Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's In a Name? - November 30, 2011

Isaiah 9:6(New International Version)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6(New Century Version)
6 A child has been born to us;
God has given a son to us.
He will be responsible for leading the people.

His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God,
Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.

You may wonder why I spend so much time on this passage in Isaiah. It is because this prophesy about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, 700 years befor the event was a very importnat thing. Many of us just pass by this series of name when we read this verse, but just as a name is significant for us and who we are to become, an expression of our identity, so it is with the names of the Christ child.

To understand their importance, we need to understand what they describe Jesus to be:

The Wonderful Counselor -
26But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. John 14:26(Amplified Bible)

The Mighty God -
1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. Psalm 50:1(New International Version)

The Everlasting Father -
6But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Corinthians 8:6(King James Version)

The Prince of Peace -
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 14:27(New King James Version)

These names of Jesus describe Him as God. There is no doubt as you read the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God and was God; He took on these names to let those around Him know who sent Him and where He came from. When we settle our hearts about accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are settling the eternal issue in Whom we have placed our trust. We trust not just any man, but we trust in The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, One God, without end.

Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path of "the coming", the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Future Government - November 29, 2011

Isaiah 9:6-7(New International Version)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.

In 1741 George Frederic Handel composed an oratorio we know as Messiah. It is a symphonic and choral production about the life of Christ that has been presented around Christmastime ever since it was composed. The chorus is probably the most famous section that is known as the Hallelujah Chorus, and we all most likely have heard these lyrics written from the Book of Revelation about the future reign of Jesus Christ in Heaven:

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,
(From Revelation 11:15)

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The words of Isaiah 9:6-7, prophesied in 700B.C., speak of the coming reign of Jesus Christ, and when we think of the coming Lord and Savior, we need to remember that he came as a suffering servant to die for our sins, but in eternity, He will govern over all forever and ever. The advent, or the "coming", or our Lord set in motion a chain of events that will culminate in the just government that will be established in God's Kingdom. Human governments will all fall away and make way for true justice, freedom and peace, only found in the coming of a baby in a manger.

Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path of "the coming", the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Child is Born - November 28, 2011

Isaiah 9:6(New King James Version)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

There is nothing more wonderful than the birth of a new baby. It is truly a wonder to be a part of. I remember full well the birth of my own daughter; it was an event that moved me to joy and tears at the same time, and it chnged my life forever. I am sure that those of you who are parents can easily relate to this. The emotions we go through are forerunners to the promise we hold for that small little miracle from God. In those moments we place our hopes and dreams, wondering what will become of our tiny baby. It is new life and a new beginning.

I am sure that God had all of these things in mind, when He sent His only Son from the throne room of Heaven, to be clothed in human flesh. The Prophet Isaiah said as much 700 years before the event. He spoke of God's promise and hope for mankind, and what the man Jesus would become. Fully God, yet fully man, a tiny baby that would become a man that people could relate to, because He would walk in our shoes, feel what we would feel, and yet exhibit a strength that could only be from God.

That small little miracle would someday carry the burden of all of the world's sin, past present and future, upon a wooden cross, and give His life for us.

Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path of "the coming", the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1st Sunday of His Coming - November 27, 2011

Isaiah 9:2;6-7(New Living Translation)
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.

The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Today in the Christian church marks the beginning of the season of Advent(Latin adventus means "the coming"), which marks the time when God's people prepare for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This marks not only the remembrance of his first coming, at the birth of Christ, but it also reminds us to look forward in anticipation of Christ's second coming. Many traditional churches today mark this Sunday with the lighting of the first Advent candle, signifying Hope.

This tradition has been lost in many evangelical, non-denominational churches, but this reminder given through the practice of reflecting on Christ's coming through Advent, seems even more appropriate today as the world focus on shopping, Santa Claus, reindeer and the like. As we approach Christmas, we need to stop to read God's word and meditate on Jesus Christ and his coming.

In this portion of scripture from the prophet Isaiah, written almost 700 years prior to the event, we read the word of God speaking of Christ's advent, the coming of "a great light" that will shine on those living in a land of great darkness. Who else can Isaiah be prophesying about when we read, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders."

The "Hope of Mankind" is coming into the world; a light is coming to shine into the darkness of man's heart and bring freedom from the bondage of our sin. And we will call him our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and the Prince of our Peace.

Follow me on my Advent journey as I travel the path of "the coming", the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blessed are You Lord - November 26, 2011

1 Chronicles 29:10-13(New King James Version)

10 Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said:

“ Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.

12 Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

13 “Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Give Thanks for He is Good - November 25, 2011

Psalm 107(New Living Translation)
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,
from east and west,
from north and south.
4 Some wandered in the wilderness,
lost and homeless.
5 Hungry and thirsty,
they nearly died.
6 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he rescued them from their distress.
7 He led them straight to safety,
to a city where they could live.
8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom,
imprisoned in iron chains of misery.
11 They rebelled against the words of God,
scorning the counsel of the Most High.
12 That is why he broke them with hard labor;
they fell, and no one was there to help them.
13 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom;
he snapped their chains.
15 Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze;
he cut apart their bars of iron.

17 Some were fools; they rebelled
and suffered for their sins.
18 They couldn’t stand the thought of food,
and they were knocking on death’s door.
19 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
snatching them from the door of death.
21 Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

23 Some went off to sea in ships,
plying the trade routes of the world.
24 They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,
his impressive works on the deepest seas.
25 He spoke, and the winds rose,
stirring up the waves.
26 Their ships were tossed to the heavens
and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards
and were at their wits’ end.
28 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
29 He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves.
30 What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!
31 Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
32 Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation
and before the leaders of the nation.

33 He changes rivers into deserts,
and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,
because of the wickedness of those who live there.
35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water,
the dry land into springs of water.
36 He brings the hungry to settle there
and to build their cities.
37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,
and harvest their bumper crops.
38 How he blesses them!
They raise large families there,
and their herds of livestock increase.

39 When they decrease in number and become impoverished
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 the Lord pours contempt on their princes,
causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.
41 But he rescues the poor from trouble
and increases their families like flocks of sheep.
42 The godly will see these things and be glad,
while the wicked are struck silent.
43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful! - November 24, 2011

Colossians 3:15-17 (New International Version, ©2010)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In 1863, in the midst of our nations bloodiest conflict, President Abraham Lincoln gave the proclamation to set aside a day of Thanksgiving which has led to the Thanksgiving Day we observe. On this day, as you gather with family and friends, it is only right that we follow his admonition and give thanks to our Almighty God for the many blessings He has in His mercy and grace given to us, our families, our communities and our nation.

Let the words found in His word set us upon a foundation, where our praises and thanksgiving to God for the many benefits given to us become as constant as the beating of our hearts. Let us also be ever thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has paid the price for our redemption, which is most worthy of our thanks. Let us join with Abraham Lincoln and not forget the Source of the many things that have been given us.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
by the President of the United States of America

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony wherof I have herunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

A. Lincoln

Provided by WallBuilders

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks Always - November 23, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(New International Version)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(New Living Translation)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

It is good to approach God with a thankful heart. Can you impagine where you would be without Him? Through Jesus Christ, He has identified personally with us, and He has accepted us with our sins, faults and all. It is hard for us to get along and be accepted with each other, and here is the Creator of the universe reaching down and taking us just as we are.

His desire is that in turn for the love that He shows us that we at least are thankful for what He has done for us. He wants us to have an attitude of thanksgiving, which in turn will give us a joyful heart. Our prayer needs to be one that connects with Him and gives Him all the glory, praise and honor He deserves. Praise God for His faithfulness!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Continuous Praise! - November 22, 2011

Philippians 4:4(Amplified Bible)
4Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!

When things are going well, it is easy to give God praise. It is easy to say "thank you" and say how great God is when life is good, but when you are sick do you give God praise? When you lose your job do you praise Him? When times are difficult and your struggling to make ends meet, do you praise Him? When you lose someone you love is your attitude one of praise?

What is difficult to understand when things are difficult is that God is ultimately in control of every aspect of our lives, the good and the bad. Everything that happens to us has its purpose in preparing us for our future with Him. Much we will not uderstand until after we die, so now is the time that we need to praise Him no matter what. Yes, it is difficult sometimes, but we need to always have an attitude of praise in spite of our circumstances. Rejoice in the Lord always!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Heart of Praise - November 21, 2011

Psalm 150(New Living Translation)
1 Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
2 Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!
3 Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
4 Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

It has been a tough year for many people. In spite of this, there is always something to be thankful for. I have also found that if we approach our difficulty with praise and thanksgiving, then it is much easier to overcome the obstacle in front of us. To "move mountains" and to overcome what many are experiencing, let's approach this Thanksgiving with continuous praise and giving thanks to our God.

Start today by listing what you are thankful for in this year. Over the next few days, we will daily lift up praise to our Lord and King. Today, I give thanks for the salvation that God has given us through His mercy and grace. I thank Him for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior who continually reminds me through the Holy Spirit of His love for me. Let's continue to lift up our thanksgiving as we approach this Thursday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Praise! - November 20, 2011

Psalm 95:1-7(New Living Translation)

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rescue, Restoration and Renewal - November 19, 2011

Psalm 51:1-12(New Living Translation)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.

4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

If we have spent any time walking with the Lord, there is bound to be a time when we get caught up in the world. Often this results in doing something that strains our relationship with God. For many this can be a daily occurrence when our focus is on ourselves or the world, rather than what God's will is for our lives. Next thing we know, we feel detached and apart from Him, and things just don't seem right.

Thanks to God, and not to ourselves, He is all about rescue, restoration, and renewal. He wants a close relationship with us, so when we stray, God pulls us back to Him through the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, you know when this happens; you "get convicted" and you desire to be right with God. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be rescued from our shortcomings, restored by forgiveness and grace as His child, and renewed into fellowship with Him. All we need to do is confess, ask for His help and He will bring us back into relationship with Him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The War Within - November 18, 2011

Romans 7:15-25(GOD’S WORD Translation)
15I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. 16I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. 17So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them.

18I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. 19I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.

21So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. 22I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. 23However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. 24What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?

25I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.

It is a constant dilemma, and if we are a Christain the conflict that goes on is even worse. We are "fallen" creatures, and because of it we are helpless to the war within. We have the desire to be good, yet many times we fall into being bad, and then our guilt drives us to being good again, only to fall into being bad, and the cycle goes on day in and day out. It is the consequence of the traps that have been set for us by the evil one.

God in His grace and mercy would rather that we constantly and consistantly go in one direction; that is the direction if obedience. Thanks to His living Word and written word, we have a guide to battle the war within. It gives us the standard set by the law, yet because of what Jesus did on our behalf as payment for our sins, we can know that with Him we can find forgiveness for our sin.

Knowing that we are forgiven chnages our heart to desire to be obedient, and strengthens us to no longer sin. Not that we won't fall or be drawn back into sin, but when we do, we have a loving Father that is anxious for us to confess our wrongdoing and come back to Him. The written word has many stories of how God restores the sinner by providing the means of redemption.

Yes, we will continue to have the war within as the Apostle Paul had, but the path back to God becomes much easier because Jesus has provided the "wretched man" the way back home. He has rescued us and we need to give Him our devotion and obedience for doing so.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trapped! - Novembeer 17, 2011

James 1:13-15(New International Version)
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

We all have an inborn problem, which is the problem of giving in to temptation. Whether it is wrath, greed, laziness, pride, lust, envy, or gluttony, all of us have the problem of giving in to these vices. Why is that?

I believe that the temptations are all around us, on display day in and day out. The media today does a great job of shoving it in our faces; whether on television, or in magazines, or on billboards, it is designed to lure us in and trap us. And, because of our fallen nature, and the evil one's hate for us, we are very succeptable to getting trapped.

Some people have erected a strong defense against temptation by knowing thier weaknesses, and seeking God's help for strength. Others tend to remain weak because they don't seek God nearly enough. Thank God that He loved us enough, to provide the way out of what has us trapped.

By the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have the means of release from the traps that can lead to death. Jesus has overcome our sin and has redeemed us; it is our resonsibility to accept God's gift, and once we are released, to avoid falling back into the trap.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Time for Everything - November 16, 2011

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8(New International Version)
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Probably the greatest commodity in our society today is TIME. We rush around every single day until many of us collapse in exhaustion, and then we rush through the weekend doing everything we couldn't do during the week. Next thing we know the weekend is over and it starts all over again.
Such it goes day in day out, year after year, decade after decade.

What is sad about it is that we waste so much time throughout our lives that, when we start to slow down we finally realize that we are now old and we wonder where all the TIME went. We realize that we rushed around so much that we missed many of the greatest things in life, especially if we have children. Once the were cute and helpless and oh so cudly, and we look up and they are grown up and leaving home for college.

Once the richest man in the whole world lamented about his TIME. He wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes about the folly of his life. Even though he had everything a thousand men could ever want, he commented about the regrets that had befallen him, because he felt he had wasted his life in pursuit of the wrong things. At the end of his TIME he came to the realization that the only thing of importance was his relationship with God.

Yes, we have time for everything when we start out on life, but what we will find out that it gets away from us if we are not careful. Slow down, seek God, rely on Jesus, and take TIME to enjoy what He has given you. Enjoy the blessing of your family and friends, and at the end of your TIME you will know that it was all worth it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shout His Praise! - November 15, 2011

Isaiah 12(New Living Translation)
1 In that day you will sing:

“I will praise you, O Lord!
You were angry with me, but not any more.
Now you comfort me.
2 See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.”

3 With joy you will drink deeply
from the fountain of salvation!
4 In that wonderful day you will sing:

“Thank the Lord! Praise his name!
Tell the nations what he has done.
Let them know how mighty he is!
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.
Make known his praise around the world.
6 Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy!
For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bless-able - November 14, 2011

Psalm 119:1-8(New International Version)
א Aleph
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.

2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.

4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.

7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

There is a word that gets thrown around alot among Christians, and that is the word "blessed". It is used for almost everything that someone gets, but sometimes it people get a little cavaliar about it. What does it mean to be "blessed"? It is the tangible favor of God; as the Bible tells us in James 1:17(NIV)"Every good and perfect gift is from above". He is the One who gives us whatever "blessings" we receive. It really isn't something we truly do on our own.

Then the question comes up, "What is a blessing?" To many people in the world it is something material,or a lucky break, or something earned. Yes, that can be a "blessing" too, but what ultimately matters is whether or not we are living in God's will when we receive it. I believe that true "blessings" are long lasting; it's the gift that keeps on giving.

It's God's favor being "poured out" when we are within in His will, and you can feel it in your spirit. For instance, how do you feel when you do something good for other people, and you make it known that you are doing it because of your relationship with Jesus? I know that you feel really good, because that is what I have experienced. To top it off, you not only receive the "blessing" from your actions here and know, but you store them up for the future with God as well. That to me is a true blessing.

Yes, God can give you things, things that are tangible, and yes, you can call those "blessings", but usually those do not last very long. I don't think that God will be checking our checking accounts when we get to heaven. So what must we do to receive such "blessings"?

- First, we must be "bless-able", able to receive what God desires to give us by being aligned with His will for our lives. That means throwing off any barrier to God's goodness, such as sin in our lives or ill-will towards another, and making ourselves available to His leading.

- Next, we must listen to God and obey His instruction, follow those leadings of the Holy Spirit that move us to doing things for others.

- Then we need to be open to receiving God's blessing, and be sure to offer Him praise and thanksgiving for what we receive.

God loves to bless those He loves; all we need to do is to be sure that we are "Bless-able"!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Prayer of Praise - November 13, 2011

Jude 1:24-25(New Living Translation)
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.

25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

Each and everytime we begin a new week, we need to make sure that our attitude and our focus is right. Too many of us just dive into the week and approach it as just another routine Monday. We end up doing this week after week, losing any sense of purpose and direction. Soon we wonder what this is all for, we become dejected, bored and ungrateful for what we have.

Instead we need to approach each new week with a heart of praise to God for what He has done, and in anticipation for what He is laying before us.
We need to be consistantly thankful for His interaction and direction in each of our days, and we need to give praise, as well as commit ourselves to Him, before each new day. Soon we will reap a bounty of joy and accomplishment, seeing His hand working in our daily lives.

No matter what you are going through, or what you are looking forward to into your new week, take a few minutes, lift your heart in praise and thanksgiving, and give your new day, your new week to Him. Make it your goal to bring Him praise, glory and honor through your actions each and every day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Exalt the Lord! - November 12, 2011

Psalm 99 (New International Version)
1 The LORD reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
2 Great is the LORD in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 Exalt the LORD our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.

6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the LORD
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

8 LORD our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the LORD our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the LORD our God is holy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Priorities - November 11, 2011

1 John 2:15-16(New Living Translation)
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

What is important in your life? What do you seek after? What have you set as your priorities? Our world sets us on a path from early on to go for all that "brass ring". Our entire focus in life from high school on is to have fun and get as much as we can out of life. Everything around us if geared that way. You need only look at what the media around us is pushing into our minds, to know that the goal of the world is to focus us on what we can get.

For instance, do you remember being told that you needed to get the best grades, to get into the best colleges, to get the best jobs, to get the best positions, to get into the best company, to get the most money, to wear the best clothes, to get the best car, to get into the best parties, to get the best spouse, to get the best house, to get into the best community, to get into the best city, and on and on it went. And if you were an athelete, it was even worse.

A life of humility, poverty and piety is only reserved for a priest or a zealot, yet from the verse above, can you figure out which one is from God? Not that God wants us not to enjoy our lives, and not that He does not bless us with the best in life, but what is your primary focus? That has to be the question for everyone that call on the name of Jesus Christ and desires to follow after Him. Make sure that your priority is placed where it needs to be. God will take care of the rest.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Wife of Noble Character - November 10, 2011

Proverbs 31:10-31(New International Version)
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

These verses in Proverbs describes my dear wife perfectly. Every man shoudl be as blessed as I to have such a woman as his wife. I thank God for these last 21 years of marriage, and I pray that He will continue to bless us for many more!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Becoming Pollution-Free - November 9, 2011

Mark 7:5;14-23(New Living Translation)
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

There has always been an argument in society about what causes are person to be bad. How does a seemingly innocent baby grow up to be good or bad? Some will say it is because of the way a person has been brought up; they state that their environment had everything to do with it. On the other side there are those who say that the person was born that way; they can't help how they are because that is just the way they are because it is in our nature.

In a sense Jesus jumped into this argument when faced with criticism from the religious leaders of the day. It was believed that all Jews should follow the tradition on ritual cleansing before they ate to make sure that they would not be affected by what they ate. Although the command by God was instituted in ancient day for health reasons, the Pharisees believed that if one did not follow the traditions and did not wash onself that you were sinful, or bad.

Jesus made it clear that thanks to our natural man, we are born with a heart succeptable to sin already. No matter how much we try to be careful about what we take in the body, it is not what we eat, or see, or read, etc. that causes us to be a sinner, or bad. It is what is in our heart already that pollutes us; in other words everyone is born with the propensity to be sinful. Our environment or what we touch might influence us, but we are the one who decides to follow after bad or good.

That is why without Christ we stand condemned and polluted already, but the great thing about belief in Jesus Christ is that if we will accept His death on the cross to pay for our "pollution", we have the opportunity to clean up our hearts. That is when the Holy Spirit takes residence within us, and cleans us up. God then sees us as clean an pure and pollution-free as He sees His Son Jesus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who Is He? - November 8, 2011

Amos 5:8(New International Version)
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns midnight into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the LORD is his name.

Since mankind has been on the earth they have gazed into the heavens and wondered, "Who is He?" Who is He that made the heavens and the very earth on which we stand? Who turns the night into day and back again? Who cycles time through the seasons as the earth changes before our eyes, turning everything into Winter, causing the world to grow cold and lifeless, and yet before we know it brings it back to life again? Who causes the tides to ebb and flow, and cause the sea to rage, before it calms into gentle laps upon the sand?

Who is it who's creative genius caused Orion to watch over the night sky, and who has flung every star into its place, yet cares for the smallest of His creatures? Who is He who has given Himself to us in the person of Jesus, who cared enough to rescue us from our own failure and sin? Who is He who want to someday bring us to Himself to love us throughout eternity?

If you haven't answered that question for yourself, look up into the sky tonight and wonder as men have since long ago, and then discover the answer; it is the Lord.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Faithful Servant - November 7, 2011

Matthew 25:23(New International Version)
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Sometimes when I meditate on what I should be writing about, I will take a phrase that comes to mind and look up the definition of the words. In hearing about Billy Graham's 93rd birthday, the phrase of "good and faithful servant" as stated in the verse above was much spoken of and it made and impression on my mind that I should meditate on what that means.

The word "faithful" means:

1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty; a faithful worker
2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends
4. reliable, trusted, believed
5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy

The word "servant" means:

1. a person employed by another
2. a person in the service of another

In reading these, what comes to mind is the character and the actions necessary to serve God and others. It is the example given us by Jesus Christ, who was the living example of these definitions to those around Him. It is the attitude God has and means for us to have as we demonstrate God's love to one another.

We are to be thorough in our duty, true to our word and promises, steady in our allegiance to Christ, loyal and constant to the good news of salvation, reliable in our walk for Him, adhering to the truth of the gospel message, and a living example of our Lord to others. We are to be God's "employees" in service to Him.

What is a "faithful servant"? Yes, it is the men and woman that profess the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to the world, such as Billy Graham, and countless numbers of ministers of the gospel, Christain musicians, authors and others, but more importantly, it is the daily example of Christ of the individual that is devoted to sharing with others the love, mercy and grace of God.

It is the person that confesses their sins, and accepts the forgiveness of God, and His payment for those sins through Jesus Christ, and steps out in joy to tell others that their chains have been broken, and their burdens have been lifted, and that God's gift is available to them as well. It is you who accept Jesus as Lord, and who will walk in faith to be His enduring servant to the world around you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Praise! - November 6, 2011

Psalm 68:32-35(New International Version)
32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

God is My Creator - November 5, 2011

Psalm 8 (New King James Version)

1 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

Friday, November 4, 2011

God is My Deliverer - November 4, 2011

Isaiah 45:18-25(New International Version)
18 For this is what the LORD says—
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited—
he says:
“I am the LORD,
and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.

20 “Gather together and come;
assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
who pray to gods that cannot save.
21 Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.

22 “Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.
24 They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone
are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.
25 But all the descendants of Israel
will find deliverance in the LORD
and will make their boast in him.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

God is My Salvation - November 3, 2011

Isaiah 12(New International Version)
1 In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, LORD.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.

2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”

3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Oh Magnify the Lord! - November 2, 2011

Psalm 34:1-3(New King James Version)
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

He alone is worthy of our praise! This needs to be our highest and best goal, because our ultimate purpose in life is to bring God glory. Whenever we do thing in the name of Christ, we magnify His name and point all those who may not know Him to Jesus Christ. Only in Jesus can we someday hope to spend enternity with God; so make it the aim of your present life is to bring Him glory in this one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Understanding Our Hope - November 1, 2011

Ephesians 1:18(New Century Version)
18 I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people.

In this fast and furious world, we seldom take a moment to pause and remember what God has in store for us. We get so focused on our daily lives that we fail to remember that this is only a short stop on our way to eternity. This is a place for us to learn and serve, because we will all have specific things to do in Heaven. Our objective is to gain understanding of the hope that God has for us, that is the hope of a future with Him.

Give thanks to Him that He has given us the gift of salvation, and that He has loved us enough to want us with Him forever.