Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Daily Devotional December 12 - Engaged In The Things Of God

"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  John 4:23-24

Life was never meant to be a game where we juggle our professional life, our family life, our Church life, our work life - as if they were independent of one another.  The only life that glorifies God is the integrated life.

The unbelieving world - secular humanist - agnostics - atheist and - this is a hard saying, the lukewarm Christian - All want you and I to play their game and their game is - GOD IS NOT FIRST.
There's more that the worldly purport, like this.
  • The things of God are not to be integrated into your life.
  • You can juggle a little church with a little world.
  • A little marriage with a little womanizing.
  • A little Christianity with a little Eastern philosophy.
  • A little G rated TV with a little ....
  • A little integrity with a few bounced checks.
Freedom and enlightenment is when we are free from the wicked influences of this world - not when we are free to indulge ourselves in them.  Take just a few moments and think the deepest thoughts of God you can muster up.  Allow yourself to be mesmerized by God.  Allow your thoughts to go deeper than before.  Talk to your inner man and listen as your highest self expresses God's perfect will in your life.  Visualize standing or sitting or bowing in God's presense, before the throne of God.  Force your mind to stop racing around and listen to God, carefully and often - without your cell phone on.
Go to God in your spirit and sense His acceptance of you.

This is cleansing and powerful.
Change your vision of God - close your eyes and see God in the inner man.
Think higher and loftier thoughts.
You can always tell when you are making headway with God.

As you get closer, God gets bigger.
As you know more, there's more still.
As you go deeper, deeper gets deeper.
As you draw closer, God pulls you even closer.

Make up your mind to put God-thinking into action. Force the things of God to the top of your thinking and push down all else. Some things need to be pushed so far down that they are pushed out altogether.  To worship God in spirit and truth will require that your mind is engaged in the things of God.

Daily Devotional December 11 - All In All

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." 1 John 5:20

God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ and given to us understanding. That way we can know Him that is true. And knowing Him that is true causes us to abide in Him and He in us throughout all eternity.

I talk to many people that claim to be a Christian. And there's nothing wrong with claiming to be a Christian. Many people tell me about their relationship with Jesus as if Jesus was in a distant land, not participating in our daily lives; a figure head, but not a living spirit actively participating in the daily affairs of mankind. Many people tell me that they are a Christian, but no mention of personal relationship; speaking to and hearing from God, co-creating with God so that the purposes of God will come to pass, not just in spite of us, but through us and by us, in cooperation with the express will and active participation of Christ in our daily lives.

Jesus isn't a figure head at all. Jesus is our All in All. And if yo are one of those people that have a cursory understanding of who Jesus is, what Jesus has done for you and what Jesus is doing for you right now, today, then you are not abiding in and by the teaching of Christ in the scripture. Even if you want a distant relationship that only acknowledges the once existent Christ, you have to do so by denying the truth of the same scriptures that teach a different philosophy. In other words, if you are satisfied with a understanding that Jesus once lived and He was the Son of God, you are in perfect agreement with the Muslims and demons. But the scriptures teach about a Jesus that not only once lived and was the Son of God, but a Jesus that lives and is the Son of God and more. Jesus offers continuing education in spiritual matters by being personally involved in the whole of our life. There is nothing you do that Jesus does not know aforehand. Doesn't it make sense to make an attempt to have a better relationship with Jesus than a simple knowledge that He once existed?

Jesus gives you understanding in equal proportion to you receiving it. Jesus will not give you information that is not wanted, nor will Jesus hold personal seminars with those who can't even find the time to thank Him for all that He has done and all that they already have. Knowing Jesus in the way that the scriptures portray Him and learning about how Jesus interacts with us today, through the scriptures, is a goal that everyone that names the name of Jesus should strive for and encounter.

Jesus doesn't make it hard and Jesus doesn't charge for His services, but you have got to ask to get answers, seek to find and knock to have the door opened. Jesus gives you understanding that you may know Him, now, today. Christianity was made for use for the living, not the dead.

Daily Devotional December 10 - Partner With God

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” James 4:8

Today requires God

Many of us are trying to work today’s problems out with yesterday’s solutions. Things change and the methods needed to solve a problem today may be different than the way the same problem was solved yesterday or ten years ago or one hundred years ago.

Our spiritual walk with God is very much the same. Many believers today are holding on to a religious relationship with God and trying to solve today’s dilemmas with archaic solutions. God is alive, and to be current with the way to solve your problems, you will have to be communicating with God on a daily basis. It’s not safe to rest on the traditions of men when the immediate power of God is available at any given moment.

Praying to and listening to God today is the only way to live your life to the maximum potential. Have you noticed that it isn’t urgent to live your life to the maximum potential anymore? The bar has been set soulfully low. If you find yourself in a place where you no longer desire the best that life can offer you have been distracted or deceived.

God’s best for your life is available and always was available for you. You may have been detoured, but God is working on your behalf right now, awaiting your personal response to His invitation. We have been taught by many who do not experience the day to day communion with God and in some cases we have been taught by those who have not experienced God at all. And in the most distressing circumstances of all we have been taught by many who haven’t even received the Spirit of God through a personal salvation experience.

God has been with you every day steering you and guiding you, but if you have not heeded God’s call; if you have not committed yourself to God, should it seem odd that you should be experiencing adverse results. Any turn, however small toward God, will bring about measurable positive results. You must learn how to think with the mind of God if you are to defeat your foe and live life to its fullest. I say must because all the peace and joy that was designed for you will go to waste if you do not receive it. You must learn how to receive the blessings of God and you must learn to deny/starve what is keeping you from the blessings of God.

Why are we bent on complicating the simple truths that work?
Why do we feel we have to be better than someone else to have worth?
Why have we changed the clear and simple truths from God to man-made phylacteries?

We say we don’t understand and that we just can’t see. God says we do understand and that we can see clearly. Pastors, teachers, priests and rabbi’s are selling God like a commodity. Why aren’t they pointing to the Master?

You are empowered by God
You are a fit vessel to receive all the blessings of God
You have received enough revelation
You have within you the understanding
You can commune with God today:
   Without a reservation
   Without mediation
   Without more revelation
You can touch the hem of His garments and be healed
You can discuss the path you’re on and get clear direction
You can ask and receive
You can know
You can understand
You can because God says you can.

I have found that You are the only barrier to having and deep and fulfilling relationship with God. The truth is that most of us really want the onus to be on someone else for just about everything unfulfilled in our lives.

We could be walking with God in the cool of the day
But we have chosen a lesser, more undesirable way
We could be looking ahead knowing the path is clear,
but we choose to wallow in the saying, “not another year like last year”
We could be partnering with God and exploiting time
But we choose to partner with the world and recline.

"Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you."

Daily Devotional December 9 - Believe

"And when much people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake a parable:  A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.  And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.  And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when He had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, What might this parable be?  And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.  Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God.  Those by the wayside are those that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest (for fear that) they should believe and be saved.  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, (believe) and bring forth fruit with patience."  Luke 8: 4-15

This word (keep it) literally means, (to hold fast to, possess and retain, continue to believe in).  I am going to show you something about this word believe that will change the way we you look at and define belief, forever.
To believe: To be fully persuaded; having your mind made up, convinced beyond question, without any doubt, past the point of turning back, trusting implicitly, that the object of your belief, (what you are believing for), will be accomplished.
Read this carefully
Can we just believe God for what He does with us?
Can we believe God for what He tells us?
If we believe - we can't help but to receive:

What are some things that we cannot help but receive if we believe?  Salvation - the indwelling Holy Spirit - power to overcome - answered prayer - healing for our bodies emotional healing - many blessings - new creation

I want you to establish where you are in relation to God.  Instead of saying where am I in time? Or where am I in God's overall plan for mankind, the question I want to ask is where are you in relation to God?  The answer to this question lies within what you believe.

I want to reveal, that what a lot of people call belief is not belief at all, and what is true belief works just like Jesus says it does.  What most people call belief about God, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, and other essential truths, is not belief. It really should be called guessing.

Here's the thing. Unless we are convinced, thoroughly convinced, like: Let's say we take a sponge and we squeeze the sponge and push it down into the water, and slowly release it so that the sponge is thoroughly saturated; Unless we are convinced of a truth, in the same way as the thoroughly saturated sponge, we have no authority with that truth. That truth has no efficacy in us.

Until you truly believe a truth, it stays the truth, but you cannot operate under the power of it. That truth remains stored for later use. It is stored in the Word of God, until, by faith, you believe it. Then and only then, is it released to you for use.

The principles that God established to be put into operation by His people can only be made available to His people when sponge-like belief is present.  It is belief that ignites or activates a truth and takes it from its hidden or stored state and puts it into operation in its active use state.

Are you ready to believe God for more than the daily hum-drum of an uninspired life? Then Believe God.

Daily Devotional December 8 - God Has A Plan And You Are In It

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."  Jeremiah 29:11 

Just because there are many ways offered by various religious groups doesn't mean that those ways are credible.
  • God is not in competition with anyone.
  • God is not concerned that you or someone you know or some guru from Nepal is going to come up with a better plan or a better way than His plan.
  • There is no book that God needs to be concerned about - One that might reveal something that God forgot to tell us in the scriptures.
  • God is not at all moved with the thousands of varieties of religious beliefs and religions that add to or take away from God's inspired Word.
  • God is not at all surprised when Islam or Hinduism or Taoism attempts to stake a claim as a viable authority into the heart of God.
  • God is not concerned that the whole world seeks after something or someone other than His Son to fulfill their inner desire to know their creator.
  • God is not a bit distraught that spiritist, crystal ball readers, palm readers and card readers make money off of the vulnerable and ignorant public at large.
  • God is not moved by all the skeptics that think that the bible is just a history book and a not very accurate one at that.
  • God is not worried that scientist will discover that we were once monkeys and that the earth did begin by two stars colliding 5 billion years ago, give or take a few billion years.
  • God is not unsettled that politicians would refer to God as, an "opiate to the masses"
  • God is not moved by the poets referring to Him as the one that isn't.
  • God is not moved by the philosopher's final analysis that, "God is dead." We have come to learn that Notradamos is dead, not God.
  • God is not worried when satan and all his demons make up some new potion for people to try - or when satan repackages imitations of God's Word and sells them as philosophy.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Daily Devotional December 7 - The Power Of communion

"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by ordinance for ever." Exodus 12:14

Jesus proves who He is more by this one act than any other - The institution of Communion.  I want you to see the connection between the Jew (the people of God) of the Old Testament and the Church (the people of God) of the new Testament.

It started with the Passover lamb. Passover:  The Old Covenant and the New Covenant all tied together by God to spiritually unite His people together with Himself. It was a symbol and more than a symbol of God's protection for His people and it was and is a remembrance of what God had done for His people.

What we have come to know and understand as communion is also a remembrance and more than a remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus, the Christ. It was the institution of the New Covenant between God and His people.  Communion is the sacrament that changed the order of the Levitical Priesthood to the Church. Passover has been honored since 1491 BC.

When Jesus met with the twelve at the upper room, for what would come to be known as 'the Last Supper' He met them to transfer the oracles of God from the Religious Priesthood of the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob) to the 12 Disciples of Christ, signifying the end of the era of the law and the beginning of the era of grace.

It was about 1462 B.C. when God gave Moses instructions to take a lamb, without spot or blemish (Ex. 12:5) and kill it. "You shall take the blood of the lamb and strike it on the two side post of the entrance to every home wherein there is an Israelite. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians (Ex. 12:23) And it shall come to pass that when the Lord passes by, He will not enter any home protected by the blood of the Lamb."

There would be a Passover dinner to be prepared prior to this night when the Lord would pass by. This Passover dinner would consist of the lamb (a type of Christ), unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

"And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by ordinance for ever."  Exodus 12:14
The Passover had been instituted since this time, and it was this Passover that Jesus was acknowledging and attending with his disciples.  It is important to see the connection between the Old and the New, because it reveals who Christ is better than any other proof.

Matthew 26:17-30 says, "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?  And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand: I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them: and they made ready the Passover.  Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve."
The twelve is of great importance. Under the blood covenant of the Old Testament the twelve tribes of Israel were protected by the blood of the Lamb.  Now the church, (which began with the twelve) would be afforded the same protection, but no longer by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. It would now be by the blood of the Lamb of God, Himself.

Communion was the birth of the New Testament, the New Covenant. It is by the blood of the Lamb of God that we have redemption and forgiveness of sins.  It was at the Passover meal that Jesus prepared the Lamb of God.  It is this moment in time that we remember. Jesus was offering Himself a blood offering once, for all. I doubt that the significance of this moment can ever be fully discovered.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Daily Devotional December 6 - Just Be Real. It Is A God Thing.

"Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds without rain." Proverbs 25:14

Solomon was the wisest man to have ever lived. I believe it would benefit us to look at what he tells us in Proverbs with a sort of intrigue. He received His wisdom from God and then he put the wisdom he received from God to practical use. Solomon was a very hard worker and certainly a man of many exploits. He knew about kings and queens, protocol, cultures and societal differences. He was acquainted with complex national treatise as well as mining and construction. He was intelligent and full of wisdom. Solomon knew people.

In the Proverbs Solomon exhorts, rebukes and enlightens his readers. Again, Solomon knows people. In Solomons time in order to be accepted as an architect or a lumberjack, a statesman, a nurse, a prophet or a thief, you had to possess proven attributes of your talents or skills. They were tested by actions and results. Solomon had met many a fake in his time. There were those who claimed they were someone they weren't and they claimed to have skills they didn't have. They were examined, observed and scrutinized for honesty, integrity and substance. Those possessing their claim were given positions of authority and excellence and those who made false claims were dishonored and cast out to live a life of wandering and poverty.

Today people make all kinds of claims without consequence. Especially concerning spiritual gifting and prophesy. All of us have encountered the false prophet, the false Christian, the false minister and false healers. There's even another level of those who dabble in spiritism and make claims of talking to the dead, seeing into the future, reading tarot cards, reading palms, and making claims that they have certain powers. It is out of hand. The unlearned Christian has a great deal to overcome just to sift out truth from all the false teaching and false spiritual guides.

There really is no need to make a false claim about who you are or what you do. God made you and God has endowed you with certain gifts and skills and talents, personal to you. You were created with unique qualities and characteristics, propensities and proclivities. You are all that you need to be to enhance the world by your presence, just being yourself, doing what you do best. No one likes it when someone says one thing and does another, acts like they are something they are not or tries to act like they are an expert when they have little or no experience. Our society has allowed this to happen. But as mature Christians we need to take a serious look at ourselves and make sure that we are representing who we are, our skills and talents accurately and without exaggeration, amplification or over-embellishment.

Side note: What we like most about people is when they are down to earth. None of us like arrogance, egotism, pompousness or pretentiousness. Just be real. It is a God thing.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Daily Devotional December 5 - What Part Of What Jesus Has Said Do You Believe?

"Thomas saith unto Him (Jesus) Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know 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 me the Father? John 14:5-9

Depending on your religious background, I am sure that some of you might have a real hard time with these verses. I have resigned myself to believe what Jesus says. Jesus said many profound and troubling or questionable things.

He tells us that that He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Matthew 5:17

He tells us "resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39

He tells us "if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." Matthew 5:40

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

He tells us to "love your enemies." Matthew 5:44

He tell us to "bless them that curse you." Matthew 5:44

He tells us to "pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you." Mathew 5:44

He tell us that "Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;" Matthew 7:21a

He tell us "Follow Me; and let the dead bury the dead." Matthew 8:22b

He tells us that "whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Mark 8:34

He tells us "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." Mark 8:35

He tells us "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17

He tells us "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains." Mark 13:14

He tell us "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

He tells us "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." Luke 18:17

He tells us "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." John 16:7

He tells us "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:36

He tells us "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." John 21:6

Now He tells us "If ye had known Me, ye should have know My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. "Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known Me, Philip. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?"

What part of what Jesus has said do you believe?

I can say this: Whatever you believe of what Jesus has said, Jesus will unveil the depths of it for you. There is power in trusting in Jesus. It requires faith, simple faith. Don't make the gospel so complicated. Trust what Jesus says and the truths of God will be opened unto you.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Daily Devotional December 4 - Enter Into God's Rest Now. Don't Wait For Heaven.

"Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." Revelation 3:21 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:4-5

I'm wondering if you have been taught that to overcome the world you have to become a member of this or that church or that you have to speak in tongues or be baptized in the Holy Ghost or maybe that you have to tithe or do good works until you die. If we (pastors) were to tell the truth, we would simply point people to Jesus and then tell them, that, after they gave their heart to Jesus Christ, by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, they have already overcome the world.

It was just yesterday that I asked this really nice older guy about his faith. I said to him, after we had dug his car out of the snow, "how's your relationship with God?" He said to me, "I'll find out when it's all over." I remarked. I already know and I don't agree that you have to wait until you die to find out if you had faith in Jesus enough to get to heaven." He then went on to tell me a long story about how God intervened in his life many times through his wife and his children. He admitted that God had been working with him all along, but he still didn't understand that he could have peace in his heart about the end of it all.

That's the way it is for many people who have been taught in their denomination that they have to work and worry all through this life in hopes that at the end they will somehow slip in under the wire, in hopes that they will have asked forgiveness for the last of their sins prior to dying or they will not get in; as if to get to heaven was based on all kinds of things except the vicarious work of Jesus Christ on the cross. If you are counting on you to get to heaven, you might very well be disappointed. The entire Bible points to Jesus as the Saviour, not you. You can't save yourself, nor can you do anything that will make up for your sin. You are lost until you accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and nothing you did or will do can earn you a place in heaven. Give it up if that is your philosophy. God does the work of saving you from yourself by calling you out into His kingdom. You come by simple faith in Jesus. Nothing else will do and nothing else works.

Why does it matter whether we believe that we get to heaven by being good or by believing in Jesus? The reason is that you can be good on your own. You were born with enough godlikeness to do good things to other people, but salvation is not found in doing good things. God sent His Son to die in your place because you have sinned against God. In essence you forfeited any rights that you thought you had the first time you sinned against God and prior to that you were born into the race of Adam, which has already fallen. You were born into a fallen race and of your own volition you have sinned against God. The only way that God could save you so that you could overcome the world was to impute into you the righteousness of God by faith in His Son. God designed every soul with the answer to the sin problem. It was to come and die for you. Faith is the connector and the Resurrection from death unto life. Faith in what Jesus did for you outweighs anything you could ever do, even in ten thousand lifetimes of working hard to be good.

You get saved by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, by faith.

You overcome evil with that same faith.

You live out your life with that same faith.

You come to the end of life with that same faith.

In between while you are living out your life, faith is what draws you closer to God to find out more about your purpose and to get to know God better; to learn His ways and to follow them; to receive from God all that is rightfully yours by faith as heir to the kingdom, now, today, not just when you die.

Doesn't it make sense that if you overcome by faith, that you would want to find out everything you could about your faith?
Isn't it likely that you will enjoy life more and have better success in life if you trust Jesus for more than just getting you a ticket into heaven?
Isn't it likely that the same Jesus that saved you from you sins has a plan for you for this life?
Isn't it likely that if you were to discuss this with Jesus that He would fill in the blanks and open your eyes to all that He is doing on your behalf.
Isn't it also likely that if Jesus saved you it was for a purpose greater than to know where you are going when you die?

Please seek His face today and get things on track. You were saved to co-create with God while on the journey. Give up this idea of holding on to your ticket to heaven with clinched fists, hoping all will end well and enter into His rest right now. That's what salvation is really about. Living with God right now.

Daily Devotional December 3 - Being Like Christ Is The Goal

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matthew 6:7

First of all Jesus says "when ye pray." Jesus doesn't say if ye pray. Praying is part of the connection between God and man that God grants. It's not just that your prayer is heard, but if you are born again, inside of you - you have the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist you with what to pray for and how to pray. Now you can see that God says that the heathen, (those who do not have Christ) think that if they pray they will be heard because they pray often and sometimes loudly. The heathen pray out of duty and religious upbringing. It's true, those without Christ pray and many of them pray fervently, some five times a day, some more. The non-Christian world prays and they have religious ceremonies. Entire nations are built upon this premise.

Jesus is instructing believers that when they pray, God does not need to be reminded that He is God, nor does God need to be reminded of anything. Don't use vain repetitions. Why is that important? Because anybody can use vain repetitions and appear to be in touch with God because they pray or they say something religious over and over again. That's not prayer at all. That's religious rhetoric filling the minds of the people with false hope and false belief.

Jesus is instructing you to be real with God. In the presence of no one, speak to God your mind. Ask for wisdom. Seek His face to know Him, not just so that you can get things from God, but to know God personally. When you pray, talk to God. Let God know your frustrations. Talk about your battles, your losses, your pain or your successes. Come boldly before the throne, not cocky as if you knew it all, but boldly, in that God wants to hear from you and it is your turn to speak. Praying is communication with God, not whining and complaining about so and so. Praying is about finding the heart of God on the matter so you can believe it in your heart and go and do God's will.

But what about all the weirdos out there that claim God told them to do this or that? And what about all the people that claim God told them to take or steal or kill or maim in the name of God? Don't be fooled by the tricks of the devil. You, nor anyone else will ever be told to do anything against the Word of God, against mankind or against disrupting or destroying God's creation. Those who are hearing that voice are not hearing the voice of God. They are the heathen. They are the ones that claim God on one hand while slaying innocent children with the other. That is a trick of the devil.

Pray because Jesus says to. I find that time in prayer just confessing my shortcomings and asking for wisdom takes a great deal of time. I find that God enjoys when I come to Him just to come to Him, no agenda, no questions, no preconceived ideas about the moment, just mindfully wandering into the throne of grace and thanking God and praising God and worshipping God.

Another reason that Jesus says "when thou prayest," is because God already knows about your situation. God has already gone before you and made a way. God has already intervened to bring about His will. But you and I, we don't see very far and we need to go to prayer so that we can see with the mind of Christ. Otherwise we could not handle the injustice and the improprieties that come our way. Pray to be filled with understanding about how God wants you to be like Christ. The scriptures make more sense when being like Christ is the goal and not just finding religion.

Daily Devotional December 2 - Nothing Else will Do

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you;" Matthew 5:44

I remember preaching this in Redland Florida. It was their first Sunday as they had just split off from another church in Princeton Florida. I was not taking sides, but their newly formed church board had chosen two candidates to be their new pastor and I was one of them. As you can imagine, this is quite an honor and I was selected to preach the first sermon of their first service. I talked to God about this as I was searching through the scriptures attempting in my mind to try to find something conciliatory and comforting to bless this newly formed group of believers. I perused through some of my previous sermon material, thinking that maybe there would be something that fit the day. But God would not let me get away from this very verse. I really thought that this verse was inappropriate because of the recent church split, again of which I was not involved. And furthermore, everyone likes to hear these words of God's true way for man to live at peace with one another, but few follow these ego crushing words spoken by Jesus to the whole world at the sermon on the mount.

I wrestled with this verse, because I knew deep down inside that it was so much the heart of God to teach His people how to live with one another in harmony and peace and how to live with the world at large even though the world at large was not going to play by the same rules. What could this verse possibly benefit a newly formed group of seasoned believers? I did preach the sermon and it wasn't received well. I guess I will never know why this was so important, and by the way, they chose the other pastor to lead their flock. But I can tell you now that Jesus knows what works and these words were written to embed your soul with the heart of God and this is the heart of God.

Unfortunately as you read in yesterdays daily devotional, even our Christian brothers and sisters are capable of doing frightful things to their fellow church members or anyone for that matter. Hear the heart of God on the matter. He has instructed you to do a few things that go against your human propensities.

  • Love your enemies
  • Bless them that curse you
  • Do good to them that hate you
  • Pray for them that despitfully use you, and persecute you

You will have to read these over and over again until your inner man believes it is true. This is an uphill battle and if you are not serious about following Christ, you will not win it. It goes against our very nature, that nature that we were born with that looks out for number one. But Jesus spoke it and that makes it true.  Why is it important to believe and practice these strange commands? It is important to God and God made us to be like Jesus and nothing else will do.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Daily Devotional December 1 - You Rear What You Sow. It Is Not A Platitude.

"Save me, O God, by Thy name, and judge me by Thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah." Psalm 54:1-3

Strangers and oppressors shall come against you. I hope you are not currently experiencing the angst that goes with having people want something from you that is not theirs. Maybe you have fallen prey to those who can't stand you because you are in love with Jesus. Or maybe you have acquired enemies for no reason at all except they just want to do you harm or make your life miserable. They are out there in great number. And I am very sorry to admit that many of the oppressors and those who would attempt to overthrow our peace, are Christians. I won't stay with this very long, but it hurts worse than anything when a so-called brother or sister becomes a turncoat and sets out to destroy what you have worked for or are currently working for. The worst scenario is that it is sometimes a supposed good friend.

If you read through Psalms it reveals two sides of God's heart about these marauders who use their time on this earth to cause others pain and suffering.  They are cavalier about it and sometimes proud of their accomplishment as if they were doing God favor handing out their form of justice and equity.

The first move of God toward these marauders disguised as Christians is to have them come to their senses through rebuke or exhortation or through finding out how blatantly ungodly their behavior is and asking forgiveness for their crimes against God and man. This is the preferred method. It serves the purpose of having man work out their offenses one with another. But don't think that God will not intervene on behalf of the one who has been wronged.

The second move of God is for God to intervene and stand against the oppressor or the offender, as a just God against an unjust action. God is not just lolly-gagging around heaven handing out lollypops to the kids and sitting around telling stories to the adults about the good old days. God is Sovereign and will have the last word and will intervene and bring to pass His will. It is not God's will that those who wrong others get their just reward, (else all of us would not have the opportunity to be converted and have our sins forgiven) but it is the will of God that you reap what you sow. And for those who continue to cause trouble, as they continue to claim Christ, will find trouble of their own, multiplied by their lack of commitment to the things of God; consolation and peace of mind will be hard for them to find.

Rest assured if you are troubled by others who want what you have or they just trouble you because that is who they are, or they trouble you because they are vindictive, God is in charge and God always does the right thing. "For we know Him that said, vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the LORD. And again, the LORD shall judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:30-31

Daily Devotional November 30 - Learn To Trust God's Ways

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5

I believe what God says. Every word in this verse is true. But , you may be thinking, that hasn't been my experience. That's the problem with interpreting scripture. This verse is true, but there are many other truths also. Sometimes we base the results of an experience on the way that we perceived the end. We thought that if God was involved it would end differently than it did. So when we don't receive the desired end that we thought should be the end, we think that there must be something wrong with the way that God does things. Why does God let us go through so many things that are unfair or worse?

Read this carefully:
God lets us go through things because, in order for us to receive the full blessing that comes with salvation we must exercise our freewill and suffer at the hands of those who exercise their free will. It is this free will that makes us like God and exercising our freewill to choose the things of God is what makes us godly. It is in your choosing, not in the outcome of your choosing, where God is found.

We live in a fallen world and as long as we are in the flesh, we are subject to its parameters. One of the parameters is that others are exercising their freewill as we are exercising our own. Sometimes there is conflict, because not everyone is following God and not everyone seeks the will of God. The results of this dichotomy is that sometimes you will be the one that disrupts the plan of God by your behavior and sometimes someone else disrupts the plan of God by their behavior.

You haven't always been living a godly life. Now that you are doesn't preclude the rights of those who are not, to continue to exercise their free will against the will of God. As long as free will exists, there will be crime and terrorism, foolishness and sin, pain and suffering, unfairness, liable and fraud. That's the results of free will.

But this same free will that allows for those who stand against the things of God to cause havoc also allows for those who choose to follow God to cause good things to come to pass. It is in the choosing to do the will of God that godliness is found, not in the final results of our work. You may set out to do some great thing and have it thwarted by others with a different plan, but it is in the choosing to set out to do some great thing that your trust is rewarded, not in the outcome of that venture. The path that God sets before you is the direction that you are in, not the results of the day. The path is pure, the road is full of corruption, but it is in choosing the path and taking it that your faith is proven, not in what happens to you along the way.

It will never be that when you find God and you become saved, sanctified, and filled with the Spirit, that your roads will all be cleared and each day will end in peace and serenity. You are following a holy God in an unholy world. That's why God doesn't want us traversing the road in our own understanding. First we will misunderstand God and make false presumptions about God and second we will start to think that our own path is really safer and better.

The truth is:

  • God is true to us and every word in the scriptures is to assist us on our journey
  • God is on the journey with us
  • God intervenes in the journey within the parameters of prayer just as He says He does
  • The outcome of things isn't always what we see with our eyes
  • The closer you get to God the more you get to see how we are co-creating with God all the time
  • It is in exercising our free will to follow God that we are found in God, not in the outcome of each event of the day
  • Learn to trust the 'follow' and not the 'outcome' and you will see much more of God than ever before.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Daily Devotional Novermber 29 - You Already Have The Power

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

You have been given the authority by God to live your life free of bondages. This freedom from bondage comes when you are born again. You are endowed with the power to overcome. The Holy Spirit dwells within you and you can decide to deny the flesh or the mind certain vices and it will come to pass. For some it might be as easy as drawing a line in the sand and for others a process, but either way you have the power to overcome anything that is not godly.

All of us have different weaknesses. No one is exempt from the rudimentary and mundane things that perpetuate sinful behavior, but don't let anyone convince you that you don't have the power to break free, because you do. It is a gift from God. You can if you think you can. You can say no to anything and keep it at bay. You can overcome anything that is not of God. Here's the tiff. First of all you have to believe you can. There is so much watered down preaching to new converts its possible to be lead to the Lord in one breath and told that you will struggle indefinitely in another.

When Paul says stand fast, he means stand so firm that you are like a rock, immovable and impenetrable. The Word of God is powerful and sometimes you just need a little kindling faith to get you on your way with victory. Sometimes we just need somebody to believe in us. Sometimes we need someone to give us some tough love. Unfortunately there are some people so stubborn that it takes calamity to bring them around. But if you are born again you can overcome.

I don't want to put a timeline on your particular issue, but if you have been fighting against some vice or bent for more than five years, you really don't want to overcome. You aren't trying to get out, you just want people to feel sorry for you. You play the Christian card, but only because it is convenient and you know what saps the Christians are for reaching out and helping someone. You use people under the pretense of trying to get out, but you haven't even wanted to get out. You have been playing people and playing with people's lives. You are a user, a fool and a fake.

There are probably spouses, children or parents that you have hurt and are continuing to hurt over and over again, friends and family that you have abused or betrayed or used, more than once. You keep making promises, but you can't overcome because you don't want to. You have been called out. Your future is bleak and your life a waste, not because it has to be, but because you want it to be. And yet within you you have the power to turn around and make good. That shows you the power of the devil. He will hold onto anything you let him have and rub your face in it forever. Just give him one little ungodly vice and you can ruin many lives, even as a Christian. I know you don't want to hear this, but the liberty we have and the power to overcome must be activated and used or else it lay dormant. God works in us and through us, by us, not in spite of us.

You have got to lend your heart and mind to God and believe God and let your faith rule in your life if you are going to operate in the liberty wherewith you were set free. It doesn't just happen by chance. You don't just automatically do and say the right thing. You have to get to know God to emulate Him. But being born again gives you the power. Don't through away such a precious gift.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Daily Devotional November 28 - Faith Is Proof Enough

"So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out unto Galilee, he went unto him that He would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."  John 4:46-48

You almost can't blame the man looking to Jesus for a miracle. His son was dying and he was desperate. He did have the faith within himself to know that Jesus could perform the miracle and Jesus did perform the miracle. Jesus didn't even go, He just spoke the word and the man's son was healed.

The statement that Jesus made, "except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe," was a statement about the condition of the people in Israel (God's chosen people) and the people outside Israel as well; a statement about what they had become over time. They had become a people of 'show me and I'll believe.' They had become a works based society. Their leaders, the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees who were overseeing/handling the faith of the nation had turned from God's ways and made a new set of rules for themselves. Over time they dismissed the miracles of the 'freedom from slavery of Egypt' generation and the 'crossing of the Red Sea' generation and the 'wandering in the wilderness' generation, and the 'fed with manna' generation. They had killed off the prophets and they were bent on having an Israel with a worldly leader, someone magnificent and full of splendor, someone who would destroy the Romans and bring glory to Israel like never before.

They missed the coming of the Saviour and now they had a reputation to uphold, proud, strong men, men who needed a sign or personally witness a miracle or else they would hold to what is sure, their place in the temple. They had become so enamoured with the temple, they forgot the God who once inhabited it. They were bent on creating for themselves a place of acceptance by the Romans. They had become slaves again, but this time of their own doing.

The Saviour of the world had come among them and they were either rushing toward Jesus like a kid watching a parade, hoping to get a piece of candy thrown their way or they were ignoring His presence altogether as that of a charlatan. Jesus' message was not enough for the hardened of heart. Many of them had already made up their mind that even if this was the Saviour, they would kill him, because he threatened their current religious system. But more than that the hardened of heart had reduced Jesus to a man who practiced legerdemain. Jesus knew their hearts and that is why He could say, "except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."

Is it really that different today? Tens of thousands of people go to single stadium events just to see someone perform a miracle. Except they see it with their own eyes they will not believe. And even if they see it with their own eyes they still are only giving mental assent that what they saw was true or real. While godly men and women are talking to atheists or agnostics about faith, they say that they will believe if God was to come down and strike them dead or something like that. I've heard it too many times. Just show me a sign and I will believe. But I don't think so.

Even in the story of Lazarus and the rich man Jesus confirms Abraham's words, "If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the unbelieving world is under a strong delusion. It is very likely that they would not admit that Jesus is Lord even if they personally witnessed ten miracles in a row. They already deny the miracle of life and they already deny the miracle of creation and they especially stand against the miracle of faith.

Don't be discouraged if you have never seen a miracle of witnessed some wonder performed by Michael or Gabriel. It is your faith that has saved you and healed you and brought you this far and it is your faith that will take you all the way home. Jesus make it pretty clear how it really works. "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29b

Faith enters through the mind and resides in the inner man. Faith comes when you hear God calling you and you answer yes. Faith is the visible proof of an invisible work. You need not that God ever prove Himself if you have even the tiniest faith. But without faith, mountains could be moved out of your way, riches spilled throughout your house, talents lavished on you without reserve, love at your side, a healed body over and over again, life's best at your fingertips and you can't see any of it, because blindness due to faithlessness is total blindness and there is no cure except faith.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Daily Devotional November 27 - Denial Does Not Diminish Truth

"And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him." Luke 23:8

This Herod is from a line of Herods that had reputations of being unrelenting, calculating and wicked. This Herod beheaded John the Baptist. But Herod was a leanerd man and he, like his father knew about the prophesy of Jesus. This Herod's father was the one that had all the children under two years of age killed at Bethelehem. And this Herod was over the Jews at Jerusalem as the keeper of peace between the Romans and the Jews. This Herod wanted to see Jesus do a miracle like an enthusiast would pay to see a magician. This Herod like the Herod before him had no real interest in Jesus, but this Herod did want to seek some magic.

It's the same today. There are many people that really want a magical genie god; one that will kindly get back in the bottle and mind his own business after performing a great feat for their master. Jesus doesn't do magic and God doesn't need Herod's approval. The fact that Jesus spurned Herod is simply more proof of the fact that Jesus was true to Himself and true to His mission. Herod, in his indiscreet and conspicuous fashion wanted Jesus to do a miracle to show off to his underlings.

Jesus didn't meet Herod's expectations and Jesus doesn't meet the expectations of many people today either. I have heard it from many, "If Jesus was to do a miracle, I would believe in Him." If Jesus was real He would do this or that. The list is long of all the things that the unfaitful would like to see Jesus do.

But on the other hand there are those who have learned to trust Jesus even though they have never seen a miracle. They believe in Jesus having never seen, but by faith accepting the work of Jesus on their behalf. Those saved by faith alone, no miracles, no gifts, no special agreement, just simple faith. There are those who believe all that Jesus has said even while in their own experience things aren't looking that good, because faith transcends the physical world and outlives the temporal.

For the naysayers out there, we don't believe in Jesus because we have seen Him walk on water and we don't love Jesus because He did some miracle for us, and we don't follow Jesus because He will come back and set up His kingdom, nor because of all that Jesus has done for us. We believe, love and follow Jesus because He called us and we answered yes. Our proof has already taken place and the truly faithful need no more proof. Jesus has already proven Himself, to Herod and to you and to me. Herod's denial of the truth and anyone else's denial of the truth for that matter has not changed a thing. Jesus and His children and the angelic hosts have changed everything.

Daily Devotional November 26 - Mockers Of Reality

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." 2 Peter 3:1-4

There are scoffers today alright. I was watching a program produced by an atheist. It was anti-religious and anti-Christ. The commentator interviewed Christians and Jews and then ran selected sound bites attempting to reveal how utterly incompetent believers are. He misquoted almost everyone, made fun of the older women, ministry leaders and priests and it was obvious his intent was to belittle and ultimately dismiss men and women of faith as complete and utter idiots.

I know that it is the times we are in and I know that the unbelieving world hates us and loathes the thought that those with faith might just know what they are talking about. What I don't understand is why the unbelieving world is so bent on making those who do have faith look so bad? What is it that causes them to say such awful things about people they don't know? Why do they denounce people of faith? I'll tell you why.

The unbelieving world are meddlers. They have no faith and no hope of their own, so they demean others to stoke their own ego. They have no vision and most of them believe that there is no purpose for their existence except to fill themselves up and then die. They meddle for something to do. I would say that that is not a very productive lifestyle. Why bother passing on tradition or cultural excellence if when you die it is the end? Why bother establishing stability for future generations? There's just no incentive to provide for others now or in the future if you only believe in yourself.

The unbelieving world are superficial. They are always talking big like they are in the know when they don't have a clue about the most important part of life as a whole, the spiritual component. They claim to trust science, but when science reveals something that the Bible has said was true all along, they conveniently deny those facts; They trust in the scientific community as long as the science doesn't agree with scripture; a sort of pick and choose science.

The unbelieving world is hateful They are always trying to find ways to disgrace someone or make fun of them or to uncover their shortcomings. It makes them feel important, knowledgeable and or course right. But building your own self up on the backs of others is hardly noteworthy, nor is it admirable. They scoff at the simple words of faith while they promote lies and untruths about: Biblical facts, our founding fathers and their faith, who Jesus is, the power of faith in medicine and healing, the power of faith in world history. They say awful things about good people and try to pass laws expelling any reference to Jesus simply because they are hateful.

The unbelieving world is desperate. They have no hope, no Saviour, no inner peace, no eternity vision. Their hope is in their own mind, limited and profoundly self-aggrandizing. They find peace in nothing so they have to be vigilant to hurt others feelings. They take delight in passing laws that strip people of faith their rights, while they promote their own rights to do so. Hypocrites at best, liars and mean-spirited lovers of themselves. They are desperate because they have no hope for the future or a willingness to learn something new because they are satisfied with the inferiority that comes with ignorance and reduced responsibility.

The unbelieving world is lost. They are spiritually dead. They trust in themselves and beyond that they get their kicks form others who identify with them. Serious unbelievers have made a religion for themselves. They preach, they follow, they teach, they train, they promote and they advertise.

The unbelieving world has been around since the beginning. So have men and women of faith. We are called to be compassionate to those who hate us and to be tolerant of those who believe differently or in the case of atheist, believe in atheism. We are to love those who despitefully use us and stand against us and to lend them a cheek to smack if necessary. We are to pray for them and do what we can to bless them. That's right to bless them that curse us is a Christian attribute. Despite what they do to us, we are to do to them what Christ has done for us, to forgive them.

This blog was inspired by Bill Maher in his childish ploy to discredit Christianity in his movie/docudrama, Religulous.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Daily Devotional November 24 - How Much Light Do You Let In?

"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Revelation 21:22-23

Please lay aside any preconceived notions you have about heaven for a moment. John was actually in heaven during this vision. He participated in events with you an me at different junctures in the book of Revelation. At certain times in the book of Revelation John was taken into the future and we were already there with him. The Bible doesn't mention you and me by name, but we are there with John as he gets a look at the future. What John is seeing is you and me in the presence of God, in the light that is God as well as his visions of God and the Lamb of God and the seven lamps of fire which is the Holy Spirit. So what does that have to do with our lives today.

You were chosen to see and be in the glory of God, filled with the Light of God, completed for all eternity. Why do you need to be convinced over and over again about who God is and what your part is in the overall plan of salvation? I know dozens of men and women that have been going to church for forty years or more and they only know religious rhetoric. Start talking about the daily walk or the long haul, about talking to God or the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and they look at you as if you were embarrassing yourself with some strange affection for God. Religion works for those who are not interested in following Christ. But religion falls short if you have any hunger to be in and do the will of God.

The reason is:

  • Religion represents too many factions.
  • Religion is where the ego can be nurtured to unnatural levels.
  • Religion makes room for man's idea of God.
  • Religion stretches the truth to accommodate its storehouses.
  • Religion becomes a crutch to live two lives with a blessing, the church face on Sunday and the man of the world whenever.
  • Religion makes one needy and starves the believer from a full plate of truth.
  • Religion warms itself by using guilt as its kindling.
  • Religion has turned eternal truths into stories and allegories.
  • Religion creates lemmings, not eagles.

Now, if you think I am church bashing, you have totally misread this message. We are exhorted to join, attend and participate in groups. This is best done in church. But the days of resting on your religious affiliation (church denomination) as your answer to life's questions is over. God wants converts, not members.

Your church affiliation is very important and everyone should be part of a family of believers, but you must look beyond the rhetoric and denominational jargon if you are going to follow Christ. The life in Christ is fluid and you will have to be up on your inner man intuitions and found in the closet praying, and out doing for someone, somewhere, without anyone knowing, and giving from your heart if you are going to transcend religion's trappings.

You are going to be transformed from one glory to another after you die, and in the presence of God as seen in this verse you will be in the light, but until you die, you are responsible for activating how much light is available to you. How much light do you let in and how bright does your light shine?

Daily Devotional November 23 - Rest

"Thus saith the LORD, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16

The old paths here are not archaic ways of living, like somehow we should think down on modernity or that technology is inherently against God or any silly notion like that. The old paths is referring to the original intent for living a life/lifestyle commensurate with being a child of God.

I hope you seek rest for your soul. I have asked many people about this rest and most haven't found it or experienced it. Rest for your soul comes when you are fulfilling your purpose in life, when you are walking in alignment with the will of God, when you have taken time to be with God and He gives you rest.

To have rest you need to be free of wrestling with unresolved issues in your life. Unresolved issues eat at your peace of mind and allow time for doubt to grow into something unrecognizable and sometimes unmanageable. Unresolved issues means that there are uncertainties that linger and could go either way, the kind that infect your thinking like a virus. Doubt sets in and you begin to lose the inner battle. You start to make decisions that are not sound and turn to ways and people that cannot help you. You begin to second guess God and doubt that He has any interest in your situation. You pick up the ball and run with it and while you are running you are running away from the source of your rest. Once you have made up your mind, it is difficult to recant. The level of loss of peace that you can reach while running with the ball and away from God is never ending. At some point you have got to say, Stop!! I'm done with running and hiding. I will return to where I left off and talk to God and resolve this thing.

That's where rest is found. Going back and facing up and taking responsibility and talking to and listening to God. Laying your burden at the feet of the Lord and reading and following the instructions from the Bible that have been there from old. Modernity is not our enemy and neither are the old ways outdated or archaic. It would do you well to seek the face of God on this issue. He has planned a rest for you, right in the middle of the storm. Just believe and receive it.

Note: When I say 'believe it and receive it' I am not purporting a 'name it and claim it' philosophy.  There is no name it and claim it power with God and if you are believing for something outside of God's global will for your life, you might get it, but it won't be because God intervened on your behalf and moved mountains for you, it will be self-powered and it will have to be self-endured as well. What I am saying is believe what God says and receive what God promises. There will be no failure there.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Daily Devotional November 22 - You Have To Yield To Wield

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14 "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, that ye should go forth and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you." John 15:16 "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 1:6-7

I can tell you right now that I have prayed for a great many things that did not come to pass. I have prayed, pleaded with and even begged God at times to do this or that in the mighty name of Jesus. I have prayed to the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and many, many times I did not get an answer, nor did what I prayed for come to pass. Have you had a similar experience?

I have heard so many sermons on this issue and most of them say that God answers yes, no or wait. I would be satisfied with yes, no or wait, but I am talking about the times when you would give anything for a clear answer and God lets you wallow in the land of uncertainty.
Have you ever wondered why, when you pray about something quite important and you are careful to pray in Jesus' name, yet nothing easily discernible, nothing conspicuous happens.
What happens to your faith when you are afraid or worn out or worried about something really big and you call on God and and you don't get called back?
Have you ever been mad at God because you were sure that God could hear you, but He wouldn't lift a hand to help you?
Have you ever questioned why some things happened and went the wrong way in spite of your true faith prayers?
I hope you have experienced some of these let downs or else I would know that you haven't come very far with Jesus yet.

If every word of the scriptures are true, then why is there this dichotomy between asking and receiving? You are probably thinking that I am going to answer this question with some formula that you just haven't heard before, something that makes you think, something that exposes the great secrets of God, hidden from mortal men, found after deep digging in the mines of God's wisdom. Sorry.

God has withheld much from us followers and seekers of God's will. We should be thankful. Our plates are already full. We can barely manage what we do know, much less the hidden things of God. As a whole we are a much mixed up and confused group of believers. At times I wonder why God would entrust such precious information as that of the salvation of the soul to mortal man. God must know how we will abuse our power, misuse our positions, cause separation by classes, hide what we know from others so that we can act like we know more than they do, distribute unsubstantiated doctrines of men, sell the gospel for money, and even make up stories about how this cloth or that towelette or this tape of that book is the cure-all for the human condition. At times I'm surprised that God entrusted man to even know what we know. We haven't done a very good job of becoming Christ-like and living seriously as children of the living God.

That being said, we are in a fallen world and Jesus did not take that away from us. It is this fallen world that must take the heat for all the interference between God and man, for all the misunderstandings and confusion. It appears that God says one thing and another thing happens because of this fallen world. It's hard to get a clear picture in a foggy bottom.

This much I do know.
What God says is true.
If there is a mis-understanding, I am certain that it is I who has misunderstood.
If there is unanswered prayer it is due to my inability to ascertain the answer in its purest form.
If there is confusion it is because I trust in too many chiefs.
If there is any reason to be mad at God it is that I am ignorant of the ways of God and I am suffering the consequences of that ignorance.
If there is any doubt that pervades our soul, it is there by invitation, a sordid cat and mouse game that we play so we can continue to blame our humanity for our own freewill choices.
If there is any lack of faith, it's not because the fount of faith is running dry, it is because we place thimble under the faucet when we need a bucket.
If there is any lack of power, it's not because God isn't pouring out His Spirit on the people. It's because we have to yield to wield.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Daily Devotional November 21 - What Seek Ye?

"Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, what seek ye?..." John 1:35-38a

What seek ye?

What is it that you are really after when it comes to Jesus and the whole Christian thing?
Have you taken time to evaluate what it is that causes even the least hunger after a Christ-like life/lifestyle?
Do you have an urging to go further and find out more and dig deeper and follow closer and listen more attentively and pray with more realism?
Are you struggling with part of your mind believing and part unbelieving?
What is your real, internal motivation for being a Christian?
Are you a religious person but you have never had a close encounter with Jesus?
Do you believe what you have been told or have you searched the scriptures for yourself?

What seek ye?

Are you hoping that you will find a good Christian man or woman at church to marry?
Are you OK with a little church and a little bar hopping, a little Jesus and a little stimulating entertainment?
Do you want Jesus to come and visit your household tonight?
Are you in league with those who think you should leave Jesus at home or in church, but not to mention Him at work or when visiting certain family members or friends or maybe if you are a politician, not to mention that you are a Christian because it could raise up questions about your ability or your ability to stay unbiased?

What seek ye?

Is it that you want God to change you and make you like Jesus?
Is it that you want to quit living a lie and start living a life/lifestyle under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Is it that you want to enter into the Holy of Holies and find the gems of truth that are available for you?
Is it that you want to be able to sit with Jesus and lay your burdens down and let Him have His way with you for a season?
Is it that you have been trodding through life like it is a drudgery and you want Jesus to make you paths straight, ease your burden and lighten your load?
Is it that you have been playing church for decades and now you want to dive in with both feet and be drenched with the living water of life?
Is it that you are confused and you really want to know the truth, but there are so many differing opinions that you can't make up your mind?
Are you hungry for more of God's interference in your life?
Are you thirsty for a taste of the goodness of God?
Are you starving for something that makes you want to live again?

What seek ye?

Daily Devotional November 20 - Cast Your Net On The Other Side Of The Boat

"Then Jesus said unto them, children, have you any meat? They answered Him, no. Then Jesus said unto them, cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes."  John 21: 5-6

Listen for the voice of the Lord today. What is it you have been trying to do without success? What are you trying to accomplish, that without a word from the Lord, you will not catch any fish? Are you stubborn and you have been told to cast the net on the other side of the boat, more than one time, and you refuse? Do you believe that Jesus makes a difference? If you do, why wouldn't you listen for His voice of reason prior to even setting out on a venture?

God-thinking demands that you follow these three easy steps for a fulfilled life, one that you do what God purposed for you the first time.
1 Choose a goal, a dream or a task at hand that can be sanctioned by God.
2 Purposefully set out to fully understand your role and God's role in getting to your desired end. In other words, acknowledging what you are able to do toward creating your goal and acknowledging what is impossible for your to do and will require the hand/voice of God.
3 Talk to and listen to God while on the journey.

For the supernatural to be in operation on your behalf, you will have to believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Part of creation was to incorporate in your soul the ability to co-create with God. Co-creation is enabled by cooperation, i. e., the purposeful action of an individual in alignment with the express will of God. When this happens you have automatic intervention by Sovereign God on your behalf. This is not a static condition that one reaches and then remains there until death. It is a fluid condition that is enabled and disabled by your own actions.

God cannot operate outside of His will and therefore when you make a decision to step outside of the will of God, God cannot participate in that activity. Thus, the constant, or at least, partial frustration that we all live with of feeling like everything is going OK and then we feel like we are on our own and then we get a revelation that puts us back on track and then we get cocky and start to operate on our own power again. Over and over we are fighting the battle against pride and ego. We are winning with 10 seconds on the clock, everyone is excited and we are ready to receive the pennant and then our emotions kick a field goal in the last second and we lose that game/battle.

I'm just saying, cast your net on the other side of the boat today and see if the change makes any difference.

Daily Devotional November 19 - Tough Truth Concerning Baptism

"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, how can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, he was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7,8) In his humiliation his judgement was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth. And the Eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of Himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went o their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, see, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Phi;lip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he (Philip) baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus..." Acts :8:26-39a

There are a few beautiful thoughts about these verses that must not be missed.

First of all, the angel spoke to Philip and gave Philip instructions and then Philip went and did what he was instructed to do. That's a novel thought, to actually do what God says to do. First from His Word, by the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit and of course from an angel of God.

Second, Philip was not an Apostle. How could someone who is not an Apostle just disappear and end up somewhere else? And for those who say that only the Apostles could perform miracles. Well, you see where I am headed.

Third, Philip knew his Bible. He didn't rely on someone else's interpretation to make his case that Jesus was Lord and that the whole of the Old Testament spoke of Jesus and that salvation was through Jesus. Part of the reason that more people don't know enough about Jesus to convert anyone is because they don't read their Bible. If you read the Bible, you will inherit the knowledge that puts these kinds of truths together to reach people. If you rely on someone else to do it for you, you might not even get the raw truth that builds up real faith.

Fourth, what happened to the six week refresher course required before you are baptized to make sure that you believe that you believe all the right things, or is the course designed to steer you to believe more than what is required to be baptized? After all if you believe that Jesus is Lord, you are as prepared as you will ever be to be baptized. Baptism doesn't save you. It is the outward expression of an already existing inward faith.

Fifth, we need more Philips in this world. A man who ran after the Holy Spirit spoke to him, a man who had already made up his mind that he would obey as God spoke to him. A man looking for opportunity to serve the Master without 'qualified' reservations. A man able to reveal Christ. A man not afraid to be caught riding in a chariot with an eunuch. A man who didn't whine his way through the ministry. A man of God.

Daily Devotional November 18 - Are you Following God's leading Or Someone Else's? To all pastors and anyone else who will lilsten

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye then not partial in yourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts." James 2:1-4

Pastors hear the mind of God on this issue. Any attempt to build or sustain your ministry on the backs of the rich and famous will come to nought. Recognizing someone for something they did or to acknowledge an accomplishment has nothing to do with this verse. This is about the mindset that you are handing down to your staff and assistant pastors. Trust me, you won't win any favor with man for following this concept and staying true to James position. You will be ridiculed, ill spoken of, talked about behind your back, maybe even pulled aside and chastised by those who think they know best. But the slight-of-hand that man provides is hardly to be counted against the hand of God.

You may have started your ministry with a small core group of faithful believers, but if your doors are open to bring the gospel to the lost, it won't be long and your meddle will be tested. The lost don't always look so good, but most of the time they aren't playing like they are someone they are not, either. I was senior pastor of a small storefront church for five years with five associate pastors under me. We had it going on: Great music, anointed teaching, good Sunday School for the kids and we provided food for the hungry and many other ministries as well. But I was reprimanded on several occasions for making the drug addicts and the alcoholics feel comfortable.

There was one instance in particular where a mom, who had just lost her daughter to a terrible crime against the daughter, was invited to come to our church. She was in shock for weeks and she was in much pain and she probably hadn't been the mother she would like to have been. She had problems herself, with ex-marriage, troubled finances and maybe some drug addiction, but the crime against her daughter was a non-related issue. She needed Jesus and the love of the church family at this point in time. Of course she wasn't going to turn over a new leaf in a week and maybe she wouldn't change at all, but for the body of Christ it was important to reach out and give her one place she could have solace.

I remember the first Sunday that she came. Previously I had some carpenters put together a wooden cross with large timbers weighing about ninety pounds. I wanted each person to get under the cross and feel the pressure. We let the one leg of the cross on the floor and had each person come up as two of our men gently laid the cross on the shoulders of each person. They would let more and more pressure down as each person wanted. Some people wanted to feel the entire weight and others just a little, but all in all everyone participated. This woman who had lost her daughter came to grips with God losing His Son right there. She and many others were broken and found new light about God.

Later, I was pulled aside by a few women and they told me that that woman wasn't worthy to get under the cross and that she shouldn't have been allowed to participate. Trust me on this one, nobody will ever forget the day we carried the cross on our own shoulders. It was a cleansing exercise.

The point is: Build your church on faith, raw faith, the kind of faith that trusts God; the kind of faith that follows the scriptures. Your church should be built on all kinds of people; rich, poor, middle class, black, white, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Trinidadians and anyone else who walks through your doors. In the long haul you will be far better served listening to and doing what God wants you doing than what a few wealthy or pushy parishioners would like to see.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Daily Devotional November 17 - Why Are You A Christian?

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15

I think that this is a very important message for us; to be ready always to explain our reason for following God. What is your reason?

  • Is it because God saved you from something?
  • Is it because you were brought up in the church?
  • Is it because you are afraid of hell?
  • Is it because you want to go to heaven?
  • Is it because you think becoming a Christian will make all your problems go away?
  • Is it because you think you will never get sick if you become a Christian?
  • Is it because you just don't like the sound of other religions?
  • Is it because you were taught to be a Christian?
  • Is it because you got out of something really bad and feel a sort of obligation to God?

You should be sure that you can answer this question for yourself, because all of us are able to rationalize anything and quite honestly, I am afraid that too many people don't have a clue why they are a Christian? If I asked you, "are you a Christian," you would probably say "yes," but if I were to ask you why you are a Christian, what would your answer be?

  • I would hope that you realized that you were separated from God and that you didn't want to be separated from God.
  • That you knew that you have sinned and that you felt that the sin was keeping you from knowing God.
  • That you were destined for a life without God and a future that was undetermined.
  • That you needed to find a way to re-connect with God.
  • That Jesus offered you a perfect sacrifice for your sins.
  • That you thought about it and decided on your own that what Jesus did for you on the cross was the perfect atonement for your sin and therefore you chose it.
  • That since that time you have come to know Jesus better and that you have peace with God through Jesus Christ.
  • That now you realize that through Christ is the only way to reconcile to God.
  • That you would tell anyone that ask if you are a Christian:
  • You would say yes, because you want to be.
  • That nothing can compare with your relationship with Christ.
  • That you understand what God has done and that you choose to follow after Christ.
  • That you know deep in your heart that there is no other God and no other way to be reconciled to God.
  • That you love all that God has done for you and that you are beginning to see how God is involved in your life in the big things and in the little things too.
  • That you wouldn't trade a moment with God for anything without God.
  • That you talk to God and God talks to you.
  • That God hears you and responds by intervening in your life in a way that fulfills you.
  • That you have come to know the creator of the universe and that you are beginning to understand God's ways.
  • That you can guarantee them that if they were to make the same choice as you that they would been cleansed from all unrighteousness and that whatever they had done in this life against God or man would be forgiven and forgotten by a God that accepts applications from those whose resumes read like a horror film.
  • That you can guarantee them that if they were to make the same choice as you that they would find fulfillment in this life and hope for the life hereafter.
  • That nothing compares to the inner knowledge that God is in you and with you.

How many other things can you think of to say that could express why you are a Christian?