Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 31, 2016

John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

I don't know if you write in your Bible or not, but I do.  In my Bible I put a light line through the words "the world" and wrote above them, in red, my name.  It helps me to remember the love Christ had for me is a very personal love.  A love that goes to extremes, all the way to the cross.  I also am convinced that when it says in Hebrews that Jesus endured the cross for the "joy" set before Him...... that we are that "joy".  

As you ponder all the mysteries of this Easter season, don't miss the passionate love the Lord has for you.  The love that drove Him to the cross.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

Luke 19:37-40  As he was drawing near - already on the way down the Mount of Olives - the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had, saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"  And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples."  He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."

Agreeing on worship and praise music must be an age-old problem.  As I read this I couldn't help but think of the people in church today who argue about the music.  I don't know if these disciples were singing too reverently for some contemporary worshipers, or if they were singing too modern of music for some more reserved people.  I almost wish the rocks would have cried about - that would have been one, great Rock Concert.  I am sure there would have been plenty to argue about then.

I think we need to see that worship is a heart condition and we should be able to worship regardless of the music.  The Lord is definitely worthy of all kinds of praise.

Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016

Job 24:1  Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, Why do those who know Him see not His days?

You know God tells throughout His Word what is coming.  He promised us a Redeemer in the first book of the Bible.  He told us where He would be born, when, and why.  Jesus told His disciples He would have to suffer, die, and be raised up.  But they didn't get it.  Don't get me wrong, I doubt that I would have either, but this verse makes me think that we should.  We should be in God's Word and know it to the degree that we see what is coming and know God's plan for the world and for ourselves.

This is just another reminder of how important it is that I get into God's Word daily and let Him speak to me.  I want to know all I can concerning my God.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

March 27, 2016

Psalm 62:1  Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation.

When I read this today, I thought to myself how difficult it is to wait on the Lord.  As I have to wait on the Lord, I often complain and become restless.  This verse though indicates that my soul waits silently ( and I think patiently)  for God.  I wish my flesh could learn to follow my soul.  Give it some thought.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

March 26, 2016

Genesis 15:1  After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."

This is the first occurrence of the word "fear" (translated afraid in this version) in the Scriptures.  I think it sets up the dichotomy  we find between fear of man and fear of the Lord.  They are two sides to the same coin.  If you truly fear God, you will have no reason to fear man.  Fear of man is a tactic of Satan to cripple us and to silence us.  Fear of God is a virtue of a godly person.

Study Proverbs 2:1-5 and learn how to understand the fear of the Lord.

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 25, 2016

Hebrews 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

This is a good example of how faith does not fear man, but reveres God.  Moses's parents must have know it didn't matter what the earthly king could do; they were more interested in what the King of Kings could do.

Think about it.  By faith we do not have to fear man or what he can do to us.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016

Isaiah 60:1  Arise, shine; For your light has come!  And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.

There is a day coming when the glory of the Lord will be all that illuminates our world. Won't that be a glorious day!

Just allow yourself to meditate on the idea.  You can almost feel the warmth of the Lord as you bask in His love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 23, 2016

Genesis 8:20  Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (ESV)

Noah's first significant act, once he came out of the ark, was to worship the Lord.  If you think back to your salvation were you not the same?  I remember being so very thankful for the grace of God in my life that I could not help but worship Him.  I wonder if this is what the phrase "your first love" could refer to.  We read of a church that was admonished for "leaving their first love."
Let do some self-examination and see if this is true in our own lives.

Oh to return to the time that worship was first and foremost on my heart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016

Luke 9:23  And he (Jesus) said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

During this Lenten season, this is a great verse to contemplate.  It is worth asking ourselves what exactly does it mean?  Can I carry it out?  What does it look like in my life?

This is one of those things that only you can answer.  Take some time and seriously and prayerfully consider this verse, and allow the Lord to show you.

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016

Luke 1:46-48  And Mary said:  "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant."

I like to reverse this verse :  He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant, my soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  It makes me think that maybe when we are humble, and glorify the Lord and rejoice in our Savior - He is even more mindful of us.  Just a thought.

Read the whole song of Mary, and let it speak to you.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 20, 2016

It is Palm Sunday (this year), and once again we reflect on Jesus riding into Jerusalem seated on a donkey.

I don't know why it hit me this year that many of those in the crowd who gathered and shouted "Hossana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" could have been in another crowd a few days later shouting "Crucify Him!"  "Crucify Him!"

Immediately I thought  - not me.  Really?  How many times do we deny Him, betray Him, and even pound another nail into the cross as we hurt Him by our behavior?  When we talk about one of His children; when we don't love our neighbor; when we don't keep His Sabbath.

It is worth thinking about.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 19, 2016

I Kings 5:13  King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel - thirty thousand men.

This is just one verse in the chapter that indicates how dedicated Solomon was in building a fabulous temple for the Lord God of Israel.  As I read through his preparations, I am somewhat convicted.  When I consider that You, Lord, have promised to dwell within me, my heart, your temple.  Why am I less adamant about preparing it to be a welcoming, fabulous place for you to dwell?  Should I be any less enthusiastic, less committed as I prepare my heart to worship You in spirit and in truth?  No.   Forgive me, Lord . 

Friday, March 18, 2016

March 18, 2016

Psalm 10:1  Why, O LORD do you stand far away?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?  (ESV)

When I read this verse I tend to focus on the hopelessness of the situation, until I think through it.  First, I know that the Lord doesn't hide from us. Secondly, whenever I have felt this way, I have found out that it was I who distanced myself from God, rather than the other way around.  Finally, as we think about the above verse, we see that actually it sounds like the psalmist is more concerned about where God is than his current situation, which can be a good thing.  Whenever we are looking for God, He promises to be found.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 17, 2016

II Kings 19:30 (NASB) The remaining survivors of the house of Judah shall again strike root below and bear fruit above.

God always maintains a remnant of His people.  In the above Scripture God promises not only will they survive, but they will take root downward like a well-watered plant and bear fruit above.  In other words they will be fruitful in life.  We are told several places in the Bible to bear fruit - of repentance, good deeds etc.

I long to get my roots established deeply in the Lord so I might bear fruit for Him.  It is worthy of a prayer, don't you think?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 16, 2016

Proverbs 22:4  The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.

Isn't it funny how so many of us look for honor, riches, and the good life in all the wrong places?  I love it that the ways of the Lord are generally just the opposite of the world's.  While people boast in themselves and in their accomplishments, the Lord tells us that it is humility and reverence of Him that lead to life's satisfaction.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up in due time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016

II Corinthians 4:1  Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

Do you feel like the Lord has called you to a particular ministry?  Do you ever get discouraged?  I know one day I will tell myself and others that I know God has called me to something.  Then, the very next day I find myself doubting.

First of all we need to realize that when God calls us to some ministry, it is by His mercy, lest we think it is because we are so awesome.  Understanding that is humbling in itself, but it should boost our confidence, because God would not call us to something that He wouldn't equip us for first.  So, it is important that we don't lose heart.  Satan may put doubts in our mind or cause us to stumble, but there is no need to get discouraged or dismayed.

Don't lose heart.  Give God thanks for His mercy, by which you were called.

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016

II Samuel 23:2  "The Spirit of the LORD speaks to me; his word is on my tongue."

These are some of the last words of David.  It struck me, when I read this, that I hope I can say the same.  I know the Lord speaks to me, but sometimes I am not listening.  Sometimes I am too busy talking to hear what the Lord is saying.

The rest of the Scripture that says - "his word is on my tongue"  is also something I long to truthfully say.  I want the Word of God to be on my tongue.  I want to speak it to others.  I want to talk about it with friends.

Lord, I pray You will speak to me, and I will have ears to hear.  I also pray that Your Word will be so familiar to me that it is always on my tongue.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 13, 2016

Malachi 3:10  Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And therby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open up the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

As I was studying this passage this morning it occurred to me that the Lord says there will be no more need as a result of our full tithe.  I know people say there is nothing about tithing in the New Testament, but I don't think that negates the need for tithing.

It seems to me that if we were to all giving appropriately at our churches, there would be no need for our governmental programs of aid.  I know this would mean that we would have to have a lot more Christians to wipe out all the need.  Doesn't that just give us one more reason why it is so important to evangelize?  It is not all about getting people to heaven, but could result in a much better world on this side of heaven as well.

Just something to think about.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March 12, 2016

II Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

I was talking to a young man today who is going through a divorce, and the first thing out of his mouth was, "I don't know if I am going to make it, I am so weak."  I shared with him -  that is a great place to start.

So many of us think we are all powerful and we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and carry on (leaving God out of the equation completely).  The reality is that we have to recognize our weakness and lean on the One, whose grace is enough to get me through anything.  There is where the power is.  We won't find it in ourselves, but only in God.

As my heart is breaking for this young man, I feel really good about his perspective.  I think he is ahead of many of us when it comes to facing trials.  I covet your prayers for him.

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 11, 2016

Malachi 3:8  Will man rob God?  Yet you are robbing me.  But you say "How have we robbed you?"  In your tithes and offerings.

Not giving is much more than being selfish, it is evidence of your lack of trust in God to supply your needs.  If you continue reading in Malachi, you find that God even suggests they test Him to see if He won't bless them until there is no more need.

Try it.  Give generously and see if God won't bless you abundantly.  You will see that it works just like God says it will.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 10, 2016

Proverbs 28:27  Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

This is one of those great truths found in the Bible that goes counter to the world's thinking.  Most people would think you give away, and you will be lacking.  That is not what Scripture says.  It gives the indication that if you are generous with the poor, you will not want for anything you need.

During the Lenten season, one of the spiritual disciplines we focus on is giving.  You don't have to look far to find the poor.  And I believe that giving is also giving of yourself:  kindness, your time, and your talents.  Go ahead see if God's Word isn't true - give and give generously.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016

Matthew 3:8  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

This is a great reminder that we should act differently now than when we were not Christians.  I think one of the contributing factors to decline in church attendance and loss of interest in Christianity is that the world can't always tell the Christians from the non-believers.

If we truly repented, then there ought to be a change in our behavior.    Ask a good friend who knew you before you were saved to tell you how you have changed.  You may not be able to see the change as easily as others.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 8, 2016

Romans 15:5-6  May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity is a glorious thing!  Did you notice in the above Scripture that we are not only to live in harmony with each other, but also in accord with Christ Jesus.  I think that is the key to getting along with one another.  Without Christ in the center of the relationships, we will not be unified.

Then when we do come together as one voice - we are to glorify God, the Father.  This is such a beautiful idea; why is it so hard for us to do?  I think generally it is all about pride.  We want to think we are right in our thinking and our way is the only way.  To act humbly is to come together as one, the true Body of Christ.

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016

Mark 1:17  Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."

Let's talk about fishermen.  Are you content to sit and talk about the fish that got away, but you gave it your best shot? (He just wasn't ready for religion)  Are you glorifying the past days when fishing was good and you brought people to church? (that was good enough, now let the young ones do it)  Are you blaming the conditions of the day for why you have quit fishing? ( today people are just too busy)   OR
Are you willing to get back into the boat and give it another shot?  Jesus never told us it would be easy, but He did promise to make us fishers of men.  We are never to old or too young to share the "good new" of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps our churches' congregations are dwindling because we have quit fishing.

One thing about it, the weather is always just right for fishing for men. Head to the dock right now!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016

I Samuel 15:22-23 But Samuel replied:  "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."

It is so easy for me to worship with religious acts rather than to obey.  I wonder why obeying doesn't feel like worship to me.  I know it should.  We can get so caught up in "going through the motions" that we forget obedience is even more pleasing to the Lord.  My obedience must sound even prettier than my worship songs.

I pray that I can worship with words and deeds of obedience.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 5, 2016

I Samuel 7:4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

How often we try to get by with serving another god in addition to the One True God.  We can rest assured we will always get caught.  Why?  Because our God is a jealous God.  He loves us way too much to share us with others.  He also doesn't want a half-hearted love or devotion, so we have to put our other gods away and serve the Lord only.

You might say, but I don't have any other gods.  Whatever you devote your time to can easily become your god.  The most recent eye-opener for me was a study that asserted the fact that "fear" can be our god.  Wow!  What a new thought.  I had never considered my fear could be my god, but I would be the first to admit that many times it (fear) dictates my life.

I think it is a good idea to examine our lifestyles ever once in awhile and see just how much time we devote to things other than God.

I am an avid reader and was spending way too much time reading secular novels.  They weren't inappropriate but took a lot of my time.  A minister challenged me to devote as much time to the Word of God as to secular reading.  It made a difference.  Think about it.

Friday, March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016

Ephesians 6:12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

I have been studying the topic of fear recently, and have decided it is a spiritual battle.  The more I watch people going through many of their trials,especially those people who are Christians, I think the same is true.  Once I came to this conclusion, I decided the reason we stay in the trial or go about defeated is because we look for worldly solutions to spiritual problems.

I think the sooner we realize that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, the sooner we will find lasting answers to our problems.  Get into God's Word and recognize just what Satan' tactics amount to and the reality of God's promises.  Don't waste time looking for worldly answers to spiritual problems!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

Exodus 33:19  And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy."

As I sit here today thinking about the loss of a couple of teenage boys in an automobile accident, I can't help but think back to my teen years.  I don't know why the boys had an accident, but I know it was by the grace of God that I didn't kill myself or someone else when I was a teenage driver. Have you thought of how gracious God has been to you lately?  Have you thought about how many times you have acted foolishly and by God's grace something bad didn't happen?

If that doesn't bring you to your knees, I don't know what will.  Just the thought of how often God has protected me is overwhelming; not to mention all the times I didn't even realize it.  This time of year as we get closer to Easter and I ponder what Jesus did on the cross for me, I find I am ashamed of how seldom I pour out my heart of thanksgiving.

Give thanks and give thanks often.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016

Matthew 4:10  Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"

When Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, the tempter tried his three tactics on Jesus.  These same three he used on Eve and uses on us - he appeals to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life.  The lesson to be learned from this encounter is Jesus used the Word of God to ward off Satan's tactics.  In this particular Scripture Jesus' answer to Satan has to do with worship.  I get the distinct idea that temptations that lead to sin is in direct opposition to worshiping God.  I hadn't really looked at it in that way before, but we are definitely not worshiping God when we are in the middle of sinning.

I think if I could make a concerted effort to see temptation as a way to get me away from worshiping God, I would do a better job of avoiding it.  Sin is so much more than just a problem we face, but it also places a wedge between us and our God.  Satan loves the idea of squelching our worship of God, while we answer his call.

Let's agree with Jesus - " Be gone, Satan!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1, 2016

II Timothy 2:11  The saying is trustworthy, for If we have died with Him, we will also live with him.

I like this verse a great deal.  For one thing - it is one of several verses in which begin with the idea that it is a trustworthy saying.  Before you go on, stop to think just what that means.  It means it is worth putting our trust in.  There are fewer and fewer things in which we can trust nowadays.  Plus, I don't give my trust lightly.

So what is it that we can put our trust in?   The fact that we have eternal life!  But wait, there is a condition.  We must have died with Him (Christ).  Just what does that look like?  That is the crux of the matter.

Have you surrendered your heart to the Lord, Jesus Christ, by believing that He is the Son of God and took your sins upon Himself as He hung on the cross?  You know in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked if there was any way the "cup" could pass before Him, and He would not have to partake, He was talking about the cup of God's wrath.  He didn't deserve it, but He was willing to drink of God's wrath in order that we might be saved and spend eternity with Him.  When I consider the wrath of God, and know I deserve it, I am so thankful that Jesus was willing to do that for me.  It makes me want to share in His suffering, and to live not only with Him, but for Him.

Take time today to really consider if you have sincerely died with Him.  Ask God to show you what that looks like.  Then thank Him for the life He offers you.