Friday, February 29, 2008

02 29 08 A Leap of Faith

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
(John 15:2 NIV)

As I write on this leap day 2008, I am challenged to examine my faith and how far I am willing to go for my Savior. Am I satisfied with fire insurance: saved from an eternal hell and fire, or am I willing to take A LEAP OF FAITH and go beyond what the world calls faith?

John reminds us that the Lord is involved in our daily lives. Just as the farmer (or even we simple home gardeners) prepares the soil each year for a bright green lawn, savory fruit, bright flowers, and tasty vegetables, God too is seeking fertile ground in which to plant the Gospel and have it grow and produce fruit. As we have heard many times before, God is a fruit inspector!

It’s one thing to say I am saved. It’s a totally new and challenging way of life to say I am committed to bear fruit for Christ and willing to give Him full reign to turn over the soil of my heart and prune unneeded areas of my life. We don’t want to face the reality of being of no good use for Christ’s work. God has the right to cut us off, leave us to the consequences of our choices, and even remove us from this earth prematurely as the result of our refusal to submit our life to Him.

A real LEAP OF FAITH involves challenges, surrender, and at times, loneliness. It’s not always popular to forsake all others and follow Christ. At times our love for Christ and His plan will be perceived as hatred toward those we love here on earth. To produce fruit for the kingdom requires dirty and worn out knees, hard calloused hands, a broken and scarred heart, long hours, and adverse conditions. The pruning may cause some bleeding and bruising, but the healing and growth is energizing. The harvest is so plentiful, the blossoms so pleasant to behold, and the fruit so tasteful to the soul. Working God’s garden is a blessing and brings so much contentment.

Take that LEAP OF FAITH. Be ready to get the shoes muddy, the knees aching, and the hands cracked. It’s more than worth it……it’s obedience to DADDY!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
(2 Corinthians 6: 2 NKJV)

“I don’t have time”…How many times have we heard that when looking for a volunteer? How many times has that been our response? Before we even know the amount of time that’s needed, we respond, at least within our minds, “I don’t have time.”

I don’t have time to visit family. I don’t have time to play with the kids. I don’t have time to go to Sunday school. I don’t have time talk with my spouse. I don’t have time to spend quality time with God. I simply don’t have the time! So who put me and you in charge of our time?

I learned on Valentine’s Day 2005 that God controls all my time; my time to work, my time to sleep, my time to be sick, and my time to go home! When I was rushed to the hospital for surgery, I realized I had no control over my time (the romantic dinner plans with my beautiful wife were out the window) and finally I had to admit, “Do what you want with my time Lord, because it’s really your time!” When our child cries out, all time stands still and we rush to see the cause of his cries. When our spouse or child is sick, our first desire is to find medication…get them to a doctor…get them well! When death strikes a family, the family comes together and life stands still for days, sometimes weeks. What will it take for us to see the urgency of our time? How much time are we giving to our God, who holds our time in His hand? Is He our TIME MANAGER? David learned how to properly use his time. He wrote,

"So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
(Psalm 90:12 NKJV)

It’s been my experience to ask busy people to help me if I have a project to do. Busy people work. Busy people are committed. Busy people do things! People, who do nothing, don’t have time to do anything! Have you noticed that every time something is going on, we see the same folks doing the work? Look around your church at the next function. What a shame! It’s a good time to examine our reputation around the family, around the church, and even at the job. One more important reminder though: don’t be busy just to be busy! Get busy for Christ since only what we do for Him will last. We need to join Him in His work. There is plenty to be done!

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:7-9 NKJV)

Trust God to be our TIME MANAGER! As Luis Palau says in his book, A Man After God’s Heart, “He knows His business.”1 Now is the time to realize it and it’s time to get busy!

(Palau, Luis, A Man After God’s Heart, Discovery House, 1998)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

02 27 08 One More Chance….Again

“O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”
(Psalm 30:3 NKJV)

How many times has the Lord rescued us from horrible situations? Many times, we may not even have realized He had His hand upon us as we have driven through heavy traffic or treacherous weather, spared a storm from passing through our neighborhood, or prevented a serious illness. Many acts of His grace we aren’t even aware of! How many times have we been headed down to the pit and His hand kept us alive?

The Message writes it this way: “GOD, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.” I can only recall the things I was involved in before being rescued by Christ! One chance after another to see another sunrise, when I deserved nothing but the grave! But for His grace and mercy……

I realize now how He kept me and still keeps me. If the Lord had not been on my side, my enemies would have indeed swallowed me alive and the storms of life flooded over me. Time after time He gave me ONE MORE CHANCE…AGAIN!

God’s continued grace and bountiful mercy should cause us to treat others the same way. We need to show a little more patience, a tad bit more grace, and give someone a second or third chance to get it right! It may just cause them to see Christ a little more clearly! It also reflects our gratitude toward our Savior. The love He shows toward us should be shared with those of which we come into contact.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

02 26 08 Happiness in Holiness
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4 NIV)

Don’t worry, be happy! As I think back to this popular song and expression, I can’t help but think how many people have been deceived by this notion within the church. Get to know Jesus and you’ll be happy for life; get all you ever wanted; cars, clothes homes, jobs and on and on. What deception…what lies!

God never promised happiness in this life. In fact, Jesus told us that we would have troubles in this world. He warned us that just as He was rejected and ridiculed, the more we follow Him, the more we will be subject to ridicule, rejection, and possibly even persecution. Why think anything else? A follower of Jesus Christ is at odds with this world! Just look around.

To be politically correct, we have to tolerate one form of sin after another: cheating at work, white collar crime, homosexual agendas, same sex marriage, coarse joking, drunken office parties, and more. Speak out against things and we are subject to ridicule, jokes, even possible firing. Not always a happy situation.

As Christian parents, we face many unpopular decisions regarding our children’s dress, activities, and plans. We will not always be popular, even with our children. They won’t always understand our decisions. Our children too face pressures within the schools, neighborhoods, and the church. Even the Pastor must choose whether to preach the whole TRUTH or what the people want to hear. We are constantly faced with decisions: do I choose happiness or holiness?

As we follow Christ and commit to His ways, our heart’s desires are changed to His desires. The more we choose Christ, the holier we become and the happier we are within our very heart and soul. It’s not the world’s happiness for sure, but it’s the soul-deep satisfaction of pleasing God and receiving His blessing one day; even that day when we see Him for eternity! To have life more abundantly is to have life in Christ…..eternal life, not earthly blessings.

We may indeed receive His favor here on earth. Bless God! But if we suffer ridicule, if we face hatred in one form or another because of our love for the Savior, know that one day we will indeed receive blessings and treasures in heaven that the world cannot take away! There is indeed HAPPINESS IN HOLINESS; happiness the world cannot conceive! Don’t worry……you’re not alone!

Monday, February 25, 2008

02 25 08 Not at the Finish Line but not Where I Used to be Either

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead…”
(Philippians 3:13 NKJV)

“Brothers and sisters, I don't consider that I have taken hold of it yet. But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me.”
(NIrV Version)

I am in no way at the finish line in my life with Christ. I have a long way to go in my relationship with my DADDY, His people, and the work He has me to do. One thing I have decided: I will no longer dwell on the past and who I was. I’ll leave that to others to worry about and just have that be a barometer of how far He has brought me! It will also serve to encourage me to keep pushing forward, knowing He has done so much in my life, compared to who I was B.C. (before Christ).

Paul lived his life in a single-minded fashion. No doubt he had a past to forget! The metaphor behind this verse is that of the runner. I enjoy the athletic metaphors and comparisons (being as former athlete). The expression single-minded is actually a single word in Greek, namely Jen. It refers to having one purpose, one and only one. There is no room for double-mindedness in this expression. As with the runner who must not look to the left or to the right, we must keep our focus on the goal, living for and serving Christ!

My high school basketball coach (since deceased) would say this concerning our athletic abilities: we either get better or worse; there is no standing still. As I apply this to my spiritual walk and relationship with my Savior, I choose to move forward! Looking back only causes me stress and disappointment. Lord knows, I don’t need that! We all know that people (even our fellow believers) may tend to recall our past: that’s on them!

So let’s be encouraged. If we have found ourselves slipping, we can go over our life and recall His goodness to us. We may need to regroup and get back in our lane, so to speak. We also need to surround ourselves with those who will hold us to the positive aspects of our growth in Christ and challenge us to keep reaching, pushing, and leaning forward, as one of my mentors has mentioned. The enemy would have us continually to look backward. He has no future and would like us to think the same. LIAR!!!!! In Christ, we know our future and it is to ensure our success. (Jeremiah 29:11) We have much to look forward to everyone!

Friday, February 22, 2008

02 22 08 Follow the Leader

“Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his people, the Israelites, and he saw how hard they were forced to work.
During his visit, he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves…..
And sure enough, when Pharaoh heard about it, he gave orders to have Moses arrested and killed. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and escaped to the land of Midian.
When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well.”
(Genesis 2:11-15 NLT)

If you’re like me, you have found yourself saying, "I've worked so hard: Tried so many things, but it's gotten me nowhere. Nothing has worked for me.”
Ever ask the monumental question, “Will God ever be able to really use me?"
And there we sit: qualified, capable people preferring to be on the move, since sitting down goes against the grain. However, the broken forty-year-old named Moses finally slumped to the ground at the end his self-driven life; he found fresh, cool drinking water right next to him.

So we must sit down. Sit down? We have run far enough. We have pushed long enough. God is attempting to grab our attention. Listen to His voice: "Quit! Stop! Let Me handle things! Sit down. Look right next to you. It is a well, full of sparkling, cool, fresh water."

Soon it will be DADDY’s delight to bring up the bucket and refresh our soul. Sit still. Relax a bit. Be quiet. Listen…….Accept His assistance; no His leadership. Give over control to the Master.

Now follow Him. Carry out His plans. It’s a simple thing we all did as children, but have somehow outgrown over the years. We are big boys and girls now. But like Moses we not only need a little help now and then, we always need His leadership. So let’s FOLLOW THE LEADER…every moment of the day.

No matter our circumstance, God can use a repentant, broken, and contrite heart. He also desires to hear our praise, our thanks, our needs and our concerns. He wants to talk with us throughout the day.

So all this lends me to ask myself and everyone reading this these two questions:
What is the condition of my heart? (attitude)
What is the condition of my knees? (prayer)

Ready? All who call Him DADDYABBAFather (all of the King’s kids): let’s get in line and FOLLOW THE LEADER!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

02 21 08 Just a Nobody

“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”
(Philippians 1:9-11 Message)

The great and best Good News is this: God’s truth is a person – Jesus Christ, our Lord. We are not our emotions! We are not defined by our emotions. You are defined by God. We may feel worthless, but God says we are wonderfully and fearfully created in his image. We may feel like we’ve failed God, but God says we are accepted in the beloved and that he loves us no matter what we’ve done.
Just like any other love relationship we may have, God requires us to love well. He doesn’t need quantity, but requires quality….sincerity in our hearts. There is no need for sentimemntal gush; God knows our heart. We hear constantly in love relationships how one would die for the ones they love. Are we willing to live for Christ…the only true lover of our soul? If asked today, could we say Jesus is proud of how we are living for Him and loving Him?

While we as human beings are filled with emotions, we are defined by who we are in Christ Jesus. Without Him we can’t possibly know the meaning of love. We can’t really comprehend suffering when compared to how He suffered for our sin. We’ll never know the loneliness He experienced when left alone on the cross. Compassion was the personified in the life of Christ. Without knowing Him, we have no real emotions at all: we simply have feelings and as people say, our feelings are just feelings! To know Jesus is to know love truly defined and lived out…to lay down one’s life for a friend…even an enemy, as we were in our sin!

I used to think I was a somebody back in the day. Now, I realize I’m JUST A NOBODY…trying to tell anybody….about somebody who can save (and love) everybody! I by myself am JUST A NOBODY. With the love of Christ living within me and showing in the fruit of my living, I reflect His love and His personality. I am defined by God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and perfected daily by His Spirit living within me! This shell of a body is useless now. It’s not me, but Christ Who lives through me! I want to make Him proud! I want to love well!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

02 20 08 Inner Vision

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.”
(Ephesians 1:18 NLT)

Paul sits imprisoned in a Roman jail around A.D. 60 and writes of the glorious life to which God has called His people! God rescued us solely by His grace as we first believed on Him and asked Him to forgive our sin. We are now His masterpiece, not our own work. He has planned great things for us; more than we could ever plan by our own finite imagination.

“I also pray that your mind might see more clearly…”

What we see is merely a glimpse of the promises of God. Real vision is what the Spirit of God puts in our heart’s eyes….that personal and intimate sight which illuminates our mind. It’s what the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah concerning Israel. God’s promises go beyond this world and what we can physically see.

“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 Message)

The Spirit dwelling within every believer gives us INNER VISION. It’s up to us to trust what we know of God rather than what we see by our eyes and hear from others around us. His promises are not concerning money, possessions, or the physical things of this world; but of inner peace going beyond our imagination, inner joy which is unspeakable, and INNER VISION of which our eyes cannot see and our ears cannot hear.

No matter our circumstance, we can trust that God will work things out to His glorious end for our life. When we became saved, we became His child and we must now trust our DADDY with His plans. Let’s keep our eyes fixed upon Him and not our surroundings. Oh that we will taste and see how good He is and how perfect His plans are for us. If we will just trust the INNER VISION He has planted inside our hearts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

02 13 08 Live This Life…a Labor of Love

“For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth… a time to break down, and a time to build up…What benefit can a worker gain from his toil?... God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time…have concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they live, and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil, for these things are a gift from God.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1- NET)

There is definitely a time for everything in life, yet we all must remember that it is God who has all of time in His hand! We work hard in life and all to the glory of God. He gives us work for the provisions of life, yet He is still the provider. We receive wages for our labor, yet it is God who provides the paycheck. We also are afforded times of vacation and recreation away form the job, yet it is God who makes that rest and enjoyment possible.

God wants us to enjoy life and have times to rest and build into our families and friends. He enjoys it when He sees His children enjoying life. One caution however: we must remember it is not I who makes it possible! God gives us labor and God gives us rest. Even in our times of getting away from it all, we never get away from our Father! We must be careful to not only stay in close proximity with Him, but to also realize it is He who has given us the time to kick back and enjoy those times of fun, sun, and enjoyment!

Just as we give our children a time to play and enjoy being a kid, DADDY wants us to enjoy life with those we love. Don’t neglect those times! We must build into our marriage, our children, and our church family as well. There is some truth to the passage: eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Life is short…here on earth. Enjoy it, but to the glory of God, not to our own self-righteous and hedonistic goals and satisfaction!

God is a good God and wants all the best for us. Let the smile be genuine. Make the work be challenging and fulfilling. Allow the labor for Christ to be A LABOR OF LOVE and work wonders in His name. Then enjoy the rest He gives to each of us as well.

LIVE THIS LIFE and store up riches for the future in heaven, where it will be such a blast we can’t even comprehend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

02 12 08 Appetite

“My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me, because I was found to be innocent before him.
Nor have I done any harm to you, O king.”
(Daniel 6:22 NET)

Daniel had no APPETITE for the manipulations of his political rivals. He continued to pray despite the new law requiring prayer to the king and no one else (Daniel 6:10). God was faithful to protect him from the lions, even right within the pit. Having committed his life to honor the one true God, Daniel and his friends had no APPETITE for the things of the Babylonian kings. We too must be reminded that to follow Christ, we are not guaranteed acceptance of popularity. At times we may face rejection and even unjust treatment and discipline. Should we be surprised? After all, Jesus told we too would suffer, just as He did.

In a world when day by day we are seeing morals and standards dropping to a lower level by the day, we need to remember Whom we serve. There will come a day, sooner rather than later, when we will face earthly consequences for our beliefs and practices. It’s happening now in China, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere, yet still the Gospel is spreading! If that day came today to our neighborhood, would you or I be convicted of being of the way? Do we trust God enough to allow Him to shut the lions’ mouths as we are put in the den of ridicule, torment, and discrimination?

We are offered so much in the way of temptations today which can destroy our Christian character. It may be in the way of clothing, politics, certain movies, social activities, or even a simple sporting event. The old dog is still hungry! Will we feed him or let him die? We cannot let our carnal APPETITE win out, but allow the Holy Spirit to control our decisions. God will care for us and meet our needs, way beyond what the world can provide! Trust Him; even in the deepest pit, among the most ferocious lions. He is still God!

Monday, February 11, 2008

02 11 08 Able to Enable

“Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns!
See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me, and lead me in the reliable ancient path!” (Psalm 139:23-23 NET)

David asks the Lord to examine his heart and to know his deepest worries and anxieties. This can be a comforting peace, or an eerie and uneasy situation, depending upon our plans and actions. We really don’t have to invite the Lord into our thought life or our everyday actions, do we? He’s already there, already knows. However, He wants us to include Him in our plans, our intimate thoughts, and our most troubling worries.

God also want us s to share the little things as well, as these are the things that can lead to disaster if we leave God out! The things we consider relatively easy and commonplace to handle on our own, many times can lead to trouble down the road. It’s a good habit to get into to involve God in every thought and plan we have every day!

The more we begin to understand His Word, the more we understand His character, and the more we can line up our thoughts and plans with His. Though His ways are not our ways, we can begin to reshape our ways to line up with His will for us! What is the key?

We must involve the Holy Spirit! Jesus left us the gift of the Comforter to indwell every believer at the moment we ask the Christ to become our Lord and Savior. The moment we repent, the Spirit seals us for God and we have that Power within us to do the will of the Father. Jesus reassured the disciples of this when He said:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
(John 14:12 NKJV)

The Advocate, the all-knowing Spirit of God is ABLE TO ENABLE us to carry out the will of God for our lives. We ask of our Father, we pray in the name of Jesus, but often times we fail to call upon the power of the Holy Spirit residing within us!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the farthest parts of the earth.”
(Acts 1:8 NET)

So as the weather begins to break and we see Spring on the horizon, we begin to turn our thoughts to cleaning up the garage, the yard, the home, etc. We start throwing out old things and planning for new activities. First item on the agenda: a spiritual checklist of what to throw away and what to keep. What needs repair and what needs to be trashed? Let’s call upon the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, calm our fears, cleanse us of any evil and idolatrous plans, and lead us down the God-honoring path of righteous living!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Take Note Of God

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin…I write to you little children…I write to you fathers…I write to you young men…Therefore, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. And this is the promise that he has promised us…eternal life. (1 John 2)

John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, was constantly reminding those around him to love one another, even into his old age when they had to carry him into the churches to speak. They ask him why and his reply was simply that it was what Jesus taught. John said that if we all would just do that, things would fall into place. Isn’t that what Jesus said as well…love God and love your neighbor? John was a very simple and uncomplicated person and he no doubt remembered the innocent way children came to Christ and how he first believed. All John had to hear from the mouth of John the Baptist was,

“Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:35-36)

John continued to recall how important those few simple words were and he lived by them and he wrote about them. It’s funny, but that’s how God gave us His message, He simply told people to write it down. Not everyone had paper at the time (it may have been on stone tablets) but God chose a simple way for us to remember things about Him. You see, he knows about our memory. Like most of us, I too am not going to do it unless I write it down. Today, if God were to speak through someone, he may choose e-mail, a blackberry, text messaging, or blogging, but He would still want us to put in on or in something so we and others would remember! We have to TAKE NOTE OF GOD throughout the day.

God told the prophet Jeremiah

“Write it in a book for yourself all the words I have spoken to you.”
(Jeremiah 30:2)

Imagine if Moses would have said, “That’s ok Lord, I’ll remember, I don’t have to write these things down.” The Lord said,

“Write these words…” (Exodus 34:27)

So here’s our challenge: Are we writing His words that we hear each day? Are we writing out our prayers as people share their needs with us (so we can pray for them)? Are we writing our needs down, so we can lay them out before God? Are we taking notes in Bible study and on Sunday morning? Are writing and highlighting in our Bibles to revisit when we begin to doubt? God still speaks…in circumstances, through people, in simple things, in catastrophes, and in a still small voice. We need to record it somewhere to keep it fresh and to keep us at the level of innocence and acceptance as when we first believed. Keep a note pad and a pen handy (or PDA, or whatever new gadget there is) and TAKE NOTE OF GOD!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

02 07 08 I DO BELIEVE

“‘Then Jesus said to him; if you are able? All things are possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:23-24 NET)

I do believe…I do believe…I DO BELIEVE: yet I have so much unbelief in my life.
I walk in faith, yet my faith is often more in the things I see than the things I don’t see. I follow God, yet I repeatedly find myself stumbling down a path of my own choosing. Paul teaches this is a common disorder among Christians, but he also says the cure for our unbelief is, quite simply, to BELIEVE God.

In my school studies, I am learning how deeply Abraham trusted God. Even though he messed up at times and got a little bit off the path (as he did in travelling into Egypt) he still had a strong faith. It wasn’t perfect, but strong! Paul sums up the issue with one simple phrase: "Abraham believed God …." (Romans 4:3)

The Hall of Faith listed in Hebrews 11 goes down a list of men and women who by faith trusted God’s plans for their lives. None were perfect, but they all had a strong faith.

I have learned since answering His call to mission life and service in 1999 that God does supply. He does come through and His plans are for me to succeed. So why don’t I trust Him more? Why is their so much unbelief? I can only say this: it’s a maturing process. It’s a matter of keeping my mind on God and not the world, not the situation around me. At times I have to look back to last week, last month, last year, and realize that DADDY has brought me and the family through. He is faithful. I am becoming more faithful with each passing day, month, and year.

So when I find myself doubting, I go to my prayer journal and recall how He has come through time and time again. I look at where I started on my journey with Him and see that during the roughest days, there are only one set of footprints…DADDY’S! He carried me!!!! This gets me through, even when I stumble and fall flat on my face.

When the enemy attempts to pull me of course, I must look in the mirror and say: “I do believe…I do believe…I DO BELIEVE!” Then I must live it out, by faith.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)

Paul is not just simply telling us to study the Scriptures, but to make this our highest priority, or pour ourselves into this task. What does it mean to present ourselves before God? It has the connotation both of being tested and of passing the test. In other words, this process takes time. When used of silver, the phrase means legal tender (genuine silver with no filler). It is sometimes used of the refining of gold through fire. The fire burns off the dross so that only the pure gold remains. If we truly present ourselves to God, we can be assured that He will slowly, but surely, burn the dross away. All that remains is the authentic person that God has been fashioning in Christ. Paul tells us that we are to present ourselves, our whole selves, to God. We must long for his approval and no one else's. We live for an audience of ONE. We yearn for His applause: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

We all, every believer, needs to commit to a life given over to the control of our Savior. Every believer also needs to be able to properly share the Gospel in one’s unique perspective, to give a defense of his or her faith! The greatest danger in American Evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism. We are to offer to God the whole person. For every believer, holiness is not an option. But neither is knowledge. I heard someone say recently, "I'd rather know a dozen verses and obey them than the whole Bible and do nothing with it."

Quite frankly, if our study of Scripture does not make us uncomfortable on a fairly regular basis, then we are not really, wholeheartedly, pursuing Truth. This isn’t just the pastor’s job, or the minister’s and deacon’s responsibilities, it’s every believer! Start with one verse, 2 Timothy 2:15…Romans 12:1-2…Proverbs 3:5-6… or 2 Peter 1:5-8 and live it wholly. It’s a GOD-HONORING ACTIVITY and an obligation we all have.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

02 05 08 Try To Stop It!

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
(Isaiah 55:10 NLT)

There is no recession when it comes to God, His will and His Word! The economy can slow down all it wants to; the stock market can crash, the banks can dry up; God is still in control. Take His Word out of the political arena; take prayer out of schools; even water down the Gospel message in the churches; God Word and God’s will will prosper. TRY TO STOP IT!

“….being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ….”
(Philippians 1:6 NKJV)

Since the day we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, as a true born-again believer, the Spirit has been at work in and around us. No matter how difficult things may seem, God has a hand on our life. If we just trust Him one more dayone more month…hold on for just a moment longer, we’ll see Him show up. Our timing is not His and our ways are not His ways, yet He is working in our lives.

We have to commit to follow Him when all signs point to get off the path. We have to trust Him when even our closest friends tell us to doubt. We have to rely on the promises of God, especially when the lies of Satan look so real and so inviting. God has a plan for each of His children. Everything else may pass away…, cars, friends, jobs, health; but our Father’s words remain true. No one can take us out DADDY’s hands. He has a plan for you and for me as we place our trust in Him.

Go ahead; TRY TO STOP IT!

Monday, February 4, 2008

02 04 08 Daily Supply

“Give us each day our daily bread…”
(Luke 11:3 NKJV)

How much did Jesus personally, as a man, contribute to His mighty works, deeds, and ministry? NOTHING! Christ Himself gives us the answer,

“…but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds” (John 14:10).

And how did that come about? Through prayerful dependence on the Father!

This recent Super Bowl victory (February 3, 2008) I heard one interview immediately following the game… The receiver who caught the game-winning pass had been suffering through and battling injury all year long; so much so he could hardly practice during the week. When asked what it felt like to win the Super Bowl, he didn’t say anything about himself, the trainers, the coach, or the quarterback: he said he had ask God to meet his needs each week, to allow Him the strength to get onto the field, and God met his needs. Then, he broke down and shed tears! I don’t know this man’s spiritual journey, but I know God cares about the things of our life: yes, even a football’s player’s performance, especially when God receives glory!

We usually recognize our need of God’s provision in things like sharing the Gospel, getting us through a severe illness, or when we face other challenging circumstances. We nevertheless tend to take God for granted and operate in our own abilities in other areas because we think a job doesn’t seem too difficult or it is within our area expertise. Prayer is for everyday living, moment by moment, 24/7. Then as God supplies, we have an opportunity to tell the world how our DADDY meets our everyday needs as well as the once-in-a lifetime “I need You NOW!” needs.

How long will we continue to go to God only when we think we need Him? How long will we continue to operate from our own abilities? How often have we lost an opportunity to bring God glory and let others see His care and concern for our day-in-day-out circumstances? When will we realize that it’s His grace that woke us up today: His strength that gets us from the bed to the bathroom, and His provision that pays the bills, keeps the house, and give our DAILY SUPPLY of all we need, not just the bread!

Thank God He got us through the week, so we could worship Him on Sunday…even through a football game! Doesn’t DADDY deserve our highest praise!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

02 01 08 The Human Side of Life

“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,
who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature.”
(Philippians 2:5-7 NET)

God is pleased to draw us back into a right relationship because His grace in infinite. No sin will ever be greater—or more frequent—than His capacity to forgive. We too must show that kind of compassion to others, yet with the warmness of flesh and blood. Just as we desire God to be more than a stoic and cold dictator, we too must show some of THE HUMAN SIDE OF LIFE along with our spiritual capacity to share God’s truths in a situation. We enjoy the warmness of our DADDY and His desire for us to return to Him with a humble heart and attitude. He’s willing to embrace us as we seek Him, so we too must be willing to be the same loving father, spouse, and friend to those we love.

Christ-like character requires me to live with the same servant’s attitude, regardless of how I felt about my home environment, my church activities, or my work situation. Folks are more likely to listen to what I say when my actions show respect and concern for them, when I do more than the minimum required, more than they expect. Isn’t that how I felt when I learned how God really loved me and desired for me to know Him intimately? I am still amazed at why He loves me, why He includes me in His plan, and why He keeps pursuing me! Why did God send his Son Jesus to save a sinful people?

Daily, I must ask God to turn those tough situations in my life into opportunities to share the Gospel – but I must check my attitude first. Even within my most personal relationships; marriage, children, and other family relationships, we need to seek Godly advice as to His plan in it all. This does not just come from Godly people, but from God Himself! We must stay in touch with DADDY!

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...