Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daily Devotional July 30 - Operate in the truth you already know

"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in present truth." 2 Peter 1:12

As you already know from experience, some truths are eternal and stay the same throughout all generations and some truths which seem to be true at the time are found to be erroneous in due time. Think of it this way. If you never changed out what you previously believed for what you believe today, you would still have the mind of a child. We do change out what we thought was true to what we know is true today. And that is the message in this verse. Peter, a Jew, was talking to Jews and Gentiles. He himself had to change what he thought was true before Jesus to everything he learned and is continuing to learn after he met Jesus. This was true of all the Apostles and it is true for you also.

Peter wanted to edify those whom he was speaking to by reminding them of the new found truths that were introduced by Jesus, even though he knew that most of the people he was writing to knew what he was talking about, but he also wanted to remind them that non-eternal truths change and/or what we once thought was a truth may not have been a truth at all and we need to operate in present truth. If you try to fight today's battles with yesterday's armor, you will not be successful. Every time you read your Bible it is likely that you will learn something that when added to the truths that have already been confirmed, advance your knowledge and understanding of God's economy.

God is pouring out His Spirit on mankind and sending a message 24/7 to all who will hear His voice. If you are listening to God, you will be receiving truth that can and will alter your current understanding of life. That is present truth. Operating in present truth means that if you are practicing what you already know to be the truth (Philippians 3:16), you are operating in the will of God. The consequences of not operating in present truth is revealed in churches that are living in the past, no growth, no life, no joy and no power.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Daily Devotional July 29 - Have you supplicated lately?

"And said (Solomon) O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto Thy servants, that walk before Thee with all their hearts. Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee:" 2 Chronicles 6:14 and 19

It is my observation as a senior pastor for 5 years and an assistant pastor for 16 years that the art of praying (as seen in these verses in Chronicles) has been reduced (at least in the majority of modern church goers) to brief moments of solicitation for things. Over the years I've talked with hundreds of well informed Christians that don't know what supplication is or what it means. Their prayer time is a few brief moments of time (not prime time, but leftover time or pre-scheduled church service time). The depth of many prayers wouldn't give a seedling enough water to survive. And the thought of praying through and spending hours or an entire evening into the wee hours supplicating (specifying with deep conviction that what you desire is ordained by God and for the betterment of mankind) doesn't get much press.

More than that, today's Christian and a non-believer can hardly be discerned/differentiated one from another. Worldly non-believers might not be going to church, but Christians are going everywhere the world goes and doing what the world does, saying what the world says, selling what the world sells and teaching and training those of the next generation more of the same. No wonder there is no depth in prayer. First of all you have to believe that what you are praying for, God can do. There's so much prayer void of any power and hardly recognizable as communication with God that it's no wonder people are complaining that God is not answering their prayers. And further, so many prayers are uttered (without any sense of urgency or conviction) that the person praying goes on about their life and forgets what they prayed for altogether.

How can you expect to hear from God and to recognize that God has answered your prayers if you can't remember what you prayed for? How can you expect God to take your prayer seriously if one eye is on the TV while you are supposedly pouring out your heart to God. How can you know what to pray for if you aren't listening to the Holy Spirit within? How can you listen to the Holy Spirit within if you've allowed the din of this world to be your guide? It's not that God doesn't hear silly prayers or hear foolish and unwarranted requests, but the idea of prayer is to pray in God's will and what is in God's will will be fulfilled through prayer.

The depths of blessing from God are equal to the depths of communication with (not to) God.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Daily Devotional June 28 - How bright is your light?

"How long, LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever? Shall Thy wrath burn like fire? Psalm 89:46

If you have ever had any real trouble, or real pain, calamity or serious altercation, you've felt what it is like to think the Lord has abandoned you or that God doesn't exist at all. When the bottom fell out at your business you probably shouted, where are you Lord? Or when you had to go through a painful experience, surely you cried out to the Lord and asked, why me? Tragedy may have struck a family member and doubt swirled through your head and lodged in your heart. The person you trusted the most did the most harm to you and believes a lie and you look to heaven and say, How can you let this happen? Where are you God? I thought you protected your people? How can you let this injustice take place? "Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever?"

I don't know you and most people deny having ever doubted God or ever questioning God's wisdom. But part of the human frailty is to go through times of doubt and to question God. It is not blasphemy to question God? God doesn't look down on you for having doubted that God was in the situation. God remembers that you were made of dust. God has not abandoned you, nor has God ever left your side. The troubles, sickness, calamity or personal attack that you went through or are currently going through was not from God, but neither is it true that God left you to fall on your own. It is not true that God didn't care or that somehow you just aren't worth saving from the situation. God has never let you hang out on a string to test your meddle, nor have you been tempted or tested by God to see if you would break.

All of your troubles or pain, suffering or loss is from the fall of man. There are three sources that contribute to life's woes:
1 The fall of man where sin was passed on from generation to generation;
2 from satan, your enemy who is out to destroy you;
3 from your own personal choices, when you went against what you knew was right in your heart.

God was there. God never let you alone. God only brings good things to His people.

If you are still in the middle of trouble, sickness, pain of suffering, God is in the middle with you. God loves you and God is doing what is necessary to bring it to an end. But there is more to the whole picture. The real reason David cried out to God and the real reason that you have felt abandoned or unprotected is due to the frailty of your faith. Pray that God will give your eyes faith to see it through. You may never know the why's of it all, but you must, by faith, understand that if you are in it, God is in it with you and God will take you through it. It is part of the perfecting of the saints.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daily Devotional June 27 - Give me a good reason

"And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye (The Jews Jesus was speaking to) have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believed not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not His writings, how shall ye believe my words?" John 5:37-47

Jesus makes it clear on more than one occasion that if you believe in the Father, you will believe in the Son. The reason that you will believe in the Son is that the Father testifies of the Son and His word is sure. If you believe the Old Testament scriptures then you surely will believe in the Son because Jesus says it is so. You do not have the Father if you do not have the Son, because God the Father spoke it and it is so. These Jews thought they believed in the Father, because they believed in the religious system that was based around the Father, but Jesus was speaking to their heart, not their mental ascent. Jesus could see that they indeed had much religion, with its rules and regulations, ordinances and trappings, but the spirit of the law was void and empty.

They even claimed to trust Moses, they just didn't trust what Moses said. It's easy to get trapped into thinking that going to church or listening to your favorite preacher is the same as listening to and communing with God. Of course there is nothing wrong with listening to your favorite preacher or going to church, but neither is a substitute for personal relationship. If your pastor is doing his job, he is directing you to get to know Jesus better. He is discussing the importance of a personal relationship with God. He is giving you the tools and teaching you how to use them, but you will have to do the digging yourself if you are to uncover the gems of truth from God. It has always been that way and it will always be that way.

Lazy Christians want someone else to do their bidding for them. They want someone else to gather the information, distribute the information, process the information and then send them a check in the mail (so to speak). Lazy Christians want the pastor to do all the work while they receive all the harvest and they want the pastor to do it for nothing. Lazy Christians make up the majority of church boards, so they make lazy Christian rules and lazy Christian programs. What's the point? Lazy Christians are teaching lazy Christians how to be lazy Christians. It was the same in Jesus' time. Jesus was hard on the Jewish leadership because they had fallen away from a relationship driven life/lifestyle like that of David or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and fallen prey to a legalistic, rule oriented, dogma driven relationship clouded by men who would go to extreme measures to keep you from a personal relationship with God, because they made their money off of the ignorance of the people. If they had taught the people to have a personal relationship with God and that was the only kind acceptable to God, they would not have been able to take so much for offering so little.

I hope you read your Bible and I hope that you have the expectation that God will teach you and talk to you and wants to hear from you, personally. If you really want to go deep with God, get to know Jesus better. He is willing and available all the time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daily Devotional July 26 - Newness of life

"Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

We should walk in newness of life just like Jesus walks in newness having been raised from the dead. Walking in newness of life is an indicator of our level of personal relationship with Jesus. This verse is for you for today. Don't look back at all. Just ask yourself if you are getting all you can out of your relationship with God today. Newness of life is offered. Will you take it? Yes it will take some effort. It takes effort to get out of bed in the morning.

Newness of life is when the events of the day are seen through the eyes of active relationship with Jesus. Can you have newness of life and still have problems? Yes. Can you have newness of life and still get sick? Yes. Can you have newness of life and still make mistakes? Yes. Newness of life does not take you out of the world, but it does affect your view of the circumstances. You are just as responsible to assist yourself to get through the day in newness of life as you are to get to work in the morning or evening.

Don't overlook the importance of this verse. You died with Christ (symbolically by water baptism) and (experientially by self will) and you have been raised with Christ (symbolically by water baptism) and (experientially by newness of life). Jesus makes it clear that in and through your life's experiences there will be a trail of suffering and pain, disappointments and eventually physical death. But Jesus also made it just as clear that during this life and these disappointments He would be with you, providing for you, answering prayer, supporting you, side by side and sometimes carrying you through. You may have to go through the fire once in a while, but you are just as protected as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Do you believe it?

If you don't believe that newness of life is available, you won't recognize it while you are living in it. If you think that once you were saved you were left on your own to trod through life with weighted boots and that at the end of life God will be waiting there to release you from your prison here, it's not likely that there's much newness of life going on in your life. But if you can reach out right now and take hold of the Word of God and say, "I believe it" newness of life will come over you like a cool breeze. Jesus wants whatever moment you are in to be in with Him; whatever you are going through to be going through with Him; whatever you want to make of your life to make it with Him. You can start a new life right now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Devotional July 25 - God is greater

"And they cried unto the LORD, and said, we have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee." 1 Samuel 12:10

Things haven't changed much. This happened around 1100B.C. They lived any ole way and served false teachers and even worshipped false gods, but when they were in trouble, who did they call out to? It's the same today. We go about our business doing as we please, the way we please,with whom we please, where we please, when we please, but when our enemies, i. e., troubles, obstacles, barriers press in, we call upon God.

"Oh God, please help me out of this situation.

My troubles are encompassing me.

Help me out of this one and I will go to church.

Help me out of this one and I will never cheat again.

Help me out of this one and I will tithe.

Help me out of this one and I will read my Bible.

Help me out of this one and I will change my ways.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go to God and plead your case and ask forgiveness and rectify the situation and reconcile the situation and get help from God. What I am saying is, why wait until you are covered up with troubles to get God's help? You need to stop for a minute and get a handle on this problem. You know you have issues, and you know that some of your current trouble is self induced. Why not go to God before things get out of hand and get His help?

Those who wait until they are backed against the wall to call on God miss out on so many blessings, so many gifts from God, so much peace in their heart. If you are not currently serving God in your heart and in your mind to the best of your ability, nothing more, you are robbing yourself and those around you of receiving the bounty prepared for you from the foundation of the world. God only will bless you when you come to Him. Get it out of your mind that you can't reconcile to God because of this or that. It's not true. You can and God will assist you in any matter where you come to Him and ask. Even if you have not served God in any capacity, when you call out on God, God shows up and works it out on your behalf, every time.

That's right, even when you have failed miserably and you have shunned God and you have not given God any of your time and attention, God extends a hand to lift you up. God is good and greatly to be praised.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daily Devotional July 24 - Don't be too quick to pastor bash

"But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever shall be great among you, shall be your minister." Mark 10:42-43

It might not be like this in all countries, but in America our ministers are subject to entirely too much criticism and ridicule. I believe Jesus and I believe that it is mandatory to respect your pastor. And I don't mean tolerate, but genuinely look to them with esteem, thinking good thoughts toward them and making provisions to support them with some of your time, energy, talent, skills and finances.

If you do not have this kind of relationship with your pastor, you are missing out on a blessing and you are not observing sound scriptural counsel. Giving respect to the pastor/minister is a God thing, whereas the mind-set that looks down on the pastor, finds fault at every occasion possible and looks for reasons not to support the pastor is worldly.

What if you just can't get behind your pastor, because you know that he/she hasn't been faithful to their calling? Then get together with some of the other parishioners and go to the pastor privately and ask what you can do to assist him/her in renouncing the sinful behavior and restoring him/her to a right position again. If you are genuine and really want to help, and not hurt, this will probably be the impetus the pastor needs to pull up his/her bootstraps and take care of business and make things right.

If you just can't stand behind your pastor, it's time to move on. You should be in a church where you are moved by the Holy Spirit during the service, during the prayer time, the music and the preaching. You should look forward with anticipation of the next great move of God in your life being kindled at church. You need a new outlook. In most cases, it's not the pastor at fault causing the apathy, indecision, irreverence and inconsistency of the parishioners. It's that people in America are not studied in the scriptures and they have made up their minds about how the process of spirituality should work, based on their own private interpretation. Many have developed their own religious system which puts themselves as the greatest among you and some even put themselves on the throne belonging to God. They have developed a callousness toward 'organized religion' and a mind-set of ridicule toward preachers that is irreverent and irresponsible. They do this so that they will not have to be accountable and take their family to church, after all if they are convinced that 'all pastors are a lessor sort than themselves,' why would they go.

Most pastor/evangelist/TV personality/prophet bashing doesn't have anything to do with the individual being bashed. Most people don't know enough about that person, in some cases never have even met them, to make any determination of value. Most pastor bashing is due to personal biases, prejudice and ignorance. A good rule of thumb is: Don't say anything about anybody that you cannot confirm personally.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Daily Devotional July 23 - Don't get 'bummed' out

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:42

This question comes up concerning bums asking for a hand out at a stop light or downtown at a stop sign or somewhere else where you have to pass by. Should I give to them or not? You ask yourself, if I give to them will they go and drink it up. If so I don't want to give them anything. I want to help people, but not this way. All of us have had these feelings and we have heard from many friends and family about the issue, but I'm not as concerned about what my sister of brother thinks about it as I am what God thinks about it. I find that God speaks to us clearly about getting in touch with the spirit within when making decisions like this. I have done both with beggars; I have given to them indiscreetly and I have not given to them because they didn't look worthy. But in the last ten years at least, when I am in this situation, I pray about it and then respond according to my inner unction. I don't really look at the person and try to analyze their true condition, which we can't do anyway, but I pray and then respond as lead by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was setting a precedence here by declaring a principle that is worthy of serious consideration. Jesus was setting the record straight on "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," a certain method of dealing with people in Old Testament times. Jesus was showing that mankind has the ability to do better than that and that we should be thinking with a mind-set of what can I do for you rather than a mind-set of what can I not do and still pass for righteous. Jesus was breaking down the rigid stand of the religious people of the day that had become so callous to the needs of others that even if they passed by a hurting or wounded stranger, they would turn their heads and act like they didn't exist. Jesus was calling out those who run their lives with precision when it comes to the letter of the law, but in cases where compassion or just plain common sense was needed they turned a blind eye. That's not the spirit of the law and that's not the mind of God.

First of all you haven't kept the law, so as far as being a sinner, you and I are in the same boat as the beggar. So, profiling the beggar in hopes that you can ascertain their true condition with a glance is not likely to be the test to determine their worthiness.
Secondly, you have no idea whether the person asking for something really needs it or not.
Thirdly, if you aren't willing to pray about it and expect an answer from the Holy Spirit within, then your mandate is to give. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Left on your own, without the aid of God within, the new law is to give.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Daily Devotional July 22 - It's time to make a melody

"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" Ephesians 5:19-20

When was the last time you sang a song to God? I don't mean at Church, but in private where you lifted up your voice and sang a song from your heart directly to God. What has happened to Christians today is that they are taught a lot of religion, but much of the 'relationship with Jesus' teaching has gone by the wayside. Above is scripture admonishing you to make melody in your heart and to thank God for everything. This should be a regular practice. If it isn't, maybe you can inquire into your heart and find out why. You don't want to miss out on the many wonderful moments with God that are available.

I know it's hard to thank God for everything. How can we thank God when troubles blow our way or when a loved one dies? Only by faith. You have got to know that what has happened, what you are going through or what lies ahead, is not out of God's reach. God uses all of your experiences, good and bad, and carries you through them. God did not cause the bad things that happened to you, you can count on friends and enemies for that, but God does use the experience as a stepping stone to protect you and enlighten you so that you don't make the same mistake again.

Make a melody in your heart and thank God for everything. It is the Word of God and it will bring about much blessing and positive changes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Daily Devotional July 21 - God is at peace with you. Do you believe it?

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

Do you have peace with God?
Do you believe that you have been fully restored to God through your faith in Jesus?
Having peace with God is no small thing. I know so many Christians that don't even entertain the thought of having peace with God, like "it's not possible" or "wouldn't God be mad at me if I tried to act like I wasn't afraid."

If you are saved you are at peace with God positionally, whether you feel like it or not. God is at peace with you, because God is working on your behalf to assist you in becoming like His Son, no exceptions. God is answering your prayers and going before you in time and working out the details of life that threaten your final decisions, so that when you come to crossroads, you are empowered to make the right decisions.

God loves you so much and works on your behalf 24 hours a day to enhance your life/lifestyle and to provide for your needs, to give you hope for the future and to repair/restore those areas of life that you may have messed up. Our God is a healing God and will not let anything stand in the way of you receiving your full bounty as a child of God. It is not truth that God is looking over your shoulder disappointed that you haven't done this or that to please Him. God knows that you are made of dust and He has made provisions for your inadequacies, indiscretions and even your sins. It's not that God approves your sins or that somehow you have been granted a waiver to sin as it pleases you, but through the experiences and pain of past sinful decisions God can and will create in you the likeness of His Son. It is God's job to finish what He started in you and you can rest assured, be at peace with God, that God can and will accomplish His goal.

So many Christians are looking at God as an overseer that dishes out punishments in the form of consequences for every little indiscretion. It is not true. God is in you, living in your body as His abode, empowering you to resist evil, giving you authority over powers and principalities, benefiting you and your family in every way, allowing you access to the throne of God, answering your prayers, showering you with gifts, both physical and spiritual, all while you are here on earth. Even though life might seem as a struggle, there's no reason to be struggling with God. If you are struggling with God, you have been conditioned to do so. It's time to take charge of your life in Christ and start to believe God. You are at peace with God and God is at peace with you. If you can believe this your entire perspective about who God is in your life will change.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Daily Devotional July 20 - What have you been taught?

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Have you been taught that you must obey the ten commandments in order to be accepted by God?

Have you been taught that only those who tithe are blessed financially?

Have you been taught that you must never sin in order to go to heaven and if you do sin that you must ask for forgiveness for that sin before you die or you will go to hell?

Have you been taught that after you are saved your salvation is kept sure by your works?

Have you been taught that you must be baptized in water or you won't be saved?

Have you been taught that you must speak in tongues or you aren't saved yet?

Have you been taught that you must receive a second blessing in order to be saved?

Have you been taught that if you eat meat you are a lessor sort of Christian than those who do not?

Have you been taught that Jesus was the Lord, but is not God?

Have you been taught that the Holy Spirit is the power of God, but not God Himself?

Have you been taught that you should only read from the Old Testament?

Have you been taught that you should only read from the New Testament?

Have you been taught that Paul's teaching supersedes other books of scripture?

Have you been taught that what Paul taught is not to be considered as divinely inspired?

Have you been taught that crossing the Red Sea was just an allegory?

Have you been taught that there are many ways to heaven and Jesus is only one?

Have you been taught that you must be a member of the one true church to be saved?

Have you been taught that if you take the wafer unworthily, you have to re-earn your salvation?

Have you been taught that you need a human mediator between you and God?

These are false teachings and God is not pleased that many of His dear children are being led by those who would use you as exploits. Many things are taught to keep people in line and to create in them a sense of duty, but causing in you a sense of guilt by coercion is not a godly motivator, nor will it produce godly fruit. Pastors are so afraid to preach the truth, for loss of numbers, that they start reaching out with extra biblical teaching to pacify newcomers and placate parishioners. What a waste of good talent. The Holy Spirit operates through truth, only.

"Faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it." If you are going to worry about something, worry about something that is true; something that can really cause you grief, but don't worry about God being able to finish what He started in you, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."  (Hebrews 12:2a)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daily Devotional July 19 - Oh well? I don't think so

"O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than all the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts."  Psalm 119:97-100

A good understanding of the spirit of God's law/laws is good medicine for the prospering soul. David remembered what he had done. David knew about his affair with Bathsheba and many other foolish and sinful mistakes he had made. But David is growing up. It's like that with us too. It's not that we haven't sinned or that we haven't made many foolish choices. It's that we come to our senses and do something about it. It is better to chastise yourself and make the necessary adjustments to follow the ways of God than to come to an abrupt end caused by your unfortunate circumstances.

Clean it up. Clean up your mind, your mouth, your behavior, your propensities, your ways. David found that following the ways of God was far better than anything he had previously considered. You will find that to be true too. The ways of God are not suppressing and boring, but exciting and full of adventure, life and goodness, blessings and gifts and pleasure of the God kind that out do those of the carnal kind. David understands.

To meditate on the law of God or the testimonies of God is to meditate on the thoughts of God, God-thinking. If you were to practice a little each day,you would find that God will keep His Word. I believe a good start is to read one verse a day, but everyday, no excuses. It is a good discipline. You might find that a verse a day is just not enough. That's a good thing. It's the discipline that counts not the number of verses you read. As time goes by you will be drawn by some of the verses to dig deeper and you will find that God knows what He is talking about. You will find that even a moment with God in understanding cannot be compared to anything that brings pleasure in this world. You will say with David, "O how love I Thy law!"

Don't be afraid to get to know God. The God of the Bible is perfect toward you. It is possible that what you learned about God in Sunday School was not all there is to know. You will not be disappointed if you take this advise and get closer to God than ever before, but you will be disappointed if you continue on the path of "Oh well."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Daily Devotional July 18 - Be strong and get on with it

"Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it."  1 Chronicles 28:10

Whatever you are called to do, in whatever capacity, be strong and do it. In our nation we have a lot of starters, but few finishers.
People will start going to church and then wax back into their old ways.
Millions will quit something on January 1 and by January 10 they are back in full swing.
People promise the pastor they will help knock down the chairs and a week later act like it never happened.
There are those that talk big about giving if God will bless them, then they are blessed and quickly become miserly.
Maybe you have been called to go back to college and finish.
Maybe you are called to move closer to your son, because he needs you.
Maybe you have been called to venture into unknown territory and start something new.
Maybe you were called to be a pastor, but those around you aren't very supportive.
Maybe you were called to become a nurse, but you don't have the education.
Maybe you were called to write a book.
Maybe you were called to be a mechanic or a carpenter and to be the best and most honest in your town.
Maybe you were called to stay home with your kids.
Maybe you were called to stop taking long trips that keep you away from your family.
Yes, these are callings, one no more important than another.

Be strong and do it.

If you don't hear a call - Turn down the din. The call is continuous and you must get quiet without the cell phone on to hear it.
If you hear the call - answer the call yes or no. don't play games with God.
If you answer the call no, move on and live, but don't abandon God. God understands you more than people do. God will not abandon you.
If you answer the call yes, work hard to accomplish your goal, pray often and get all the help and resources you need to be successful.

In our society so many people want a quick fix for everything and a magic genie god to bring it to pass. God is not a magic genie god, but God is a miracle working God. Try doing things God's way for a season and see if you don't get better results. Try planning long term and getting God into your situation from the inception and see if you don't get better results. Get off the fence and make a decision. God will honor it. Be strong and do it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Daily Devotional July 17 - Who are you listening to?

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophesy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Romans 12:4-8

This is a little different list of gifts than that of 1 Corinthians 12, but some are listed the same. The main point of this conversation is to reveal a truth about gifts from God. They didn't stop when Jesus ascended into heaven. This verse was written by Paul about 25-30 years after Jesus ascended into heaven. There is a particular mention of the gift of prophesy. There are entire denominations that deny the gift of prophesy as being in operation today. That is simply not true. The gift of prophecy is alive and well. Some of the prophets that prophesy are false and some just trying to operate in a gift they do not possess. It is vogue in certain circles to be prophet so and so or apostle so and so. Many such prophets do not speak for God and we both know that, but my contention is that many do.

I am reluctant to deny a truth simply because people misuse it. There have been things done in the name of Christianity that can't even be spoken of, but there have been much more done to better mankind and to glorify God. Do we deny our faith simply because there are charlatans? Do we stop using currency because there are a few counterfeits going around? Of course not and the Word of God speaks sure about the gifts from God and these gifts should be understood and used to glorify God.

It's simple. Do what you do with integrity and honor and do it to the best of your ability. Do what you know and stay within the natural parameters of the skill set, characteristics, propensities and knowledge base that you have. Don't try to be something you are not. Reach high, but don't make stuff up to look good. It is vain and cannot be used by God to benefit others or to elevate you. God operates in truth, only. If you really want to be something that you are not, pray about it, study, get the proper training, reach out to others who have succeeded at what you dream of and move forward in truth to attain to a higher place.

Now touching on the "one body, and all members." If you are a Baptist, you are a member with the Methodist and with the Presbyterians and the Charismatics and the Full Gospel, as well as the Catholics and Pentecostals. No you are not a member of the cults or world religions that deny Christ, but Christianity is made of of many denominations, but only one body, i. e., the body of Christ. If you don't like this idea, you probably won't like heaven either, because all those who are in or will be in heaven are decided upon by God, not your denomination. As a matter of fact, your denomination won't even be mentioned. The body of Christ is made up of individuals from many denominations and non-denominations that love and honor and believe in Jesus.

It would do you well for you to reach out to others who love Jesus even if they don't love Jesus in the same style as you do. I'm not talking about trying to bridge some impossible gap, but much of the contention we have between believers is totally uncalled for, unscriptural, foolish, ungodly, irresponsible, damaging, ridiculous, unwarranted, not honored by God. Why, most of the things that one denomination says about another isn't even true. Most of it is based opinions of those who don't even know what the other group believes. They take loving believers and box them into tight, little boxes and set them out on the curb to be picked up as trash. There is nothing further from the truth. Jesus said, "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;" Maybe we should be listening to Jesus instead of those who are touting division.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Daily Devotional July 16 - You are invited, what say ye?

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." John 7:37

This is a plea from Jesus to give something to you that you cannot get unless you receive it by invitation. This plea was after the great celebration of the feast of tabernacles, eight days or celebration where food, wine was plentiful and a rather good time was had by all. At the end of the part, when everyone had been celebrating for eight days, Jesus offers something to drink for all those whose thirst was not quenched.

I. e., when you have run the gamut of trying to be filled with what the world offers and you have tried it out for quite a while, you will still be parched and thirsty for something more fulfilling and long lasting. Even if you filled up on this world's provisions, it would not be enough to satisfy your soul. Jesus offers what you cannot get by whipping out your credit card. If after you have partied down and filled yourself with this world's wares and you still feel like something is missing, Jesus offers you something to quench your thirst. Not only does what Jesus offer quench your thirst, it lasts and lasts.

You've been invited. What say ye?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daily Devotional July 15 - Examine yourself

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not you own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates." 2 Corinthians 13:5

It is good for you to examine yourself. I find that the best way is to examine myself in light of the scriptures. No other method will do. Of course we look to others for example and direction, as long as it is commensurate with godly living. But this kind of examination that is mentioned here is personal. The scriptures don't say examine others to see if they are in the faith. There's too much of that going on.

What are some of the steps we can take to examine our faith?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God?
Do you have an interest in living a pure lifestyle?
Are you completely consumed by worldly matters?
How many minutes or hours to you spend reading your Bible?
Are you convinced that it is OK to mix a little sinful living with a little church and all is well?
How many minutes or hours do you pray each day?
Do you get into the presence of God, undisturbed without your cell phone on, for extended periods of time?
Do you tell your friends that you are not interested in their dirty jokes?
Do you support your pastor? I don't mean just putting a couple dollars in the offering plate either. Do you stand behind him and lift him up and bless him and shower him and his family with gifts of money, vacations, domestic pleasantries and assistance with caring for his household. Do you love him and talk only good things about him? Do you stop the conversation when others start complaining about the color of the carpet, the length of the service, the 'skewer the pastor' topic of the day?
Do you have a desire, however small to see others come to know about Jesus, even if it means that you have been designated to be the one to testify of Jesus?
Are you living two lives?
Are you turned off when someone wants to talk about Jesus?
Do you think you know it all and no one can teach you something new about God?
Are you incensed when someone tries to talk to you about your propensities?
Do you read godly literature with hopes of learning a new truth or expanding your horizons?

These things don't make you a Christian nor do some of them disqualify a person as a Christian. We are looking at some of the characteristics of examining ourselves. I believe it is very important to examine our life/lifestyle in light of our calling. You are the best judge of what you might need to do to step it up a little or what you might want to eliminate in your life for it to better represent a right relationship with God. This is one of those great gifts from God to mankind; to be able to see ourselves as we really are and make changes. That's real power.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daily Devotional July 14 - Quit throwing fellow Christians under the bus

"And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law (circumcision), then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." Luke 2:25-32

The Holy Spirit did and still does move among God's servants and communicate with them. You should be careful before you condemn those who claim to have a word from the Lord. You should also be careful before you adhere to anyone's claim. God does speak to His people in the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit. God does give a word and many prophesies are for real.

Discernment is required. But the way some people of certain denominations discern is to deny. Discernment is the separating of the real from the false by inspecting the fruit. Blanket denial is not discernment. Just as blanket acceptance is for the silly laden. Here's the key. First, you must have the Holy Spirit living within you in order to hear the voice of God. If you have been born again you have been endowed with the ability to hear and obey the voice of God. Whether you do or not is up to you, but you have been empowered, your spirit has been activated and you can hear God and you can follow God and you can obey God and you can overcome anything, you can. Once you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, you are much more receptive to others who are following Christ, those whom are using their relationship with God to benefit those around them. Sometimes God speaks through others to reach you. Sometimes God speaks to you for others. Sometimes God speaks to you for you, but God speaks.

Your enemy speaks too, and nothing pleases your enemy more than a good dose of confusion. If your enemy can cause you to doubt, he can go about his way while you are wallowing in the mire of indecision. Doubt negates the efficacy of Holy information taking root.

All that being said: Don't be afraid to hear from those who may have a different gift than you or that might have a different word than you have heard; test the spirits to see if they are from God. Check out the fruit of the pastor, prophet, minister, teacher, evangelist, apostle, but don't throw them under the bus without proper identification. There's too much of that going around and God is not pleased with His people bashing His people without cause. I have found that most people that don't believe that so and so is for real, don't know a thing about so and so except what they heard from someone who doesn't know a thing about so and so. That's not the honorable way to discern.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Daily Devotional July 13 - What way do you give back to the Lord?

"And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul." 2 Samuel 22:1
You can read the song which is 2 Samuel 2-51

The Lord speaks to us and we speak to the Lord. But more than that, I think this verse shows that there are many ways you can give back to the Lord. Singing was David's talent, but what about art or carpentry and through being a physician or a nurse or a computer programmer or a film maker? Giving your talent to the Lord is a great way to give back and to come into a closer relationship with God. Doing something you do anyway, but doing it with excellence and in direct acknowledgement of what God has done for you.

You can't have been a Christian very long and worked at a trade and not seen the Lord at work on your behalf. If you follow your career carefully and look back, you can easily see the hand of the Lord at every turn. It's not that you always made the right decision or that you always enjoyed a positive outcome, but if you look, you can see the hand of God, invested in you, guiding you and sometimes carrying you. This being said, look unto heaven and give of yourself to God. Find a way to do something for the Lord with your talent. Think hard and find a way. Whatever you do will bless the Lord and benefit others.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Daily Devotional July 12 - Are you a Christian?

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

The Bible is clear about this. If you don't believe the preaching of the cross, what is your guarantee that you are on the right track? Have you believed or contrived another way to God? There isn't one and there will never be one. Many American unbelievers have made up their own version of the gospel of Jesus Christ and there are many from other countries that have varying philosophies that include Jesus as a good man or do not include Jesus at all. But the preaching and believing of the cross is the power of God. There is no spiritual power under the authority of God, given to those who have not accepted His Son. ("He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18)

What really gets me is that many believers today, Christians that have already have been saved, have a propensity to be casual, indifferent and even apathetic concerning this issue. Many modern Christians seem to have no real roots that cause them to look back and recognize where they were and how gracious God has been in setting them free. There is a tendency in our society to accept any philosophy as valid as long as someone before them believed it, like in the case of Buddhism, and Islam. There is no doubt that we should and must be respectful with those of other faiths and wholly understanding of their position, but never confirming the validity of their beliefs of standing in agreement with them concerning their beliefs, as if these alternate philosophies were sister religions to Christianity, or that there must be some validity to their belief in another god, simply because they believe it.

Recognition of and respect for everyone of another faith is the right thing to do. But acknowledgement of the premise that "All paths lead to God" is not the right thing to do.

I've heard the argument that "it just isn't any of our business what others believe. I'll believe what I want to and you believe what you want to." That's fine, but in no way and at no time should a Christian be in agreement or act like they are in agreement with those who deny Jesus.

If you aren't sure about the cross and you are not sure if Jesus died for your sins and if you aren't sure that Jesus is the only way to God, so be it. But don't call yourself a Christian. Anybody can believe any philosophy, but the power of God rests in the hands of those who have placed their faith and allegiance to Jesus.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Daily Devotional July 11 - Awake thou that sleepest

"But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:13-17

Of all the things that you desire, seek after, and are driven to get, is one of them an understanding of the will of God for your life? I hope so. No thing is to be compared with an understanding of how God operates and how we are to operate in this world. Right now is the most important day in your life. Are you wallowing through life like walking through a quagmire or are you seizing the day to honor God, finding personal solace and benefitting others?

You probably already know from experience that at times you were in a slumber, a state of non-awareness of the things of God or what was expected of you. Or maybe you are there now, without a clue of what God has in mind for you or how to apprehend what is yours in Christ. You are sleeping through life, not that concerned about the things of God and not really involved in the life of others and maybe not even engaging in your own pursuits. You are sleeping and need an awakening. Don't think "if God were real He would do it for you." That's the mind of one who is sleeping. God has done it all and you wouldn't be and couldn't even breath without His presence. God is real. God has created everything and placed His signature on it.  God is alas sustaining what He has created and God has already established guidelines for living. Lack of knowledge about God or anything for that matter does not constitute it's non-existence. But lack of knowledge about God or science or any subject of life, does make you impotent to operate within it's parameters and expect desired results.

"Awake thou that sleepest" and become alive in Christ, where the real power is; where life has meaning, not just for you but for all those who come into contact with you. You are God's gift to others and to the world at large. You have been instructed to awaken so that you can enjoy a full life with God and offer that same fullness to others. Denying God His place in your life makes you a fool. Get understanding and then operate in it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Daily Devotional July 10 - Why are you worthy?

"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name." 1 Corinthians 1:12-15

It's interesting how cult thinking gets started. Today the same as in Paul's day, some people are attracted to a personality and not Christ Himself. Sometimes men or women set out to make this happen and sometimes the parishioners make it happen, but either way, when the focus is on a personality and or certain foolish beliefs and not Christ Himself, you can expect serious ramifications.

I've seen it. Someone is baptized by a certain well-known TV personality and they don it like a red-feathered hat. What can be done about it? Today just as in Paul's day we need to be directed to Christ and direct others to Christ. Jesus is where the power is and in Jesus is where the answers lay. Being recognized for your accomplishments can be a good thing, but not if you are steering people to focus on yourself. The division is sometimes one of academics. One pastor will have gone to such and such seminary and another was under so and so's teaching and another had their own TV show, but all in all, what was the substance of their study and work and fame. If it is to direct you and I to the feet of Jesus, it is good, but if to be set apart, as in "I am better than you" or "how would you know if you didn't go to my seminary" or "I've made more money than the next two biggest personalities," then it is vain and will not produce good fruit.

I am of Jesus. Yes I have a covering and yes I genuinely respect leadership and accomplishments, but my needs are met when I pray to God and my answers come when I look to the Holy Spirit within and my love comes when I think of Jesus. Of course we all want to be recognized for our accomplishments, but our accomplishments must be seen in the light of the equality of all members of the body and not set one above another in the kingdom of God, the one we live in. Preachers take heed, whatever it is that has caused you to turn from your first love (the study of the scriptures) sell it and come back to the feet of Jesus, where all stand eye to eye and all are children of God and all are only worthy because of Christ in them, not because of education, notoriety or accomplishments.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daily Devotional July 9 - Go and possess it

"Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged." Deuteronomy 1:21

I know that this was a specific promise for a specific people at a specific time, but I also know that this is how God works.
You think you are at the end of your rope
You've prayed and it seems to have landed on deaf ears
There are times when the discouragement of the moment overwhelms you and you say something in disgust or do something not in character
You feel like you have lost the battle
You are almost certain of the outcome
You aren't happy and you feel abandoned and even unloved and overlooked

If you haven't been there before, I hope you never get that discouraged, but discouragement and disappointment are common to everyone, Christians not excluded. You can be in love with the Lord and feel totally helpless and powerless in some circumstances. You can serve the Lord with vigor and have things go wrong. You can follow Jesus and have problems.

But God has not abandoned you, nor has God overlooked you. God has set something before you and it is good. God has pre-arranged it and it will become available to you in due time/God's perfect timing. You may have lost some battles, but God has made a way for you and will take you there, in this life. Go and possess it. You may be discouraged and disappointed, but what God has prepared for you and what God has prepared you for is to be embraced with expectation.

Listen carefully: Things will not turn out the same as you have made up in your mind. We are wrong a lot. Go and posses it, whatever it is in your life that God has already set in your way. You can't help but run into it, but if your spiritual eyes are on, you can actually envision it from afar and start making provisions for yourself to receive it.

Everybody gets down or discouraged, disappointed, confused and even depressed at times, but where do you look for answers? That is the key to success. Look to God and let him know how you feel about it. That's right, just let it out, God can take it. If you have been faking and acting like all is well when it isn't, just go to God and let it all out. God approves of those who are honest with Him. Now, wait to hear from God and see the mighty hand of the Almighty work on your behalf. It's not that God wasn't always working on your behalf, the difference is, that when you are straight with God, God opens your eyes and you can see Him at work.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Daily Devotional July 8 - Quit whinning

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without mumurings and disputings:" Philippians 2:12-14

It's just plain good advice. If you made a promise to someone, keep it. If you owe someone money, pay it. If you can't keep up with your bills, call and make arrangements, don't just ignore it. If you said you are going to go to the park with the kids, go. Keep your word. God is in you and directing you to do the right thing. Do it. Quit riding the fence trying to juggle what you know is right with your current situation. There might not be a way to have the best of both worlds, but during the process of living and at the end, what will really matter is what you know to do that is right.

If you told your pastor that you aren't living with someone, then don't. If you have a wife, be faithful. If you don't like your current situation, pray about it; hear from God and then start making decisions.

Do the right thing and keep your mouth shut about it. Quit whining. Get on with it. If it's not working out just right for you, but you know you are doing the right thing, do it. You don't have to make a profit in everything. If you said you are going to go do something for someone, do it. Let your mouth speak out not just your intent, but what the will of God is concerning you. Speak it and do it. Quit arguing about it. Pick up the slack and be the bigger person. If God is in you what is your excuse for not doing the right thing? What does it mean to you to be saved from your sins and sanctified in your lifestyle?

What I have found is that most of the people that are not committed to God are the same ones living a double life. They want God, but they serve the world. It's cute for a season, but it gets old for those around you and eventually for yourself. Nip it in the bud and let God have His way with you for a season. You will be pleasantly surprised. His will for you is perfect and will produce favorable results, every time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Daily Devotional July 7 - The Bible is clear

"I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour." Isaiah 43:11
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

Just for the record: Jesus is God. That's right. The trinity and all that it stands for can easily be understood when you see God as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are not three Gods, but One. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Through centuries of misinterpretations we have become callous to the concept of the trinity, so we make excuses for it, rather than attempt to grasp it with our mind. We make light of it rather than try to seek agreement with God on the issue.

A good understanding of how God interacts with man is essential in having and maintaining a proper relationship with God. Can I say this without hurting anyone's feelings: Most of the reasons for our inadequacies concerning our relationship with God and our lack of understanding of how God operates among mankind is solely due to our lack of real interest. We have found other pursuits that consume our time and energy that we place higher on the priority list.

I've found that most people that want to argue about the trinity, the second coming of Christ, the Millennial reign of Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the transfiguration on the mount, the indwelling Holy Spirit, angelology and a host of other so-called sensitive subjects, are not studied in the subject of discussion and therefore ignorant of the apparent and simple Bible exposed answers. There are times when two loving, studied and devoted Christians disagree and that is fine. It makes neither a heretic nor does either have preference with God in the matter. But most arguments come from a lack of personal commitment to the things of God and a lack of Bible study, not a deep devotion to the truth.

In my opinion the only sensitive subject we should have with God or each other is our own level of devotion and loyalty to God. All other disagreements or differing theologies can be made agreeably if the Spirit of God is present.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Daily Devotional July 6 - Are you willing to unlearn a great many things?

"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." Psalm 95:6

There are many thoughts about how worship should be performed. Different denominations have a different school of thought concerning how worship should be approached.
There's the "we must be silent and respectful (children not allowed)" group.
The "we must be shouting out loud group (children must be present)" group.
The "Come unto me and confess in my booth" group.
The "We worship (on time)" group.
The "We believe one should worship in small groups in homes, but never in a church building" group.
The "We worship with music" group.
And of course the "We don't allow music during worship" group.
The "righteous go to the front and kneel while sinners stay in their seats" group.
The "righteous stay in their seats and quietly worship while those seeking attention go to the front" group.
The "you must speak in tongues to really worship" group.
The "if you speak in tongues, you aren't worshipping" group.
The "you must have the second blessing to worship" group.
The "you must possess certain gifts of the spirit to worship" group.
There are the "there are no more gifts of the spirit still in operation, but you must be baptized to worship"group.

God must really be sickened with all of our man-made rules. All of them (as rules to get into the presence of God) hinder the process of worship. All of the man-made rules are man's idea of how someone else should act in the presence of God. None of the man-made rules are bad, in and of themselves, but to miss the spirit of the act of worship is to miss worship. If we weren't so worried that someone else might see what we are doing and not approve, we might find that worship is the letting go of the "what man thinks" and becoming real and true and empty long enough to find out what God thinks. Outward appearance for the sake of trying to act out a part sickens God, whether in one of these settings above or not.

Only the letting go of this world's standards and coming before God in pure simplicity and reverence and love could ever truly be called worship. You don't have to change denominations to worship God, but you do have to get real and vulnerable before God to worship Him. You will have to unlearn a great many things if you want to give God His due.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Daily Devotional July 5 - God changes not

"The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust Him." Nahum 1:7

713 BC and Nahum is expressing His understanding of how God works among mankind. Thanks to Nahum and other prophets and Bible writers we have the inspired Word of God, the Bible. Over centuries men and women of faith have discovered and revealed God. One of the wonders of the scriptures is just how 'the same' things are as they were then as pertains to people. Yes technology has made some forward motion, medicine and all the sciences have expanded and advanced to offer more than ever before. But even in the non-techno age men and women had minds to think and think they did. Some of the greatest achievements come from the non-techno eras.

One thing for certain, as I read the prophets I notice an understanding that they all have about the economy of God and it seems to me to be the same today as yester-year. The God that I serve is the same one that Nahum served and the justice and grace, mercy and commands of God hold true today just the same as yesterday.

Yes much has changed, but much has stayed the same also. I like the fact that I can count on God responding to me in the same Holy way that He responded to Nahum. God reveals Himself and discloses His attributes perfectly today and perfectly yesterday, all the way back to Adam. We are His offspring and the apple of His eye, His people. I hope that you have taken time to see God with your spiritual eyes and to hear God with your spiritual ears so that you too can say with all vigor, "Thus saith the LORD" to you.

God is my stronghold in troubles and I fully understand that He knows that I trust Him. Does that mean that at all times I am strong and that I never have a discouraging thought or that I will always do the right thing? No. But it does mean that God will be there, always lead me and guide me in the right direction and council me to do the right thing. It is God who changes not and can be counted on every time, not Nahum and not me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Daily Devotional July 4 - Is there any limit to what God will do for you?

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:37-38

It amazes me that God would make a plea for us to believe. Again God reaches out to man and man rejects Him. God comes to man and gives to mankind faith and reveals Himself in the person of Jesus, the Christ, and makes a plan to die for our sins, (while we are yet sinners) while we are still ascertaining whether God is real or not, while we are living like the world while we are entertaining the the possibility of maybe living the godly life in our later years. God, who created everything and gave us all that there is stands before you and pleads and cries for you to recognize Him and accept His free gift of eternal life.
What could cause God to bend so low as to try to make sense to us when we are so caught up in ourselves, thinking we are really something?
What could cause God to give to us living water, knowing that we will drink it like an elixir and use it for our own exploits?
What could cause God to allow us to participate (co-create with Him) in the greatest of all creations, salvation of the human soul?
What could cause God to even begin to trust any of us with so precious a gift as His only Son?
Only the love of God for us has the efficacy to overcome our faithless, stubborn and sinful nature. If it were not a gift and if it were not free and if God didn't give us faith, none of us would be saved.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Daily Devotional July 3 - Go thy way

"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion (Roman man of power over one hundred men), beseeching Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented, And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thous shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, God, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not is Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." Matthew 8:5-13

There are so many lessons in these passages, but I want to focus in on one. Jesus is not about religion, what side of the fence you were born on, what denomination you attend or who you watch or don't watch on TV. Jesus is about faith.

This centurion was a leader in the Roman army. More than likely he was part of the group of men that helped build the temple in Jerusalem under Herod's reign. Generally speaking a centurion was loyal to the Roman empire and he had to carry out brutal punishments to those in the region who broke the Roman law. This was a man who had learned the art of war and was very good at it. But somewhere along the way he found out that Jesus had authority in another realm that he was unfamiliar with. Somehow in his heart he knew that his servant had no chance except the captain over sickness and death were to give a command, i. e., Jesus

He knew he was not worthy, even for Jesus to enter his home, unlike so many Christians today, who really think a lot of their situation, but he also knew in his heart that this Jesus had power over this realm. I think it is interesting that Jesus commends him as having more faith than all of Israel. This tells me something about what Jesus is looking for in us. It is more than a superficial accounting of the days we served as SS Superintendent. It is also more than the lip service that so many people give God and their pastor. Jesus is looking for men and women that know that He is Lord and that He has the power to do what man cannot do. Jesus is looking for men and women, teens and children that believe and trust God.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done, but it does matter what you believe about the Master. What do you believe? Is it enough to secure a miracle?

Jesus said to the centurion, "Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee."
Jesus says to me, "Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee."
And I say to you, "Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee."

Daily Devotional July 2 - Raw faith

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." Hebrews 11:30

This is the kind of faith available to the Christian and this is the kind of power available within the parameters of prayer. If you know the story, the priests walked around the city for seven days blowing their trumpets and on the seventh day they walked around the city walls seven times, but they did not use battering rams nor did they use and other physical method in accomplishing the task at hand. They followed the Lord's leading and stayed faithful to their course and they won the battle.

Does your faith include the miraculous? Does your faith include the unbelievable? Does your faith include the supernatural? If you have the kind of faith that doubts this story and the many others like it, don't expect the miraculous to show up in your life, because this event and others like it in Bible times and today are seething in raw faith. What I mean by raw faith is the kind of faith that knows that God will do what He says He will do without question, before the intellect kicks in and starts rationalizing away the possibilities; before someone throws water on your wick; before a lukewarm believer convinces you otherwise.

I tell you this because sometimes you are up against a situation that you will not win without the mighty hand of the living God involved in your situation. But the mighty hand of the living God is available only to those with raw faith. One more note: Some things take time, even seven days is not an instant. There's a reason behind the 'waiting on God thing.' Learn to trust God and the time line will become less important.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Daily Devotional July 1 - The eternal wellspring

"Jesus answered and said unto her (the woman at the well), whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14

Everlasting life, what an incredible idea. God is so gracious with us. Think about it: All that God has done to bring into existence all things and then to put it all in motion and then to sustain it, all while listening to and watching us whine and complain about it and literally billions of people even deny that God exists at all. That's the difference in God and man. We wouldn't be so gracious with all those who denied us if we were the creator, but God loves us so much and has mercy without end.

The internal well that springs up from within us is supplied by the Holy Spirit; a perpetual, endless supply of the spirit that testifies of God in us. It's like if you were in a desert place and there were men and women around you, parched and dreary from the heat and you had just taken a big drink of ice cold spring water and you were refreshed. The others would look at you and wonder how you could possibly be refreshed and they so parched. That's what you should look like to a lost and dying world.

Jesus' story at the well is our story also. You can lead people to the well and tell them about the endless supply of God's love and mercy and compassion and forgiveness. You can offer them this free gift. When others look at you are they seeing a refreshed soul in a desert place? Does your presence make them wonder where you get it?