Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012: 10:12 pm: Return of Christ

Zephaniah 3:16-20
16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17 For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. 18 I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. 19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and renown to my former exiles, who have been mocked and shamed. 20 On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction among all the nations of the earth. They will praise you as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Zephaniah is telling us about the day when Christ will rule on earth.  God is not done with Jerusalem and even though it may look bad for the Jewish nation today, God is not done.  His promises for this city will happen.  And just as God returned His people to Jerusalem before the first coming of Christ, so He has returned His people to this city before Christ comes again. After the Babylonian exile, the Jewish nation returned to the homeland and rebuilt the temple.  It was almost 500 years afterwards that Christ came as a Babe to save the world.  Today the Jewish people are again back in their homeland and the temple will once again be rebuilt before Christ returns again. This time He is coming as Judge, the Lion of Judah. But we can rejoice with gladness because we have His Word that God rejoices over us with gladness and with His love He will calm our fears.  Christians are His people both Jews and Gentiles, anyone who accepts His gift of grace will be calmed by His love no matter what is happening today.  So rejoice that God is in control and know that we have His Word that He will come again.

Have a God Day!

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July 30, 2012: 10:04 pm: Your mind

Numbers 13:30-33 30
But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. Let’s go at once to take the land, he said. We can certainly conquer it! 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are! 32 So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!

14:1 Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. We wish we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness! they wailed. 3 Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and little ones will be carried off as slaves! Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt! 4 Then they plotted among themselves, Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why is it that a dog will always return to it’s vomit (Proverbs 26:11) and Christians who have lived in Egypt, want to return? Looking back it is always easier to want what we have known, even it has not always been the best.  And sometimes the idea of functioning under faith in a God we cannot see, sends us running back to the evil world we were saved out of. Because we cannot see with our limited senses what God is doing in our lives, we doubt and fear. We see ourselves as grasshoppers in a land of giants.  The battle is lost before it began. The Israelites with this mind set died in the wilderness because of their lack of faith and vision. Focusing on what we can do under our own power will destroy the work God has set before us.  We need to have the attitude of Joshua and Caleb who stated in Numbers 14:9, “The Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”  When you are comparing what you lack to what others have, you function under intimidation and not confidence.  Let Proverbs 3:26 (For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught) be your determination to move forward.

Have a God Day!

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July 27, 2012: 5:33 pm: Sanctification

Romans 5:1-6
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5 And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

There is a two sided reality to living a life for Christ. On one hand, we are complete in Christ when we accept His free gift of grace by faith. Because of our faith, we are given the highest privilege of sharing God’s glory.  On the other hand, we are continually growing to become more like Christ. We have the status of royalty and the duties of slaves. We experience both the presence of Christ and pressure of sin. While we enjoy the peace that can only come from being made right with God, we also struggle with temptation and pain.  Remembering our double nature in this world will keep us from becoming discouraged while we continue to work with Christ to complete this process.  We keep our eyes focused on Him and the prize of eternity with Him.  Remember, we are friends of God and that He is working to draw us closer to Him and not to condemn us for our mistakes.  God is slowly building our confidence and character for higher responsibilities for the work of His kingdom. Remember who you are in Christ and let the power of the Spirit of God within you lead you through your trails and temptations to become the royalty you are.

Have a God Day!

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July 26, 2012: 8:42 pm: Salvation

Habakkuk 2:9-14
9 “How terrible it will be for you who get rich by unjust means! You believe your wealth will buy security, putting your families beyond the reach of danger. 10 But by the murders you committed, you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives. 11 The very stones in the walls of your houses cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint. 12 “How terrible it will be for you who build cities with money gained by murder and corruption! 13 Has not the Lord Almighty promised that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes? They work so hard, but all in vain! 14 For the time will come when all the earth will be filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Today many live in fear of war, financial disaster and disease. Terrorist attacks are on everyone’s mind. This world has nothing to offer but pain and destruction. And yet many continue to trust in the things that their hands have made. Idolatry may seem like a sin that modern people do not commit. But it is not just bowing down to idols, it is trusting in what one has made. If we trust in what we have made, we are trusting in our own power as creator and sustainer.  If we say we worship God but put our trust in bank accounts, homes, businesses and governments, than we are idolaters. We must live above the circumstances of this world and everything it has to offer.  It is all corruptible and will someday be gone.  The only thing that will last is the love that flows through us from God the Father. Habakkuk 2:4 states, “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked; but the righteous will live by their faith.”  Do not put your trust in the gifts God has given you.  Recognize the Giver and put your trust in Him and Him alone.  Do not let your feelings be controlled by the events happening in the world today but by faith in God’s ability to direct all things according to His purpose and His ability to give you strength.

Have a God Day!

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July 25, 2012: 11:35 pm: Sanctification

Genesis 16:1-6
But Sarai, Abram’s wife, had no children. So Sarai took her servant, an Egyptian woman named Hagar, 2 and gave her to Abram so she could bear his children. “The Lord has kept me from having any children,” Sarai said to Abram. “Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram first arrived in the land of Canaan.) 4 So Abram slept with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress Sarai with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “It’s all your fault! Now this servant of mine is pregnant, and she despises me, though I myself gave her the privilege of sleeping with you. The Lord will make you pay for doing this to me!” 6 Abram replied, “Since she is your servant, you may deal with her as you see fit.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and Hagar ran away.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

The Word teaches us to pray in line with the will of God.  We are told by the Word that if we pray in line with God’s will, our prayers will be answered.  But have you ever received a promise from the Lord, as Abram did in Genesis, and not seen the results of that promise?  We pray for the promise to come to past, but don’t see it happening. It can be very frustrating to know that what you want is God’s will and yet you do not have it.  It is during these times that it is tempting to take matters into our own hands, to force the issue.  Most of the time when we do this it leads to sin.  When we know God has promised us an answer to our prayers and we know our request is in His will and do not see it happening as quickly as we would like, making it happen in our power and time will lead to sin.  Abram and Sarai found out the hard way that they could not make God move to their time table.  And Sarai ended up in an even more difficult situation than she had been.  Sometimes trusting God means waiting for His timing to work out the situation. He always knows exactly what we need and when it is the best time to give it.  It is the waiting that can cause us to sin and try to make it happen.  Seek to know not only His will, but His timing.  Both are as important and the timing of an answer is just as important as the will of God.  What are you waiting for God to do for you today?  If you have heard from God and know that the answer is His will don’t try to make it happen.  Trust that God will do what He said He would do and do it at the time He has appointed.  Don’t take matters into your hands or you may find yourself in a worse situation and it may cause you to sin.  Wait for God to work His plan in your life and the lives of those you love according to His time and God will answer you prayer.  He will save the one you are praying for, He will heal your disease, He will meet your need, and He will do it at just the right time.

Have a God Day!

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: 12:05 am: Salvation

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
13 As for us, we always thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation, a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and by your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on everything we taught you both in person and by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, who loved us and in his special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Salvation begins and ends with God through Christ Jesus. We can do nothing to be saved on our own merit, we must accept God’s gift of salvation. There is no other way to receive forgiveness for our sins. He knows who will accept him and who will not. The process of being made holy is a work of the Holy Spirit in us. While we are in this process, we will face pressure and worldliness to leave our faith. Paul tells us to “stand firm” and hold on to the truth. The reality of Christ’s love for us will keep us on the road to becoming like Him. Let it fill your heart and mind and then your actions will follow.

Have a God Day!

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July 16, 2012: 8:35 pm: God in us

Colossians 1:9-14
9 So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. 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.

All Christians want complete understanding of what God wants us to do in our lives. We all seek to be wise with spiritual wisdom. But that is as far as many go, just the wanting. Most Christians know that they should be growing and becoming more like Christ as each day goes by but aren’t sure how to achieve it. Many make the mistake of looking at the overall perfection of Christ and know that they can never achieve that and just don’t even try. We will never in this life reach perfection, so why even bother. This attitude will hold back the power of Christ working within you to be come more like Him. It is God’s plan for every Christian to work at becoming more like Him. No one can say, “I’m not sure what God wants me to do with my life.” The plan is the same for all of us, “Become more like Christ!” Start with very small steps. We all know that we are to read His Word and spend time in prayer. Start by simply taking 5-10 minutes a day doing this and when it becomes a habit, slowly increase. As you spend time in the Word, you will find that you will want to do so. Listen only to Christian music during your day, this will keep you in atmosphere of worship. Keep a very short prayer list and pray everyday. When one is answer add another. Keep it short and simple. Take small baby steps and see what a difference it can make. Your effort will pay off as God will continue to strengthen you.

Have a God Day!
Please note that I will be out having surgery this week and will resume daily scriptures next week.

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July 13, 2012: 6:04 pm: God in us

2 Corinthians 10:13-17
13 But we will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us, and this plan includes our working there with you. 14 We are not going too far when we claim authority over you, for we were the first to travel all the way to you with the Good News of Christ. 15 Nor do we claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow and that our work among you will be greatly enlarged. 16 Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places that are far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question about being in someone else’s territory. 17 As the Scriptures say, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done.” 18 When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Is Christ your focus for life?  For those who claim to belong to Him, the answer should be,”yes.”  There are many things in life that can distract us from Chris.  Just living everyday can be enough to pull us away from Him.  We all have “things” to do.  We all have work to do everyday just to maintain our lives.  But are you doing those “things” while staying in the boundaries of God’s plan for your life?  That is the question to ask yourself everyday. It is very easy to lose our focus on Christ when so many “things” need to be done.  How then do we keep Him first in our lives?  How do we “live within the boundaries of God’s plan for our life?”  Just as Eve lost her focus by listening to the serpent, we too, can lose our focus by letting our life become overcrowded and confused with business.  Begin each day with talking to God. Dedicate the day to Him.  Ask Him to keep you focused on doing the things He would have you do.  This does not mean that you are going to spend the day in prayer, although it may, or that you will be reading your Bible all day.  It means that everything you do you do for Him.  Whether it is going to work or doing the laundry, you are doing it for Him and He is working through you.  Ask God to go over your daily planner with you each day and you will see a big difference in what gets done and how much better they will get done.  Dedicate the day to Him, after all He gave it to you to begin with.  The only reason you are alive and able to function is by His grace.  God never intended you live life on your own, but to be connected to Him as your power source for everything you do.  Give the day to Him and then live the day for Him for He is your God.

Have a God Day!

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July 11, 2012: 7:40 pm: Sanctification

James 1:21-27
21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. 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.

Many find it easy and comfortable to maintain the appearance of being committed without a deep and sincere loyalty to God. Religious acts or rituals can help you to understand God, but without a sincere commitment to doing His will, they mean nothing.  That is why God instituted circumcision and the sacrificial system in the Old Testament and baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the New.  But religious ritual is helpful only if it is carried out with an attitude of love for and obedience to God.  If a person’s heart is far from God, ritual will become empty mockery. God doesn’t want your “acts” of religion; He wants your actions of His will. Hosea 6:6 states, “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices. I want you to know God; that’s more important than burnt offerings.”  God told the Old Testament people that He did not want their sacrifices, He wanted their heart.  Because a heart that loves Him is a heart that will obey Him.  The actions that come out of a heart that loves Him will be for Him and not to Him.  Pretense of love is not love at all.  God desires your sincere love and the relationship that comes out of that love will keep you safe within His love.  Don’t just go through the motions of serving Him.  Search your heart and read His Word to know Him and you will love Him because of His great love for you!

Have a God Day!

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July 10, 2012: 11:19 pm: Return of Christ

1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

The Judgment Seat (or Bema Seat) of Christ is for believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2), and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the Judgment Seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives.  Everything we have done outside of Him will be burned away.  Only those things done for Him, by His direction and through His power will stand.  When we build on the power of God within us, we build on His foundation.  Romans 14:10 states, “…Remember, each of us will stand personally before the judgment seat of God.”  The time will come when all of those in Christ will stand before Him and give an account of what we did with the gifts He gave us to do His work.  It is not a time to fear, but a time to receive rewards for work done on the earth for Him.  As believers we need to be prepared and know His Word.  If we are working on knowing Him and knowing His Word, we will hear His voice guiding us into the work He has set before us.  It is not about “doing” things for Him; it is about hearing His voice and moving in the direction He guides.  Move forward in the direction He has set and when you stand before Him you will hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Have a God Day!

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