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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins!" Matthew 1:21 NLT

Why is it that Christmas is the best of times? Because Immanuel came to earth and tabernacled among men, God was with us! The Light of the world descended onto the earth that He created and that is now filled with darkness. The Prince of Peace came into confusion, chaos, fear and anxiety. Holiness willingly descended into sin, depravity and evil. The Way came so that all who would believe in Him might come to Him and know Him. The Life came so that all who would believe might have eternal life and have it abundantly in and through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Absolute Sovereignty came to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, to comfort all who mourn, to bind up the brokenhearted and bring good news to the afflicted. The Resurrection came so that all who believe and put their trust in Jesus Christ will live even if they die, and everyone who lives and believes will never die. The Lamb of God came to earth to die in our place for our sins, He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of Christ. Jesus Christ is coming again to rule and reign forever and that hope is why Christmas is the very best of times!

Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years to everyone! This will be the last post of 2011 and God willing the daily posts will resume January 6, 2011.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Our Lord Jesus Christ...though He was rich, yet for your sakes became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9 NASB

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of Christ looked like? I have and since I love the Word of God I decided to piece together the snippets of Jesus' activities during His three year public ministry from all of the gospels to provide a composite picture of a day in the life of our Lord. I hope it ministers to you as much as it did to me.

Jesus rises before dawn and without awakening His disciples He slips away into the hills. Jesus travels alone to be alone with His heavenly Father and to seek the Father's face and His will for the day that is just beginning. This is the norm for Jesus, beginning His day in prayer, seeking direction as to what He was to do, where He was to go, receiving everything He would need for the day, God's all sufficient grace which is available to all not just to the Son of God.

For Jesus knew better than most of us the brevity of His time on earth and He did not waste one minute of it.

Then His disciples and the rest of the crowd that followed Jesus everywhere found Him and they all set out on those dusty back roads in Israel. They ate lunch in the grain fields this day, picking the grain and eating it as they went and we thought we had invented fast food!

As they drew close to the next little village the crowd that always seemed to be able to communicate Jesus' comings and goings was working well this day and very quickly a large crowd gathered around this amazing new Rabbi to hear what He would say, for He spoke with power and authority as no one ever had.

Jesus, heart full of love and compassion for the crowd stopped and opened His mouth to pour forth love, wisdom and life to the people. He taught for hours and then He would heal all those who came to Him. The lame, deaf, blind, demon possessed, lepers, the living and the dead! He touched and spoke to every broken body and spirit and made them whole. Weary, He left the crowds, His disciples, and once again alone He went to be with His Father. He prayed for hours sometimes all night but on this night on the fourth watch He returned to be with His sleeping disciples. And like many other nights, on this night His bed was again on the earth and His own arm was His pillow.

A life of prayer, obedience, fellowship, discipling, ministry, and prayer. A life filled with rejection, love, tribulation, peace, sadness, great joy, humility and exultation. We thank God for this life, glorify God for this life, and honor God by modeling our lives after His life.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Which of the two did the will of his Father?" Mattew 21:31 NASB

Within the parable of two sons lie lessons for all of mankind regarding our responses to the Living God. The Father approaches the first son and orders him to go work today in the vineyard. The son answered I will not. But afterward he regretted it and went to the vineyard. His first response was open rebellion against his Father, He refused in his Fathers face to obey. We aren't told how much time passed before he had cause to regret his action and turn in obedience to his Father's command.

Many of us mimic this sons actions, we live our lives in open rebellion to many of our heavenly Father's commands. Those commands may inconvenience us or we have other plans, or we just plain refuse because we don't want to do what God is asking. Sometimes we even convince ourselves that it applies to everyone else but not to us. As in witnessing for Jesus.

The Holy Spirit's work in the life of a believer will cause us to regret and repent of our rebellious ways. We do not know how much time is required from the believer and what God is doing in their life. Make no mistake "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to cause godly sorrow that leads us to repent. We must heed His call or our hearts will become hardened.

The second son responded immediately, "I will, Sir"; but he failed to go. How many times do we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, "I will sir"; But never come through? What about our commitments to the people of God. Does our word mean anything, do people know that if we start something we can be counted on to finish it?

Do we ask the Lord to direct our steps so that we know where and to what we are to commit? "When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow." Ecclesiastes 5:4.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" Luke 24:39 NASB

Jesus asked the above question to His disciples when He appeared to them following His resurrection. They were startled and frightened; they thought they were seeing a spirit. These were the inner circle who lived and traveled with Jesus during all of His earthly ministry but the cross happened and they were still dealing with that. Jesus had told them what would happen to Him in Jerusalem but they could not grasp what He was telling them, it was beyond their level of understanding, way beyond.

If the Lord's chosen were troubled and had doubts then we believers in the 21st century are subject to doubt as well. We get into trouble when we try to make God fit into our level of understanding and the problem is our level can never ever begin to contain Him! At times we pray, trying to dictate to Him, the great I AM how we want Him to answer our prayers, how utterly ludicrous! God is all wisdom, omniscient, He is everywhere, omnipresent, He is all powerful, omnipotent! Why do we try to tell Him anything?

No offense to mothers, I am one, but it seems we are especially prone to try and guide God's plan for our children, thinking of course that we know best. Praise God He will never be dictated to and in His love He gently reminds us that as much as we love our children, our love can never even come close to His love for our children! After all He was the one that gifted us with our children, praise God for these precious gifts!

We become troubled and rightly so when we refuse to go to Him for help, thinking we can handle our lives and everyone of our family's lives on our own. Doubts arise when we don't know His Word the Bible, when we aren't in prayer except when we think we are in trouble over our heads and then we wonder why we doubt? Some people get saved, born again and think that is all there is, well that is just the beginning. They are missing the most important thing, relationship with Jesus Christ! Jesus desires intimate relationship with His own, daily reading His Word to hear from Him, to grow in our wisdom and knowledge of Him, and then praying back to Him what concerns us, thanking Him and worshiping Him.

Jesus longs to reveal Himself to us, we need to make Him the number one priority in our lives and He will take care of all of our other relationships and make them even better! Because He makes us better! He wants to transform your life, are you available to Him? He wants to be involved in every area of your life, will you let Him in?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all." James 1:17 AMP

It is now one week before Christmas, six shopping days remaining for those of you that like the hustle and bustle of last minute buying, to say nothing of the deeper discounts on items that can save you money. Or maybe you are one that purchases your Christmas gifts and has them all wrapped by the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was never one of those!

Actually one of my favorite Christmases was when my sons were little and we didn't have very much to spend on gifts, so I bought the toys that the boys wanted and bought them outfits that I wanted for them and I made all the rest of the presents. Baked cookies, and homemade bread for friends from church, knitted my husband a cable knit sweater, did a crewel embroidery of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, my family and Mom and Dad loved the gifts because they knew the time and love that was behind every gift. If I had all the money in the world to buy anything I wanted it wouldn't have been as special because it didn't cost me my love or my time.

Yet we will never match our Lord when it comes to gift giving. Jesus gave us life through His death on a cross. Jesus gave us forgiveness and took our sins. Jesus poured out His life and His love on a world that ignored Him, on those that rejected and mocked Him, and yes on those who crucified Him.

And His gifts which are over the top lavish just keep coming to those who put their faith and trust in Him. Imagine this Christmas morning seeing gifts, beautifully wrapped under the tree and the card on each one has your name on it. Go ahead, open them; PEACE (you won't find that at Bloomingdales,Tiffany or Harrods) JOY (deep down that can't be touched by sorrow, pain or trials) LOVE (unconditional, nothing can separate you from this love) FAITH (this gift is the key to all the other gifts) THE HOLY SPIRIT (God within you, forever and ever) ETERNAL LIFE WITH CHRIST (everyone lives eternally but relatively few live eternally with Christ) LIGHT (God rescues us from the domain of darkness and we share our inheritance with all other believers in the Light)!

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, yet we give gifts to one another! Is there anything we can give our Savior, our Messiah? Yes!! We can share Jesus Christ with others that do not know Him!! This is good, pleasing and acceptable in His sight that we tell others the Good News, that we introduce them to the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas!!! Joy to the world the Lord has come let earth receive her King, let every heart prepare Him room.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere." Acts 1:8 NLT

Do you have a heart for the lost? Do you weep over people that do not know Jesus as Lord? Jesus wept over Jerusalem, Jesus left heaven and came to earth to save the lost. He laid down His life for the world, so that all who believe might be saved from their sins and reconciled to God!

If you are a believer reading this, you owe your salvation to Christ alone! Salvation is a free gift from God, we are completely unable to save ourselves, works won't get us to heaven, salvation is a gift of God's grace. He called you, convicted you, He made sure you heard the good news of Jesus Christ and He heard your prayer to Him and saved you completely! He forgave all your sins, never to be remembered or brought up again, He poured out His unconditional love into your heart and He sealed you with His Holy Spirit!!!

And what does He ask in return? We are to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. We are to love one another as ourselves. We are to obey His commands, that is how we prove our love for Him and His command to every believer is today's title verse. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere."

Jesus left heaven to save us. Are we willing to cross the street to share the good news with our neighbor? Jesus laid down His life for us. Are we willing to pick up the phone, write a letter, make a lunch or dinner date with someone we know is lost? Jesus was rejected by men, He was beaten, He was mocked and He endured the shame of the cross to save us. Are you so prideful that you would rather stand by and say nothing to someone who is on their way to hell rather than risk their mockery or rejection? Jesus said if you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father. (Matthew 10:33).

Are we willing to fall on our knees in prayer on behalf of someone who is unwilling or unable to cry out on their own? As wondrous as it seems Jesus has entrusted every believer with the privilege and responsibility to share Him with others in our world, wherever our world may be.

Please resolve today to be obedient to start sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, to tell others what a difference Christ has made in your life. One of the greatest joy's you will ever experience on this earth is the joy of sharing, and praying with another soul to know Jesus Christ and to be born again. That is the one and only thing you can take with you to heaven.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45 NASB

Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables but to His disciples He spoke so that they might have understanding. If you are a born again child of God He wills that you not only read His Word but that through the power of the Holy Spirit, that you understand the Word. The Word is where we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And Jesus told His disciples in John 14:26; "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."

So we know the Holy Spirit is the One who inspired the Word of God to be written, we know that He dwells within us when we are born again, we are sealed by Him, and we know that Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach all things. Do you believe God's Word, the Bible? Then before reading His Word ask for understanding, it is a book unlike any other, it was inspired by our Infinite God and given to finite man, so apart from Him we can not comprehend the Word. Ask for enlightenment every time you read it even if you have been reading it for over 50 years plus.

The Word of God is a gift of God's grace that is beyond measure, it gives to those who seek and it is the only mirror that you ever need concern yourself with, for it reveals our true selves as we immerse ourselves in the truth. Jesus prayed this in John 17:17; "Sanctify them in the truth, Your Word is truth." Scripture does not reflect truth, Scripture is the embodiment of truth! As we immerse ourselves in it's pages we learn about our Lord Jesus Christ, we renew our minds through the Word, we discover what "the unfolding of Your Word gives light" means!

Scripture is the revealed heart of God, His love for us, His holy character, His plans for His children, the events that have yet to take place, the hundreds and hundreds of prophecies that have already been fulfilled, it is wisdom and knowledge, it is encouraging, uplifting, it convicts us of sin, it is the light unto our path and it will absolutely change your life!!! Open the Word expecting to meet with the LORD, expecting Him to speak to you from its pages, He will take you places you never in your wildest imaginations could ever conceive. You will never know Jesus your Savior until you know the Word. O, taste and see the Lord is good, nothing else will ever satisfy your soul like He does, O, Lord make us a people of one Book!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"And as they led Him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross and made him carry it behind Jesus." Luke 23:26 Amplified

A believer's obedience to Christ Jesus and His commands will always cost others. The cost may be monetary certainly but there are also costs that are emotional, or as the case in the title scripture reveals, physical costs that accompany another's obedience.

For example, Billy Graham's obedience to God's call on his life to be an evangelist around the world cost his wife Ruth and their children, for there were years that he was away from home for weeks and months at a time. God's call on His man also was a call on his wife and children.

The crusades cost millions of dollars to organize and believers and even non believers paid as God prompted them to do so. Time and prayer prior to the crusade required hundreds if not thousands of volunteer's giving of their time, money and just as important their prayers. Each one doing their part as God directed them.

Jesus' obedience to the Father cost His followers financial support, as the Son of Man had no where to lay His head. (Matthew 8:20) His obedience required others to provide lodging and food for Jesus and His disciples. His obedience to come to earth brought joy to the world, but pain, and tension, to others that had their lives turned upside down by this Man from Galilee; the moneychangers in the temple lost their income, the scribes and Pharisees were exposed for the self-righteous hypocrites they truly were, no one who ever saw or heard Him left unchanged. Some were hardened with that encounter, others were changed forever for good. His disciples and followers left family, home, and work behind, never looking back just to be with Jesus, it cost them everything. And when Jesus obedience took Him to death on a cross for the sins of the whole world, this resulted in extreme anguish of soul in the hearts of His mother Mary and all of His followers. Praise God, death could not hold Life, the grave could not keep Him!!!

Mission trips cost a great deal of money and praise God so many are willing to go and yet very few can go without financial support, and all will need prayer support. That is the way God designed things to work, all of us working together to accomplish His kingdom work on earth. God receives the glory and we are humbled because we cannot do anything on our own that will be of lasting value.

"Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a cross." Philippians 2:8. Read what happens as a result of His obedience and what it will cost others in Philippians 2:9-11.

One way or another our obedience to the Lord always requires something from others. This brings us together in unity, this wisdom from God allows us all to serve Him by supporting one another in the call on their individual lives, be it money, prayer, time, teaching, or discipling. We are in this together, praise God for His body of believers!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"But He answered them, you give them something to eat!" Mark 6:37 NASB

Have you ever read this account of the miracle of feeding the multitudes and considered what possible relevance this could have for your life? Child of God, everything in God's Word has application for us today! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." When Scripture says 'all' that is exactly what it means! So what can we learn from this portion of Scripture?

Jesus asked His disciples to go, look, find out what their resources were and then bring the resources back to Him. The resources they found were, five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand men not including the women and children! Don't you imagine the disciples felt woefully inadequate in bringing these meager supplies? They did not yet know that their Rabbi who was standing in front of them, Jesus Christ was, the Bread of Life, come down from heaven!

These disciples did not yet know the truth found in 2 Corinthians 3:5; "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God." Wow what a profound truth and when we grasp that truth it changes everything, we realize that this life in Christ that we are living is not to be done in our strength, power and wisdom, praise God!! When we are born again it is no longer we who live but Christ lives in us, He is our strength, power and wisdom to do all that He commands of us!

God intentionally places us in situations where we know we cannot do what He is asking us to do! The disciples knew they didn't have what it would take to feed this multitude of people. God is placing us in those situations so that He will receive the glory, because we will know it is not us accomplishing the task but rather God in us! God knows all too well we cannot do anything of kingdom quality work apart from Him, He knows that and He is patiently teaching us. Jesus wanted His disciples and believers of today to know that when He commands the impossible we are to follow His command by faith and He will accomplish it through us. And we will discover that He always does what He says in His Word He will do!

All we have in our lives to give to Jesus to feed the multitudes are our; surrendered lives, our willingness to be used for His glory, and faith to believe that He will accomplish it through us. Remember, when you are faced with the impossible, fear not for God is with you, He is in you, He is for you and prepare yourself for the miracle that is coming!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"...But when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?" Luke 18:8 NLT

Over and over in scripture we are told to persevere, not to give up (Ephesians 6:18), wait on the Lord Isaiah (40:31), pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), we are to join fellow believers in their struggles by praying for them (Romans 15:30). We are to be fervent in our prayers (Acts 12:5), pray with our minds and in the Holy Spirit (Jude vs 20), to be sober and vigilant for the purpose of prayer (1 Peter 4:7), and all the more as we see "The Day" approaching.

Well, we are over 2000 years closer to "The Day of the Lord" than when these words were first penned. So in reality this question from today's title scripture Luke 18:8 is to the believers living right now today on earth; this question is to you and to me!

Is there faith on the earth? If Jesus came today would He find faith in the body of Christ? Would He find faith in my heart, in my life? In your heart? Or have our hearts grown lukewarm towards the things of God, have our hearts grown lukewarm to God Himself?

Ask yourself what priority does faith, prayer, reading God's Word, and a daily quiet time with Him have in your life? Be honest. If the importance of these things is not number one in our lives then we are in spiritual danger like the church in Laodicea. "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." Revelation 3:15-16.

Am I lukewarm in my faith, do I still get fearful and anxious? Am I lukewarm in my approach to Bible reading, do I daily read the scriptures, do I open the Bible expecting to hear from God? Am I lukewarm in prayer, are my prayers fervent, do I persevere, do I intercede for others or are my prayers all about me and mine? Do I expect God to hear my prayers and answer, do I understand God has reasons for delays? Am I lukewarm in my love for Him, do I obey His commands in the Word of God, do I confess Him before others, do I have a heart full of praise and thanksgiving?

As long as we have breath in our lungs it isn't too late to repent of our lukewarmness and to be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9. We can ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit and to set fire to our "smouldering wicks" Isaiah 42:2. Fervently ask for a hunger and thirst for His Word and He will give it to you. Pray without ceasing for an undivided heart full of love for Him and then wait for the answer, it will surely come.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" Luke 8:45 NASB

Have you ever in your life touched Jesus? Have you ever had a need so great that it drove you to press through the crowds to find Jesus? The woman in this story from Luke 8:45 did just that. This woman had suffered with incurable hemorrhaging for over 12 years, she had made the rounds of physicians and no one was able to help her. Yet this woman had something else that was greater than her hemorrhage, she had hope, faith in this Rabbi named Jesus! And she knew that if she could just touch the hem of His garment she would be healed. She had three things going for her;
1. She knew she was sick
2. She knew her need was Jesus Christ
3. She had faith to reach out and touch Jesus

How many others in the crowd that day didn't even know they were sick, not just physical disease but a far greater sickness, sin in their lives, sin that was controlling their lives and their own self-righteousness was blinding them to their need of a Savior?

Still others were content with living their lives their way, oblivious to the Source of abundant life that was standing right in front of them, Jesus Christ. They had no idea that they were settling for existing when they could be living!

Many people in the crowd that day knew their need, they had heard the accounts of this Man from Nazareth who healed the sick, delivered the possessed, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, loosed the tongue and opened the ears of a deaf mute, cleansed the lepers and yet they hung back because of doubt that Jesus would do that for them, kept them silent!

Luke 8:45-46,48; "And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me." And Jesus said to the woman, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."

The woman's faith touched the Son of God and power went forth from Him and met her need. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6.

Will we stay in the crowd represented by those three groups or will we be as the woman? Do you or someone you know have a need so great that it requires a miracle from God? Are you willing to press in through prayer until you have touched Jesus, knowing that power will be released on behalf of yourself or others? Do you choose to believe that what He has done for others He will do for you?

"Ask and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us')." Isaiah 7:14 NLT

Immanuel, God is with us. This little four word phrase is easily over-looked but if we dig deeper we discover that 'God is with us' brings with it all of the power of the Trinity, to have God with us or to have his favor upon us is very special indeed!

Noah who as far as we know had never even seen rain was told by God that He was going to destroy the earth with a flood! It makes me smile thinking of all that was probably going through Noah's mind when God told Him that. Remember Noah had never seen the ocean, God is going to make it rain,(what is rain?) and He tells Noah to build an ark (what is an ark?) And Noah did exactly as God commanded him. How does that happen? The answer is found in Genesis 6:8; "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

Joseph remember him? He was Jacob's favorite son and everybody knew it including all of Josephs brothers. Joseph had a dream and the dream made his brothers hate him even more because in the dream they were bowing down to Joseph. His brothers plotted to kill Joseph but God had other plans for this teenage boy and he was sold into slavery instead and he ended up in Egypt precisely where God wanted him. Joseph had no experience other than being a spoiled rich kid, the favored son of his father. But here we go, listen for the phrase in Genesis 39:2-3; "The LORD was with Joseph and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands." God gave Joseph favor not only with Himself but with others everywhere he went. Joseph is wrongfully accused of a crime he didn't commit and he is put in prison. But Genesis 39:21; "But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison." Joseph who had no penal training ended up running the prison! To make a wonderful long story short, Joseph gets out of prison and becomes second only to Pharaoh in ruling the nation of Egypt!

Moses resisted God telling Him that he would lead God's people out of slavery in Egypt to which God replied to Moses in Exodus 3:12; "But I will be with you..." Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt just as God had commanded and Moses parted the Red Sea, spent 40 day and 40 nights with God on Mount Sinai without anything to eat or drink (Exodus 34:28) all this and so much more because God told him, "I will be with you."

We can't leave out David because God was with him in a big way. David knew first hand what it was like to have the favor of God on your life. David also saw first hand what it was like for King Saul when God rejected him from being king and removed His Holy Spirit from him. (1 Samuel 16:13-14). Listen to David's words in Psalm 5:12; "For You bless the righteous O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield." And again in Psalm 90:17; "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands; yes, establish the work of our hands!"

If you are a born again child of God, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ then God is with you, you are surrounded with His favor!! And whatever God has called you to do in your life He is with you to help you fulfill His purpose for your life. He didn't leave us as orphans, He promised to never fail us or forsake us!

Begin today viewing your life through the lens of the truth that God is with you!
It will change the way you look at everything in your life.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared." Psalm 76:11 NASB

Are you one of those people who make Christmas lists and you spend a great deal of time on each person's gift because you want to make sure that you get just the right thing for each one? Well what do you get the person on your list that already has everything? I have people on my list that fall in that category and I try to get them something that they can't buy, a gift that would mean something to them personally. Maybe a list of the reasons that you love them, this one really takes some time but if it is honest it will be treasured by the recipient.

Look at today's title verse, "bring gifts to Him". We celebrate Gods greatest gift to the world , His only begotten Son Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, what can we give Him?

I've given this considerable thought and here is what I came up with.

The most obvious thing to give back to the One who gave us everything is to be grateful, thanksgiving is becoming to a child of God.

We owe Him our life, we owe Him our praise and our worship. He alone is worthy!

We can give Him our love and it must fit His definition of love, which is, we are obedient to do what He says in His Word. If we claim to love Him, we will do what He tells us to do.

Our love for Him must be with all of our heart, mind and soul. A divided heart is not acceptable in His sight.

We must not only love Him but we must love one another. This one is harder but all we have to remember is that He loved us when we were totally unlovely.

One of the most valuable gifts that any of us have to give is our time. That says I care enough about you, I love you enough that I desire to spend my time with you. I do believe that God is pleased with that gift.

Another gift I thought of involves intercessory prayer; for Israel, for the United States and for the body of Christ around the world, unity.

The last gift I thought about for God was full surrender of my life back to Him. To accomplish His purposes for my life and to bring glory to Him.

What ideas do some of you have out there? I would love to hear what gifts you would bring to our LORD. all of your comments will be posted.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27 ESV

One day I read the following during my quiet time; Steel is iron plus fire, diamonds are coal plus tremendous pressure. Steel without fire is just iron, diamonds without tremendous pressure are just coal.

I began pondering, what if we considered all of our life, every aspect of it, in light of the truth that GOD IS WITH US? Isaiah 41:10 Amplified says; "Fear not, there is nothing to fear, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness and justice." No matter what we face if we intentionally bring God into it, He changes everything!

After all;

A handful of dust, plus God = Man! Genesis 2:7
Greed, plus God = Contentment! 1 Timothy 6:6-8
A lost sinner, plus God = Salvation! Romans 10:9-11,13

Despair, plus God = Hope! Colossians 1:27
Impossible, plus God = Heaven! Philippians 3:20
Unworthiness, plus God = Great Worth! 1 Corinthians 6:20

Homeless, plus God = A Home in Heaven! Luke 23:42-43
Darkness, plus God = Light! John 12:46
Trials, plus God = Proven Faith! 1 Peter 1:6-7

satan, plus God = A Defeated Foe! Colossians 2:15
Guilty, plus God = No Condemnation! Romans 8:1
Chaos, plus God = Peace! 1 Corinthians 14:33

Temptations, plus God = Way of Escape! 1 Corinthians 10:13
Smoldering wick, plus God = Aglow,On Fire! Matthew 12:20/Ephesians 5:18 Amplified
Ignorance, plus God = Godly Wisdom! James 1:5

Empty living, plus God = Abundant Life! John 10:10
America, plus God = Our Only Hope! 2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son." Romans 8:29 NASB (part two))

Unlike the frescos of the earth God's fresco is comprised of living spiritual beings, it absolutely pulsates with the power of the Holy Spirit! For He is the One who gives the spiritual gifts to believers, He determines where believers are placed in kingdom work. There is nothing haphazard about any of this, so detailed is His work that even the very steps are planned for each believer individually!

To measure the love of God for the world one would have to be able to measure the power of the blood of Jesus that was willingly poured out on that little hill outside Jerusalem over 2000 years ago.

God is intimately acquainted with all of our ways and His eyes are ever upon us. He may break our pride but He will never bruise us. He takes our smoldering wicks and breathes life, zeal and fire into our tired spirits. He may withdraw the awareness of His presence but He will never leave us or forsake us. He began the good work in us and He will bring it to conclusion. Philippians 1:6; "There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." The Message. And wonder of wonders God's unconditional love for us! He will never stop loving us for it pleases Him to do so!

Therefore, comfort one another, encourage one another, build one another up, exhort one another and above all love one another even as God has loved us. We are to love Him first and foremost with all of our heart, mind and soul! May our personal relationship with Jesus Christ usurp every other demand on our heart, in our mind and with our time. Absolutely nothing and no one is ever to be more important to us than our relationship with Jesus Christ.

God's fresco will soon be finished and we as born again believer's share a vital role in the completion. For every believer has been called and commanded to share Jesus Christ with the lost, we have been entrusted with the Good News and no one wants to stand before God one day empty handed because we failed to share the Good News with those He put before us. Because we ignored the divine opportunities given to us by God. The time is short and we must be about our Father's work in the final Harvest of souls.

By now I'm sure you know, you've figured it out, God's ordained fresco could only be one thing; the image of His beloved Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ! This has been God's plan for us before time began and it has never changed. All believers together in unity are being changed into the image of Christ, one believer at a time. Let us individually determine that we will cause the angels in heaven to sing because we through the power of the Holy Spirit brought a soul to Christ.

All glory, honor, praise and power be unto God for He alone is worthy of our love and worship!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"For those whom He foreknew, of whom He was aware and loved beforehand, He also destined from the beginning, foreordaining them, to be molded into the image of His Son, and share inwardly His likeness." Romans 8:29 Amplified (Part one of two))

Divine Fresco; a work commissioned by God and molded by the loving hands of the Potter. This work is one of a kind and not for sale at any price!

It is another glorious day in the third heaven as the angels go through their daily shift change. They meet with their counterparts to discuss the latest happenings with their "charges". Their charges are the called of God, these are the born again sons and daughters of God who have put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus for salvation. These believers are beloved by God and guarded by His angels. Speaking of angels, Hebrews 1:14 says; "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" Many times the angels wonder with absolute astonishment at how often their charges display worry, fear and doubt! Don't they realize that their Father is the Creator of the whole world? Don't they understand He is Absolute Sovereign; there is nothing and no one beyond His control? But the angels know their place and they know better than to criticize one of God's kids.

One of the more vocal angels named Gabriel spoke up to inform the other angels that God was at work on His fresco, for the time for Christ's return was drawing near and there was much yet to be accomplished. The heavenly host is filled with awe as they behold God's intimate, individual work in the lives of His beloved children, no one is left out as each receive God's tender care. The angels wonder, do the believers have any comprehension of their individual worth in God's eyes? Probably not, because human eyes cannot see the precious blood of Jesus Christ that covers everyone of them, the blood that clothes them in His righteousness; they are spotless, each one wearing gleaming white robes. The angels are filled with reverence and wonder at the over-flowing love of God for these sinful vessels of clay and they rejoice at the top of their voices every time God's grace is met with faith and another sinner is saved!

Everyday thousands upon thousands of angels watch as God works on His fresco. God alone knows the day it will be completed, when the last soul is redeemed from planet earth. He alone knows who will come together to form the left eye, and God alone knows all those He determined before the foundation of the world to become the right hand. God alone knows the millions and millions of souls redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ that will comprise the finished masterpiece.

Just as in the beginning; God spoke creation into existence, Jesus the Word formed creation and brought it into being and the Holy Spirit like the wind hovered over and through all of the work. Now the Trinity is at work to bring about the sanctification, the unity, the agape love required in each believer who together, will reflect the image of their beloved Savior, Jesus. It truly is as scripture says in Philippians 2:13; "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him." NLT

Part two, the conclusion of this story will appear in the post on Thursday, 12-8.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am" And He said, Say this to the people of Israel, I Am has sent me to you." Exodus 3:14 "Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, "I Am." John 8:58 ESV

When God revealed Himself to Moses He identified His name as "I Am" The word aseity is a noun that speaks of existence originating from and having no source other than itself. Our God is I Am and there is no other, He was there before the beginning, He has always been, He is "I Am." Jesus was identifying Himself as deity when He referred to Himself as "I Am." Every title we are given in Scripture reveals something about the Lord and every title has application for our lives. Let's look at just a very few.

Matthew 1:23; "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (which means God with us.)" God with us, there is so much in those three little words, that phrase was used with Moses, Joseph, Samuel, David to name but a few. It denoted God's favor upon them, He gave them wisdom, He was with them and He was for them. As a believer we know that God is with us, He is for us; Romans 8:31. Does your life reflect the belief that God is for you?

Luke 12:40; "You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Son of Man was the title Jesus used for Himself more than any other in the gospel of John, He came to earth incarnate, in the flesh. He had to completely identify with us and walk as we walked only without sin before He could be our propitiation on the cross. Sin separates us from God, Jesus took our place and suffered the wrath due us on the cross.

John 1:1-3; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Jesus is the living Word, the Logos, the Father spoke and the living Word Jesus made everything in the beginning, in Creation. Jesus is God and He was with God. Revelation 19:16; He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is "The Word of God." To know Jesus the living Word, we must know the written Logos, the Bible. Scripture reveals the Word Jesus, to those that earnestly seek Him.

John 4:25-26; "The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called the Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am He." Messiah and Jesus both come from anointed, set apart, and Messiah is an accumulation of terms that were prophesied about the One who was to come. Messiah has come and we who are born again know Him personally as the Savior of the World. Do you know the Savior of the world? Ask Jesus to come into your life, right now today, He will hear you and you will be born again!

John 14:6; "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." The Way, there are not many roads to God, there is One and His name is Jesus. Narrow yes, exclusive no! All are invited, all who call upon the name of Jesus shall be saved. The Truth, not reflected truth, Jesus embodies Truth, there is no lie in Him. We can trust His Word, it is truth! Read John 17:17. The Life, there is no adequate way to compare life before and after Jesus Christ, suffice it to say that before or apart from Christ in your life, you are only existing, taking up oxygen, after Christ, everything changes, you are brand new, the old is gone! Did you ask Him? Did you tell Him you are a sinner and you need forgiveness for your sins? Ask Him today.

What is your favorite title for Jesus? How you answer that question reveals a great deal about you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you; Take your everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him." Romans 12:1 The Message

As you read the title verse for today, have you ever viewed your living sacrifice to God as your 24/7 life or have you perhaps even subconsciously relegated your sacrifice to God as your Sunday mornings and perhaps your Sunday nights and if you are real spiritual even your Wednesday nights?

Jesus Christ came to earth knowing that He was coming to die, to die a humiliating, painful death on a cross for the sins of the whole world. That knowledge was always uppermost in His mind, His face was set like flint toward Jerusalem and nothing that the world or the devil could do would be able to prevent Him from fulfilling His destiny on earth. Jesus lived every minute of His life on earth with purpose.

Scripture says in John 17:4, Jesus speaking to His Father, "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." Jesus the Lamb of God; the only sinless, living in the flesh sacrifice, did indeed suffer the wrath of God poured out on the sins of the entire world that were now in Christ. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Your sins and mine, every human being that has ever drawn a breath or will every draw a breath have been paid in full by the sinless Son of God, Son of Man, the Sacrificial Lamb of God. And because of the blood of Jesus that was shed in paying the world's sin debt now all who put their trust and faith in Him have forgiveness of sin and eternal life with and in Christ Jesus. He rose again from the grave, conquering death for us, and we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God until that time that we shall be with Him forever!!! Hallelujah to the Lamb!!!

Yet Jesus also spent everyday of His life, everyday of His three year public ministry on the way to Calvary full of interactions with people. Jesus loves us; every where He went from the dusty back roads of Zion, to the Temple in Jerusalem, to the mountain tops, to the valleys, to the Sea of Galilee, to the Jordan River He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He proclaimed the Kingdom of God was at hand, He hand picked and and patiently taught and explained the Father and Kingdom work to His disciples. He stood up for the down trodden, and sinners and rebuked the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees. He gave sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, touched the tongue of a mute and loosed it, He cleansed the lepers, He fed the multitudes on two different occasions, He saved sinners, raised people from the dead, and He taught everywhere He went, He lived and walked what He talked. He was merciful, forgiving, full of zeal and intolerant of phony liars.

What does this have to do with us? Everything! When we surrendered our lives to Christ, we didn't surrender just a few hours on Sunday, He deserves our 24/7 living sacrifice to live our lives as He did, on behalf of others. Yes that includes our sleeping, eating, going to work lives, remember what He accomplished on His way to Calvary.

The way we accomplish that is to live life expectantly; expecting God to meet with you every morning in your quiet time, expecting God to hear your prayers and answer them, expecting God to have a plan for your life everyday, expecting God to lead us in the way in which we should go, expecting the Holy Spirit to make us aware of the needs of others all around us and to show was what we are to do or say to help meet those needs. We are to live our lives as holy sacrifices to our Holy Jesus, Who will show up when we least expect Him, we are to live our lives expecting to see Him everyday, ready to meet Him face to face. Don't just look for Him on the mountaintops, He is with you wherever you go...

And He is coming again and His reward is with Him. Listen, did you just hear the trumpet call? LifT up your eyes, for your Redeemer draws near!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

"Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand,)" Jeremiah 33:3 Amplified

As you have probably noticed by now Jeremiah 33:3 is one of my favorite verses. God is inviting us to call to Him, and then He promises that He will answer us and if that isn't enough the God of all creation says He will show us great and mighty things in His Word.

I deliberately put the Amplified Bible version in the title section today because it reads in part "fenced in and hidden, which you do not know" I have been studying the Bible for years and years and one of a thousand reasons that I love it is that there are wonderful, beautiful, treasures hidden in plain sight all over the scriptures!! And they stay hidden until God chooses to reveal them to us in His timing or when we are ready or when we really need to know them.

I want to share one of those treasures with you today. This is for every believer that has ever messed up big time which is a kind way of saying I sinned and it was so big in my eyes that for awhile I believed the lie that God might never ever forgive me, or He might forgive me but He could never trust me or use me again in His kingdom work. If you have never experienced anything like that then you can just skip today's post, but if you can relate, boy do I have good news for you!

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. But he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death! And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me." Luke 22:31-34 NASB

There are three treasures hidden here that still bring tears to my eyes.
1. Jesus knows everything, He is omniscient, He knew Peter would deny Him three times, but notice what He says "I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail" Knowing ahead of time Peter's denial He didn't pray that he wouldn't sin, He prayed that his faith would not fail. He knew the shame Peter would feel for what he had done and in His mercy Jesus prays for His faith. Oh our compassionate, forgiving God!!! Jesus knows what we have done or what we will do and He is interceding for us that our faith may not fail.

2. "when once you have turned again" Turning in scripture is a another word for repentance. When we repent of our sin, we turn from it and confess it to God and He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 NASB. Jesus is letting Peter know that He knows that Peter will repent and God is assuring Him that he will be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness! This promise is to all who will turn from, and repent of their sin, yes you, forgiven and cleansed!!

3. "when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" Wow, don't miss this, Jesus isn't forgiving Peter, but kicking him out of ministry, He says strengthen your brothers. Jesus forgives and forgets and His plan for Peter hasn't changed, Peter has changed, where once he brashly proclaimed that he would die for Christ, now Peter has been humbled and he is now ready to lead!

"The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12 ESV

God wastes nothing in our lives, His plan for us doesn't change, He knew our lives from beginning to end, before we were ever born and He promises that He will cause everything to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

Don't you love treasure hunts? Especially God's treasure hunts in Scripture!

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Come to Me" Matthew 11:28 "He said, Come." Matthew 14:29 "And He said to them, Come away by yourselves" Mark 6:31

Every time we hear the sound of a low whisper and the Lord beckons us to 'Come' it is a pivotal event in our lives. Just to hear His voice is a blessing, but to hear and ignore speaks volumes about where we are spiritually. Sometimes it isn't out and out ignoring but rather disputing with God, either way it is a very dangerous thing to not respond to the call of God to Come.

We truly are being tested when we hear His word to Come. It's not an invitation so much as a summons. Scripture warns us about this in Hebrews 3:7; "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. On the day of testing in the wilderness."

Of the three 'Come' examples from the title scriptures the first one is Matthew 11:28.
Here Christ is calling to the hurting, the weary, the ones who have had enough of religion, and the burdens that they are carrying are too much for them. Jesus offers them rest, an unloading of burdens, He offers to show them how it can be done, and they can trade their unsuccessful way of doing things with God's way of unforced rhythms of grace! He even offers to yoke them in with Him, they don't have to go it alone, Jesus will be with them all the way. A picture of sabbath rest for those who are willing to humble themselves and take His yoke. The prideful turn aside to continue doing it their way. And they miss out on the best, the abundant life that only comes through Christ.

The second 'Come' was in response to Peter's request to Jesus to command him to come to Him on the sea. Peter was the only one of the disciples that got out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the sea. Faith got him out of the boat, the divine 'Come' enabled him to walk on the water, but the wind and the waves distracted Peter and he took His eyes off of Jesus and he began to sink. Yet Peter cried out Lord, save me! He didn't cry out to his buddies in the boat he cried out to his Lord and Jesus immediately grabbed him by the hand and pulled him up. Jesus asked him, why did you doubt?

Am I a Peter do I have enough faith to get me out of the boat at Jesus command to Come? Or do I just hang back in the boat praying that Jesus doesn't look at me and say, Come. How many times will I let fear keep me from responding to Jesus Come? What am I missing? I'm missing time with Jesus, I'm missing what it feels like to walk on water.

The third 'Come' came when the apostles returned from the mission trip that Jesus had sent them on. They were given authority over demons, given specific instructions; including taking no provisions at all for their journey, they were to proclaim to all they meet that they should repent of their sins and they anointed many who were sick and prayed and they were healed. They were pumped up and excited when they returned and they recounted it all to Jesus. It makes me smile just thinking about that and what it must have looked like and sounded like! Can't you just picture Jesus' eyes glued on the one doing the talking, intently listening and rejoicing with them, each one, as they shared their experiences?
Jesus 'Come' was to draw them away for some refreshing and renewing, He knows far better than we what we need and when we need it.

Don't you know God just loves it when we get zealous for Him and for what He does and we just gush and worship and talk about our experiences with Him!! The next time you hear that soft whisper of Come, run don't walk and don't look back.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out...? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me, watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you will learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

I don't normally use the Message paraphrase but it does get the attention of people that are very familiar with the Word of God, and I love the phrase, watch how I do it, learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not impervious to sorrow and sadness and why should we be? Isaiah 53:3 Amplified; "He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him."

He alone knows our sufferings, He alone knows our hearts, He alone sees each tear that falls and He alone is the One who never leaves us alone, not even for one minute. For He alone loves us personally with His unconditional, everlasting love!

There is no pain or sorrow, no depression so deep that God cannot reach in and touch our souls with His grace that is all sufficient and His love that carries us in His arms. His comfort and mercy towards His very own is beyond our ability to understand.

When we are so weary that we feel as though we cannot take another step, we cannot face another day, remember, call to Him and He will; make us lie down in His lush pastures, He will speak to the waters to be still, He Himself is the restoration of our soul, and He will lead us no matter where we are, no matter what we are experiencing. (Psalm 23:1-2)

Often when we are deeply troubled we isolate ourselves from others, which by the way is exactly what Satan would have us do because he knows that God's will is unity in His body because we are responsible for one another to pray and to encourage. To love on and come along side the one who is hurting, no words needed, just knowing we are there is comfort enough.

While we may be able to hide from the world and even our fellow believers there is no where we can go from God's presence!! Remember that please, it will comfort you, please read Psalm 139:1-10.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is able to separate us from God's love for us, please don't forget that, please read Romans 8:38-39.

Is everything black with occasional gray shades in your world? Then cry out to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Light permeates darkness, it is never the other way, do you doubt that? Open your refrigerator door tonight with all the lights off, does the darkness rush in and block the light in the frig or does the light flood the room? Jesus is the Light of the whole world!!

Are anxiety, worry and fear keeping you awake at night, causing you not only mental but physical problems as well? Please seek the Prince of Peace and you will find rest and peace for your soul. Please read Psalm 94:19, Joshua 1:8-9, Philippians 4:6-8. "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You." Isaiah 26:3 Amplified.

Remember, "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:22-24.

Please lift in prayer all that you know that are hurting in our world, tomorrow it may be me or you.