Wednesday, October 31, 2007

10 31 07 One Another’s II The Whole Body Aches


“Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member; so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.”
(1 Corinthians 12:24-26 NET)


I don’t have to remind anyone of the last flu bug they battled: headache, back ache, joint pain, chest pain, THE WHOLE BODY ACHED! How good it feels to be relieved of that pain as well, when the entire body can finally rest! What a great metaphor as to the suffering we go through as a body of believers!

Some members are weaker than the others, like within our bodies. They need more attention. Some of us suffer from arthritis in certain parts of our body (knees, shoulders, ankles or wrists). We pay more attention to those areas with hot ointments, cold ice packs, or even a pain reducing medication of some sort. The point is, we make an almost daily attempt to ease the pain of that part of the body, or it can hinder the entire day’s work. If we as a Body of Christ ignore the heartaches within our congregations, choose not to seek out the families struggling to stay together, or rely upon the government to care for victims of natural disasters, economic upheavals, or chronic illnesses and disease, then eventually we as a Body will suffer and our work for Christ will be hindered! THE WHOLE BODY SHOULD ACHE when people within our sphere of influence are hurting!

Just as we celebrate when we experience success, we need to rally around those in need. We need to feel the pain of brothers and sisters in Africa as they die of genocide, are murdered tribal wars and suffer malnutrition as a result of drought and negligence. We need to come to the aid of believers in India caring for orphaned children. We need to assist the Body everywhere as we hear of a need and supply those working there with needed material and needed intercessory prayers. Most importantly, we need to personally care for those in our own neighborhoods, in our own church house, which we know are suffering, yet we give a casual and uncaring “I’ll pray for you”. THE WHOLE BODY ACHES when we know of suffering and ignore it! Imagine going a day or a week with the pain of a broken limb and not seeing a doctor, not having any pain medication, no support of a bandage or wrap! Ouch!

The pain we’re suffering within the Body can be easily lessened if we would only take it personally! As we individually take it upon ourselves to care as much as we can when we see and hear of suffering, we can feel the fever go down, the inflammation cease, and the throbbing pain subside. We can rest in His peace, knowing we’ve done all we can to support the family members and even those outside the camp. We have stopped the bleeding, cared for the wounds, and begun to heal any scarring; and we have honored our Father! So the next time we see or feel an ACHE IN THE BODY lets be sure to care for it before it gets more serious than necessary! Let’s not wait to be told to do so, let’s do what we can do now!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 30-07 One Anothers…… (Part I)
“For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another.” (Romans 12:4-5)

In a world of me first and the selfish humanistic philosophy, Paul reminds us of our responsibility to others. Here in Romans, he uses the metaphor of the body to portray the humble way we must live in relationship to the Body of Christ. We all have specific gifts and talents to offer and if we withhold them for selfish use, everyone suffers! No matter our income level, whether we hold a degree or not, the neighborhood we live in, or the car we drive, we ALL have a valuable and vital contribution to make to the community of believers. If we refuse to contribute, there is a void. If we are not allowed to contribute, there is just as much, if not a greater void! God has designed every believer to fit in his particular niche within the church. It is up to us to decide to participate and to make everyone feel valuable.

In addition, we are to take our gifts and talents and share with the world as well, thereby meeting the needs of people and reflecting the compassion, grace, and love Christ exhibited while He lived among us. Jesus met needs as He told others about the Father’s love. He showed that love by way of the wedding feast miracle, feeding more than five thousand people at on sitting, giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, enabling the lame to walk, raising the dead back to life, and washing the feet of His disciples. He put others needs above His own, showing us all how to love and serve ONE ANOTHER.


So here are some questions to ponder: What are we doing with our gifts, abilities, and resources? Are we taking care of number one (me) or obeying Number One (God) and putting others first? As a Body, are we encouraging and accepting everyone to be an active part of His Body? We are not our own, but we belong to Christ and ONE ANOTHER! The main reason people don’t know about Christ is because they can’t see Him. His hands aren’t healing, His words aren’t teaching, and His love is not reaching because we, the Body, are not living as one another, but as individuals.

Everything we possess, be it money, vehicles, clothing, homes, .education, talents, even our time……it is for ONE ANOTHER! Glory to God!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

10 29 07 JOY IN THE MIDST OF SORROW

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4 NKJV)

When we face a time a time of loss, whether it’s a physical loss from a natural disaster, being robbed or having a car stolen, having a loved one pass away, or even a loss of a pet, or a child moving away from home, at times we have no idea how to react: both as the one experiencing the loss and the one’s trying to comfort them.

In this day and age of being a man or a strong woman, we forget that God says it’s a blessing to mourn! We need to grieve over our losses, even the smallest of disappointments can lead to bigger issues if try to keep everything bottled up. The Lord blessed us with emotions to help us cope with this world! Let me share this idea from Jon Walker of Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotion:
Your joy comes from God, not your circumstances – There’s absolutely no correlation in life between your circumstances and your joy. None whatsoever! Joy comes from within. It is based on who you trust not what you see or feel. When you give your grief to God, he is faithful to comfort you (Matthew 5:4).
Focus on what you have – When you experience disaster, focus on what you still have, not on what’s lost. Tell God you’re thankful for what you still have. Make a list of all the good things in your life. Personally, I find it is impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time.1
Check out the Message version of Matthew 5:4:


“You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

When we lose a loved one, suffer through a tragic natural disaster, or the loss of a friendship, in the grieving process we assess our relationship to the Lord and realize what we have in Him is far better than anything we have in the world……even our families! God must be our best friend, our closest relationship, and our most precious possession. Nothing can separate from His love; no death, no disaster, no devastation of any kind! If we know Christ, we have all we need to cope.

As we trust Him, then we can trust those He places in out path to assist us. We need others around us. We must allow others to give from their hearts and as they minister to us, we feel more of His love through others. Those helping in turn feel the joy of giving back! It’s a process of allowing His grace to flow from His heart to ours in a variety of ways.

So go ahead and grieve the loss. Mourn the tragedy. Allow the grace of God and the strength of knowing Him bring joy to you heart through His comfort and the love of others he guides to you. We are not rocks on an island. We are relational people. Allow the Lord to work within His Body to bring joy……His JOY IN THE MIDST OF SORROW.

1 Jon Walker, PurposeDrivenLife.com, a division of Purpose Driven Ministries, 1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630

Friday, October 26, 2007

10 26 07 Rejoice Boldly!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
and his loyal love endures! Let those delivered by the LORD speak out,
those whom he delivered from the power of the enemy……”
(Psalm 107:1-2 NET)


Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! If we who have been forgiven are quiet, how will anyone ever know His goodness, His mercy, and His redemption? We have a peculiar song to sing . No matter what others may have to say abut God, good or bad, those of us who know Him personally can in no way justify keeping it to ourselves.

There is nothing politically correct about salvation! It is what it is. You believe it or you don’t. But a believer cannot be quiet about it! We must REJOICE BOLDLY, even loudly at times. Why not celebrate it every day! It costs Jesus His life and as a result, we have new life in Him.

I am not saying that everyone has to jump up and down and say “hallelujah” every time they hear the name of Jesus, but it would be nice to be able to express in words our true joy and thanksgiving when we have the opportunity. Everyone has a story to tell; whether we have any Scripture memorized or not (though we should). Everyone has an experience to share, whether it was earth shattering or a simple late evening revelation. Every believer has a reason to REJOICE BOLDLY because of what Christ did upon the cross and I believe every non-believer needs a chance to hear it! How will they ever know there is a way out of present trials and tribulations; a way of forgiveness and grace; a Creator God who loves them personally and wants them for Himself for eternity; if we don’t let them know? REJOICE BOLDLY! If God cared enough to rescue me, than anyone else deserves to know He is reaching out to them as well. I want to say it loud enough for ALL to hear:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

God desires for everyone to be saved from eternal hell. Hell was made for the devil and his fallen angels. Unfortunately some people will choose to go to hell and not accept God’s offer of salvation. I don’t want that to be on my watch! Choose Christ today, while it still is today! And REJOICE BOLDLY if you already have done so!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 25 07 A Clear Voice
“Completely baffled, they said, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language?” (Acts 2:7-8)

At a time when so many were gathered in one area, so much being said, so much activity going on, each person, whether from Greece, Ethiopia, Egypt, or Rome, heard the voices IN A CLEAR VOICE……in his very own known language and dialect. It wasn’t a garbled voice, one they had to pick out from a crowd or have interpreted as at the United Nations. It was clear and understandable!

It was just past the time of the Passover (50 days later) and coming upon Pentecost. The third hour was the time of Morning Prayer, the Jews were still fasting, so it is very doubtful anyone was drunk. They heard clearly what was being said and those speaking! It was A CLEAR VOICE coming from the mouths of many, but very specific and very direct. It got the peoples’ attention! Then Peter began to speak and explain the Gospel in a way everyone apparently received IN A CLEAR VOICE as well! Thousands responded in repentance, receiving the Holy Spirit and followed by baptism into the Body of Christ. They heard, they understood, they responded in belief and they obeyed. Oh yeah, then they were one!

There is no better day than today to respond to the call of the Gospel, for the first time or as a time of renewal. We hear His words resonating loud and clear in every language, on the radio, on TV, everywhere we go. Though we hear and even understand what we hear, we do not always immediately respond and obey. We put it off: maybe tomorrow; when I have some time; when I get through school; when I am ready. What does that mean anyway? Here’s a question: who’s ready to go to hell for an eternity? Or another one: who’s ready to face God’s disappointment for ignoring His direction?

If you have not yet decided to answer God’s clear call to repentance, time is running out. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone; just listen to the news today! If you have been born-again and received His Spirit of reconciliation and the promise of eternity, what are you doing with His plans for you? Hear, understand, respond, and obey: it was a plan for the early church and it made them one.

There is A CLEAR VOICE calling our today: from the heavens, from the churches, from evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and Sunday School teachers, from the Word of God: repent and be baptized; then continue in the doctrine, fellowship, and praying with one another (Acts 2:42-47). Many we leave out the last part, concerning our fellowship, and we do not grow. We so desperately need to be one, in Spirit, in fellowship, in doctrine, and in A CLEAR VOICE shutting out to a dying and hurting world: Repent and be baptized!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10 24 07 Higher Than Any Other Name

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name……”
(Philippians 2:9)


God not only exalted Jesus because of His humble obedience to His will and subsequent death on the cross, but He highly exalted Him……hyper-exalted……a word only used for the name of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t simply exalted (upsao), but highly (huper) exalted (hyper-exalted). Many times in the Bible the word “upsao” is used to express one being lifted up or exalted (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6), but here in Philippians it is used for Jesus as God exalts the Son so that at the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth (even under the earth) and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!

So now that we know Jesus for ourselves and we know all He does for us as individuals and as a Body, what do we do with His name? Do we hyper-exalt Him in the words we speak, in the things we do, and in the places we go? Do we take on the mind-set of Christ and therefore represent Him well in our world? Or do we drag His name and reputation through the mud with our words, thoughts, and actions?

Do others see our work and desire to know the God we know; to glorify Him and praise Him, to join us in hyper-exalting His name? Do we hold His name HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER NAME? Jesus is no ordinary person and what He did for all mankind can never be matched at any time in His-story. One day everyone will bow to His sovereignty and acknowledge His Lordship. As believers, we need to be doing this minute by minute.

If our Savior humbled Himself to be obedient to the Father’s will, why do you and I continue to fight His will for us? I don’t know about you, but I find myself on the throne way too much! Better than any plans I can make; greater than any applause I receive on earth, HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER NAME I know……Jesus is my Lord and Savior……my God and Father!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

10 23 07 No Excuse
“Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose.” (Philippians 2”1-2)

Paul leaves the believer with NO EXCUSE! If (since) we are in Christ, we have His comfort and protection. We have His peace (solace). We have His koinonia (fellowship) with God and man in the Spirit. We have His compassion and tenderheartedness. If represents an assumed reality. So since we possess all these things when we become a believer, we have NO EXCUSE not to act like Christ, or have the same mind, be like-minded.

Since we have all these spiritual blessings in Christ, we CAN have the same love, or unity of purpose. We can love the same things. We are able to be of one accord, having a unity of soul and spirit. We can be of one mind, having the same unity of purpose within the Body of Christ, even within our individual families!

Christ, being God, still lived the things He taught. We have NO EXCUSE! We are not to mimic Christ, as mere puppets, but to have the mind-set of Christ, doing things as He would do them and being motivated by the things that He would be motivated by. It’s a mind and a heart for the Father’s will to be done, not my will! Yes we are mere humans, and uniquely individual at that, but with the mind-set of Christ, we can be one mind, one love, one spirit, and one purpose: ONE BODY!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

10 22 07 From Where God Found Us

“……for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:5-6)

Humble beginnings…..

Here is what the first members of the Philippian church looked like: a girl having an evil spirit removed; a Roman jail guard and his family; and a wealthy business woman named Lydia (Acts 16 account). This was not a group one would pick to start a church. It was however, the founders hand-picked by God!

As we read through the Bible, we find in Philippians 1:1 that the church has elders, bishops, and many members (all the saints). This was just ten years later! Paul further praised them for their love, support, and the sweet fellowship they had there. It seemed to be Paul’s favorite church!

Where are we as individuals and even as a church today? How have we matured FROM WHERE GOD FOUND US? Are we growing in our fellowship, our love, our support, our Christ-mindedness? Do we have the same love and same way of thinking? Are we in one accord and of one mind? Are we doing things for our glory or to build up others and bring honor to Christ? Are we putting others first over our desires? Is this mind in us that was in Christ? (Philippians 2:2-5)

No matter what state we were in FROM WHERE GOD FOUND US, we have no excuse not to be growing. God can use anyone from any background to do anything if we allow Him the freedom in our life to work. We can stunt our own spiritual growth however by continuing to follow our flesh, refusing to trust God, and listening to the lies of Satan and those in this earthly realm of his. Are we willing to give God freedom to finish the work He began in us at the day He entered into our hearts? My prayer is that others will say about us the things Paul said about the Philippian church: thank God for our fellowship in the Gospel from the first day (when we were redeemed) until now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

10 19 07 In the Beginning V
(The End)

“I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the message, be ready whether it is convenient or not, reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience and instruction……You, however, be self-controlled in all things, endure hardship, do an evangelist’s work, fulfill your ministry……” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

I try to live as this is the last day of my life, at least from the start anyway. Like most human beings who are still breathing and have responsibilities, I get side tracked by “life”. However, I try to stay focused and remember that what I am doing needs to be beneficial to the people around me and most importantly approving to God. You see, I like to think of this portion of my life as THE BEGINNING, and the next stage (in glory) as the rest of the story. So therefore, this life, every day of it, is actually THE END of THE BEGINNING!

As Paul instructs Timothy near the end of his life, he instructs us as well: carry out our God-given tasks for the glory of God and not man; whether popular or not; with grace and patience; willing to endure some difficulties; doing our part in the Body. It is God to whom we are held accountable and it is God who will judge our works! It is Him we seek to please and Him alone.

“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day – and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Many of us receive disappointments in life. People do not live up to our expectations. We get turned down for a job or a position we desire. We’re not always happy with what goes on around us, whether it’s at home, at work, even at church. Wherever there are people, there will be problems, disappointments, and even pain and hurt. But that’s only THE BEGINNING…… THE END is coming when we really begin to experience life……with Jesus!

We have to keep focused on the finish line; the final bell; the crown of righteousness given to all who long for and love the thought of the Lord’s return! Dow we really mean it as we pray, “Your Kingdom come”? Do we long for the Lord’s return? It surely helps us stay motivated to please Him as we end this life day by day.

“The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever! Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)

We need to beg the Lord for His grace to live every day as this was the last day; THE END OF OUR BEGINNING.

Let’s encourage one another to finish well! Today may be the Day! Maranatha!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

10 19 07 In the Beginning IV
(Fresh Beginning)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (spiritual) service.”
(Romans 12:1)


Paul has loaded the Roman believers with much doctrine and now is tying it all together in a practical sense. How do we apply all this to our personal everyday life? It starts with a fresh beginning IN THE BEGINNING of every day!

Logikos, the Greek word for agreeable to reason, following reason, reasonable, and logical is used here by Paul is speaking with the Romans concerning their “reasonable service”; their everyday actions concerning their walk with the Lord. It comes from the original logos, pertaining to words, speech and even the moral precepts of God. To those of us who have received God’s bountiful mercies, even as we wake up every morning (or even in the middle of the night) we should remember the most reasonable and practical thing we can give to God in return is ourselves! Remember now, the Greeks were the philosophers, the logical ones, the reasonable thinkers and such! They had to relate to this message. Do we?

With all the knowledge we have obtained, we tend to think too much as the empirical scientists and prove everything. If we can’t prove it, it doesn’t make sense. We must be careful. Faith must be at the center of our thoughts and plans. We can do so much and have such great plans, but without the Lord’s intervention, most plans go for naught. We need to offer everything……even ourselves to God for His use; and then let Him have His way! We don’t own these bodies. We’re simply clay in His hands; no good to anyone left to ourselves, out of His hands!

Our first action of the day; before a project; before a trip; before anything we do is to give ourselves and our plans to Him. IN THE BEGINNING of each day we need Him. At times we need a FRESH BEGINNING in the middle of the day! We may even need to BEGIN all over again as we come home for the evening. No matter the time of day, it is reasonable and logical to begin with Christ and give everything to Him for His use!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

10 17 07 In the Beginning III
(Wrestling Matches)

“‘No longer will your name be Jacob,’ the man told him, ‘but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have prevailed.’” (Genesis 32:28 NET)

In a sense, we all come face-to-face with God at points in our lives. We wrestle (yaboq in Hebrew) with God concerning our plans and His will for us. We struggle with Him concerning our family. We even get angry at times as we don’t understand the whys and wherefores of life. Prayerfully, we all decide God’s will over ours as we wrestle with those situations!

I have heard it said that we should never trust a man without a limp. Jacob received a life-long limp as the Lord touched his hip in their battle. (All the Jews remember the struggle as well, as they refuse to eat the tendon from the hip socket.) Jacob’s name was changed from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel: (God’s fighter). He had a new BEGINNING!

As we struggle with God, He does not desire to change how He has made us, but how we use the personality He has given us. Israel was a fighter, but for all the wrong reasons. God would use his energy to fight His battles and the battles of the people Israel.

As we go through the WRESTLING MATCHES of our life, may we all realize who we are fighting against and who we are fighting for! God is on our side, not against us! The more we know of His character and will, the more we line up with it. It’s ok to struggle, but struggle well and allow God to give us a limp if need be. If nothing else, it will remind us Whose we are!!!! WRESTLING MATCHES with God and for God is better than wrestling against Him. That match we’ll never win. God is still God.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 16 07 In the Beginning III
(A New Beginning)

“Where were you
when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding. Who set its measurements – if you know –or who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone –” (Job 38:4-6)


No matter whom we are, how wise we are, or what our reputation may be, at times we all need a little conversation with the Lord to remind us of our beginnings and Who was there! At times we get a little too comfortable with ourselves, thinking we have it all together, and we begin to blame God and everyone for things that go wrong, or even the simple misfortunes. We forget we are sinners, living among sinners, living in a sin-damaged world. We come face to face with Holy God (spiritually speaking) and as Job found out, all we can do is listen and be humbled! God has to bring us back to His reality at times. We all need A NEW BEGINNING from time to time. We must brace ourselves indeed!

Jesus answered, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things?’” (John 3:10)

Again, here in John this time, a respected leader of the society is at a crossroads with the Lord. This time Jesus addresses Nicodemus; a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law, a member of the Jewish ruling counsel (the Sanhedrin) and a moral, religious man. Though he knew of God and about God and all His attributes and all He had done, he did not really know God! He had one of those face to face encounters and faced with A NEW BEGINNING.

Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must all be born from above’.” (John 3:5-7)

Here’s the reality we al face today: though we may not come face to face with God in direct conversation (like Job) or converse with Jesus as Nicodemus did, we all have an initial decision to make. Are we born-again? Have we confessed our sinful nature before God, accepted the blood sacrifice of the Savior on the cross to wipe away our sin and allowed the Spirit of God into our hearts to change us? To truly know God, we must be washed clean and Spirit –filled! It takes A NEW BEGINNING!

Though we are once forgiven, once saved, once given the Holy Spirit of God, at times we all need to revisit the NEW BEGINNING. We won’t see the Lord until the day we are called home, but we will experience Him often in life. We’ll feel His embrace in a summer breeze. We’ll sense His power in the waves of the ocean. We’ll observe His splendor in a sunset. We receive His grace as we accept His forgiveness. All this comes as we seek His face daily. The more we run from God, the more we risk an encounter with Him (like Job and Nicodemus)!

Here’s some good and Godly advice we all need to follow daily: Never think too highly of ourselves. Keep others’ needs above our personal wishes. Always put God’s will first. Spiritually speaking, it’s good to have A NEW BEGINNING every morning!

Monday, October 15, 2007

10 15 07 In the Beginning II
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

He spoke things into existence. “God said….”

He must be IN THE BEGINNING of all our thoughts, our activities, our future plans. We must also believe He has always been, is always here today, and will be there in the end and beyond as well. We must go back to IN THE BEGINNING at times to regain our focus and to bring others to an elementary understanding of the Gospel. It’s the basic building block of our faith. Since THE beginning, way before my beginning, God was!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

Oh yes, THE WORD was there too! The Word was and is Jesus. He is the spoken Word of God who became flesh to sacrifice Himself upon the cross and overcome death and the grave for our sin, so that we might once again enjoy a full relationship with God the Father.

“God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)


“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)

THE SPIRIT of God was IN THE BEGINNING too; it says that in Genesis as well. Jesus gives His Spirit to each and every believer the moment we are born-again, into eternal life with God the Father through Jesus, His Son. Remember, no one can come to the Father but through Christ!

Jesus is the difference. He separates Christianity from all the other belief systems and cults of the world. If the Bible is true, than Jesus is the difference; IN THE BEGINNING, now, and in the end! Yeah, THE WORD comes as a roaring lion, the Lord of the Armies to accomplish the Father’s will in the end.

“He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’” (Revelation 19:13-16)

Jesus is THE WORD. He is THE LORD. He is THE KING. He is GOD! This has to be the primary motivation is our lives as believers. Before we do anything, IN THE BEGINNING of all things we consider, we must consider Jesus. What would He have us do? What would He think of our plans? What would He have us say?

Friday, October 12, 2007

10 12 07 Generous or Greedy

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed;” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)


Covetousness is the illicit desire to have what belongs to another. Generosity is the godly desire for others in need to have what I possess. One cannot be covetous and generous at the same time. And so Paul turns our attention to those guiding principles concerning generosity which counter covetousness in the closing verses of chapter 9.
The first governing principle of sowing and reaping can be stated very simply: The way you sow is the way you reap. There is a sense in which we should “give away” our excess material possessions to the poor and expect nothing from them in return. It is also true that when we do so, we know we will be rewarded by our Lord for our generosity in heaven:


God loves cheerful or a hilarious (hilaros) giver. A cheerful giver gives willingly on time. He doesn’t wait until he has extra or delay due to circumstance. He gives as promised and trusts the Lord to do His part. GENEROUS giving is a matter of faith. The faithful one gives as he is required, as promised, or when a need arises. The one who would rather hold on to what is actually God’s, the GREEDY giver (giving less than promised or required) is therefore demonstrating a lack of faith!

How do we give? How to we take? Checked the ledgers in the checking account or debit card lately? Who is getting His money? Yeah that’s right, HIS MONEY! The more we believe it’s ours the less we’ll have to use. Money is simply a tool of life. We use it to eat, keep a home, drive a car, and spread the Gospel. God provides for us as we are faithful to Him. Does He not give us more than enough? In God we trust or in money we trust…? Trust ME or just me…? Are we robbing God and depriving those in need?

GENEROUS or GREEDY; which word describes how we invest our Master’s resources?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

10 11 07 Knowledge vs. Wisdom: Wise Men

“Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
because this is the whole duty of man.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:13)


The Preacher, David’s son Solomon gives us one final conclusion on life: After all has been heard in the book, his conclusion is that the whole duty of man is to obey God because God will bring all acts into judgment, including all that is hidden, whether good or bad. As we age, reality sets in. We realize a lot of what we did as a youth was worthless and simply a waste of time. We want to make something of our life as we mature and begin to think about leaving a legacy.

Some see a legacy as a large retirement account. Some want to be sure their children and grandchildren have money, real estate, or some sort of endowment to tap into as they grow. The Preacher tells us here that the most basic thing we can do in life is to fear God and obey Him. I pray that is what others, especially my wife, children, and grandchildren will say about me! I want that to be my legacy. If I leave mo money, no homes, or no investments behind, at least I can leave a legacy of integrity and honor to the Creator and Master.

Knowledge is defined (Oxford English Dictionary) variously as facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education. Wisdom, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as the accumulated philosophic or scientific learning-knowledge. Solomon was wise. We can have all the knowledge (facts and information) in the world, but without the wisdom of how to apply it, we are lost. Many of us have so much knowledge, so much talent, and so much education, but it goes untapped. Having all the wisdom God had granted Him, Solomon still concluded that knowing God, honoring Him, and obeying Him was the smartest thing to do in life! He learned this the hard way, after hundreds of wives, millions of dollars in investment deals, and eventually a loss of Godly character. In his heart, as he grew older, he realized the basic duty of all men: “fear God and keep His commandments”.

Let’s learn from the wise man. Let’s not waste years and years of labor for nothing. Gold and silver will rust. Homes can be destroyed in an instant. Real estate is dependent upon the banks. Bank accounts can go belly up. The stock market is a bad week away from crashing. Vacations last a week or two. Our families are with us every day, but even those years are fading daily. So what are we doing with all the knowledge we have accrued? Are we being wise, investing in things for eternity, leaving a Godly legacy behind for generations to come? What conclusion will others reach when they examine our lives? Did we fear God? Did we keep His commandments? Were we WISE MEN (and women)?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

10 10 07 Blessed to Bless Others

“Dear friend, you demonstrate faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers (even though they are strangers). They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone forth on behalf of “The Name,” accepting nothing from the pagans. Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we become coworkers in cooperation with the truth.” (3 John 1:5-8 NET)


John gives clear instruction in his epistle to Gaius and others at this church to support the travelling missionaries in whatever way they can. He also applauds Gaius for his actions of hospitality and support, as he has a testimony from others to what he has done. We too then are encouraged and challenged to support the work of the missionary and other Christian workers as we become co-workers with the Truth of the Gospel


“She extends her hand to the poor, yes; she reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20 NET)

The woman Solomon describes here in Proverbs not only describes a godly woman, but my wife in particular. Tamara has taught me through her sacrificial attitude of giving to give from what we have, even though it may be the last of what we have. She realizes (and I have come to realize through her) that we are BLESSED TO BLESS OTHERS, not just to enjoy the blessing. As in the parallel expressions in Proverbs 31:20, underscored is her care for the needy. The first part uses “she spreads her palm” and the second “she thrusts out her hand,” repeating some of the vocabulary introduced in the last verse. It’s not simply a giving of a small gift, but the opening of her palms and full extension of her arms. To me this demonstrates an attitude of what I have is yours; come in and rest, take what you need!


Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” (Proverbs 31:28 NET)

I know our children are so very grateful for all Tamara has done to provide for them. They may not realize it just yet. I, however, realize day after day the blessing I have in my bride! She is not just the beauty of our family, but the brains and backbone of our life’s work for the Lord as well. She is my encourager, my shoulder, my love, my heart, and my best and closest friend. She makes up for many of my shortcomings much like a touch-up artist does for a painting or photo. What you see is a result of the Lord’s and my wife’s work on and in me! She has been BLESSED by God and teaches all of us TO BLESS OTHERS in return!

Like Gaius, her testimony goes before her and speaks well of her partnership in the spreading of the Gospel. Though not gifted in evangelism, she spreads the Gospel through hospitality, administration, and faith! Whether it’s a visiting ministry from New Orleans, a fellow mission worker from New Hampshire, college students from Connecticut, a mission Pastor from St.Vincent, or and infant or child in need she opens her home. If someone needs help organizing business papers, food for the family, or clothing or school supplies for the kids, Tamara is there to assist. My wife is co-worker in the Truth indeed! She is BLESSED TO BLESS OTHERS. I am truly blessed and humbled to be her husband, friend, partner in ministry and lifelong soul-mate in marriage. Bless God for how He has allowed His blessings to cover me!

Monday, October 8, 2007

10-09-07 Not As Dangerous as it Looks

“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)

We face an unknown world nearly every day. What will today bring? What circumstances will I face? What challenges will I meet? How will I handle all the tests? Many times, things aren’t as bad as they seem, if we would only trust God at His word.

The disciples faced much uncertainty as they faced the probability of life without Jesus. Where was He to go? Why and how would He die? Who will possibly betray our Jesus? Even Peter, the bold one, had been rebuked buy Jesus! What next? Jesus attempted to calm His followers by saying the very simple: If you believe in God then believe in Me.

Imagine the emotions early discoverers had as they ventured out to unknown lands, unchartered waters, and places they weren’t sure even existed! Dark waters, raging storms, even shipwreck at times, yet they persevered and pressed onward! Many times, dangers of the unknown seem more dangerous because they are unknown! With Jesus however, we know we have victories already won, so our dangers are really not what they seem to be! It is NOT AS DANGEROUS AS IT LOOKS!

God has set things out from Genesis 1. World history, geology, astrology, physics…all explained in His Word. Creation of mankind, the making of heavenly bodies, the fossil record and how the remains made their way over the entire earth, mountain formations, the seasons, etc. God was there from the foundation of the world and His Word is still the foundation we must stand upon for answers.

So don’t be troubled. If we believe in the God of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, then we have the confidence to face tomorrow, and answer the questions of today! Oh what we can discover in the Bible. It not only proves history, it is HIStory! The world is NOT AS DANGEROUS AS IT LOOKS and neither is our circumstance. Believe in God, believe also in Me; Jesus want to help…….trust Him!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

10 05 07 Prepared to Stand?

"Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NET)


At the National Mall on October 6, 2007, men from all over the nation (if not the world) will once again gather to commemorate an event held 10 years ago in the exact location. I remember 10 years ago, because I had to stay home from Washington, DC and watch on TV, and care for my bride who had become ill. I had a real challenge that day, whether to stand in public or stand for my marriage and my love and commitment to my wife. Needless to say, I took my stand as God would have me do in the home, at my wife’s side.

Lord willing, I’ll be in DC Saturday with several brothers from my church and a few thousand of my brothers from all around the globe and from various denominations with various hues of skin color and various preferences of worship and prayer. All this variety, yet ONE God, ONE Spirit, ONE faith! What a joyous sight and experience it will be!

As we will Stand in the Gap for men and families everywhere, pleading with God to forgive us, heal us, and strengthen us; I can’t help but wonder how far we’ve come in 10 years. I know I have grown in many areas, yet I can easily count the times I have failed my wife, neglected my duties as a father, and sold myself and my church short by not doing all I could have done. I know I have disappointed my DADDY many times, but He is still faithful to me! As a Nation, we have definitely taken the downward slope!

My challenge personally is to rededicate myself to be more PREPARED TO STAND when my wife needs me, when my children and grandchildren need me, and when my church needs me. I desire to be prepared to say “Here I am Lord, use me” when He ask “who is willing to ‘stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land’ (Ezekiel 22:30)”

But to do that, I need to be a clean vessel, lifting holy hands before a holy God day by day. It doesn’t happen overnight. It requires determination, discipline, and dependency upon God’s Spirit and a few other grounded believers.

Our families need us to STAND. Our pastors and churches need us to STAND. Our Nation needs us to STAND. God asks us to STAND! Are we PREPARED TO STAND and carry out our assigned duties?
10 04 07 Not the Old Way, but the Bold Way

“When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem.
Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously.
Then those officials who had gone to the king came by collusion
and found Daniel praying and asking for help before his God.”
(Daniel 6:10-11 NET)


Most of you who know me well, know I am prone to do the unusual, the non-typical, the rather risky things in life. I am not very fond of the politically correct way and my wife needs to constantly remind me of when it is appropriate to stay in line, in protocol. Put me in a suit and in a formal program and I get really nervous. I am most comfortable out in the elements, in sweat pants and a t-shirt, rubbing shoulders and working in the trenches.

I guess the Lord just wired me this way and with the gifts He’s given me and the experiences He has allowed in my life, I prefer the bold rather than the old! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy lengthy and animated sermons that are straight from the Word of God. I need strong disciplined discipleship. I cherish the old-fashioned family times and Holyday get-togethers and traditions.

But I also appreciate the modern ways of teaching the believers, reaching the lost, if it is biblical! Many modern preachers and so-called teachers are just motivational speakers who make us feel good about ourselves and God and they get rewarded financially for doing just that! However, there are also some very biblically sound rap artists, poets, and new-style preachers who are right-on (oops, that’s an old saying!)

What I am saying here is that like Daniel and his friends, we need to first be grounded in the Word, so when we are faced with new challenges, we can be bold for Christ. Daniel didn’t flinch when faced with a new and challenging situation. We can’t rely upon tradition (our mamma or grandma’s ways) or modern-day peer pressure to keep us from an intimate relationship with our Father or sharing Him with others. We need to follow the Spirit’s timing and the time-tested Truth of the Word.

Door-to-door evangelism is not as effective as it once was, for many reasons, but it still might work at the right time. Old-time revivals may be played out, but we do need to be revived as a church body at times today. Home Bible Study and family time is a topic we run and hide from today due to horrible experiences, yet our families need this basic building block to foster unity, self-worth, and mutual respect. What worked for me may not work for the 11-year-old kids on the playground that I pass by every day. I understood the way I dress reflects upon my family and my God, but today a teen will ask, “How do my clothes or my music effect you? Where does it say that in the Bible?”

On top of these issues, we have the government, our employers, and even our schools saying we can’t speak concerning God or the Bible. This is where boldness comes in. We have to seek the Lord to not only guide us as to when to act, but even how to act. “Do I need a new approach? How can I combine some old trusted methods with new, bold and unique messages? How can I be biblical if the Bible is rejected? Do I have to risk breaking the rules?”

No doubt the apostles faced these decisions just after Christ went back to heaven. When questioned by the Sanhedrin concerning their public teaching of Christ, we read the following concerning Peter and the apostles:

“But Peter and the apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than people’”.
(Acts 5:29 NET)


Here is the bottom line: We need to obey God and follow His lead. His way has never been THE OLD WAY, but always THE BOLD WAY!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

10 03 07 The Protection of His Peace

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Yes, the peace of God; knowing I am His child and He is my Father, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Rock, my Fortress, my Friend and my God.

When I am rejected, He sticks closer than a brother. When others abandon me, He will never leave me nor forsake me. When the load is too heavy to bear, He asks me to lay my burdens at the cross and allow Him to shoulder the weight. When I am down-trodden from the weight of guilt and failure, His Cross looms every so large in my vision, as He says “Forgiven”. When the work seems hard and fruitless, he tells me to come to Him and He’ll give me rest. When others call me crazy and foolish for following my God, He reassures me that His ways are not man’s ways. Even if I am faced with death, I can rest assured that there is nothing man can do to me, He who is within me is greater than any foe I may face, and He goes through the dark and shadowy valleys with me. There is calmness even in the roughest storms, because He is right there in the midst of it all with me!

If you lived in a frontier town constantly harassed by raiding parties from an enemy, one option for your military would be to send troops to actually live beside you. These troops would be ‘garrisoned’ to your town, and their presence would not only provide protection during an attack; they, hopefully, would dissuade the enemy from even launching any more attacks. This is the implication of Paul’s language in this passage; that the peace of God will be garrisoned within your heart and mind, providing an ever-present protection from within as opposed to the need to stressfully search the horizon for the Calvary to arrive just in the nick of time.*

THE PROTECTION OF HIS PEACE goes beyond any alarm system, weapon, or military presence. Even in death, there is victory. What other peace can guarantee that? No cease-fire, no peace treaty, no handshake brings that much assurance.

THE PROTECTION OF HIS PEACE brings along the entire arsenal of the Lord of Hosts, the Commander of all the forces of Almighty God, the Creator of all that is and was and will be. What more could we ask for?

We need not look any further than our hearts. If we know Him, we know peace. If we don’t know Him there will be no peace.

As the line in the movie once said, “who you gonna’ call?”


* Jon Walker, The Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional, October 3, 2007, PurposeDrivenLife.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10 02 07 No One to Show the Way?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
and run with endurance the race set out for us….”
(Hebrews 12:1 NET)


Check out THE MESSAGE version: “Do you see what this means--all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running--and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.” This is pretty straight forward, isn’t it?

The word witness, or martus, (Greek) refers to those who after his example have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death. We get the word martyr today. While many of us may say we have never really had someone around to set the proper Christian example for us, today we are really without excuse. Once saved, even before in many cases, we have seen and experienced a relative, a friend, a neighbor, or someone who lives out the Bible in its true sense, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The problem is we have labeled them weird or, crazy, or politically incorrect and decided we just can’t live that way! You know what; that example just may be our Mom or even our Dad, yet we just don’t want to follow their example. We say, “We had NO ONE TO SHOW THE WAY!”

Paul went through a list of previous saints who had gone as far as given their lives for the cause of Christ. They weren’t looking for friends or a promotion. They weren’t pressured by a new law set forth by local governments. They weren’t afraid to say “Yes” when God said “Go”! They weren’t waiting for someone else to start a small group or organize a mission trip. Read Hebrews 11: are there enough witnesses, examples there for us to follow? “That was then”, we might say. Well, what makes then different than today? Was there not more pressure on the saints of old? Did they not face more adversity than we do today? Are we not close to the Lord’s return in 2007 than they were in AD 60-70? Still NO ONE TO SHOW THE WAY?

I believe we need to stop searching for excuses as to why we aren’t doing what God requires of us and start doing it! It’s not Mom’s fault, Dad’s fault or even our job that is holding us back. It’s our selfishness and lack of faith. I only know of one thing that can quicken us to follow Christ more closely: we must repent and do just that, follow Him!

How?

“…keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:2 NET)

More than all the examples we have ignored along the way, He is THE ONE TO SHOW THE WAY!

Monday, October 1, 2007

10 01 07 Living Faith

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
(Ephesians 2:8 NIV)


Faith, or pistis, in Greek, refers to a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God; an assurance, belief, fidelity; from peitho (Greek) to listen to, obey, yield to, and comply with.

Martin Luther argued that it was faith alone (sola fide) that saved a man from his sin, based upon the Holy Scriptures. Salvation did not come from an organized denomination, an elected (or non-elected) official, or a certain price one could pay. In his day, this started a revolution, or should I say Reformation.

In fact, Luther stressed the following: Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone; Solus Christus - Christ Alone; Sola Gratia - Grace Alone; Sola Fide - Faith Alone; Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone.

He left no doubt as to his point of view concerning faith in Christ. Luther was not ashamed to let others know where he stood. In fact he posted them on the church doors form all to see and since the early form of the printing press had just been put into use in Germany, he was able to spread the news much quicker than before. Luther was not ashamed.


“Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him."
(Hebrews 10:38 NKJV)


Paul was not one to be ashamed either. Once saved by faith, he now lived out his life on the line nearly every day for the sake of his faith. I sense he was absolutely appalled at those who professed faith in Christ, yet were hesitant to let it show. If we are to live by our faith, we are to be obedient to the things laid out in His Word. We are to be assured that what God says He will do. Living by faith requires obedience and loyalty in our everyday living, not just in words of a prayer or church attendance. Paul says he has no pleasure in a believer who timidity hesitates to avow what they believe or is unwilling to speak from fear. I may go further to ask the question, “How can you have faith if you live by it?” Faith in itself begs the definition of living it out!

This is our challenge: we must live out our faith with boldness and conviction. Faith in the living Savior is a LIVING FAITH! Five hundred years later, we’re still challenged to live by faith alone!

one stable foundation,

Then  as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings  are here! ” ...