Monday, December 27, 2010

What is Wrong With God's People?

It seems to me that there is a spirit of malaise or a spirit of stupor over God's people. If someone were to walk into church one weekend and offer to give someone $1 million, I expect that there would be an atmosphere of excitement and expectation.

It is far, far more that one million dollars that is offered every week but is ignored or unheard! There is something going on in the spiritual realm.

For several weeks the Holy Spirit has been percolating a message that He has asked me to send you. In no way is this message intended to accuse you or lay any responsibility, other than that brought by the Holy Spirit, upon you.

Here is the message that has been on my mind that may or may not be applicable to you. Please precede your time reading this message with prayer.

Days drew on into months, then into years. What started as a mild seduction pulled God’s people into a complex web. So intertwined, into the culture of Ezekiel, was the web of sin that God would no longer tolerate the duplicity. See the people never outright rejected the God of Israel they simply broadened their prospects. The problem was not a common problem therefore the solution would not be the common solution.

Chapter 9 of Ezekiel:

Then He cried our in my hearing with a loud voice saying, “O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand”. And behold, six men cam from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold or the temple. And He called the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case.

And the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in their midst.” But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare, utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark…”

Take a few moments some time to see the results of this process. It is shocking! Apparently the only one that qualified for the mark was Ezekiel himself.

Society had regressed to the point that there was only one individual who cared about the state of the sin around him.

The journey continued so that Ezekiel could see the underlying cause, indication or effect of the degradation.

Chapter 3:16-21

Now it came about at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman over the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you shall have delivered yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.”

God had done His part in establishing “watchmen” over the house. The watchmen drifted away:

Ezekiel 8:7-12

Then He brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, a hole in the wall. And He said to me, “Son of man, now dig through the wall.” So I dug through the wall, and behold, an entrance. And He said to me, “Go in and see the wicked abominations that they are committing here.”

So I entered and looked, and behold, every form of creeping things and beasts and detestable things, with all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around. And standing in front of them were seventy elders of the house of Israel…each man with a censer in his hand, and the fragrance of the cloud of incense rising. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images?’”

It didn’t happened suddenly. Each of those in positions of influence and leadership had the boldest ideals but, over time, the ideals were reduced to the very lowest of common denominators. Not in the open light of day, but in the dark recesses of their lives, they built their idols.

What idols were so tempting to them?

Perhaps they were not much different that our own:

A job or career?

A car or house?

A position?

Your 401-k?

Your family?

Your personal goals?

Your heath or fitness?

The list goes on and on.

Television, movies, novels, recreation in place of the bible and prayer

Pornography, alcohol, escapes of any kind….

What, if anything, have you carved on your walls?

God invites you back.

Consecrate yourself to the Living God!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Freedom That Brings Righteousness

For far too many years now Christians have been buying into lies. Not just lies but damned lies. "Got to have a quite time every day", "must be baptized", "got to quit (select one: eating so much, watching so much TV, smoking, drinking, pornography, getting angry)" and on and on...

The gospel, which defined is "good news" is pure and undefiled good news. Many church leaders have gotten off course and sold us a lie. Listen to the Word of God!

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.

But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
Romans 5:4-8

The cart before the horse teaching of trying to be "good enough" to be a "good Christian" has dampened that lives and the witness of Christians for too many years now!

Accept, if you have accepted Jesus as your personal savior, that you are seen as holy by our God! If you will surrender your "works" and pick up His gift, your life will respond with overwhelming joy. Once the joy moves in, the desires for the aberrant things that were so very attractive to us disappear.

The more we try to defeat the wrong desires the more they will create deeper longing for those desires. We can not slay the evil that is within us it is only the indwelling Holy Spirit that can override our desires. We must quit quenching the Holy Spirit's fruitfulness in our lives by our "works" mentality. Your commitment to be more holy has gotten you what?

Surrender to grace! There is no other way!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jesus Paid It ALL!!!!!

Jesus paid it all! Why do we think that we have to "be better", "quit something", "start doing something" to be acceptable to our God?

The writer of Hebrews deals with this issue: Hebrews 10

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

We have confidence because He is faithful! No where does scripture indicate that the redeamed need to clean-up their lives or begin to be more faithful do be more acceptable. As a matter of fact scripture indicates quite the opposite. God sees our self earned righteousness as nothing more that filthy, stinky rags.

Hebrews drives this point painfuly home with these comments:

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

The bottom line is this. If the blood of Jesus is not enough, there is no hope for you! Jesus paid it all! God sees our efforts to add to what Jesus did as an afront. It is simply another example of Adam's original sin of attempting to place himself in God's position! You don't want to go there!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

He Became; We Might Be!

What did Jesus do for you? If you are like most Christians you would say something along the lines of, "He died on the cross for my sins". There is nothing wrong with that answer although it is only a partial answer.

It is because Christians have settled for the partial answer that the visible and the verbal witness of the Church cowers in the corner of our society rather than boldly attacking the gates of hell around us.

So what is the complete answer?

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2Corinthians 5:21

Read that scripture one more time!

Do get it? I mean, do you really, really get it?

Jesus not only died on the cross, He actually became "sin" so that "sin" would die on that cross and be judged and sentenced to hell! The penalty for my sin, yesterday's, today's and all of my tomorrows sins, have already been judged and sentenced! It is a done deal!

As absolutely unbelievable as that is the second part is beyond grasp. Christians are now the "righteousness of God!" Just as my sin was planted on Jesus, His righteousness was planted on me!

on't miss this and don't pass it off too quickly. Jesus did not actually become a sinner when He became and I didn't actually become sinless when I became righteous!

When God sees a Christian He first sees the blood of Jesus covering His life and He need look no further. The blood of Jesus equals righteousness!

So why do we live lives of desperation? We are loaded down by circumstances because we fail to realize our position in Jesus! Read the Book of Acts to see what lives are lived by those who really "get it"!

Faith! Not a wistful hope but a "conviction of things not seen" Hebrew 11:1 Take a stand on God's truth! Accept your righteousness and begin to live like it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Heart Issue

The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful teacher!

This week’s thoughts were centered around the Book of Ezekiel.

First let me explain how the Holy Spirit has shown me not only the message but has punctuated the message with the deep feelings of the message.

Do you remember a time when your heart hurt?

Some time ago Sheryl and I went to the shopping mall to do a little shopping. As we walked down the mall she decided she wanted to stop at a particular store to buy a gift for a friend. The store is a small, busy store so I decided that I didn’t need to join her in the store but, instead, would stand guard outside doing a little people watching.

Little did I know that this was the time that the Holy Spirit had in mind to show me the depth of God’s love. As I was scanning the crowd, down the mall walking in my direction was a father and his young daughter. My attention was immediately drawn to them. The father was a youngish, tall man and the girl was somewhere in the elementary school years age. She was looking a bit unkempt; her hair was straggled and her coat was half on and half off.

As they approached my post, the father was looking straight ahead while his daughter bounced around him trying to earn his attention. The best way that I can describe her actions to you, and every unfitting, is of a young puppy jumping around trying to get the attention of its master. She skipped and hopped around on one side of him; then quickly darted to the other side to do the same, jabbering all of the time. NOT ONCE, did the father even look down, smile or, in any way, acknowledge her.

My heart ached for that young girl. As I write this, my heart still aches!

There was a time in history when God specifically identified individuals with hurt hearts: Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice, “Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in hand.” And behold, six men came from the district of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen at whose loins was a writing case. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in lined at whose loins was the writing case.

And the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” But to the others He said, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare…but do not touch any man on whom is the mark…” Ezekiel 9:1-6

Perhaps the saddest thing about this history is that it only took one person to mark those whose hearts hurt but it required six to lay out the judgment upon those whose hearts were cold.

Has there ever been a time when we substitute judgment for hurt hearts? To hear us talk about the state of our society one could quickly get the idea that we might be a tad judgmental. God looks for sighing and groaning and we give him gripes and disgust. The one dressed in linen looks for the troubled; the six with weapons look for the comfortable.

Jesus, displayed the depths of His heart one day, And when He approached the city (Jerusalem), He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! Luke 19:41&42

He said, further, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Matthew 23:37

I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hug that young, hungry for attention girl; or to grab the father and shake him out of his coma!

Surely you have experienced the hurt of a heart.

There is no place for judgment in the hearts of those whose hearts ache! There is only a longing for things to be set right; for peace!

Jesus, Isaiah states is the, Prince of Peace! 8:6

Do you know; I mean really know that in this day, even you, the things which make for peace are contained in HIM?

Ask our God to give you a new heart; a heart that is tender rather than judgemental; a heart that hurts rather than condemns.

Consider leaving a comment ot encourage others.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Battle of Faith and Circumstances

Difficult times continue on and on for those who have been struggling due to the economy or difficult job or family issues. This is not the first challenging time in the world's history.

Jeremiah 33:10-12

"Thus says the LORD, 'Yet again there will be heard in this place, of which you say, "It is a waste, without man and without beast," that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say,
"Give thanks to the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting";
and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the LORD. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,' says the LORD.

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'There will again be in this place which is waste, without man or beast, and in all its cities, a habitation of shepherds who rest their flocks.

Hear the word of the Lord. Circumstances do not determine the results in God's kingdom. Faith is the currency of the kingdom and faith is best expressed in words of thanksgiving to Jehovah Jireah, the God who provides.

Whenever your spirits begin to drag over circumstances there is a moment of choice. The world does not have this choice and Christians who do not avail themselves of the choices are subject to the whims of circumstances.

The choices: 1) circumstances determine my faith or 2) faith determines my circumstances.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His lovingkindness is everlasting!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other

Psalm 85

O LORD, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin. Selah.

The word "selah" means a significant pause to consider what was just said. The greatest that God's people could hope for was that God would "cover" their sin. How can we remain silent, those of us how have been redeemed, because our sin is not simply covered up be totally erased. Jesus became sin that we might be the righteousness of God.

You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

Romans 8:1 "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Notice that this statement is in no way conditional. Our righteousness is but filthy rags in God's sight. The righteousness of Jesus that is accounted to us absolute!

Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?

This is my biggest frustration with the people of Jesus. Do we not realize what has been done for us? How can we not rejoice in every circumstance? God's mercies are new every morning for His people it just remains for us to find them.

Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

Their prayerful longing is the very thing that we take for granted. Our lives display our level gratitude and our level of understanding our position in Jesus.

I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.

Do you hear his voice? He is speaking constantly. Please realize that this part opens up with the statement: "I will hear". We live in a noisy world. Everywhere we go there is noise and distraction. This noise has been put their for the very purpose of clogging our ears so we can not hear out God. To hear Him we must purpose to hear Him!

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

Salvation = glory in the land. The church has fallen asleep. The world is the worse for the lack of glory that we openly display.

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

This portion of this psalm has rocked me to the core. To my mind, love and godly truth seem to be separated. Either God can choose to love us or He can continue to stand for truth but God had found the only way, Jesus, to allow the two to meet.

Righteousness and peace are strained in today's world. We see many examples of angry "righteousness" in many of the religions of the world, including the Christian religion. God's righteousness in impeccable. His standards are beyond excellent yet He found the only way, Jesus, to find peace by accounting righteousness to those who don't deserve it.

Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.

The first four chapters of Proverbs displays how available wisdom is for those who seek it. We have been "sold a bill of goods" that possessions and positions are more valuable that simple wisdom. The false god of financial "security" has diverted us from truth.

Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.

The simple design of God's creation is the provision for His creation. We hoard but don't have, we gather but still we lack, we chase but never catch and wonder why our lives are so empty. Are hope is in the getting to the next weekend, our relief is looking toward our next vacation. All empty shells!

Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.

The "way" has been set as a path before us. Choose this day which path you shall trod. Choose carefully for the easy one, the broad one, leads to destruction. It is the narrow way that leads to life!

Please consider leaving a comment to challenge or encourage others.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New World

The deal of a lifetime; no. The deal of an eternity!

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

When I ask a Christian, "What did Jesus do for you?" The common answer is that "He died for me". Although that is true, it is so very far short to the total picture.

Too many Christians fail to understand their true position in Jesus. We have, indeed, become the righteousness of God unless we continue to labor under the opinion that we are simply "redeemed sinners". Scripture indicates that we are so much more than that!

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

What old things, that have spiritually "passed away" are you still cultivating. Isn't it time to agree with God and let go? Allow the "new things" to come. There is a whole new world designed for "new creations". Why not join us?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Courage cancels faith

What is it that God could ask you to do that would cross the line of your faith? Be honest now!

Now large crowds were going along with Him (Jesus); and He turned and said to them,
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:25-27

I had the opportunity this week to pray for a christian brother who need courage to do something. It struck me how often we expect that we need courage when what we really need is faith. Courage is a false substitute for faith.

We have been "sold a bill of goods" about courage. Faith is diametrically opposed to courage. Faith is not having the courage but doing the thing that you should do anyway.

We simply want to pursue comfort and it has cost us everything God values. It costs us our freedom.

Allow God to expand your faith at the very risk of your comfort.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Challenge to Hear

There is something that I would like to challenge with. Recently, God showed me this simple plan to an incredible life in faith.

This very first qualification is that you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It is at that time that each of us is given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our future.

Galatians 5:22&23 tells us what comes to us with the Holy Spirits presence:

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I invite you discover the connection between two of the Holy Spirit's gifts.

From Isaiah 55: 12&13 (God is speaking to His people)

"For you will go out with joy

And be led forth with peace;

The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

"Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,

And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,

And it will be a memorial to the LORD,

For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off."

Could it be as simple as that? Begin each day with joy and we will not only find true peace but all of creation has been set up to respond to us. Together, the joy, the peace and the miraculous events surrounding us will testify to Jesus as an eternal sign!

He said it. Will you put it to the test?

Come back and let us all know what you find.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Four Hundred Years

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.

"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.

Perhaps He will choose to speak to you today during the course of your "assigned duty".

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" John 10:27

Do you have ears to hear? He said if you are His you WILL hear his voice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When Did We?

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;

and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

'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 a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the (AO)eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;

I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46

When did we....? The significant question. For the one it was used to deflect the problem by saying when did we see something and not do it? When did we not do? For the other it was a declaration of concern as in: when did we do such things?

See true faith does things that are significant to Jesus without realizing that it is doing anything important at all.

James sums it up this way:

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:26

As surely as there are things like, a beating heart and taking a breath, that take place in the body simply because it is alive so, a reborn individual will do things to serve others simply because it is an out-flowing of the love within him/her.

Does your heart lean toward the plight and the needs of others? Do you see a hurt and want to comfort? Do you see a struggling family and run away or run toward the need?

The single marker of how our hearts respond to need and hurt is the most dependable indicator of our security in Jesus!

If you look at your life and see mostly a life of working and living for yourself or our own family and you claim to be a follower of Jesus you must revisit what He has to say to you right now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The True Gift of Manna

Manna is a gift of God to His people and like so many of His generous gifts it just keep giving and giving. Let's take a brief look at one of the gifts of manna.

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.

"On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily."

So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, "At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt;

and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, for He hears your grumblings against the LORD; and what are we, that you grumble against us?" Exodus 16:4-7

Manna was given to His people with restrictions. They could collect as much as they could eat in one day and one day only, except for Fridays which preceded the Sabbath. Any excess gathered would rot and be worse that worthless to the possessors.

The gift accepted would rebound to gratitude. The memory of how God delivered them from captivity and the magnificent glory of the God who provided their base needs.

Let's see how Jesus applied that to Himself and to us.

Jesus said to them, " I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35

Jesus is our manna. We can not stock up on Him on Sundays and think that it will carry us through the week. As a matter of fact, any excess taken in on Sunday will rot before the sun comes up on Monday. Is it any wonder that the church of Jesus is so weak and timid today. We are under-nourished and sickly because we have accepted the generous gift of God but don't understand the conditions.

Stop right now and think about your week for the last 7 days. Have you skipped a meal or two? We all know what crises would arise if we actually missed a physical meal or two but we don't connect the crisis in our spiritual health when we miss the manna.

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3

The gift of daily manna is not about nourishment alone, but is also a gift to keep us humble. We simply can not build a life in Jesus without clinging to the source.

He humbled us and let us be hungry. He then fed us that we might understand how desperately we need Him. We then would seek after Him like a starving child.

We have dropped the ball. We are indeed hungry but we seek to fill ourselves with television, food, alcohol, movies, sex and a myriad of other temporary fixes for our desperate hunger.

Return to the Bread of Life and return daily. Experience real life!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Two Seas and Two Choices

One of the many ways that our God graciously communicates with us displays His pursuit of us. When there is a critical message that He doesn’t want us to miss, He will send it in multiple ways. A case in point follows:

Within the Promised Land, today called Israel, runs a river from the north to the south. The Jordan River has been used for many messages and many lessons over the years. This time we are not looking at the river but the lakes that exist because of the river.

Traveling from the north, the first lake that we encounter is the Sea of Galilee. This lake is alive with fish and many other water creatures. The Jordan enters the lake from the north and exits to the south.

The next, and last, lake that we come to on the Jordan is the Dead Sea. Unlike the s Sea of Galilee there is absolutely no life in or, even, around the lake. The Jordan River enters the Dead Sea from the north and dies in the Dead Sea. The lifeless lake is not due to the water itself but, rather, is due to the minerals that the river has picked up alone its way to the sea. Since there is no outlet these minerals are concentrated and deadly.

There is a profound principle that is communicated by this geographical picture. God has given, into our hands, funds sufficient to do His purposes. He, like the Jordan River, flows funds into our hands. Much of today’s Christianity is lying empty and dead because of positioning themselves as the receiver and the keeper. Like the Dead Sea, we have gathered houses, cars, clothes, dining out experiences and more and more. What God intended, as a blessing has become a burden leading to death.

The designed flow of funds into and through our hands brings life and joy. Attempting to divert the given funds is available to us but brings only the ugly result.

If this message is not difficult enough! Last week I was sharing this thought with a young brother in Jesus. He was quick to point out an application that I had not seen: For years, week after week every Sunday, we have heard message after message but have done very little in releasing the messages to others who don’t know our Jesus! Spiritually alive means taking in and giving out. There are no exceptions. As with the “things” we hold onto, the lack of follow-through with our witness leads only to the Dead Sea experience!

Is it time to reconsider anything?

We all have opted for a little more collecting than disbursing. The only question that is important is: How close are you to your God? Is there life and joy resident or does burden and stress reside?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Psalm 143 (b)

"Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob;
But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.

(See last week's discussion of the Jacob and Israel issue)

"You have not brought to Me the sheep of your burnt offerings,
Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices
I have not burdened you with offerings,
Nor wearied you with incense.

(You have done nothing for ME)

"You have bought Me not sweet cane with money,
Nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
Rather you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

(You have done much against ME)

"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins.

( He "wipes" out your sin for HIS sake)

"Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together;
State your cause, that you may be proved right.

(You think that your sin is so big that you can't pray, can't worship or can't witness? Bring your case and argue before the One Who "remembers your sin no more"!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Psalm 143 (a)

Scripture has far more to say than my meager mind:

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel,

(Why address "Jacob" and Israel"? God is addressing the same people by referring to Jacob and Israel. The name "Jacob" means "supplanter". Jacob was the twin son who tricked his father to steal his brother's rightful birthright. The name "Israel" means "God strives". Israel is the new name given Jacob as he became the father of the twelve sons/tribes.

What God is saying is that the following message is for all of His children. Whether walking in the middle of His will or whether conniving and struggling for all of the wrong things, the message is the same.)

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!

(Pause here for a moment; let those words soak into you spirit)

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

"For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.

"Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.

(Pause here and thank our God for Jesus)

"Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.

"I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
And to the south, 'Do not hold them back '
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,

Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made."

(Declare His glory to everyone)

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Dad

Perhaps you haven't heard yet but my dad passed away on August 1st. So many people have expressed their regrets but they just don't understand why I am joyful.

To give you the short version of events. My dad grew up in Chicago as the fourth of five boys and his father was killed at an early age in an industrial accident.

During most of his life, he rejected every concept of God. He moved through eastern type of meditation and read much about the human mind and thought control type of issues.

Over the years, since my new life began, I have been presenting him with books and personal discussions about Jesus. Each time he dismissed my thoughts and discussions and rejected the books.

Somewhere around 60 years of smoking left him in failing health. His lungs struggled to inhale and he had to learn to control panic attacks caused by his inability to get a clear breath.

He lived like this for several years.

Each time I left him I though it might be the last time I would see him.

Over the years I have traveled the 550 miles to Lava Hot Springs Idaho to see him one to two times per year. As our discussions progressed he became a bit softer to talk about God.

Finally, the last time I saw him he held up a small new testament that he had gotten years ago in the Navy. The Gideon New Testament contained very small print that he had trouble reading.

I went out that night and bought him a large print Bible and we talked about what he might read first.

That was the last time I saw him.

At his funeral, I met his step-son (Mark) who, like me, grew up in a Mormon family. I assumed that he was also Mormon. Mark and my dad had a very good relationship for several years.

After the funeral, Mark and I were talking and we both realized that we had both been talking to dad about Jesus. Mark said he knew someone else was witnessing to him but didn't know who.

Mark told me that the last time he saw dad, he asked him directly if he had accepted Jesus into his life. My dad said "yes". Mark asked him if it would be alright if they prayed together again to receive Jesus just to make sure. They did.

Here is the answer to my deep, deep misunderstood joy.

God, in His tender mercies kept my father alive long enough to find his way to Jesus and then took him home to His glory!

How can I be sad?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two Lists

There are a couple of lists that I would like you take take a honest look at:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control;

Honestly now, which list has more descriptors of your everyday life? Before you start, however,let me take away a couple of customary "excuses". Remove sorcery and drunkenness from the list. These can divert us from this honest exercise.

One final caution. Idolatry is not just what we tend to suppose it is. Scripture defines idolatry as simply something that we place in priority over the living God.

So, in your mind, circle the remaining words in both lists.

How honest were you in this test?

We so easily overlook our issues. We justify our anger, our jealousy and our impurity; "I am only human" after-all!

Jesus said, "A good tree does not produce bad fruit". No justifying bad fruit allowed.

Delightfully, scripture never presents us with a problem without delivering, with it, a glorious answer.

I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

We can not defeat the flesh's fruit by will or by determination. List number two begins by declaring that it is "fruit of the Holy Spirit". The tree of the Holy Spirit brings good fruit.

For many, many years we have trained ourselves to walk in the world's way. We attempt to make ourselves "better" and we tend to excuse our screw-ups.

God has opened up to us a new life. This life is completely different from the former life. We mus learn to "walk by the spirit".

You are familiar with how a young child learns to walk. It is a process involved with bold attempts and hard falls. As practice continues the attempts become stronger and the falls less frequent.

The amazing truth, however, is that we don't have to rely on our own efforts to learn to walk by the spirit. It is God's desire and His will that we walk in that manner. He will give us every advantage in our attempts.

The final thought that must be addressed is that "walking in the spirit" requires with living by faith. There is no shortcut.

(Thoughts from Galations chapter 5)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Wait is Worth the Effort

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dead or Alive?

Writing on a blog has certain advantages. One of these is that I don't know who is reading these messages so I can lay it on the line. If you are offended, just quit reading. My job is to present what God lays on my heart each week.

This one may cut pretty close to the bone. It needs to be addressed, especially in today's church.

The book of James, chapter 2 says:

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 7-12

Look at your life this past week. Have you seen live or dead faith?

Live faith looks like self sacrifice, acts of service, love beyond bounds, caring enough about the eternal destination of other to risk embarrassment... Dead faith looks like, well, you know that that looks like.

God's true people live by faith!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Power or The Person

Joshua (Jehovah saves) had a unique life:

One of twelve spies sent to scope out the “promised” land.

One of two spies who returned with an opinion that their God was bigger than any enemy.

Selected as the leader to follow Moses in leading God's people.

Convinced a rebellious people to march around the walls of a city. Not only to march around the city but to march around the city for seven days straight with seven times on the last day.

Godly until his death at age 110.

Why was Joshua unique amongst his peers? Why did God choose to use him to conquer the promised land and bring His people into their place?

Let's take a look behind the scenes to see if we can find a clue.

The nation of Israel was in the vast wilderness. Shortly after receiving the 10 Commandments and witnessing the events surrounding that, they are now traveling on toward the promised land.

We now pick up the story in Exodus 33:7-11

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent.

Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses.

When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Isn't that just how the church of Jesus is today? People long to see the manifestation of a powerful, loving God but there are but few that really long to personally know that same God!

And where do we find Joshua? Apparently, Joshua was already in the place of meeting when Moses arrived and he remained there after Moses left.

So where are you? Are you longing to see the manifestations of God or are you longing to know God? What does your daily or weekly schedule indicate about what you long for?

On the day when Jesus was crucified, the thick curtain that separated the holy place in God's temple from the holy of holies where God personally dwelled was split in two from top to bottom opening God's presence to all.

The invitation has been issued. How will you respond? Will you continue to stand outside your “tent” looking for the manifestation or will you accept the invitation to know Him personally?

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Better Way!

So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:4-6

Some scriptures are just too comfortable to us to reveal truth. The middle of this section is one of those. Most can easily recite the words:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

I would like our attention too be focused on the word, "trust". Do you really, really trust Him? I'm betting that I am not alone in depending mostly upon my,
own understanding.

The painful truth here is that there is no such thing and partial trust. God will not accept second place or even, in our warped opinion, a tie for first place.

For My thoughts are not
your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9

We cannot even begin, even on our best days, think clearly about the right things. Our reasoning, our "understanding", is warped by sin.

Day after day we pursue the wrong things, treasure the wasteful, and chase after the hurtful all because we
lean on your own understanding.

Isn't it time to desert the schemes and plans that have been put together by your own understanding?

There is a better way. One that is
as the heavens are higher than yours to date or hereafter.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Two Strangers

Many of you have never heard my story of God’s tender care. Recently with all of the news about the economy, this encounter came to mind to remind me Who cares:

At the time, I was working for an oil and gas company in the downtown Denver area. I had a practice of taking my lunch hour, whenever possible, outside walking around the city streets getting away form the office and getting a little exercise.

One lovely summer day as I was heading back to my office something amazing happened. As I write this, the picture remains crystal clear.

The 16th street pedestrian mall was still rather new and a good portion of the offices emptied out onto the mall during weekday lunch hours. This made the sidewalks rather busy. In addition, a couple of banks sponsored outdoor concerts on various days which tended to draw bigger crowds.

It was on one of these days that I was lost in my own thoughts as I walked along the mall back toward my office and work responsibilities. Through the crowd I saw two individuals who clearly stood out in the crowd. These two individuals were about one half block away from me wearing jeans and no shirts. There were many, many people between us yet it seemed that we caught one another’s eyes and they walked directly toward me.

Having worked in and walked around the downtown area for several years, I had become accustomed to being asked for “spare change’, to “help” or, in general, just fork over some money to meet a perceived need. As you can probably tell, I had become a bit hardened to the process. Scammers, to many to count, clouded the real need that was present.

So as these tow individuals approached me form over one half block away they asked for money. My automatic reply was “no” as I walked on.

This is where things started to get interesting. As I approached my office building there was an outdoor concert in the park around the office tower. As I approached the crowd of people a bird, a sparrow I think, flew directly under my foot as I was stepping down. I jerked my foot up before crushing the bird and it flew off.

Immediately the scripture flooded my mind where Jesus told his followers that they were “ worth more than a sparrow” and “ if God so cares for the sparrow, will He not care for you”. I quickly turned around and headed back to the mall knowing that I had to find those two strangers.

I looked up and down the mall. I went into store after store looking for these two distinctive guys. After some time, I began to ask people if they had seen to shirtless guys walking around. No one had seen them. I was just beginning to think that I had misunderstood the sparrow incident when I say a young man sitting on one of the benches close to the area where I had seen the two strangers. I thought that if he had been there awhile he would have had the best chance of having seen them.

As I approached this young man, I asked if he had seen the two shirtless strangers. He said he had not so I asked how long he had been sitting there. He said that he wasn’t sure.

For several minutes this young man told me about his life and that, just that very morning, he had been kicked out of his friend’s apartment and didn’t know what he was going to do.

Is our God amazing or what? Do you realize the lengths He will go to make sure you have what you need? If it takes two shirtless angels; if it takes a wayward sparrow; if it takes a dense accountant, He will see that it is done.

Trust Him! He has proven Himself trustworthy over and over again.

Trust Him! No matter the size of you problem, big or small!

Trust Him! You only think that there is no answer!

What has He been laying before you to trust Him with?

Trust Him!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Come Out From Their Midst

This scripture has been delighting me. I hope that it beings you deep joy and peace.

II Corinthians 6:16-18

For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
And I will welcome you.
"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty.

God's richest blessings to you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Words or Power

I Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power

Have you ever experienced the kingdom of God? Have you ever experienced the power?

Maybe we get only the "power" that we need:

For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.

We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.

Faith allows God to show up in power. Comfort, ease and entertainment don't require His presence nor His power!

Which will you choose?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Answer the Call

"Many are called but few are chosen". Jesus spoke these words and they are troubling still today! You have been called; have you heard the call?

We live like we are our own and haven't been "bought with a price". If you were to purchase something for our own use wold it not be right for that thing to do exactly what you bought it for?

Please understand, that our God has not called us to a drudgery. It is drudgery that we get when we don't answer His call. He calls us only to the greatest adventure imaginable. He knows what moves our soul and soothes our weary bodies, yet we continue to ignore His invitation.

There is a common phrase that speaks to this issue: The purest form of insanity is to continue to do the same things that you have always done but expect different results. If you keep doing what you're doing, you will keep getting what you've been getting.

Answer His call!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Merely Human?

There was an captivating question jumped out at me last week as we were reading and discussion I Corinthians. Paul asked the Christians in Corinth a pointed question. After discussing several specific issues, he asked the "are you not acting like mere men?"

It was so important of a point that he made the statement and question twice.

So, what do you suppose were is expectations?

Today, too many Christians, act like mere men and women. There is no joy, there is no power, there is no adventure, there is no seeing of the enemy, much less attacking the enemy.

We are God's personal representatives in this world. And, it was His choice, not ours. Jesus told His followers "these things you see Me do, you shall do also, and greater things shall you do because I go to the Father".

So, when was the most recent time that you did something greater than Jesus?

Are you content to be just a mere man or woman?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Burdens Are Released

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.
Psalm 68:19

So ask yourself this: why do you keep carrying the burden that He earnestly desires to carry?

We have become so accustomed to our stress that we are afraid to let it go. We are comfortable with the load and would feel undressed if we ever let it go.

Well, scripture tells us where that fear comes from:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

"Abba Father, strip away my fear, decimate my burden, release my joy".

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Walk in the Garden

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

God created man (in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.

Imagine this setting from the first chapter of Genesis. God had created everything for the joy and the benefit of the choicest of His creation.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." Genesis 2:16

The vast forest of trees were give to man with only one single tree being set aside as unavailable to them.

They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

In addition to all of man's physical needs being met, God's presence was consistent and obviously available.

How is it that our world has ended up where is has when so much was provided to the advantage of maintaining the spiritual nature of mankind?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" Genesis 3:1

OK, so here is the real question. Adam personally knew his Creator; had an intimate relationship with his God but, nevertheless, listened to the liar!

How did this happen?

A better question perhaps is: if Adam couldn't resist what chance do I have?

It is vitally important for us to see the entire picture painted in the beginning chapters of the history of God's dealing with man.

What do you think enabled Satan to "get a word in edgewise" with one so aware of God's presence and provision?

What more could Adam have wanted if totally left by himself, with no outside influence?

Allow me to bring this home personally.

Adam had acres and acres of provision.

How often do you thank God for the things and the people he has given you? Adam had lost his gratitude for the things and the people that he had had. This left a huge opening for the enemy to present additional options.

Adam had immediate and real access to the Living God on a current basis. He grew in-sensitized to the ready presence.

When was the last time you treated your God like He was treasured and that His current presence made a difference for you?

Adam listened to the enticing discussion.

What do you listen to the most? Do you ever hear from Him? Are the enticing invitations of fame, wealth, success, happiness, security louder than the sweet, soft voice of the Great Lover of your soul?

Adam choose to try the tree!

What is your tree? God has given you acres and acres of permissible "trees" but there is always that one!

I encourage you to hear His voice, walk with Him continually and offer to Him the thanksgiving due!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Choose This Day

You are probably familiar with the parable told by Jesus often called the Parable of the Sower; some prefer the title Parable of the Soils.

In either case you remember that Jesus discussed four types of "soil" that the good seed has planted with. The first two "soils" had issues that kept the good seed from germinating or if germinated, had no possibility of growth.

I would like for you to focus on the third type of "soil" for this discussion. Here is the discussion about this third "soil":

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 12:22

Have you ever noticed how much the concept of fruitfulness is addressed in the Bible? It would seem that there are several levels of importance that apply to producing fruit in one's life.

"the worry of the world"

There exists many, many individual worries that this world offers for us to pick up. As sure as we let go of one, we will find another waiting for us. What is you current worry?

"deceitfulness of wealth"

Volumes could be written about this topic. In our society, wealth and the false security and tinseled pleasure that it promises yet fails to produce are the norm. Tragically, the Bride of Jesus has been duped into this scam too readily.

Here we must be very careful and very aware of our self-justification proclivity. It is so easy to look at those who seemingly have more and apply this statement to them. The honest truth is that this statement is true of all of us. Where is you security?

Fruitfulness is connected to hearing and living the Word of God. Undiminished by the worries and the deceitfulness of the false gods the faithful son or daughter lives a life that is a living testimony to God's splendor!

We cannot serve two masters! Joshua issued a challenge to his family: Choose this day who you will serve; as for me an my house, we ill serve the Lord!

Choose this day whom you will serve!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tomorrow or Not?

Here is a question to ponder.

How would your life be different if you knew the exact day and time that you were going to die?

Would it be significantly different if you know that you were going to die 30 years from today? What about if you knew that you were done one exactly one week from today?

Thinking about death is quite uncomfortable for most of us. The problem with this, as I see it, is that most of us live like we are going to live forever but we carry around attitudes like we are going to die at any moment.

So let's deal with this issue for just a moment.

Mankind is the only of all of God's creation that lives with an arrogant expectation about "tomorrow". Not only do we expect tomorrow we have plans and programs that extend well past tomorrow.

Some morning when you awaken early, listen to the sounds around you. Before the sun has reached the horizon, the birds are already excitedly chattering about the new day! Each day when the sun sets on the western horizon, much of creation has no idea or expectation that they will ever see it again.

The raw truth is harsh: no where are we ever promised "tomorrow"!

Perhaps the world would begin to notice if God's redeemed began to live like today is the only thing that mattered!

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you,

O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

It appears that Jesus knew of our predisposition toward "tomorrow". He called us, O you of little faith.

You see, it takes absolutely no faith to worry about tomorrow. It is so natural and so easy that most of the entire world does it!

So let me ask you: now that you know what are you going to do about this?

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Tough? Choice.

$250,000, what is the first thing that you would do if someone walked up to you and handed you $250,000?

What is the first thing that jumped into your mind? I know what mine was and am not real thrilled about what I found.

This question and the answer we give to it, tells us a bit about who we really are.

Jesus dealt with this issue one day: (Luke 18:18-25)

A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.


And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

And Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!

"For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

It seems that we can either have our stuff or we can have the kingdom of God. We must open our tightly grasped hands in order to accept God's offer. Which will you choose?

Friday, May 21, 2010

True Wealth

From the earliest of ages we all seek and struggle of something called independence. Throughout our lives we continue to receive inducements to achieve independence. These visions of independence generally follow the patterns of financial security, healthful well-being and self-determination brought about by the combination of the two.

Independence is a lie! There simply is no such thing within God's creation.

No one can serve two masters, Jesus said.(Luke 16:13) It was unnecessary to make the case that one had an option to simply not serve any master.

And He (Jesus) told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.

And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'

"Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, )you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'

"But God said to him, '(You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

"So is the man who)stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

"For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Luke 12:16-23

Apparently there is no middle ground. We either are rich toward God or we are rich toward our own ideas of success and comfort.

Jesus stated the truth more plainly:

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25

Are you looking in the wrong places for real life? The things that seem to be so very attractive are just luring us to the desperate lives that most of our friends and neighbors and, so unfortunately most of our brothers and sisters in Jesus as well, are grasping after.

Who will you serve? Will you continue in the folly of seeking the mirage of independence or will you accept the true life offered; a life of total abandon; of complete surrender, of absolute desperation; the real life of reckless adventure?

The way is narrow that leads to life; the way is broad that leads to destruction.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. Matthew 7:13

Monday, May 17, 2010

God Chooses the Poor

I ask you, in faith, to thank God for our current economic issues.

Listen, my beloved brothers, did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 2:5

Contrary to the truth of scripture, we live like what we earn is ours and the more we have the better is our life. If only we had a better job, if only my 401-k hadn't lost so much, how can we ever have a vacation? Any of these sound familiar?

Jehovah Jireah; God is my provider. Just perhaps He is more interested in providing for you in the area of faith over the area of your physical comfort. Seek His gracious provision!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Perfect Law

Many of our friends and family members, even many of us, are dealing with some pretty difficult situations right now. Last week I was reading in the Book of James and a couple of scriptures jumped out to me:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

The crown of life comes to those who know the deep, deep rest and security by a tested faith.

But the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, having not been a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be bless in all that he does. James 2:25

Read this scripture a couple of times!

The "perfect" law is the law of liberty. Scripture says, "It is for freedom that Jesus you free". Galatians 5:1

Our greatest stress and our heaviest burdens come out of false expectations and self delusions. The law of rules brings its ugly results of death and drudgery. The perfect law of liberty brings life that flows from within like streams of living water.

The choice lies before you; enter His rest or logic your way into continued frustration and misery.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cross the River

The story of the nation of Israel’s release from years of captivity in Egypt begins in Exodus 4. The final act that “buys” their release, the blood of the lamb, is in chapter 11.

To assure that this freed people would not lose their way to God's blessings and provision, a pillar of fire in the night and a cloud during the daylight would guide them every step of the way on their journey. (Exodus 13:21-22).

For several generations, God had promised a specific land to Israel. Not only did He promise the land, but He released them from their captors and guided them directly to the place of entrance into the promised land.

Israel balked. They came right up to the point of decision and they chose not to enter the land. ( Numbers 13). God’s reaction to Israel’s balking?: Surely, all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. Numbers 14:22-23

After the "balking" generation passed away the Nation of Israel is again at the entry point of the promised land.

Deuteronomy 12:8-12 is the key section for us to understand clearly what the new terms of their entrance would be: It explicitly states that “tomorrow” everything changes. “you shall not do all that we are doing here today…” All of the do's and don'ts of the law were being left on the wilderness side to the border.

The promise is that Israel will live in rest and security provided they enter the land of promise as God intended.

Unfortunately, Hebrews 4 states that Israel NEVER entered the promised rest and security and continues on warning us that we also might miss it if we respond to God the way Israel did. The crowning statement is verse 19: ..they were not able to enter because of unbelief’.

The bottom line is that the people of Israel never entered the land of security and rest because every step of the way they “Logic-ed” their way through the enemies and issues. God required that they enter the land knowing the He had given it to them and that it was He who would clear the way and fight their enemies.

The invitation to us is the same. Cross the Jordan that separates the dominion of this world from the kingdom of God; the world from the promised land; drudgery and toil from rest and security. It is only by faith that we can enter the promised land!