"Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. " Jeremiah 33:3

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind." James 1:6 NLT

The analogy pictured in the title verse of a person with divided loyalty as being as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown, and tossed by the wind is a very good one. But why is that in the Word of God? Why is it important? What is the application for our lives?

It is in the Word of God because it describes so many believers. Over and over again I have people tell me, 'my walk with the Lord is all over the place, one minute I'm on fire and having my daily quiet time and the next thing I know I'm not reading the Word, I'm not praying, why is this happening to me?' Or some have described their relationship with the Lord like a roller coaster ride; up to the mountain tops and down into the valleys, not really going anywhere just around in circles.

The answer is in the Word and it is a choice of our will that we choose to make. It is found in John 15:5, 8; "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples." To abide in Jesus is to stay connected to Him, all the time, daily in the Word and in prayer. The Word of God is Him speaking to us and in prayer we respond to what He has said and obey it. There are times you don't feel like getting up and reading the Word, but you do it anyway, you choose to obedience. And Jesus defines love as obedience, read John 14:15,21, 31. Life application; I will choose to put God first in my life, the first thing everyday.

This is one example of divided loyalty. If we wait until we "feel" like doing anything in regards to the Kingdom of God we would never do anything! Romans 8:7-8; "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." And that is why it is important because divided loyalty in His children will never please Him!

There is another divided loyalty that the Word of God very forcibly warns us about, it is found in James 4:4-5 The Message; "You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and His way. And do you suppose God doesn't care?" Friendship with the world means we care more about what the world values, money, fame, me, me, me, those things mean more to us than our Lord. We are our own idol when we put our desires above God's divine plan for our lives. Life application; I choose to take my eyes off of the temporal things of the world and keep them loyally focused on God and His eternal kingdom work.

Which brings us to another thing that causes divided loyalty in a child of God. Jesus warned very plainly about this one in Matthew 7:21,24 The Message; "It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both." Worship of money leads to greed and greed is never, ever, satisfied! True soul satisfaction is found in having peace with God through Jesus Christ. Life application; I choose to be obedient to the last stronghold preventing me from total surrender to Christ, tithing! Everything I have came from Him and I am only returning 10%, not because He needs the money, but because tithing breaks the hold that money held on me! Tithing sets me free from money and greed for things.

The last one is the most insidious because it seems so harmless but in reality it causes every believer as many problems in their relationship with the Lord than any other. What is it? Doubt. Does God really love me? Will God really take care of my needs? Does God really care about me or my spouse or my children? Can I trust God?

Doubt is what Satan used against Eve in the garden of Eden; "Did God really say..." Genesis 3:1. When Eve didn't know enough of what God truly said, to challenge that, then Satan lied to her, Genesis 3:4. You know the rest of the story.

Doubt is the opposite of faith and Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." Need more faith? Romans 10:17; "So faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ." Life application; Read your Bible, everyday, ask God to speak to you, call to Him and He will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know. The very things that cause us to have divided loyalties can be overcome and conquered through the living Word of God! And they will be as we daily abide in Jesus Christ.

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17. "If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32. Believe it!

Divided loyalty or a disciple which do you choose to be?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35 ESV

Currently in Washington D.C. our lawmakers have become ineffective due to their refusal to legislate in a bipartisan way. The Bible warns us about this in Matthew 12:25, the context is entirely different but the truth is the truth! And Jesus said; "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand." Words of warning for our beloved country in 2011.

Everyone of us knows that there is strength in numbers so why are we so divisive in the things that matter the most? Jesus made the unity of His church, His body of believers through out this world a matter of prayer to His Father in heaven. John 17:11; "I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are." Jesus is praying for His disciples that they would function as one, just as Jesus and the Father did while He was on earth! That is a unity that we cannot fathom but that is God's revealed will for Christ's body, His church through out the world!

Jesus was not just praying for His disciples, He was praying for all believers, John 17:20-21; "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us..."

Consider this what would happen if our legislators put aside partisanship in favor of doing what was right? What would happen if they viewed themselves as a unified group serving the best interests of all the people? Stable the donkey and the elephant for a term, seek God's face in prayer and watch what happens when there is unity.

What would happen if born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ dropped their labels, Moral Majority, Tea Party, Evangelicals, Catholic, Independent, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Lutheran etc? I'm not suggesting a mass exodus from brick and mortar churches but rather a casting aside of divisive labels. There are born again believers in all these and others, how can we as believers unite?

As I was praying the answer came, what if anything connects us now? The Holy Spirit!!! He is what we have in common no matter where we worship, He is the power that answers Jesus prayer for unity because we can never pull it off on our own.

Again this is not a call for inclusion with all other religions, this is unity within the body of Jesus Christ no matter where in the world they are. "In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit." Ephesians 1:13.

"Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-13, 27.

Father God, may Christ's body of believers cry out to You, seek Your face, confess our sins and pray as one, that Your Holy Spirit would move in all of us and unit us as Jesus prayed. It is in His name I pray. Amen.

Imagine what would happen if we stand united in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit...eye has not seen what is possible for those who believe and ask.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn't talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life." 1 Corinthians 3:1 NLT

In today's title scripture from Corinthians Paul is talking to believers yet he said he couldn't talk to them as he would talk to someone who is spiritual! He went on to say that he had to speak to them as though they were carnal Christians, an expression meaning a believer that still thinks, looks, talks and acts just like someone in the world, someone who doesn't know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He told them they were infants, babies in the Christian life.

There is nothing more precious, more adorable than a baby! I have never seen an ugly baby, each one is a miracle, a gift from God! They are a lot of work but I've never known a worn out Momma that would ever seriously consider giving their baby back. Well maybe a severely sleep deprived Mother might occasionally dream about it, okay I'm just kidding. It is so wonderful to cuddle a baby, to kiss and love on them, feed them, sing to them and rock them to sleep, nothing compares to that. But what if when they were two or three and they still acted like an infant? You would be concerned and rightfully so, you would take them to the pediatrician to be evaluated.

Now from infant babies to infant believers. There is nothing precious or adorable about an adult acting like an infant! What are the signs? Well in today's title verse they are someone who has been born again but they are still acting like someone who doesn't even know Christ, someone in the world. They still show fear and anxiety, their words aren't words of faith but murmuring and complaining just like the world. They are self absorbed, looking out for number one, not concerned or interceding for others. They may attend church but worship isn't with their heart but their lips, tithing, witnessing, serving is for others in the church, they have their own agendas.

Just as there is a cause for a baby not to grow and develop so too there is a definite root cause as to why a believer never grows and develops into a mature godly believer in Jesus Christ.

The answer is found in 1 Peter 2:2 "Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation." There it is we grow as we study, memorize, meditate and obey the Word of God the Bible. Over thirty-five years ago my pastor told me something I have never forgotten and pass on to others all the time. He said, you will never know Jesus better than you know His Word!

We can read all the christian books we can get out hands on, we can listen to sermons on Sundays, on the radio, on TV or the Internet, seven days a week, and we gather knowledge about Jesus from those who spent time alone with Him in His Word and in prayer. But to know Jesus Christ, to plumb the depths of His love, to know His will, to discover His will for you and your life, to experience His promises, His discipline, and His encouragement requires time alone with Him and a lot of it! Daily time, seeking Him, listening to Him in His Word, obeying what He shows you, He will open your mind and your heart and totally transform them, that is the power of the Word of God!!

I gave my life to Jesus Christ when I was a very young teenager but I never grew because I didn't know about the importance of reading God's Word, I attended church infrequently and hung around with non-believers. When I was 28 I gave my life again to Jesus Christ and He gave me the richest gift, He gave me a hunger and thirst for His Word!! I couldn't get enough of it, I drank like someone who just crawled out of the desert, I ate like I had never seen food before and the funny thing was I hadn't, not this kind of food and drink! I'm still eating and drinking all these years later and the Word of God is the desire of my heart, I am still learning new things everyday and the more I learn, the more I discover the more sure I am that I have only just begun!!

Please begin today to seek the Lord with all of your heart by reading His book, the Bible, ask Him to speak to you and He will, ask Him to reveal Himself to you and He will, ask Him to show you His plan for Your life and He will, He wrote it just for you!

Remember; you will never know Jesus any better than you know His Word...and I'm here to tell you that is the truth.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"And Enoch walked in habitual fellowship with God; and he was not, for God took him (home with Him.)" Genesis 5:24 AMP

I've always been fascinated by the accounts in the Word of God of people that walked with God. Enoch walked with God for 300 years! Noah walked with God, Abraham walked with God, Levi walked with God. This list is not meant to be all inclusive but rather representational. There is something very special that happens when we walk with God!

So what does that look like? Amos 3:3 says; "Can two walk together except they be in agreement?" Here was my first clue as to what it looks like to walk with God. I discovered there are at least ten parts to walking with God and here they are.

1. We must be in agreement and alignment with God. John 3:16; "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus Christ) that whosoever believes in Him does not perish but has everlasting life." We trust in Christ alone for our salvation and now we are at peace with God, sins are forgiven and we are in agreement with Him.

2. I intentionally choose to meet with Him daily. Psalm 5:3; "In the morning O LORD You will hear my voice; in the morning I will offer my prayer to You and eagerly watch." We will never walk with God unless and until we deliberately choose to meet with Him daily, in His Word and in prayer.

3. God determines the location of our walk. We have come into agreement with Him, we are meeting daily with Him and now things really begin to happen. God shows up in the strangest places to walk with us, at Curves, at sporting events, even shopping in your favorite store. But don't try to anticipate Him, you never will for His ways and thoughts are not like our ways and thoughts. Read Isaiah 55:8-9.

4. God never chooses the same location, nor will He lead in the same way as in the previous location. This time He may show up on a cross country red eye flight, or on vacation or at your daughter's dance recital. Always be ready, always be watching for Him.

5. Never try to erect a tabernacle because of the way God healed, or lead, or saved, or witnessed, or showed up! God will never be bound by our limited thinking. Matthew 17:4; "And Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah." Don't laugh we act just like Peter.

6. God alone will set the pace of our walk. Psalm 23:2; "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters."

7. God will sometimes have us wait, and yes most of the time with absolutely no explanation. He doesn't answer to us, waiting, helps me to remember that. And waiting brings its own reward; strength, and stamina! Isaiah 40:31; "They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

8. God other times expects us to sprint! I know, isn't it great that the times of waiting are the very thing that prepares us to be able to sprint or to go the distance? God always knows what He is doing and where He is leading us and what is up ahead. Obedience to Him and to His commands is always to be immediate! Matthew 4:18-20; "While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fisherman. And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him."

9. When God says move, we move and don't look back. Luke 9:61-62; "Then another said, I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home. Jesus said, No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."

10. God never, ever follows. Exodus 13:21-22; "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people." If we run out ahead of God, not waiting on Him, doing our own thing, we are putting ourselves in great danger for we forget that apart from Him we can do nothing! Read John 15:5.

Today LORD I choose to follow where You lead, I choose You! I desire to walk with You all of the days of my life, I've tried it on my own and why should I settle for that, when I can soar with you, God!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

"They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful." Mark 4:19 ESV

When this blog posts it will be Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year in America. This traditionally begins the 30 day slide culminating on Christmas Day. I say slide because of the flurry of activities that dramatically escalate into a blur of; buying, wrapping, eating, cooking, baking, parties, special programs at church, Christmas trees, decorating your home, etc, leaving very little time for anything else.

It isn't an accident that this time of year begins with Thanksgiving, a time to pause, reflect and give thanks to God for the things He has done. And it culminates on Christmas Day which is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ! If the enemy can't defeat a believer, he just keeps him or her so busy that Jesus, the reason for this glorious season just takes a back seat to all of the activities.

It is amazing how innocuous things, activities, even church activities, and shopping can distract our attention from the Lord.

Jesus says in Luke 8:14; "And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life and their fruit does not mature." Now hear what Jesus says in John 15:8; "By this is My Father glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples."

If we aren't careful the cares, riches and pleasures of life will prevent us from bringing fruit to maturity. Fruit that isn't mature or ripe is worthless, good for nothing. Have you ever taken a bite out of unripened fruit, you spit it out of your mouth! We can look good on the outside but God looks on our hearts and He isn't fooled.

So as believers we can start today on this Black Friday and determine that this next 30 days won't end up like so many other years, where we lose our focus on Jesus and get caught up in the distractions. Let's be intentional with our time and use it wisely. Putting God first in our day will never cause us to lose any time, but ignoring Him because we are too busy always ends up costing us way more than just time!

The next 30 days are very special, full of divine opportunities, the harvest field is always white at this time of year, so let's stay focused on the reason for the season; Jesus Christ and share Him, the Good News and His love everywhere we go. All other gifts pale by comparison, let's give our very best!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! The heavens proclaim His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory." Psalm 97:1,6 ESV

Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are His.
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving;
Go into His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
And His faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100 NLT

Make a joyful shout unto Hashem, all ye lands.
Serve Hashem with simchah;
Come before His presence with joyful singing.
Know ye that Hashem He is Elohim;
It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves,
His people, the tzon of His pasture.
Enter into His she'arim (gates) with todah,
And into His khatzerot (courts) with tehillah;
Be thankful unto Him, and bless Shmo.
For Hashem is good; His chesed is I'olam;
And His emunah (faithfulness) endureth dor vador.
Psalm 100 OJB

Aclamen alegres al Senor, habitantes de toda la tierra;
adoren al Senor con regocijo.
Presentense ante el con canticos de jubilo.
Reconozcan que el Senor es Dios;
el nos hizo, y somos suyos.
Somos su pueblo, ovejas de su prado.
Entren por sus puertas con accion de gracias;
Vengan a sus atrios con himnos de alabanza; denle gracias;
alaben su nombre.
Porque el Senor es bueno y su gran amor es eterno;
su fidelidad permanece para siempre.
Salmos 100 NVI

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." James 1:17 ESV

Today's title verse has been running through my head all day. It got me to thinking about everything that is good in my life, every perfect gift I have been given and wow they did indeed come from the Lord!

Have you ever received a perfect miracle? I have, two of them, sons, gifts from my heavenly Father when the doctor told me I only had a 50/50 chance of even conceiving! My sons are gifts that keep on giving and I thank You Lord with all of my heart for both of them!! Thank You Lord for six additional miracles, my grandchildren that You blessed my sons and their wives with!! Children truly are gifts from God! "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3

Have you ever been in awe of a sunset or sunrise? How about the oceans or the mountains? Perhaps the stars and the planets are what thrills you. Consider the hummingbird and the Blue Whale, the four seasons, the ant and the elephant, rain, ice, snowflakes, mist, dew, thunder, lightening, gentle breezes and typhoons, dinosaurs and butterflies. "Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, "Thus far shall you come,and no father and here shall your proud waves be stayed." Job 38:8-11. When creation brings tears to your eyes or takes your breath away, thank the Creator!

I thank God for the freedom I have to worship my God, Jesus Christ! I thank Him that I can choose to go to any church I please without fear of reprisal. I thank Him that I can openly have a Bible study anywhere I please, I thank Him with all of my heart for His Word, the Bible and that I can own one or twenty and not have to hide them.

I thank God for my brothers and sisters in Christ, the family of God, what a blessing they are!

I thank God that in Christ I have total peace, fulness of joy and love that is everlasting!! I have forgiveness of sin and eternal life through Jesus Christ!! No I'm not living in some parallel universe, I'm aware of the situation in our country and around the world, painfully aware but to be in Christ is to be in the Eye of the Hurricane, absolute peace in the midst of the most destructive winds swirling all around you! Thank You Lord!!!

I thank God every morning for giving me another today! I'm so thankful for a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes to wear and the freedom to write this blog.

Thank You God for every good and perfect gift in my life. "You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing." Psalm 145:16

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2 NASB

The apparently random encounters in a believers life are not random at all but preordained, orchestrated by your Sovereign God! Therefore, we must open our eyes to the needs of those around us everyday; family members, friends, co-workers, fellow believers, casual acquaintances and yes, total strangers!

We tend to be naturally drawn to people who look and sound just like us, but Jesus' life on earth teaches differently. Consider the woman at the well, (John chapter four) Jesus a Rabbi should not even have talked with her alone, especially a sinful Samaritan woman! Yet their seemingly random encounter was ordained by the Father and Jesus knew that. Jesus will open our eyes to those around us every day that He divinely places in our lives for a purpose. Ask Him and He will open your eyes and give you discernment.

We can always know that we are to make intercession on their behalf to our Lord for that is pleasing in His sight! We are to pray for the one standing in front of us, they are not there by accident. Do we know what to pray? No, but the Holy Spirit within us knows and He will intercede for us on behalf of them with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26-27.

Maybe the person standing in front of you simply needs a word of encouragement, or a kind touch, or a listening ear, listening to one another is almost a lost art. Maybe they need someone to say "may I pray with you right now, right here?" You would be shocked at how many people will take you up on your offer. Don't say "I'll pray for you and walk away, pray right then, with them.

Perhaps their need is material; food, clothing, a place to stay; "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled." without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?" James 2:15-16.

Father God, open my eyes to the needs of people all around me, everyday. Help me to see every one that you bring into my life even briefly as a gift from You, an opportunity for me to be obedient and to love them with Your love, to meet their needs that You reveal to me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"...For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45 ESV

Obsessed; a persistent, idea, desire, or emotion that cannot be gotten rid of by reasoning.

It is easy to recognize obsession, just observe and listen to someone for any length of time and you can recognize their obsession, their passion. Because the Bible says that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. What is in our hearts will come out of our mouths.

Listen carefully, what is coming out of your mouth? Preoccupation with self? Or work, children, your mate, possessions, money? Is the talk about acquiring more or satisfaction with what we have?

We can also hear heart attitude; murmuring, complaining, nothing is ever good enough or thankfulness, kindness, encouragement. Our mouths can minister life or death to another, our mate, our children, our friends, our co-workers. We can build up or tear down, that is the power of our tongues. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it (for death or life)." Proverbs 18:21 Amplified

God can and does look on the heart of a man, but we, if we listen carefully can hear the heart of man.

I have a very dear friend and no matter where we are or what we are doing it doesn't take long before her obsession flows from her heart and out of her mouth. The obsession? Jesus Christ! Her love for Him and for His word is passionate and it is infectious.

If we call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ that is exactly the way we are to be, light and salt in this world. Salt can most definitely be an irritant to some but to others it makes them thirsty for what we have. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16 NASB.

In the coming week may we all be alert as to what is coming out of our mouths. Is it life or death, kindness or complaining?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" Mark 5:39,41.

Sometimes it does indeed feel as though the cares, concerns, trials and worries of life come in like the breakers at high tide.

Wave after wave hits you; some just cause you to sway a little, still others make you weak in the knees, then comes the rogue wave out of nowhere and when it hits you loose your balance. You never even saw it coming, no way to prepare for it. Jesus knows how to rescue His own when they get knocked down, when they start sinking, He immediately stretches out His hand and pulls us up! The storm may not be over but He is with us and we won't drown, He has us by the hand! (Matthew 14:30-31)

Still the waves keep coming and then this creepy, slimy feeling on your legs gets your attention, seaweed! Some waves or trials leave debris behind that we must deal with even when the waters are calm again. We need to cleanse ourselves from that which clings to and defiles us. Maybe the storm is past, but you are left with, depression, self-pity, resentment toward another or even God, unforgiveness may be the slime left over. Wash yourself in the Word and be cleansed! Bet you never thought of the Word of God as soap! Ephesians 5:25-26; "Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word."

In every life there is generally one wave that comes at you that is so powerful that you are literally swept off your feet, powerless to right yourself and you are swept away by the shear force of the current. Those times are the ones where other believers gather round you and literally lift you to safety, by lifting you continually up in prayer before the Father figuratively laying you at the feet of the Father in His throne of grace. Romans 15:30; "Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."

On one occasion, friends of a paralytic man carried their friend to Jesus house and when they couldn't get close because of the crowds, they didn't give up, they climbed up on the roof with their friend and his pallet! They removed the roof tiles and lowered their friend, pallet and all right into the presence of Jesus! And Jesus seeing the friend's faith said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." First things first and then He said, "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." (Mark 2:2-12)

Are you striving on behalf of someone, please don't give up, don't quit praying for in due time you will see your prayers answered. I thank God for the prayers of believers, many a time I was carried in prayer, when I was too sick or rebellious to pray for myself.

Are you struggling right now to keep your self upright and wave after wave keeps battering you? Cry out to Jesus and say, Lord!! Save me!! And the same voice Who spoke peace to the storm will take you by the hand and speak peace to your heart and mind.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world! ( I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.) John 16:33 Amplified.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Don't just listen to God's Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." James 1:22 NLT

John 14:21 is one of the most beautifully profound scriptures in all of scripture; "Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them."

He who has or accepts Jesus commandments, is clearly speaking of believers. We begin with regeneration, the being born again that Jesus talked about in John 3:3-8. We put our faith and trust for salvation not in our works but in and through Jesus Christ alone!

Then we hear the Word on Sundays in church or on TV but we can't stop at just hearing. We have to get into the Bible, the Word of God and read it for ourselves! If you skip this step after being born again, then you will forever remain a baby believer. Your life doesn't change.

Never growing, never living the abundant life! Never knowing who Jesus Christ is in an intimate relationship with Him, never knowing who you are as a believer, ignorant of the promises and commandments of God. Your mind remains the same because it is transformed (Romans 12:2) only through the Word of God and prayer!

The next step after reading and studying the Word is to become doers of the Word. Referring to the obediently keeping His commandments part. We also learn from John 14:21 that Jesus defines love for Him as obedience, not lip service, not just hearing the Word, but applying the Word to our lives by walking in obedience to it.

That is exactly what Jesus did when He walked this earth, thousands of years ago. John 14:31; "I will do what the Father requires of Me, so that the world will know that I love the Father." Our obedience to what Jesus requires of us will show the world that we love Jesus Christ.

Obedience brings the greatest blessing of all, the revelation of Jesus Christ to us, personally! You are introduced to Christ through the gospel or good news, you believe in Him for salvation and you grow in your knowledge of Him as Lord with every act of obedience!

Remember the words of our title scripture? James 1:22, to hear the Word and never do it, is to fool only yourself! The Word of God is His gift to us, to ignore it is foolish, never to know and do it, is to miss out on the most wonderful thing you can experience on this earth, namely a personal, real relationship with your Creator, Savior and Lord.

To know Jesus is to experience and receive His love for you, personally, to know Jesus through His Word is to know peace of heart and mind, to know Jesus is to filled with joy, deep, abiding joy that no darkness, or loss, or trial, or tribulation can ever touch.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from heaven." Hebrews 12:25 ESV.

The human race has so perfected selective hearing that it is now an art form! Husbands and wives not listening to one another, parents and children hear words being said but refuse to listen and respond.

This selective hearing is not confined to the home, it is everywhere; the work place, schools, churches, and at every level in government, city, county, state and federal levels. And this isn't confined to the U.S., look at the uprisings against governments all around the middle east. Everyone is talking, but no one seems to be listening.

I think the rise in email, text, twitter, Facebook, and blogs is flourishing in part because we don't even know how to communicate face to face anymore. Or maybe we just have given up on traditional communication. Or are we are so desperate to be heard that we just want to put it out there and see if anyone in the world is listening? Does anybody truly care?

Failure to listen and respond is culminating in death and destruction. Why does man refuse to listen? Are we so intent in doing things our way, taking control of our own lives that we just tune everyone else out with other views than ours?

What is the cause of wars but wanting and refusing to yield, demanding and refusing to listen. As horrendous as the outcome of wars are they pale in comparison to mankind's refusal to listen to God!

Failure to listen to one another can and does destroy many homes and families and even countries. All of which effect us for the relatively short time that we have on planet earth. Failure to listen to God effects us for all of eternity!

God is speaking all the time; through His Word the Bible, and through His creation. God is calling out to us; sometimes through a gentle whisper and other times through a clap of thunder so loud it vibrates in your heart! Will we respond to His call?

God is speaking is anybody listening? Life is short, eternity is forever...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

In reading the Word of God it is easy to pass right over treasures that are hidden in plain sight. I'm referring to two words in today's title scripture of 2 Corinthians 5:17; in Christ. I could read right past those and never know the depth of meaning contained in them. So today we are going to explore some of those treasures.

In Christ everything about us before Him is gone, the new has come, so quit looking in the rear view mirror. Get on with your life in Christ.

We can be proud of our work for God once we realize that Christ within us is the one who is accomplishing His work through us! We are just the vessel.

Christ has anointed us, put His seal on us and given to us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee of our eternal life with Christ!

We have true freedom in Christ.

We are justified before God by our faith in Christ Jesus.

In Christ we have every, yes, every spiritual blessing!

We are adopted into the family of God through Christ.

In Christ we are redeemed through His blood, He poured out beyond measure His grace when He revealed to us the mystery of His will for us, that is found in and through Christ.

In Christ we have an inheritance waiting for us that is so wonderful, God said we could never ever imagine or even think of what that means! What we do know is that everything God does is good and everything He gives is over the top, lavish!!

The same power that was worked in Christ when He was raised from the dead is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us, His adopted children. Let that get a hold of you!

We were created in Christ Jesus, we are the work of His hands, and He has prepared for each one of us good works! Wow! He even planned our work that He would enable us to do before we ever drew our first breath. In Him we live and move and have our being.

In Christ we were brought near by His blood, He is our peace, and through Him we have access to the Father. Peace with God!

2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 15:17-18, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Galatians 2:4,16, Ephesians 1:3,5,7-8,14,19-20, Ephesians 2:10,13-14,18.

May we never skip over "in Him" casually again. Aren't you thrilled to be in Christ?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine." John 15:8 Amplified

Pleasanton California in the Bay area has one of the best Farmer's markets that I have ever been to. The sights, the sounds, the people, the farmer's, all combine to make it a wonderful experience; yet the draw is always the produce, the fruit, that is what attracts the people to turn out every Saturday!

Jesus says that when we abide or stay in constant connection with Him we will bear much fruit, we can't bear it on our own. Does our fruit draw others?

The Holy Spirit within each born again believer produces nine categories of fruit; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Now I ask you, who wouldn't be drawn to this fruit if it was evident in us as believers?

LOVE a word in the English language that doesn't begin to explain the depth of meaning, but we are given insight into the meaning in 1 Corinthians 13. In part, this love embodies; kindness, no envying, no jealousy, isn't boastful, or conceited, not touchy, pays no attention when it is wronged by another, never keeps track of wrongs done to them.....

JOY not the happiness of the world that depends on circumstances. This is a deep down fullness of joy that is constant no matter what the circumstances are in your life! It completely transcends any worldly happiness, this joy never goes away.

PEACE a gift from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. The counterfeits of the world offer peace but they never, ever deliver. The peace of God is what keeps and guards our hearts and minds in the midst of a world that is rapidly spinning out of control.

PATIENCE this word in today's world of instant gratification seems ludicrous! Yet those who wait upon the Lord learn the value of patience.

KINDNESS when was the last time you even used that word in a sentence? Remember the "random acts of kindness"? The fact that we had it proves how far away we have moved from kindness to one another that we have to create a movement to do it!

GOODNESS if you asked a five year old today would they even know the definition of that word? Ask one today, no, not your own, their answer might just shock you.

FAITHFULNESS another word that you don't hear very much in 2011. What about loyalty, are you loyal to the Lord? Are you loyal in good times and in bad times to anyone? We badly need loyal, faithful people today.

GENTLENESS almost laughable in today's society that feels you must push ahead or be run over! Several years ago there was a term for this mentality, life was called a Rat Race. The truth is the rats never win, it just appears that way.

SELF-CONTROL go to any book store, or on line and you will find thousands of self-help books and people spend millions of dollars for these every year. Groups are even formed to control out of control people with issues too numerous to name. Yet there is a Book, the greatest seller of all time and it embodies truth and when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. We can't set ourselves free but Jesus does!

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him." Colossians 1:10 ESV

The other day in a conversation with a young woman, I shared with her the above verse from Colossians. She replied what is fully pleasing to Him? Great question! And it got me to thinking, what has God revealed to us as the things that are pleasing to Him?

It pleases God when we:

CALL TO HIM Jeremiah 33:3 Don't call out to the world for help, it only disappoints
In prayer, in thanksgiving, in worship, in song, in intercession for others.

COME TO HIM Matthew 11:28-29 Don't seek answers from the world, they don't have them
With our burdens, to rest in Him, to learn from Him.

FOLLOW ME John 12:26 Don't follow the ways of the world, you will get lost
We don't lead, a disciple follows the leading of the Lord.

OBEY ME John 14:15,21 Don't listen to the world, it is opposed to the ways of God
Jesus defines loving Him, as obeying Him, love Me, mind Me!

ABIDE IN ME John 15:5 Don't try to bear fruit on your own, it can't be done
Jesus says that when we abide in Him we bear much fruit and that brings glory to the Father.

FEED ME Matthew 25:35 We are to feed the hungry, the least of these in our family
Jesus says when we do it for the least of these, we have done it to Him.

CLOTHE ME Matthew 25:36a We are to clothe the naked
Jesus so identifies with His body of believers that, doing something for them is doing it
for Him.

VISIT ME Matthew 25:36b We are to visit the sick and those in prison
Jesus heart goes out to the sick and suffering, and also to those who have sinned, don't you love that! Since we are all sinners saved by grace our compassion should always be towards other sinners.

Today Lord may we all walk in a manner that is worthy of You, that pleases Christ in every respect and brings glory to You.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Let everything that has breath, Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!" Psalm 150:6 NASB

Every so often it just seems the right thing to do is just to pause and praise the Lord. Thank Him for everything in our lives.

Thank You LORD for the seasons of the year that You ordained. Thank you especially for fall, for crisp, cool air, the smell of wood burning in fireplaces, and the brilliant color of the leaves, what a landscape You painted this year, Thank You Lord.

Thank You LORD for not giving us what we deserve, thank You that You never leave us alone, You are always with us in good times and in bad times. Thank You Lord for never, ever giving up on us!

Thank You LORD for loving us even when we are unlovable. Thank You LORD that You are always there to pick us up when we fall. You always know when we badly need a hug and You see to it that we get one. You listen when we hurt so bad that we can't speak, all we can do is cry.

You are always encouraging us, never condemning us. You cheer us on in our trials and comfort our hearts when we are sad. Your all sufficient grace toward us is all we ever need no matter what we face. Thank You LORD for hearing our prayers and always answering even when we don't like the answer we know down deep you always give us the best, what is good. Thank You LORD for loving us enough to say no.

Thank You LORD for today, all of Your grace is available to us today. Thank You LORD for giving me today; may I make the very most of it and do that which is pleasing in Your sight.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had alredy been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you wish to get well?" John 5:6 NASB

At first glance we might read this account in the gospel of John and ask ourselves, Why would Jesus ask such a strange question? But now read the man's reply to Jesus in John 5:7; "The sick man answered Him, Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." The man's reply is even stranger than Jesus question appeared to be. Instead of replying to the One who could heal him that he wanted to be healed, he gave excuses as to why it hadn't already happened! Jesus paid no attention to the man's response, "Jesus said to him, Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." John 5:8. And he did, fully healed!

Over the years doctors are discovering what Jesus knew all along, some disease is brought on in our physical bodies by emotional problems that have never been dealt with. For instance there are definite correlations between; unforgiveness, hatred, guilt, worry, jealousy, and fear to dis--ease in our minds and bodies. Sadly we sometimes cling to the very things that are making us sick because we feel powerless over them. If you don't believe that consider the cases of cirrhosis of the liver, bleeding ulcers, stress headaches, addictions that can lead to all kinds of related physical illnesses etc.

Our Lord Jesus is the only One that knows what lies within us, the things that are hidden from us. And He is the only One who can remove them from our lives, sins that we have lived with for so long that we have grown attached to them without even realizing it. Or they are sins that we are powerless over, and we are prisoners inside our own bodies.

There is hope, there is help for each one of us and His name is Jesus Christ! Read this prophecy from Isaiah concerning Jesus, Isaiah 61:1; "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon Me, for the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed."

The Lord Jesus is all about setting us free, free from sin, free from bondage to anything or anyone, free from lies, free to love Him and worship Him and to experience the Abundant Life that He promises. "...I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10.

We may not be paralyzed, we may not be in prison, but we all have need of Jesus, unless of course you are already living the abundant life as defined by Christ by putting your faith, trust and hope in Him. Maybe you are a believer but you know you aren't living abundantly, then do business with God today. Go to Him today in prayer, enter into His throne of grace and find help in your time of need. He will hear your voice.

If you aren't satisfied with your life surrender it to Christ, ask Him to take over your life and please don't put it off, do it today. Today may be all we have, we are never promised a tomorrow. "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." Hebrews 4:7.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"And Jesus said to him, If You can? All things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23 NASB

The above scripture in Mark was Jesus' response to a man who said to Jesus, "Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute." "And He asked his father, How long has this been happening to him? And he said, From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us." (Mark 9:17,21-22). Then in Mark 9:25, "When Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You deaf and mute spirit, I command you come out of him and do not enter him again."

Everywhere Jesus went He performed miracles but when He returned to His home town of Nazareth, Scripture says in Matthew 13:58; "And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief."

Jesus Christ is the same today as He was over 2000 years ago when He lived and walked on the face of this earth and the only thing that ever prevented Him from meeting the needs of the multitudes was their lack of faith. It never was and never will be His inability to perform miracles. Hebrews 11:6; "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

When we come to Him in prayer, with faith, it pleases Him and honors Him and He hears every prayer of those who seek Him. Psalm 34:15, 17-19; "The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all." Wow! Do we ever need to hear those words in the world we are living in today. What encouraging words!!

What is it that you need from the Lord? What is preventing you from seeking Him regarding that need? Perhaps you like the father of the boy in Mark need to cry out to the Lord, "I do believe, help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24).

Does your faith need to grow? Time spent in the Word of God is the best source you will ever find for building your faith. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:17). Show me a person who spends time in God's Word daily, one who meditates on it, one who doesn't just hear it but one who does it and I will show you a person of faith!

We never test the resources of God until we request the impossible, impossible to man, never impossible to God! (Luke 18:27). Honor God with the enormity of your requests!! Don't project your limitations onto God, that is what causes us to doubt, when we bring God down to our level of understanding. How absurd, the created shrinking the Creator down to their level. If this describes what you are doing, then your idea of God is causing you enormous problems!

Read and behold your God, El Shaddai, the LORD God Almighty!!! Job chapter 38, read Isaiah 40:10-31, Isaiah 44:24-28, Isaiah 45:5-7, 12, 18-19, 21-24.

Always remember that faith coming from the heart and out of the mouth of one of God's children is always pleasing to Him. That knowledge alone should prompt everyone of us to seek Him, seek Him in His Word and our faith will soar and our lives will bring glory to God.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19 NASB

To set the scene for the allegory that I am writing we must first visit Jerusalem where Jesus is and read what happened and why when He entered the temple. John 2:14-17.

"And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business. His disciples remembered that it was written, ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." (The capitalized portion is a quote from the Old Testament, Psalm 69:9.)

Life application; Jesus was consumed with zeal, as He is, so also must I be. Supporting scriptures; Ezra 7:23 NASB; "Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done with zeal..." Romans 12:11 Amplified; "Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord."

Now to the allegory;
Jesus drove out the money changers, with zeal. They had no place in God's temple.
Lord show me the things in my body that have no place in Your temple, and I will be zealous in driving them out through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Most of this concerns those things we take in through our eyes and ears.

Jesus declared that His Father's house should be a house of prayer.
Lord God you have commanded us to pray with out ceasing, ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Through the power of Your Holy Spirit may my temple be a temple of prayer.

Jesus on many occasions went to the temple to teach and to read the Word. (Luke 4:17-22).
My temple must be filled with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who is my Teacher will guide me into the truth of the Word. (John 14:26). If I view my body as various rooms, I desire to fill every square inch of space with the Holy Scriptures! Rooms full of Light, shining out to others and glorifying to God!

Jesus said that we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
My temple is a place where I sing and make music unto the Lord, a place where I worship my Creator, my Redeemer, My Savior and Lord. It is a place of thanksgiving and joy.

Jesus clears unclean spirits from the temple. (Mark 1:23-27).
A believer cannot be possessed by demons, yet we have lies from the devil that we believe in our heads, we have been desensitized by the world's view coming thru TV, internet, movies, etc. Father reveal to me the evil things within me that I am not even aware of that I may be set free. I want a clean temple. (Psalm 139:23-24) (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus went to the temple to minister to His people.
The most precious thing about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit is that Jesus communes and meets with us there, right where we are. Just think of that, allow that truth to sink into the very core of your being.

Jesus Christ meets with you in intense and intimate ways when you seek His face. "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD..." Jeremiah 29:12-14. Amen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." Matthew 16:27 NASB

Deed, from the Greek ergon; to do, work, action, behavior, effectual, labor, task.

Jesus spoke of this judgment of deeds that is coming in John 3:19-21; "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds would be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, then your sins are forgiven, because in Christ they are taken away, never again to be remembered by God. There will not be a judgment for sins in the body of Christ, the church, for Jesus Christ is our propitiation.

There is a judgment for deeds, and as the title scripture says, the Son of Man will repay every man. It reads this way in the Amplified version; "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done."

We are given insight as to what this accounting for deeds looks like in the book of Revelation. Jesus Christ in His resurrected, glorified body sends seven letters to the churches in various locations and His summations of their deeds apply to the church today in 2011 in various locations around the world. Please carefully and prayerfully read the following, asking God to reveal to you which apply to your life. Because of space I won't write out all of them but I will list the references so that you can read them for yourself.

Revelation 2:2-5 "I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first..."

Revelation 2:9-10 "I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)... Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."

Revelation 2:13-16
Revelation 2:19-23 "All the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds."

Revelation 3:1-3 "...I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you."

Revelation 3:8,10 "I know your deeds. Behold I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."

Revelation 3:15-17, 19 "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Please pray for the body of Christ around the world.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." John 4:10 NASB continued

Continued from Saturday's post on November 5th. John chapter 4.

11a. (verse 19) As Jesus reveals her sinful state to her, she begins to really "see" this Rabbi she has been talking to. She now believes He is a prophet. Life application; The closer I get to Holy Jesus the more aware I become of my own sinful state, but not in a condemning way.
11b. (verse 19) The dialogue begins in earnest, seeking has begun on the woman's part. God initiates and then we are free to speak.
12. (verses 21-24) Jesus reveals spiritual truths regarding worship and the Father. Jesus doesn't speak to the woman in parables but as He does to His disciples. In effect Jesus is treating her as one who has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Supporting scripture Matthew 13:11; "Jesus answered them, To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted." Life application; Worship, true worship is not possible with out knowing the truth of Who you are worshiping. Life application; The part of me that is created in God's image is my spirit, God is spirit and it is my spirit that truly worships Him. (Beware of any fleshly shows in worship)
13. ( vs 26) Jesus clearly, plainly reveals Himself as Messiah, He who is called the Christ!!! As far as scripture is concerned this is the first time Jesus reveals Himself with His true identity Messiah and it is to a sinful Samaritan woman! Life application; When I share Jesus with someone, I must never allow prejudices or traditions of man to get in the way!
14. (vs 27) Jesus own disciples wondered why He was speaking to the Samaritan woman, yet none of them would dare question Him. Life application; I have so very, very much to learn from my Lord Jesus and I learn through the Scriptures! Why did He speak with her? First and foremost because the Father had given her to Jesus. Supporting scripture John 10:29; "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." And secondly look at what a bold witness she is...
15. (verses 28-30) She immediately leaves her waterpot (she doesn't care about that water, she has just tasted of the Living Water) and goes into the city and tells all the men, "Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?" She was so persuasive that people followed her out of the city to Jesus. Life application; When we know Jesus, two things should follow; worship and witnessing! Supporting scriptures; "Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you. And he said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him."" John 9:37-38. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses..." Acts 1:8.

16. (verses 31-34) Jesus told His disciples that He has food to eat that they don't know about. They are confused and He explains to them; "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." Wow!! Life application; Living and walking in God's will is nourishment to my soul!
17. (verses 35-38) God's harvest field of lost souls has never been whiter, they are ready for harvesting. Are you sowing, watering, or reaping? Already God's workers are receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life. Supporting scripture, 1 Corinthians 3:7-8; "So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor."
18. (vs 39) Many believed in Jesus because of the Samaritan woman's testimony about Him. If we are believers in Jesus Christ we too have the testimony within us, we too have a story to tell about what Jesus is doing in our lives. Life application; May I share with you what Jesus Christ has done in my life? Supporting scripture 1 John 5:10; "The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself..."
19. (vs 40) The witness of a single, sinful, Samaritan woman yielded a two day harvest for Jesus Christ! Jesus remained there for two days, preaching and teaching. Life application; I have the testimony of what Jesus Christ is doing in my life, how many lives could I impact for the Kingdom of God? Lord I want to be active in Your harvest fields, open doors of opportunity for me, grant me divine appointments. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
20. (verses 41-42) Many believed because of the woman's testimony, then when they heard the words of Jesus they discovered for themselves and knew that Jesus, this One is indeed the Savior of the world! Life application; My testimony can bring them to Jesus, and His Words, the Scriptures can take them all the way to know Jesus, and to understand for themselves that He is indeed the Savior of the World!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."" John 4:10 NASB

I absolutely love the Word of God! I love it for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is that it gives me insight into my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacobs well is so rich with insights, and life applications. Please open your Bible to chapter four of John and read along with me, I am using the NASB. I will share what I discovered and will note the verse that I am referencing with each life application and or truth revealed.

1.(verse 6) Opportunities for witnessing rarely come when we are looking for them, or when we feel like witnessing, so we must always be ready. [Supporting scripture, 1 Peter 3:15; "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
2.(verse 7) God always takes the initiative in calling out to sinners. [Supporting scripture, John 15:16; "You did not choose Me but I chose you..."]
3.(verse 9) God is never bound by the traditions and prejudices of mankind and neither should I allow worldly ways to restrict what God would have me to do. [Supporting scripture, Matthew 15:3; "And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?""
4.(verse 10) Jesus got right to the point with this woman and He offered her His grace immediately, nothing required on her part but acceptance just as He does today in 2011! The life application, I can share the Good News with a total stranger and the power of the gospel will bring them to Christ. I have experienced this in real life, it is true, God is true to His Word!!
5.(verses 11-12) She "heard" what He was saying and responded with an inquiry, keeping the dialogue open between them.

6.(verses 13-14) Jesus full of mercy and grace, humbly, patiently and kindly begins to open her mind and give to her understanding. (Supporting scripture, Romans 2:4; "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"
7.(verse 15) She responds to His offer of living water and asks for it. [Supporting scripture, Matthew 7:7; "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you."]
8.(verse 16) Jesus tests her heart (Supporting scripture, Deuteronomy 8:16; "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end."
9.(verse 17a) She doesn't play games with Jesus she is honest. Life application time...
10.(verse 18) Jesus then begins ever so gently and mercifully to reveal the sinful state of her soul, not to condemn but so that she might be saved. Life application, I must approach the lost as Jesus did, not condemning them but showing His love and mercy to them.

This concludes the first half of the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. The ending will be posted on Monday November 7. I never post on Sundays, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." Galatians 6:7 NASB

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God also created the animals, man and woman and fish and fowl, sun and moon, oceans and land, stars and planets, everything that was brought into being was brought into being through Him. (John 1:3) He also gave mankind plants that yield seed for reproduction and trees that yield fruit with seeds for producing the same fruit. (Genesis 1:29) God created them and determined how they would endure so as to always provide food for mankind as well as the animals. And He gave His promise; "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Summer and winter, Day and night Shall not cease," Genesis 8:22.

You don't have to be a farmer to know that the type of seed you plant will determine the crop you yield! We know that if you plant corn you will harvest corn not potatoes, if you plant tomatoes you will not harvest peas. Sounds silly doesn't it? Everyone understands that you reap what you plant, you get what you sow. What many of us do not realize is that God's law of sowing and reaping also applies beyond vegetation! It applies to all of mankind.

The popular saying; what goes around comes around, is based on God's law of sowing and reaping. In 1 Kings 2:32, 44 we are given an example of how sowing and reaping applies to people. "The LORD will return his blood on his own head, because he fell upon two men more righteous and better than he and killed them with the sword..." "The king also said to Shimei, "You know all the evil which you acknowledge in your heart, which you did to my father David; therefore the LORD shall return your evil on your own head."

Life application; know that the good or the bad that we do to others will come back to us. So sow that which you wish to harvest! Do you need forgiveness? Then you forgive others. Do you need encouragement? You give encouragement to others. Are you lonely? Reach out to others that are lonely. We reap what we sow. What are you sowing?

The following verse is taken from the context of what we give monetarily to the Lord's work. I.E., tithe to the church you attend, giving to missionary work around the world, Billy Graham Evangelical Association as an example, or whatever God leads you to sow your money into. Please seek the Lord for there are many voices out there in the world that seek your money for their gain, so make your giving a matter of prayer, between you and the Lord. Learn this truth about giving, sowing your money; "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. We will never ever, out give God, the more we give to His work the more He will provide to us that we may keep on giving!

This morning in my quiet time I came across the following verses that prompted today's post. "Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way..." Hosea 11:12-13.

Life application; When we sow righteousness, that which God shows us in His Word, we reap kindness, so break up the remaining hard ground of your heart and seek the LORD. Trusting in man and doing life our way, apart from God, reaps injustice and we eat the fruit of lies that will never satisfy.

"Do not be deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." Galatians 6:7-8.

Are you thinking right now, well I've done this or that and I haven't reaped or harvested what I sowed? Or maybe you are thinking of people who have really lived for themselves and as far as you can tell they haven't reaped what they sowed? Remember this; God alone determines the time of our individual harvests, and they will come. What He has predetermined will come to pass, for He acts and who can ever reverse it? No one!!

And to those who are living their lives, sowing righteousness into others, He encourages them with these words from Galatians 6:9-10; "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to those in the family of faith."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"If you love Me, obey My commandments." John 14:15 NLT

Years ago I wrote a bible study named Call To Me. Call to Me is a topical study consisting of 17 chapters and one of the chapter headings is, If You Love Me, Mind Me!

I share a story about my youngest son Mike and a brief conversation we had when he was about four years old. It was very brief but I remember it as if it happened yesterday, I remember where we were and what I was doing when it happened. The things that are really important are etched forever in our memories and this was one of those times. I was preparing dinner and I asked my boys to go pick up their toys and put them away before dinner. Later Mike came in the kitchen and I asked him, "did you pick up your toys?" He came over put his little arms around my leg and looked up at me with that grin that lights up a room, and still does and he said, "I love you Mommy." To which I replied, "If you love me, mind me." The words had not even left my tongue when the thought came to me that is what God says to His children in His Word! "If you love Me, obey My commandments." John 14:15. Life application time!

God used both of my sons to teach me valuable truths from His Word. On another occasion, Tony was about 3 and he was playing at my feet in the living room. He was really struggling with a toy that he couldn't operate. I offered to help but he just kept struggling growing increasingly frustrated, finally at the point of tears he gave me the toy. Again the Lord showed me that He watches His children struggle and cry over the problems they are dealing with and He is waiting and watching all the while, He wants to fix it but we don't bring it to Him! Sadly He is too often our last resort instead of our first. Again Life application!

For almost 10 years I have daily read Oswald Chambers devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, what a blessing it is. And today's entry November 2 is hands down my favorite of the 365 devotionals. It is about obedience.

It is my favorite for I know it to be true because I have experienced the blessings of obedience in my life! John 14:21 is one of my favorites; "Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them." Wow!!

Jesus modeled the way for all believers by His obedience to His heavenly Father, His obedience was an obedience unto death. John 14:31; "So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me."

Jesus said in Matthew 15:7-8; "You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you; 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.'" We can give lip service to God all day long telling Him we love Him but our hearts come into alignment with His when we show Him our love through obedience. And as promised in John 14:21, our obedience shows our love for Him and He will reveal Himself to us!

Enough said......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"" John 11:40 NASB

John 11:25-26 says; "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" Now carefully read Martha's response; "She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world." John 11:27.

Martha believed that Jesus was the Son of God, even that He was the Christ, but she didn't answer His question, she fell short of the whole truth that He was proclaiming to her. This Jewish lady was having a conversation with not only her Rabbi and friend, she was face to face with; I AM WHO I AM from the book of Moses, the Resurrection and the Life was standing before her and she didn't recognize Him. She missed His offer to take her deeper.

On one occasion the disciples were in a terrible storm at sea and Jesus was asleep in the boat, they woke Him up fearing for their lives, they did not know that the Prince of Peace was on the boat with them! The disciples on the road to Emmaus listened to the stranger walking with them explain all of the Scriptures from Moses thru the Prophets regarding the Messiah, and their hearts burned within them. Yet they did not recognize the Living Word as He proclaimed the written Word regarding Him, Christ the Messiah! When Jesus asked His disciples to give the multitude something to eat, they did not know that the One who was asking was the Bread of life come down from Heaven! Jesus was offering to take them deeper.

All of these knew Jesus, they knew He was the Son of God but their revelation of Him was very limited. It causes me to consider my own life, yes I believe Jesus is the Son of God, I too believe that He is my Savior and that I have eternal life through Him! That knowledge is but the beginning of our life long discovery into the mystery and magnitude of our Lord Jesus Christ!! There is so much more; to know, to learn, to discover, to discern, so much more to love, so much more to measure and unfold is this Savior of ours!!

Using the allegory of the believer's life in Christ as a race; then the starters gun sounds the second we are born again through faith in Christ Jesus. If you stop there you are saved but you are missing the entire race that God has planned and designed just for you! But to run the race you must seek to know the Lord Jesus with all of your heart, you must seek Him daily in studying the Word and in prayer. Jesus not only equips us to run the race, He will be with us every step of the way. He leads, we follow, that is the way it is!

Don't settle for anything less than discovering God's will for your life and living it! Martha missed what Jesus was proclaiming to her because she stopped listening when He attempted to take her beyond what she knew. Don't settle for shallow, follow Jesus to the deep end, you will never, ever regret your decision.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 ESV

Have you ever listened to your words? I mean really and truly paid attention to the confession of your mouth. Our words tell a lot about us, the Bible says our words reflect our hearts. Our words are powerful to speak life or to speak death to another. (Proverbs 18:21) Many years ago there was a popular saying; Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. What an outrageous lie! Try telling that to the five year old that hears from his or her parents, "you're so stupid, you can't do anything right, why can't you be like...." Or tell that to the grieving parents of teenagers who committed suicide rather than live another day as a target for vicious lies and ridiculing words as a result of bullying!

The words of a fool are easy to spot; dirty jokes, mocking, critical comments about others, liars, flattering, insincere words, gossipers, angry, cutting words, cussing, taking the Lord's name in vain etc. These are easy to spot but what about; negative, murmuring, complaining, self-pitying words, self-deprecating words, self-righteous words, what about these? They too are easy to recognize to the one listening but too often the one speaking doesn't even hear what they are saying or even know that their words are offensive not just to others, like their children but also to the Lord! Even believers are not above occasionally speaking like a fool, but as with any sin we dare not make it a life style.

Who wants to hang out with someone who is always complaining, nothing is ever right, nothing is ever good enough in their world, they soil everyone who has the misfortune to cross paths with them. They sabotage their own happiness! And the happiness of their family members, fellow workers and friends.

On the other hand people are drawn to people who are loving and kind with their words not in a flattering, phoney way but sincerely, truthfully. Their focus is not always on themselves, they encourage and build up those who are around them. How do they do it, what makes the difference?

The difference is knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord but it doesn't stop there, that is only the beginning, they grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Him because daily they spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer!! And daily quiet time with the Lord makes all the difference, for the Word is truth, the Word transforms our minds, the Word puts hope, peace and joy in our hearts and that in turn changes our words, the confession of our mouths!

For example;
"Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction." Proverbs 18:20
"But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising Him to everyone." Psalm 109:30
"My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare Your glory all day long." Psalm 71:7-8
"My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge." Psalm 71:15
"In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Lord I confess that the words of my mouth are not always pleasing to You, forgive me Lord and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. May my tongue be a living fountain filled with Your words that bring life and hope, healing and forgiveness, peace and joy in a world that desperately needs to hear Good News. In Jesus name I pray. Amen