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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Standards


Ascending the mountain of the Lord is symbolic to coming in to His glorious presence. The psalmist instructs us on what is required by God to stand before Him. As sinners we have separated ourselves from a holy, pure, and righteous God.We must go through the "cleansing" process. 

Thanks to Jesus' atoning sacrifice on the cross our sins can be forgiven. You have probably sang the song inspired by this psalm as a request to God. Give us clean hands, give us a pure heart, and not let us lift our souls to another.
Pure hands represent our outer sins, things we do (and others can see) that dishonored God. Clean hearts deals with what goes on inside us (what others cannot see) our thoughts, feelings, forgiveness,etc. Our souls to an idol reminds us to keep the the first four commandments. We must keep God first and foremost in our hearts, minds, body, and soul. Love Him with all your being.
Make this your desire and song of your heart. Amen?
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it; 
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    
who seek your face, God of Jacob. - 
Psalm 24

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Good Sinner

When God inspired change happens in your life it doesn't  matter if you agree, understand or even like what's happening.  God still wants you to change. Jesus tells a story about a wayward young manMost people who read and study The Parable of the Prodigal Son concentrate completely on the character of the younger son, his repentance, and the father’s forgiveness. But It doesn’t end there. There are two sons, who are both alienated from the father, and who are both assaulting the unity of the family. Jesus wants us to compare and contrast them. The younger son is “lost”—that is easy to see. We see him shaming his father, ruining his family, sleeping with prostitutes, and we say, “yes, there’s someone who is spiritually lost.” But Jesus’ point is that the older son is lost too. 

  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”Luke 15:25-32

There is a new understanding of lostness. In verse 28 we see that you can be "good" but not trust in the Jesus. You want to earn your way to heaven by doing the right things.The difference between a religious person and a true Christian is that the religious person obeys God to get control over, and things from God. The Christian obeys just to get God, just to love and please and draw closer to him.  We can see the signs of this lostness in verses 29-30 - anger, a joyless mechanical obedience, lack of assurance in the Father's love, and an unforgiving judgmental spirit.The elder brother does not want the father to forgive the younger brother. It is impossible to forgive someone if you feel “ I would never do anything that bad!” Truth is we are all capable of sinning and falling way short of God's glory.

Jesus ends the parable with the lostness of the older brother in order to get across the point that it is a more dangerous spiritual condition. The younger brother knew he was alienated from the father, but the elder brother did not.  Remember, whom Jesus is speaking to and warning -the men he knows will kill him.

God offers His great grace to all sinners. Have you received it? 
We serve a God of fresh starts, second chances, and new days. - Hybels
Share His grace with the troubled world around you, and pray for revival. Amen?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Change Resistance

People resist change.  The truth is it doesn’t matter how wise or educated you are. There are smart or religious people sitting in churches every Sunday who are as lost and troubled as a man named Nicodemus because they have head knowledge, but no heart knowledge. (Look at this conversation in John chapter 3.Many people get involved with church, but not with Christ. People need to understand that the church can’t save you – only a relationship with Christ can save you. There is no doubt that religion (the church) will clean you up. It’ll make you look real good but that’s only head knowledge. If a person is to be saved, his heart has to be changed and that comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… That’s the message Jesus was preaching to Nicodemus. Nicodemus, the seeker, came seeking answers about religion & Jesus told him, “It’s not about religion – it’s all about a relationship…” Being born again is a God thing. It's all about God’s  grace, not the grace of man. 
Grace goes beyond our comprehension. By our human nature, we want to merit God’s favor. We want to be the ones that get us into heaven. Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born again…” That’s God’s plan – you must be born again… Jesus tells Nicodemus, “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit… What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit…” 
Nicodemus didn’t understand this. He was struggling with the idea of a man being born again, and he couldn't understand how a grown man could be born again, and went away back into the darkness. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (or creation); old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new…”  Resisting change because you don't understand will never allow you to experience God's great grace. Make this your song today:
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word;
  1. Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
  2. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
  3. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Never Changes

God never changes. Jonah found that out. His instructions didn't change even though he disagreed and ran the other way. After being thrown overboard, swallowed by a fish, and spit back out on the shore he started; God spoke to Jonah a second time: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying God’s orders to the letter.
Nineveh was a big city, very big—it took three days to walk across it. Jonah entered the city, went one day’s walk and preached, “In forty days Nineveh will be smashed.” The people of Nineveh listened, and trusted God. They proclaimed a citywide fast and dressed in burlap to show their repentance. Everyone did it—rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers. - Jonah 3:1-5 
There are 5 things that Doesn’t Matter to God when it comes to extending us His great grace.
- It doesn't matter what you have done.  Jonah was totally disobedient - God forgives!
- It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Jonah had been thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish! 
- It doesn’t matter who you are. Priest or pagean when God decides to use you He will
- It doesn't matter what your background is. Bible scholar or new believer - If you know Jesus then you know enough!
- It doesn't matter how you look or smell.  If God has a plan for your life don’t bother running it won’t help. 

After being thrown in the sea to be saved by a big fish Jonah decides to do what God said. When the city wasn't destroyed he said he'd rather die. He accepted God's grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness, but was not willing to give it to others. The Ninevites repented and were saved.

God's grace never changes. Have you accepted it? Here's the test: Do you give grace to others (even your enemies)?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grace for a Change

Many times when we are going through times of trouble we make the statement, “I can’t wait until things get back to “Normal”? The truth is that the old “normal” has ceased to exist. Your crisis has changed something or someone forever. Your lifestyle, circumstances, thinking, health, finances, the way you see things have changed. A lot of the time it is for the better – at least it makes us more mindful the Lord. The realization that our help really does come from God, and we need to be better listeners, more obedient, and better connected to Him can happen through His grace.
The next three days we will look at three familiar stories about change: Nicodemus, the Prodigal son and Jonah.  In the story of Jonah we see God’s grace in action. Change was possible for the prophet and for the Ninevites. One thing that doesn't change is God’s direction and great forgiveness.
God did not change His mind about what He wanted Jonah to do. He was to preach to the city of Nineveh.  After his ordeal Jonah decides to be obedient.  Let’s admit - we’re a lot like Jonah. The good news is that we don’t have to be thrown in the ocean and swallowed by a big fish. Obeying God is a great step in making changes in our lives.
 I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” – Malachi 3:4-6 (Message)


Are you willing to allow God’s grace help you with changes you face?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Enough Grace

Sing a new song today! Allow God's grace to temper your eyes, ears, and hearts. 
My heart, O God, is steadfast;  I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.  For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Save us and help us with your right hand,  that those you love may be delivered. – David (Psalm 108)
redeemed life is a beautiful sight - in God's eyes and to a watching world. Sing, live, and think with the grace God has given you. It will change you and the world around you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rock God

The response we have had in support of my wife's healing from cancer has truly blown us away. We are now all part of her "team". The captain of this team is the One true Foundation, Jesus Christ the Rock of our salvation.

We will keep our eyes on Him (vertical), and not on the things of this world. We are in the palm of His hand and feel His peace that passes all our earthly understanding. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. - Psalm 61:2

Three ways to stay on this sure foundation: pray continually, encourage others consistently, and believe confidently that healing and restoration can happen in God's providence. Ask and seek God's hand and face today. He is willing and waiting. Amen?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Does the Devil Do It?

There was a comedian years ago (way before Madea) who dressed like a woman named Geraldine. She (or he) had a  famous response when she was caught doing something wrong, "The devil made me do it!" It made everyone laugh. The problem with that line of thinking is that every time something bad happenings it's Satan's fault. Personally I don't like to give him that much credit. We live in a fallen world, with broken bodies, and all have sinned and fall short of God's perfection. Sometimes though you have to wonder about what the evil things of this world are doing, and where the responsibility lies.

Two interesting things happened to me last week that made we wonder about where the blame should go. On Sunday we video tape the services (posted on our website) and also have an audio recording as well (for podcasts). They were recorded like normal but when they went to down load them there was nothing there - no audio or video. This service was the beginning of a series I am preaching on, God's Grace During Troubled Times. The message is titled Why Me? The response after the service was incredible and many were asking when the recording would be available. When I was informed immediately I felt that it wasn't any mistake that that caused this to happen. I also re-recorded the message by preaching it again to an empty sanctuary on Tuesday. That version is available now. http://fbcredbank.com/in-times-of-trouble/318 

The second thing happened with my blog entitled Power in Weakness. Let's just say a major social media outlet deemed the post to have "abusive content" (I spoke about Jacob's wrestling match with God in which his hip came out of it's socket) and removed it from my site.It's back up but it to led me to think something else was going on. It reminded me of a few years ago I had a sermon video kicked off another "major social media outlet" for using "hate language" (I said Jesus is the only way to God)  

The Bible tells us the Gospel is offensive to the lost because of it's exclusivity and non-seeker sensitivity. We teach that Jesus is the only way and we have all sinned. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us, For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. So I guess we shouldn't be surprised when we face rejection and forces trying to eliminate the truth.

I love what Paul shares (and all should try to live out) in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (1-6)

I am going to keep sharing God's truth regardless what happens, and always trust in Him. I read the end of the Book - God wins!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Me Blessing

There can be a blessing in WHY ME? Think of it like this: Why am I so blessed to have ten fingers, ten toes, and to have people that love me? Why me, to be able to walk, talk, and hear? Why am I so blessed with my family, church, and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

You can overcome any struggle with God’s grace. Troubles are never fun and we would rather avoid them. We must remember that our greatest growth in life will never come from times of ease and comfort.  We need to believe that all of us are given trials to make us better, not to make us bitter.” We all have a choice in the way we view our lives. We can say “Why me?” in a “poor me” way, or we can say “Why me?!” in an “I’m so blessed” way.

 We have the choice to see the light and joy in life rather than allowing ourselves to focus on the dark/sadness. We have the choice to learn from our trials, allowing them to refine our character and help us become a stronger, more charitable, and Christ focused person. We all have the choice to say “Why Me?! Why am I so blessed?”

Today use Why Me? - to be your  shout of triumph, praise, and a witness to God’s blessing on your life. Even in troubled times God’s grace is abundant and a blessing. It's all about how and what you focus on. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Amen?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Make You Better

Troubled times can make you bitter or better. Remember the enemy looks for those who are weak. With animals, this could mean the young or sick, but it also refers to the ones who have wandered off and separated from the the rest of the animals. Maybe they have removed themselves intentionally or by accident, but they are not under the eye of the shepherd any longer. People are just the same. We get feeling sorry and we remove ourselves from life's safeguards: friends, family, mentors, teachers, the church. We use the Why Me? as an excuse to put ourselves in danger.
Maybe the Why Me? question should be thought of differently. Why not me?  should be the question we can ask. Look at what Jesus had to say about the future; The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:3-14


Looks like we are promised troubled times, but it will lead to Jesus’ return! Make sure you are where you should be in God's family: learning, growing, serving, and worshiping. Our greatest growth will come from those times we choose to overcome the adversity and allow our trials to make us better. Be joyful today, and turn your troubles over to the Lord. Turn them in to all praise, glory, and honor to God! Amen?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fast Trouble

Today I will continue to share with you about the question; Why Me?Another thing that has become all so real in my wife's diagnosis is that trouble can come quickly. We've all seen the commercial that warns; Life comes at you fast. Job certainly understood that life could change in a moment.

In the GodQuest  sermon series we looked at the question;  Why is there suffering? Three things the story of Job shows us:  
1. I am shown that God does not cause evil. 
2. It shows that I can be sure that my perspective is limited. 
3. It shows that I can be satisfied that God is at work. 
After Job chapter 2 ends, the next thirty-five chapters are filled with the opinions and philosophies of men, trying to answer the question, Why is Job suffering?  

While Job felt like life was spinning out of control, God never did. He never lost control. God speaks in chapter 38. God does some of His best work in our lives during our darkest trials. 

Not everyone’s suffering ends so completely, so happily … on this earth anyway. But everyone’s suffering ends. And someday, God promises, so will evil. And while we may often get impatient in the meantime, the Bible says that God is at work … all the time … and His purpose is far more greater, than making our lives happy and easy or even making our lives livable.

His purpose is bringing about His glory and leading us all into His kingdom, that will far surpass this one. Amen?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Troubled World

There will always be trouble in this world. The Bible tells us that; It rains on the good (just, righteous) and the bad (unjust, unrighteous).  Troubled times in our lives are sometimes necessary for us to seek God. In fact we will never understand our need for Jesus until we lament in our need for God. 
The story of Job is a great example of how God can use crisis to bring us closer to Him. At the beginning Job does this (worships, gives sacrifices to the Lord), and God does that (blesses Job). 

Then Job abruptly discovers there is a missing piece to the equation. Job loses all his wealth and children. 
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
Just when Job could have let go, God shows up, but it required two things. Jobs friends had to quit talking and Job needed to listen to God. We see Job’s realization of the problem in the following Scripture.
His Redeemer (needed) – Job 9:33  If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together,
His Revelation (for Jesus) - Job 16:19 - Even now my witness is in heaven;my advocate is on high. I know my Redeemer lives!
His Realization (friends nonsense)Job 19:2 - “How long will you torment me and crush me with words?

The answer for Job is not that he got his stuff back after his troubles, but that he got God back. A great example of God's grace. Amen?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why Me?

Everyone will go through difficult troubled times. Whether it’s losing a job, dealing with difficult people,, struggling with addictions, hurting financially, coping with health problems, or nursing a damaged relationship. We all have to face adversity and troubles in our lives. 

Sometimes the struggles we go through are the result of poor choices, and sometimes they are the result of consequences that were completely beyond our control. Regardless of the cause, no trouble we experience or pain we suffer should be wasted. As Rick Warren would say, "God never wastes a hurt".

Troubles can educate us.  They can build our character and help us develop patience, humility, and strength if we choose to let them. But still, many of us spend our lives thinking; “Why me? 
Why is my life hard? Why am I having to struggle? Why do I have to suffer loss? Why, why, why?”  

Over the next few weeks I will be preaching a series I am writing called, God's Grace in Troubled Times. Five weeks ago my wife was discovered to have colon cancer. She begins 28 chemo/radiation treatments this week. I will be sharing what I’m discovering as we go through our crisis. 

No stranger to trouble and a candidate to ask Why me? is a man named Job. After losing all his wealth, servants, and children he responded a little differently than most would.

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. - Job 1:20-22
Take a look at the book of Job this week and see how God can speak to you through it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Try It You'll Like It

For those of you my age you'll remember the 
commercial about these kids trying a new cereal. They didn't want to be the first to eat it so they gave it to "Mikey" (who never likes anything). Mikey takes a bite smiles and continues to devour the whole bowl of cereal. It reminded us of the saying, "Try it you'll like it!"

I don't think people differ too much today - we still don't like change. We mostly just tolerate it. My life has changed a lot in the last five weeks. Our new normal includes chemo and radiation treatments for my wife daily. I don't like it, and she doesn't either. 

What we can "like" is how God is faithful, the support of family, love of friends, and a renewed focus on our health. I do not wish sickness or trouble on anyone, but why not allow yourself the willingness to see things different. Change your heart, mind, thinking, attitudes, words, habits, and focus. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

We are told that when life gives you lemons make lemonade. By embracing change you can approach it with the attitude,  God going to do great things with this! We don't have to understand or like it, but we must trust God. Try it (change) - God will like it (and you should too).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Give It a Try

I know I've told this story before but it has served as a good reminder to me about accepting change. I need to rely on God's strength, direction, and His best for my life even during hard times. It really does not make a difference if I don't like it or am afraid - when God says, "take a leap of faith" I need to take off.

When I was in school I was on the track team. I did pretty well running the 400 and 800 meters, and sporadically they allowed me to compete in the long jump. On the days we would practice jumping I couldn't help but marvel at the other jumpers that competed in the high jump and pole vault!

The pole vault seemed to need too much instruction and technique, but how hard could it be to just jump over a bar? I found out that jumping 2, 3, 4 feet was easy but once the bar was set higher it seemed too be impossible for me to do. I watched the high jump athletes soar over the bar with ease. I knew that if I tried to jump at those heights I would surely not make it, so I went back to running and jumping – low and long. I walked under the bar and told those jumpers I wouldn’t be taking up any more of their time.

I have thought about that experience a lot recently. In our lives we tend to run the same things over and over again. They’re safe and we have had some success. Even if we look at doing something else the fear of “knocking the bar off” keeps us from trying. May I suggest that “knocking the bar off” is not the worse thing that can happen. Walking under the bar and not trying at all would be a tragedy.

Walking under the bar leaves us with untapped experiences, opportunities, and trying something new that might change our lives. God wants us to raise the bar when it comes to faithfulness, purposefulness, obedience, and serving Him. Knocking the bar off doesn't mean we have failed it means we have attempted to do something bigger than ourselves.

Setting the bar higher demonstrates that we are willing to try, grow, trust, follow, and believe that “all things are possible in Christ”! I am willing to jump (even in to the unknown) because I know God will catch me. Amen?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Power in Weakness

A song we learned as children told us of Jesus' love and we can find His strength in our weaknesses. Yes Jesus loves me (and you). The Bible tells me so! As adults the world will tell us we must be strong. The truth is God loves to use weak people.“I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, we have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.

When you think of the limitation in your life, you may be tempted to conclude, “God could never use me.” But God is never limited by our limitations. Sometimes, however, God turns strength into a weakness in order to use us even more. Jacob was a manipulator who spent his life scheming and then running from the consequences. One night he wrestled with God and said, “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” God said, “All right,” but then he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and dislocated his hip.

What is the significance of that? God touched Jacob’s strength and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again. It forced him to lean on God whether he liked it or not. In crisis we need to do the same.

If you want God to bless you and use you greatly, you must be willing to walk with a limp the rest of your life, because God uses weak people. In your weakness you will find God's strength. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! Amen?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Transformation Trouble

 Believe it of not, God has a purpose behind every problem.“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible. The reason is obvious: You face circumstances twenty-four hours a day.

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.

Everything that happens to you has spiritual significance. Romans 8:28-29 explains why: “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.” You see, every problem is a character-building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber. Paul said, “We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character.” Romans 5:3-4

What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever. You are a lot bigger on the inside than on the outside because Jesus is in you. Amen?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Transformation Truth

God's truth transforms us. Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

Sanctification requires revelation. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word. The Bible says, “Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 2 Timothy 3:17 (Message)

Jesus called it “abiding.” He said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.” John 8:31 In day-to-day living, abiding in God’s Word includes three activities. You must accept its authority. You must assimilate its truth. And you must apply its principles.

The best way to become a “doer of the Word” is to always write out an action step as a result of your reading or studying or reflecting on God’s Word. Develop the habit of writing down exactly what you intend to do. This action step should be personal (involving you), practical (something you can do), and provable (with a deadline to do it).


What has God already told you to do in his Word that you haven’t started doing yet? As D. L. Moody said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.” Amen?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Not How You Feel

God is real, no matter how you feel. “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the Earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” Job 19:25-27

It is easy to worship God when things are going great in your life – when he has provided food, friends, family, health, and happy situations. But circumstances are not always pleasant. How do you worship God then? What do you do when God seems a million miles away?

The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during a trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant. How do you praise God when you don’t understand what’s happening in your life and God is silent? How do you stay connected in a crisis without communication? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears?

You do what Job did: “Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” Job 1:20-21


And remember what God has already done for you. Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything. He died so you could live forever. That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise. Amen?