Monday, May 28, 2012

Don't miss out.

But when he [Peter] saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" Matthew 14:30 (NKJV)

They recently bought their four-year-old son a new bike. It was a move up from a tricycle. He has had plenty of practice with the training wheels on, today will be his first ride without them. He is almost too afraid to do it. He wants to be like the bigger kids and ride a two-wheeler, so he just has to forget about being scared.

Daddy is right there with him to help. Mommy and Grandma are going to cheer him on. Inside he feels like he ate too much chocolate and his tummy almost seems to ache. Daddy asks, "Are you ready?" The young man nods his head up and down a little, and now it begins. Daddy gives a little push but holds his hand below the back of the seat, continuing a gentle thrust to keep him up to speed.

Suddenly Dad lets go and the young man shouts, "Mommy, Mommy---look at me, look at me!" Daddy keeps right beside him as he peddles but the boy suddenly realizes Dad let go. Fear sets in and the bike starts to wobble. Just in time, Daddy takes hold of the seat and saves him before he crashes.

We look at this scenario and, without any doubt; we know the little boy was safe. His father was there to protect him. Challenges and risks are a part of life. They begin when we are young and continue throughout our whole lives.

The Bible tells a story about two men who walked on water. One was Jesus; the other was Peter, one of the disciples. When Peter was walking on water, the excitement he felt inside must have been incredible. Suddenly though, he felt vulnerable and began to sink (see Mat. 14:25-30).

There are times I feel like I am walking on water. Every time I do and feel His hand pull me up, fear loses its grip. As the risks get bigger and bigger, the fear gets less and less. It is interesting to note; Peter went on to lead 3000 people to Christ in one sermon (see Acts 2:31-41).

I acknowledge God in every moment of my life. The Bible says in John 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world" (NKJV). The Bible repeats the phrase, "little children", eighteen times in the New Testament.

God is always with His children, not to condemn them, but as a loving Daddy. Talk to Him continuously as if He is running along beside you. Tackle a few challenges, each time you do, you become a little more fearless.

The greatest risk for a child of God is to miss something wonderful He has for them.

Be Blessed!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Even your in-laws!

Then the Lord said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. Genesis 7:1 (NKJV)

Because Noah was considered righteous before God, he and his family were saved from the judgement waters of the great flood. The Bible says in Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." The Bible also tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:14, "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." These verses reveal that salvation is for the whole house.

I have stood on verses like these many times over the years. Learning what the Bible has to say has brought one of my children off hard drugs, provided benefits of a Christian over my pre-christian children, and gave me peace through some very difficult times in my life. I have to tell you the Word of God has proven to be very powerful to me.

There are many Bible verses that we can use to declare wonderful promises over our family. However, what about loved ones from a different bloodline? In our generation, many families are made up of more than one house. We can be a parent simply by marriage. Maybe you have children who have other parents outside of your household. It could be that the other parent(s) do not even believe in Jesus.

Take notice that God said to Noah, "I have seen that you are righteous." It does not say that his household was righteous. Now look at Genesis 7:7, it says, "So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark." The salvation was even for his in-laws.

There is a bloodline much stronger than the natural one. It is the bloodline of Jesus. This supernatural bloodline takes precedence over any natural one. Even if your relationship with your children is not the way you would like it to be, your playing field is the supernatural, spirit realm.

The Bible says in John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." Keep the battle in the spirit realm where the victory is already yours. Do this by getting intimate with the Word of God. Set aside time daily to read aloud to yourself the promises of God. Find a few verses from your Bible and read them daily until they come out of you without thinking.

I personally do not believe that God wants us to have terrible trials in life---but he can still use them to bring good. There is nothing better than to experience the undeniable presence of God. Get intimate with the Word of God. It doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. Learn to enjoy this amazing gift of life.

Be Blessed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Not Good Enough For Us!

"If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord." Leviticus 1:3 (NKJV)

Many people think that the offering had to be perfect to honor God. This was not the case. The unblemished animal used for the burnt sacrifice had to be perfect because the flawlessness of the animal was transferred to the guilty, blemished people.

God is not out to destroy humankind for every wrong they commit, in fact, God gave us animal sacrifice as a way to open the door to His presence. Sin cannot exist before the face of God (Exodus 33:20). Since the fall of Adam, animal sacrifice enabled God to have a relationship with humankind.

When Adam's first-born son, Cain, brought his offering of first-fruits before God, there was nothing wrong with his offering. God simply had to look away from Cain because it did not provide redemption. This was not the case with Abel so it offended Cain.

The Young's Literal Translation of the Bible reveals it to us this way; "Abel, he hath brought, he also, from the female firstlings of his flock, even from their fat ones; and Jehovah looketh unto Abel and unto his present, and unto Cain and unto his present He hath not looked; and it is very displeasing to Cain" (Gen. 4:4-5).

God then says to Cain, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door" (Gen. 4:7, NKJV). The word translated as sin in this verse, is the Hebrew word hatta't*. This word is more appropriately translated here as sin-offering. In other words,"the sin-offering lies at the door."

Any offering that had to do with the redemption of sin had to be, an animal without flaw, grain that was beaten into flour, or wine pressed from the vine (blood from grapes). This is why, Jesus was flawless, beaten, and drained of blood. God never has expected us to live up to His standards on our own.

There was not anything wrong with Cain's offering, it was actually a good offering. It was a portion of his increase. This would have permitted God to prosper his crops. This offering just did not provide redemption. It seems that Cain had a misconception; if he pleased God with his work, God would not turn away. God had to turn away for Cain's sake. God told Cain to provide a sin offering to enter the door. This whole reasoning is reiterated in our verse at the top of this post.

God wants to have a relationship with His children. The only perfect solution was to provide the perfect sacrifice---His Son Jesus. God is all about giving.

Be Blessed!

* Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, copyright 1890 by JAMES STRONG, MADISON, NJ. Strong’s number, H2403.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Very, Very, Rich.

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 (NLT) 

I have something to be envied. It is something desired by billions of people. I have a wealth more precious than money, and I would like to share it with you.

If you are---or someday will be---a married man, this message is especially for you. You see, I have a perfect marriage. It is beyond anything I could have hoped for or imagined. It is more than I deserve and something available to every person. In fact, my marriage is so great---I had to ask God why.

When I brought this up before God, He gave me a very simple answer. He said, “She knows that you love her”. This meant a great deal to me. You see, when I met my wife, I was a widower. Several years back, my late wife and I were in a terrible car accident.

It was a horrible tragedy. If I did not know Jesus, I do not know how I would have found the strength to continue. I thank God for empowering me to keep going---not just for my sake, but also for my children.

Now days, many of the details of the accident are just a blur, like a bad dream. Other details will never leave my thoughts. I still remember clearly, lying on the road with my arm tightly wrapped around her lifeless body. She died at the scene. All I could say to her was, “You don’t know how much I love you.” I kept repeating this. I wanted her to know, but it was too late.

Well, now I am married to another wonderful woman. This time, I prayed that my wife would always know how much I love her. I asked God to help me with this in the very beginning, and He always has. This week, we celebrated our seventh anniversary. I can honestly say, my love for her continues to grow exponentially.

So why do I direct this especially to the men? Although demonstrating love is something that comes natural for women, it is not so with men. The Bible says in the book of Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Eph. 5:25 NKJV).” The message is to the men. It seems that we men need to tap into the love of God.

I could go into all the ways I tell my wife how much I love her, but what works for me may not work for you. The Scripture at the top makes it very clear; God will give you favor. Turn to Him, He knows how you can have this in your marriage. Every wife is an individual. The leading comes from God---ask for it and you will see results.

A great marriage is powerful. A great marriage comes from God. It can be a source of power and strength to handle life’s most difficult challenges. It is something to be envied.

Am I rich? Yes, very, very, rich.

Be Blessed!