Wednesday, September 30, 2015

True Knowledge - September 30, 2015

Philippians 1:9-10(GOD’S WORD Translation)
9I pray that your love will keep on growing because of your knowledge and insight. 10That way you will be able to determine what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.

When you become a Christian, because of the Holy Spirit that resides within you, nothing is quite the same. You really look at the world differently, and as you spend time with God and read through His word in the Bible, you gain a very different insight. What once was dear to you in the world is no longer so, and what once seemed foolish is now very important. The world's knowledge is shallow and superficial, but the knowledge of God will bring you true wisdom that will last eternally.

Moses had the privilege of meeting with God on Mount Sinai where he gained the knowledge of how man should live. We too can have a mountaintop experience with God if we will just surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ. In Him is all the knowledge of what God has prepared for us, and once we accept Him as Lord and Savior, it is ours to gain. If you have not given it all to Jesus, let today be the day that you gain true knowledge; the true knowledge of God.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Important to God - September 29, 2015

Psalm 8 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

If you have ever wondered your importance to God, you should witness a total lunar eclipse and meditate on this chapter from the Book of Psalm. It is one of the wonders of God's creation that is totally mesmerizing as you are witnessing it. You feel very small, yet when you read God's word, He speaks often of how you are important to Him.

King David of ancient Israel spent many hours gazing into the heavens, and what he saw caused him to also wonder how God could work in his meager life, yet God chose him for a specific purpose, to do His will in his time. Now thousands of years later, David is a fact of history, and he is know for being "a man after God's own heart"(1 Samuel 13:14). David serves as an example to one blessed, yet one very human in his shortcomings; in other words he was probably like many of us.

You too are important to God; He cares for you, and He is "mindful" of you. As you get closer to being like Jesus Christ, and as you grow closer to God, He will show you what you are to do. Although you may seem very small, He has something for you to do on His behalf. Be sure you are prepared to do it.

Photo "Lunar Eclipse" over Portugal credit AP September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Equal Opportunity God - September 28, 2015

Psalm 113 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, you his servants;
praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.

9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.

Praise the LORD.

Luke 6:20-22 (New International Version, ©2011)
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

These days it is easy for those who are "well-off" to snub their noses at those who have very little. Our current generation has forsaken the things of God, and instead have embraced materialism. Unfortunately that is true for many Christians as well. We are just as guilty of seeking after the things of this world to build our self-worth, as those who have lost themselves seeking after worldly things. We can be just as covetous of the wealthy lifestyle of the "rich and famous" as everyone else is.

Fortunately this is not true of our God, and it was especially not true for Jesus. Our Savior spent much of His time with the poor, both those that were poor in possessions and poor in spirit. He leveled the playing field by the promise of His great blessing. In His departure He promised the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to bring peace and well-being to all who would be "poor" in this world. We have the comfort of knowing that if we lose everything in life, we still have the joy and peace that He is with us.

Our God is an equal opportunity God. He offers His gift of salvation to all, the rich and the poor. Truth is that although we may be rich materially, because we have placed our faith in our own efforts and riches, we will usually end up poor in Spirit. Better to be poor in the terms of this world, because in following and serving Him, He will lift us out of our poverty and exalt us before all men.

Photo by Cristie Reiter post from Nicaragua, 3-31-2008, from The World Race

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Praise! - September 27, 2015

Psalm 147 (New Living Translation)

1 Praise the Lord!

How good to sing praises to our God!
How delightful and how fitting!
2 The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem
and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
4 He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.
5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!
6 The Lord supports the humble,
but he brings the wicked down into the dust.

7 Sing out your thanks to the Lord;
sing praises to our God with a harp.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
provides rain for the earth,
and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
9 He gives food to the wild animals
and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and blessed your children within your walls.
14 He sends peace across your nation
and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat.
15 He sends his orders to the world—
how swiftly his word flies!
16 He sends the snow like white wool;
he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
17 He hurls the hail like stones.
Who can stand against his freezing cold?
18 Then, at his command, it all melts.
He sends his winds, and the ice thaws.
19 He has revealed his words to Jacob,
his decrees and regulations to Israel.
20 He has not done this for any other nation;
they do not know his regulations.

Praise the Lord!

Photo by lumix 2004, 8-10-2006 from stock.xchng

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Janitor - September 26, 2015

Psalm 84:1-4;10 (New International Version, ©2011)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Before I truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I had a very limited understanding of what God and salvation was all about. Sure I believed in God, but at the same time I was trapped in the thought that what I did, earned my way into heaven. With this mind set, I would often fall into sin, and when the guilt would really burden me, I would throw up a prayer to God pleading that He would forgive me, and allow me to at least be a janitor in heaven.

Nothing wrong with janitors, but I had a true fear in the knowledge that what I was doing angered God, and this was my plea for Him to somehow look away from my sin and accept me. It made me "ripe" for any works based religion where my own actions would be the final determiner of whether or not I would go to heaven when I died. Let's face it; I was totally lost with no clue of what would happen to me if I died.

The Psalter expresses his anguish of being kept out of the house of the Lord, and in the same psalm he makes a plea that he would do anything menial in the courtyard of the Temple, just to be near God's presence. He even shows some jealousy in the ability of the birds to get closer to the altar, the presence of God in ancient Israel, than he was able. In the same way, I was standing outside of the "Temple of the Lord", His kingdom in Heaven, jealously looking in, without a clue of how to get closer to God.

Thank God for His mercy and grace that allowed His Holy Spirit to clearly show me my wrongdoing, and the way out of my situation. He showed me that Jesus Christ was the bridge between my sinful self and a Holy God. Only with the shed blood of Christ could I be cleansed of my sins and allowed access into God's kingdom. That was a beautiful revelation that lifted the burden of my "junk" and brought me the relief of salvation. God no longer saw me as a "janitor" kept outside of the kingdom, but He now welcomed me as His son.

We all can become sons and daughters of the King. There is no reason to stand outside and just look in. Surrender yourself, find salvation from your sins by accepting the work of Jesus and be welcomed into His kingdom.

Photo "Clean Well" by nazreth, 5-4-2006 from stock.xchng

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Lord Reigns - September 25, 2015

Psalm 93(New International Version)
1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.

2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

3 The seas have lifted up, LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

5 Your statutes, LORD, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.

No matter what you believe or what religion you practice, there is but one truth. All faiths cannot be true, because they don't all agree. Each has a different concept of who God is, so how can they all be equal? How can they ALL be true? It doesn't make logical sense. Their can only be one truth of who God is, and only one person claimed that truth.

Only Jesus Christ said that He was God(John 10:30,13:13), and that when we saw Him we saw the Father(John 14:9-10). Only He claimed to be at the beginning of all things(John 1:1,8:58). Only Jesus said that He was the truth and the way to eternal life(John 14:6). He is either a nut, a liar or God in the flesh. There is no doubt about the historical Jesus Christ. There is more documentary proof for Him than there is for the life of Julius Caesar.

If you are reading this and you don't believe in Him, there will be a specific day and time when you will be called to account for your stand(Romans 14:12,2Corinthians 5:10). The Bible tells us that Jesus was the final revelation of God(Hebrews 1:1-3), and as such we will either surrender to Him now or in the next life when it is too late(Philippians 2:9-11).

Know this our God reigns, and Jesus reigns in Him and with Him. Welcome the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, and surrender yourself to Him. Check out the verses above for yourself; seek Him in prayer and He will reveal the truth to you. You need only see, read and hear what is going on in the world around you to know that something significant is happening. Now more than ever, you need to make a decision, and the one you make will determine your eternal destiny.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

In Joy! - September 24, 2015

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Reader's Version) 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.

Our attitude needs to reflect that we believe that God takes care of us. It needs to show our faith that He is in control, and that nothing happens that is not within His will. As Christians, we should not behave as the "lost" do, always anxious for the next day, but instead we need to face each and every new day with knowledge that God's promises will all come true. Thanks to the grace and mercy provided by Jesus Christ's gift to us, we can have confidence that "our joy will be made complete(1John 1:14)".

Thank Him for allowing you to have hope in joy, and for including you in His forever family. Thank Him for the gift of Jesus and the assurance that you will be with Him forever. Always be joyful!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Right Path - September 23, 2015

Proverbs 3:5-6(Amplified Bible)
5Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

6In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6(New Living Translation)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6(New King James Version)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

We really have a simple faith to follow. No, I didn't say it was easy, but I did say it is simple. God wants us to have a simple, childlike faith, that takes it for granted that as long as we lean on, trust, and have our confidence in Him, He will make sure it all works out for our good.

Everything we read about in the Bible is about trust and faith, that pure release of our own will and mental faculties and giving them over to God. It is a story about total surrender to Him, committing it all to Him before we do anything. He will promises to take care if the results.

No matter how you say it, that's simple, but again, it's not easy!

Photo "A Straight Path", Dr. Roy Winkelman, 5-22-2008, from Clippix ETC

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Us? - September 22, 2015

Psalm 144 (New Century Version)

1 Praise the Lord, my Rock,
who trains me for war,
who trains me for battle.
2 He protects me like a strong, walled city, and he loves me.
He is my defender and my Savior,
my shield and my protection.
He helps me keep my people under control.

3 Lord, why are people important to you?
Why do you even think about human beings?
4 People are like a breath;
their lives are like passing shadows.

5 Lord, tear open the sky and come down.
Touch the mountains so they will smoke.
6 Send the lightning and scatter my enemies.
Shoot your arrows and force them away.
7 Reach down from above.
Save me and rescue me out of this sea of enemies,
from these foreigners.
8 They are liars;
they are dishonest.

9 God, I will sing a new song to you;
I will play to you on the ten-stringed harp.
10 You give victory to kings.
You save your servant David from cruel swords.
11 Save me, rescue me from these foreigners.
They are liars; they are dishonest.

12 Let our sons in their youth
grow like plants.
Let our daughters be
like the decorated stones in the Temple.
13 Let our barns be filled
with crops of all kinds.
Let our sheep in the fields have
thousands and tens of thousands of lambs.
14 Let our cattle be strong.
Let no one break in.
Let there be no war,
no screams in our streets.

15 Happy are those who are like this;
happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

King David wrote many of the psalms that are given to us in the Bible. From early on in his life, he was connected to God. The psalm above was a prayer that he wrote for victory over his enemies. It could also be said that it was a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for what God had done in his life.

Because of his closeness to God, he was picked to become king of God's people, and he went on with God's help to take Israel to it's greatest days. It was said of him that he was "a man after God's own heart", meaning that he was so close to God in his daily life, that he sought God at all times, and his aim was to live a life fully dedicated to His service.

No he wasn't perfect, and yes, even David was tempted to sin, and he suffered from the consequences that his sin brought to his family. The important thing was that he recognized his sinfulness, confessed his wrongdoing, and sought God's forgiveness. God redeemed him, and from the lineage of David our Savior Jesus would be born.

When you think about it, you may wonder why God cares about us? Why does He give us a second thought? We are a stubborn and selfish creature that is self-centered and ungrateful, yet our God cares for us. He loves us so much, that He stepped out of His position in Heaven, to walk among us and take upon Himself the worst that we could ever be. In doing so, He broke the bondage that sin had on mankind, and rescued for all time every man and woman that would ever live.

All we need to do is reach up, accept what He has done on our behalf, and as David did, give ourselves to His service.

Photo from "Colorado Road Trip Album" by me, 2009.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Be Exalted, O God! - September 21, 2015

Psalm 57:7-11(New International Version)
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

True freedom comes from being able to cast all of your cares upon God and releasing all of your anxiety on Him. He has stepped out of Heaven to carry each and every burden, and because He has also carried each an every sin, He is worthy of all praise and exaltation. You can be sure that the One that receives your worship and praise is faithful. May He be lifted up above the Heavens, and may His glory radiate throughout the earth!

Photo from "Heart of the Matter Online", posted by Lysa Terkeurst, 1-17-09

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Praise! - September 20, 2015

Psalm 16(New International Version)
1 Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

3 I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”

4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay (prophecy about Jesus Christ*).

11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

* Italics mine

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Only One - September 19, 2015

Isaiah 66:2(New Living Translation)
2 My hands have made both heaven and earth;
they and everything in them are mine.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

“I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts,
who tremble at my word.

In this day and age we have many things that occupy our time. From the time we awake to the time we go to sleep, there are much that takes up our attention. I would bet that with all the time we spend on other things, we find ourselves worshipping many other things than the One who created us. For many of us, once we start our day God doesn't get a second thought. It is almost as if the "stuff" of our lives takes the place of God.

But this is not how it should be. For us to live a truly fulfilled and blessed life, God has to be our first priority. That is the main reason Jesus Christ walked among us. He was God incarnate; God in the flesh. He is one that identifies with everything we are and in turn relates to all we will do. He desires intimacy with us, and that has to be more than an occasional thought day or night and maybe an hour on Sunday.

Tomorrow when you wake up, decide that you are going to do things differently. Tell God that from now one, He will be your constant companion. Include Him in every thought and question during your day, and consult Him in every question that comes to your mind. At the end of the day, thank Him for being your constant companion.

There can only be one God in our lives, and if we will humbly come to Him and include Him, He will give us blessings beyond measure. Try it, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Set Up for Trouble - September 18, 2015

2 Timothy 3:12(New King James Version)
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Yes, you read it right! If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you call yourself a Christian, you WILL have trouble. If you are a true believer, you are different. The life you lead should be different than the world around you. You should not mix well with others that are "in" the world; like oil doesn't mix with water. People should be looking at you funny! It takes alot of guts to stand up for Jesus.

For my generation that has been tough because we grew up in lukewarm churches; just religious enough to go to church some Sundays, but not enough to take a firm stand on issues that would have made a difference. I believe that our society is in the mess that it is in, because the church was silent as our religious freedoms were slowly taken away. Today, we don't even resemble the society that the founders of our nation envisioned, and our children and grand children are paying for it.

Thankfully, in spite of trouble, there are many young people and others that are standing up for what is right, and making a firm stand for Jesus here and throughout the world. I believe that in the future, all of us will have to stand on one side or the other. Either we will boldly stand for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or we will join the mishmash of relativism, being just religious enough not to "make any waves".

There have been times in the past when Christians were called to stand up for true Christianity and for Jesus, and there are many people in our world that are standing up for Christ and suffering much persecution. The question is, when it comes time for you to take a stand, what will you do?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fair Warning - September 17, 2015

Isaiah 1:18-20(New Century Version)
18 The Lord says,

"Come, let us talk about these things.

Though your sins are like scarlet,
they can be as white as snow.
Though your sins are deep red,
they can be white like wool.

19 If you become willing and obey me, you will eat good crops from the land.

20 But if you refuse to obey and if you turn against me,
you will be destroyed by your enemies' swords." The Lord himself said these things.

By God's grace, we are in a time and place where we have very little to worry about. Yes, there may be personal struggles, difficulties, and stresses that we encounter, but the outcomes will in most cases be okay. That is not the case in other parts of the world; there are many that exist day to day with the prospect that it will be their last day, and there are others that each and every day suffer unspeakable troubles.

Few of us think that anything really bad will ever happen to us. Because of this, we as a Nation have become arrogant and foolish. We have forgotten and in some cases forsaken our Creator, in favor of a god of material wealth and quick pleasure. We have lost our deep reverence and "fear" of God who has made it all possible for us, and expected that because of our great blessing, we should be responsible to those less fortunate around us.

The nation of Israel found themselves in this very place during the time of the prophet Isaiah; God could not allow their sin to go unpunished, and Israel would soon be overrun by its enemies and conquered. Even though they had fallen to deep and had run away so far from God, He carried them through their troubles, and would later bring restoration of all mankind through them. All He ever expected from them was their love and obedience, but like many of us, and us as a Nation, a different path of indifference and disobedience led them to their destruction.

We stand at a crossroads, both as people and as a Nation. We have a choice that we need to make, and we have been given fair warning. We need to choose to go God's way, or we need to choose to turn our backs on Him and suffer the consequences. You need only to watch television and surf the internet, and you see the troubles already brewing. He wants to restore us and all He asks is for our obedience. What will be your choice, yield to Him, or choose the way of the world?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Can I Get a Witness? - September 16, 2015

Hebrews 12:14-15(New Century Version)
14 Try to live in peace with all people, and try to live free from sin. Anyone whose life is not holy will never see the Lord.15 Be careful that no one fails to receive God's grace and begins to cause trouble among you. A person like that can ruin many of you.

One of the saddest things about Christianity today is that many people have a bad impression about Christians. Non-believers have been soured by how many who claim the faith behave. These behaviors that turn others off fall into two groups.

The first group, although they have been saved by Jesus Christ, continue to behave as if their conversion has made no change in their lives. They still cling to the things of the world and they treat others just as they did prior to knowing Jesus. Their behavior is marked by doing the exact things that those around them. Non-believers question why they should embrace faith in Jesus if it doesn't make a difference in their lives.

The second group have changed their lives because of their desire to please God, but they exhibit that change by excluding others. Their behavior is one of legalism, and they set a bar that new believer have to reach to become Christ followers. They further exacerbate this characteristic by them judging others with a "holier than though" attitude. Non-believers are turned off, because they feel that all Christians do is point out their faults.

In the Book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul admonishes us to live at peace with everyone, meaning that we need to seek peace in any human interaction we have. We then need to try to live holy lives, seeking to be good witnesses of the change Jesus has made our lives. And most importantly, we need to be sure that we show the same "grace" that God showed to us in drawing us to Christ.

We all are sinners and we all deserve God's judgment. Who are we to criticize others who have not yet found Jesus Christ? Instead we need to lead lives that reflect the love of Jesus, and attract others to the faith through "right" living, love, and acceptance. Our outward witness of our inward change is the most important thing in drawing others to Christ. Make sure that your witness as a Christian is one that will win others to Jesus.

Photo from Lost Sheeo Finders' Digest

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Better Than Big Brother - September 15, 2015

Psalm 3(New International Version)
1 LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

7 Arise, LORD!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

Everyone can remember a time when they were picked on at school. If you are honest, you all encountered the bullies in your lives on more that one occasion. Those days of harassment seemed like they would never end, but if you had a big brother, those days soon came to an end. It was your big brother who stuck up for you in the face of your enemies, and many of you fondly remember how you admired your great protector who kept you safe from harm.

These days, many are constantly under attack from one thing or another. At times the difficulties seem so overwhelming that you wonder if your "enemies" will do you in. If you are a believer, many of these attacks are sent by the evil one, wanting to distract you and keep you ineffective for God. At times it seems that the harassment will never end, but thank God, He stands ready to protect you, not as your big brother, but as your loving Father. If you will let Him, He will deliver you and keep you safe and secure.

If you are having trouble sleeping at night, why not let God be your "shield"? He will sustain you no matter what comes against you. Surrender your trouble to Him, and let Him stand in place of your big brother!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Seeking Him - September 14, 2015

1 Chronicles 28:9 (New International Version, ©2010)
9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought.

If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Jeremiah 29:13 (English Standard Version)
13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

We live in a world that thinks that there is little or no need for God. If you travel to other countries, especially those that are considered "affluent", such as in Europe, you will find the people overly comfortable in themselves and in their own efforts for everything that they have accomplished and acquired. Sad thing is though, that left to their own devices, it is only a matter of time before you find that the people are fairly "soul-less" and very cynical about life.

In our own country, we too live in a generation that has little need for God; it is a generation that believes that they are in control of their lives and destinies. This attitude is reflected in how quickly the secular culture is trying to wipe away any sight or mention of God in public life. God has become too controversial; He makes offends people and makes them uncomfortable, and it is better to remove or ignore Him than to face Him.

I would venture to say that many of us were the same way, especially when we were young. We believed that we could do anything and we were responsible to no one but ourselves. Even though many of us grew up around godly parents and church, we still had to find out on our own that we weren't "all that". There probably were many times when we chose our own way, even when we knew it was against the things of God. But we chose to remove or ignore Him from our lives, and it took many hard knocks and dark and terrible days, before we could acknowledge our need for Him.

In the verses above, we are made aware that God knows everything about us. There is no hiding from Him. Sooner or later everyone is going to have to face Him; we are going to have to face Him. We can either accept Him and His provision of redemption for us , or we can reject Him at our own eternal peril. He is there waiting for us; it is up to us to seek Him; He will make sure that we find Him.

Photo "Peek-a-boo 1" by vivekchugh 7-18-2008 from stock.xchng

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Praise! - September 13, 2015

Psalm 9 (New Living Translation)
1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
2 I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
3 My enemies retreated;
they staggered and died when you appeared.
4 For you have judged in my favor;
from your throne you have judged with fairness.
5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have erased their names forever.
6 The enemy is finished, in endless ruins;
the cities you uprooted are now forgotten.

7 But the Lord reigns forever,
executing judgment from his throne.
8 He will judge the world with justice
and rule the nations with fairness.
9 The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

11 Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem.
Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds.
12 For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless.
He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.

13 Lord, have mercy on me.
See how my enemies torment me.
Snatch me back from the jaws of death.
14 Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates,
so I can rejoice that you have rescued me.

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others.
Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set.
16 The Lord is known for his justice.
The wicked are trapped by their own deeds.

Quiet Interlude

17 The wicked will go down to the grave.
This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.
18 But the needy will not be ignored forever;
the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.

19 Arise, O Lord!
Do not let mere mortals defy you!
Judge the nations!
20 Make them tremble in fear, O Lord.
Let the nations know they are merely human.



Photo from

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Good Fruit: Self-Control - September 12, 2015

Romans 6:1-7 (New Living Translation)
1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

1 John 5:18 (New International Version, ©2010)
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

Was there a time in your life when you were living in a lifestyle where "resistance was futile"? Have you been in a situation where it was almost unbearable to not give into temptation? I know many people trapped in the bondage of an addiction or sin where they simply can't give it up. It is an urge that is often very powerful, and the fear of giving up the addiction is sometimes stronger than the fear of death.

When you come to Jesus Christ and surrender yourself to Him, often the Holy Spirit takes away that urge and frees people from the bondage of sin, but sometimes it takes more than that. All who truly accept Christ's gift of salvation are filled with the Holy Spirit. He is our Comforter, our ever present presence that helps us on our daily walk with God. He gives us the good fruit of self-control.

Sometimes though, people are so trapped in their sin that they are resistant to gaining control over it through Jesus. They often become depressed and sometimes even disenchanted with God because their bondage doesn't leave them. Why is this? I say it is because they have not made a true decision to turn their back on the past. They hold on to it and embrace it because it seems more comfortable than the freedom of letting go.

If you truly desire the freedom gained by truly surrendering to God, and truly allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence and gifts, especially self-control, ask God for the strength to. He hears your prayers and He will answer you, but you need to first have a change of mind an allow Him to do His will with you. He will give you the self-control you need to conquer your sin, your addiction, and the bondage that has you trapped.

Photo "Praise the Lord" by ronibro, 11-16-2006 from stock.xchng

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11 - September 11, 2015

Proverbs 14:12(New King James Version)
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

John 10:10(New King James Version)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Today marks fourteen years, since that terrible day on a beautiful September morning when Islamic Fundamentalists horrifically destroyed thousands of lives and changed the world forever. Many would choose to forget the fact that this was a "religiously" motivated act. For the perpetrators, it was their ultimate desire to sacrifice themselves in service to their god, and they felt they were right in doing so.

There are many today who are doing terrible things in the name of their god and their religion. Their are also many who since those days could care less about God and want nothing to do with Him; for them they believe there is always tomorrow. In their minds they feel that what they are doing is right, but where will it lead them in the future? On this day that hopefully we still remember, Satan sought to take down everyone he could; he sought to drive fear into the hearts of as many as he could. His goal is to have as many as he can follow him. And today as well, Satan is trying to do the same thing throughout the Middle East, our Nation and the world, working desperately to turn the hearts of as many as he can against the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately many are following Satan's path. But I say our God is far greater and has no equal, and His purpose is to turn the hearts of people back to Him, and to His Son. He wants us not to know that the only security we can have in this life is through the belief and lordship of Jesus Christ. As has been shown in past days, our tomorrow is not guaranteed; a single insane act can end it all for each and everyone of us. We would be well served to ask ourselves, "What will we do with Jesus Christ today, while we still have the chance to answer".

Photo "Ground Zero Cross", credits to Getty Images

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Good Fruit: Gentleness - September 10, 2015

Matthew 18:1-5 (New International Version, ©2010)
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

It is interesting these days that when religions are compared, they are all are given a moral equivalence in today's society. Unfortunately, those opinions stem from the fact that many so-called followers of Christ were very far from Him. Many remember atrocities that were carried out in His name and have associated that behavior with all Christians. If you have really walked with our Lord for very long, you know that those opinions are false. Whenever you hear someone associating those things with Christians, you probably think to yourself that true followers of Jesus are far from those things.

Fact is that Jesus Christ made it very clear how we should approach the kingdom of God, with a contrite and gentle heart. He likened the attitude that we should have with the attitude of little children; gentle of spirit and character, yet wide open with possibilities, and eager to embrace the simple truth of God's love message to His people. True believers filled with the Holy Spirit exhibit the good fruit of gentleness in all things, especially those of Christ. This is true in how we treat those around us, and how we deal even with those who would chose to harm us.

The true Christians will bear all and approach all with the spirit and fruit of gentleness; in doing so, they will reflect the strength of God and will win many to Jesus Christ.

Photo "Bunny Girl" by familylife, 9-9-2007, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Good Fruit: Faithfulness - September 9, 2015

1 Corinthians 15:58 (New International Version, ©2010)
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Are you stong in your convictions? Do you stick with what you believe when you are under pressure to give it up? Do you continue to do things for God when there seems to be no earthly benefit? Are you obedient to following God's rules when no one is looking, or are do you stand up for Jesus Christ when everyone is looking?

As I have said many times, our Christian walk is not easy. It calls us to doing things and not doing things that seem bizarre to those in our society and the world. If we follow Jesus as we should, we will stand out, and we will encounter difficulty. Jesus said, 11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."(Matthew 5:11)If we are a true follower of Jesus Christ and the things of God, we will experience persecution.

On our own efforts, we probably cannot stand up to that kind of testing. Many have fallen away from the Christian faith when they were subjected to all kinds of pressure, whether it is social or physical. Then how are true Christians able to endure? It is because the Holy Spirit indwells the believer which shows up in the good fruit of faithfulness.

If you are having difficulty because you stand out for Jesus and people make fun of you or give you a hard time, great! You are being faithful, steadfast, and you will be blessed by God. Stand up for Jesus and He will stand up for you, both in this life and the next.

Photo "Gospel Reading" by abcdz2000, 3-3-2008,from stock.xchng

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Good Fruit: Goodness - September 8, 2015

Luke 6:45 (New International Version, ©2010)
45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

3 John 1:11 (New International Version, ©2010)
11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

It is something that we are taught from the time we can understand our parents. After learning about the word "no", the first real rule we hear taught to us is to be "good". No one is naturally good no matter how hard we may try, and the older we get the harder it is. Jesus even made commented to one who called him good, 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone." (Luke 18-19)Being good is not something we are able to be on our own.

Thank God that when He gave us the Holy Spirit to inhabit our lives, He gave us the ability to produce fruit, and goodness is one of those. But being good is more than reigning in our own behavior. It goes much deeper than that. Goodness is best shown when in the purity of heart we "do good" to all those we come across. We cannot be good without God, and we cannot do good without God.

Be good and exercise goodness to all, and you will truly reflect the goodness of God, who above all us was good to us.

Photo "Helping Hand" from je1196,10-19-2004 from stock.xchng

Monday, September 7, 2015

Good Fruit: Kindness - September 7, 2015

Colossians 3:12-13 (New International Version, ©2010)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32 (New International Version, ©2010)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What has become of people treating one another with kindness? Daily you hear stories of bullying, abuse, jealousy, anger, treachery, cruelty and down right meanness that goes on around us all. The perpetrators are young and old, of all ethnic group, back ground and upbringing. The only common denominator is that there is a vicious attempt of hurting another, and this extends to other creatures as much as it is with people.

And hanging around fellow Christians doesn't mean that one is immune from being treated in this way. There are many of the same attempts to hurt people in churches and among Christians as there are in the world. What is at the root of this? Why do we behave this way? The answer is that if God is at the root of the good fruit of kindness, Satan is at the root of meanness.

If you are called by Jesus Christ and are ruled by the Holy Spirit, you are to be about demonstrating kindness to all people and all things. Your obligation to God is to treat every part of His creation with the kindness and love He has extended to you. It doesn't stop there; you need to be about being an advocate and defender of that same kindness in all that surrounds you.

That means teaching your children and young people as well as the adults around you how to treat one another. Never allow someone to be unkind to you without rebuking them in love. Let them know that to treat others with cruelty and meanness is never acceptable, and at the same time extend the hand of reconciliation, peace and kindness. Now here is a good fruit of the Holy Spirit that the world needs a lot more of.

Photo from Nursing Home Article from 5-2-2009

Good Fruit: Patience - September 6, 2015

Ephesians 4:2-3 (New International Version, ©2010)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3 (King James Version)
2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The work of a Christian requires much patience, forbearance and longsuffering. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the focus of your life is no longer on you. It is one where the needs of everyone else needs to come before ourselves. Because of this, you might find out that you will receive much abuse and persecution. But you need to always be able to bear it, whether it is given by those who hate and despise you, or by fellow believers.

Our example is Jesus Christ, who took the abuse of those around him and the weight of our sins, and bore them on the cross. We need to identify with Him and know that our good fruit of patience will reap a crown of eternal life with God.

Photo "Winter" by just4you, 3-1-2006 from stock.xchng

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Good Fruit: Peace - September 5, 2015

Psalm 119:165 (New International Version, ©2010)165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

John 14:27 (New International Version, ©2010)27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33 (New International Version, ©2010) 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

James 3:17-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

A true sign of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and following after Jesus is peace. The good fruit of peace means that you are calm and confident in the Lord, and you seek to be free from quarrels and disagreement. Your life reflects the desire to live harmoniously with all. You do not stir up strife for the sake of your own purposes, and you "bend over backwards" to restore peace in any situation that might be difficult.

Bottom line is that you see everyone as God's children and every situation as one in which you can bless others for the sake of Jesus Christ. Jesus brought us peace in our souls by restoring our place with God; in turn we need to pass on the peace that we have been given to those around us.

Photo "Sunrays" by MajaFoto, 11-25-2009 from stock.xchng

Friday, September 4, 2015

Good Fruit: Joy - September 4, 2015

James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

When times get rough, do you remain confident in the ability of God to get you thorugh it? Or do you worry and become anxious and wonder what God is doing to you? These two reactions are probably very common for believers in Jesus and non-believers. All of us have become concerned and worried when times get difficult, but the true test of whether you have surrendered yourself fully to God is in the fruit we produce.

When we study the fruit of the Spirit exhibited by a Christian as found in Galatians 5:22-23, we find that our lives become a reflection of our new life in Christ. The next good fruit mentioned in these verses is joy. What is joy? It is a calm in the eye of the storm. It is that excitement that you know that God is doing something good in your life. It might not be pleasant at the time, but you have that quiet confidence that everything will work out for good. It is a promise that God has made to us and we need not be concerned because God keeps His promises.

I am learning to be controlled by spiritual joy, to not give up and focus rather on what God wants me to learn in the difficult situation. I know that Jesus Christ is alongside me, helping me with my burdens in life. It gives me that calm and confidence to work through my problems. Not that I don't become anxious, because I do at times, but I know the end of my life's story. I know that tomorrow will be a better day.

Photo "Summer Joy" by porah, 5-1-2008, from stock.xchng

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Good Fruit: Love - September 3, 2015

Luke 10:25-28 (New International Version, ©2010)
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[Deuteronomy 6:5]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus 19:18]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

When you look at the good fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 that reflect those who are Christians, the most important is love. Nothing is more important to God, than to have those who follow Him, reflect the love that He has so richly given us. There is no greater love, than what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross, so that we might be saved from our sins.

In turn, Christians need to be known for their love that they give to others unconditionally. We need to be the first to step into the scene to help when other are in trouble and hurting. We need to take the lead in serving others who are less fortunate. Our compassion needs to extend to all, even those who would rather harm us.

Does your love reflect the love that Jesus Christ has given you? Does it extend from your being as the first priority in all of your actions? Do you love your neighbor, including the ones you don't like? Do you take the actions that show that you love others as you have been called to? If you do, you are filled with the Holy Spirit and are truly trying to live your faith reflecting Jesus.

If not, you need to do a gut check, confess your shortcomings, and ask God to help you love others as you love yourself.

Photo "Indigenous People" by jonathan n, 4-4-2007, from stock.xchng

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good Fruit - September 2, 2015

Galatians 5:22-25 (New International Version, ©2010)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Since the "fruit" that is produced from living as part of the world is readily seen as living against God, how can you tell those who are walking and living under the guidance of God? What are the actions and characteristics that a Christian that is influenced through the Holy Spirit exhibit? How do you know that you are truly walking with God?

Just as this 5th chapter of Galatians clearly points out the "fruit" produced by those against God, it describes the "fruit of the Spirit". If we are the children of God, and if we are truly Christians, our lives will reflect these good characteristics of Christ. Not that we are perfect, and not that we don't show some of the characteristics of the world from time to time, but if we are truly saved through Jesus Christ, our lives will be governed by Jesus and exhibit these spiritual fruits.

Over the next few days, I will dig deeper into this basket of good fruit, and look into how we might best exhibit each of these as we live out our lives for God.

Photo "Green Apples" by Robby M, 12-7-2009 from stock.xchng

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bad Fruit - September 1, 2015

Galatians 5:19-21 (New International Reader's Version)
19 What the sinful nature does is clear. It enjoys sexual sins, impure acts and wild living.

20 It worships statues of gods. It also worships evil powers. It is full of hatred and fighting. It is full of jealousy and fits of anger. It is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups.

21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.

One thing about our lives and our characters is sure, we all produce "fruit". What I mean is this, our daily acts, the things we do, reflect what is at the root of our existence, and as we go about our lives we will show what we are made of. If we grow in the things of the world, the fruit we produce will be reflective of that worldly life-style. To the world, these fruits are seemingly okay; besides, "why not do whatever you want to do as long as your not hurting anybody", but to God these are in direct opposition to Him. Living in this way shows that you would rather turn your back on Him.

Reading this list of the "sinful nature" gives us a good picture of how to live a life in total opposition to being a Christian, but even for Christians, the bad fruit can sometimes be found in the bushel basket of our lives. It is hard to always produce good fruit, but if we fully and completely surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, it will be much easier. Our aim should be to sink our roots deep into the Word of God, and allow ourselves to be governed by the Holy Spirit. If we do so, we will produce good fruit.

Photo "Adam's Apple; temptation was great" by Dimitri C from stock.xchng