Archive for September, 2009

September 30, 2009: 5:21 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 21:1-22
18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs on it, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. 20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” 21 Then Jesus told them, “I assure you, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and it will happen. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? This was not a thoughtless, angry act but He was actually acting out a parable for his disciples.  Jesus was showing His anger at the appearance of religion, but really nothing is there.  Just as the fig tree looked good from a distance, but was fruitless on close examination, so the lives of those in “religion” can look good, but there is no fruit of the Sprit of God.  If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit.  Those who look good, but do not have a relationship with Christ will bear no fruit. For those today who appear to have faith, but have no relationship with Jesus Christ, there will no fruit and their faith will wither and die.  Christ wants genuine faith in Him and that means the fruit of the Spirit of God will be evident.  Don’t take what you see as substance or validity in Christ.  Look for the fruit of God produced in a persons life.  In your life and the lives of those you see, seek to see the evidence of the Spirit of God.  If He is there, there will be fruit. For those who “look” good, but do not have Christ, there will be no fruit.  For those in Christ and those who are a part of Him, they will reflect Him and show the fruit of Him in their lives.

Have a God Day!

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September 29, 2009: 5:56 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 20:1-16
“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work. 3 “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. 4 So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. 5 At noon and again around three o’clock he did the same thing. 6 At five o’clock that evening he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ 7 “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’ The owner of the estate told them, ‘Then go on out and join the others in my vineyard.’ 8 “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. 9 When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired earlier came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ 13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take it and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be angry because I am kind?’ 16 “And so it is, that many who are first now will be last then; and those who are last now will be first then.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity.  We should not resent those who turn to the Lord in the last moments of life.  No one deserves eternal life with God, no matter what they have done for Him.  There will be many people in heaven that we did not expect to see.  The criminal who died next to Christ did not serve Him during his life, but he accepted His grace and went to be with Christ in Paradise that day.  For those of us who have known of God’s grace for years and have served, our reward will be according to His will, and not according to what we have done.  Remember it is only those things done by His direction, through His power and for His purposes that we will be rewarded.  But to spend eternity with Jesus is the reward of all who believe in Him and accept His grace. no matter how long they believed.  Focus on your relationship with Him and not on what others are doing or have done.  You do what He is directing you to do and know that His love and peace are with you no matter how long you have known Him.

Have a God Day!

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September 28, 2009: 6:01 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 17:1-9
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance changed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. 4 Peter blurted out, “Lord, this is wonderful! If you want me to, I’ll make three shrines, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 But even as he said it, a bright cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. 7 Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said, “don’t be afraid.” 8 And when they looked, they saw only Jesus with them. 9 As they descended the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until I, the Son of Man, have been raised from the dead.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Moses and Elijah were the two greatest prophets in the Old Testament.  Moses represents the law, or the old covenant.  He wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible), and he predicted the coming of a great prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Elijah represents the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah. Moses’ and Elijah’s presence with Jesus confirm Jesus’ messianic mission: to fulfill God’s law and the words of His prophets. Just as God’s voice in the cloud over Mount Sinai gave authority to His law, Gods voice at the Transfiguration gave authority to Jesus’ words.  Jesus came to complete the law not change it.  He was and is the completion of God’s plan to reconcile people to Himself.  Nothing is a surprise to God.  He knew all along that Jesus would come.  If God has everything under control why do you still doubt Him?  Trust that God’s plan is complete in your life just as it was in the coming of Jesus.  Just because you do not understand it, does not make it incorrect.  God’s plan in your life does not require that you perfectly understand it, you are just to trust Him and move forward as He directs.  If you are not hearing from Him today move forward until you do. God will be there to guide and direct you as you move out in faith in Him.

Have a God Day!

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September 25, 2009: 5:21 pm: Daily Scripture

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Solomon’s point is that God has a plan for all people.  God provides cycles of life, each with its own work for us to do. Although we will face problems and some of the times in our life will be hard to go through, God has a plan and a purpose for each time in our life. We should not make the hard times a barrier in believing in Him, but rather look at them as opportunities to know that without God, life’s problems have no lasting solution.  Only in Him will we find peace in our lives when we go through the hard times. The true secret to peace with God is to discover, accept, and appreciate God’s perfect timing.  The danger is to doubt or resent God’s timing.  This can lead to rebellion or moving outside of His will to make it happen.  Just as Abraham took God’s plan into his own hands and had a child with Hagar.  To this day we all suffer with this decision, as all of the children of Hagar are now the Arab nations that are against Israel.  We also struggle as the USA is sending soldiers over to Iraq to fight for their independence.  Abraham could not wait for God’s timing and took matters into his own hands and we all suffer because of it.  So accept where you are today and know that God is in control and in His time it will happen.

Have a God Day!

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September 24, 2009: 5:52 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 19:27-30
27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get out of it?” 28 And Jesus replied, “I assure you that when I, the Son of Man, sit upon my glorious throne in the Kingdom, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will have eternal life. 30 But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Jesus was talking to his disciples about their eternal reward.  Of course, they were thinking about what they would get on earth and did not understand that Christ was speaking about eternity.  In the Word, God rewards His people with His justice.  We may not always understand how God works in the lives of those who love Him.  We sometimes think that we should get an immediate reward for doing His will.  But God does not work that way.  Obedience and reward are not always linked.  If they were, good people would always be rich and healthy, and suffering would always be a sign of sin.  If material rewards always came to those who walked in obedience to God, we would be tempted to boast about the work we had done for Him that brought us our good fortune.  It would not be done out of love for Him, but out of what we could get.  Those who only wanted things, would do good work only to get and not for His purpose.  And if there was no sickness, or accidents there would be no death.  This is not the world we live in.  Sin is a part of each of us because we will all die.  God wants our service to Him to be out of love for Him and not because of what we can get. It is not the rewards of this life that are important, it is the things we will bring into eternity with us that will never fade.  That is only the work that we do for Him, under His direction and through His power for His purpose.  The only part we have is to be in obedience to Him and that does not guarantee we will have riches and health.  We do it because we love Him.  And then no matter what we have to live through in this world, we will know that we are secure in His love.

Have a God Day!

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September 23, 2009: 5:56 pm: Daily Scripture

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
I really don’t need to write to you about how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, All is well; everything is peaceful and secure, then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman’s birth pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape. 4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober. 7 Night is the time for sleep and the time when people get drunk. 8 But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. 9 For God decided to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 He died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The Lord Jesus does not come to the church like a thief in the night. The church is looking for and waiting for the Lord to come. You don’t wait for a thief and look for him and leave a note for him on the back door when you leave your house “I left the back door open for you, Mr. Thief, and you’ll find the family silver in the third drawer to the right in the dining room.” The chances are that you check everything before you leave the house, making sure that your home is doubly locked. You want to keep the thief out. So the Lord Jesus does not come as a thief to those who know Him. The believer in Christ is to be awake and alert in view of Christ’s coming, because the believer will not enter into that the time of testing, which is labeled the Day of the Lord’s judgment. Revelation 3:10 state, “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” Times and seasons are not the property of the church; they belong to this earth and both Israel and the Gentiles who will be saved in that day. The church is looking for a Person, not for times and seasons. However, the Lord Jesus does come like a thief to the world after the church has been removed. The Day of the Lord will come suddenly to the earth, and it will begin with the Great Tribulation period; then finally Christ will come personally to this earth. So make sure you are prepared and are waiting the return of our Lord and you will not have to go through the great time of testing.

Have a God Day! 

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September 22, 2009: 5:28 am: Daily Scripture

Philippians 4:18-19
18 At the moment I have all I need-more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. 20 Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

As a children of Christ, we can trust that He will meet our need.  We must remember, however, what is a need and what is a want.  God will not supply all of our wants or our desires, if they do not further His work.  But we need food, water, and shelter to live, these God will supply.  It may not always be what we want, but it will be what we need.  By trusting in Christ, our attitudes and appetites can change from wanting everything to accepting His provision and power in our lives to live for Him.  Remember God’s final plan for our lives is to further His work, and to be His hand extended to those around us.  If our wants are within His plan, He will meet them.  Focus on what is His desire for your life and not on what you think is best.  When we surrender to His will, we will want His will.  When we know Him, we will want what He wants.  Knowing Him, will change us into a vessel for His love to flow to those around us.  And we will see what needs to be done.  We will see the work He has called us to and this will change our attitude and our desires. 

Have a God Day!

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September 21, 2009: 6:01 pm: Daily Scripture

Psalm 138
1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed
  by all the honor of your name.
3 When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.
4 Every king in all the earth will give you thanks, O Lord, for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great.
6 Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will preserve me against the anger of my enemies. You will clench your fist against my angry enemies! Your power      will save me.
8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Every person makes plans and has dreams for their future. Then they work hard to see that they come true. But God has already charted a plan for each and everyone of us. And He will work out His plans for us. This doesn’t mean there is only one path that we can and should follow. God has directions for us no matter which way we turn.  So if one path does not work out the way we thought it should, God has another direction to take us. And God knows which way we are going to turn before we were even born. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  We are not to be passive and just sit back and say, “Well, God already has a plan, so I should just not make any.” No, we are to trust in the Lord and when we make our plans, they are to be surrounded by prayer and direction according to His Word. This is where we find our plan. The Word tells us not to be unequally yoke in marriage to a nonbeliever. So when looking for a person to marry, you look only at those who are in Christ. Other issues need more reading of the Word and prayer. But the bottom line is we are to make plans surrounded by the direction of the Word and talking it over with our Father. Doing this, we can know that He will lead us into the plan He has ordained for us.

Have a God Day!

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September 18, 2009: 6:23 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 15:3-6
3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘You don’t need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.’ 6 And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct commandment of God.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

This was the practice of Corban.  Any Jew who made a Croban vow was required to dedicate money to God’s Temple that otherwise would have gone to support their parents.  Corban had become a religiously acceptable way to neglect one’s parents. Although the action, giving money to God, seemed worthy it was neglecting God’s command to care for needy parents.  It gave them an excuse to disregard God commands. These religious leaders were ignoring God’s clear command to honor their parents in order to appear religious.  It was the attitude of their hearts that Jesus was condemning.  They wanted to appear religious while doing evil. Jesus told us it is what is in our heart that directs our actions.  What are your doing today to honor God that may be just a tradition that you have done for many years, but may not really be honoring Him?  Seek to move only in His will and to do only what truly honors Him.  It is more important to be the hand of Christ extended than to appear to do so.  God wants our actions to reflect Him with compassion for those He has given us to care for.  Seek to honor Him in all that you do in His name.

Have a God Day!

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September 17, 2009: 6:06 pm: Daily Scripture

Matthew 16:24-26
24 Then Jesus said to the disciples, If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. 26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Christians embrace a life that goes against the grain of what the world sets as a standard.  A daily practice of learning to walk in obedience to the King of kings, will set us against the world. Yet this is what Christ requires of anyone who claims to be His follower.  We must set aside our selfishness and have simple faith in God and obey.  By doing so, we leave the world behind and gain Christ. There is nothing more important in our whole lives than our relationship with Christ Jesus.  Nothing else will pass from this life to next except that.  If we die to self and allow Christ to live through us, we gain the only thing of true value. Instead of trying to keep up with the world, change your direction and walk with Christ.  Ask Him to take your hand and lead you through each day of your life so that you stay on track with Him.  Study His Word and apply it to every aspect of your life and you will gain what really matters most.

Have a God Day!

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