Monday, December 26, 2011

Let's Celebrate Communion

Romans 6:13 (NKJV) 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 

Just like Passover is a celebration for the Jews, communion is a celebration for Christians. For many years, I had a wrong understanding of this wonderful celebration. I misunderstood what it means to be right with God before partaking. I believed that I had to come to the communion table confessing my sin and humbly condemning myself as a loser. Wow, that is so wrong!

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:29 (NKJV), "For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." The Bible clearly says in Romans 3:10 (NKJV), "As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;" So it is impossible for us to present ourselves righteous --except having received HIS righteousness.

Jesus gave Himself so that we could become His righteousness. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV), "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--."

Since God paid a huge price for us to be worthy, we need to come to the table having already received this expensive gift. We need to come to the table in a worthy manner. Come to the communion table in HIS worthiness. It is the only true worthiness that there is. The Bible tells us, "And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13 (NKJV)

Let's look at these Words of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 11:24 (NKJV), "...and when He (Jesus) had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." This says that we come to the table remembering what HE has done, not what we have done. This is even repeated in the next verse (verse 25).

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:28 (NKJV), "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup." This word examine, comes from a Greek word that can also be translated as approve. Approve yourself, remembering what Jesus has done. Without the sacrifice on the cross, we could never be right before God. Thank God, He gave us Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) says, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..." This was His Joy; that we could be worthy. So while we are on the topic of celebrations, don't forget to celebrate one to one with our Savior. The celebration of communion.

Be Blessed!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wave your offering!

Exodus 29:26 (NKJV) 26 Then you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration and wave it as a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion.

In the Old Testament, under the law covenant, a priest was required to go through a purification process before he could enter into the presence of God. He was anointed with special oil, dressed in priestly garments, and had to sacrifice 3 animals. (Exodus 29)

The oil is the Holy Spirit, the priestly garments are the righteousness of God, and Jesus became our sacrifice on the cross. Perhaps we will look at the oil and priestly garments on a future post but today I want to look at the 3 sacrificial offerings.

The first offering was a sin offering. The priest would lay hands on the offering thus transferring his sin onto the innocent animal and then destroy it on the altar.

The second offering was called the burnt offering. This time when the priest laid hands on the offering, the innocence of the animal was transferred onto the priest and then the animal was sacrificed.

The third offering was a consecration offering. The original Hebrew word that is translated into the English word consecration, means, fulfilling or to be set. The priest would lay hands on this animal indicating a fulfillment of requirements, and then wave the breast and the thigh of this offering up in the air.

According to Revelation 1:6, Jesus has made us to be priests (and kings). The Scripture tells us that Jesus hung on the cross for six hours. The Bible says in Mark 15:25, "Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. Mark goes on to say, "Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (Mark 16:33). This means that the first three hours were daylight and the last three hours were dark. According to Exodus chapter 29, offerings were to take place at morning and evening. The day and night periods on the cross indicate a morning and an evening sacrifice.

The Bible says in John 19:30, "So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." This would be likened to the priest laying his hands on the third sacrifice, the consecration offering. The one final requirement was to wave this offering in the air.

In John 20:17 the Bible says, "Jesus said to her (Mary), "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' " It wasn't until Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended up into heaven that this final offering was waved. This is why it is so important for us to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9).

If you ever doubt that you are good before God, remind yourself that Jesus was all the sacrifice you needed. Remind yourself often that because of it, you are always good in Gods eyes. When the Bible says, "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God... (Ecclesiastes 2:26), that means wisdom, knowledge, and prosperity are yours because you are good in His sight.

So the next time you lift your hands up and praise Jesus as Lord, realize that it's not only praise and worship, it is your wave offering!

Be Blessed!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Exodus 13:8 (NKJV) 8 And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the Lord did for me..."

It is amazing the parallelism between Passover Celebration and Christmas. For Christmas dinner we have traditional turkey or ham and mashed potatoes, we may even complement it with wine, The Passover meal is lamb and unleavened bread that the Jews typically complement with wine. The Bible tells us in Exodus 12:3-4 (NLT), " animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood..." We too bring together family and close friends for our Christmas meal.

Even the time of the celebration is similar. Both events are annual. The Israelis were instructed to have Passover from the 14th to the evening of the 21st. The Jewish day begins in the evening (6:00pm), so this means that it concludes at the beginning of the 8th day. Christmas season begins on the 25th and ends on New Years eve just after midnight, the beginning of the 8th day.

During the Christmas season, churches appreciate a higher than normal attendance and people are more giving than any other time of year. I suspect that Passover prompts more people to give and also brings a higher number people into the temples to worship. The whole reason to celebrate Passover was to remember how God freed the people from bondage and slavery. The reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus provided freedom from the bondage of sin.

Does any of this have any biblical significance? Perhaps not, but it may get you thinking about the desire God has to free His people from bondage. Once a year we have an opportunity celebrate the wonderful Gift of freedom that God has given us.

Not unlike the Passover celebration, celebrating Christmas has its advantages too. The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 20:22 (NKJV), "Now when they (Judah) began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (their enemies), who had come against Judah; and they were defeated." So praise God in this wonderful season. You may even be going through a difficult time right now but take advantage of this reason to praise Jesus. Your enemies will be defeated before you (Deuteronomy 28:7).

I desire so much that you all have a wonderful Christmas,

Be blessed!

Monday, December 05, 2011

I Keep Asking...

Ephesians 1:16-17 (NLT), "...I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God."

Paul continuously prayed for the church to have wisdom and knowledge. These are gifts that were provided by God when you received salvation. In fact every believer that is born of the Spirit, (born again) receives wisdom, knowledge and faith from God.

Jesus was born of the Spirit, the Bible says in Matthew 1:18 (NKJV), "...she (Mary) was found with child of the Holy Spirit." When Jesus was 12 years old, long before He began His ministry, He displayed wisdom and knowledge. The Bible has this account in Luke 2:46-47 (NKJV), "Now so it was that after three days they found Him (Jesus) in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." Down a few verses, the Bible tells us in Luke 2:52 (NKJV), "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes 2:26 (NKJV), "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight..." If you are born again, then you are good in His sight. That was the whole purpose of the cross. The Bible goes on to say in Romans 12:3 (NKJV), "...God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

But if you don't know how to take advantage of it, you will not benefit from it. If somebody gives you five million dollars and puts it in a bank account, it doesn't do you any good until you spend it. To spend it, you need to know how to get it first.

The Bible says in James 1:5 (NKJV), "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." One way to take advantage of these gifts is to ask for them. If you want powerful wisdom, knowledge and faith, pray for it, read the Word of God and expect it. James said to ask for it expecting it (James 1:6). There is also another way to get it. After discussing the Scriptures with the religious teachers of the time, Jesus increased in Wisdom. One more way of taking advantage of these gifts is to spend time in the Word of  God.

In Exodus 27:20 (NKJV) we read, "And you (the priests) shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually." The priests of the Old Testament were to collect oil continually. We know that the lamps were only lit between evening and morning so there should be a comma after the word burn (Exodus 27:21, Leviticus 24:3). When Jesus was crucified, we became priests and kings (Revelation 1:5,6). As a priest, you need to collect oil continually. The oil is the power of God. The Bible reveals this in Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV), "...the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil."

So it doesn't matter what challenge you face, God has given you the tools to overcome it. Pray for wisdom, knowledge and faith; study the Word of God and collect your oil - continually.

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The more trouble, the more double!

Zechariah 9:12 (NKJV) 12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you
The word stronghold here is something that "won't let you go". In this case it's hope. And according to the Bible, hope does not disappoint so don't let go of your hope (Romans 5:5). I really like how the NLT version of the Bible records the above passage from Zechariah; "Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles." Two blessings for each of your troubles.

There has been times in my life when I simply can't understand why a problem isn't fixed immediately. After all, we are connected with God who created time, space, matter and light (Genesis 1:1+3), and He did all of this before morning the first day (Genesis 1:5). So we know He can, but why doesn't He?

I may not be able to tell you why. I can tell you that He will make up for it. If it takes you twice as long to fix a problem as it should, then you can expect twice the blessings. I know from my own experiences that you may even arrive at a place of rest, believing that you have finally made it to the land of milk and honey. Then along comes another storm. Be encouraged, there is a place of rest. Joshua, King David and Joseph are a few of the men that finally arrived there.

One of my favorite examples of this would be Joseph. He gets a dream and shares it with his brothers. His brothers where already jealous of Joseph and the dream pushes them over the edge. They throw him into a pit and then sell him to a slave trader. The slave trader sells him to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. Potiphar lives in a palace and puts Joseph in charge of everything he owns. The Bible says that Potiphar held nothing back from Joseph except his wife (Genesis 39:9). Joseph lived in the finest quarters and ate the finest foods.

Joseph could have thought that he finally arrived at that place of rest. If you know the story, then you know that Joseph later gets thrown into prison for something that he didn't do. From prison, Joseph gets promoted even higher. He gets put in charge of all of Egypt. Egypt was an extremely wealthy country. There was no one higher than Joseph in Egypt except Pharaoh (the king). Pharaoh said in Genesis 41:40, "You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you."

If you ever feel like giving up, I really encourage you to read this story. Ask God to give you a personal message as you read. The story begins in Genesis chapter 37 and continues in chapters 39-41.

If life seems to be one difficulty after another, be encouraged. The bigger the problem, the bigger the palace; the more trouble, the more double!

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 21, 2011

He wants to talk.

Philippians 2:13 (NKJV) 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Every believer has a desire to hear from God. The Scripture above reveals that the source of this desire comes from God. Many of us struggle to hear Him, especially when we need some special direction in life. God continuously talks to all of us but many believers just don't recognize Him.

First we need to know the nature of God. When we learn about things that are important to God, we learn about His character. The Bible tells us in Psalm 56:8 (NLT), "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." He records it in a book! Yet what doesn't God record? The Bible tells us in  Hebrews 10:17 (NLT), "Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” Your sins! God wants you happy and satisfied in life.

Most of the time when God speaks to us, He is very subtle. By knowing a few things about how God leads His people, we can filter out what isn't Him. For example if you have a good Idea, it was God. Wisdom comes from God (James 1:5). If your thoughts condemn you, that isn't God. God did not send His Son to condemn (John 3:17). Do you have compassion on those that are hard to love? God so loved the whole world (John 3:16). That compassion is God.

There is nothing more valuable to a believer than to recognize God's voice. It also brings pleasure to God. He has built in the desire and has given us the ability. The Bible says in Isaiah 48:17, "...I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go."  These are some of the benefits we receive by knowing the voice of God.

Be blessed!

Monday, November 14, 2011

According to the Spirit

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

This verse states that if you walk according to the flesh you will be condemned - rightfully so. The whole reason we need a Savior in the first place is because we can't do it on our own. We could never in this life obtain the level of righteousness required to stop any condemnation. If we walk mindful of this we are walking according to the flesh. You couldn't possibly look at yourself in the natural sense and say there is no justification for condemnation.

God wants us to walk in freedom from condemnation. The Bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." The Word of God then tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:30, "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--." This says that Christ is our righteousness so we don't ever have to feel condemned.

We will only feel condemned if we walk according to the flesh. God knew this would be a struggle for us to accept so He sent us the Holy Spirit to convince us. In fact as a believer you will never be convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit. Carefully study these three verses from the Gospel of John; John 16:8-11 8 And when He (The Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Notice that the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of Sin because they do not believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus then that part is not for you. The next part says that the Holy Spirit is to convict us of righteousness. That is the part for believers. That's right to convince us that we are righteous! So according to the Spirit, we are righteous. Walk according to the Spirit and stop feeling condemned. This freedom will bring you life.

Why is it so important to get this? God has a wonderful purpose for every believer. He has equipped you for a purpose. You may be wondering what your purpose might be. You may even think you are not good enough to be used by God. That is where the enemy wants you. When you begin to fulfill your purpose, you will discover what life really is. If you feel condemned then you will not arrive at this place of fulfillment. Don't let condemnation separate you from God. He will not be able to work on you, or through you if that happens.

God loves you so much and paid a huge price for your fellowship. He knows all things past present and future so you will never take Him by surprise. Hang out with Him, you are good enough! He has lots to tell you.

Be Blessed

Monday, November 07, 2011

Are you clean?

Romans 10:9 (NLT) 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

In an earlier post that I titled "He cleans us with Truth" (October 10, 2011), we studied how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples during the last supper. We studied the meaning of Jesus washing our feet. The story is recorded in John 13:3-11. In this post we will look at what the Bible means by being bathed all over.

The Bible tells us in John 13:11, "For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” He was referring to the disciple named Judas Iscariot. Judas was the only disciple that wasn't clean.

What was the difference between Judas Iscariot and the other 11 disciples? Why were the others clean and not him? The Bible says in Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." The word that is translated as "Lord" here means "supreme in authority" or "above absolutely everything". That is because Jesus is God.

Do you know that Judas Iscariot never addressed Jesus as Lord. In all four Gospels (The first four books of the New Testament are known as the Gospels), there is no record of it, not even one time. Even when Judas killed himself he said, "I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man...” (Mathew 27:4) Judas believed that Jesus was only a man. In contrast, the disciple Peter is recorded at least 45 times in the Gospels addressing Jesus as Lord.

So all we have to do is declare that Jesus is Lord and believe what the Bible tells us is true. Once we do that, we are clean. In fact according to God we are entirely clean. God wants us to know this. John 13:10 says, "Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean..." Once you declare that Jesus is Lord and accept the Bible as truth, you are bathed all over. This is what entitles you to all of the benefits of being righteous. You now have a place in heaven. Sin no longer separates you from God.

Washing your feet is learning God's word, this is what breaks unhealthy bondages in your life. Always remember that God breaks those bondages not you. He will do it in whatever order and time He chooses. Wash your feet regularly with the Word and you will see results.

Sometimes we struggle with addictive bondages and bad behavior. Don't ever think it makes you unclean. The Bible tells us in Acts 10:15, "...Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean." He declared you clean the moment you declared Him Lord. If you wash your feet with the Word of God then you are clean. Once He has made you clean and connects with you through His Word, you are clean forever.

It's knowing God personally that produces Godliness. As you learn what the Bible teaches, you will know God more personally. This truth has broken many unhealthy bondages in my life that I could never do in my own strength. The Bible tells us in John 6:29, "Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” He said so Himself. Just believe, this is the only work you have to do.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The most powerful prayer

John 11:11 (NKJV) 11 ..."Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."

This was the prayer Jesus prayed to bring Lazarus up from the dead after 4 days in the tomb. No shouting. No explaining. Just a confident declaration because He knew that His Father always hears Him (John 11:41). How do I know that this was His prayer? Just because the Bible doesn't indicate otherwise, does it mean He didn't pray another prayer? I believe that the Bible reveals this to us somewhere else.

The Bible says in James 5:17, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months." Notice that it says that Elijah "prayed earnestly". Now let's take a look at this earnest prayer. The Bible says in 1 Kings 17:1, "And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."  That's it, that's Elijah's prayer. No shouting or explaining, he simply said "there shall be no dew or rain". It was a confident declaration.

The key to all of this is knowing that our Father always hears us. He hangs out with us. As you learn to talk to Him continually you will have an awareness of His presence. This awareness will give you a confidence of His love for you. You will learn about His desire for you to prosper in every area of your life. Simple fellowship with God will cause prayers that are powerful enough to raise people from the dead. Talk to Him continuously and spend some time in His Word. He will reveal Himself to you.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first commandment.

Exodus 20:3 (NKJV) 3 You shall have no other gods before Me.

The New Testament section of the Bible begins with four books that are known as the Gospels. These books reveal the ministry of Jesus as a man here on earth. This is a period of about 3 1/2 years leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. There are many things to be learned in the Gospels and in this post we will uncover one very valuable lesson.

The lesson is this: On our own we could never earn the position of righteousness. We needed a Savior.

The story we'll look at is about a rich young ruler, it is first mentioned in Matthew 19:16-22. This story is also told in Mark 10:17-27 and Luke 18:18-27. I think because it is repeated three times in the Gospels, we need to take a really close look.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:16-17, "Now behold, one came (the rich young ruler) and said to Him (Jesus), "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." Jesus made a point here of saying that no man is good.

The young man then asked, "which commandments?" (verse 18). Then Jesus began to list off a few of the 10 commandments that were the foundation of the old law covenant. The Bible then goes on to say in Matthew 19:20, "The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Most of us have wrongfully believed that this young man did indeed keep these commandments. After all he said that he did. Jesus however could see much deeper than the surface.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:21, "Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." He started to list the commandments like a check list, one by one. Exodus 20:3, "You shall have no other gods before Me." This was the first commandment and that alone was enough to cause this man to fail the test.This was as far down the list as Jesus got.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:22, "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."  The young man's possessions separated him from God. This demonstrates the first point Jesus made back in verse 17, "No one is good but One, that is, God". Jesus made a point. No one could ever be perfect. The Bible says in Matthew 19:25-26, "When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Jesus paid a huge price for our sins so that we could talk to God face to face. No matter what sins we have committed in the past, present, or future, God wants our fellowship. The New Testament tells us in Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  This tells us that time, space, matter and even life itself can no longer separate us from God.

Thank God that we don't have to earn a place in heaven. It is a gift provided by the sacrifice of Jesus. Does this mean we just continue to sin? When we stay connected to God our desires just change for the better. He does the changing as long as we stay connected. We just sin less and less. Stay connected through prayer and studying His Word. He is REAL. He will speak to you and you will learn His voice.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recognizing God

John 3:17 (NKJV) 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."The Bible also says in Deuteronomy 28:7, "The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways." Notice that it says the enemy comes against you only one way.

The Bible then tells us in Revelation 12:10, "...Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."  This verse is talking about Satan. This is his tactic; to accuse us.

Here are the facts:
  1. Jesus didn't come to condemn us. (John 3:17)
  2. We are the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  3. The enemy will come against us only one way. (Deuteronomy 28:7)
  4. Satan accuses us day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
The God told us in Isaiah 54:14, "In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you." This is prophetic because it was before Christ. This is why it says "shall be established". This was the gift provided by the sacrifice of Jesus. Now the next verse (Isaiah 54:15) says, "Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me." 

When you feel condemned because of sin, we know that the condemnation isn't from God. We know it comes from the devil. Consider this a good place to learn how to identify God. Encouragement comes from God and discouragement comes from the devil. You will be surprised how much this simple filter will make you recognize God. Whether you hear the words in your thoughts, through another person or even a message preached in church, if they condemn you then they are not from God.

God sees you as the perfect righteousness of Jesus so He has no reason to condemn you, EVER!

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 10, 2011

He cleanses us with the Truth

John 13:5 (NKJV) 5 After that, He (Jesus) poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

This verse reveals several things to us. In this post I am going to discuss two points. The first point that I will draw your attention to is that Jesus did the work. This is the difference between Old and New Covenant thinking. Let me show you the difference.

The Old Testament says in Genesis 43:24 (NKJV), "So the man brought the men into Joseph's house and gave them water, and they washed their feet..." This Old Testament verse reveals to us that they had to wash their own feet. In the Old Testament, man had to make himself clean and earn righteousness. In the New Testament, Jesus did the washing.

Now let's look at the second point. The verse at the top of this post tells us how Jesus washes us. Take notice that He used the towel with which He was girded. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:14 (NKJV), "Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness." It says here to have your waist girded with truth. The towel that Jesus was girded with represents truth.

So what is the truth? This last verse we quoted from Ephesians is perhaps a little more revealing to us in a more modern translation of the Bible. I like how the New Living Translation puts it. This translation says in Ephesians 6:14 (NLT), "Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness." We are righteous because we are wrapped in God's righteousness instead of our own. This is the truth we need to be washed with.

The New Covenant of grace is so much more powerful than the Old Covenant of law. No matter what goes on in our lives we are clothed in flawless righteousness. In the eyes of God we cannot fail. Something really amazing happens when we lose the fear of failing. We don't fail! If you are struggling with some sort of sin, stop looking at the sin. Instead look at the fact that you can stand in a place where sin cannot stand. In the presence of God.

Spend time with God. Talk to Him the same way you talk to a good friend. Spend time studying His Word. In this way you will keep your mind on good things while God takes care of the bad things. Let Him do the work in you.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 03, 2011

If Grace remains...

John 21:22 (NKJV) 22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."

The Bible is amazing. It is packed with revelation from cover to cover. Not only do the words have significance, but often the numbers and even the names that are used do too.

The above verse came from the last chapter of the Gospels. The Gospels are the first 4 books of the New Testament portion of the Bible. The Gospels give an account of the 3.5 year ministry of Jesus Christ as a man among us here on earth. The Gospels reveal the need for us to have a savior and how Jesus became that savior by offering himself on the cross. The book of John is the last of the 4 Gospels. This verse comes from the last chapter of John or the end of the Gospels. This chapter closes the ministry of Jesus and marks the beginning of our new covenant with God.

The Gospels finish with this account of the disciples Peter and John walking with Jesus. Jesus just told Peter how he (Peter) was to experience death and glorify God (John 21:19). The other disciple named John was following behind them. John 21:21 (GW) tells us, "When Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” The verse at the top of this post is the answer Jesus gave. This answer has a beautiful revelation hidden in it. You see the name "John" means "God's Given Grace". What Jesus actually said was, "If I will that God's Given Grace remains until I return, what is that to you?" 

The word grace means unmerited favor. This is the "God's Given Grace" that Jesus left behind. In other words Jesus left behind a free pass to heaven that will remain available until He returns. It's Grace and we don't have to earn it. The truth is that we could never achieve true righteousness and earn a place in heaven. Because of this Grace we don't have to earn it we just declare Jesus' righteousness and receive our ticket to heaven. It is an unmerited gift of favor.

The Bible says in Colossians 2:14 (GW), "He (Jesus) did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross." This verse tells us how Jesus provided this gift. Take notice that this verse says the written laws were nailed to the cross. This brings us to another truth hidden in these names. You see "Peter" means "Stone". The name Peter is significant because the 10 commandments were written on stone. Jesus told Peter that his death would glorify God. At the end of his ministry, Peter, also died on a cross just like Jesus. Jesus was saying, in this last story of the Gospels, that Peter (the law), was to be nailed to a cross.

Simply put, the last story of the gospels summarizes the reason Jesus came. The law (Peter) was nailed to a cross and left us with Grace (John) until Jesus returns.

You don't have to work your way into heaven. Just receive this free gift of God's Given Grace!

Be Blessed!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Strength or Power

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV) 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The other morning My wife and I were talking about the word strength verses the word power. Strength is something we can gain in the natural sense. We exercise our muscles and they get stronger. Power is something you acquire. Power is the explosives you pack into a bomb.

We are children of the One who created time, space and matter (Genesis 1:1). We have access to an amazing power that is beyond our comprehension. We need to move on from this thinking that our needs are just met. As humble as it may seem to be satisfied with just barely getting by, you don't have anything left over to help others. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." According to His riches in glory is so much more than just getting by.

The verse at the top says that God gives us victory. Victory means more than standing strong, it means overtaking and increasing the size of your territory. So how do we move into this place of blessings from barely getting by? The Bible says in Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."  If we are strong in the lord we will see the power of His might.

To be strong in the Lord is to know Him personally. Every child of God has access to the Father. The Bible gives us several ways to know Him more personally:
  1. The Bible itself is truly living. Many of us have experienced the voice of God literally as we absorb the Scriptures. The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and powerful..." 
  2. Prayer is another way to connect with God. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."Meet with God in prayer.
  3. Have communion. The word communion means "sharing and exchanging intimate thoughts". This is something God desires. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus, "...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..." This is the Joy of fellowship that the cross provided. When you break bread remember that He paid a price for us to be able to fellowship with Him. Take advantage of it.
  4. Get connected to a church. The Bible tells us that Jesus had the Holy Spirit unlimited (John 3:34). The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:27, "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." This is telling us that the church (body of Christ) is a source of Holy Spirit power.
The power of God is available to every child of God. Take advantage and move beyond barely getting by. The Bible says in Revelation 5:10, "And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth." Both a king and a priest are a source of something for others. They have something to pass on. They are a source of physical and Spiritual treasure.

So be strong in fellowship with God and tap into the same power that created time, space, matter and even light in just 1 day. He is real and He is available to you.

Be Blessed!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wake up to the Glory

Luke 9:32 (NKJV) "But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory..." 

This verse comes from a story in the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament). The story tells us how Jesus met with Moses and the prophet Elijah of the Old Testament. The Story is packed with amazing revelation about our new covenant with God. The Story is repeated 3 times in the Gospels (Mathew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28-36).

Mathew and Mark tell us that Jesus brought the disciples Peter, James and John with Him for the occasion. There is an interesting truth revealed within the names of these disciples and the order that they appear. The Order is the same in these 2 accounts.

The first name is Peter then James and last is John.
The name Peter means "stone".
The name James means "wrongfully takes hold of".
The name John means "God's given grace".

Stone symbolizes the laws of God because they where engraved in stone.  When we put these names together they say, "the law wrongfully takes hold of God's given grace". Because this is repeated so many times in this order we know that there is an important point being made here.

I have heard so many people say, "I am a good person". I have heard this from people close to me as well as people who are famous. All of them believing that this is their ticket to heaven. They couldn't be more wrong. Jesus said in Luke 18:19, "...No one is good but One, that is, God."

The good news is this. We don't get to heaven because of how good we are. It is a gift. We don't have to earn anything. People seem to think that God will punish us if we don't meet the mark. That doesn't sound like good news to me. The word Gospel means "good news".

Even in Churches people have been taught that they must be good to get good. We get good because of what Jesus did on the cross. The more we understanding this, the more changes take place in our lives that free us from the bondages of sin. It's who we know that brings holiness not what we do. Get to know Him personally and you will see wonderful changes in your life.

Luke puts a different twist to these names. This always draws my attention. Let's take another look at the opening scripture substituting the name Peter with the meaning of this name. Now it says "the law and those with it were heavy with sleep (worn out from working). When they were fully awake (stopped working), they saw His glory". That glory is His grace.

Be Blessed

Monday, September 12, 2011

Face to Face

Colossians 1:10 (NKJV), "that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him..."

The first 4 books of the New Testament are known as the Gospels. The Gospels reveal the will of God for us. God wants us to have happy, healthy and prosperous lives. The only way this can happen is by removing sin from our lives.

The Gospels also teach us that removing every sin is impossible for us to do on our own. When the disciples asked Jesus in Matthew 19:25, "...Who then can be saved?" Jesus responded in verse 26, "...With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Sin can not exist before the face of God. When the devil came before God in the book of Job, He was surrounded by angels as a covering (Job 2:1). When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from the presence of God (Genesis 3:8). Even Cane was permanently hidden from the face of God when he murdered his brother Able (Genesis 4:14).

It has been God's desire since the fall of Adam that we can fellowship with Him face to face. Yet with any sin in us we would be destroyed instantly. I have heard several people over the years say, "I am a good person". The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20, "For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." This verse is quoted many times in both the Old and the New Testaments. You must understand that it is impossible for us to be good without receiving the gift of righteousness.

In the Old testament the children of God could obtain a form of righteousness through the sacrifice of an innocent animal. The sins of the people were transferred to the animal. This was a temporary solution and had to be done regularly. Jesus was God in the body of a man. God has no sin so He was the ultimate flawless sacrifice. The sacrifice was so perfect and powerful that it paid for all sins committed past, present and future. All we have to do is receive this gift by faith.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)..."  So How do we walk worthy of the Lord? By faith. We simply have to believe that we are perfect because of what Jesus did on the cross. When we receive this gift, God can come face to face with us. This fellowship will break the bondages of sin in your lives. Unhealthy desires will effortlessly fade away and be replaced by healthy ones.

The verse above (Col 1:10) continues on to say,  "...being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." When you know that any sin in your life has been judged by the sacrifice of Jesus, you will become fruitful in deeds and more personal with God. He has judged all of our sins, past, present and future. You no longer have to hide from the presence of God as Adam and Eve did. This will give God an open opportunity to work through you.

Be Blessed!

Monday, September 05, 2011

As Christ loved the church...

Ephesians 5:25-26 (The Message) 25 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. 26 Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her.

I lost my first wife in a car accident back in 2003. Since then I have re-married and I have an amazing marriage. In fact my marriage is so good that one day I asked God why. God said, "It's because she knows you love her". I then realized that as the Scripture above says, "my words evoke her beauty. Everything I do and say is designed to bring the best of her".

When my first wife died I laid on the ground beside her waiting for emergency crews. The very first thought that came to my mind was how she didn't know how much I loved her. When I re-married I made a point of asking the Lord to help me make sure my new wife knows that I love her. It was this request that brought me to understand that love produces love.

Having a connection with God and asking for His strength in our marriage has made His love flow naturally in our marriage. The Bible says in 1 John 4:19 (New Living Translation), "We love each other because he loved us first." Most of us have heard the expression "you reap what you sow". When you sow love into your marriage you will reap love. I can't help but to see her beauty and I know without any doubt that she gives me her best.

We have been married a while now and as cliché as it sounds, our love for each other grows even more powerful as time goes on.  Having a strong marriage gives you strength to face any challenge that life can throw at you. Love is a very powerful force and it should start with the husband. The husband is meant to be a source of strength in a marriage.

Be Blessed!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Protect your thinking from Poison.

Mark 16:18 (NKJV), "they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them..."

This Scripture in the book of Mark has often been misunderstood. So much so that some religions have even encouraged their followers to receive poisonous snake bites to demonstrate there faith in God. Nevertheless this is not what this verse means.

Mark is the second book of the New Testament. The New Testament was first written in Greek and later translated to English and many other languages. I want to bring your attention to the word that is translated to "drink". The original Greek word used here is a word pronounced "pinō".  (Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary) This word is more accurately defined as the word "imbibe".

In simpler terms the word imbibe can mean to drink something. However according to the deeper meaning of this word is to "absorb or assimilate ideas or knowledge".

The other word I want to draw you to is "serpents". Jesus said in Luke 10:19, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."  Serpents and scorpions are the demonic forces in the spirit realm.

The meaning of this verse is more correctly interpreted, "when the devil and his gang try to torment you in your thoughts it will not harm you". Backing up a couple of verses we see that this passage was written to, "He who believes and is baptized..." ( Mark 16:16)

The moment that you accept the gift of salvation you have stripped the enemy of any power over you. Just like an inheritance, if you don't know about it you can't benefit from it. The enemy will still try to deceive you though. He will try do this in your thoughts.

If your thoughts are tormenting you or keeping you up at night, you have a couple of options. The first one is usually the easiest. The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 (MSG) 8 Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

In other words refuse to think about ugly things. Fix your thoughts on things you enjoy that make you happy. When our thinking is always on troubles we lose our joy. We go to bed at night and toss and turn rather than sleep. This is the goal of the enemy.

You need to take a break from these issues. God instructs us to. If you can't seem to change your thinking on your own then ask God to encourage you. Then sit down with your Bible or listen to a good sermon and you will be encouraged.

Just remember the only place old slew-foot (satan) can try to get you is in your thinking. Learn how to replace his lying thoughts with things you like to think about.

Be blessed!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I believe in Righteousness:I just don't work for it

Romans 4:5 (NKJV) 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

The bible says in Hebrews 10:1, "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come..." Before the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross the only way to achieve righteousness was to obey the law. This verse then goes on to say that the law could never make any man perfect.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 30:14, "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it."  The "word" is referring to the laws of God. Take notice that the verse ends with "that you may do it". If you read on to verse 16 you will see the benefits of obeying the law are blessings from God. God was telling us that if we could obtain righteousness then He could bless us.

After Jesus died on the cross the apostle Paul quoted this verse to the Romans. The Bible says that He put it this way; "...The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach." (Romans 10:8 KJV) Notice that that Paul replaced the words "that you may do it" with the words "which we preach". We no longer have to work for righteousness we just preach it. This means you declare that God gave you His right standing to obtain His blessings.

The Bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." God is not a condemning God. He can only change you if nothing comes between you and Him. In Jesus there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1) God is all about freedom. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

In the Old Testament the sin of man separated him from God. In the New Testament we simply declare God's righteousness as a gift from God and nothing can come between us. If you are not separated from God then He can work in you. When God works in you He makes changes. He changes your unhealthy desires and just replaces them with healthy ones. You don't change because you have to, you just change.

God is all about releasing us from bondage. The more we involve Him in our life, the more He can do in us. To involve God, spend time reading His word and He will talk to you. You need to talk to Him too. Talk to Him even if you are committing sin. He knew you where going to sin before you even thought about it. He doesn't love you less because of it.

So relax, and accept the gift of freedom provided by grace. Let God do the work. Don't let anything stop you from talking with Him.

Be Blessed!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Winning the battle

Psalm 112:9-10 (NLT), "They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. 10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted."

Recently I was getting a lot of pressure in life circumstances and sensed that it was an attack from old slew-foot and his gang ( the devil). This can sometimes happen when you begin to fulfill God's purpose.

As I pondered the unusual things going on I heard in my thinking, "Focus on fulfilling the purpose and the pressure will diminish. This is all a distraction. When the enemy knows it isn't working he will fade away."

The Scripture at the top of this post refers to a righteous man. If you are christian then you are righteous. This man was "sharing freely and giving generously to those in need". That is the kind of act that torments the enemy. The word slink that is used in this Scripture means to slide away in shame. What ever your purpose might be in life just focus on that.

Maybe your purpose is taking care of your family and demonstrating God's grace to your loved ones. Your purpose could be displaying God to others in an attractive way at your workplace. What ever your purpose may be, it will be something you enjoy doing. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:13, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."

Focus on doing what God has put on your heart and the enemy will find an easier target somewhere else. Now I'm not talking about laboring to fulfill a purpose. You will have a desire to do this and it will bring you peace.

Typically the enemy's tactics can range from people mistreating you, an item you enjoy using might get broken, or maybe he will cause you to struggle with bad habits. If you do fall into any kind of trap remember that God doesn't love you less because of it. The whole idea of a relationship with God is freedom. Simply get back up, brush yourself off and re-focus on your purpose. Doing this will defeat the enemy and even has the power to free us from bad habits.

Be Blessed!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Multiply your faith

John 4:48 (NKJV) 48 Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe."

There is an interesting story in  John 4:46-54. There was a royal official whose son had become ill to the point of death. In this story the Word of God demonstrates to us an increase in faith and how we can achieve it.

The man was requesting that Jesus would come and heal his son. Jesus responded with the above quote which at first read might seem a little bit unusual. Jesus said, "unless you see signs you will not believe". Then Jesus went on to say in John 4:50, "...Go your way; your son lives."  Then the passage tells us that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

Now it was at least a 2 day journey to the mans home. The next day on his way home his servants came to meet him. They came to tell him that his son was getting better and the fever broke. The man asked the servant at what time did the fever leave? The man determined that it was at the exact time that Jesus declared "Go your way; your son lives."

This is what happened next. John 4:53 says, "So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household.

Since we know that the man already believed (V.50) this had to be an increase of belief. In fact faith increased so much that he and his whole household believed!

The boys fever had broken but he wasn't completely healed yet. I can assure you that this young man received a complete recovery. If you are believing for something right now look for God in the situation just as this man did. It will take you to a new level of faith and you will see your victory.

So multiply your faith and be blessed!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Enter into His rest

Genesis 6:8 (NKJV)8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

One of the most wonderful experiences in life is to learn how to identify God in our lives. This is something everybody can enjoy and is certainly worth learning about.

One morning as I was spending some time in my Bible, God said to me "Enter into my rest and there you will find grace". Then He said share this word and add this to it, "those who receive it, to them it will be confirmed".

I shared this word with some people and it was remarkable how most of them said "it's so funny you should say that..." That kind of response indicated that for many of the people that I shared with, this word was confirmed to them as soon as they heard it. What surprised me was the way God gave me a confirmation as well.

I get devotionals via email from some of the different ministries and I receive them on my phone. I put my phone on the shelf beside my bed when I sleep at night and that way I wake up and read my devotionals before I even get out of bed.

Two days after the Lord had me share this word I received an email directing me to this verse in Genesis 6:8 that I quoted to you at the beginning of this post. This devotional also told me that the name Noah means "REST". Now when you substitute the name Noah with the word rest, this verse now tells us, "REST found grace..." When God confirmed this word to me in this incredible way I knew it was worth digging into.

So how do we enter into His rest? This is what I found.

Hebrews 4:9 says, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." That verse says it's for the people of God. If you receive the gift of the cross, the sacrifice provided by Jesus you are a child of God.

Matthew 11:28 tells us, ("Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The best way to come to Jesus is to come to His Word (the Bible). He literally speaks to you if you expect Him to through His Word.

Hebrews 4:10 states, "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His." To enter His rest you have to stop trying to change yourself and let God do it. Most of us have this wrong. We think that we have to do good to get good. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Get to know him on a personal level and He will change you. He will change unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy ones. You won't have to give up sinning you will just have different desires. When you experience this you will discover an amazing freedom. What a place of rest!

It all boils down to getting personal with Jesus. My book titled More than Enough is all about learning to recognize God. For daily devotionals, I would recommend the one provided by Joel Osteen and another one provided by Joseph Prince. Both devotionals are provided free and delivered daily to your email. I promise that if you take advantage of these resources it won't be long for you to enter into His rest and receive His grace.

Be Blessed!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joy in the Storms

Colossians 1:11 (NKJV)11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;

One day I was really feeling pressure from all the circumstances in life. I thought to myself, if I am a child of God why should these circumstances be weighing me down. The Bible says that Jesus gave me peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). It also says that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). Why then would I feel so helpless and defeated?

I could find you more than twenty good Scriptures that would tell us that we have no reason to worry about any of the issues that we face. (John 14:27,Hebrews 10:35,1 Corinthians 15:57 to name a few) So why do we worry?

As I pondered this in my thinking I heard "pray for Joy in the Storms". Most of us will pray for wisdom and even knowledge but how many of us pray for joy?

After I heard this I was lead to the Scripture that I quoted at the top of this post (Col 1:11). This verse takes on a much more powerful meaning if you simply move the word "joy" ahead of the word "patience". Colossians 1:11 then reads, "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power "of joy", for all patience and longsuffering."

As always I look for another Scripture to confirm my findings whenever the Lord seems to give me a word. Nehemiah 8:10 says, "...Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." These Scriptures say that joy is a mighty power. So how do we tap into it?

Ecclesiastes 2:26 tells us, "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight..." If you have received the gift of the cross then you are good in His sight. James 4:2 tells us, " do not have because you do not ask." God does not force anything upon us. When he gave man dominion over the earth and everything in it we received a freedom to choose what we get and don't get.

Pray for Joy in the Storms.

Be Blessed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiritually Minded

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

One day I was thinking about some of my bad habits like unhealthy eating and how impossible it seems to discipline myself in these areas. As I thought about my lack of self control I started to feel guilty and bring condemnation on myself. Suddenly in my thinking came the words "stop thinking about your sins and weaknesses that is being carnal minded, instead think about things that are good, pure, perfect, lovely, and of good report for this is Spirit minded".

If you are struggling with smoking or diet issues the first thing you need to know is this. God sent His Son to give us freedom from bondage. He doesn't care if you smoke or eat unhealthy. He does care if you are under bondage and wants you set free. (Luke 4:18)

I was a smoker for the first 19 years that I was a christian. I often hid this bad habit from people and even allowed it to dictate which functions I might attend. I literally tried everything on the market to quit. I finally concluded that it was going to be impossible. Every time I thought about it I felt more and more condemned. The day I decided that I just couldn't do it, these words came to my mind, "don't do it for me".

Trying to quit to please God and other people created an addiction that was impossible to break. I stopped thinking about the problem and a month or so later I was a non-smoker. God set me free. Now every time I see someone under that bondage I am reminded that in our weakness He will be our strength.

We can tap into this strength by thinking more about the good things in life and less about our shortcomings. The Bible says in James 1:17(KJV), "17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Since every good thing comes from God then meditating on good things is meditating on God things. This is Spirit minded.(Romans 8:5)

Monday, July 04, 2011

Recognizing God

Psalm 27:13 (NKJV) 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.

God has really talked to me about recognizing him in every moment. He has said to me "like a blind man believes and then he sees, look for Me (God) in every moment".  He then led me to Psalm 107. This psalm lists all the wonderful things God was doing for His children (Israel) and closes with this this final verse, Psalm 107:43, "Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord."

If we really want to understand the true love of God we have to see Him working in our lives. He will show Himself if you are looking for Him.

One night recently I was babysitting one of my grandsons, just me and my grandson as my wife was away. I was writing a book during that time.  One night I woke up as revelation was pouring into my heart and I had to add it to the book that I was writing.  As it turned out I only managed to sleep probably less than an hour that night. As morning came along I decided to pray that God would refresh me for the busy day I had planned and make up for the missing sleep. I suddenly remembered that I also had to prepare my grandson and take him to daycare and I was going to need extra time.

I decided that I was going to need God's help in getting my grandson ready. I prayed that God would have my grandson ready early too.  It was amazing how my grandson who was 3 years old gave me complete co-operation.  The next thing I know, my grandson had his boots and jacket on and was at the door waiting. All this he did on his own. We were about 45 minutes early which was about the time we had to leave. He had never initiated this before or even since.  He normally doesn't like leaving grandma and grandpa's house so he normally waits until we tell him to start getting ready.

God revealed Himself to me through my grandson.

A good friend of mine at church had a situation with his car. He felt that the problem was caused by something called a "map sensor".  He was sitting in his mothers office and thought he should pray to God to confirm his diagnosis. When he was done praying he sat back in his chair and looked up. In front of him was a map, to his right was a map, to his left a map and behind him a map. God put him at the right place at the right time to pray and gave him his answer. He replaced the map sensor and fixed his car.

My friend saw the presence of God in his surroundings.

My Pastor recently purchased a new pickup truck. A whole series of events took place during this purchase but the one thing that stuck with me was when he went to buy a canopy for it.  Just the right canopy was made available at a really good price (almost half off),  It wasn't so much the price that made an impact but deal got even better for both the buyer (my Pastor) and the seller (the manufacturer).

These canopies where custom made.  My Pastor went to order it and gave the dimensions he required. He explained that he also wanted a special metallic black paint. The manufacturer just happened to have one that was ordered for someone else and it was made to the wrong size.  It just happened that it was the right size for my pastor. It was also already the metallic black that would match his new truck.

My Pastor saw God in his situation. The full story is available to listen to at the Loft Ministries website.The sermon was titled "The Holy Spirit Guides Us" March 6, 2011.

God talks to each one of us in different ways at different times. You really must have a personal relationship with God to understand his loving kindness. Look for God in everything, when you learn to recognize Him you will have a greater understanding of how amazing He is.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Perfected forever; continually-never ending.

Genesis 29:7-8 (NKJV)7 Then he said...Water the sheep, and go and feed them."
8 But they said, "We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they have rolled the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep."

One day when I was listening to some preaching I heard in my thoughts "search in your bible (electronic bible) for the the words stone and well." This brought me to the above passage in Genesis. As I read these verses I heard the Lord say to me "My people come to church on Sunday and receive My forgiveness. They praise Me, receive an encouraging word and feel refreshed. For the next six days they try to be good "Christians" and in many cases fail miserably".

The Lord then went on to say "The problem then gets even worse because they think they have failed Me. They fall under condemnation and even avoid talking to Me".

You see the stone in verse 8 above signifies the law that was written on stone tablets. The well on the other hand is our life source, our connection to God. If we try in our own efforts to be righteous we will fail. This is why God gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice to make payment for our sins. When we fail at being righteous we feel condemned. That self condemnation gets between us and God.

When we go to church and gather together we sense the presence of God. We take the condemnation (the stone) away and enjoy His fellowship. What many of us need to understand is this; God doesn't leave us when we leave church. He doesn't love you less if you fall short on Monday. He wants your continual never ending fellowship. If we don't put the condemnation in the way of the well, He will break unhealthy bondages in our lives.

When God breaks an unhealthy bondage, He replaces it with something better. The Bible tell us in Hebrews 10:14, "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." That offering was Jesus. The word forever comes from two Greek words that mean continually and never ending.

God provided Jesus so we could always be in right standing with Him. He will make the changes in those areas where we are too weak to change on our own. He takes great pleasure in this. Take advantage of His presence no matter what you have gotten yourself into during the week. He loves you no matter what and He can only do great things for you when you turn to Him.

Just talk to Him even during the worst circumstances. He loves to talk to you and will not condemn you (John 3:17) no matter what!