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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Experiences


As we prepare for 40 Days in the Word let’s look at this subject on how do I build my life on the Bible?

The Lord created you and has a purpose for you, and has given you five senses – hear, smell, see, taste, and touch.  Everything we know and experience in life comes through one of those five senses. We encounter life that way, and God wants us to learn to encounter the Bible with all of your senses.

We find these experiences in James 1:19-25, My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Use everything that God has given you to experience His Word in a very real way.

Be wise today and always – experience the Word.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Foundations


Jesus ended the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7, by telling a story.  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

We need to learn to build our life on the Bible so that we’re building on solid rock. When the storms and trials and difficulties of life come, you’ll be able to handle it. Knowing Jesus as Savior and applying the Bible to your life enables you to withstand life’s storms.

I hope your have made the decision to join hundreds of thousands of people in the 40 Days in the Word. www.40DITW.com It will change your life.

Be wise today and always – build on the solid foundation.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kick-Off


Today is the beginning for thousands of churches in the 40 Days in the Word!

We will experience how to Love, Learn, and Live the Word of God!
Key verse for this campaign – John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Believers are to:
- Learn the Bible and apply it to their lives.
- Be a life long student and a follower of it’s truths.
- Know what it says.
- Be set free by the truth.

Are you ready to commit to the authority of the Word of God?  

Let’s start living life as the world instructs, but as the Word of God instructs.
 It is time to start!

Be wise today and always – start 40 Days in the Word.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spiritual Continuum


According to Willow Creek’s Reveal study there are Four types of People.

Those that are -

1. Exploring Christ (knowing that there is a void in your life)
Growth Step - SALVATION BY GRACE

2. Growing in Christ (working on what it means)
Growth Step - DEPENDENCE ON GOD

3. Close to Christ (depend on Christ to help live your life)
Growth Step - WILING TO RISK ALL FOR CHRIST

4. Christ Centered (Christ is the most important thing in my life and He guides me in all I do)

Where do you find yourself among these four types of people?

God is ready and more than capable to help you take steps of growth. Thousands of people around the world are participating in 40 Days in the Word starting January 29th. I invite you to join in this journey.

Are you willing?

Be wise today and always – grow in the Lord.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Be Ready


We need to be more proactive like Jesus. He came to save us from destruction and being lost. Think about this question.

If someone was drowning or lost, would you save them?

Of course you would. Somehow we don’t see the urgency in sharing the Gospel, and statistically Christians are losing the battle. There are less believers today than ten years ago. This is not a judgment on what was but it's not 1960 anymore. We must live for today it's time to step up and get to work!

After Jesus’ encounter with a “funny little man” He tells a story in Luke 19:11-27 about doing work for the King.

Consider the first three verses: 11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten mina ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’…

Let’s put our talents to work with all we have believing that Jesus might come back today. The worls needs to hear what we have to say.

Be wise today and always. Be ready for Christ’s return.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jesus Loves Us Anyway


As we saw yesterday in Luke 19:1-10 the people all murmured or muttered about Zacchaeus. Jesus didn’t and gives us a picture of the relationship He desires with all humanity. There are three things we can take from this passage.

1. God is a seeking God. Why do we expect people come to us? We need to be willing to go and share the Gospel.

2 God calls us by name - people want to be heard and recognized. Why do you think Walmart has greeters? Image is not everything – relationship is what people desire.

3. Jesus identifies with us. He wants to spend time with us, even though He knows all about us!

Do you know your community, and are you glad when people come to your church?

Do you seek opportunities to engage with them?

In Jesus’ Great Commission we are told to Go! Are you ready?

Be wise today and always. Be Jesus to the world around you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

People Are Funny


I must say, “People are funny” three or four times a day. I am not always talking about humor - If you know what I mean. We have differences and look at life differently. People have their own life experiences and ways of doing things.

In Luke 19:1-10, we see a man named Zacchaeus, that people murmured or muttered about. They thought he was funny.

 1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.  5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”  8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

As you can see Jesus’ reaction to someone who was “funny” was very different than the people. Let’s be honest we wouldn’t have much to do with him either. Praise God that Jesus loves us in spite of ourselves! Amen?

Be wise today and always. Be nice to someone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

People of Purpose


In 1 Samuel 3:1-18 there are three things that Samuel did that we as God’s people must to do as well.

1. Realize God’s voice when He speaks to us through the Bible, other believers, or the Holy Spirit. His plan needs to be our plan, and His ways our ways. Let’s covenant to be like Samuel who said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

2. We must answer God. Eli said, “He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in His eyes.” We need to listen, even if what He tells us is not what we want to hear.

3. We need to be about His purpose, and that comes through obedience. Our text says, “the Lord said to Samuel; See I am about to do something.” God is always doing something and we need to be a part of it. Church it is time to get off the sidelines and get into the game.

“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.” Isn’t that a great picture of how we should be in the Lord, Not letting our words fall to the ground? We should pray that we would be so focused and intentional in our daily walk that everything we do will bring praise, honor, and glory to God and Jesus Christ, His Son, and our Savior. Amen?  Then just like Samuel, the world will recognize that we love and serve Jesus everywhere we go, and in everything we do.

This year let us strive more than ever to be God’s people of purpose.

Be wise today and all year long.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seeking Purpose


As 2012 unfolds we need to be reminded that God wants us to be about His business and purposes. We need to look no further than God’s Word to find out what we should and should not be doing. In 1 Samuel 3:1-18 we see the story of a young boy who “ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.” One night the Lord called out to Samuel, and after the third time he answered God who told him what was to come.

The problems that are within the church and the country today were present in Samuel’s time. The Word is not preached; “the Word of the Lord was rare”. Few are seeking Him; “there were not many visions”. Church is business as usual; “lying down in his usual place”. The Voice of God is not understood; “The Word of the Lord had not been revealed.”

Let us stand firm on the Word of God, the truth, and apply it to every aspect of our lives. Few are seeking because we have lost the passion and conviction of sharing the Gospel. The “Good News” is still the greatest news anyone could ever hear, and we have been commissioned to carry to all the corners of the world. That includes our families, neighbors, co-workers, students, and friends. We must examine how we are trying to accomplish God’s purposes. We need to take, “We’ve never done it that way” out of our vocabulary. We must seek Him through prayer, study of His Word, and worship. Amen?

Be wise today and be about His purposes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Behavior


We hear a lot about developing new habits and that it takes 30-40 days to make them part of who we are. When it comes to looking at the Bible and a certain passage always ask the questions: What does this mean to me? and What should I do about it? 

Look at James 1:22-25,  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.  

In other words, be a doer! If you keep it simple it is easier to keep your focus. I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in 40 Days in in the Word (www.saddleback.com/40ditw/) .  During this time we can learn new habits, and find the answers to many of our questions.  

Be wise today and always. Start a good habit today.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Revival 101


In Psalm 85:6-7 we see God’s people praying for revival.   - Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation. Let’s look today at some questions concerning this movement of God.

What is Revival? Not evangelism even though many may be saved as a result of it. It is not emotionalism although there may be emotional manifestations connected to it.  It is a renewal of spiritual life in an individual or among a group of people.

When is Revival Needed?  Whenever the love of God's people has grown cold revival is needed.

What Kind of Revival Do We Need? We need a revival that will resurrect the church, rekindle our passion for God, and restore joy and victory to the child of God.

How Can We Have Revival? Only God can send revival. We must face up to spiritual realities, and commit to do things God’s way and not our own.. We must desire and pray to be revived.

Be wise today and always. Pray for revival.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Renewal


Rick Warren teaches that there are 5 Phases of Renewal:
1.     Personal – fall in love with God
2.     Relational – restoration – love each other
3.     Missional (purposeful) – kingdom assignment
4.     Structural – decisional & organizational change
5.     Cultural – change your area

Every church is directed by some force…..
By tradition – We’ve always done…
By personalities – What does the key leader think or want?
By finances – How much will it cost?
By buildings – They shape/determine how we minister or...
By programs – Calendar driven
By the unchurched – What do they want most?

Church attendance alone does not equate to spiritual maturity. We need to ask ourselves the question: How can my church and myself be renewed and grow?

Growth comes from health. Health comes from balance – living out God’s purposes. Plans and programs don’t last but God’s purposes do!

Remember the five purposes of the church and every believer: WORSHP – MINISTRY –FELLOWSHIP – DISCIPLESHIP – EVANGELISM

Be wise today and always – live out God’s purposes for your life and you’ll experience renewal.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ordinary Everyday Life


I saw a video recently on making your life an offering. It has had a great impact on me especially as we start a new year. This concept is based off of Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Take your ordinary everyday life and place it before God as an offering.

Worship is saying:
I trust You - even when your eyes don’t see it
Thy will be done - even when your heart doesn’t feel like it
I’ll follow You - even when your mind doesn’t understand it

There is no greater act of worship than giving God all of you. Open your hands to praise and worship Him. Even if you have to pry them open!

Be wise today and always. Commit your ordinary everyday life to God as your offering.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goals


We are continuing to look at what will happen starting January 29th with Saddleback’s 40 Days in the Word. Two questions we usually ask ourselves before we commit to something are: What am I going to get out of it? and What questions will be answered?

Goals for 40 Days in the Word and questions that will be answered:
1.     Commit to the authority of the Word. Not to live life as the world instucts, but as the Word of God instucts.
2.     Love the Word – Why should I follow the Bible?
3.     Learn the Word – How should I study the Bible?
4.     Live the Word – How will it change my life?

The Bible warns us that we have not because we ask not! Ask God right now if this is 40 Days of your life that He wants you to give to Him. It can be your “Spiritual Lent”.

Be wise today and always.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spiritual Growth


I am very excited about what God is going to do in our country as we come together to study His Word at the same time. It will be a tremendous time of spiritual growth.

The following are Eight Laws of Spiritual Growth by Rick Warren.
1.     Spiritual Growth is Intentional. You choose to grow by commitment.
2.     Spiritual Growth is Incremental. The goal is to be a “self feeder” of the word of God.
3.     Spiritual Growth is Personal. Different for each person.
4.     Spiritual Growth is Habitual. Good habits = Good character
5.     Spiritual Growth is Relational. Can’t love unless you’re around other people.
6.     Spiritual Growth is Multidimensional. Utilize all 5 Purposes & learning.
7.     Spiritual Growth is Seasonal. Times of rapid growth and times for rest and preparation.
8.     Spiritual Growth is Incarnational.  Be more like Jesus.

These principles are all found in the Bible. Come join us for 40 Days in the Word starting January 29th. www.fbcredbank.com
 
Be wise today and always.

Monday, January 16, 2012

40 Days in the Word


Recently I was on a Pastor’s Conference web cast with Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church. They are starting a new campaign called 40 Days in the Word on January 29th, 2012. I hope you might consider joining us in this study at your church, online, or you are always welcomed at FBC Red Bank,

We will experience how to Love, Learn, and Live the Word of God. It is critical to get the most out of this you need to be in a small group. Remember 2-3 people can be the start of a small group! Content will bring people and Fellowship will keep them in Life groups.
Key verse for this campaign – John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Real recovery in the world will only come when we return to the word of God! – Rick Warren
We must approach this study with a willingness to learn in new ways. We forget 95% of what we hear within 72 hours unless we write it down. The shortest pencil beats the longest memory every time! We need to experience the power of multiple reinforcements of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and mission.
More info can be found at www.fbcredbank.com
Be wise today and always. Join with us for forty days – thousands of churches around the world will. You don’t want to miss what the Word has to say to you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Step by Step


Rich Mullens wrote a song called Step by Step:

Oh God, You are my God, and I will ever praise You, Oh God, You are my God, and I will ever praise You, I will seek You in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways, and step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow You all of my days.

It’s a great and simple song to sing, but hard to live out. Think about it:
-         Ever (always) praising God
-         Seeking Him every morning (all day)
-         Learning His purposes and ways
-         Step by step dependence on His leadership
-         Commitment to follow God for your whole life

Great goals for the New Year - Amen?

Be wise today and always.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Praise


At the end of Jesus’ time here on earth he entered Jerusalem for Passover with great celebration. The religious leaders confronted Jesus, and told Him to make the people stop shouting out praises to Him. I love His answer as found in Luke 19:40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I bet they didn’t expect that answer! Of course it made them hate Him more, and planned His murder. Some things haven’t changed that much over time. The world doesn’t want us shouting praise or sharing the Good News that salvation is near. They want us to be quiet.

How would Jesus respond to that?

He doesn’t change, so I’d expect the same answer, “I tell you the truth if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I’m not going to let any rock out praise me. Will you?

Be wise today and always.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Offering of Relationship


One of the great truths of God’s Word is that He loves us, and desires to be in an intimate relationship with us. Let’s finish our study on offering today learning how to know Him more.

Your relationship with God is an offering found in Mark 12:33. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Your relationship with others is found in Matthew 5:23. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Your great offering to God is your life. Look at 1 Peter 2:5; you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house [Or into a temple of the Spirit] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

How is your relationship?

What is your offering?

Be wise today consider your offering.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Offering of Involvement


We’ll continue today looking at this idea of offering.

We see in Acts 10:4 that offering is involvement with the “least of these” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.

We see in Philippians 4:18 that it is an offering of involvement in ministry or mission. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

So offering can also mean that we are to be involved in the lives of other people. Being Jesus with skin on is a full time job.

Be wise today consider your offering.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Offering of Giving


In Mark 12:41-44 We see it means giving from your heart. Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” 

In Ephesians 5:2 we see it means giving all you have. And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We are to rejoice in this act. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. - Philippians 2:17

Giving from your heart with all you got. Sounds like loving God with all your heart, mind, body and soul to me.

How do you give as an offering to God?

Be wise today consider your offering.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Offering


The word “offering” is very interesting. In today’s society most would say it’s what you bring (skills, talents, materials) into a situation. In most churches would say it’s what you put in the collection plate. We’ll spend a few days looking at what the Bible has to say about it.

In Mark 12:41-44 Jesus is at the Temple where people bring their offerings. Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

The word “Offering” is by Strong’s definition: The act of: bringing to; setting before; sacrificing; presenting; a gift.

It is used 728 time in the Bible, most (over half) in Leviticus and Numbers. In the Old Testament it deals with the sacrificial system set in place by God and performed by the priest in the Temple.

It is used only 23 times in the New Testament. Where it is about: Giving, Involvement, and Relationship.

Be wise today - consider your offering.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Go!


Everyone knows the story of Jonah. The command that Jonah was given was, “Go to Nineveh” Before Jonah ran away, experienced the terrible storm, was tossed in the sea, or was swallowed by a great fish, he was told to GO!

What about this word GO? What do you think of when you hear go?
Most of us would think of it as a direction. “Go here, go there, go to directly to jail, or go past Start & collect $200! Regardless, GO is an action. When the Bible talks about Go it is God telling us what to do, or how to live.
When a Christian thinks about the word go, they should use it as an indication of where their walk with the Lord is at.

Today we will look at Jesus using the word GO, and what it should mean to all believers. Jesus said Go to demons, eternally evil, in Matthew 8:28-32:

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.

Jesus also tells us to Go and be forgiven (sin no more), and Go and spread the Gospel (everywhere in the world) to all believers.

Where are you being told to go today?

Be wise and Go today!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

God's Desire


In Micah 6:8 we see that in God’s goodness and love for us he has requirements and desires for us to live by.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

What three things are mentioned?
  1. Act justly
  2. Love mercy
  3. Walk humbly with God

These attributes in a person’s life will be evident. God’s holiness, righteousness, and grace are given, and are to be shared with the world around us. Today is a great day to start being “Jesus with skin on”!

Be wise today and always.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Preparation


The definition of preparation is: readiness; organization; arranged in advance; provide needs; make complete

Is God involved in your preparation for 2012? Or, do things just happen, and you respond to them?

Maybe your perception about “things” in life needs to change.

We are on the road of life, but we are not alone. By recognizing who is walking with us can change your whole perception and understanding about your situation. The question would be, “Are you close enough to hear?”

We listen with heart, mind, soul, eyes, and ears. It is out of our intimacy with God that comes life, service, care, wisdom, and ministries. Jesus is willing to prepare you for what the year will bring. We need to spend time with Him.

Who are you with?

Be wise today and always.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Know the Plan


We’ll continue today looking at the story in Act 26:16-32.
16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
 19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”  24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” 25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” 

There is the personal “coming out from the darkness”, and the mandate to share the Light with a dark world. (vv. 16-18) Share your story, but don’t forget to share God’s plan and hope for the world. (vv. 19- 23) Even if the world thinks you are crazy don’t stop being obedient! (vv.24- 29) Are you willing to follow Christ even though it may be hard, and there will be a price to pay? (vv. 30-32)

God has a vision and plan for all of us!

How can you glorify Him more this year?

Be wise today. Share God’s story.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Having Vision


Let’s look at a lesson about having God’s vision in Act 26:1-15:
 1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
   So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
 4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
 9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied”. 

There is much we can learn from Paul here. A big part of vision is just doing what you’ve already been told to do. That’s called obedience (vv 1-3). We need to remind ourselves of God’s promises in His Word. (vv 4-8) It will keep us focused on our purpose. We are all obsessed with something. Is it for or against Christ? (vv. 9-11) When you come in contact with Jesus Christ there is no mistake about who He is! (vv.12-15)

How do you share your personal encounter with Christ?
Have you shared it recently?

Be wise today.  Share your story.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Doing Good


The Apostle Paul writes to all believers about doing good to all in Galatians 6:1-5 (The Message).

    1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

Now look at what Paul says next:

4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.

It’s up to us to look in the mirror and take our lives in to account. God is good all the time. Can that be said of us?

Be wise today.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year of Purpose


The Lord is calling to us just like He did Samuel!
    1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.  2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”  But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
   6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”  “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. -1 Samuel 3:1-11

What’s wrong in this story? (Sounds a lot like today)
- The Word is not preached.
- Few are seeking the Lord.
- Church is business as usual.
- The Voice of God is not recognized or understood.

Just like Esther maybe we were made for such a time is this (Esther 4:13-14) We must ask ourselves who or for what  are we living for?

What We Need to Do: (Respond as Samuel did)
- Realize God’s voice and follow His plan.
- Listen and Answer Him.
- Be about His purpose and be obedient.
What areas in your life do you need to work on, and where should you start?

Be wise today!

Monday, January 2, 2012

At Work


In the Scripture today we see the boy Jesus at the Temple. It is a story most parents can relate to. The Mom and Dad were separated and each one thought Jesus was with the other! They found him days later in the Temple! They were rightly upset, but His answer astounded them.
    41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. - Luke 2:41-52

“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Wow! They didn’t see that coming; did they? I think people would be surprised by that answer from us as well, but aren’t we to be constantly about God’s work?

I want to encourage you to think like that this year. Ask the question every day, “What does God want me to do today?” It’s good to be at work when God is your boss!

Be wise today!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year


Here we are starting a new year! With it brings new beginnings and opportunities. It can be a fresh slate for our lives in some respects. For some of us it means doing new things for God. For others maybe it means returning to God’s ways. Let’s look at Matthew 2:19-23 today, and see Jesus’ family returning home, back to Israel and God’s people.

    19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
   21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Today spend some time looking back. Feel good about Godly accomplishments from last year. Thank and praise God for His provision and direction. We must also look at areas where we were not obedient. Praise and thank God for His forgiveness!

Spend time in prayer listening for His direction and will for your life. He has a special plan and purpose for all of us. Let’s make this year a great one for God. Amen?

Have a good, Godly, and wise year.