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Friday, July 21, 2017

New Being


Many times when we are suffering a health crisis we cry out to God for his great grace to ease our pain and suffering. This week will will be looking at how to get and live well. There is a path that we need to follow to achieve this in our lives. Paul instructs Christ follower: 

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves overto sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned  when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. - Ephesians 4:17-24

Paul warns not to act like and think like the world. It will cause you to be separated from God and develop a hard heart and depraved mind. Instead follow the truth of Christ and become "new" in your thinking and actions. You were created (and redeemed) to be forgiven, holy and righteous.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” - Psalm 40:16

Regardless of your circumstances today you can turn to Christ and become a new being in Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit all change is possible. Amen?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Right Answers


Have you ever encountered someone who believed they had “all the answers”? How frustrating was it trying to get them to understand they had something wrong? Jesus had the same encounter with the so called “wise” of His world. He left that hostile environment, and returned to the peaceful banks of the Jordan River.

Look at John 10:39-42 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. 40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.”42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

There He found many who were considered uneducated and poor, but hungry for His truth. They accepted His teaching, healing, and claim of Messiah. It was the same message, but there was a vastly different response. People must respond to Jesus - some in acceptance others in rejection. Knowing who Jesus’ identity is not the same as “knowing” and accepting Him as your Savior.



What does it take to “discover” Jesus today? It’s all about the truth and responding to God’s great love, mercy, and grace. Amen?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kingdom Work


"Our Father, which art in Heaven "Hallowed be thy Name"

Thy kingdom come "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"

Give us this day our daily bread" And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us"

And lead us not into temptation" "But deliver us from evil"

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen



"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name" Jesus begins this prayer with a plural word “our”. This is not a “me and Jesus” prayer. Instead we are united with others throughout the globe, people who pray in a variety of languages and hold customs far different than ourselves. We seek ways to keep God’s name holy, by using God’s name for prayer, praise and thanksgiving. But, we may need a push here. We also keep God’s name holy as we proclaim God’s wonderful deeds. God’s holy name is not intended to be kept silent.



"Thy Kingdom come" let us pray to be open to ways God might use us to bring God’s reign to this earth. How might we proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to those who do not know of the love of God? How might we be part of God’s team?



"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" Much hinders God’s will, but we pray that we might not be ones who prevent God’s will from happening. We pray that we are not stumbling blocks for others to hear of God’s love made known in Christ. Let us pray for wisdom and open spirits to allow God’s will to be done in and through us.



"Give us this day our daily bread" Evangelism is proclaiming good news in word and deed. How can someone hear the Good News of Jesus when her children are starving? How can someone hear the Good News of Jesus when he is exhausted from thirst?



"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" By the grace of God, we let go and embrace the day. Slowly our hardened hearts yield to a life with joy and hope. By God’s grace, we witness to the freeing power of forgiveness in Christ.



"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We pray we might not be deceived by all that draws us from God. It is so easy to confuse our busy schedules with lives which truly serve Jesus Christ. For our sake, Jesus kept it very simple: Love one another; Tell everyone about my love. Yet, we succumb to the daily temptation to not be a witness to Jesus.



"For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen" We give God glory by offering our lives to follow Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Phases


I was recently reminded about a teaching from John MacArthur. He shared that there are Three Phases of Your Saved Life in Christ:

1. Justification - God saved me from the penalty that my sins deserved.

2. Sanctification - God is increasingly saving me from the power of sin in my daily life.

2. Glorification - God will one day save me from the very presence of sin when I am in heaven.



The greatest choice you can make is to accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and salvation. Out of love and gratitude we should offer Him our love and devotion. Not just in the beginning, but for all eternity.

Turn to God with all your life choices. Be justified, sanctified, and glorified!

Amen?

Monday, July 17, 2017

His Way


During the pilgrimage to Jerusalem the Jews would go through a horrible place called Baka. It was dry, desolate, and the home to robbers and murders. We all have to go through troubled times, but even in "Baka" there were wells and occasional rains. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs;  the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

 Keep your head up and be obedient. God will make a way through the dry and desolate times in your life. - Psalm 84:5-6



We have access to God through Jesus Christ. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18 We can approach Him and bathe in His glory.



Pray today like David. Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. - Psalm 5:8 (NLT) The Lord's burden is light and His instructions are easy - we just have to be listening and obedient. Amen?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Different


God's House should be welcoming and transforming by the power of the Holy Spirit. When church leaders decided that it should be something other than that Jesus got mad.



Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers. - Matthew 21:12-13



God’s temple starts with self and we need to be anointed with the Spirt, obedient, and faithful to His call on our lives. In other words we must be transformed!

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

Know and do God’s will always.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

That Person


In 2 Kings 13:14-19 the King says to Elisha – “If you are going to leave us then make sure you leave us with some strength from God”.  Elisha puts his hands on the Kings hands to illustrated the process of spiritual instruction, guidance, and coaching. This is a picture of how God places His hands over weak human hands to do supernatural things. (Psalm 144:1) The prophet was about to mentor him in a whole new realm of warfare.



Then Elisha prophesied – You must strike and destroy them, and this was before he took the arrows! The King wasn't listening. He was waiting for something dramatic miracle to happen. His heart and faith were not in to it. He missed the warning and opportunity to change history. The King was polite instead of passionate. He sacrificed his nation’s hopes on the altar of public opinion (what would people think) and personal doubts (not trusting). The King failed to realize that he held the arrows of prophetic destiny in his hand.



We have the same opportunity when: “It’s time to pray, sing, listen and respond to the Word”. The passion with which we respond in the spiritual realm almost certainly predetermines our victory in the physical realm. When will we realize that the arrows of prophetic destiny are in our passionate praise and fervent worship? When passion comes down the aisle, presence comes back in the building. Remember Passion proceeds Presence. God has an incredible idea. He thinks church is about Him! In today’s fainting church should we be praying for a Holy Ghost defibrillator.



The King faced a divine opportunity when the prophet prophesied and handed him the arrows of deliverance – but he failed. The church is at a critical junction right now; a divine window in time has been opened. We choose our destiny by what we prioritize and make important. God wants us to choose between Him and the religious ideas we have about Him.



God is looking for people who will seize the arrows of opportunity and say, “If You said strike the ground, then we will obey although we don’t understand. All we know is to loose our passion for Your presence!”Are we that people? Are you that person?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Grip


When life is at its hardest, when it's hardest to pray then it's time to pray your hardest. Do not be consumed by your trial. Turn to God! Praise Him! Glorify His Name! Don't let go - cling to Jesus like you've never have before. He will never leave you.

Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can do that. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done. - Romans 8:39



Here is a great song that has ministered to me. Meditate on the words:

 You Won't Let Go:

No shadow comes without the light making a way
No raging storm can ever defy one word of faith
My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves
You are the anchor for my soul
You won't let go
You won't let go
No matter what may come I know
You won't let go

No valley low, changes the truth
So I'm not afraid
You hold me close
You lead me through and light up the way
Neither life, neither death,
The highest high, the deepest depth
Nothing can
Nothing can separate
Neither tears, neither trials
Certain as the sun will rise
Nothing can
Nothing can separate

You are the anchor for my soul
You won't let go
You won't let go
No matter what may come I know
You won't let go

My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves, always.



Michael W Smith - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zl9blXdooqY

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Completely

In today’s competitive culture we are taught to never give up and never give in – so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable. We would rather talk about winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering than yielding, submitting, obeying, and surrendering. But surrendering to God is the heart of worship.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” Romans 12:1

In the Bible, as Joshua approached the biggest battle of his life, he encountered God, fell in worship before him, and surrendered his plans. That surrender led to a stunning victory at Jericho. This is the paradox: Victory comes through surrender.

Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God. “So give yourselves completely to God.” Praise His Name regardless of today's circumstances. He is worthy - Amen?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Your Song


Open your heart to praising God today. It will change you and change the people around you. The psalmist sang, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name!" - Psalm 103:1

What’s the song of your life sound like?

So many times we allow cynicism, anger, depression, prejudice, melancholy, justification, and sin control our song. It doesn’t have to be that way. Look up, seek Him, ask for forgiveness, follow His ways, and then praise the Lord with all you have.

It will be a beautiful tune! It will make your life and others around you so much better!
Amen?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

All of You


Today consider the heart of David as he praised the Lord in Psalm 103:1-6: I will praise the Lord. Deep down inside me, I will praise him. I will praise him, because his name is holy. I will praise the Lord. I won’t forget anything he does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals all my sicknesses. He saves my life from going down into the grave. His faithful and tender love makes me feel like a king. He satisfies me with the good things I long for. Then I feel young and strong again, just like an eagle. The Lord does what is right and fair for all who are beaten down.



Do you love God like this?



Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul!



Focus today on having a heart of worship that makes Jesus smile and the world to take notice. Amen?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Moms and Sons


It has been hard saying goodbye to my Mom, but the Lord led me to the greatest Mother - Son stories ever told. It has brought me hope and comfort. Imagine this; while Jesus was on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, what are his final words about human relationships? They are words of caring for his Mom, and the disciple whom He loved. There is a special bond between a Mom and her sons and certainly what an incredible bond between the woman who bore the Savior and the Savior Himself.



Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  John 19:25-27

 
Jesus is thinking of His Mom, making sure she has a son to love (John). And he wants to make sure there is a son to take care of his Mom. Verses 26-27 tell us that while Jesus was suffering on the cross, he was concerned about his mother and his youngest disciple. Both had depended on Jesus so much, his death was a terrible blow to them. So, what did Jesus do? He gave them each other for their mutual comfort. The love they had for Him could now be lavished on each other to help them through their grief.



He still does that today through his Church. Jesus was founding the family of God, whose members are there for each other in times of grief and so much more. Mary and John were among the first ones in it. You see, a new relationship was made possible when Jesus died. It is stronger and more lasting than any earthly relationships we know here. From that moment on, Mary was no longer the mother of Jesus. She became his sister! John was no longer his cousin and his youngest disciple; he became a brother of Jesus and a joint-heir to the Kingdom of God. They along with millions of others would be in the new family of God.

Jesus finished everything that was needed to belong to the family of God. My Mom is also my sister in Christ, and is now with Jesus in heaven. Someday, I will join her and many other “family” members. That gives me hope, and I pray it does you as well. “All who call on the Lord shall be saved”. Amen?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Glory In

We all have problems. King David, a man after God's heart had plenty of them. Some were self-imposed, but others were cast upon him. It was during one of these times that he wrote in Psalm 34:1-9:

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing”. - David

This is a great model for all of us. Even when we are facing a crisis or even death we should:
1. Tell of His greatness
2. Give Him praise and glory
3. Encourage others
4. Rely and trust in God
5. Know where your true salvation comes from
6. Fear God not man (or the things of this world)
7. Experience God in new ways (even in your pain and sorrow)
8. Accept his protection and provision
9. Be strong and courageous
10. Do not be afraid Christ is always with you.


Amen?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Growing


As God’s children we should want to know the truth and discover what it means in our lives. It pleases Father God, and puts a smile on His face! In John 8:31-32 Jesus says, To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”



Here are the first four Laws of Spiritual Growth



1. Spiritual Growth is Intentional. You choose to grow by commitment.

Take specific steps. Purposely make choices and commitments to grow.



2. Spiritual Growth is Incremental. The goal is to become a “self-feeder” of God’s Word. Learn how to study effectively.



3. Spiritual Growth is Personal. It’s different for each person. Use your SHAPE (spiritual gifts/heart/abilities/personality/experiences) to help you grow.



4. Spiritual Growth is Habitual. Good habits = Good character



Do you have partial obedience or full obedience for the Lord’s way? Be a God’s way person not a My way one! Amen?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Vision Communicated


The church needs to know where they’re going and where the leaders are trying to take them, or they will have a hard time making the journey.



That’s why God tells us:

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Proverbs 29:18 (NIV) Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.”



A clear vision communicates three things:

1. Why we’re here: our purpose. A clear purpose provides direction. To GATHER as God's people. To GROW in faith, love and service And to GO into the world as disciples.



2. Where we’re going: a picture of the future. A clear picture provides motivation. Be the active Church with Inreach, Outreach, Community activities, and partner with other churches.



3. What guides us along the way: what we value. Values protect and provide guardrails. Use the Word, listen to the Spirit, and always be in Prayer.



Without clear vision, we’ll never end up where we want to be, much less where we need to be; and neither will anyone else!



What commitment do you need to make today?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Body Parts


A believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without the assistance and encouragement of other believers (the body).



1 Corinthians 12:21-26teaches us, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”



Going to church and being around other believers doesn’t make you a Christian. If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, you will want to go to church and have a desire to be around other believers on a regular basis.



What is your part in "the body"? Are you active or atrophied?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Clear Vision


Clear Vision communicates God’s plan for you, your family, and the Church. It answers questions like: Why should we go to church?

Why should we keep going to church?



“Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.” – Kevin DeYoung



Do Not Forsake the Assembly

- This is a commandment in Scripture. Hebrews 10:23-25

-  Christian fellowship is one of the signs of a true believer.

- 1 John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.



The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers. Acts 2:42 - They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.



The Bible tells us we need to be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. Hebrews 10:25 – Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.



Church is the place where believers can:

love one another (1 John 4:12),

encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13),

“spur” one another (Hebrews 10:24),

serve one another (Galatians 5:13),

instruct one another (Romans 15:14),

honor one another (Romans 12:10),

be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).



Seek God's clarity for your life. It will be the greatest discovery of your life!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Free Indeed


Happy birthday America! As we celebrate Independence Day and the freedoms we enjoy let us not forget that true freedom only comes through Christ. Consider what Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 5.

In verse 1 he says, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. It is up to each believer to stand firm on the truth and show our love by being obedient to Christ. He gives us the power to stand firm in His freedom. We see that if we take our focus from His truth we will be led astray in verses 7-8,  You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. We can be led from freedom in to sin's bondage.



Jesus should be the only focus of our lives (not ourselves or anything else.). In verse 13, You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Just like Christ.



Accept God's truth, grace and wisdom today and always realize where true freedom comes from. (hint - look up)

Monday, July 3, 2017

No Greater Love



I've heard this quote recently and have thought a lot about it. “Life without purpose is empty, futile, and hopeless.”



What do you think was the most painful part of Jesus’ suffering?



Christ forgave even as he was tortured and killed. That’s the ultimate example of love.



Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” Luke 18:31-33



Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6





Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28



Jesus has told us to pick our cross and die to self. What part of that mandate do you need to work on today?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Vision Focus


The question is one we all ask: How can I know God's plan or vision for my life? I heard someone once say on this topic; You seize only what you can see! The problem with that mentality is where does faith come in to the equation? Jesus told us that we are blessed by believing and not seeing. 



Vision without the ability to achieve it makes it only a hallucination! But with God all things are possible and He will give you the ability if it His will, plan, and vision for your life. Here are some ideas on the subject.



Finding your Vision 

1. Vision starts from within - what is your heart

2. Vision draws on your history - past pains and victories

3.  Vision meets others needs - no one lives in a vacuum

4. Vision helps you gather resources - God will make a way



Focus on Listening

1. The inner voice - the Holy Spirit

2. The unhappy voice - God never wastes a hurt

3. The successful voice - where has God successfully used you

4. The higher voice - God's direction through His Spirit and Word



Think about what you would liked changed in this world, and be willing to do something about it.

Start today!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

God Is


Do you feel like you've had enough, and you just cannot stand one more piece of bad news or drama in your lie? I've felt that way for a while, but you know what I've found ou? It's true you cannot take on one more thing, but with God you can! Remember when it's hardest to pray - pray your hardest. Think about this quote from an article in Higher Calling recently.
"God sometimes keeps us in seemingly impossible situations, providing just enough daily bread to strengthen us for the task ahead. When the work of our hands feels inadequate, he multiplies it like loaves and fishes. Where we lack, he is enough." Kimberly Coyle

Sounds to me like
God is able, and He is. Where you can't - He can. Jesus said, Trust in me. Do you believe? Then accept and cash in this Godly promise - He is faithful. Believe that with God you can make it. Ask Jesus to help you with your unbelief. He will make a way where you see a dead end. Praise and magnify God through your storm. The storm isn't worthy of it!

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. - 2 Corinthians 9:8