Monday, April 30, 2018

Set Ablaze

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord[a] in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.(Acts 2:1-4)

Fire is all-consuming,  energizing, flowing, raging, crackling, warming, destroying, blazing, mesmerizing at times. A burning fire is full of action and energy. One fire indeed does: It changes things!

In Acts 2, Jesus' life- changing message of salvation is proclaimed to all peoples in all languages. The Spirit's fire was ablaze within the apostles. It's power was evident in both the words of the apostles and the repentant response of thousands.

Why do we believers today hold back the fire? Why do we save it for special occassions? This Fire needs to be released . . . fanned . . . set ablaze as a wild fire. (2 Timothy 1:6)

Lord, BURN within me so YOU can be felt around me!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Blowing Up Things . . .

But you shall receive But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Dunamis... power, might, influence, a force for warfare. . . .

Those in Christ . . . those possessing His Holy Spirit . . . the born-again believer . . . we all have this power! Dynamite blows things up. Dynamite has the ability to destroy or it allows for the opportunity to rebuild.

This is exactly what the Spirit of God does in each and every believer. It destroys the power and penalty of sin. Yet it also rebuilds and renews the life grounded in Jesus Christ!

Why do we not use this power daily? Why do we so often walk in our own strength?

My prayer???? I yield to You today Lord . . . I want Your power to work in and through me so much to cause others to want it for themselves!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Kingdom Living

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)
The Kingdom of God is eternal. It has always been and will be because it IS God! It was visible in Jesus, but perhaps only the good thief could see it (as he was dying) as we read in Luke. (Luke 23: 42). Stephen saw it as well. (Acts 7: 56)

So must we be at death's door to experience the Kingdom of God? In every believer, lives the Kingdom in the presence of God the Holy Spirit! Why are we keeping it hidden? What are we waiting for in order to experience the fullness of His Kingdom here on earth?

Lord, help us to live out the Kingdom here and now so others may experience You!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wait on it . . . .

He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,  to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:2-5)
We don't always get it rignt away! Our kids often too to unerstand immediately. Well, a we read, the apostles had to wait a bit as well.

Don't feel pressured into understanding this world or all GOD has laid out. Don't get on our young people when there are things we are still questioning. Don't force it. . . . allow for God's timing.

Allow Go to have His good, perfect and Godly way!

WAIT on it . . . WAIT on it . . . WAIT on it . . . . . . .

Butnkdep seeking and asking! (James 1:5)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I Cannot Tell It All....But I'll Try!

This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:23-25)

 When I think on the goodness of Jesus . . . .WOW! Despite the stuggles and challenges in this life, God has been more than good. He has done far more than I deserve. I really should be dead and rotting in hell today . . . seriously!

But for God and His love . . . His forgiveness . . . His mercy . . . His grace! I could never tell it all, or even a small portion here. John couldn't tell it all either. He had lived the longest of all the apostles . . . imagine his story!

However, I ask the Lord to use me to tell His-tory with my life and I pray it honors Him.  I pray too that it causes others to come to know Him!

What's your story?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Why do we follow?

 He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:19-22)

Like Peter and the others, many times we concern ourselves too much with what others are doing for Christ rather than what we should be doing. Many times we begin following them rather than following Christ.

There are many wonderful ministries and men and women of God doing great things for the Kingdom today. It is great to partner with them and work alongside them. However, we must remember why we are doing these things! We are not to glorify the work or the worker, but the Lord!

God has a great work for each of us, His children. If we are called to be the janitor of the church, then we do it unto the Lord. If we are called to serve the homeless, then we serve with humility and the love of Christ. Whether we are called to lead a small youth group or a congregation of thousands, we are still doing it for the applause of only One! In fact, if are simply called to lead a life devoted to Christ, that alone is being a leader.

All leaders must follow someone or some thing.  Who or what are we following . . . and why? Are we able to give up all false pretense, pride and popularity and simply follow Christ?

But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.”(Luke 18:27-28)

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Boys at the Beach

After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.(John 21:1-6)
Once one truly knows and experiences Christ, There is no going back. It is just not the same. The disciples couldn't even catch fish anymore!

This was not an ordinary boys time out. . . . The Boys at the Beach . . . No! This was a reminder who they were and Whose they were! Jesus let them know He did not forget them. He feeds them, restores them, and lets them know things will be tough....but He will not leave them alone.

He does the same for each of us. So . . . Will we "follow Him"? (John 21:19-22)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Do YOU Believe ?

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”  Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put itinto My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”  And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed arethose who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:26-29)
Though Thomas doubted, when he saw the Evidence, he indeed believed. Theologians believed he went on to share the Gospel as far as India! Seeing was believing for Thomas. Thank God he had questions . . . as we all do today!

Though we may doubt, the answers come by faith and  facts. Our faith is built upon the facts of Jesus and His life. We have so much physical evidence to see and read about. We have lives sacrificed for Him. What has yet to come true will, one day. Just wait . . .

Faith based upon facts . . . blessed are those who believe without seeing . . . Do YOU believe? Let it show in your living!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What a Difference a Day Makes

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:18-23)
 One day crucified, dead and buried....then in a tomb....then missing? What a a day makes indeed!

The disciples returned home, but Mary stayed. She longed for Jesus. She missed His presence. She was willing to search and wait. Jesus found her....

Like Mary, you and I need to seek Him and even long for Jesus. We must be willing to wait on Him. His timing is always best and on time! There is no need to run and hide in fear as the disciples did because we know He is risen and alive within us. We simply must trust that He knows what is best and when it is best.

Keep seeking . . . knocking . . . asking . . . yes even waiting! (Matthew 7:7-8) God knows . . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Resurrected Lifestyle

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.(John 20:8-10)

Peter and saw the empty tomb, went in,  then we read they returned home. John even said he believed. Yet they went home!

Many today believe. They acknowledge Christ....yes, He lived, died and even rose from the dead. But John would write that we must believe it an live it! (John 11:26) We must live a resurrected life...knowing there is more and anticipating it with every day. We live beyond this world as believers! (John 10:10)

Lord, please allow the way I live cause others to believe!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Abiding in closer fellowship with Jesus

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  (John 15:5-8)
 After taking a group of our ministry teens to Liberty University this weekend and attending worship at Thomas Road Baptist Church, I now finally realize how important it is to stay in close relationship with the Lord. Though I knew this, to  experience it is quite different!

His hand is truly upon this University and church. His thumbprint is everywhere as my wife says. Knowing from where God has brought this place and the future plans is nothing but the work of God through the faith of Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., his sons and countless others who walked with him.

My family and I are now blessed to be part of the legacy of Liberty. I am challenged to walk in closer fellowship with my Lord and Savior to have His hand on us and our ministry plans as well as our family.

Lord, just a closer walk with thee . . . . lead me, guide me, use me!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday, the 13th

So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars.  Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!”  And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought himup and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.(Judges 16:25-31)
What an "unlucky" day for the Philistines! They had schemes  and captured the great and mighty Jewish leader Samson. He was now their entertainment.  He was a circus side show. But for God . . . .

Samson finally calls on God and God answered. It was no secret to God's strength! He was and is the all-powerful and ever-living God! Even in our shame, our despair, our embarrassment, our darkest hour, we can call upon God.

Won't He do it?

Use What You Got!

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”So he said to Him, “O my Lord,[b] how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.” So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.” Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” (Judges 6:14-23)
Use what you got Gideon! He was weak. He was not an athlete or a soldier. Yet God called Gideon to lead the Israelites against the Medianites and their false Gods. God walked with him and provided all he needed. Gideon placed his faith in God, not men, armies, or physical strength.

What about you and me? Why can't we simply trust God with what He has given to us?  Why do we place more trust in money, people, devices or other schemes? Gideon simply asked God to be sure it was Him and then trusted Him.

Lord, let me know it is You and cause me to follow You, not man! Only You . . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The SON's Rays of Hope

“Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LordBut let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.” (Judges 5:31)
After Joshua, Israel had its ups and downs. Sin, repentance... bad choice, good choice.... God's love and mercy, God's wrath and judgment.  Deborah experienced it as their "Judge".

We too have caused God to show His anger but have also experienced His mercy....mercy abounding the more, thank God! We choose.....yet because of His grace, the SON's sacrificial love for us, we do not experience the wrath of God as the Jews did. Yet there are consequences. But thank God for grace and the many chances we receive to get it right!

Like the SUN, God gives us new mercies, new chances each day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Like the SUN, we feel the SON's all-consuming warmth and yet do not get the damaging fires. He witholds judgment, giving us day after day of grace. Yet a day is coming . . .

The SUN rises each day. It is warming us and sustaining us even through the clouds. Yet when it breaks through those clouds we see its rays extending in all directions.

Like the SUN, the SON extends grace to all who will accept it. We have His power within us to extend that grace to all with whom we connect each day.

Lord, use us to extend Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your warmth, Your mercies, this day . . . before the SUN goes down and before the SON returns!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Popular Vote . . . or Best Choice?

 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LordAnd if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. ”So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. (Joshua 24:14-17)
A revival....A movement....a gathering...a emotional sermon.... We all get excited and charged up with emotion and agree as one.... from here on out we will do this thing right! We will commit to God! Then we leave the parking lot and life happens.....

Emotional decisions based upon the popular vote seldom last. Then another speaker, movement, conference, or sermon grabs us and we tag along.

Thank God He does not work on emotion, but character!

Joshua reminded his people and us as well: choose wisely! Daily life tells who and Whose we are. Character . . . Integrity matters to God. He is a God of promise. He keeps His Word. It has been sealed in blood!

Whom will we serve . . . . this day, this week, this month, this year, this life?

Monday, April 9, 2018

Why God . . . . WHY?

And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?” (Joshua 7:3-9)
Many times when we go at things in our own strength and our own plans, we fail. We then turn to God and ask, "Why?" We overlook God. We think we have this on our own. We have done this before. Yet we have not sought Him or have sought Him wrongly, with impure hearts or unknown sin.

We need to remember to seek God's advice for all our plans, no matter how simple or small. We must seek the Holy Spirit's observation of our own hearts. Do we have the right it the right timing....have I any unconfessed sin?

Men especially, lets adhere to Peter's instruction and be sure our prayers are not hindered (1 Peter 3:7) We all want our Daddy's favor and His perfect will!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Am I Led By The Lord or My Own Desires?

 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”  So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”  Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
Joshua is going into a foreign land and has trepedations. The Lord of the Armies appears to comfort and assure him.  We see Jesus accepting the worship of Joshua and like Moses, he is instructed to take off his sandal since he stands upon holy ground.

We must know that Jesus is not merely with us, but fights for us! This alone is assuring. We must allow Him to take control. He is already present and waiting.

Lord, be my Jehovah Nissi!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

My Timeless God

 . . . . and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ (Joshua 4:5-4)
Past.....Present....Future.... all these times tend to blend together as we live year after year and experience so much in life.  As we plan our days and future, we tend to forget both the good and bad experiences and only focus on the here and now!

Yet as we trust the Creator, Who knows no time, we might just do a bit better by remembering . . . both our failures and successes . . . and remember what God has done through it all.

Joshua called on the tribal leaders to make memorials of what God did for them as the waters blocked their way. We too would do well to memorialize all God does for us so we will not recreate past failures and learn to trust God as we face even tougher hurdles in th future. Journaling is a great way of doing just that. It enables us to record the present, look back in the past, and better plan the future!

After all....He has already been to our future and back again! Let's remeber... and trust Him!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

I am not my past!

So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will beguiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.” (Joshua 2:17-20)

Rahab had a rather dark reputation. . . . so did Mary Magdelene, Peter, Paul, and others. I do also! If not for the scarlet thread running throuh the bible, we all would be lost in our past. But the blood.......

I do not belong to my past. Like Rahab and the Jews leaving Egypt, the scarlet blood of the Lamb removes my past guilt and gives me the righteousness of Christ, my Savior and Lord.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Keep Moving . . .Courageously

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9)
As  we embark on the days after the Resurrection, God gives me this reminder today: stop doubting and go with confidence and courage! He has used this verse along with others (Isaiah 6:8) (Romans 12:1-2) in our ministry life, but to bring this to my attention today is awesome!

Thank You Lord for knowing just what to say: keep moving toward the goal!

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...