Archive for December, 2008

December 31, 2008: 6:04 pm: Daily Scripture

Job 10:1-7
I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me-tell me the charge you are bringing against me. 3 What do you gain by oppressing me? Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands, while sending joy and prosperity to the wicked? 4 Are your eyes only those of a human? Do you see things as people see them? 5 Is your lifetime merely human? Is your life so short 6 that you are in a hurry to probe for my guilt, to search for my sin? 7 Although you know I am not guilty, no one can rescue me from your power.’
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Have you ever felt like Job and been disgusted with your life?  As his suffering continued, he became more impatient.  Although Job remained loyal to God, he made statements he would later regret.  In times of extended sickness or prolonged pain, it is natural for people to doubt, to despair, or to become impatient. During those times, we need someone to listen to us and to help us work through our feelings and frustrations.  Does this describe you today or do you know someone going through a very difficult time?  If it is you, do not let your pain lure you into feeling sorry for yourself.  And do not take your limited experiences and jump to conclusions about life in general.  Do not let your pain lead you into sin.  Remain faithful to God and continue to trust Him even though you can not see the end to your trail.  If you know someone who is going through a difficult trail, be patient with them and let them talk about their feelings.  But encourage them to keep trusting God to bring them to a higher ground.  It is difficult to be there for someone you love who is in great pain, so keep God in your heart and His Word on your lips.

Have a God Day!

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December 30, 2008: 6:54 pm: Daily Scripture

Colossians 4:2
2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Have you ever grown tired of praying for something or someone? Paul says we should “devote” ourselves to prayer and be “alert in prayer.  Our persistence is an expression of our faith that God answers our prayers.  But what about Matthew 6:7 that states, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.”  If we don’t hear from God when we pray for something once, should we keep praying until we get an answer?  Christ stated not to keep repeating the same words, not the same request for your need.  Sometimes we wonder how to keep praying for the same thing over and over again.  The Word of God is very clear.  This verse in Matthew states not to just repeat words that have no meaning and that you are repeating over and over but have no meaning in your heart.  Matthew 18:6-7 instructs us to keep bringing our requests before the Lord. (Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this evil judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end, so don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead with him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?)  God wants to know what is in our heart and we are to keep asking until we get an answer from Him.  Faith shouldn’t die if the answers come slowly, for God may be working His will in our life.  When you feel tired of praying, know that God is present, always listening and will always answer your prayer.  Maybe not in the ways you had hoped, but in ways that He knows are best for you.  He is more interested in our love than He is in our comfort.

Have a God Day!

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December 29, 2008: 6:44 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 appealed 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 he 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 and direction 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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December 26, 2008: 11:43 pm: Daily Scripture

Isaiah 48:9-11
9 Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. 10 I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering. 11 I will rescue you for my sake-yes, for my own sake! That way, the pagan nations will not be able to claim that their gods have conquered me. I will not let them have my glory!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Faith in Christ does not guarantee personal prosperity, and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life.  If this were so people would believe in Him simply to get rich.  Faith based on rewards or prosperity is hollow.  To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God is sovereign.  Believing and obeying God does not shelter us from life’s calamities.  Matthew 5:45 tells, us ” For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  Suffering in this life is a fact and our faith in God does not shelter us from it. While God may allow us to suffer for a reason beyond our understanding, He is never caught by surprise by our troubles and is always with us through the storm.  We must remember that we live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished.  Not that we can see in this world, but sin will always be punished and our faith in Christ will always be rewarded by Him Who will judge us all.  But in this life we will not always see or understand why things happen.  Sometimes it is not for us to understand.  God may allow us to suffer for a reason beyond our understanding.  It is our faith in Him that will strengthen us and see us through to the end.  It is always within God’s power to meet our need, but it is not always done by Him the way we think it should be.  We need to trust that He is in control and that He will work all things out for our good.  This is the test in suffering, “Will we trust Him?” Will we keep on praising Him when life is not fair?  Will we believe that He will never leave us and that He will keep us safe in His love?   Don’t allow Satan to overcome your faith in God by allowing your troubles to cause you sin.  Continue to believe that God will do everything He said He would do and endure to the end even though you do  not understand. 

Have a God Day!

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December 24, 2008: 11:37 pm: Daily Scripture

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

As a believer in Christ, we must put aside sinful desires.  But doing so is a by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life.  Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Keeping rules and requirements can not change a person’s heart.  Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Still we should not expect instant maturity in our walk with Christ or in others who have stated this journey.  The process of being fully sanctified only begins at being fully justified by believing in Christ.  We should not expect instant maturity in ourselves or others.  Christian growth is a life long process.  Although we have a new nature, we don’t automatically think all good thoughts and have all pure attitudes when we become a new person in Christ.  But if we keep listening to God we will be changing all the time.  The more of God we know, the more of Him will show in our lives.  As you look over the last year, what changes for the better have you seen in your thoughts and actions?  What attitudes have changed?  Change may be slow, but your life will change significantly if you trust God to change you. 

Have a God Day!

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December 23, 2008: 11:30 pm: Daily Scripture

James 1:17-27
22 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. 23 For if you just listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law-the law that sets you free-and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

God is in control of your situation today.  No matter what it may be, He is there with you and He is working things out for your good.  But we are also required to act in our situation.  We cannot understand how God can be in control and the need for us to move into action, but both are true.  God chooses to work through those willing to act for Him.  We should always pray as if all depended on God and act as if it all depended on us.  In other words, we are to believe that God can do all things for our good, but act or move into the things we can. God will not just take care of your need without your involvement.  We are required to move into the direction He is leading to meet our need.  God wants us to act on our faith in Him and not just sit back and let Him do it all.  The events that have brought you to this place and time are not just a coincidence, they are the result of God’s sovereign control over your life.  This is a call for you to move into action.  Do the things that you can and pray about everything.  If God does not want you to move into a certain direction, He will provide another way through His Word or other godly people in your life.  But you must move, you must take action and believe that God will direct you.  Keep looking steadily into God’s perfect Word and do what it tells you to do. God’s Spirit will lead and direct you as move forward into living what you know is true from His Word.

Have a God Day!

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December 22, 2008: 11:28 pm: Daily Scripture

Colossians 1:9-14
We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. 11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. 14 God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Sometimes we wonder how to pray for others or even how to pray for ourselves.  Paul is speaking to the Colossians what his prayer for them was.  This is what we should pray for those God brings to mind and should be the prayer over our own lives as well.  Paul had never met them and had never been to the city of Colosse, but he knew what all those in Christ needed and that is what he prayed for.  We all need to (1)understand what God wants us to do, (2)gain spiritual wisdom, (3)honor and please God, (4)continually do good for others, (5)learn to know God better and better, (6)be strengthened with God’s power, (7)have patience and endurance, (8)stay full of the joy of Christ, (9)and always give thanks to God.  All believers have these same basic needs and even though you may not know what to pray for, start with this prayer of Paul.  It will cover all of what you need to grow in Christ and to become Christ to the world around you.

Have a God Day!

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December 19, 2008: 7:52 pm: Daily Scripture

Nehemiah 8:8-10
8 They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage. 9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law. 10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of choice foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why would the joy of the Lord be our strength?  It seems like our joy should be our strength.  But Nehemiah is telling us that when we recognize our sin by reading the Word of God, we realize how much we have sinned against God.  The Jews who had returned to Israel after 70 years of exile and realized how much they and their ancestors had sinned and this made them very sad.  But God was pleased because you can not make a change if you do not know there is a problem.  And the people realized how much they had sinned and knew they had to change.  They realized that they needed to obey the Word of God.  This made God joyful.  It is the recognition and repentance of our sins that is the joy of the Lord.  And when we make Him happy by realizing and repenting of our sin, this is our strength.  That is why Nehemiah said, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”  Reading and studying the Word of God should cut through our lives like a knife and expose our sin.  As we realize our sin, we turn to God for forgiveness and strength.  It is our repentance that strengthens us and our willingness to obey God that gives Him joy and this in turn gives us strength.  Make God joyful today as you read His Word realize and repent.  Determine to live according to His Word an you will find strength.

Have a God Day!

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December 18, 2008: 7:51 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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December 17, 2008: 5:24 pm: Daily Scripture

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

What you put into your mind determines your words and your actions.  It is true that if garbage goes in, garbage will come out.  Paul is telling you to program your mind with thoughts that are pure and true.  If you are not thinking like a child of God, but are thinking as the world thinks, you are of the world.  But those who have accepted God’s gift of grace through Christ Jesus, belong to another world.  Your thoughts should be of His world.  Your thoughts should be of the Kingdom of God.  As the stated in the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11:2, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  the Lord’s will is done in His kingdom and those who belong to Him need to keep their in thoughts in His kingdom.  Examine what you are putting into your mind through books, television, conversations, movies, and magazines.  Do they fit into the will of God?  If not, then remove them and replace them with the things that are of the will of God.  Above all read His Word and pray.  Ask God to help you identify thoughts that are not of Him and then for power to stop thinking them and replace those thoughts with the truth of His Word. It will take practice, but it can be done for those who know the will of God and have the power of His Spirit to guard and help them.

Have a God Day!

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