Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Wise Proffessor

God Brews the Coffee *

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor at his home. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups that were porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite. He then invited them to help themselves to the coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress."

"Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. God brews the coffee, not the cups..........Enjoy your coffee!"~

The Author is Unknown ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Faith to Move Mountains

"By this", Jesus said, "is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit." John 15:8

This statement puts many other things in perspective.

In Psalm 57 David prays:"Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul take refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until the destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me."

In Psalm 138 he prays:"Though I walk in the midst of trouble You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting…"

The inter-connection between answered prayer and God’s glory is undeniable. His desire is that we exhibit our faith in prayer and He looks forward to giving us the answers we seek, particularly the ones that we need.

So much does God want us to “get” this that Jesus stated emphatically "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea',and dose not doubt in his heart but believes what he says if going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them and they shall be granted you." Mark 11:22-24

So critical in our faith in the equation that Jesus tells us to stand on the answer so much that we can feel it, taste it and see it. It is then that it shall come to be. Faith is a heaven opening key!

His track record is good. Why not take the next step that He is calling you to take? "Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." Psalm 9:10

Friday, July 25, 2008


Perhaps a quick memory, for others an introduction to a comics classic:

Dennis the Menace found himself in a familiar spot. Once again he sat on a stool facing the corner of the kitchen. “Time out” in the corner where he could be monitored was a common position.

As he took his place this time, while facing the corner, he was heard to mumble: “I may be sitting down on the outside but I’m still running around on the inside”.

You know what he's saying? It's just like that whenever I sit down to spend some quiet moments with God and His word. I'm sitting down on the outside but things are running around on the inside. Things may start out peacefully each day but it doesn't take long, most days, for things to begin to unravel. I may be driving quietly on the outside but I'm jumping up and down on the inside.

I have made this statement before. Some of the most wonderful words in all of scripture are the words of a young man named Elihu as he addressed the wrong thinking of an aquaintence named Job. You can find these words in Job chapters 32 through 42. The words of Job, upon coming to grips with the truth about God, are insightful: He said: "

(Until now) my ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. I therefore despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. v. 5&6

We become so easily distracted that we fail to see Jesus. Our ears give us false comfort but it is only when we see God with our eyes that we truely believe.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the HOPE of His calling, what are the RICHES of His glory of His inheritance in the saints (you an me)and what is the surpassing POWER toward us who believe!" Ephesians 1:18

Agree with me on the Ephesians prayer. Personalize it and pray it for yourself. Write it down and pray it for yourself regularly. Life is available if we begin to see Him!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who You Are In Jesus

Jesus said: "Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are those who did not see, yet believed!" John 20:29

What do you believe that you haven’t seen?

Let’s take a look about what scripture has to say about us that we may fail to grasp:"Thanks be to God, who always lead us in His triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place." 2 Corin 2:14

"And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the debt certificate consisting of decrees against us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Colossians 2:13-14

"He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him upfor us all, how will He not also with Him give us all things?" Romans 8:31

"…we overwhelming conquer through Him who loved us…I am convinced that neither death nor life or angles nor principalities no things present nor things to come nor power nor height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us form the love of God which is in Christ Jesus." Roman 8:37-39

"God, being rich I mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Himand raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…" Ephesians 2:4-6

"…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the trueknowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."2 Peter 1:2

Like no one else, we have reason to give thanks and to praise our wonderful God! Invest a few moments in reading again God's promisess to you personally. Hold the vision of who you are in Jesus this week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Too Wonderful to Imagine or Expect

A shepherd boy made king wrote from his experience about his God. David penned these words as he contemplated the felt presence of his God:

Were can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I go from Thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there, if I make my bed in the depths, behold Thou are there. If I take the wings of dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me and Thy (strong) right hand will lay hold of me. If I say "surely the darkness will overwhelm me and the light around me will be night",

Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.
(Psalm 139:7-12)

The gift that we call prayer is much more simple than we make it most of the time.

Oftentimes, we tend to handle prayer like a ritual or like a prescription. The gift that we have been given is more like a conversation. We are not making a heavenly phone call to a God in some far off place. We are merely discussing the ups and downs, the ins and outs of our lives with the ever-present God.

Even more intimate than this is the plentiful knowledge of this ever-present God. David states, "O Lord, Thou has searched me and know me. Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost knowest it all". (v. 1-5)

We easily ascent to the understanding that God knows everything but we handle the details of our lives as if we were independent.

The illusion of independence is same spirit we discover in the garden of Eden when Adam chose his desires over God’s. We fool ourselves into thinking that what we do won’t matter.

Contrast your view of your life and your relationship with your Creator with the view that the shepherd boy had:

"Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it." (v.6)

So now, the only question that remains is which life will we choose: the existence of the fool or the life with God’s presence?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A New Dimension

Waiting has become a national irritation; perhaps it is one of yours as well.

Lines in banks or in stores, late friends or family members, sitting in the “waiting” room too long past the appointment time, spouse issues too many to mention; waiting grates and pushes against our sense of what is “right”.

Waiting is a BIG thing for our God as well. The meaningful difference between how we tend to see waiting from how God sees waiting is that He sees waiting as a good thing. No, not that waiting itself is a good thing, but that waiting indicates a good thing.

Just moments before He left His friends, Jesus told them to wait:

And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait…

Not that waiting is tough enough by itself but Jesus asked His friends to wait around in the very city where He was horribly treated and crucified just days before. The religious and political rancor was at extreme high; the danger was palpable!

wait for what the Father had promised. “Which.” He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized you with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”.

So that which “the Father” had promised was going to be delivered but there was evidently a prerequisite to the receipt of the gift. Clearly, the Father could have delivered the promised gift in any manner He chose. For some reason He chose to deliver it to those who “waited”.

There is a scripture that is probably very familiar to us; familiar to our minds perhaps but far too unfamiliar in practice.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble and badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:29-31

Once again waiting seems to be the path to the promised benefits. Waiting is the ultimate illustration of our faith!

The psalmist knew this depth of this display of faith:

To Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master. As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God until He shall be gracious to us!
Psalm 123:1-2

Before ending this discussion it is important to address two levels of waiting. The first is waiting for some specific relief, a specific blessing or a special need. The second is where we begin to touch the essence of the inscrutable God, the presence of waiting for whatever He has in mind for us.

Waiting takes time. Time is the only thing that we have that once spent cannot be replaced. It is the greatest, most personal thing that we can offer.

When Thou didst awesome things which we did not expect, Thou didst come down, the mountains quaked at Thy presence.

For from of old they have not heard not perceived by ear, neither has eye seen a God besides Thee Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him
. Isaiah 64:3&4

Explore a new dimension in your relationship with the Living God; wait for Him!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Difference Maker

What follows is a very difficult question. Take some time to consider, to contemplate and to face the truth of your real answer.

The question:

What difference does Jesus Make in your life?

Notice; the question is NOT what difference does Jesus make in your death, but what difference He makes in your life! Another point to the question is: what difference does He make in your life today, not at some future hoped for point.

Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly”. John 10:10

There is a big difference between the words “may” and “will”. The gift has been given, it is our responsibility to pick it up and to put it to use.

Scripture says, “ the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. Galatians 5:22-23

A obviously stupid question is, if you walked up to an fruit tree and found nothing there would you consider there to be something wrong? Of course, so let me ask you, “what is wrong?” Why are the fruits borne by the Holy Spirit not evident in our lives?

So, are you content where you are or is there a yearning for a deeper life?

Jesus came to provide it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Mysteries

This message is centered around the Book of Colossians. I hope that this will, perhaps, inspire you to prayerfully invest some time grazing in the depth of this letter written to the Christians in the first century.

Let’s begin in chapter two

Paul begins by stating his deep desire for those who have not been able to meet him face to face. His desire is that these and all Christians will pursue the…

…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

There is a wealth that comes from knowing the deep, deep mystery of Jesus and all that He has done for us. The things hidden from the beginning of creation and continue hidden from the world and, unfortunately, many Christians, are freely open to those who seek the TRUE knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done.

I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

There are many who yearn to teach and many who teach are deluded because they are empty of the mysteries and the true knowledge of Jesus.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Walking “in Jesus” is one of the profound mysteries that Jesus has invited us into. Paul says that walking in Jesus is exactly the same as how we received Jesus in the first place. It is by faith and only by faith that we receive Him and it is only by faith that we can “walk in Him”. There is so much more to say about this but, for now, we will go on.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

No one ever intends to substitute the traditions of men for the truth of God. It just creeps in unaware in most cases. It is the easiest course to follow because it is based upon our understanding and logic. The truth of God is foolishness to understanding and logic.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Let’s not skip by this one too fast. Read that part once again….

There is another of the mysteries of Jesus. We have (past tense here) been made COMPLETE!
If there should be any doubt arise concerning this mystery, see the rest of this statement that Jesus is “the head over all rule and authority”.

And that’s not all…

and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We were dead; we have been made alive “together with Him through faith”.

When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

We can be “defrauded of our prize” of liberterating life by submitting ourselves to the “requirements” of religion. So many things that sound so right are the very things that rob us of our life. Reason, understanding and logic divert us from the truth that is offered within the realm of faith.

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Perhaps a simple summation of what this is saying is: “if you have died with Christ why do you insist on dragging that old dead body around with you?” The “appearance of wisdom” is a far, far distance from true wisdom. Once again that which makes sense really doesn’t make sense within the Kingdom of God.

We have been made complete in Jesus and mysteries have been opened up to us. We will not unfold these mysteries until we accept our true position in Jesus and begin to live “in Him”.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lifetime Opportunity

I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, "I am here, here am I". To a nation which did not call on My name, I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good following their own thoughts.. Isaiah 65:1-2

So many people think that God is an angry God, a distant God, a puppeteer God or some other ridiculous figure of God. Isaiah paints a pretty clear picture of the God after our own hearts.

Relationships are built and they are strengthened through communications. God created Adam to walk with Him in the garden every morning.

We know that it is not because He needs us; but rather, our Creator and Sustainer knows how desperately that we need Him.

Talk to Him. I mean, right now, talk to Him. Tell Him what’s on your mind. Then listen for what is on His!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Confidence that is Secure

Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry; give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips…I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. Wondrously show Your lovingkindness O savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand. Psalm 17:1-7

How does one have such confidence in prayer? "You will answer me" seems to indicate an expectation beyond what most Christians pray with today. How about you?

So what do you think? Why does the psalmist have such confidence and we, at least most of the time, have only the faintest of hopes?

Perhaps the psalmist answers our question by the final words that state: "those who take refuge at Your right hand". There is a place of deep security in the right hand of an Almighty God!

Within that security, courage and confidence build. When we come to really, I mean really, comprehend the depth of our God’s love for us we will grow in our unfettered confidence in asking boldly and asking expectantly.

Have you found His refuge yet?

It is only when we get the understanding of the "breadth and the length and the height and the depth" of the love of Jesus for His people (Ephesians 3:18) that we will finally understand that prayer has absolutely nothing to do with how we pray.

Only then will we grasp that the unfathomable, unfettered love of an understanding, all-knowing God who desires to impact our lives through faithful, expecting prayer has ordained prayer for the purpose of showing His people His love!

Over the next few days be aware of the Holy Spirits invitation to "come away". You will be invited to begin to discover the refuge of God’s right hand.

You will know the invitation when it comes during one of your favorite television programs, a very busy day, an important task or job or a busy demanding family time of day.

Understand that our God knows every nuance of our hearts; there are no secrets. He will invite us during one of our "important" times not to prove our obedience but to display to us that His refuge is deeper, stronger, wider than any of the things we see as so important.

The invitation will come. Will you have the courage to follow?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Knowing Who's Who

The prophet Micah new what's what.

He asked: With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearlings calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in then thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Has he told you , O man, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you but to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? (6:6-9)

We sometimes get it so wrong.

We sometimes think that we must do everything right to please God. It is not the rightness of the things we do that gets God's attention; it is only the state of our hearts that opens the door.

Understanding who we are and understanding Who God is can lead to nothing less.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Silence is Not Always Golden

An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. And Zaharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him.

So opens the communication, once again between the Creator and His creation!

400 years; that’s a long, long time.

400 years had been how long it had been since God had spoken to mankind. No prophets, no angelic appearances, no visions, no dreams; absolutely no communication whatsoever!

Silence, how does that make sense. Mankind left to himself leads only to degradation; nothing good comes from this type of silence. Nevertheless, God chose to remain silent until today!

“Do not be afraid” were the first words from God in over 400 years. “Do not be afraid”; four words that speak volumes.

-God chose to open is communications once again with one single man.
-God did not allow the urgency of the message to be delivered to override His care for the individual.
-God chose to speak to an individual who was available; just doing his assigned duties.
-God re-opened communications with the physical presence of an angel to confirm the message.

So, how long has it been since you have heard from Him? The good news is that, at least, it couldn’t have been 400 years. Schedule some time to hear from Him soon! He will show up.