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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Game Changer


Jesus told His disciples that they were going to "Change the World" in The Bible Series that was on TV. A friend of mine was put off by the comment because Jesus never said that in their version of the Bible. They're right - it's not said in mine either, but it certainly is stated loud and clear.


Jesus did change the world! His disciples took on His mantle and started churches all over the know world, and it grew faster and larger than any time since. That is real change - Amen?



Jesus said in Matthew 18:2-5, He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.



May we become more "child-like" as we accept how Jesus changes our lives and world as we follow Him. Change is good. Amen?

Monday, March 30, 2015

His Plans

For a long time, over 400 years after Israel returned from Babylonian captivity, God was silent. But there was hope. In the midst of being taken over by the Persians, then Greeks, and then the Romans God’s promises were still true. His greatest promise of sending a Savior to the world was yet to come, and His people longed for this coming King.

The prophets foretold of God coming in the form of a man that would create a kingdom that would last forever. Then as now people had their own ideas about what God should and would do. The Jews wanted a conquering King to destroy the enemy and make Israel the mightiest nation on earth. Today  many have the wrong expectations of God. They expect Him to be like a genie in a bottle, and grant all our wishes to give us happy lives.

God always knows what is best for us, and we need to be more in tune with His plans and purposes for our lives.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:9-40

Praise God today and always for knowing what’s best for us Amen?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Shout It!

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” - Matthew 21:6-11

The people's cries of 'Hosanna' came from Psalm 118:25-26 25 LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.

Hosanna means "save now." Despite what Jesus had foretold about his mission, the people were looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel's independence.
When we say “Hosanna” are we looking at the temporal or the eternal (today or forever)?


Praise God! He can save us from our sin and punishment, so that we may be with Him forever and ever. Hosanna!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Healthy Fear

I find it rather ironic that for the last 2,000 years the world has fought so hard to reject Jesus yet will still acknowledge Him. Holidays, laws, organizations, and society in general has been greatly changed and influenced by Jesus Christ. The reaction to Lazarus being raised from the dead was met with scorn by the religious authorities.
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.  But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.  Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,  and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.  So from that day on they plotted to take his life. - John 11:45-53
Maybe it comes down to this: What are you more afraid of - man or God? The right answer is found throughout the Bible like: For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. - Psalm 96:4
Honor God with your life. Solomon said: "I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him."
Amen?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Come Out

Throughout the story as told in John 11, Jesus said everything was occurring for God's glory. We have seen over the last few days that there was a lot of emotion and confusion but Jesus was ready to show His glory!
 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”  Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” - John 11:38-44

Who doesn't love this story? Many consider this Jesus' greatest miracle. 
Listen for Jesus' voice today - come out of "graves" that are keeping you from being in His presence! Take off the "grave clothes" of this world and bask in His glory! Live for Him, and join in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord! Amen?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cry Out

Martha may have been disappointed and somewhat frustrated, but she had faith and knew her brokenhearted sister Mary had to come to see Jesus!
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”  When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.  When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” - John 11:28-37
Mary was very discouraged and emotional. She makes the same statement to Jesus concerning her brother's death, but it comes from her heart. It touches Jesus... and He weeps with her. 
What a beautiful scene of love, tenderness, and compassion from our Savior! Is your heart broken? Cry out to Jesus - He understands and will cry with you. Amen?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Misunderstanding

We have all been frustrated or disappointed in someone or a circumstance. The sister of the man who died really believed if Jesus would have came when He was notified that Lazarus would still be alive.
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.  Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,  and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.  “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,who is to come into the world.” - John 11:17-27
Martha had faith but she didn't have the experience or knowledge that Jesus has authority over life and death. There is much to be learned here. We cannot base God's supernatural power on our human understanding. Remember the song, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to..."
Praise God that we can grow in our faith and believe, "All things are possible in Christ"! Amen?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Clarity

Doubting may be in our human nature, but it should have no place in our spiritual trust in God. As we continue the story in John look at the confusion of the Disciples.
And then he (Jesus) said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you,and yet you are going back?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”  Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,  and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” - John 11:7-16
The Disciples really didn't understand what Jesus was saying. All they knew was that going back to Judea was not going to end well for Jesus (and probably them). Sometimes we get get so focused on our self that we miss what Jesus is trying to tell or show us. 
Today, slow down, take a deep breath, look in a mirror, and ask God to please repeat what He has been saying to you! Then be obedient. Clarity is a beautiful thing... Amen?

Monday, March 23, 2015

On Time

When speaking of God's timing my friend would often say. "Four days late and right on time!". This of course is true. God's ways and timing are not ours - many times. It also refers to an event in the Bible from John chapter eleven. This story sets the tone for what the world would experience over the next ten days. With Palm Sunday coming next week I feel it would be good to revisit one of the greatest miracles of Jesus' ministry - bringing his friend back from the dead!


Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:1-6
This is an incredible account in Jesus' ministry. One of His closest friends is deathly ill and Jesus doesn't rush to his bedside. Have you ever felt like this? You cry out to Jesus and then you don't hear His voice or feel His presence? I'm sure we all have, but know this - He does hear you. His way of dealing with your crisis might be totally different than what you had in mind.
Trusting in God means that we will do it His way and in His time (even when we don't understand or like it). Maybe God seems to be running late these days... or maybe we should ask Him to increase our faith.
Amen?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Delight

The word delight means "joy, gratification., satisfaction, gives great pleasure."
What gives delight to God? The prayers of a righteous person, someone who knows and understands Him.

How to Delight God in Your prayer Life:
Desire – Proverbs 15:8 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
       but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
Edify - Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Lead – Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD leads to life:
       Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
Intercession – 1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone
Grow – James 1:4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
Hear – James 1:25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
Thanks – Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;give thanks to him and praise his name.


Of all the motivations to pray, none is greater than this. Think of prayer differently. Instead of a duty or drudgery, it's a delight. Amen?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Relate

There was a song many years ago called People Need the Lord. It's very true, and also know God's people need each other. People need the Lord and the Lord knows we need people in our lives! Dr Phil, trained psychologist and television personality, shares that he studied over 1000 case studies of people deemed successful in their chosen fields. Not one of these people did it alone. Every person testified that they could not have achieved the level of success they had without a strong team and support system, whether that be family, colleagues, or a faith community. In most cases, it was a combination of all three.

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

God believes in teams. We may call it fellowship, ministry, or doing life together. Let’s make sure that we do it well.

Allow God's people to be part of your life. Amen?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Authority

We know by many Biblical passages that Jesus proved he has authority or victory over death. 93 times the Word of God we see authority is used mostly in the New Testament concerning Jesus and His authority.

How does this authority play in to your relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior?

Look at the definition:
1. the power to determine or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
2. a power or right delegated or given; authorization:
3. a person in whom authority is vested
4. a person having the legal power to make and enforce the law
5. an accepted source of information or advice

Does Jesus have authority over your life?

That’s the only way to know victory! Amen?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Merely

Let he who has ears to hear, use them” Jesus used this phrase eight times in the Gospels and eight times in Revelation. Look at James 1:22-24 –  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. Don’t just listen but obey!

Look at the parable of the seed and the Sower found Luke 8:1-8  1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.  4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

In all four cases the seed, the Sower, and the message is the same.
What’s different? – It’s the listener!


Listen and obey God’s Word. Amen?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Looking Up

In Numbers 21 we see the nation of Israel quarreling and complaining (as they had done many times before). This time the Lord sent venomous snakes that bit and killed many Israelites. The people confessed their sins, and asked Moses to pray to God for forgiveness. He was instructed to place a bronze snake on a pole, and anyone bitten could look at it and live. 

God’s people need to do that today. We must confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and place our trust in the One who was lifted up on the cross; Jesus Christ, in order to have eternal life. By focusing on the Savior we must look upward because He is our hope and eternity. 


“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. - Romans 10
Can I hear an amen?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blessed

Before Jesus’ last meal on earth He took the position of the lowest slave and washed His disciple’s feet. In doing so He sets us an example on how to live for Him, and by doing so - you will be blessed.  

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. – John 13:12-17


Jesus sets the example for all believers, and promises a blessing if we are obedient. Serve others – be like Jesus. Amen?

Monday, March 16, 2015

King of Glory

Today we will finish our study of Psalm 24.  7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty,  the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, you gates;  lift them up, you ancient doors,  that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory?

   The LORD Almighty - He is the King of glory! This Psalm has been lifted up on many occasions and will continue to sound loudly. Christ is returning to earth and we (who know Him) shall rise to meet Him in the air!

"Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in" (vs. 9).  The author of this psalm, King David, is especially speaking to those who have put off receiving Jesus, and those who know they need the righteousness of Christ. They know that they should come to know Him by faith, but have kept the ancient, rusty doors of their hearts shut.
The King of glory is at the door of your heart.
Will you not let Him in?

May the gates of our hearts swing wide open! Amen?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Generations

Let’s look at verses 5-6 from Psalm 24 today.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior.  6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

The generation who seeks God’s face (His purposes and ways), and live out their faith will receive God’s blessing. Look at what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 - “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

When we seek God and His righteousness, all other things are added unto us. We can join in the chorus and approach the hill of the Lord.


Are you part of that “generation”?


Seek God with all you have. Amen?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Facing God

Let’s continue our study of Psalm 24 by looking at verses 3-4.
 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

Psalm 15 is only 5 verses long, but it has a lot to say about who may stand before God.
 1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, 
   and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts,  and does not change their mind; 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.  Whoever does these things will never be shaken.


Give thanks to the Lord for giving us the answer of how to live in obedience and faithfulness. Follow God’s decrees always. Amen?

Friday, March 13, 2015

God's Song

Today let’s look at the first two verses of Psalm 24.
 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. 
In today world of disappointment we may ask ourselves, who is able? 
Don’t ever forget these attributes of the Lord…
He is able to save. He is able to protect.
He is able to preserve. He is able to meet our needs.
He is able to ascend to heaven’s throne. He is able to take you with Him. 

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.
Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy
Jesus is the one to look to; to do more than we could ever imagine, for power, to save and destroy, to keep you from stumbling, and clean you in to perfection.

Know that Jesus is more than able! Amen?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Living Right(eously)

There are so many pressures on us these days. As believers we should want to be the very best at so many duties and titles we have: Husband, Wife, Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Worker, Christian, Neighbor, Friend, etc.. But let’s be honest, sometimes it wears us out, and then we can feel defeated.

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus instructs us to: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

You cannot be the “best” at any of those things mentioned above unless you are right with God.We need to focus on just one thing – being a man or woman of God who loves and follows Him with all our heart. Then everything else will fall in to place. 

Take a deep breath, say “Thank You Jesus”, and work on that relationship. You’ll be amazed how things will fall in to place when you get that one right.


Love God with all you got. He's got great plans for you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Driving Jesus

According to the Willow Creek Reveal Study there are mainly 4 kinds of people at your church on Sunday. There are those that are:
 – Exploring – looking to meet Jesus
- Growing – Accepted Christ and learning more about Him
- Close – Allows God to give direction to their lives
- Christ Centered – Jesus makes the decision for them in all areas of life

We can look at this like driving a car with the automobile representing our lives.
- We see Jesus through the window but no contact
- We ask Jesus in to the car but put him in the back seat
- We have Jesus move to the front and let Him be our “co-pilot”.
- We let Jesus take the wheel and control our lives


Matthew 16:24-26 - Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus take the wheel! Amen?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Upward

Going up? I would hope that would be everyone's goal! I teach a lot about the vertical relationship we should have with God, and how we need to look up. Here are three things to consider today about opening, showing, and growing up.

When we open up – Jesus shows up,
You must make Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of your life.
All who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

When Jesus shows up – we will grow up.
We will want our lives to change and that means getting rid of the junk and baggage!
The bible supports this in 1 Peter 2:1-3 - Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

When we grow up, the church will be built up!
It’s not about us! When we do it God’s way great things will happen.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21


Keep looking up! Amen?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Seekers Wanted

I heard of a church sign that read: Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help. While this is funny and sometimes ministry causes us to worry I am sure that's not what they had in mind.

Maybe they were thinking of the passage where Jesus talked about worry.
Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
 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."

Thank you Jesus for your great wisdom and hope that you give to us! Our heavenly Father knows our needs. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and "God things" will be given to you as well. Always live for God - He’ll take care of you. Amen?