Archive for August, 2007

August 31, 2007: 5:47 pm: Daily Scripture

Mark 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. 3 Then the Devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.”  4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.'”   Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He orders his angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.'” 7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.'”   8 Next the Devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will only kneel down and worship me.” 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.'” 11 Then the Devil went away, and angels came and cared for Jesus.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Temptations are situations designed by Satan to get us to sin.  The temptation itself is not sin because as we read, Christ Himself was tempted. Because Jesus Christ was without sin, we can have assurance that when we are faced with temptation, it is not a sin until we follow through.  But Jesus also reminded us to keep our thought life in order.  He stated in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  To be tempted is not sin, but to continue to think about the temptation is.  We should follow the example Christ gave us when are tempted.  We should resist the Devil and he will flee, as stated in James 4:7.  So when tempted to sin, remember that God never tempts anyone to sin.  It is either from Satan or from our own evil desires.  Resist it and stop thinking about it. And most important, remove your self from the situation.   Focus on good thoughts as stated in Philippians 4:8.  Remember that Christ gave us the example.  And God uses temptation to teach us to obey Him.  We always have a choice when faced with the desire to sin.  Choose to obey God and grow to become more like Christ.

Have a God Day!

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August 30, 2007: 5:26 pm: Daily Scripture

John 10:1-10
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 “All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.
 
Jesus said He came to give life, not just an ordinary existence but life in its fullness, abundance and prosperity. On the other hand Satan comes only to steal and destroy. The enemy would rob us of what God has for us. If he can keep us from knowing about God, he can keep us from His blessings. Scripture shows us that God wanted us to be happy and prosperous. This does not mean we will all be millionaires, but that we would be content in our situation with Christ at all times. We are told in Genesis that God made everything and declared it good. Then He gave the earth to Adam. Dominion over all the earth was given to man. From the beginning we were intended to have prosperity, health and contentment, abundant life. Jesus is telling us that He has come to restore what the enemy has stolen from what God has given us. Through Jesus Christ we can break and block Satan’s intent to prevent us from receiving what God has already given us. He calls us today to know Him and know of His blessings, but we have to take action to claim what is ours. Don’t let the enemy steal any more from you. Be empowered by the Word of God in you and receive God’s blessings.
 
Have a God Day!

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August 29, 2007: 5:22 pm: Daily Scripture

Ephesians 3:14-21
14 When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. 17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Are you standing on the edge of a great work of God in your life?  Is He asking you to move into a direction you have never gone before?  At some point in our walk with God, we will all answer yes to these questions.  God will never leave any of us at the point we are now.  He will always be working gently to expand our knowledge of Him, our trust in Him and our work for Him.  Our walk with Him is like a rock being pushed up a hill, as soon as we stop, it starts to roll backwards.  We need to be constantly pushing it up the hill.  When we are standing at the edge of growth in God, it can be very difficult to take that step of faith, because we can not see the end result.  But remember Christ promised to be a light to our path.  So we can only see the next step in front of us and not what is at the end of the trail.  Moving out in faith can be difficult.  We can never fully understand how great His love for us is, so our puny little minds sometimes hesitate to move forward for Him out of fear.  God is telling us to grow our roots deep into Him because His love is so great; He will always lead us to what is good for us.  So when God asks us to move in a certain direction or do a certain thing, we can have perfect trust that He will give us the power to do it and to succeed.  It is a God thing, and only taking that step of trust will lead to growth.  Don’t hesitate, move forward if you hear the voice of God directing you.  If you hear Him, He is with you and will give you the power and the strength to succeed.  Trust Him to know what is best for you.

Have a God Day!

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August 28, 2007: 5:15 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 13:11-15
11 Then he explained to them, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. 12 To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I tell these stories, because people see what I do, but they don’t really see. They hear what I say, but they don’t really hear, and they don’t understand. 14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: ‘You will hear my words, but you will not understand; you will see what I do, but you will not perceive its meaning.  15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Jesus was not hiding the truth when He spoke and He is not hiding the truth today.  Many think it some complicated formula that must be followed exactly as instructed and that only the wise will find the truth.  Movies and books do a lot to promote this misunderstanding.  They tell a story about a very unlikely person that has been “chosen” to know the truth.  Usually this truth saves the world.  But God does not work this way, He has opened His truth to all who are willing to listen.  To those who sincerely want to know Him, He will be found.  To others who put up the pretense of wanting to know Him, He will keep His truth from them.  He knows their true motive is themselves and not Christ.  Remember God knows all and knows the motive of every heart.  He knows who will accept Him and who will not.  He does not determine this, but He knows who will accept Him. And to those who will not accept His Gift of love, He will take away even what they do know of Him.  I believe that these people have already hardened their hearts against God and He is just doing what they want.  To anyone who truly does seek Him, He will be found.  And we will have an abundance of His knowledge and He will increase what we already have.  Not because we are better or have followed the “rules”, but because we are open to Him and truly wanted to know Him.  Spread His truth to all, but understand that not all will want to hear it.  Seek to know Christ more and He will give you more understanding.

Have a God Day!

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August 27, 2007: 5:15 pm: Daily Scripture

Ephesians 1:9-14
9 God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. 10 And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ-everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. 12 God’s purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. 13 And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

You are not a mistake. God knew you and planed you before you were even thought about.  God specifically designed who you would be and what environment you would be born into.  Jesus Christ coming to redeem man back to God was not an after thought either.  God knew from the beginning that He would send His Son to redeem the world.  God is not caught off guard with anything that happens in this world, but that doesn’t mean He approves of everything that happens. By giving us life, God gave us free will and we can choose to live in His love or not.  Those outside of His love commit very egregious sins, as we all know.  But God sees all and knows all that happens and has a purpose for all that happens for those who love Him.  Even in the evil we choose, He can work for our good.  We do have free will to choose evil over Him, but God knows what we are going to do even before we do.  And He can use whatever we have decided for His will, if we choose Him.  And at the right time, God will bring everything together under the authority of Christ.  This has been His plan from the beginning.  Even though this has not happened yet, we have the Holy Spirit of God, and this is our guarantee that He will do everything He has promised.  Christ will come again to rule the world just as He came once to save the world.  God knows exactly what He is doing and everything will happen just when it supposed to.  Knowing this, we can trust Him that He will keep His Word no matter what happens in the world or in our lives.

Have a God Day!

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August 24, 2007: 5:40 am: Daily Scripture

Acts 2:1-4
On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

This event is the start of the Church.  God showed the world in a very dramatic event that His power is now available to anyone who believes in Christ.  Tongues of fire settled on each of the believers.  The fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our life ands sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others.  On Mount Sinai, God confirmed the validity of the Old Testament Law with fire from heaven (Exodus 19:16-18).  At Pentecost, God confirmed the validity of the work of the Holy Spirit by sending fire.  At Mount Sinai, fire came down on one place: at Pentecost, fire came down on many believers, showing God’s presence is available to all who believe.  Has the fire of Pentecost ignited your life?  Do you function under the power of God or under what you can do on your own?  Read Acts to see what a difference it made in the lives of the very simple fisherman that learned from Jesus.  They went from hiding out in fear to going out in public and reaching thousands for Christ in one day.  God can do the same for you!

Have a God Day!

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August 23, 2007: 6:36 pm: Daily Scripture

Acts 1:1-8
In my first book I told you about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he ascended to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions from the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. On these occasions he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.  4 In one of these meetings as he was eating a meal with them, he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. 5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  6 When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?”  7 “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. 8 But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

These are the finals words of Jesus before He left this world and returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  It is here that the change begins in the disciples.  They have now become apostles.  When they sat at the foot of Christ, they were learning more about why He had come and they were considered disciples or followers.  They were in a learning stage.  But now in the Book of Acts they are called apostles meaning messenger or missionary.  It is time for them to move out and act on what they have learned.  After they received the Holy Spirit, they did just that.  Have you moved from disciple to apostle?  Are you still learning about Jesus Christ or are you teaching about Him?  We all have the special assignment from God to spread the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There is a time to learn and then there is a time to tell.  If you have not moved into this stage yet, take a leap of faith and start to live what you have learned.  Tell others about Christ by how you live and when the opportunity comes speak the truth you know.  Act under the power of the Holy Spirit within you and move under His direction.  Keep learning more about Him but also live and speak what you know about Him.  If you are still a disciple and have not become an apostle, then make the move by stepping out in faith.  Move in the power of the Holy Spirit and God will bless you.
 
Have a God Day!

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August 22, 2007: 6:32 pm: Daily Scripture

Philippians 1:20-27
20 For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. 21 For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. 22 Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don’t know which is better. 23 I’m torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, 24 but it is better for you that I live.  25 I am convinced of this, so I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith. 26 Then when I return to you, you will have even more reason to boast about what Christ Jesus has done for me. 27 But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ, as citizens of heaven. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing side by side, fighting together for the Good News
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

We are to live with one eye on eternity.  Knowing that we are citizens of heaven will keep us focused on our goal.   Paul was not looking to die in this text but was simply stating that to die was gain but to live was Christ.  When those in Christ die, we gain all that God has prepared for us.  There will not be one person who will enter heaven and want to return to this world.  It will be far more than we can imagine.  To be with Christ will be the ultimate reward.  But while we yet live, we are to continue His plan and His purpose for our lives.  Since Paul had focused his life on doing the work of God, for the Philippians it was better if he lived.  The longer he stayed, the more they learned about Christ.  Keep your eye on the fact that heaven waits for you, but live your life as Christ directs you.  Don’t be surprised if all of your dreams do not come true because this is not your home.  Live for Christ through the power of His Spirit now and know that you will enjoy the presence of Christ for eternity when your work is through.
 
Have a God Day!

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August 21, 2007: 6:28 pm: Daily Scripture

James 4:1-6
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have and you can’t possess it so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure. 4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God. 5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful? 6 He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Most people want what they want when they want it. When we don’t get what we want, there is conflict. If we are focused only on ourselves and our need, then we will be in constant conflict with the people around us. James is telling us this comes from our sinful nature. It is natural for us to think only of ourselves. Humans will always seek the path of least resistance and seek out what is good for them. But when the Holy Spirit lives within us, we now have the nature of God living in us and making us into His image. As a Christian, we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ when we live in obedience to Him. We don’t have victory because we don’t ask God to help us. We don’t surrender our sinful natures to Him. If we ask, God will give us more and more strength to stand against our evil natures. Allow God to change your desires so that they correspond to His will for you. Don’t let your pride direct you into only what pleases you. Allow the Spirit of God within you to lead and direct you into His perfect will. God has placed His Holy Spirit within you and longs for your faithfulness to Him. Go against the natural and step into the supernatural power of God with you!

Have a God Day!

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August 20, 2007: 6:23 pm: Daily Scripture

Philippians 1:12-19
12 And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.  15 Some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16 They preach because they love me, for they know the Lord brought me here to defend the Good News. 17 Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18 But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. 19 For I know that as you pray for me and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will all turn out for my deliverance.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Paul was in jail for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he could have been freed had he not applied to Caesar. (Acts 25:10)  He was in Rome under house arrest, and had a Roman guard chained to him 24 hours a day.  Paul realized that tough times set up great possibilities.  The guard was changed every 12 hours and every one of them knew why Paul was in chains.  And many of the guards became Christians because of Paul’s witness.  Paul was using his difficulty to spread the Word of God.  As a common Roman citizen he could never have reach the people in Caesar’s palace. but as a prisoner, waiting to go before Caesar, he had opportunity to bring many to Christ. Paul had learned to never give up.  He knew that God was in control and that God does not always deliver us from our adversity, but He always brings us through it.  It is not abnormal to have problems.  Problems are a sign of life.  If we do not have problems, we are in the grave.  If you are going through a difficult time, don’t pray to be removed, pray for courage to get through.  God can heal any illness, any disease and He can bring the right people into your life for help in a time of need.  Pray for strength, pray for wisdom and direction.  Pray for Jesus Christ to be your focus.  Read how Paul handled the tough times and see how God brought him through.  God will do the same for you what ever your problem is. 

Have a God Day!

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