jews still rebelled against it. The Jews didn’t have a sincere relationship with the Lord; it showed in their lifestyles and decisions.

A person’s thought life is determined by their spiritual condition.
  • Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    • What we think about is a reflection of who we are – children of God or enemies of God. Without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the desires of the flesh rule the mind and heart.

Public behavior doesn’t equate to personal belief.
  • Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
    • The religious leaders of Jesus’ time were as legalistically compliant with the Law as they could be; but many of them had hearts of stone. External compliance is not always a sign of internal conviction.

So, as much as I appreciate the valiant efforts of those engaged in the political, legal and social arenas to represent and advocate for Biblical values, I pray that as followers of Jesus, we never forget that Real Change can only be achieved when the individuals who make up our society experience new life and new thinking in Jesus Christ.
  • Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
  • 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.
  • Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord,
my strength and my Redeemer.


Father, may Psalm 19:14 become the prayer and desire of all who have and will believe on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We look forward to the day we are free from sin and sorrow in Heaven with You. Have mercy on us all. In Jesus precious name I pray for the salvation of the lost. Amen.