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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God." 1 Chronicles 22:19 NRSV

Today I read in my devotional journal this sentence; The work He does through His children is inspired as they spend time alone with Him and then go out to touch the world. Wow! I just love that sentence because it is so true!

Today's title verse tells us to determine by a choice of our own will to set our mind and heart to seek the LORD, it is a deliberate action, an intentional commitment. And He promises in Jeremiah 29:13-14; "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..." In John chapter 15; Jesus teaches us that He is the Vine, we are the branches, we need to abide in Him constantly, stay connected to Him to bear fruit because apart from Him we can do nothing! He is speaking of kingdom work, of sharing the gospel, keeping His commandments, fulfilling His purpose for your life which is light years better than anything we could come up with on our own.

Abiding in Christ is what keeps us on a straight, smooth path, I'm not saying a life with no problems or trials, but rather connected to Christ we remain straight and smooth even in the roughest terrain for He is with us and our eyes are on Him! If your walk with the Lord looks more like a roller coaster, Jesus is calling and saying to you, Come, abide with Me! Watch how I do it and learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Abiding in Christ and in His Word, talking to Him and listening to Him in prayer is where we receive that which He intends for us to share with others. Until we spend time with Him, we don't have anything of eternal value to share with anyone. Even the world knows this principle at least, if a teacher doesn't do their homework how will they ever teach anyone that which they do not know? Multiple that to infinity and you begin to see why it isn't an option to abide in Christ constantly.

You may be seeking God for yourself and that is wonderful but know that what He gives to you is never meant for you alone, you are to share with others for that gives glory to God. When we are born again we are designed to be a conduit, never a reservoir! A conduit receives and is nourished but it flows out to nourish others as well. I have found in my walk with the Lord that the more I share what the Spirit has taught me with others, the more He will reveal. You only hold on to that which you give away and it keeps on blessing others!

So abide in Christ, give to others what you first received from Him and in this way we go out to touch the world for Christ one person at a time, one group at a time. Matthew 25:29 NLT; "To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away."

Monday, January 30, 2012

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderfulesults. Never stop praying." James 5: 16 NLT, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

My constant prayer for my family members; sons, spouses, grandchildren, and yet to be born great-grandchildren and extended family members brother, spouse, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins etc has never changed in the last 40 years. I pray that they will love the Lord Jesus Christ with all of their heart, mind and soul, that they will be born again, sins forgiven and eternal life secure through belief in Jesus Christ!

And along with the prayer for salvation I pray that God would give each one an overwhelming love for His Word the Bible! Because a hunger and thirst for the Word of God is a gift, and the Lord blessed me with this overwhelmingly beautiful gift and knowing how it has changed my life for good in every way, I of course want that for those I love. I have believed in Jesus Christ for most of my life but it wasn't until the Lord drew me lovingly into His Word that my walk with Him truly began, at least on my end.

To know the Word of God is to know Jesus Christ, to know His Word is to trust and have faith in Him, to know His Word is to truly experience that intimate relationship with Him that is in many ways completely indescribable, you have to experience it for yourself to know fully what I am talking about. If you don't know the Word of God you don't really know Jesus Christ, and that is the truth!

To know and meditate on Gods Word daily will transform your mind and change your life forever. To read Gods Word daily and do what it tells you to do is to experience the abundant life Jesus talked about. To meditate, believe in and apply the Word is to be set free from fear, doubt and unbelief! To know Gods Word is to grow in godly wisdom that confounds the wisdom of the world. Scripture encourages, teaches, and rebukes you and it will take your breath away, not just once but over and over and over!

And that is why I will never quit praying for all of my family members, many of whom have been born again, Praise God!!! And countless others that the Lord has put on my heart, some friends, casual acquaintances and even total strangers. Life is so very short and eternity is, well, forever! Please keep praying for your loved ones, for the total strangers God has put on your heart, don't give up, never quit, a soul is hanging in the balance. If you don't pray for them then who will?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8 NASB

The God of all creation, the One who spoke into existence everything we see and the things that we can't see, like the things that exist in the oceans that are just now being discovered, and the galaxies that are beyond the reach of man, this same God made man. Only man was not spoken into existence, God Himself, took the clay of the earth and created man and He blew into man His breath and man became a living being. See Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7, 21-22.

Psalm 139:13-14,16; "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me. When as yet there was not one of them." We are fearfully and wonderfully made so advanced are we that doctors and scientists are still mostly in the dark about the brain, but God is not, for He designed it and He knows everything there is to know about it, that is why we need to listen to what He says regarding the brain.

Today's title verse gives us godly advice about what we allow to go into our brain!
We are not to fill it with hours and hours of internet surfing, or playing computer games, or catching up with all the gossip on sights like Facebook or worse, much worse! When we fill our minds with killing, even in a game, it has a very detrimental effect, pornography has ruined many a marriage, and corrupted peoples views about sex, gender, etc. Satan takes that which God designed to be holy and good and twists it into something vile, ugly and degrading. Endless TV will addict our minds to greed, because greed never has enough, we always want bigger, faster, flashier, and none of it ever satisfies because greed cannot be satisfied. TV is the window into the world system and its ways which are totally against God's ways that is why He warns us to be careful with what we fill our minds with.

James 4:4 AMP; "You are like unfaithful wives having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God." Luke 8:14 NLT; "The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity."

So what do we fill our fearfully and wonderfully made brains with? Romans 12:2; "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." John 17:17 NLT, Jesus praying to His Father for believers says; "Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your Word, which is truth."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT; "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

And finally listen to these words from Psalm 119:10-16; "With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget your word."

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone-especially to those in the family of faith." Galatians 6:10 NLT

Jesus had so much to say regarding loving one another; Matthew 22:39; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On one occasion Jesus was asked the question who is my neighbor and Jesus told him a story about a man who was beaten, and robbed of everything he had and how two religious leaders passed by without helping, but a Samaritan had mercy and he took care of the man. Jesus said "Go and do the same." Luke 30:30-37.

John 13:34-35; Jesus speaking, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." He was speaking of the body of Christ, fellow believers. And again in John 15:12; Jesus speaking, "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."

And speaking of fellow believers in 1 John 2:9; "The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now." 1 John 4:20-21 NLT; "If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters."

Christ so identifies with a believer that the good or bad that we do to one another Jesus says you have done it unto Me! For instance when Saul was persecuting and hunting down members of The Way (which is how believers in Christ were identified,) the risen Jesus dramatically met Saul on the road to Damascus and listen to what He said to Saul. Acts 9:4-6; "And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, "Who are You Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."

The most convicting and dramatic example of how closely Jesus identifies with His believers is found in Matthew 25:31-46. Please take the time to carefully read about the coming judgement for all people, Jesus uses the following example; "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?"

Matthew 25:40 NLT; "And the King will say, I tell you the truth,when you did it to one of the least of these, My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!"

But now hear the warning in Matthew 25:45-46 NLT; This is what Jesus said to those that did not do, all the things mentioned previously. "And He will answer, I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me. And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

1 Peter 4:8 NLT; "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16 NASB

There has never entered into the heart or mind of any man or woman to pray and ask God for the things that He desires to give us, so He provided the prayers for us in His Word! There is an incredible promise in 1 John 5:14-15; "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." When we pray back to God the prayers that He provided us, we pray with full assurance because they are His revealed will, therefore He hears and He answers our prayers. I'm going to include a very few that I pray you will pray for your family members, for your friends, your church, your neighbors, anyone that God lays on you heart. Pray and watch for the answers for they will surely come.

Ephesians 1:16-19; "While making mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe."

Ephesians 3:16-19; "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."

Philippians 1:9-11; "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

Colossians 1:9-14; "We ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (This is what I am praying everyday for family, Monday night Bible study)

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; "And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints."

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; "To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power. So that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you and you in Him. According to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 6:19; "And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel."

And this is my prayer for all of you who read this today. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NLT; "Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you, I don't deserve to be called your son. He got right up and went home to his father. When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:18-20 MSG

Can you relate to the story of the prodigal son in today's title text? I can. And if you have ever felt like you had blown it so bad that the Lord would never forgive you, well today's post has your name on it.

Luke 22:31-32 contains one of the richest, most revealing looks into the heart of Christ that we have anywhere in Scripture. This is Jesus talking to Peter; "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."

Jesus is about to be arrested and His disciple Peter who has told him that he would go with Jesus to prison or even to death, will end up denying Jesus three times. Jesus knows it and that is what He reveals to Peter. What can we learn from this exchange?

Satan must have permission to touch any believer in the Lord Jesus. And Jesus sets the parameters of just how far he can go.

Jesus knows everything about us, he knows when we will fail Him, He knows all about our sins, He knew everyone of them on the cross, before He ever called us by name to believe in Him and be forgiven and born again! While we were yet sinners Christ died for us!

Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny Him three times before the cock crowed the next morning. Yet He didn't pray that Peter wouldn't sin, He was going to take care of that on the cross. Please don't miss this, Jesus prayed that Peter's faith would not fail! Listen to the revealed heart of Jesus, in these sweet words, "I have prayed for you" spoken by Jesus to His disciple that would shortly deny even knowing Jesus not just once but three times.

Jesus prayed that His faith wouldn't fail. God hates sin in part because of what it does to us, it separates us from God. And then we feel so condemned and guilty that often times we believe the lie from the enemy that God can't or won't forgive us and so we run and hide. Just like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. Jesus knows us, He made us, He is aware that we are but dust and that is why He prays for us, that is why He prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail.

Then Jesus tells Peter when you have turned or repented go strengthen your brothers. Jesus already knows how Peter will feel but He encourages Him that once he has repented he is to minister to His brothers! This is huge!! Not only has Jesus interceded for Peter, encouraged him but now He is telling Peter, my plans for your life Peter have never changed! Wow! How many prodigals need to hear this that they are forgiven, and not only that but that God will still use them in His kingdom work. Can you imagine how humbled Peter was and humble is a very good place to be.

Romans 8:28; "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Do you see the good that has come out of Peter's sin, countless believers, countless prodigals have been encouraged to repent and return knowing that Jesus is interceding for them too. Many a proud prodigal has come out on the other side, humble and totally surrendered to the Lord. God's plans for us do not change for God is greater than our sins and failures!

God is waiting with open arms for you too, here is how I know. Lamentations 3:22 NLT; "The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease." Philippians 1:6 NASB; "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Jude 1:24-25 NLT; "Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!"

So prodigal, what you waiting for? Repent for your Lord Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:55 NLT

These two verses follow the title scripture today; "For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57.

Philippians 1:21 NLT says; "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better." The MSG says; "Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm His bounty. Life verses more life! I can't lose."

For a born again believer (see John 3:1-18) in the Lord Jesus Christ, to live means to see Jesus through spiritual eyes of faith, to die means to see Jesus face to face, with eyes no longer of faith but of sight! Psalm 17:15 says; "As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake." Psalm 11:7; "For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face."

To live means to walk around in this body of flesh, to die means to have a transformed body like our risen Lord's! 1 Corinthians 15:53 NLT; "For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies."

To live means traffic jams, accidents, road rage, and endless rushing around. To die means walking with Jesus on streets of gold! Revelation 21:21-23 NASB, "...And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb."

To live means at various times we will experience pain, sorrow, tears and loss. To die means the absence of all of these. Revelation 7:17; "For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Psalm 16:11; "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Life with Christ is truly the abundant life! And death, well it is nothing more than taking a supersonic jet to our heavenly home that Jesus has prepared for us, and so we will be with Him for all of eternity! John 11:25-26; "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?"

This is the person who has put all of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has come to Him to have their sins forgiven, who now lives by grace having peace with God thru the shed blood of Jesus Christ. They know and believe He died, He was resurrected and now lives and sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven where He makes intercession for us! These beautiful promises are for believers!

Do you know for certain that if you died while you were reading this post that you would immediately be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you would be looking into His eyes? If you do not know, you can know today. Read the sinners prayer to the top right of this post and make it your prayer. God looks upon hearts and He will hear you and answer you, for all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved!! Then read these verses; John 3:26, Romans 10:9-13, 1 John 5:11-12. Then just keep reading the Bible and never stop. If you pray today one day I will see you in heaven, and what a glorious day that will be!!! Welcome to the family!

Monday, January 23, 2012

"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

Years ago I had a spiritual mentor than never even knew that was how I viewed her, her name was Marylou. Marylou was about 10 years older than I, a wife and mother and she was crazy about Jesus! She was a natural leader and a uncompromisingly bold witness for the Lord. I was new in my faith and I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Maryanne was passionate about Jesus, you didn't wonder if she loved the Lord, because He was her life and it showed!

She instilled in me the importance of a daily quiet time with the Lord. She didn't teach me one on one but rather through questions. Every time I saw her she would look me in the eye and ask; "What is God doing in your life today?" she wasn't making polite conversation, she expected an answer! And she would wait to see if I had anything to say, and many times I didn't but that never stopped her from asking. "What did God speak to you in your quiet time today?" prompted me to begin jotting down scriptures that God had used from my reading to speak to me and I began sharing those with her. Little by little I actually began to expect to hear from God everyday, one lesson learned. It honors God not only when we daily meet with Him but when our faith grows and we expect to hear from Him!

The other lesson that her questions prompted was the value of sharing with others what God has first given to you. The blessing is two fold, first we are to share His wonders, His majesty, His mighty deeds, Psalm 51:15 "O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise." Psalm 78:4 "We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done." And secondly in the sharing of what God has taught you, you gain greater understanding yourself! Philemon verse six, "And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake." That is when the Holy Spirit first began teaching me the value of life application in scripture. Thank you Marylou for your love for Jesus and your relentless questions!

Perhaps some young believer is watching you and learning from you and you don't even know it. When was the last time you asked someone; "So what is God speaking to you about in His Word?' "What did God teach you today in your quiet time?" That is what accountability is truly all about. Or maybe you have a Marylou in your life right now, why don't you thank her for her love for Jesus and her passion to share Him with others.

And don't forget to share with someone what God is doing in your life, it is pleasing to Him and you will learn even more about our amazing God!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm." Mark 4:39 NASB

A word from Jesus instantly calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee and a word from Jesus can instantly calm the storms of our lives.

The words of Christ bring freedom and deliverance from the enemy, fear, sin, anxiety, disease as much as they did when He walked on the earth, and today they still speak to our minds and hearts.

The word of the Lord comforts, teaches, strengthens, transforms, exposes, challenges, encourages, reproves and exhorts all who seek Him. His words are absolute truth in a world system based based upon and run on lies.

The world has never been so chaotic, things change before they have a chance to be printed, there are no constants anymore, it seems there is nothing that we can rely on to last anymore. The word of God stands in stark relief; powerful and steadfast it never changes and never will. Heaven and earth may pass away but the Word of the Lord stands forever!

Scripture says that God watches over His word to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12. God never changes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Remind yourself of that in the next storm you encounter, remind yourself of the words of Jesus, He still commands the wind and the waves and His words are powerful to speak peace to your storm and calm your heart and mind.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

If we do not saturate our minds and hearts with God's Holy Scripture we will never grow up spiritually in our lives. Just as our bodies require food for our physical growth so too we must feed our spiritual side. Our lives are much more than the physical. The part that was made in the image of God, the part of us that lives forever is the spirit.

If you are only feeding your spirit with the Scripture reading on Sundays from the pulpit or your Sunday school class or cell group, then you are starving your spirit! And the sad part is you never grow, you never mature, you never become the man or woman that God designed you to be because you are refusing the great gift of Scripture and there is no substitute. No amount of christian books and sermons will ever do what only the living, active Word of God can do!

We are to read, study, meditate on the Word of God daily. Joshua 1:8 says speaking of the Word; "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." And again in Psalm 1:2; "His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night."

Pick up your Bible and read Psalm 119 it has 176 verses and all of it is about the benefits derived from study, meditation and doing of God's wonderful Word! The Word of God is different from every other book ever written, for it was given by our Infinite God to His finite creation, to understand it we must ask the Lord to open our minds and our hearts to see and hear what is written. Jesus had to open the minds of His own disciples to understand it. Luke 24:45.

If people only knew what the Bible contained and how it can transform your life, your mind, your thinking they would pay any price for this book. Sadly the average American has multiple Bibles in their homes that are just gathering dust because they are rarely opened.

The One who created all things, the One who died on the cross for the sins of the world, the One who rose again from the dead and sits at the right hand of God Almighty, the One who intercedes for you, Jesus is His name and the Book is all about Him! It is His gift to us to reveal His heart to us, to reveal truth to us, to open up wisdom to us, to reveal His will for your life, to reveal Himself to us, it will direct our steps, teach us, delight us, reprove us and fill us with love, peace and joy!

Please don't ignore this priceless gift, open His Word daily and do what it tells you to do and then you will experience the abundant life that He promised.

My life verse is Jeremiah 15:16; "Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." Luke 5:4 NLT

As with all of Scripture there are lessons upon lessons contained in the verses and life applications to aid us in incorporating these truths into our own lives. The above title verse today involves Jesus and Simon Peter and this verse is no exception.

Simon Peter was a professional fisherman, the sea was his expertise, fishing was his strength and he was very good at it. This day was an exception because that particular nights fishing yielded a poor catch, nevertheless Peter was very adept at his chosen profession.

But on this particular day a Rabbi named Jesus had a large crowd pressing in on Him to hear His teaching, so He asked Peter to row Him away from the shore in His boat, where He delivered His teaching. All the while Peter in the boat with the young Rabbi, was a captive audience.

Jesus finished His teaching of the crowd but He wasn't finished with Peter. He told Peter to row out where it was deeper and to let down his nets to catch some fish.
Of course that time of day wasn't the time you went fishing, any fisherman could have told Him that but all Peter said was, we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if You say so, I'll let the nets down again. Luke 5:5.

And in Peter's humble, willing obedience to do what must have appeared as a futile request he experienced a miraculous catch of fish and met his Master face to face!

It made me think, what is my field of expertise? What is a strength to me, to you? You may be one of the best in your chosen vocation, are you open to suggestions from the Lord, or do you feel competent in and of yourself? Don't answer too quickly, what if the Lord told you to do something in your particular field that went against all your knowledge and expertise? Would you humble yourself before the Lord and be obedient to do what He was telling you to do?

You have three choices; first determine that nothing is off limits to God in your life, even in those things where you feel strong and capable. Second you can choose to ignore the command and proudly go about your life or thirdly you can humble yourself, be obedient and know your Lord in a brand new light. John 14:21; "Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And I will love them and reveal Myself to them." Something to think about.

Peter's life was changed forever that day for he left his boat, his life as he knew it and followed Jesus and he never looked back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one." 1 Corinthians 3:5 NASB

Today's post is all about opportunities in the lives of believers; opportunities for what, opportunities from whom, and why so many opportunities are missed?

First of all every opportunity to share Christ with another, every opportunity to do good, every opportunity to defend your faith and every opportunity to serve in God's kingdom work comes directly from God! What we do with those opportunities is up to us. Read today's title verse 1 Corinthians 3:5.

It is possible everyday to miss God given opportunities, some causes are the result of walking in the flesh and ignoring the leading of the Holy Spirit. While other opportunities pass us by because we just aren't looking for them in our lives.

Please understand God's opportunities are great gifts to the believer to bring glory and honor to God by walking in obedience to Him.

On one occasion Jesus was warning His disciples of coming persecution and He said; "It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute." Luke 21:13-15 NASB. What an incredible promise to His disciples and to believers today!

In today's economy we each one are confronted with countless opportunities to give and to serve. We can't meet every need but each one of us can take the opportunities God lays on our hearts and fill them. "Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to those in the family of faith." Galatians 6:10 NLT.

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Colossians 4:5-6 NLT.

This entire post on God given opportunities is a result of a verse the Lord spoke to my heart this morning because it gives a beautiful example of a child of God, in this case the Apostle Paul, making the most of every opportunity by earnestly seeking those opportunities! The scripture and the pattern for us is below.

"So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God fearing Gentiles and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present." Acts 17:17 NASB

Life application; Opportunities abound if I will put myself out there every day to earnestly seek those whom God has prepared for me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" Psalm 116:2 NLT

If you are reading this and you are perfectly happy with your prayer life, this post is not for you. If on the other hand you sometimes feel like your prayers only rise as high as the ceiling and I'm talking 9 foot ceilings here, or if when you pray your mind is bombarded by thoughts of things you need to do, people you need to call etc., if you pray what I refer to as Morse Code prayers, very quick, dot, dot, dot dot dot and you're done or if you have ever told someone you would pray for them and you honestly forgot, then you might want to continue reading. The first thing I started doing that really stopped the bombardment of thoughts was to pray out loud. I just wanted to share that tip up front.

For the past four years I have prayed for the Lord to teach me to pray for I know that I am no where near what God desires for His children and I too aspire for I knew a lady once that God used as His intercessory prayer child. She was a humble, old lady that lived quietly in a trailer and she knew God in prayer in ways few ever do, she is with Him now face to face but I shall never forget her. The Lord gave me one afternoon with this precious believer and I asked her about her prayer life and my life was changed by that encounter.

My Mother taught me a valuable lesson on prayer that I practice, if someone asks you for prayer and you are with them, I don't care if you are in the middle of a shopping mall you pray for them right then. People love it, I love it, when someone cares enough to pray WITH me. If you are on the phone, pray right then together. Another way to hold yourself accountable in prayer is when you pray, often the Lord will give you Scripture to claim or to pray for the person, let them know what the Lord gave you for them, text it, email or call but let them know, it will encourage them. In addition follow up with them if at all possible to see what the Lord as done in their circumstance. And if you ask someone to pray, please let them know what God did, it brings glory to God and encourages the one who prayed as well as yourself.

In 1 John 5:14-15 there is a great and precious promise from the Lord regarding prayer; "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." Wow!! Praise God!!! Our part is to ask things that we know are God's will, and we learn what is His will from Scripture. For instance Jesus tells us in Scripture that we are not to worry, we are to be anxious for nothing, we learn that He has given us His peace to guard our hearts and minds if we will present our worries, our anxieties before Him in prayer and thank Him for it. Read Philippians 4:6-7. So when we are worried, tell Him about it and ask for His peace, He will hear (for that is His will) and since we know He hears we know He will answer!

What about those things that are not covered in Scripture, like which job to take, where to live, who to marry? We can still claim promises like; "Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3 or "The mind of man plans his way but the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9. Read also Psalm 37:23. And Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT says; "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take."

We still may not know how to pray, particularly when it is intercession for others, but God knows that and He gave us another promise to claim regarding prayer, these verses bring me much comfort because I know they are true and I can pray with more confidence. "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." According to the will of God, therefore, 1 John 5:14-15 can be applied, halleluiah!

The Scripture and your knowledge and application of those truths effects every part of your walk with your Lord, particularly in matters of faith and in prayer. God really has shown me how very powerful the Word of God is in the mouth of a believer when it comes to bringing matters before the Lord in prayer and that is to pray the wonderful, mind blowing prayers found in the Word back to Him on behalf of others! The Word of God is full of prayers to help us and teach us His will and to know His will for us spiritually. One of my very favorites is Colossians 1:9-14, this is what I am currently praying for my family members and the Monday night bible study group. I am praying it everyday for all of this year, and I am eagerly watching for the answer that I know as well as I know my own name is coming, for that is the power of God's Word!! I'm closing with it here for it is also my prayer in your life of those who are reading this blog. I change the wording a little in prayer.

" I will not cease to pray for these and ask that they may be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So that they will walk in a manner worthy of You, Lord, to please You in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of You, God. Strengthen them with all power, according to Your glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously I give thanks to You Father for You qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For You rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of Your beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." By faith in Jesus Christ' name I pray and eagerly watch.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NASB Part two

The fallacy of our thinking as believers is that we think we are the ones that are responsible for saving someone. Nothing could be further from the truth, we can't save anyone, not even ourselves, only God can; call, draw, convict, forgive, wash clean, make righteous, cause to be born again, a new creature, the old is gone, the new has come and mankind has absolutely nothing to do with it!

The apostle Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 3;5-7 "After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God's servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is the God makes the seed grow."

Jesus speaking to Nicodemus regarding begin born again had this to say in John 3:5-6; "Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Mankind can never bring about the spiritual birth that Jesus refers to as being "born again."

We had very little to do with our own salvation, God did all the work! Consider the following;

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16. "And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 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." John 10:28-19. "...I lay down My life for the sheep. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative..." John 10:15, 18. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21. "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me." John 15:26 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:8. "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, Jesus is accursed; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." 1 Corinthians 12:3. The entire God head is involved in the salvation of every soul!

Now that we see the truth of salvation, we can rejoice that we are blessed and honored to be a part of God's work by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit of God speaks through us as we open our mouths to those as the Lord provides us the opportunity!

Now one last promise of blessing that occurs when we are obedient to Christ to share our faith in Him. "I pray that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good thing that is ours in our identification with Christ Jesus." Philemon 1:6 AMP.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NASB Part One

Over several years I have informally conducted my own poll on why less than 20% of professing Christians have witnessed to the unsaved about the Good News of Jesus Christ and here is a composite of what I have heard;

I don't know the Bible well enough.
I'm not where I should be with the Lord.
What do I do if they ask a question that I don't know how to answer?
God doesn't expect me to be a witness that is for preachers, evangelists and missionaries.
I'm too shy, I couldn't possibly get that personal with a total stranger.
I don't even know where to start.
What if they reject me?
What if they laugh at me?
What if I lose a friend?
What if word gets out at work, will I be taken seriously anymore?
I'm scared, I just can't do it!

One of the excuses written above came from a lady I polled just this past week. She answered and thought about her answer a minute and said. "Well, I see my problem, my focus is on me and not on God!" If you look at all the above excuses all of our reasoning is based on our deficiencies, which are huge, not the power of God! No wonder we are afraid, when we leave God out of the equation it's a wonder we all aren't terrified!

Confession of Jesus Christ as Lord to others is so vital to a believer that it appears as a condition of salvation! Romans 10:9-10; "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation." When was the last time you confessed that Jesus Christ is your Lord?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32; "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." And again in Luke 12:8 Jesus says; "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, that Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God."

God knows man, He created us, He is well aware that our frame is just dust, yet over and over in Scripture He commands us to do things that overwhelm us, He knows that and He reassures us over and over again of three truths the first is found in today's title verse; the LORD your God is with you wherever you go and the second truth is found in 2 Corinthians 3:4-5; "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but out adequacy is from God." And thirdly Ephesians 3:20; "With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or even imagine!"

Part two of this message will post on Monday, January 16th.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" John 6:67 ESV

It is still the beginning of 2012 not too late to determine ahead of time what place Jesus Christ will have in our lives this year. We must be intentional about that if we desire to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord. It won't just magically happen, we must choose, I want to love Him more in 2012 than I ever have at any other time in my life and I know that to love Him more I must be obedient to all He will call me to do. No avoiding, no turning away simply follow where He leads.

The above title verse takes place on the occasion when many of Christ's followers were leaving Him because they didn't want to go where He was leading them, His words were difficult to understand. They weren't leaving Him to choose a life of sin, but they were not willing to walk with Him any longer.

In the life of every believer there are times when we come face to face with Jesus and His commands and we just say no thank you, I'm not ready for that yet. We think everything is going fine, I'm in church, even in Bible study, everything is great, and Jesus confronts you with something you have been avoiding and you turn away.

This year is the year of evangelism in the Bible study that I am connected with and while it is exciting for some, others feel totally out of their comfort zone. Many prayers are going up in regards to this harvest field adventure, each one will have a decision to make either we are obedient to the command to be His witnesses or we choose to walk away.

I am praying that all involved will ignore their fear and trust God. We have walked with Him long enough to know that He is good, and that He does what He says He will do, and deep in our hearts we know that nothing and no one will ever satisfy like He does. Or we simply decide the price is too high and we walk away. Lord I pray for boldness for the body of Christ this year, the fields have never been whiter and I have a vision of your people, shoulder to shoulder working in Your harvest field.

Remember the Scripture, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. When they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." Matthew 10:16, 19-20.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Let Me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?" Matthew 5:13 Message

Have you ever stopped and thought about why Scripture says that we are the salt of the earth? One time in a home Bible study group we discussed that very thing, we prayed God would give us wisdom and this is what we came up with, I wrote it down in the back of my Bible.

According to Jesus, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are the salt of the earth, Matthew 5:13. He also warns that we can lose our saltiness and then what good are we? There is a saying that says if you don't use it, you lose it, how then does the salt of our lives work in reference to others? I hope you like allegories!

1. Salt is an exfoliate, it removes dead skin cells, and spiritually it removes those things from us that are of no value in the kingdom of God.
2. Salt is a preservative, it keeps things from becoming rancid, the salt of your life could keep another from a life that is good for nothing.
3. Salt seasons, some food is very bland without salt, our lives are to be anything but mundane, we are to be full of flavor, full of zeal, full of joy and full of peace. These qualities draw people to us.
4. Salt is an irritant, have you ever heard the expression, don't rub salt into the wound? To those that are perishing, to those who want nothing to do with Jesus we are a big irritant in their lives.
5. Salt is soothing and healing, did you ever have a painful sore throat and you gargled with salt water, yes you spit it out? Your throat feels immediately better. Our lives as salt can be soothing and healing to another who is frustrated, or hurting. Our prayers with them and for them bring God's healing and comfort.
6. Salt is a rock. You can put salt in a red hot pan and it doesn't harm it. Jesus is our Rock, no matter what the intensity of the heat is any trial, we can come out unscathed, we survive because we stand on the Rock, He is our foundation. This is a very powerful witness to others who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is easy to witness in good times but others take notice when we are going though tough, dark and depressing times.
7. Salt penetrates, it doesn't just stay on the surface it gets into the food. Our lives are not designed to stay on the surface in our relationships, we must be willing to have our lives penetrate the surface of others if we are to be effective in God's kingdom work. This takes time and effort. But the rewards are indescribable!
8. Salt flavors food, people are drawn to flavorful, robust flavors in food, so too are people drawn to flavors in people, God's salt in our lives gives us favor with God and with man!
9. Salt makes you thirsty! I know that you already know where this one is going, I think this is my favorite component of salt! Our lives have the ability to make others thirsty for Jesus Christ! Others in this case can be believers and well as non-believers!

Lord thank You for making us the salt of the earth, may we be reminded daily of what that means. And Lord please don't ever let our salt become tasteless, may we effectively, everyday demonstrate the various components of salt in the lives of others. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:37-38 NASB

I am increasingly convinced that 2012 is going to be the year for the largest harvesting of souls that this planet has ever seen. Everywhere I turn in scripture it is speaking of sharing the Good News, witnessing to the truth of Jesus Christ. And today in my quiet time the entire chapter of Matthew 10 speaks to our role as disciples of Jesus Christ! The life applications abound.

The Lord led me to select a study on Evangelism that the bible study group that I am involved in will begin the end of February. And since you can't closet yourself away with all Christians and learn how to witness, we have a very short class time and then we go out in small groups to witness, for that is how we learn to witness about Jesus Christ, we learn by doing! That is how our faith grows, by doing!

I hear people that were always leery of witnessing say they are going to be obedient to the command of Jesus this year, 2012! Jesus says in Mark 16:15; "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." And again in Acts 1:8 Jesus says to His followers; "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." And Jesus gives a great and precious promise to all who go out in His name in Matthew 10:19-20; "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." Wow!! Are you ready to be a worker in God's harvest field in 2012? The fields have never been whiter for harvest than they are right now! Lord open our spiritual eyes and let us see what only can be seen through You. Give us Your heart for the lost O Lord.

Has the fear magically left? No but the desire to share Jesus, to be obedient to Him is triumphing over the fear!! Boldness is replacing reluctance! Do you sense the move of the Holy Spirit? I do! What an exciting time to be alive and serving the Lord Jesus Christ! If you are a born again child of God you are to be a witness to the lost for Christ. Each one of us has a testimony regarding what Jesus has done in our lives, and every testimony is unique, and different.

"Whoever believes in the Son of God inwardly confirms God's testimony. Whoever refuses to believe in effect calls God a liar, refusing to believe God's own testimony regarding His Son. This is the testimony in essence; God gave us eternal life; the life is in His Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life." 1 John 5:10-12.

The lost may mock what they don't understand but God has made them hungry, the Spirit convicts them that they are sinners, and Jesus Christ is their only hope, they are more open now than ever, they just don't know it. Come on, now is the time, this is the year, you have the testimony, you have Life within you, let's all go labor shoulder to shoulder for God's glory!

The only thing that you can take to heaven are the souls you bring to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying." Acts 9:11 NASB

This morning in my quiet time I asked the Lord to open my eyes and give me understanding of what I was about to read in His word. And like countless other times He heard my prayer and answered. He took familiar verses and opened my eyes to the life applications that lay within them. God loves it when we ask Him to give us understanding, He loves it because that is His will for everyone of His children, and because when we ask it humbles us before Him as we acknowledge our need for Him!

The life application that began with our title verse of Acts 9:11 came forth and this is what the Lord showed me.

When the Lord says; Get Up and Go, don't concern yourself with a persons reputation, for that is between them and God.

The Lord gave His servant Ananias a vital clue about Saul when He told him to go to Saul, the Lord said; he is praying!

Second life application; When God says go, He has already prepared the heart of the one you are sent to.

Third; God always knows what He is doing, we cannot see His work in another's heart, never count somebody out because of their life style, no matter how diabolical it is.

There is an interesting peek into Jesus heart toward sinners found in Matthew 9:10-13. Jesus is dining in a home and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Him and the religious leaders, the Pharisees, questioned Jesus disciples as to why Jesus was associating with sinners. Jesus responded; "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Matthew 5:6 says; "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." The Pharisees were self-righteous, that is why they did not recognize Jesus for who He was even though they knew the Scriptures that spoke of Jesus coming. Jesus comes to those who know they are sinners, they know they can't make themselves righteous, they were drawn to Jesus, they experienced His love and forgiveness of sins!

There is a wonderful life application from the above scriptures in Matthew; we are called to fellowship with the body of Christ, other believers, but we are also called and commanded to be witnesses for Christ! If we never associate with anyone except fellow believers how is that following Christ's example?

Back to Acts, if our attitude toward sinners is judgmental, we will never Get up and Go at the Lord's command. Ananias knew Saul's reputation and it was awful, but he was obedient to God to go and sinner Saul, zealous persecutor of believers was transformed into Paul the Apostle who boldly brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles! Oh and by the way wrote 13 books or letters in the New Testament.

Life application; God alone knows a heart and what He can do in and through the most reprobate of sinners, my responsibility is to; Get Up and Go!

Monday, January 9, 2012

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

In our continuing quest to intentionally live our lives in 2012 there are two essentials that we must intentionally do everyday of our lives. We must have a daily quiet time with our God; where we listen to His voice through His Word, the bible. And then we speak to God thru our prayers in response to what He has revealed to us this day in Scripture.

God has provided us with many great and precious promises in Scripture, especially regarding our relationship with Him. Jeremiah 29:12-14 says in part; "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." Wow!! What an amazing promise, the God who created the universe, the God who created you and me and everyone who has ever lived is saying He will hear us when we pray!!

What is so special about that? Just this, 1 John 5:14-15 says; "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." Notice the condition in this promise, "if we ask anything according to His will" How do we discover and know His will? The bible of course!

Daily reading Scripture and praying is how we grow in the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it is how we discern God's revealed will, it is light and life to our souls, it warns, corrects, encourages and teaches, and if you don't know God's Word then you will never know Him! That is the truth, His Word is truth and it has the ability to transform our lives, our minds, and our hearts! It is God's gift to all who seek Him. I wish I had the ability to express to each and everyone of you that will read this just what the Scriptures can do in your life, I know because I have experienced this change, year after year, I know what it is to hunger and thirst for the Word because nothing, and I mean nothing is able to satisfy like Scripture!

There is nothing more powerful that we can pray and ask God for than to pray His Word back to Him! Why? Because Scripture is all true, it is all God's will and when we pray that, we know that He hears and we know He will answer because it is in accordance with His will! This year 2012 I am praying the following everyday for my family members, for the women in the bible study groups I meet with every week, and I am going to write it out here so that you can read it and perhaps the Lord would encourage you to do the same for your family members or your bible study groups, and yourself. We could never on our own think to ask God for these things that is why it is so wonderful that we can pray His Word with complete confidence that He will answer!

"...We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:9-14.

"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:8.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom." Matthew 5:10 Message

As we continue on with our search through the Word of God as to what our lives can look like when we are completely surrendered to Jesus Christ, today's title verse says it all!

Are you blessed in this way, have others rejected you, avoided you, made fun of you, or persecuted you because of your faithful witness for the Lord Jesus Christ? The body of Christ around the world is being persecuted, arrested, beaten, even killed because of the name of Jesus Christ every single day! And they like the apostles, consider it all joy that they have been found worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ. Acts 5:41 says; "So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name."

In the United States we have lived with religious freedom and it is only in our recent past that we see the tide turning in respect to that freedom. Now it is freedom if you are any religion but a fundamentalist Christian! The media and television shows mock Christianity and sadly the fear of ridicule is shutting peoples mouths. But to those who are willing to stand up, show up and speak up the reward is blessing from God.

The word blessed as found in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 means; happy, to be envied! Listen to what Jesus has to say regarding those who are willing to face persecution and ridicule or worse for their belief in Jesus Christ. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11-12.

The Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 3:14-16; "But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled. But 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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame."

Are you suffering at all for Christ sake or are you so well hidden that no one would even suspect you of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Believers in this country have kept their mouths closed for way too long, now is the time, this is the year for the body of Christ to come out of the closet and stand up, show up and speak up! All we have to lose is our fear, our cowardliness, all we have to gain is the blessing of Christ Jesus Who first lived with; rejection, ridicule, hatred, mocking, beatings and the shame of the cross, even death, on our behalf.

How can we not stand up for Him and confess Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD? How can we any longer allow people to mock Him and His Word and stand mute? Let us live our lives in 2012, always being ready to make a defense for Jesus Christ! We can do this together, for He that is within us is more powerful than he who is in the world!

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives." Matthew 5:16 Message

Happy New Year everyone! It is the time for resolutions; a desire to do more in 2012 than we accomplished in 2011. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ you already know that to do anything involving the Lord Jesus it must be intentional! And our intentions must be in perfect alignment with the Word of God. So what better way to begin our year together than to look at portions of Scripture and intentionally begin living in obedience to what we read in Scripture, it is after all, among other things, God's revealed will for our lives.

Today's Scripture reveals that believer's in Christ are the light of the world; what does that mean?

Jesus said He was the Light of the world, (John 8:12) our lives must reflect Christ in all that we do.
Light brings hope, just ask anyone who has ever been lost what it meant when they saw a light in the distance.
Light brings warmth, it draws and is inviting, our lives can radiate warmth, be generous and open to all who God brings into your life, even if it is only for a very brief time. The Holy Spirit can use any encounter to impact the life of another soul.
Light exposes deeds of darkness, we must be bold in our witness.
Light brings joy, why do so many people get depressed in the winter? Lack of light. Be a light in someone's life today.
Light draws others to it. Have you ever driven to find the source of a huge spotlight to find out why it was there? Why are fireplaces so attractive? They are light, sources of warmth, and the flames dancing, the logs popping are joyful to watch. Your life can be like a beautiful fireplace that others are drawn to.

Your life can shine in such a way that people are drawn to you and they will give glory to God for your light. Intentionally pray and ask God to make your light shine in 2012!