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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

You Hurt Me


When we feel that someone has wronged us grievously and we cannot forgive them we have made them our enemy. There is a huge conflict here. If God refuses to regard certain people as His enemies, then we as Christians cannot regard them as our enemies. Jesus says in Matthew 6:14, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
We are in fact told to love our enemies! Have you ever said this to God – “You just don’t know how bad they hurt me…” When we take a breath, we can see how foolish this is – of course God knows. He knows everything! It still hurts, and we can’t see how we could ever get over it.
This where Jesus does His best work. He makes a way when we see no way out. So, instead of focusing on our hurt and anger let’s focus on Him. He’ll see you through, just trust and obey. Amen?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Friend of Fear

Solomon shares in Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Here it is! This is how to understand the fear of the Lord and find knowledge and wisdom. Look at the underlined words and phrases: accept my words, store up my commands, ear to wisdom, heart to understanding, insight, understanding, and look for it as for hidden treasure. The Proverbs are a great guide to wisdom. Decide to make them part of who you are as a child of God.

Remember the instructions from Paul found in Colossians 3:16, Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Dealing with our past and present can be very painful. Allow the Gospel to be your joy and hope. With this gratitude in your heart teach and correct one another in order to grow in godly wisdom.

Use the spiritual disciplines of Alone time with God, Prayer and Fasting, Personal Bible study, and Journaling to give you “fresh ears” to hear feedback and counsel from the Lord. He has something to tell you!

Amen?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Searching


There’s a song from the late 70’s called The Search Is Over by Survivor. The chorus is  - I was living for a dream, loving for a moment, Taking on the world, that was just my style, Now I look into your eyes, I can see forever, the search is over, You were with me all the while.
That song reminded me about our search for wisdom, direction, answers, and why we miss it. We get so busy living our lives, caught up in all the day to day drama that we forget how close God is to us. Jesus promised that He would never leave us! We need to remind ourselves (and each other) that He is with us all the while. Jesus promises, “To never leave us or forsake us”. Solomon knew that the Lord was near, and was prepared to ask. Let’s look at 1 Kings for more details on Solomon’s encounter with God and his prayer for wisdom found in 1 Kings 3:5-9.
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 7 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
Earlier Solomon asks for knowledge and wisdom so that he may be a good leader for God’s people. He even asks the question. Who is able to govern this great people of yours? No one is able to do anything great for God without His power and direction. I heard recently that if your vision isn’t under God’s direction then your vision is too small! We can only accomplish things for God through our obedience. Amen?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

God's Smile


We learned in 2 Chronicles 1:6 that Solomon sought God at the Tent of the Meeting offering 1,000 sacrifices in order to please and hear from the Lord.



What would be your 1,000 offerings?



The answer to this question can be found in Hebrews 13:15-16 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.



It’s not a finite number, but it’s a continual offering and sacrifice of praise through four ways that pleases God.

1.     Honoring Him with what comes out of our mouths. Everything we say should bring God glory.

2.     Openly professing the Name of Jesus as Savior. This is the “applying the Word to my life” part. You witness and share Jesus with your lifestyle.

3.     Doing good – being godly. We are called to be righteous, holy and just in all our dealings with the world.

4.     Sharing with others – loving your neighbors. Jesus said it best that we are to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. This is where “being Jesus with skin on” can come in to play.



May our lives be a continual offering and sacrifice of praise. Amen?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Anniversary


A year ago, today I received a call from my brother that no one ever wants to receive. Unexpectedly our Dad had died. Everything changed, and the last twelve months have been full of grief and decisions. God has been in control (with much fear and trembling), and the family has survived. In fact, our family is healthy and growing, but there is still a sense of sadness. I was thinking about Dad today when I came across this passage.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; Psalm 34:15-19

In processing any kind of great loss these are good reminders. You are never alone. God takes care of His children. He hears our cries. The Lord is always present, and will deliver us from our trouble.

I miss my Dad, but I know it’s only temporary. Thank you, Jesus, for taking him home, and promising the same for me. It is well with my soul…

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sensing Him


For over ten years I have not been able to smell anything, so my ability to taste is greatly impaired as well. Whenever I read in the Bible about being able to taste it is a reminder to me that even though I can’t discern flavors on earth I can still experience God in different ways. In Deuteronomy 30:14 it says, The Word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so you may obey it. God’s presence and wisdom are that close.



Can you taste the Word in your mouth and feel the Spirit in your heart? – You can if you are obedient.



Psalm 34:8Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.



God uses all of our senses and the psalmist here wants to illustrate the intimate nature of His relationship with us. The Lord desires this, but will not force it on us.



Trust and have faith in God – Proverbs 3:5-6; Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.



God is good all the time and He is with us all the while. Amen?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Justice


A number of years ago I heard Tim Keller give a thought provoking definition and the differences between Righteous and Evil (also known as the just and unjust).



Righteous/Just Are those who are willing to disadvantage themselves for the good of the community.

Evil/Unjust Are those who are willing to disadvantage the community for the good of themselves.



Are we just or unjust according to this definition?



The Church is to evangelize to save the lost and then teach (disciple) those to obey God’s commands (do justice).



Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3. The problem with many of us is we’ve become “middle class” not poor in spirit. We “do” things for God like checking a “to do” list. He deserves more than that – our heart, mind, body, and soul.



When you look at the poor and those in need it should be like looking in the mirror. That’s how Jesus sees us.



Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,  write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. - Proverbs 3:3-4

Amen?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Valued


I love this statement; Wise people pursue more wisdom, for wisdom is given to those who value it.



Solomon puts it like this in Proverbs 4:7 – Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding



We need to ask ourselves,  How Does this Principle Apply to me?



Let’s look at the words from the world’s wisest man from the book of Proverbs to guide us on how we should value and strive for wisdom.



We must delight in wisdom
 

Proverbs 2:10; For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Proverbs 3:13; Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,

Proverbs 24:14; Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.



We must desire wisdom



Proverbs 8:11;  for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 2:2; Pursue it turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding

Proverbs 28:26; Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.





What we delight in and desire is where our heart will be. Amen?

Monday, February 20, 2017

In Your Heart

Have you ever thought about the word Movement? When it comes to people it is defined as a group of people that share a common ideology with shared values and goals. Sounds like what Jesus had in mind for the church, and the Great Commission. Have we lost this shared focus in the modern church?

We should be like that first church where they were not afraid to go out and help the world. In the first century the church was only 10% of the population, but yet everyone knew that they cared for the poor.

When God is not in charge of our vision then it’s much too small.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21

We accomplish things for God by our obedience, and hear His voice through the daily disciplines of Quiet time, Prayer, Bible Study, and Journaling. We must engage in Scripture – The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. - Deuteronomy 30:14

The Word is near! It is time to start listening, obeying, and moving. Amen?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Contentment

There is a witnessing tract that has been used for years by Billy Graham called Steps to peace with God. Everyone desires to have true meaning and contentment in their life.
Consider what David said in Psalm 51:10-19 -
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
 
This is why David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. That should be our desire as well, and the method is still the same as what David wrote many years ago. The main thing is being in the right place with God. Give Him all you have, and acknowledge it’s His anyway. Amen?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Live Wisely

James 3:13-18 has some resounding truths that will help us as we deal with the subject of wisdom.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James speaks of two sets of attitudes. One focuses on negative attitudes and the other positive attitudes. He compares two lifestyles on what he calls "wisdom from above" and "wisdom that is from below.
A study on the values, attitudes, and behavior described here will help us to live wisely and “righteous” before the Lord. Worldly wisdom is described as, where you have envy and selfish ambition; there you find disorder and every evil practice. Godly wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Amen?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quality

Paul writes about us being God’s temple in 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 (The Message);

   Or, to put it another way, you are God's house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won't get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn't, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won't be torn out; you'll survive—but just barely. You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that. God's temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple. 

The call here is that we cannot build anything of lasting value unless it is based on Christ. Jesus Christ is the foundation to our life and ministry. What we build on this foundation is of most importance. At the end of our life everything will be revealed, and Scripture says it will be revealed with fire. If the things that have been built survive this test then the builder will receive a reward for their faithfulness.

The materials mentioned in this passage shows that we can choose to build with things that have value and last, or revert to what is easy and don’t. When Christ through the Holy Spirit comes to live in us then we become God’s temple. We should revere and respect what belongs to God. We must take care of His temple – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Amen?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Responsibility

There is a lot we can learn from the Bible. As you study you will soon see things haven't changed much. People want to do things "their way" and not "God's way" and it always ends bad. Look at this conversation between God and Solomon found in 1 Kings chapter nine. “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’  19 “But if you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

This is the “high water” mark in Solomon’s life. The Lord knew what was coming and warned him. Disobedience has its consequences. If we turn our backs on God then he will allow calamity and disaster to fall on us, as individuals, families, and a country. When people ask, “Why has the Lord done such a thing?” we can answer the same as in verse 22, “Because we have turned our backs on God, and embraced other gods”.

It seems easier to blame God than to take responsibility for ourselves. We can’t change our country or our families by our own will, but do have control over self. So let us follow the Lord’s direction and humble ourselves, pray, and seek Him with all we have until He calls us to eternity. That’s how we can apply His wisdom and knowledge with obedience.
Amen?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Understanding Truth

Everyone can know the truth. When Jesus told Thomas, I am the … truth,” remember that He had begun the conversation by referring to a place of knowing and being (heaven) that would be accessible to His followers because He was going on ahead of them. And He would have us understand the same thing about truth.


There are many people in our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools who do not think truth can be truly known. Sean McDowell says, A skeptic said to me one time, “You can’t know truth.” Ironically, to claim that you can’t know truth is to claim to know something about the world, namely, that truth can’t be known. But this is hopelessly contradictory. How could someone know that they can’t know truth? To those who claim truth can’t be known, I like to ask them if they have really gone on a deliberate quest for truth? Have they considered the scientific, philosophical, historical, and experiential evidence for Jesus—who claimed to be the truth?



Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.—Matthew 7:7–8 



According to Jesus, truth can be known: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:31–32

You and I not only can know the truth, and we will know the truth if we really are His disciples. Amen?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Heart


Happy Valentine's day! On Valentine’s Day we share our emotional heart. I am thankful for my earthly valentines - my wife, daughters, and grandchildren. I praise God for his grace in giving me such a beautiful and loving family.

Some may not have that same family experience here on earth, but you can have a beautiful spiritual family! God desires to adopt you in to His family.  He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to give His life for you. Through faith all believers can spend eternity together in heaven. It’s the hope that is found in John 3:16-17. 
 
 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Today spend time telling God how much you love Him. Amen?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Take Care

I saw a photo 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?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Active

The members of a healthy church are active. Involved with each other, community, and world! Jesus is with us.

 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,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21

We are members of a unique family, one that is both extended—the worldwide fellowship of all believers; and local—the individual members of this congregation.  Living the Christian life is something we’re not supposed to do alone.  We need one another.  Being a Christian is a personal matter, but not a private one.  When we’re born-again, we’re born into a family of faith.  Commitment to Christ means commitment to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  To love Jesus is to love His church. Amen

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Healthy Church


God always deserves our best! Our physical, families’, and church health are critical to doing His work here on earth. Healthy equipping churches focus on…
1. Servanthood Culture
The staff and the leadership of the church embody, teach, equip and model a servanthood culture. They understand and respect that, in order to live in a biblical church, we have to live-out Christ’s ministry of servanthood.
2. Leadership
Leadership drives, models and sustains the values and the biblical directives of an equipping church.
3. Comprehensive Discovery
Comprehensive discovery looks at the uniqueness of every person in the church.  Not simply their gifts, but rather in concert with their skills, passions, and experiences, which call them to a specific area of ministry.  Do your discovery processes help people grow into who God created them to be?
4. Intentional Organizational Systems
Systems that serve and support all issues of the church from discovery, to stewardship, to retention, to assimilation, to pastoral care, to ministry inside and outside the walls of the church.
5. Ministry Alignment in the Expression of Service
People and ministries align with the servanthood culture and community connections of the church. Wherever people are gifted and called, there must be opportunities both within and outside the church for them to thrive and grow.
Strive to be healthy as individuals in order to be a healthy church family. Amen?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Destination Up

Going up? I would hope that would be everyone's eternal 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?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Who Is Driving Your Life

In studying about different church models I came across this identification of church members. 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?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Delight-Full

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?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What's Best

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?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tongues

I was recently reminded of this story about things that can happen at church.

An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps,  "Where would you like to sit?" he asked politely. "The front row please," she answered.
"You really don't want to do that," the usher said "The pastor is really boring."
"Do you happen to know who I am?" the woman inquired. "No." he said.
"I'm the pastor's mother," she replied indignantly. "Do you know who I am?" he asked.
"No." she said. "Good," he answered.

Funny story but it brings to mind about how we need to be careful with our words and attitude. James 1:26 tells us, "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."

May only blessings come from our mouth. Amen?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Clean Up


If you’re in any way stuck in the past, there are people around you who might suffer from you not being fully present. The past is good to remember and reminisce about, but focus on the present.  You can’t go forward very far driving a car if you’re looking in the year view mirror! Jesus has the best plan to move us ahead.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - John 4:13-14

Have you ever cleaned out a packed basement, garage, or shed? Over the years things just accumulate; they don’t work anymore, stuff breaks down, get outdated, we just have no use for them, and they take up space that could be used for something else.

We need to do that with our lives as well. Clean out junk; bad habits, un-repented sins, unhealthy lifestyles, and wrong ways of thinking. It should be replaced with Godly restorative and healthy behaviors and actions.

It can start today. Are you willing?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Go Forward


Do you believe God has provided you with everything you need today and tomorrow? If so, why do you think so many of us still tend to look to the past for how we would like things to be? This tends to happen with our whole life experience -looking back and not ahead. This kind of thinking was going on with the Disciples. Jesus called it lack of faith, and commanded them to go forward sharing the Good News.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  - Mark 16:14-15

Jesus was telling the Disciples (and His church), “That life will not be the same (after encountering the risen Savior), there are new tasks to do” When you accept Christ in to your life you’re changed forever. Not just for eternity but from that day forward, so let’s look forward – Jesus is there. Amen?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Good Growth


My church family helps me grow in my faith and helps with making lasting friendships. The bible is clear on the fact that Christ followers are to spend time with one another in worship, discipleship, and encouragement.

Magnify (Honor) the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3

Let us go on ... and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. Hebrews 6:1

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
I praise and thank God for his example of how church should be, and how I am to be a part of it. Amen?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Connectedness


Being a Christian is about believing in Jesus as Savior, and belonging to His family (the church). Peter said, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 So we’re talking about two important relationships here. The first is vital: accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Redeemer from your sins. What you do with Jesus determines your eternity. Christ followers spend a lot of time on this. It’s called evangelism and witnessing. It’s how people hear God’s truth and are saved.
The second relationship is vital to the believer – becoming part of God’s family, the church. Acts chapter talks about the “behavior” of Christ followers. (They) were baptized(1) ... and joined the other believers ... they worshiped together regularly at the Temple (2)... and met in small groups in the homes (3) for communion... Acts 2:41-42, 46

Our spiritual family should be important to us. The Bible uses words like “they continued to meet”. They remained connected. The word connect literally means fused together.
How would you rate your “connectedness” to God’s family? Make changes to your schedule and prioritize family time. Amen?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Healthy Life

Three years ago I read a book that not only drastically changed my thinking, but will allow me to live a more productive life. It's called the Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. It's important to follow God's plan, and set goals to bring Him glory. The following are from the book.

FIVE REASONS WHY I NEED TO SET PERSONAL GOAL 

1.   Goal setting is a spiritual discipline.
      “God plans to bring all of history to its goal in Christ. Then Christ will be the head of everything in heaven and on earth!” Eph.1:10 (GW)

2.   Goals focus my energy.
      “I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.”1 Cor. 9:26 (NCV)
      “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.” Eph. 5:16 (NLT)

3.   Goals stretch my faith.
       “According to your faith will it be done to you.” Matt. 9:29
      “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Rom.14:23

4. Goals build my character.
      Paul: “I do not claim that I’ve already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving toward the goal for which Christ Jesus has won me to himself.” Phil. 3:12 (TEV)
      “Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” Eph. 4:13 (CEV)

5.   Goals give me hope.
      Job: “I do not have the strength to endure. I do not have a goal that encourages me to carry on.” Job 6:11 (NLT)
      “The plans I have for you are plans to prosper you, not to harm you. They are plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11 (NIV) 
I hope you are encouraged to do something to make your life healthier and happier. God desires you to be your best, and will help you. I will restore your health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 30:17 

Change your life today, and set some goals. Read The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, and check out the Daniel Plan Website Here