Sunday, January 20, 2019

I may not be pleasing people

The fear of the Lord leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil.              (Proverbs 19:23)
Having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, brings peace. When the world, yes even the believing world, comes against me for being too religious, too biblical, too strict, I can only rest in my relationship with Christ. I may not be pleasing people, but I am trying to please the Lord! It is He who I will be with for eternity and He who matters most.

In fact, my love and commitment for Christ is many times construed as "hate" for the people around me!(Luke 14:26)

I find myself explaining myself way too many times. I am stressed that others doubt my motives to the point where I simply want to be silent....just me and Jesus! I want to retreat into my own private space with no one else...yet I cannot because of the push from the Spirit to "go!"

What about you?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Are we choosing society over scripture?

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.(John 17:20-23)
Perfect unity....that's what Jesus prayed for and I am sure is STILL praying for us who call ourselves Christ-followers.

Yet we are divided in so many ways! We hold tightly to culture, family history, and political ties; not to mention peer pressure at school, work, and community. We are so afraid to step out and declare our Christ-centered beliefs over socially and culturally accepted norms!

Are we choosing society over scripture?

Scripture tells us that there were two types of people....Jew or Greek. Today that would work out to Christian or Non- Christian...saved or unsaved. There is no hyphen except for Christian-...... Christ comes first! However, as I witness office chatter, social media debates, even small group church settings, I experience much of the opposite!

"Why is that?", I ask. Many times I know if I make a comment, it will be misunderstood or challenged. Yet if it is in scripture and we are "one", then why?

I realize there are personality differences and personal experiences in life, yet Christ calls us to set aside things that divide us and to become one!

We reflect to the world what the Kingdom of God should and will be! We are either inviting the lost in or chasing them away. I can't have that on my soul! We are His ambassadors; seeking and saving the lost, with everything we do every day. We cannot afford to allow anything to separate anyone from the love of God!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Roman's 8:38-39)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Seek First...

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,   you double-minded. (James 4:7-8) 
Satan is cunning. If you are like me, struggling through the day to day to carry out God's calling, at times it gets frustrating. Seeing others prosper, watching family go through struggles but unable to help, not able to provide as needed, can lead to anger, frustration, sadness, times of depression and feeling like a failure. But God...

Turn to God. Cry out to Him as David did numerous times. Resist the lies of Satan and draw closer to the Lord. Stop judging life by the world's standards. What lies ahead in glory far outweighs today's struggles.

Our labor is not in vain! Seek first His  Kingdom. Fight the good fight. We cannot serve two masters!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I have a burden

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry? (Isaiah 40:3-6)
 I know I am no prophet. I realize I fall short daily of God's perfect plan for me. Even my wife reminds me often not to be so serious, so right vs wrong all the time.

But I have a burden. I want people to REALLY know Christ. I want them to have a GENUINE RELATIONSHIP with Him, not a morning prayer or Sunday only relationship.

I KNOW Him and though I sin daily, I hate it! Yet He still loves me and cares for me! I deeply desire to please my Lord and Savior! I want Him to be pleased. It is a struggle....yet it is worth it.

What about you? Do you know Him like that?

Lord, help me to reach those who need You the most.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It is God!

God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.

For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’;

Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.

He seals the hand of every man, 
That all men may know His work.

The beasts go into dens, 
And remain in their lairs.

From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind,

And cold from the scattering winds of the north.

By the breath of God ice is given,

And the broad waters are frozen.

Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; 

He scatters His bright clouds.

And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance,

That they may do whatever He commands them
On the face of the whole earth.

He causes it to come, 
Whether for correction,
Or for His land, Or for mercy. (Job 37:5-13)

On these cold and frigid days of winter, I am reminded of God's awesome power but also His grace? As with Job, He reminds me Who He is and what He could do! In less than twenty-four hours He can blanket the landscape with a foot of pristine snow and cause lakes and rivers to freeze in motion.  He could then choose to cause a South wind to blow and raise temperatures to melt it all away just as quickly! It's Life In these Mid- Atlantic states, but more importantly it is God!

As with the weather, God also is directly involved in our lives. . . . ups and downs, good times and bad. He personally cares for each of us and if we stay in tune with Him, we learn to recognize His voice and when to move or stay put. We are NEVER alone! Trust God for the future forecast!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We have more than hope, we have evidence!

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
How long will you attack a man?
You shall be slain, all of you,
Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
They delight in lies;
They bless with their mouth,
But they curse inwardly. Selah
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved. (PSALM 62:1-6)
So what moves us? Who inspires us? How are we motivated?

David placed his hope and trust in God alone. There was no incarnate Christ yet. There was no resurrection yet. His hope was in the promises of God!

What can we learn from this? If David could wait upon a promise yet to come, can we not live for the Promised One Who will come again? We have more than hope, we have evidence!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Before we pray.....

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”(Mark 11:25-26)

Before we pray there is one important thing we often forget.  As in the Model Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15) and the often learned A.C.T.S. guideline (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication), we must remember to offer and seek forgiveness before we even think of asking for anything! Aftr all, we are coming before a Holy, Perfect, and All-Powerful God! We come boldly before the throne (Hebrews 4:16).

This is not done flippantly or casually! As C.H. Spurgeon said (Nov. 19,1871), "As prayer will not be truly prayer without the Spirit of Go, so it will not be prevailing prayer without the Son of God. He, the Great High Priest must go within the veil for us.....for until then, we are shut out from the living God."

Understanding this, we realize prayer is done in the presence of the Trinity. Just As the high priest had to be sure to be "clean", so to we must be cleansed of sin through the Blood of Jesus Christ!

Please do not take prayer lightly. It is NOT a ritual, a right, or a routine. It is a privilege! Father, please forgive us!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When our desires line up with God's design....

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. 
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.(Psalm 139:13-18)
We all have dreams and desires. The older we get the more reality sets In, yet we still dream of what might be or what could have been.  While we all dream and still imagine, there is One who always knew and always cared. In fact, He knew us before we were even "us"!

God has uniquely designed each of us for His purposes, not our own. The better we get to know the God Who deigned us the better we  know ourselves and what we should be doing. When our desires line up with God's design life begins to make sense and have purpose.

It's probably time for a little talk with our Father. Let's seek His wisdom and guidance. When is then last time we spent some real one on one with Him? "How God? When Daddy? Why that? Why now? I need Your help!"

Ask God for the wisdom to know His unique plans for you and then ask for the courage to carry out those plans. Life will begin to make more sense. . . .

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

We do not know what we should pray for...

So you think we live in confusing times? Don't even know how or what to pray at times? Take heart and take comfort in Paul's words to the believers in Rome during his trying days. . . 
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is,because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to beconformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:18-31)
Uneasy economic world? Crazy political scenes?  Confusion within the Body of Christ? Families in crisis? Take heart even in Jesus' own words of assurance:

 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”    (John 16:33)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Close, friendly, intimate relationships

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Close, friendly, intimate relationships are the ones we cherish and trust. It what God desires for each of His children! Do we not want that with the Lord? If so, it requires openness, honesty and transparency  . . . with ourselves and with the Lord!

God has no problem being honest and open with us. It is we who try to hide and sugar coat things. God desires our most joyous times and our deepest sorrows. Only He can fill the gaps and opened wounds. Only He can know our deepest desires and what brings us true joy. After all, He made us!

Who knows us better than our parents? Who are the most proud when we succeed after years of struggles and anxious moments? Who hurt the most when we fail and suffer setbacks? If our parents can feel these emotions with us, then what do we believe about God, our Father?
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15: 9-11)
Ultimate joy . . . It is what God desires for each of us. Yet we must seek Him as well to realize this joy! Try God today. Call out to Him!

Monday, January 7, 2019

The bigger the challenge, the BIGGER our God!

. . . casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.                      (1 Peter 5:7-10)
Young and old alike, we all have concerns about life; finances, health, relationships, education plans, job changes. It is perfectly normal to be concerned, yet as believers in Christ Jesus, we are to be confident that He knows as well and He will work out what is best as we trust and follow Him.

God has a plan for everyone and every situation.  As we walk with Him daily, we increase our confidence in Him, not this world. We learn to live in the Spirit, not in the world!

The bigger the challenge, the BIGGER our God!

I may not be pleasing people

The fear of the  Lord   leads  to life, And  he who has it  will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil.              (P...