Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Daily Devotional June 21 - Do You Like Instruction?

"Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish."  Proverbs 12:1

It's just an observation, but I do believe that today, people avoid instruction or they are adversely affected when the idea arises. Why is that. The best minds of all times were men and women who were instructed; by universities, colleges, institutes, seminaries, even living in natural surroundings and of course the school of hard knocks. But whether they were educated by man or nature, the beset minds seek out being instructed and absorb all they can to better themselves and the society at large.

The Bible instructs us about life in general, the sciences, nature and spirit. In this verse above the Bible is instructing us as to how things will go with you depending on your perspective. If you love instruction, you love knowledge and we know that knowledge increasing our chances of success, (of any kind). But he that hates to be told what to do or that what they did was not right or good, they become brutish, harsh, depressed, unrestrained, addicted.

Why even mention this? It's important that those of you that have an influence on others make an effort to assuage those who fit the "hateth reproof" category to start listening and taking advice. Over the last fifty years each generation has lost some of its will to reach to the top and bring others with them. It seems as if those who are reaching to the top are just wanting to elevate themselves and that is not the godly way.

Little by little we need to take back lost territory and find a new heart for instruction and be instructed and then get on with life mastering it; mastering the sciences, mastering our lifestyle, mastering our households, mastering our business practices, mastering the art of friendship, mastering the art of raising children with excellence, mastering our time. There's nothing wrong with working hard to achieve excellence. Is that what you are doing?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daily Devotional June 20 - Is God Your Refuge?

"Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple. And saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto Him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Matthew 4:5-7

What Jesus was called to do, Jesus did. The devil with all of his power (and it is plenty) could not convince Jesus to go beyond what Jesus was called to do, not what Jesus could have done or could do, but what He was called to do. Yes Jesus could have made other arrangements, but if Jesus had succumbed to the temptation of the devil, there would be no grace, no mercy, no forgiveness of sins.

What kinds of things could happen if you step away from your calling and allow the devil to get a foothold in your life? In our modern society, even Christians don't take very seriously just how dangerous it is to allow the devil any space in your life. First of all I would venture to say that many Christians don't really believe in a devil that roams like "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may desire." (1 Peter 5:8) There is a kind of unspoken request that we just don't talk about the devil and all will be well.

This is just not true. How can you recognize something that you don't believe exists or that you are unfamiliar with? How can you know when you are being tempted to step outside of you calling if you turn a blind eye toward the problem maker? How can you stand against an enemy that you deny exists?
The devil is real. The devils ways are insidious. The devil wants you to play on his playground and with his toys. If you are thinking that his playground and his toys aren't really that dangerous, you will be easily led to step out of your protected zone under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and try some new territory, untested and unsure of the outcome.

The devil knows that you aren't going to lose your salvation, he simply wants you to lose your credibility. You family, friends and business relationships are all at stake. Just for the record, I can't think of anything worth giving up the incredible feeling of being under the protective hand of Jesus. That's right, when you give into the devils wiles, you step out of the protective zone that is designed for those who abide in Him and you step into an area that is not safe. It will never be OK or safe to agree to follow the leading of the enemy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Daily Devotional June 19 - Have You Found A Better Way?

"If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." 1 John 1:9-10

Many people today don't think they need to be forgiven for anything and they don't think they need a Savior either. To the humanist, Christians look like weaklings. To the agnostics Christians look like feeble minded lemmings. To the atheist Christians look like fools. To God Christians look like His Son.

You do need a Savior and you do need to have your sins forgiven. Sins against humanity are one thing, but sins against holy God are another. Since God is willing to forgive you of your sins for the asking, what could possibly motivate you to hold out? And how often do you take the opportunity to straighten up with God? I don't mean that after you are saved if you don't ask forgiveness for sins committed that you will somehow lose your salvation. That's not true. If it were true no one could be saved because everyone would fit the category of having forgotten to ask forgiveness for something they did. It's just a ridiculous notion.

But I do mean that if you are saved, you have the opportunity and the privilege of going to God in a state of carnal mindedness and having your sins forgiven and your standing with God replenished, (totally from the perspective of your need to bring God into your situation and not that God needs you to do this for Himself.)
Bottom line: The Bible tells us to come to Him and confess our sins. If you have found a better way to do life than to take the advise of the scriptures, I would like to know about it.

Daily Devotional June 18 - Simple Faith

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him." Matthew 2:1-2

These Magi traveled quite far and probably with a caravan of as many as 1,ooo. The reason I say this is that these men were royalty and when they showed up in Jerusalem "he (Herod) was troubled and all of Jerusalem with him." At this time in history it is not likely that three men on camels troubled the king or all Jerusalem. These men knew something that others did not know, i. e., there would be a star, low to the ground, hovering and under the light of that star the Saviour of the world would be born.

They believed it, they knew it in their heart. They believed that the star was significant and they believed in their heart what they had not yet seen, (the birth of Jesus). Somehow these men understood what others could not or would not. Somehow these men saw, read or heard something that would cause them to collectively gather riches, traverse the desert lands for days to enter into another kingdom, with a hostile ruler, in order to bring gifts to a child that they did not know. What could drive a man or woman to do such a thing? Simple faith.
Those with faith hear God. Any one who can read can read the Word of God, but not everyone who reads it comes away with the same understanding.

Why? Simple faith. Simple faith is the God kind of faith. Reckless abandon on a Word from God. Faith to go the distance in spite of the obstacles and barriers ahead. Faith see the obstacles and barriers as stepping stones. Simple faith believes what it reads when it opens the Bible. That's right. No objections. No rationalization. No comparative analysis, just simple faith. Simple faith is what brought these Magi to see Jesus and simple faith is what will bring you to see Jesus also.

Why is this so important? Because we are in a techno age and simple faith is being replaced with systems and programs. Simple faith is not looked upon with respect, but with question. Simple faith to many today means simple minded. Students in seminaries are taught to have differing views and to question the authority of the scriptures in light of other texts. Who is going to come from the east and offer gifts if there is no faith? I wonder, how many times God has spoken to you and you did not gather your precious things and set out on a journey to worship the Sovereign of the world.

Daily Devotional June 17 - You Reap What You Sow, Except???

"Wherefore he saith also in another Psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption. But He, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."  Acts 13:35-39

What great theology. Jesus Christ saw no corruption. Jesus is the justifier, above the law. You have to catch this. Until Jesus established the law of faith, the law of Moses and the prophets prevailed. But at the cross Jesus put an end to the law of Moses as far as the law having power over us to justify us by the law. It's not that the law is of no effect, it's just that the penalty for breaking the law has been paid. It's not that the law is of no uses, for the law of Moses sets the precedence for all law, foreign and domestic, but the eternal consequences of breaking that law have already been paid by Jesus.

"And by Him all that believe are justified from all things." I know it is hard to believe and many religions have alternate rules concerning this matter, but Paul is clear; Your sins have been paid for and you are justified, no matter what your denomination says or what you have come to know as truth over the years, your sins have been forgiven. That means that right now, if you are a believer, if you were to die you would stand before God innocent, welcomed into the beloved.

Sometimes it's harder to accept the truth if it doesn't have strings attached than if it does. We just don't operate like this. We don't forgive and forget like God does. We should, but we don't. The new law that Jesus established is the law of faith. This law requires/demands that you believe that Jesus is the Christ the very Son of God. Beyond that, the commandments of Jesus are for us to advance the kingdom, for the betterment of our lives and for the benefit of others. You will not be judged by the law of Moses.
You will never stand before God and have God read off the lost of transgressions that you have made throughout your life.
You will not be judged by your works to enter the kingdom of God; you have already entered into the kingdom of God when you accepted the vicarious work of Christ on the cross as payment for your sin/sins.
You will not be scolded by God as you pass through the pearly gates.
Peter will not be handing a lost of things you must do in order to go to the next level.
Moses will not be shaking a finger at you like you are a heavenly second class citizen.

Where some people get mixed up is that they think that if they are born again they won't suffer the natural consequences of their actions while here on earth. That's just not true. God doesn't promise to wipe the slate clean on earth, however don't get the idea that you are going through it alone. Even though you may have chosen to go against God and do something that was ungodly, God did not abandon you to suffer the consequences alone. God's mercy goes beyond the gates of heaven.

To sum this up.
The gift of eternal life is free and you cannot earn it.
This gift starts while you are on earth.
You are already pardoned for your sins so that your life beyond the grave is unaffected by your actions.
You will reap what you sow on the earth, with the exception that God intervenes on earth to buffer the consequences that you really deserve.

Daily Devotional June 16 - Nothing Less Will Do

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." James 1:5-7

It's all about faith.

Why pray at all if you don't have the faith to bring it to pass? Almost every scripture accompanying the issue of prayer clearly deals with the necessity for the believer to possess and operate in faith. The reason that it is so important is, that you cannot bring to pass what you do not believe you can, and you can't believe for something that you don't exercise faith in. A good rule of thumb would be; believe until you receive, operating in faith, without any doubt.

Without any doubt? You've got to be kidding. Let's talk about this for a minute. I know you will have doubt. I have doubt. Everyone has doubt. But it's when the seed of doubt takes root that faith is negated. To have doubt is natural. To let doubt overwhelm you is not. Faith can overcome doubt, but your faith has to be active for that to happen.

Active faith is not just when you trust in God when the bottom falls out.
It's not when you go two months without even reading your Bible.
It's not when you have been going to church for five years and haven't offered to help with a ministry.
It's not when you pray without expectation.
It's not when you know to do right, but choose to do wrong.

Active faith demands daily recognition and communication with God. Nothing less will do.

Daily Devotional June 15 - Is God Your Refuge?

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

Is God your refuge, strength and a very present help in trouble in your life? I would hope that your life doesn't have any trouble, but if and when it does, you need to know in your heart that God is not only aware, but a participating partner in you troubles. How do you know that God is participating? Because God says so.

I know from experience that God even helps those who are unwilling to yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Of course those who are aware of God's participation, have an advantage, in that they know what their part is to bring it to pass and they understand that God must do some things to bring it to pass. It is in the knowing what your part is and knowing what God must do to bring it to pass that makes one wise.

When you pray about a thing, God moves all of creation toward a desired end for your situation, but along with what God does, you need to do some things also to bring it to pass; that's co-creating. We were made to: Pray about a situation and then do what we are lead to do by God and recognize what God must do to accomplish the task and then work while waiting. It is really important to believe God's Word. It makes all the difference. Believing what God says is part of the solution, because belief activates the faith necessary to bring God's supernatural intervention to pass.

Wait, you say!!! What's this about God's supernatural intervention? When God created everything, part of that creation was you. God also created parameters that you must work within; (the sciences) Within these parameters, you have available all the components necessary to do your part of everything that comes up in life. Also (within these parameters) God provided for believers access to God's supernatural intervention. It is part of who you are as a believer. You would be using this supernatural intervention on a regular basis if you understood and believed that God does provide it. What if you don't believe it? Then you will be unaware of what God is doing on your behalf. Being unaware of what God is doing is a little like not knowing if God is intervening or not.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Daily Devotional June 14 - Jesus Is

"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour."  Titus 3:3-6

You were once lost, without God, sin driven and miserable.
God called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
You didn't earn it. You were saved with the same blood of Jesus as that of the worst sinner of all.
God shed His mercy on you, not because you were good enough, but because of His unmeasurable mercy.
God cleansed you and is perfecting you by a daily bath of the Holy Spirit.
Not only have you been cleansed today, you have also been renewed. All of this is being done without your help. It is because of who God is that you are righteous at all.
All of this and all of the blessing of God are poured out like water from a waterfall and all through Jesus.
Jesus is the Word that explains it all. Jesus is the One that performs it all. Jesus is the One that has done it all. The only way that I know to thank Jesus is to think on Him and give Him His place in my heart. Think hard and let the spiritual connection be made.
Jesus made it all.
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit so that there would be no reason to ever get lost from Him again.
The Holy Spirit renews us day to day so that we can keep open communication with God.
God is pleased and you are the benefactor of all that is holy and beautiful. Let this wonderful work that Jesus has done to be continued. Look for it. Find it. Enjoy it.

Daily Devotional June 13 - Don't Turn Down God's Offers

"As a Hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God." Psalm 42:1

When you are parched from the hardness of daily life, there is a place to cool off; at the foot of Jesus. I get weary, everyone does, if not from the daily hustle bustle then from the difficulties, stress, strain or pain of life. In these dry times God wants us to look to Him for comfort. God wants you to come to the well of life and drink. At the well, the water is cool, the day is pleasant and the night is safe.

Is your heart heavy with burdens? Are you full of stress and angst? God has prepared a place for you to cool off and relax. Before you became worrisome, God already prepared a way out. Look for the open doors that God has available. The biggest door and the largest door of all is the door of obedience. Inside that door there are worlds of opportunity and expanses that you just can't see from the outside.

Hasn't the world had enough of your time? Can you imagine how things would be if you had given to God as much of yourself as you have given to the world? You know, even though you may have thrown your life away, God will take you in as if you had been doing it right all along. God will take you in today. God will not hold to your charge the past. You can enter in and drink from the well of life right now. No one inside the door of obedience got there on their own. No one worked their way in or earned it. It has been freely offered to all and those who take the free gift get in. No one has advantage over you and there are no real door keepers. You simply walk in and all that is within is yours, the same as if you had walked in twenty or thirty years ago.

Why would anyone turn down an offer like this?

Daily Devotional June 12 - Which One Of These Are You?

"Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." 1 Chronicles 16:29

How can you give glory that is due unto God? Is it possible that there is a connection between your inner senses and the creator? Yes. First, bring an offering. I know, you have heard it a million times. Sometimes preachers use this verse and others like it in an attempt to get an offering. And there are many verses that talk to the issue of money, giving and tithing, but this is not one of them.

The offering that God is looking for here is the offering of a body, mind, spirit and soul that is devoted to the things of God. There are many ways to approach God. Let me mention a few:

1 You are desperate. You didn't get with God early in the situation and now it is haunting you.  You go to God begging and pleading and you feel like God is a billion miles away. You can't hear God's voice and you are starting to lose the battle for your mind and body.

2 You are willingly disobedient. You aren't even trying to live up to your own standards. You are so satisfied with your current conditions that you don't want to rock the boat through discipline and a godly life. You go to God at church, if you attend at all, and you give God the basic 'close your eyes to pray devotion' and you look around to see if so and so is there.

3 You have one foot in your relationship with God and one foot in the world. You are not against the idea of God, and you believe there is a God and that Jesus is the Son of God. You are saved, you just aren't convinced that God knows what He is talking about in the scriptures. There are a lot of scriptures that you take issue with. You haven't researched the scriptures enough to be sure you are right and what you have researched turned up an answer that you didn't like. So it's best to simply stay away from it. After all if God wants you to know something that you don't know, He will get a hold of you via one of your many techno devices.

4 You love the Lord, but you haven't had much time with the Lord. You are not against the idea at all, it's just that there isn't enough time to juggle work and the kids, make dinner, clean the house, go to games and watch your favorite TV show, much less private quantity time with God.

5 You love the Lord and the Lord comes first. God knows about all the things you have to do and just what it will take on His part to make sure that you have enough time if you do devote quantity time with God. You have learned that just a few moments of undivided attention is where many of the secrets of the holy live. You have also learned that without this special time with God, all is vain, empty and void. You clearly see the world and how it tries to sell its wares to anyone who will listen, whether you need them or not. You see how the world system takes people away from worship and keeps them away through stress and strain. You have met the Master and you know that even the difficult times with the Lord are better than the easy times without. You have come to like meeting with God and you have learned how to dispose your time in a way that honors God and also finds a way to perform your secular duties with excellence. You know how to worship God in the beauty of holiness.

Which one of these conditions do you find yourself living out?

Daily Devotional June 11 - Someone Might Be Looking To You To See God

"For as I passed by, and beheld, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him I declare unto you." Acts 17:23

Even today there are many, many people that worship an unknown god. They have a sense that there is a God and they see through creation that there must be a God, but they have not yielded to the Holy Spirit to receive God. Paul preached the God of the universe to these people. It is your duty and mine to also tell others about having met God. After all, you and I also worshipped or acknowledged the unknown God at one time in our lives.

It's not that unusual if the unbelieving world doesn't recognize God. But when those in the church act like they don't know God either... You can have religion and still not know God. Paul did the right thing. He simply declared God to the people. I think we try too many alternate methods of evangelizing people, when we should be telling them about our own personal daily experience with God. People will believe a genuine report of an actual event. I tell people, "I was talking with God and asking about a certain issue and God spoke to me clearly, that I was on the right path and to pursue it a little further." Just be honest. There were times when I also had to say, "I have been trying to hear the voice of God for days, but it just seems like I just can't make contact."

The truth is the conduit for a genuine believable testimony. You might very well be the person that God chose, to cross paths with someone, that has been looking for a genuine answer to their own lifetime quest. Today might be the day.

Daily Devotional June 10 - Do You Have Peace With God

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

Do you have peace with God? Are you at peace with God? One of the observations I have made concerning what we have and who we are in Christ and how we act and who we act like is that quite often we don't live like children of the living God. The Bible clearly says we have peace with God, but we live like we don't even understand what God has done or is doing in our lives.

You are at peace with God. You might not feel like it, but you are. If we could learn to believe what God says and live that experience it would be far different than the frenetic lifestyle we do live. You have peace with God. It is a reality, but in you mind you haven't discovered it. That's why God is renewing you day by day with the Word by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inside of you is saying God is at peace with you.

Why do we hear a different voice other than the pure voice of the Holy Spirit? Your life is full of voices, noises and distractions that are so loud they keep the quiet and peaceful voice of God from being heard. The difference is, of all the loud and obnoxious voices you hear, you can only trust a few and that by measure, but the voice of God is perfect and clear and right, always. How do you hear the true voice of God over the din of life? You put your ear right up next to the voice of God. I had a friend in Port Saint Lucie Florida. I was moving away and he was seeing me off. He leaned into my car window and said to me, "I just can't hear the voice of God anymore." I told him, "God speaks so quietly you have to get your ear right up against the speaker."

You are at peace with God, but if you are not feeling it, its time to try something different. Many people go to the same church, year after year, and do the same things, and in and of itself that is a good thing. And if you are learning every day, and you are being filled with the knowledge of God, and you are taking control of your life, and you are worshipping God and praising God openly, and you are feeling the deep love and affection God has for you, and you are believing the Word every time it is preached, then stay where you are, because you have found a gem.
But if you have been in the same setting for twenty years and your life is turned upside down, and you can't get control of it, and it seems as if God is distant, and all you hear is how God is mad at you and wants you to change, you need to make a change.

Your mind and the life blood of your family is more important than keeping the status quo. You deserve to understand how God operates in your life; what you can do toward finding and keeping joy and peace and contentment in your life; and understanding what God is doing to bring it to pass. Everything you ever needed to be perfectly content is at hand. You need understanding eyes that can see the blessings and you needs ears that can hear the voice of God. You already possess them, now get to know them.

Daily Devotional June 9 - Are You On The Fence?

"The Pharisees also with the Saducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas..."  Matthew 16:1-4

In essence Jesus was rebuking the religious leaders of the time for having matured in the art of scientific observation, but lacking in spiritual inclination. We see some of the same sickness in our society. Many people can tell you what is going on in the world around them from a scientific or natural point of view, but when it comes to spiritual matters, they are ignorant.

We have become reliant on our ability to forecast the weather of life by the degree of education we accomplish. We have psychiatrist treating people with drugs without consulting with God in prayer first and the demons that are tormenting some of their patients love the drugs. We have educators at the highest levels of academics forecasting that the students life will be better served if he or she forgets about a God that does not exist. We have presidents denying the Son of God as the only way to the Father. Jesus said (paraphrased) you treat the signs of the times with medicines that don't work and advice that destroys souls, but you can't even see the simple truths of the spiritual life. There will be no sign given this generation, that this generation of unbelievers can understand.

If you are looking for the brilliant minds (secular humanist) of our century to pull us out of our nations troubles, you are not listening to God. They can't. They don't have the spiritual eyes required to make short and long term decisions that acknowledge and honor God. The signs of the times are a little now like they were in Jesus' time. Jesus had come to the world as the Son of God, the Way the Truth and the Life and He was not recognized by His own people. Today Jesus is alive and He has come unto His own again by the indwelling Holy Spirit and He is not recognized by many of His own people.

Daily Devotional June 8 - Jesus Is Next To You Right Now

"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

The church is made up of believers in the Christ. When people gather together and go to church it is because they want to meet with other like minded people to share their lives, worship and praise the Lord and to learn from the wisdom of a studied preacher. This is a good thing and should not be made light of. The church is also wherever two or more members of the body of Christ are at at the same time. The church is also one believer listening to and responding to Jesus.

There is something unique about two or more gathering together in the name of Jesus. I can tell you from experience that I have seen and participated in mighty exploits through prayer with just someone else and myself. I have seen miracles, healings, changed hearts, the lost found, the wayward coming home and a change inside of my own mind simply by the prayers of another. When I gather to pray with my wife or others, one on one, I do not take for granted that Jesus is there. I have come to know that not only is Jesus there because He said He would be, but He would be there even if He hadn't said He would be, because that's the work of God, men and women, teens and children all gathered together with God in the midst. God made it this way.

When you go to church and the service is going on and you are fidgeting about and/or bored, just try to remember that Jesus is there. Could it be that you are missing out of a monumental moment with the Master, because the church isn't being run the way you would like it? Get over it. Jesus is in the midst. Rise above the frey. Take the moment to call out to Jesus to meet your needs or someone else's. Jesus is there. If we gave Jesus His rightful place every time we were gathered together, I'll bet we could get over the petty difference that are currently separating us from others. Maybe when we are with others in Jesus' name we should be contemplating hearing His voice instead of our own.

Daily Devotional June 7 - Through Good Times And Hard Times

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."  Galatians 5:22-23

As you can see from this list that the fruit of the Spirit is not all sugar plums and lolly pops. Even though there is love and peace and joy, there is longsuffering, meekness and temperance also. With God you can expect a balance. It is the way that God created the earth and all that is in it. This balance makes us whole. The Spirit filled life is a balanced life.

In each of these attributes above you can see how God wants His people prepared. The love, joy and peace we can live with day in and day out without getting tired of it, the longsuffering, meekness and temperance, well... When we are prepared, the love, peace and joy times are full of the goodness of God and you can sense a reward for a job well done. But the longsuffering, meekness and temperance part of the balance we sometimes try to sweep under the rug as if it were not part of the plan. When you are prepared, i. e., (following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in your daily lifestyle), when times comes that require longsuffering, humility or temperance, you bear them well, because they did not catch you off guard and unprepared.

We are all going to go through things that are not pleasant or worse, but the way you go through them is in direct proportion to how prepared you are in the Spirit. The Bible talks about this a lot. Each day you should pray that God will prepare you for the good times and the not so good times. Both are part of the spiritual life and both are part of the balance of life. The Holy Spirit lives in you and wants to reveal Himself through you and the fruit of the Spirit is when you consciously allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you. When you allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you, your fruit looks real good. Isn't that what you really want, to be available for God to work His plan in and through your life?

Daily Devotional June 6 - Faith

"The He saith unto Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, my Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  John 20:27-29

"and be not faithless, but believing." Thomas had been with Jesus and personally witnessed a multitude of miracles and participated in the best teaching this earth has ever had as well as dine with, work with and walk with Jesus and he still didn't believe. Don't be too hard on yourself when doubt comes knocking at the door. Everyone has doubt, but at some point in time you will be confronted with having to operate by faith. When that time comes I hope you are ready.

Operating by faith is when you have done all you can, but you just can't get past a certain point. You need a touch of the supernatural or what you have put your feet to will fail. Faith enables the impossible to become possible. Living by faith is trusting in Jesus more than Thomas did.

"Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."  See, faith demands of our soul that we trust in the intangible. Actually faith makes the intangible tangible. If you believe Jesus, you are blessed. Faith is knowing without having to have experienced. Faith is when we trust what God says whether or not the results of our faith came out the way we thought it should. We trust God without having seen anything.

That's right, faith is trusting God.

Daily Devotional June 5 - Make Some YOU Time

"And He said unto them, (the disciples) Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." Mark 6:31

This is good advice. You must take leisure time. The godly life demands that you take time away from your work, even your church work. Being so busy that you have to tell everyone to wait a minute is not healthy. Being so busy that you can't take (quantity) time, I didn't say quality time, quantity time with your kids, parents, spouse or friends is not godly behavior. The people that love you want to sit with you and chat.

It could be that you need to get alone once and a while. Jesus did. You will better serve your business, friends, and family if you are rested. I think it is apropos that Jesus takes His disciples to a desert place. Sometimes you need to go somewhere there there isn't anything to distract you, especially if you are intending a session with God. Workaholics might provide well, but there will be a huge gap in personal relationships if it is not kept in check.

Take some time alone, or with friends and family, but make it leisure time. It is from God. It is food.

Daily Devotional June 4 - Do You Need A Miracle?

"And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, this is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, they need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto Him, we have here but five loaves and two fishes. He said, bring them hither to Me."  Mt 14:15-18

Jesus then took the five loaves and two fishes and fed five thousand men plus women and children.

This was a miracle. Many people don't believe in miracles today, but I do. There is a principle at work here that Jesus has honored throughout the ages, even today - "Bring them hither to Me." The principle is to bring whatever it is that is in need of a touch of the supernatural to Jesus. There were thousands of people in this desert place. There was also five loaves and two fishes available. But to bridge the gap between thousands of people and five loaves and two fishes, only a touch of the hand of God will do.

In every day situations it works the same. You look at your situation, you look at your resources and the chasm is too great to bridge under natural law. Take your few fish and loaves to Jesus. Only God can produce something out of nothing. There are many things you can do with what you have, but what you can do will not compare to what you can do if you take your situations to Jesus early on. Too many people jump into situations on their own and then after it starts to fly apart, they go to Go for help. In this story that would be the same as trying to feed the people after they have all gone home.

Another part of the principle is that you learn to take what you have to Jesus instead of waiting until you have accumulated a certain amount. So many people have said that if they won the lottery or if their ship came in they would give to the church. All the while they are not being faithful with what they have. Don't wait until you think you can work it out. In order for a situation to have the blessings of God, God must be acknowledged at the inception.

OK. You're not convinced. Just ask yourself, could you feed thousands of people with five fish and two loaves of bread? No. And if you could, wouldn't you have already met all of your goals on your own. I would say that most of us have to learn this lesson, but do we really need to learn it over and over again? Nothing is worth having if you can't take it to God. The whole world and all that is in it is not worth one blessed event; an ordained marriage, a God united business venture, a plan where you have been discussing with God since it's inception, a home where God is honored, a heart that doesn't need to hide from God. Bring your fish and bread to Jesus and then do what He says. It will go well with you.

Daily Devotional June 3 - Are You On A Mission?

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;" 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

I know that this is a familiar verse for many. I want you to see the implication of, "And all things are of God." When you are born again, you are introduced to the spiritual leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All things become new, in that, before you were born again you did not have the voice of the indwelling Spirit of God and therefore you made decisions based upon your own carnal nature and the thoughts and ideas that you developed while not under the direct, personal influence of God.

All things are become new, in that, now you do have the indwelling Holy Spirit and what ever comes to you in life does include the influence of the Holy Spirit, thus changing what was to be (without the influence or direction from God) to what is with the influence of the Holy Spirit.

"All things are of God" simply means that nothing comes your way that God is not currently and actively involved in. To what degree of involvement you allow the Holy Spirit will always be in your control, in that, all of God is always available all the time, but all of you does not allow all of God to have all the pre-eminence all the time. The more time and communication you have with God, the more in touch you will be in co-creating what will be in your life and those around you.

God has reconciled Himself to us. In other words, God removed any and all barriers that might have kept you from a completely open and uninterrupted line of communication with God. He did that through Christ. Now that you have been thoroughly reconciled to God in every way for every sin for all eternity, you have been given the directive to offer this ministry to others. No being except human beings can benefit from the ministry of reconciliation that you have been given. No person except you can provide the ministry of reconciliation (that you received) to those in your sphere of influence. Yes, God has many, even people you know, working His purpose, but you have received a specific ability/testimony due to your set of circumstances that God brought you through to offer what others around you have not experienced.

Can you imagine that God trusts you enough to offer to others what God offered to you?

Daily Devotional June 2 - What Is Prophesy?

"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Corinthians 14:1

If you haven't been confused by all of the various teaching on prophesy, you've done well. I've heard it taught from almost every angle. One group teaches that prophets are today's representatives from God and other groups teach that there are no more prophets. One group teaches that only a prophet from the Bible can prophesy and others teach that anyone can prophesy. The problem is, not just any interpretation is true.

This word prophesy is from the Greek word, propheteuo, (prof-ate-yoo-o). It simply means to speak under divine inspiration or to tell forth. To tell forth and to foretell are two very different ways of perceiving prophesy. To foretell, (which is the most popular definition of prophesying) means that someone gets a message from God prior to an event and then tells others about that event. Of course all of the prophets in the Bible that did prophesy were correct or what they prophesied has not come to pass yet, but will. But then there are those who have claimed to prophesy, but they actually predicted an event and many have been right and many have been wrong.

To tell forth is to tell what you have received (via inspiration) and it may or may not be about a future event. It can be about something already past or in the now or in the future, but unlike foretelling, telling forth is not some magical formula only available to a select few highly trained candidates. Prophesy is for anyone who has been born again. It is a work of God in the inner most part of the believer where God speaks a word to them and they in turn tell others what they heard. True prophesy is when a believer has prayer/conversation with God. God speaks to them about past, present or future and that person tells forth what they heard.

Anyone can prophesy, but not everything that is said under the auspices of prophesy is prophesy. The key is God. God delivers all spiritual messages via the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always delivers right words, in a timely manner without fault, but we don't always say or do what the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Herein lies the dilemma.

Most importantly, the source or the prophesy (anyone calling themselves a prophet) that you are adhering to should not hold as high a place in your mind as: The Word of God, personal understanding through prayer, or a tried and true voice of an elder that has proven themselves through decades of service to God.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Daily Devotional June 1 - where Is Your Hope?

"But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more." Psalm 71:14

The writer of this Psalm has been through a great deal in His life. That's where I'm at too. I have seen a great deal; injustice, unfaithfulness, terrorism, depression, fear and anxiety; people working jobs they hate, living with people they don't love, raising children without proper preparation, trying to be something they are not to impress people. This world is a mixed up place, yet I have hope.

My hope is in what God will do with all this mixed up mess. My hope is in what God is going to do with me while I'm here. My hope is in how God transforms lives by His grace. My hope is in the work that the Holy Spirit does in people's hearts. My hope is in God.

I praise God for the hope I have. I praise Him more and more. Even though from one point of view it seems that mankind has continually gotten worse and worse and it is apparent that the end times are getting closer and closer, I still praise God for what He is doing, even in this difficult time. Can you praise God in your situation? Can you see that God has already gone ahead and worked it out so that you can have hope in your future? Do you give God praise through your trials and tribulations?

Just like bigger gardens require harder work than little gardens, so do bigger problems require more praise than little problems. God doesn't want you begging Him to get you out of it, God wants you praising Him through it.

Daily Devotional May 31 - Hear The Voice Of The Lord

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come." John 16:12-13

The spoken Word of God contained in the Bible is the (Logos) the voice of God written on pages, full of power, unchanging and infallible. Every word in the Bible is the spoken Word of God penned by chosen vessels.

The spoken Word of God spoken into your heart is the (Rhema) Word of God, not written on paper, but written on the tablets of the heart, written in your mind and in you soul.

There are many Christians today that only rely on the written Word of God for their nourishment and inspiration and even though it is true that the scriptures contain all that is necessary for becoming alive in the Spirit and saved from our sins, it was never meant that the Word of God would prevent you from seeking and hearing what God has to say to you personally from and by the Holy Spirit. The spoken Word of God, written (Logos ) was written for the purpose of guiding you to receive the spoken Word of God (Rhema) the voice of God speaking to you in your heart. There was never meant to be a separation from hearing the Word of God, the Bible, and hearing the Word of God as spoken to us by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is God speaking to us.

If those who were with Jesus were not ready to hear certain things it would make sense that neither are we. Yet, after Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit to continue the conversation between God and man. That is the work of the Holy Spirit today, i. e., to continue the conversation between God and man. If you have any fear at all about conversing with the Holy Spirit, (maybe because of the way you have been taught), you have been unjustly held back from your rights in Christ. The Holy Spirit was sent to continue the work and dialogue that Jesus was doing when He was here. The Holy Spirit is to be embraced and not shunned.

Today, this day, this moment, the Holy Spirit has a word for you. What could possibly keep you from wanting to hear the voice of God? The answer would take volumes to share, but there are two distinct and easily agreed upon reasons why people don't listen to the Holy Spirit. Before I get into that, at least agree that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth and show you things to come.

The first reason people don't listen to or have conversation with the Holy Spirit is; they don't believe in it. You cannot activate dialogue with God unless you believe you can. Many people have been taught that the Holy Spirit is the power of God or that the Holy Spirit is only for charismatics or other silly teachings, but the truth is: the Holy Spirit is God and God lives in you if you are born again and the God that is in you that is the Holy Spirit speaks to you and guides you and show you the way. If it were not true, then why would Jesus say it is true?

The second reason that people don't listen to or have conversation with the Holy Spirit is: they don't want to. That's right many people have heard from the Holy Spirit and they don't like what they heard. They are still swayed by a carnal mind. They have been born again, but when the Holy Spirit speaks to them about what they are doing or where they are headed, they don't like it. The Holy Spirit only speaks truth and you know how much the truth can hurt sometimes, especially if you are involved in something that is sinful or against the ways of God. You can't hide from the Holy Spirit like you can your spouse, children or co-workers. You might want the blessings of God, as long as they come upon request without any labor or responsibility on your part. But when God speaks to you of those things that you need to break away from or that are hurting yourself or hurting others, you don't like that part. Many people could be talking to God every day but choose not to because they really don't want to hear what God has to say to them.

All of us have been there, but to stay there is not going to benefit you. Hiding from your true purpose and denying your own self your rightful place in the work of the kingdom only wastes time. Do you really have time to waste? When all that God has to say to you is freely given and all day long, every day, and all is for your benefit and the benefit of others, and every Word from God is true and every understood Word of God helps to correct your path, what could be more important than hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit?

Daily Devotional May 30 - Believest Thou This?

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 11:25-26

There is no news better than this news. This is the good news. This is the gospel.

The point I want to make has to do with the last statement, "believest thou this?" In a way it doesn't matter what Jesus did or didn't do, who He is or isn't, where or when He lived, or whether or not He performed miracles, if you don't believe it.

That's the power of the gospel. In the belief of the truth of who Christ is and what He did is the power of eternal life. It's that simple. All the blessings, gifts and promises of God are given to those who simply believe this simple truth.

If you are thinking, what if I don't believe and why should I believe; what difference could it make if I believe a 'story' or not? Then the second part of the process has not taken place in your life. It is the confirmation of the living Holy Spirit. When you read the words in scripture, they are true and they are living and they contain within them the answers and the power that mankind seeks, but reading the words does not take faith. If you apply faith to the reading of the words you then have the opportunity for the words that already have power to be released into your life by having them activated by the Holy Spirit.

When you recognize the gospel as the truth from God that it was intended to be, the Holy Spirit confirms in your soul that it is true. The Holy Spirit denies no one access to God. But the Holy Spirit only confirms the truth of the gospel by invitation. When you believe a truth the Holy Spirit confirms in your spirit its validity. Each truth, truth upon truth, as you read the scripture is confirmed as you apply your faith to believe it. That's right. You could come to believe the whole Bible if when you read the Bible you were to apply faith to the reading. The Holy Spirit confirms in your soul each truth, thus you are empowered to use each truth that has been activated by the Holy Spirit.

You may have been a Christian for twenty or more years and not had this kind of "read the word, have it confirmed and wield the power of it" experience. Just because you haven't had it doesn't mean it does not exist. God is willing to wait for those in each generation to break through whatever is holding them back and does not hold that against them.

It's different for each of us. For some you might need to break away from a stale or dry spiritual experience, one that is not meeting your personal spiritual growth. For others you might need a little less excitement and more down to earth Bible study. But for all of us, you should break away from whatever is keeping you from believing, because believing each truth of the scripture unlocks each truth's power. God wants you to have that power and the only thing keeping you from it is believing in it. That's why Jesus says, "believest thou this?"

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Daily Devotional May 29 - You Can Do It

"Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3

What do you have on your mind that you want God to bring to pass. Ah! You were thinking that if you worked hard enough and you were smart enough you could bring it to pass on your own. There are many things you can accomplish without acknowledging God in your endeavors, but is that the best way to take something in its inception all the way to fruition? Of course not.

Commit your works means to work toward your goal, think hard and make wise decisions. When you do you give God something to work with. Would you really like it if God did everything for you? Do you really think you would enjoy being a clone and not having the ability to make mistakes as well as accomplish great things? We are not clones and God does not do everything for you, but what God does do you cannot do. This is so profound. God gives you the wherewithal to do a great many things, but anything that brings blessing to others and assist the growth of the Kingdom of God, anything spiritual requires God's intervention. That's because we are not spiritual on our own.

Apart from God living within you, your spiritual life is of no consequence, no eternal benefits and no spiritual power. That's why so many alternate religious systems, worldly religions, have religion, tenets of faith, dogma and rhetoric, but the only power is what they can wield with their tongue, a sword or a weapon. Their battle is carnal and doesn't end well. Only that which God ordains lives in eternity with God.

If there is no spiritual foundation then there can be no spiritual growth. And there is no spiritual foundation other than that of Christ. "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

Daily Devotional May 28 - You Are Able

"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever." Jude 24-25

This is why it is so important to keep your eyes on the ball. Only with God is there any hope that your future will be bright and full of good things. Even some of the things that seem unmanageable to the world can be understood and appreciated as a follower of Jesus Christ.

The reason: God is able. I remember the first time I realized how important this is. I was putting together the names of God/Jesus and one of the first on the list was able. "God is Love." "God is a consuming fire." God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is immutable. God is able. Because God is able you don't have to fear life like the world does, nor do you have to fear your enemy like the world does. Because God is able, you are able.
You are able to do much more than you have in mind.
You are able to transcend the indiscretions of the past.
You are able to take back territory from those who stole from you.
You are able to finish your education and move forward with your plan to teach.
You are able to, at your age, to write a story or a poem that moves the hearts of many.
You are able to buy that business. Talk to God and go make a deal.
You are able to get up and go to church each week. Your pastor deserves to see you there.
You are able to win that tennis match against a higher ranked player. Get up earlier and practice with intent.
You are able to get through technical school and get a better job. Hang in there when your body wants to quit. You can and will do it.
You are able as a doctor to apply your faith while serving the public. Quit hiding the importance of performing your God given, life saving skills, with applied faith.
You are able to win that next case on behalf of the underdog. Dig deeper and find the gems that will make the difference for your client. Even if you have to do it on your own time.

You are able because God is able. Think about living like you are the express image of the living God. You will find power and confidence and strength and wisdom, because it is given freely to those who ask. Quit thinking that God wants you to stay down. It is not God purporting that kind of nonsense. God has already gone before you and made a way. You are able. Do you believe it?

Daily Devotional May 27 - Are You Holding Back?

"For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." Galatians 2:19

Dead to the law means that the law no longer has a hold on you. You have been freed to serve God without the hindrance of following the letter of the law. Freedom from the law is not license to sin nor is it an excuse from the responsibilities of following after Christ with your whole heart.

Living unto God is made possible by the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. Living unto God is possible now because we have been adopted into the beloved by God. You are a child of God, therefore you can serve God without reservation. Those who have not been born again cannot serve God without reservation. First they don't believe they can and secondly they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in their life. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit we are all doomed to frequent bad choices and unchecked propensities that are not godly. But with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit within we have been enabled to serve God at any level, at any capacity, without boundaries or obstacles.

We have this potential, but that does not mean that we automatically always do the right things or make the right choices. Sometimes we might even make a choice that is contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But if you are willing to yield your will to His will, you are empowered to overcome in every situation.

We hear much about how you can't even go a whole day and not sin; everybody sins; after all we are all human. The main reason that there is so much emphasis on this is that people don't want to slow down enough to think before they act. Hours of prayer prior to making decisions is all but dead in modernity. Thinking about and carefully considering all the consequences of our actions is not trendy, nor will it win your friends attention. Thinking about each decision and asking God's approval before jumping ahead is not the way of the modern world.

Much can be done to improve your walk with God and most of it requires that you think on godly things, thus God-thinking. It's not just thinking on godly things that keeps us going forward in growing closer to God, but in the abandonment of and discontinuation of those things that are not godly as well. There is much thought today among Christians about mixing it up; a little church and christian-eze and a little worldliness, a little faithful and a little unfaithful, a little sold out and a little kept back in reserve. The mindset is that this is balance. This is the kind of balance that wins no souls and gets no victory. Just maintaining a minimal relationship with God in order to make sure you enter into heaven is shallow at best and may not be Christianity at all.

Daily Devotional May 26 - Replace Doubt With Faith

"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit, and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; Be not afraid. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saws the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, where didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:25-31

Let's look at the words of Jesus in this story.
"Be of good cheer; it is I." When the winds of life are tossing yo about, Jesus can and will assist. But believing in a Jesus that walks on the water isn't something that everyone believes. There have been many times in your life where Jesus revealed Himself and you did not recognize Him. But in this story, even though it was a rough night at sea, Jesus simply comes to the disciples and says, "Be of good cheer..." Jesus knows when things are not going right and when you are being tossed to and from with the winds of adversity. Why would he say, be of good cheer? Because Jesus knows that He is the answer to your problem. He will direct you and guide you and then calm the winds of life for you.

"Come." Peter wanted to walk on the water with Jesus. It is one of the first things that happen when we get faith. We feel invincible. We feel the power of God running through our soul and we want to go where Jesus went and do what He does. Could Jesus have walked on the water without incident if he had maintained his faith? Yes. But the truth is that we are confident when we see Jesus doing what He does, but when things start to unravel, we, like Peter, begin to sink. Our demeanor reveals that our faith is being tested. Instead of asking if we can walk on the water with him we are crying out for Jesus to save us. It's OK. Jesus doesn't condemn you and put you down and let you sink simply because your faith teeter totters. If he did we would all drown in our problems. Jesus reaches out and picks you up. But I admire Peter for at least stepping out of the boat. If we did step out of our boat when Jesus said come, we would find that there is much that can be overcome with our faith.

"O thou of little faith, where didst thou doubt? " How many times, when the winds of life were blowing against my ship did I have faith and then lose faith and have faith and lose faith. One minute I felt like nothing could come against me and then I would be begging God for protection and solace. Why did I doubt? Why do you doubt? You have sen the mighty hand of God work miracles over and over again in your life and that of others. Jesus has proven Himself time and time again, and there is still doubt. What are we made of that we could vacillate so much concerning doubt? We are made of flesh and spirit. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. If you were all spirit, like you will be someday, your faith would not go up and down. If you were all flesh, like you are before you are born again, you have no faith and you don't look to God for help. But because you are flesh and spirit there is a constant warring of sorts going on inside your soul. Your spirit is moved by God and your faith grows. Your flesh cries out for some kind of fulfillment and doubt grows. What a dichotomy. The battle rages on. But you can have victory in this life, faith over doubt.

Build up your faith by reading the Bible, listening to godly pastors, participating in a weekly church service, praising God, thanking God and worshipping God. Doubt is replaced by faith at the same rate that you allow God entrance to your heart.

Daily Devotional May 25 - Keep It Simple

"He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:" John 1:11-12

Jesus came unto His own people,a people He had been nurturing for thousands of years, a people He had entrusted with the oracles of God, but when He arrived, they did not recognize Him. It's no wonder, they had created for themselves about 100 rules for every one commandment from God. It's not better to expand the Word of God. It is better to keep it simple and follow the clear instructions given.

The religious people of the times had made up there own idea of how things would be. Doesn't that sound like today? They were looking in the wrong places at the wrong times, but when Jesus showed up at the exact moment when He said He would and under the exact conditions He said would be when He would come, they were caught off guard, because they trusted in themselves more than the Word of God. We see a similar parallel in today's society. Many well meaning Christians are off on their own tangent, doing as it pleases them, believing what feels good and followings systems more than the simple Words of Jesus.

But along with those who are bent on having it their own way, there was a remnant that came to know Jesus through faith.

Today there is a remnant that have come to know Jesus by faith. They read the Word and they get it. They believe what Jesus says and they do not have false expectations of God's economy. They understand the times they are in and they apply Biblical standards to their lifestyle. They don't hide their faith at work nor do they live differently behind closed doors. There are those who simply follow Jesus and to them gave He power to be the sons of God.

A son of God. What else could you possibly want out of life than to know that you are the offspring of the creator of the universe? It amazes me that we look and seek after so many things that are truly temporal of of no great value now or later, when the best and the most important things seem to be on a sabbatical. As a son of God there are many benefits, too numerous to number, but also there are responsibilities.
What if while we were praying to God for the many things that make life easier we were to ask God to lay on us something that would require the hand of God to accomplish, something not easy and affordable, but something great and seemingly impossible? This is the kind of stuff sons of God live for. Think about it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Daily Devotional May 24 - God's Grace

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10

"The God of all grace." I am excited every time I even hear the word grace. I know where grace comes from and the grace that God freely bestows is the real thing. God's grace makes me tingle with joy.

  • I know that because of God's grace I will not receive a fair trial when life comes to an end, because God's grace is my covering and Jesus is my advocate. I will be pardoned for my role in not following God's best for my life.
  • I know that because of God's grace, tomorrow has within it, unlimited resources and boundary-less parameters.
  • I know that because of God's grace today will be full of God and whatever befalls me has been tempered by the grace of God.

God's grace is more than unmerited favor and more than atonement for sins, it is the only reason we can be at peace with God at all. God's grace bridges the gap between our finite and somewhat stubborn minds and the infinite and perfect mind of God. I wouldn't change a thing that has to do with the grace of God. It is perfect.

God knows that you will have suffering in your life. God knows about the hard times behind you or the ones you are in right now or those that wait ahead. God has intervened already, before your calamity, before you ask, and he has provided the power of His grace directly to your situation. We will suffer a while and then...whoa!! God works out for us, in this life, that the burdens that once plagued us or that we are currently going through have a limited season. What is unlimited is what God is going to do with your situation. If you have already came through the fire, you should be able to see what God did to protect you. If you are currently going through the fire, don't let go of God's promise to you. Hold on tight and wait on the LORD. God will not let you down.

God is going to establish you. Don't be afraid to take back lost territory. God will assist you, but you have to make a concerted effort in your own heart.

God will strengthen you. Look up and expect to get some spiritual biceps. God is strengthening you so that you can continue to fulfill your purpose, in and through Christ.

God will settle you. God will lay a basis for your life to move forward with purpose and an expected end. No more worrying about having it all work out, God will make a way for you. Think on what God has already accomplished for you and you will have no trouble understanding that God will settle you. There is rest in your soul when you truly trust God's actions. God's grace, what a marvellous plan.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Daily Devotional may 23 - Are You Unskilled In The Art Of Waiting?

"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God." Phillipians 4:6

Don't get discouraged. Your prayers are working. The answer to your prayers are on the way. When you pray all of heaven moves forward to accomplish the results you need. God designed us to have a link to God through prayer. It is real and it works.

Now, you may have been praying about a specific situation in your life or that of another and it seems like heavens doors have been closed for the season. No way. The only reason you ever get the feeling that God is not listening or that God is not able to accomplish what you pray for is that you are unskilled in the art of waiting. Actually, if you were to not pray at all, God has already designed and provided sustenance and provision for your life. You pray because it is the modus operandi that God designed for you to have two way communication with God.

If you could unlearn the teachings about praying to get something, you could see that prayer is so much more. First and foremost our prayers should be directed to God as dialogue to get to know God better. Once you get to know God better you start to see that God is on your side and that your disruptions to a happy and blessed life are from other sources. As you go to God in prayer to get to know God, you start to get a clearer picture of what to pray for if you were to pray for something for yourself or others.

Prayer was never meant to be begging for something just because you want it.
Prayer was also never meant to be like having a genie in a bottle and when you want something you make a wish and it is granted.
Prayer was meant to be a real place you go to communicate with God about your life and to hear from God what you need to secure the best life possible.

If you were to spend time with God enough to hear what God is saying in your life and to see what direction He has ordained for you, then when you prayed your prayer would be in accordance with the express will of God and you would see results to your prayers manifested in your heart first and then in real time on earth.

Finally, don't be discouraged. Your prayers are being dealt with. Your inner desires and inclinations for yourself and others is taken very seriously by God. Pray believing and let God work it out in His perfect timing. Trust that God has not abandoned you just because you are not hearing His voice right now. God is deeply invested in your life and those that you love. He has not turned His back on you. He has heared your prayers. He is answering your prayers right now.

Want to test it? I am so confident that God has heard your prayers and that God has already initiated the answer that I can tell you that in just two days time (from the time you read this) God will reveal to you in your heart a change in thinking that gives you confidence that in due time your prayer will come to pass. Instead of wondering if..., you will know.

Daily Devotional May 22 - Who Drives Your Train

"If ye had known Me, you should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye now Him, and have seen Him. Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto Him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, and how sayest then, shew us the Father?"  John 14:7-9

I want to make a few theological observations.

First, if we know Jesus we know the Father. God is not elusive or hard to find out or difficult to understand. The Father is known through the Son. Knowing Jesus is knowing God. There is no separation between God the Father and Jesus.

Secondly, Jesus said, "Have I been so long time with you , and thou hast not known Me,..." Jesus had only been with the disciples for three years and Jesus says that's a long time. I bring this up to settle some wrong thinking. I know people who have been a Christian for 20, 30, 4o years who have not grown in the faith, in some cases, not at all. They have hung on to a belief system that was developed years ago through their denomination and they never tested the waters or found out through personal Bible study if what they believe is scriptural. If three years with Jesus is a long time, what is forty years?

Jesus is revealing the Father here and the Father is revealing Jesus and we find out that when we see Jesus we see the Father. Why is it that we can't just accept the Word of God and believe what it says? I will say this. It is easier to believe the scripture than a whole lot of silly notions that religion has made up about God. When Jesus says, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," I believe it. It settles many trinity questions for me. It settles my heart that I don;t need to get to know three Gods, the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son. I get to know one God who has revealed Himself to me through Jesus, "for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9)

And just one more thing. It's not blasphemy to question the/your church denomination's stand on a subject. It is wrong to take an oath or become a member of a denomination and then harbor differing theologies than that of your denomination, but to question certain doctrines through personal Bible study and prayer is of eternal importance. Then to take your differences to your pastor and discuss them is not only appropriate but wise. Give your pastor a chance to speak to the issue and maybe even do some research and then make up your mind, but don't sit under anyone's teaching for a long time if you harbor vast differences in theology.  It's not fair to your pastor or yourself.

First of all if you have differing views from your pastor you probably aren't much assistance in building up your congregation and if you have differing views than your pastor you are stagnating in your walk with Jesus. Get to know your Bible and become part of what God is doing with those who are following Him.

Daily Devotional may 21 - Solace In The Storm

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12-13

It's hard to look at the troubles that we go through with anything other than disdain. But part of maturing is to see the actions of this world through the eyes of God. Whether or not you are a Christian you are going to have troubles, complications, sickness, pain, obstacles, barriers, disappointments and for some even greater calamities.

While in the middle of troubles, your perspective determines much of the level of pain and disappointment. Those who have come to know God fair better in these situations because they understand that even the worst of situations, because of the universal work of God among mankind, God can be glorified in your situation and you can gain experience and perspective. And if you really want to you can find peace and even joy, knowing that nothing has come upon you that God is not going through with you.

Think of it this way. Why not squeeze life for all it has? God makes it clear that you are not in your problem alone. You will get through it. Being a partaker with Christ means a whole lot more than suffering with Christ. Problems and turmoil is measurable. The benefits of being a child of God are immeasurable.

I would say that most people have a very short term view of their situation and life in general, but there are other perspectives that are godly and will provide much comfort. Seeing further out beyond your troubles with an understanding that what God has allowed has a bigger purpose than what you can see and that because God is thoroughly involved in your situation, you can have an expected end of hope and joy and peace. If you can find a way to think that what you are going through has purpose and to believe in your heart that God is sovereign and that no matter what man does to you, God is bigger, you will find solace in the storm and peace in your heart and the power to get through it.

Daily Devotional May 20 - The Process

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:10

A reverent grasp of holy God is a prerequisite to being given wisdom by God. Let's talk about this for a minute. Seeking God to get to know God is different than seeking God to get a need met or seeking God to fulfill a particular desire we have or even seeking God on behalf of others.

As you develop a relationship with God your eyes are opened to things that your eyes were not opened to prior. The understanding of how God operates among mankind is advanced as you grow closer to God. When God says "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom," God is letting us know about the depth of His holiness.

I wish we talked about getting to know God better for the sake of getting to know God better. When preaching is couched in terms of (what we are going to get in return for what we do for or with God) we have a skewed view of God, not caused by God, but caused by man interfering with God's interpretation of Himself, through the scriptures. If you were to read the scriptures and pray about the interpretation and set aside any preconceived notions about what so and so said God said, you would have a clearer understanding of what God has to say about Himself, about us and about how God operates among mankind.
Originally I began to fear the LORD because God said to.

Through following what God said to do I began to fear the LORD because I was able to see the great chasm between God's holiness and ours.
Then I feared the LORD because I was gaining wisdom from the experience which made it more understandable to me why I should fear the LORD.
Now I fear the LORD because I want to.

Daily Devotional May 19 - Wisdom Is Sweet Like Honey

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off." Proverbs 24:13-14

What a beautiful analogy. Wisdom is sweet like honey. Wisdom is different than knowledge in this way; wisdom is imparted to us by God, while knowledge can be acquired. Wisdom is a gift from God that God imparts to us in direct proportion to our inner man's desire to be like Christ. Knowledge is the natural way that mankind grows intellectually. True wisdom is a spiritual component, knowledge a natural or physical component.

James says "if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally..." James 1:5a. What you will find after a deep search through the world of knowledge is that wisdom cannot be found out, like the sciences can be found out.

Here's the dilemma. Man wants to say he has wisdom even if he doesn't recognize God in his/her life and wisdom has taken on a new meaning in modernity to mean; real smart in a specific discipline. But true wisdom is from God and cannot be accumulated or found out by the natural use of our intellect. Seeking knowledge does not lead to wisdom unless the knowledge sought is directed by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Being able to come up with a catchy phrase does not make one wise. Some of what modern man attributes to wisdom is simply excellent prose or literature, but not wisdom.

"When thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward."
What is the reward?
More wisdom and the open doors that come with it.
A closeness with God that comes through received wisdom from God.
Request from God for you to do something special for God that only one with wisdom can
accomplish.
Additional benefits that require power from on high that is bestowed upon one with wisdom.

Daily Devotional May 18 - Draw A Line In The Sand

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement; That ye may approve things that are excellent;..." Phillipians 1:9-10a

God is not talking about carnal knowledge here. Just gaining knowledge is of no consequence, but gaining godly knowledge is. Gaining knowledge about how God operates among His people and what you can do to be and stay in the will of God is the kind of knowledge that will bring good judgement. The knowledge of the holy brings many blessings. The blessings are released as the gems of truth are discovered through perseverance in the faith.

If you have been in church for thirty years and you still don't understand or believe in your heart the fundamental truths provided in the stories in scripture, you have not abounded in knowledge, you've stagnated. You are not ready for the onslaught of a wicked enemy, you might fall prey to his tactics, because you are not prepared. As time passes by you should know more about the things of God than before. You should be able to speak to God and hear clearly His voice answering you. You should know how to go into the presence of God and how to activate your faith in crisis. You should be thanking God in the mountain top experiences and following God's leading in the catastrophes of life. You should know where to turn. You should know how to pray and how to receive from God.

God wants you to approve the things that are excellent and by default disapprove of the things that are not excellent. We have a generation of talented men and women that still approve things that are not excellent. They still allow wickedness to enter into their households through TV and video games, the Internet and books. Of course TV and video games the Internet and books in themselves are not evil. They are simply devices that transport information, but the information that is allowed to come into your home, your life, should be monitored for godly quality content.

I wonder why this is such a topic of great contention. I have had many Christian men and women tell me that it doesn't make any difference what they watch or what they see on the Internet as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. That's the argument of a weak man or woman, that still gets their ya yas from carnal sources. There is better and there is a more excellent way. Seeing what is pure and beautiful, looking upon God's creation in awe, demanding more from your network, not participating with every whim that passes by, all reveal that you are seeing a more excellent way. I think we all owe it to God to go through a purifying process at least as long as we have allowed the entrance of ungodly influences in our life. It doesn't take long, once you draw a line in the sand about your position to stand for Christ, that you will see great results, in your own life and many of those around you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Daily Devotional May 17 - Someone Is Knocking At Your Spiritual Door

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Revelation 3:20

What is the door?
Why is Jesus standing at the door?
How can you hear His voice?

What is the door?
The door is our own heart/mind/soul/spirit. Because God breathed the breath of life into us and because God made us in His image and likeness, we have the ability to allow God into our life or to keep God out of our life and we do this by exercising our free will, again to allow God into our life or to keep God out. God stands at the door to our life. Stands means ready to enter. Jesus isn't just passing by every once in a while and if we happen to hear Him coming we can make provision to let Him in. Jesus is standing at the door ready always to enter into our life*.
*Footnote: I've talked with a lot of people who have not let Jesus in and when we get to this part of the discussion they say they don't like the idea of once they let Jesus in they can't kick Him out when they want to. I know it sounds irreverent and it is, but to those who have not submitted their will to God, they still have the idea that God is going to take away from them things that are precious to them and that God is not going to allow them to have any fun anymore.
When Jesus enters into your life, He enters in for all eternity. I wish our pastors would level with people on this issue. You can't try God out to see if you want to be His child. You don't get to taste the wine of the Spirit and then decide if you like it or not. God knows when you are sincere. Don't get too worried about those who you wonder if they are sincere and their lives seem to reflect more of the world than of Jesus. God has it all under control. No one is going to fake their way into the presence of God, nor is anyone going to force their way into the kingdom of heaven. God knows the intent of our inner most being.

Why is Jesus standing at the door?
Because Jesus can only enter by invitation. That's how God made you. That's how God designed life for us. We seek God, we find God (not that God was ever lost) and we ask God into our self. When we ask God in, God comes in, because God is faithful. God is standing at the door to your heart right now, unless you have already let Him in. Either way, you can only come to God by invitation and God only comes into you by invitation.

How can you hear His voice?
Here's the scoop: If inside the door, on your side of the door, there is much confusion and turmoil, noise, gossip and indiscretion, it is difficult to hear the voice of God. However, God's voice doesn't need to be very loud if you have the din of life turned down and put your ear up to the door and listen carefully. God isn't going to drown out the noise inside to get your attention. God is patient and He is willing to wait until you are ready. I love that about God.

God knows each persons life intimately and God will wait until you are ready, but God is always knocking and always calling to you to let Him in. If you are ready, turn down the noise for just a few moments and you will be able to hear the voice of God.