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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hope 2013

We have had a great year of Hope! So on this last day of 2013 - a hope reminder.

Hope defined:

The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.”

What does the Bible say about hope? (180 times - 34 in Psalms)

Psalm 9:18 -But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

Psalm 25:3 -No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Psalm 25:5 - Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 37:34 - Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

Psalm 130:7 - Put your hope in the LORD(& His Word), for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

Sometimes we get weary and our hope starts to fail, but we must remember that only God can give you rest. Jesus said in

Matthew 11:28-30 KJV28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Come unto me (One of Jesus’ favorite words is Come…and see, follow me, to have life, And drink from the living waters)

The way to and the knowledge of God only comes through Christ. Therefore all matters of grace, hope, peace, love, happiness, and salvation are in His hands.  Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
- John 6:35 This is an invitation to all sinners…save us and give relief to distressed minds.

Believers can have rest and hope because we have the presence of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and knowledge of Christ’s love and promises for us.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Be wise today and always - let your life show God's hope every day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions

Most of us set goals or resolutions for ourselves for the new year. Starting off with a "clean slate" is the best way to obey God's Word. God offers forgiveness through Jesus Christ and "cleanses us from all unrighteousness".  Accept His forgiveness and consider applying the teaching and wisdom from the following verses.

Luke 5:30-32 - But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

John 8:1-11 - But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

1 Corinthians 6:11 - And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 - But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 
Be wise today and always - apply the Word to your new year's resolutions.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

On The Fence

Sharing another old illustration today, but it is one of my favorites.

There was an incredibly large group of people assembled. On one side of the group stood a man, Jesus. On the other side of the group stood another man, Satan. Separating them, running through the group was a fence.  The scene set both Jesus and Satan began calling to the people in the group and, one by one, each having made up his or her mind, each went to either Jesus or Satan. This kept going and eventually Jesus had gathered around him a group of people from the larger crowds, as did Satan. But one man joined neither group. He climbed the fence that was there and just sat down on it. Then Jesus and his people left and disappeared. So too did Satan and his people.

And the man on the fence sat alone. As this man sat there, Satan came back, and appeared to be looking for something that he'd lost. The man said, "Have you lost something Satan looked straight at him and replied, "No, there you are. Come with me." "But," said the man, "I sat on the fence. I chose neither you nor Him. "That's okay," said Satan. "I own the fence."

Be wise today and always - Get Off the Fence!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Five Finger Prayer

I know this is old but it is still a great reminder when we pray. Enjoy!
Five Finger Prayer

1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones  is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.  They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify.  It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

Be wise today and always - don't forget to pray.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Immanuel

If your life seems to be physically sinking deeper into problems, sink yourself spiritually deeper into your relationship with God. Don’t let sin and the things of this world distract you. Prophecies were fulfilled in the coming of Immanuel – God with us! Have you accepted Him?

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. - Isaiah 7:14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:1- 5
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:10-14

Remember: Jesus is where your hope lies because God so loved the world (that means you!).

Be wise today and always -grow with God even during the hard times.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hope of Christ

We have looked at Christmas Hope for the last three weeks through the account found in Matthew 1:18-25. This hope is named Jesus! For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

 We have studied the signs, the crisis, and the choices of Christmas, and how they can give us hope. The end product of this story is the birth of Christ the greatest gift of hope of all. Even in the most serious problems we can get closer to God. Joseph was called to care and protect Baby Jesus and His Mother Mary. Upon hearing God’s instructions clearly he obeyed them immediately.

 Joseph followed his directions perfectly:

 He married Mary, who was carrying the Son of God in her womb.
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

 He named the child Jesus as he was instructed.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Be wise today and always - listen and obey God's direction for your life.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Real Christmas Story

Read, enjoy, and be transformed by Luke's account of the coming of Messiah and Savior of the world - the birth of Jesus Christ.
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Merry Christmas!

Be wise today and always - Have a good, Godly, and Christ honoring day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Compassion

Do you want to give that "perfect" gift to someone this year? Consider what Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19 - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus is announcing that Messiah has come and that the Scripture has been fulfilled. Immanuel – God is with us! He wanted to make sure that the world knew who He was, and of the ministry of compassion. Jesus proclaims freedom to the poor in spirit, those imprisoned in sin, and give hope to the hopeless. He healed the sick, lame, and blind to give people a miraculous sign of His power. Jesus shows His love for everyone – regardless of our condition. His power is available to all who believe in Christ as Savior.

This Christmas may we take on His compassion for the world around us. We have many opportunities to show God’s love in a real way. Today and tomorrow may be your greatest opportunities to share with your family and friends this Good News.

Are you ready to share Christ with someone? Today can be that day.
 
Be wise today and always - give the greatest gift of all - Jesus.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Good News and Great Joy

What difference would it have made if Jesus had been born at another time? News bulletins are for world events, and our Lord’s birth was in obscurity. The first people to hear were shepherds. There were senators in Rome, princes in Jerusalem, and philosophers in Athens. But there were shepherds living out in the fields, and to them the wonderful news was given. It was indicative of how God works even today. Notice three features from Luke 2:8-20:

1.     An Unexpected Surprise (v. 8). They were minding their own business, (or their own sheep) just another day in their lives, another night in their shepherding. Probably the most exciting thing that happened was a visit from a marauding wolf, which is why they kept watch. Suddenly an angel appeared, and a bright light, the glory of the Lord, filled the sky. The creation story in Genesis begins in a similar way, with God speaking in the darkness. Throughout history, God brings light into human darkness. The prophets looked forward to the day when the people walking in darkness would see a great light. But for these shepherds it was an unexpected surprise. God still breaks into human history in unexpected ways to bring light into our darkness. He comes to those not expecting or even seeking Him. He comes to those going about the ordinary business (and busyness) of living. Shepherds were not highly esteemed in those days. The very nature of their work precluded regular observance at temple and synagogue. Their honesty was not rated highly (they weren’t allowed to stand as witnesses in court). God still surprises people like that today (1 Cor. 1:27–29). Some of you can look back to last Christmas and you are surprised to find yourselves here today. Who would have dreamt that God would meet you and bring you into His family? Others here are perhaps still in the dark, going about your business with little thought of angels and glory and God. He longs to break into your life. This Christmas could be a great surprise for you as you understand for the first time what it all means.

2.     An Unusual Sign (v. 12). Bethlehem may have been a “little town,” but finding the right baby wasn’t easy, so the shepherds were given an identifying sign—not just a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, for most babies would be in that state. The identifying sign would be a baby lying in a manger. This baby was in an animal feeding-trough, His first bed. The New Testament word “sign” means not just an identifying mark, but something that has in itself significance. So what is the “significance” of the manger? It indicates the depths to which the Son was willing to stoop in love (2 Cor. 8:9). It marks the beginning of the life of one who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It marked the kind of lifestyle He would adopt in His earthly ministry (Luke 9:58). He was born a Savior in a manger, and He died a Savior on a cross. The manger also meant the shepherds could visit Him freely. Spurgeon says: “We might tremble to approach a throne, but we cannot fear to approach a manger.”

3.     An Unbelievable Story (vv. 17–18). These shepherds were the first Christian missionaries. They had seen the Christ, and they told everyone what had happened to them. The good news about Jesus is something to be shared, and the best people to share it are ordinary folk who have had a personal experience with Him. You may not know everything, but if God has unexpectedly broken into your life, you have something to share. We have someone to share—a baby in the manager, a man on the Cross, a returning King!

O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray;cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel.

Be wise today and always - praise God for sending Jesus!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Honoring God

We can we learn about honoring God from Joseph and Mary. Their initial choices in the birth of Jesus serves as a reminder to us today.

Joseph

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. - Matthew 1:19 He had knowledge and love for God's Word. He showed grace and mercy, but in his humanness "had in mind" still needed an angelic intervention.

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. - Matthew 1:24 He was obedient to God's plan.

What quality or faithfulness do you see in Joseph that we can apply to the choices you have to make?
Mary
 
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.- Luke 1:38 She shows understanding and obedience.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their throne but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”- Luke 1:46-55
She shows a great heart full of love and hope. This song comes from her heart, but is also psalms the she knew and similar to another mother named Hannah whom God intervened so she could give birth to a son (1 Samuel 2:1-10).

What quality or faithfulness do you see in Mary that we can apply to the choices you have to make? May we always use the hope of Christ when we make choices in this life.

Be wise today and always - receive and use this hope that Christ gives.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Three Choices

In Matthew 1:18-25 we see the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. What we read past sometimes is that Joseph had the decision of his life to make. What to do about Mary? She was legally intended for marriage with Joseph but is now with child from the Holy Spirit.

Joseph had three choices. He could:
 
1. Expose her pregnancy publicly. This would bring about much dishonor, gossip, and scandal. Did you ever notice the words Gospel and Gossip are right next to each other in your Bible concordance? One tells the truth of God, the other tells half-truths or lies. If Joseph chose to "expose" her it would fall under the sin of gossip. We are told in Titus 3:1-2, Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

2. “Divorce” her quietly. Have you ever thought that the reason Joseph thought of this was because he did believe what Mary told him? Consider what it would be like to be the Son of God's step-father, and married to the woman who birthed Him. Yikes! I think most men would be afraid of such responsibility. It's okay to be afraid, but when it keeps you from obeying God then it takes on the form of cowardness which is a sin (see Revelation 21:8).
 

3. Marry her and raise the child as his own. Right answer!
 Joseph responded in kind to the words of Jesus 30 years later when He said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. - Matthew 5:6-9
 
Be wise today and always - seek God's blessing in your choices.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Choices in Life

We have to make decisions every day on a countless number of things. Some choices we have to make are going to be:

Public - everyone is going to know. With today's social media there is a good chance someone is recording or "sharing" your life with a global audience!
 
Some will be:
 
Private - people closest to you are affected. There are consequences to bad decisions, and can effect those who you deeply care about.

 One thing is for certain, you should always choose to be - God honoring in your choices. Do it God's way the first time!
 
Jesus said, "Seek first God's kingdom, and His righteousness, and all good things will be given to you as well". Keep your focus vertical, it will help your decision making process.
 
Be wise today and always - choose with God's wisdom.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Hope in Your Choices

Change happens! Choices have to be made multiple times every day. We all have hard choices to make in life but remember: The impossible is what God does best! We must turn to Him for clarity and solutions to life’s travails. We sometimes make our own problems and other times they are find us.

In Matthew chapter one we meet a man named Joseph who had to decide what to do when his fiancée, Mary, disclosed she was pregnant.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Over the next few days we’ll discuss choices and what we can learn from Joseph and Mary about honoring God in them.

Be wise today and always – let God lead you in your choices.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas is a Time of Giving

Christmas is a time of giving that serves as a reminder of God's great gift and plan for our lives.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

An incredible, priceless gift:

1. The Gift is Jesus Christ himself

[Jesus: ] “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:15 (NIV)

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – John 17:3 (NIV)

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” – 1 John 1:3 (NIV)

God’s greatest gift to us is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

2. The Gift has great value

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” – Matt. 13:44-46 (NIV)

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

3. The Gift must be received

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” – John 1:12 (NIV)

That gift from God has a tag with your name on it. What better day than Christmas to renew your commitment to Christ; or what better day than Christmas to begin a new life of fellowship with Jesus Christ, a new life of joy and peace and love
?
Be wise today and always - give and receive.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Get it Right this Christmas

At Christmas we can get so "unfocussed on what the season should be all about. What are we teaching our children? How do we model a Christ follower's outlook on the birth of Jesus? We get distracted so easy. God deserves a lifestyle of worship - focused on that vertical relationship. Jesus instructs us in Matthew chapter six.

19“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. 20Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. 21It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

22“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. 23If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

24“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

25“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. 32People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.  33Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Message)
 
Be wise today and always - look and live "up" for Jesus.

Monday, December 16, 2013

No Buts this Christmas

What stands in your way of living a hopeful and purposeful life for God this Christmas and throughout the year? What keeps us from being a 100% committed to Him? Why can’t we totally surrender our lives to Jesus?

 It comes down to one word - but.

I would love to worship God in all I do but…

I could spend more time at church but….

I know Christ wants me to be like Him but…

I realize that I should serve in ministry but..

I am supposed to share my faith but……

Jesus spoke to us about this in Luke 9:57-62 - 57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."  59He said to another man, "Follow me."  But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."  61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." 62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

At first glance Jesus’ words may seem harsh but they really aren’t – they are life giving! He is saying the most important thing you can do with your life is to follow Him. It may not be easy, it will probably be uncomfortable. You don’t have time to put it off concerning yourself with the things of this world. Your family and friends may never understand your faith yet Jesus begs us to follow Him.

For 2000 years Jesus has invited the world to, Follow me”. Many say I will or I wish I could but… We need to be like Peter who said, “Lord where could we go? You have the Words of life! We give up everything for You!

Will you commit yourself today to follow Him today?
 
Be wise today and always - No more excuses or “buts”

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Get Out of the Drivers Seat

One of the problems that people have is that they believe that being good was good enough to get into heaven. Let's take a look at a teaching that Jesus gave.

   One day a rich young ruler came enthusiastically running up to Jesus and asked: "What must I do to be saved?" Jesus answered: Keep the law. "This I have done from my youth up," came the reply. Yet one thing do you lack said Jesus. Go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor. Then come follow me. We are told that the young man walked away sorrowfully, for he had great wealth. Concluded the Master: It will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The disciples had been watching the dynamics of this happening and they were quite disturbed. Jewish tradition had always taught that God had especially blessed rich men and that is why he was rich. In their way of thinking, if a wealthy man could not receive salvation, then how could a poor man have any hope? They asked of Jesus: who then can be saved?- Mark 10:17-27                                                             
This is about God not about being good.
It’s about not having anything between you and Him
It’s about what is impossible with man is possible with God. 
 
 If you know Jesus then you know enough!
Be wise today and always - let Jesus to drive!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

God's Ways

There are three things to remember when in crisis:

- Those in whom Christ is formed will show it. Christians receive the Holy Spirit in to their lives, and people will notice. – Read Acts 2:1-13

- Keep your eyes on God during a crisis. Believers should respond differently to problems in their lives. – Read Philippians 4:4-7

- Trust God even when it doesn’t make sense. God works on an entirely different plane than we do.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.- Isaiah 55:8-9

Remember: God always provides the best solution to our problems.
20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term: Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”). Matthew 1:22-23

Be wise today and always - remember God knows what you need best.
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Hope in Your Crisis

The impossible is what God does best! We see in the Gospels that a girl named Mary had a special encounter with God.

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.-Matthew 1:18-19

This is a wonderful thing but Mary had three big potential problems:
1. She was pregnant and was not married.  She could have been put to death. This is a social or public crisis.
2. She was pregnant and Joseph was not the Father. Joseph could have felt betrayed, and told the community. This is a relational crisis.
3. She was pregnant and God is the Father. How crazy does that sound? This is a mental or spiritual crisis.

  The Good News is that God wants to intervene!
"Is anything too hard for God?" - Jeremiah 32:7 
"Greater is God in you than anything this world can throw at you!"1 John 4:4
Be wise today and always - allow God to solve your problems.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Deliverance

Have you ever had someone ask you the question, Why did Jesus have come to earth?  Part of the answer is found in Hebrews 2:14-18; 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

 Jesus did not enter the world just to be here, He had a mission to fulfill. Here are three things he came to achieve.

1. He came to deliver us from the fear of death. (14-15)
2. He came to deliver us from the fury of judgment. . (16-17)
3. He came to deliver us from the force of temptation. (18)

He has come for us; now He invites us to come to Him. Joy to the world!

Have you received His joy?

Be wise today and always – accept God’s gift of deliverance.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mean People

Recently I heard a quote from a country singer who was ridiculed about her acting ability. She said, "Mean people need Jesus". She is right about mean people but "nice" people also need Jesus. Here is a great reminder of what Jesus wants us to "be" from Matthew chapter five.

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 
Be wise today and always - Be what Jesus has called for you to be (you'll be blessed).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Take a Breath

It's easy this time of year to get over extended and anxious about many things. Slow down! Take a breath - enjoy a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and be reminded of Jesus' promise in Matthew 6.

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

When we don't trust in God to provide we end up running around and worrying needlessly. You have what you have because of God's faithfulness not by our own devices. Trust in Him who protects, provides, and guides. We just need to be obedient.

Be wise today and always - seek to always live life God's way.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Really Salty

I think we've all heard about being Christ's salt in the world. I saw a great demonstration by Francis Chan recently concerning this aspect of our Christian life. He took a small amount of salt in his hand and proclaimed it to be the real deal - very salty. He then showed a large pile of white salty looking material, but was not salty. Chan put the small dose of salt on the large pile.

What just happened? It appears that you now have a large pile of salt (which is good), but in realty you just diluted down the small amount of salt in the pile (which does no good). The world needs us to retain our "saltiness" for Christ. Big piles may be impressive but in the end that's all you have - a big pile of nothing!

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." - Jesus

Be wise today and always - be salt in a world that is impressed with "big piles" it will change them forever.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Do the Right Thing

When we read bible passages like Deuteronomy 8 it is easy to focus on the negatives and not the positives. When we focus on doing life God's way and not any other we have great promises. Don't wait till January to make a resolution. Decide today that you will spend your life with the desire to please God and put a smile on His face. Read this passage with a heart wanting to bring Him glory.

Do Not Forget the Lord

Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

Be wise today and always - live for God and do life His way.