Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Devotional March 31 - Get in line with God-thinking

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

You can tell if you have been justified by faith, you are at peace with God. What does it mean to be at peace with God? Most of all it means that in your thinking you are not seeing God as an adversary watching you closely to see if you are messing up. It means that when you think of God you think high and lofty thoughts. You think that God is working things out for you. You think that since God has gone before you, you know that even in the circumstance you are in right now (yes, I mean even the unfair situation you are in) God is in full knowledge of and God is working out the passageway through it right now. I said passageway through it because God-thinking requires you to go through it with God, not around it, over it or under it.

Being at peace with God means that when you think of God you think that God knew what He was doing when He set it all in motion and you are completely convinced that God knows what He is doing right now, in your life and those across the world. Being at peace with God is knowing in your knower that when you go into the presence of God that all that is Holy and perfect awaits you there. You understand that you go into the presence of God with expectations of being changed into a clearer image of God's Son than you were before.

You know that being at peace with God is understanding that the moments at hand are for using toward your desired end and that fighting God avails no benefit.
Being at peace with God is sublime. It is undefinable. It can only be learned from being in the presence of God. Once you recognize that God is on your side and that all of creation was designed for you and that every possible scenario was worked out for you before the earth was even made, you should find time to make it right with God and get in line with His thinking, God-thinking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daily Devotional March 30 - Jesus is the Light

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Do you believe it? What Jesus is claiming is that many others will come along with great teaching, maybe even prophets or visionaries. They will have pure speech and a fine mind. They will teach what they know from the wisdom they have obtained in their fine finite mind. They might even teach truths that men should live by. They might even teach profound truths and they might direct the people to do good and be at peace with one another. But they are not The Light. That's what makes Jesus different. Jesus is the Light. Jesus doesn't just understand what's going on in the universe. Jesus made it. Jesus walked and lived on earth just like other prophets; Mohammad, Buddha, Vishnu and others, but Mohammad, Buddha, Vishnu and the others did not create the universe.

Jesus came down from the heavens, the others did not. Jesus is alive, the others are not. Jesus is God who came to us, the others are not. Others may have some light, but Jesus is the light. Any wisdom that others purport to have obtained, they obtained from Jesus. Jesus is the source, the others received from the source.

The others can teach about the Light, but only Jesus is the Light. Others can teach you a great many things, but only Jesus can grant you eternal life. I'm not afraid to learn from others across the world, the great and respected writers, philosophers and prophets, and I gleam from them whatever light they possess, but to look to them as if they were the light would be foolish, and not profitable and not true. Why not learn from all those who went before us the way it was meant to be, 'Men and women striving for excellence passing on their beliefs from their journey.' But they are not the Light, just a small reflection, if any, of the Light. Jesus is the Light.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily Devotional March 29 - Quit playing with God's Word

"And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

I'm not going to make the argument that whatever you ask for you will get or wherever you seek you shall find what you are looking for nor that if you knock anywhere the door you need to go through will open. That's not the letter of the text nor is it the spirit of the text. But, I will say this.

There is much in life that you do not have because you did not ask, at the right time; not too soon where there is much disappointment, not too late where the unprepared live, but right on time, in time with God's perfect plan for your life.

There are many answers that you might be seeking for and have not found, because you have chosen to seek in the wrong places. You might even be seeking God, wondering why He doesn't just appear to you and straighten everything out. You have to seek in the right place to find the right answer/gift/God.

There are many times when you knocked and the door was opened but it was the wrong door, and you were let in, but that is not the door God is talking about.

"For every one that asketh receiveth:" asking of God what are the true blessings of life, asking of God which way to go, (before you turn) asking of God what to do next, (before you do it) asking of God about starting your new business, (before you start it).

"For every one that seeketh findeth:" seeking out what God designed to work for you (instead of going out on your own, blind, due to pride and ego), seeking out which way to turn (before setting off on your journey) seeking the voice of God (while on the journey, not just after you have messed it all up).

"To him that knocketh it shall be opened:' knocking on God doors, (not just any door) knocking on doors enter into holy places, (not unholy places) knocking on doors that have righteous opportunities, (not doors where those inside make their money without respect or regard to others).

Of course God is not going to give you anything you ask for, seek for, or knock on. God is the Father of lights and only answers His children with the truth, and only gives His children God/good things, and only opens doors that lead to right living. If it were any other way, would you not ask , seek or find what you are truly looking for.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daily Devotional March 28 - Is the Bible just a good handbook for grandma?

"Let no corrupt communication proceed our of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

This simply makes good sense. The Bible is filled with 'good sense' recommendations and 'must do' commandments. The Bible instructs you how to live and how to have the most success at life, how to advance and how to be a peace in your heart.

It is disturbing though, to see how many Christians really only see the Bible as a good handbook for Grandmas. Many today do not believe the the Bible is an instruction manual for how to live a right life. Many today don't see their lifestyle in a right and wrong view. Relativism is the new bible. What's good for you might not be good for me. What's sin for you might not be sin for me.

It is amazing just how far even the (born-again, blood washed, spirit filled, Holy Ghost, Bible believing, sanctified, justified, double dipped Christians) will go to get and do what they want to. Even if it is a direct command from God not to do a particular thing, they will do it and justify it. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it doesn't work. The creator of the universe put everything in order so that some things work with creation's purpose and some things go against it. Does that mean that if you have a different opinion about a particular subject than God that your opinion will work? Never. Not for the long haul. I know, you think you know best. You think that God is old fashioned and needs to be updated and you are willing to take on the task and believe and promote what God condemns in hopes that God will change His mind, or worse, you think God was wrong in the first place. No. You will find, in due time, that the Word of God is sure and sound and right. You, your friends, others with differing views from God's view will not bring God around.

Many really good people, that would give their shirt off their back, and serve the community and otherwise live a decent life, have a false view about God's purpose and direction for mankind. The Bible says "let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth," not some, not a little, not for a good joke, not because you grew up with other people who do, not because it will win you a laugh, not because you are mad, not because it doesn't matter anyway. No. Just not. It's not just corrupt communication, it's corrupt living too.

I know, you think that doing this or that is OK because after all "I'm not hurting anybody," "it's my own business." God's economy does not work like that. All of life's decisions are tied to a universal truth. Just as physics and biology and chemistry and aeronautics all work all the time, providing for unbelievers and believers with the same results, so does the Word of God. What God spoke was and is true, always. You can buck it for a little while, a long while or even all your life; you can believe it or not, but God's Word has stood tall from the first word to the last breath taken on earth. You really want to be doing what God is blessing and what works all the time and that is found in the Bible. Simple, straight and easily to be understood truth. That's what makes for a good life. That's what works. That's whats right.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daily Devotional March 27 - Who is best qualified to teach you about God?

"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:11-12

You will find, during the long walk with Jesus, that much of what builds our internal faith comes from God by way of the indwelling Holy Spirit. God reveals Himself to you more and more as you spend more time with Him. Paul wasn't pontificating when he said what he had learned was not by the minds of men. He was simply stating a statement that any of us can make after we have spent some quantity time with God.

Taught by revelation isn't some new teaching. It has always been the way God reaches man. It's just that revelation doesn't come to the unprepared vessel. If you want more than a cursory experience with God then you will have to invite God into what you are doing. Our pastors, priests and rabbi's do the best they can to convey what they have seen and heard from God. Of course we need them all and we need each other speaking to one another about the love of God. But if your experience is a textbook experience only, there is much about God that you will not encounter. Even the Bible, was written to reveal God to us, but the Bible is not God. The Bible is representative of all that a man or woman needs to find their place in God's economy and within the pages of scripture are the essential truths that keep us and direct us into agreeable truth. But nothing can compare with the moments with God when God reveals Himself.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daily Devotional March 26 - Unlearn some things

And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as a crystal, proceeding, out of the throne of God and the Lamb...And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever." Revelation 22:1, 5

Many people believe that living on the earth is some kind of a training ground for acceptance into heaven. And that if we can survive the brutality of living in a quagmire and sustain ourselves long enough, when we die there is some place magnificent and grand to enter into. They look at life as a testing ground to see if we are worthy of going to heaven. Many believe that if they join this group or that religion or if they are good enough or from the right bloodline, if they make it through this tortuous and unfair life, they will enter into heaven and receive eternal life.

I wish that you would read your Bible and unlearn all the false things that are said and taught about God. The only thing true in the statement above is that there is a place magnificent and grand to enter into. But the rest of it is false assumptions based on unsubstantiated teachings.

Here's how it really is:
Earth is not a training ground, but a very beautiful, God created place that has within it every component necessary for living a wonderful and blessed life. Earth is full of beauty and natural wonders that cannot even be fully understood, because they are also magnificent and grand. I know, in your heart there is much rebellion with this concept. If you are like most people you have seen enough unfairness and irresponsibility and ugliness and meanness and darkness that to compare heaven with earth just doesn't add up. Your right those things won't be in heaven, but the problem with earth is not earth, it's people. God made it perfect. We messed it up.

Earth is not a training ground to see if you will be faithful to God so that you can be assured that you get a ticket into heaven. First of all there is no ticket into heaven. Those who do not love God on this side, and enjoy a relationship with God while on earth, and trust that God is their Savior aren't going to trust God on the other side either. In other words, if you don't like the call to holiness on this side you aren't going to like heaven either. But more than that, heaven is a place that we dwell in,but heaven is not eternal life. Eternal life starts on this side at the moment that you accept the great sacrifice that God made for your redemption.

This eternal life has within it, on this side, a place called Rest, that can be found, understood, apprehended and lived on this side. You are living in eternal life right now. It's not something that you are going to get as you enter the pearly gates and St. Peter or Moses looks at your golden ticket and says, "ticket validated," come on in. You are in before you go, because eternal life is now. I tell you that if you can believe this you will live differently.

Even though heaven is a place, within you lives the essence of what heaven is made of. And to one degree or another you can perpetuate the thinking that nothing can be done about earths pitiful condition or you can think that you can and will, share this eternal life that is within you with others. You can think good thoughts toward others. You can pray for others. You can do something extraordinary for others and you don't even have to let them know who did it. You can look at earth and see its beauty. You can visualize living in this paradise, not to make light of the next paradise. You can enter into the Rest of God. You will yourself there, by stopping long enough to sense the presence of God. It's true, you will have to turn off the TV, radio, Blackberry, Internet, and beeper, but if you believed that you could enter into a place that was like heaven, wouldn't you maybe give it a try? If you think going to heaven is going to be great, you have got to get alone with God and experience the quiet and peace associated with finding His Rest for your soul.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Devotional March 25 - Restore me, Oh Lord, because I forget

"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit." Psalm 51:12

When I forget all that God has done for me and all that God is doing for me, I pray this prayer. There is nothing like the feeling of the free spirit of God running through my veins. I love the feeling of knowing I am in the beloved. I love the feeling of knowing I am forgiven and God sees me as His child. I love knowing that all is well because my God is in charge. I love knowing that when God looks at me He is pleased. Of course not because of what great things I've done, but because of the work that Christ did in me and for me.

But, sometimes I wake up disappointed, worried or anxious, unsure, full of questions and even some doubt lingering like the mountain mist. When I am wise I shake it off with a prayer. I pull myself up and remember what God has taught me and who I am. When I am not wise I continue in this state, sometimes for hours until I am reminded of how totally unimportant so many things are that I have wasted my time, energy and money on.

All that said, I always keep a Bible handy. Just the flip of a page and I am revived. I am brought back into remembrance of the truth and I am reminded of what is real. Of course I sometimes just go outside or look up and say, "Father forgive me for being so petty, I am sorry for not trusting you." Either way I need reminded just like David needed reminded because we are in the flesh. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. Yes I do turn to God to lift me up. Yes I do rely on the scriptures to help remind me of what I forget.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Devotional March 23 - How many times do you need to learn something?

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

It's that way across America. So many people have chosen to follow and learn and then once they learn to follow and learn the same things over again. And if anyone gets too deep for them, they bail. They enjoy not knowing what they have already learned. What a shame that we would rather choose to be unlearned in the things of God.

I've known people who never found their place in ministry. Of course they weren't looking either. It is kind of vogue in our country to act religious, but to live shallow. Sorry, but the truth hurts sometimes. God has graced you and I with the greatest teaching this world has ever seen.
If you are not growing in Christ it is because you don't want to. From the storefront ministry to the mega churches, God is teaching. God wants you to get it and then to move forward and be taught deeper truths and to get that too. And then to go real deep and find understanding.

But to be taught the same truths over and over again without growth and change is not the way of God. If that is where you find yourself, do something about it. More than likely it's not the ministry you are under.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Devotional March 22 - Do you love darkness or light?

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives life to the world through His light. If you have "the light of life" you have eternal life in you. If you follow Jesus (go where he goes and do what he does) you will not walk in darkness. It's not that you cannot make a mistake or have an indiscretion or even commit a sin, but your pathway has been cleared; your way has been lit up. Jesus goes ahead as the light so that you do not have to walk in darkness. Without the light of Jesus you are guessing about your direction at best. That's why so many people that do not know Jesus have unfounded beliefs based on confused philosophies. They are walking in darkness.

It does not mean that they are necessarily doing evil things it simply means they do not have a lighted path. But from the perspective of having a lighted path, what business do we have dabbling in dark anything. Dark TV, dark books, Dark video games. Jesus comes and gives us life and lights our path. We should respond by staying true to our calling, i. e., a holy life. This life is very short and it should be a goal to live it in the light.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daily Devotional March 24 - How well do you know yourself?

"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Do you know yourself this well? Are you convinced that Christ is life? Do you have the kind of relationship with God that you can say that today you know why things are the way they are...? Does your mission in life start with Jesus said? Paul made this statement which is really a condensed version of his whole life, past, present and future.
He has found out why he was a Jew.
He found out why he hated the Christians.
He found out what it means to have a Damascus Road experience.
He found out that not all people do what they say they will do.
He found out that his friends and family might very well betray him.
He found out that you might get lied about if you profess Jesus.
He also found out that Jesus provides more to life than just working a job for pay.
He also found out that within him lived the Spirit of God.
He found out that those whom he used to kill, now he heals.
He found out that heaven was a real place with.
He found out that he was already living in eternal life and that even though to cross over into heaven was an advancement, the work to be done here required someone like himself; a man of faith with deep convictions and the guts to live it out.
For Paul, "to live is Christ."

Daily Devotional March 21 - Just how important is God-thinking?

"And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment: For she said within herself, if I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned about, and when He saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour." Matthew 9:20-22

"She said within herself." If you have ever wondered just how important God thinking might be, here is the center of how our faith works. The mind of God hears the voice of man, whether it is spoken outwardly or just thought inwardly. What we think becomes awfully important in light of this truth.

"She said within herself, if I may but touch His garment , I shall be whole." Whether she was a religious person or not, whether she had read the scriptures or not, what she said within herself was a statement that only faith can generate. At least up unto this time it had not been so, that if you thought in your mind, that if you touched the edge of Jesus's clothes, you would be healed of a disease that you had been suffering from for twelve years. This was the kind of thinking that comes from believing that God is who He says He is. This is the kind of faith that comes from understanding the omnipotence and the omniscience and the holiness of God. This is the kind of faith that is available to every one of us.

If you are not getting this kind of faith-building teaching at your church, at some point in time, it would do you well to think deeper and let God teach you about Himself for a season. It will change your mind. If you are a pastor and you have trouble believing that verses like these are just as potent today as when they were written, you too need to let God teach you about Himself for a season. It would do your congregation more good if you were to take a sabbatical, than to teach the Bible with doubt in your heart. Doubt interrupts the connection between God and man that brings about healing and miracles.

Daily Devotional March 20 - Uncommon trust

"For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

I met a man this week that is living this verse. He gets it. He has had a bout with infirmities over the years. He was healed of serious infirmities. Then something else happened and in was in need of the Lord's touch again. And he was healed and then something else came about and he prays for healing now. He does not demand from God, nor does he complain that God is just not moving fast enough for him. No. He is glorying in his infirmities, just like the Apostle Paul and the power of Christ will rest upon him.

He gets it. He understands that God's grace has already done more for him and through him than any man deserves. He trusts God for the healing he needs right now, but he waits in faith and his faith is not swerved from left to right if he is not healed tomorrow or the next day. He besought the Lord. The Lord spoke to him and now he glories in what God has done in him, to him and through him.

He gets it. "Most gladly therefore will he glory in his infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon him." God healed him and he was thankful. More things happened and he trusted God with them and through them. Now he needs prayer again for God to heal him. But this man gets it.

God let's things happen that are not pleasant to us, but the faithful stay faithful despite the outcome. Their faith is not based on what God might do, but on what God has already done. They get it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Daily Devotional March 19 - Quit looking to people for your confirmation

"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." Mark 6:3-4

Paraphrased:
'Hey, isn't this the guy who grew up down the street. I know his brothers and they were a real bunch. We knew his sisters too. There's no way that Jesus is a prophet. We would have know it. You remember his mom and the trouble she was in 30 years ago. And Joseph marrying her when she should have been stoned. Who's he trying to kid. We've been in town, going to this synagogue for forty years and now he is trying to make a mockery of us. He's just another charlatan.'

It was that way for Jesus and maybe for you at times. Have you ever had a great idea and you were just bubbling with enthusiasm and excitement. You just couldn't wait to tell you friends or family in hopes they would stand behind you and help you to see your dream come true. And then...

These are some observations that you might want to look for if you are about to tell somebody about some great idea, thought or positive change you are about to make in your life:

Don't be surprised if your family would rather you just keep your job and work for 'the man' until you die.

Don't be surprised if your best friends, even your very best, top of the list friend, finds some way to mess it up for you, or in many cases take it from you or explain to you why you aren't worthy.
Don't be surprised if people start to bring up something you did twenty five years ago when you were still a teenager, holding it against you like it happened yesterday.

Don't be surprised if others start to compare your idea or your change of mind or your new found way of life with every other idea that has failed.

Jesus could do no mighty work in His own town and maybe it is true for you too. But,don't be discouraged. There are many wonderful, positive, intelligent, kind, and open minded people that would just love to hear your ideas and stand behind you and support you and help you reach the pinnacle of success. You might have to take the best that you have and use it on strangers, maybe in another town, maybe in another state, but don't let the 'prophet' in you die in you just because of the close proximity of naysayers.

No. "...A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.'

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daily Devotional March 18 - Are you a skeptic or a believer?

"Art thou the Christ? Tell us. And He said unto them, If I tell you, you will not believe:" Luke 22:67

"Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:28-31

It would do you well to consider the implication here. If you or others need to see a miracle, like someone rising from the dead, to believe the scripture...well the Bible says that won't be enough proof. Even if you did see a miracle, if you don't have faith to believe now, you will not have faith to believe then. Faith is made of much thicker thread than sight. Faith believes when sight questions. Faith replaces the need for physical proof. I can attest to this being true. If any of us were to evaluate where we would be without God's intervention in our lives,we would quickly see that God has performed many miracles on our behalf; some we recognize and others unknown to us.

What I'm saying is that the agnostic, atheist and unbelievers have all already seen the miracles of: creation, birth, a rose pedal, DNA, the depth of the galaxy, and in many cases maybe even seen someone come back from the dead.

It's just not enough for those who blatantly deny even the air they breath. Even if Jesus had honored the high priest and the religious sect with an answer, they would have mocked Him more. Answering the questions of those with questionable intentions is of no value in ministry or in life in general. Many people are busy bodies and gossips and there is nothing you could say that they would not slant/swing/spin into something altogether different than what you told them.

Many people just want to box you into a group of their making so that you are no threat to their ignorance. Don't assist them in devaluing your testimony and helping them to disarm the power of the written Word of God.

The Bible says let them listen to Moses and the prophets.

They have the written word. They have all of creation pointing to intelligent creation. The have the life they posses and the air they breath. The Holy Spirit of God pursues every man, woman and child to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Just give the naysayers your testimony and God will take it from there.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Devotional March 17 - Forgiveness is permanent

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Are you a believer?
If you were to live forgiven the results would be miraculous. Guilt from the past is a plague, a mental virus capable of gnawing at your soul and disrupting your plans. Guilt keeps great ideas down and guilt causes many who would become leaders to gather in droves like cattle with others who are burdened by guilt. Guilt causes you to think of yourself from the eyes of man. Guilt motivates people to follow this and follow that, afraid to break away and face the opposition.

You are forgiven. You need to live that way. Forgiven, once fully apprehended also travels through your soul, but it builds you up and stamps "Approved" on your plans. Forgiven opens the mind to have ideas and pursue them and causes us to be leaders, to seize the day and look at our obstacles as hurdles that can be jumped. Forgiven causes you to think from the eyes of God. The God who sees you through His Son. You look good to Him. You look beautiful, advantaged, empowered, inspired, courageous, strong and bold. Forgiven motivates people to follow Christ, who set an example for us. Forgiven makes a way, and breaks away from all that is dragging on you. Forgiven is the God/good life.

It is so easy to be revived by such a powerful message as this and then fall prey to the voices of oppression, and in no time at all to start feeling guilty again, dragging yourself through the mire of life. You need to believe you are forgiven and doubt very seriously that you are guilty, and do this until you are assured in the depth of your soul that God is true.

You say, Oh! but you don't know what I've done. You're right and neither does God.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Devotional March 16 - Get it in writing

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you..." John 14:1-2a

We need to count on what the Lord tells us. If we are to have confidence we need to know that the information that Jesus gave/gives us if correct. It is interesting that Jesus makes a point to let us know, "if it were not so, I would have told you..." What Jesus said during His ministry and what the Apostles and New Testament writers recorded was what Jesus told us/you.

Jesus spoke every word necessary for you to:
Recognize the enemies tactics
Abandon worldly pursuits
Break spiritual strongholds
Live free from addictions
Recover lost territory
Use what man meant for evil and turn it into something good
Sense the presence of God
Receive salvation
Live the abundant life
Intercede for others with expectation
Understand our purpose

"If it were not so," He would have told you. That is really comforting to me. The creator tells us everything we need to know, in writing, so we don't mess it up. Quit looking for deep truths elsewhere. They are within the pages of scripture and written on the tablets of your heart. "If it were not so," He would have told you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daily Devotional March 15 - Do you still believe the Word, every word?

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

Truths like this have almost been conditioned out of us. If you are wondering what entertain means in the Greek, well it means to be hospitable; to show them around and give them a good time. I'll bet you can count on one hand who you can talk to about verses like this. It's just not accepted that angels live among us and can at times materialize so we can see them. (It's a lot easier to just think of angels as figures mentioned in the Bible. Some of the Bible characters had an experience with an angel but none of this was meant for our day.)

It's scary. We should be listening to God and working with the angels to accomplish our goals in life. But our religious experience might be better described like this:

Watered down preaching so as not offend newcomers
Or fire and brimstone preaching where all of the liberties given to us by Jesus are called sin
Along with Bible illiterate Sunday School teachers taking their turn because they have to
Mixed with careless actions on behalf of those who claim to be following Christ
The faithless teaching the hungry how to be faithless
The powerless teaching new believers how to be powerless
No wonder we don't believe in angels unawares.

The Bible has become static to many who are looking for some sign or some extra biblical move of God. But the Bible is not static truth, with some stories fitted in for our entertainment. The Bible is alive and within it are volumes of truths and millenniums of prophesy and today's voice of the Almighty, clearly and succinctly spoken to anyone who will lend an ear.

Daily Devotional March 14 - Does the Jesus life conflict with your plans?

"And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Luke 9:57-58

There are two major themes here. "a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow Thee withersoever Thou goest." It amazes me how many people call Jesus Lord, but they really don't have a clue what it means. "I will follow Thee withersoever Thou goest:"
As long as it does not conflict with my favorite TV show
As long as my wife/husband agrees that this is a good time to do something for the Lord
As long as it does not conflict with what I already believe
As long as it is between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm on Sunday
As long as I don't have to go anywhere other than where I already go
As long as I don't have to speak with .....
As long as ??? is not going to be there
As long as I get paid
As long as I think it will be of personal benefit to me to do so
Don't be a part of the "I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest," 'as long as' Club. Jesus would rather you were uncommitted than a fake.

Don't get too flustered, Jesus knows that we are just a little committed to Him. Jesus understands that most of what we do is for ourselves or our immediate family and that most of what we do is for our own benefit even if it is just to get a pat on the back.

"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Ask yourself these question and be honest:
If Jesus was to walk into your congregation and begin to speak, do you think the clergy would recognize Him and let Him speak?
If Jesus was to come to your door after being beaten and left for dead would you take Him in and heal His wounds?
If Jesus was talking to your 11 year old daughter, would you step in and pull her away?

Even the disciples were guilty of only going so far with Jesus. Even the disciples were bothered when Jesus began to hold the children and speak directly to them. Even the disciples denied Him. This is a fallen world and the signs of its level of disgrace is easily seen in the uncommitted Christian community. It does not have to be this way.

What hope do we have? I'll tell you. We have the hope that is spoken of in the Bible. God stills calls men and women, teens and children to follow Him. You are in the prime of your life to take another look at Jesus and make a decision to follow Him and give Him rest in your home. You are empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to go and do...... Don't be afraid to be a fool for Jesus.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daily Devotional March 13 - True rest can be found

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in the way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass." Psalm 37:7

I could go on for weeks just about finding the "rest" of God. The place where you are fully convinced that God is in charge and that you are in the center of His will. But the reason I chose this verse today is because I think we are too invested in comparing what others have or don't have and what we have or don't have. We should really mind our own business. Yes, many people are going to get rich and look prosperous while we are working hard and sometimes barely getting by. Many people are going to rise up unto stardom while we continue working unnoticed and unrewarded. It is going to look like we have got to do things their way to get what they have and to some extend your right. Except getting what they have, (those who have gotten their wealth by deception) means not only getting the things, but the inner turmoil and total dissatisfaction with themselves.

I wouldn't trade the "rest" of God, the peace of God, the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit in my life for a few shiny toys. If I ever reach measurable material wealth, I want it to be by the plan of God for my life. I want it to come honorably and with no strings. Don't let the world fool you, you can smile while feeling empty and lost inside. You can don a new Ferrari while suffering from immeasurable loneliness. Don't fret, but if you are bent on worrying anyway, worry that you will obtain what you get in life with integrity and honesty and hard work, all the while not stepping out of the will of God to get there.

Don't focus on what others have accomplished or what others claim to have or really do have. Mind your own affairs and get on with getting what you get through righteous living and prayerful considerations.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daily Devotional March 12 - Two principles

"But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

There are two really important principles to remember and live by in this passage. The first is, "It is written." Having Jesus remark that the written Word of God (Logos) is to be read, understood, believed and acted upon is a real message to you and me. The written Word is the preserved voice of God for all generations to teach us the truths that save our soul and give us the ability to live a life in God's will. Unlike the voice of God, which is subjective and constantly being questioned by the unbelieving, unfaithful and poorly taught Christians, the written Word of God is irreproachable, unchanging and indisputable. "It is written" should be the clearest statement concerning the infallibility of scripture. It should also be noted that, rather than always 'looking for a Word from God' that fits what you want isn't as biblically sound as looking to the Word to see exactly what God wants you to want. If the cultural/worldly Christian new the scriptures as well as they know their favorite sitcom, there would be no cultural/worldly Christians.

The second principle is, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." We know from experience that the written Word of God is sure and tested and trustworthy. The voice of God, on the other hand, as you and I have both seen and experienced is not as easily discerned. Yet we are admonished to live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It's really not that complicated.

It is true that God speaks to us. God directs us and teaches us and communicates with us and we should be very open to this kind of communication and we should be very open when others speak a word of wisdom. God quite often speaks to us through others. But I believe there is one qualifier that can help us shake out what is from God and what is just man's silly and unsubstantiated philosophies.

Can what was heard or said be substantiated from the written Word?
Don't fall for all the TV hype and questionable interpretations from those who are willing to stick their neck out and claim something that is extra biblical and unsubstantiated. If you can't find it in the Word, you need to pray about it and wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit to talk with your spirit about the validity of the matter. Guessing is not biblical, nor is standing hard on matters of questionable origin. If God said it, God will wait until you get it to require anything from you, especially your money. Being driven to do something that you are unsure of is not from God. It's man's way of getting you to buy into their personal interpretation of what God said. You can't afford to bet your dreams on man's promises. Wait until you hear from God. It's OK, God has the patience to wait until you are fully convinced in your 'knower' before responding to anything.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daily Devotional March 11 - What's your purpose?

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

There are seasons in life that have nothing to do with summer, spring, fall or winter. First of all there is the season of childhood. For some of us that was a wonderful season, full of delightful memories. But for some it was more like a nightmare that you want to forget and train your mind not to think about. Then there is the youth season, the adulthood season and the later years season.

There is the season of thinking we know everything, then the season of reality setting in, the season of recognizing our need for a relationship with God and the season of serving God. There's also the 'set God on the back-burner' season and maybe the 'deny God his rightful place in our life altogether' season. There's the mountaintop experience season, the valley season and the lower than the valley season.

What ever the seasons you've been through , there's the NOW season also. The NOW season is the most important. Despite the past, good or bad, guilty or innocent, you have the opportunity right now to make a change if you want to. There is a lot at stake. If you are currently serving God with all your heart and following the lead of the Holy Spirit and adhering to the written Word of God, keep on, because this is the way to fulfill God's purpose in your life, this season.

If you are not following the lead of the Holy Spirit and if you are not adhering to the written Word of God and you are not serving God with all your heart, this is the season for change. Following God in this way has no drawbacks. Following God requires that you give up nothing that is part of God's overall plan for your life. So many people think if they turn their lives over to God for a season, that they will miss out on all the fun and lose their friends in the process. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

You will gain the excitement of living in the vein of the will of God where you understand your surroundings, you understand the outcome of certain decisions, you understand that life on earth doesn't last forever and time is moving rather rapidly. You also understand that no matter how long you have served the world, a moment in the will of God is better; better than all the fun, better than your relationship with all your friends. Life is enhanced. Fun becomes more lively and exciting and your friends will respect you and those that don't, well they were never really friends, they were users.

There is a time for every purpose under heaven and I want to be doing what God is planning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daily Devotional March 10 - Seek those things which are above

"If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:1-2

"Seek those things which are above." The things which are above are all to do with the heart. They are the emotions, feelings, love, kindness, grace and mercy kind of things. The things above require forgiveness, long suffering, patience, gentleness and sensitivity to the needs of others. The things above are the throne of God, heaven and the angels. The things above are just as real as the things on earth, just as important, just as much a part of our destiny as the things on earth.

When you think on the things above you are taken to a higher place than your regular thinking. You are taken to a place where you can see clearer and farther and with more dimension than when you are caught up in the daily, worldly routine. When you think on the things above, God will intervene, the angels get to participate with your daily affairs, the Holy Spirit of God endorses what is on your mind, because what is on your mind are the things of God and they benefit you and the world at large.

You must spend some of your time thinking on the things above. Everything in your life will mature into the right thing if some of your time is spent thinking on the things above. You need to do this on your own. You need to consciously decide to reach higher and seek the mind of God. God wants so much to give you a glimpse of the heavens and show you what is going on behind the scene, so to speak. Look up and meet God today. There is something beautiful on the mind of God that only God can share with you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Daily DevotionalMarch 9 - Think upon me, my God

"Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people." Nehemiah 5:19

Here is a man who knows God and knows how God operates. I would say that there are times when we do not want God to think upon us, which means to look deep into our soul and fully determine our intents and motives. When God looks upon us like this God looks through us and thoroughly sees our inner most being, nothing hidden, nothing spared from the eyes of God, nothing not known about our thoughts. How many times in life have you entered into the place where you would lift your eyes to heaven and say, think upon me, knowing that when God does look upon you, the whole you is exposed, your actions, your thoughts and your sins.

You should look to God to think upon you more often. Your fear of God knowing who you really are is unfounded. God knows all about your past, present and future without your requesting an inspection. God already knows the innermost parts of your thought life. You cannot hide from God nor should you want to. God looks upon you with favor, seeing you through the works of Christ and not your own, looking deep into your soul where the Holy Spirit resides, taking issue with the work of Christ on the cross on your behalf and the daily inner work of the Holy Spirit within. God remembers that you were made of dust. It is man that has skewed your view of what God will do with you if he sees you as you really are.

What God will do with you if you were to look to heaven and say, "Think upon me, my God," is to see a beautiful person, filled with the essence of God, a child of His own, perfected in the work of Christ and daily being brought into the likeness of Jesus. God has no interest in what you have done or how bad you have been or how many times you have let your family down or how many times you have let God down or how often you have sinned or what you have done or what you should have done that you didn't do. God looks upon you to infuse you with blessings and to do good unto you and to lift you up and to show you the right path and to lead you on the way and to give you of Himself and to purify your life. God does this so you will enjoy His creation and continue through life co-creating with God His will. Life was meant to be shared with a God that loves you and only can do good toward you and only blesses you continually.

If you know of another god, one that seeks your demise, and one that sees you as a mistake, one that harps on you and makes you fell uncomfortable, one that is constantly revealing your imperfections and making you to feel inferior, you have met the god of little religions, the god of impotent preaching, a created god, not the God of creation. Quit being afraid of God and stand up and call out His name and say, "Reveal me and speak to me and use me. I am not afraid anymore. I am sorry for having blamed you for having believed in the philosophies of men. I want to believe you and see you and understand. I want you to see me as I am. I am not afraid for you to reveal me, because according to Your Word I am Your creation and you will finish me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daily Devotional March 8, 2011 - Is Jesus alowed to use your boat?

"And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when He had left speaking, He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both ships, so that they began to sink." Luke 5:1-6

If you have ever taught Sunday School or gone to the mission field or been in charge of a business, you have experienced what it is like to put out your net and catch nothing. Don't miss the whole premise here. Jesus asked them to use their boat and afterward, after He had used their boat, Jesus gave them the direction to put the boat out and of course they did and they had a huge, overwhelming catch.

Is Jesus allowed to use your boat? Did you let Jesus have your boat before you put out to catch fish? Don't think it would make any difference? This is the Jesus who can walk on the water, who speaks to the wind and the waves, who created all that there is and who works on your behalf every day and for your benefit. This is the Jesus who heals the sick, saves the lost and gives you the air you breath. This is the Jesus who can speak a word and your boat will become full, just like those in this story.

If Jesus asks you to use your boat, do it. There is no thing that can compare with providing a physical prop for Jesus and seeing what He will do with it. Wait! there's more. Did you notice that even those who did not let Jesus use their boat were blessed by those who did? Association with those who do the will of the Father will bring many undeserved blessings upon them. That's right, the faithful permeate with God's overflowing and even the lost get blessed when a man or a woman of faith walks by.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Daily Devotional March 7 - What does faith look like?

"And again He entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them; no, not so much as about the door: and He preached the word unto them. And they come unto Him, bringing one sick with the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of palsy lay." Mark 2:1-5

If you ever wondered what faith looks like, here it is. This is what faith looks like. You know the outcome of the story; Jesus heals the sick of palsy because of the faith of those who brought him to the house. Faith was never meant to be some hidden enterprise of the churchy religious. Faith was designed by God to be the mechanism that sparks man to move forward in belief and by faith, put things in the physical, in the right place, at the right time, for God to work work the supernatural.

If you are wanting to see the miraculous without participating in the hardships of the physical, forget it. We have concluded that God allows bad things to happen to good people. People die even if they have been healed once or twice or many times. Denial of the physical does not bring about the supernatural. No, there must be an integration between the minds of men and women and the mind of God for anything miraculous to happen.

Those who carried this man to the house that Jesus was in and those who tore up the roofing to let him down and those who endured the ridicule of the religious and the faithless in order that someone other than themselves could be blessed; Those are the ones I want in my life. Are you that kind of friend?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Daily Devotional March 6 - The power within you

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"  Ephesians 3:20

So many of these verses are familiar to us. We have read them and they have become part of our internal library, archived for use as needed. In this familiar verse I want you to take a close look at how God works His will. The scripture makes it clear that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." We have come to trust this and we know what it means; that what God has designed is far better than what we could design and that what God gives us is far above our expectations, but have you noticed before that God gives us all this above and beyond "according to the power that worketh in us?"

If the power within you is constantly vacillating and/or you have not made your mind up about where you stand (with God's principles and laws governing the actions revealed through Christian behavior), then the power that worketh within you is limited to the faith you have to bring it to pass and the belief you have that God will do it.

This "power that worketh in us" is the very essence of the relationship between God and man. God designed us to be in constant communication with Him and to co-create according to God's foreknowledge of all things. Your ability to grasp and understand and operate in the the power that God gives you is in direct proportion to your faithfulness to the things of God. "The power that worketh in us" is not a one time static gift of power that God embeds in your soul and you then operate on it despite your commitment to the things of God. It is a developed power that waxes and wanes with your faith and your belief.
You cannot earn it
You cannot get it from another source
You can only receive it by faith and that only through your belief that God gives it
To receive it all you need to open yourself up completely to the power of God
To open yourself completely to the power of God, you need to make available space to receive it
And to make space to receive it you must push something out that makes room for something new
I know the argument; you can take in new without pushing out old, in other words build upon your existing foundation without demolishing any of the old foundation. It's not true. If you put wonderful, powerful, exceeding, above on top of a weak and decomposing foundation, the wonderful, powerful, exceeding, above will become top heavy and topple. God wants your foundation to be pure and to build wonderful, powerful, exceeding, above upon that pure foundation, then when you operate "according to the power that worketh in us" God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."