Archive for July, 2014

July 31, 2014: 11:15 pm: Grace

2 Thessalonians 1:3-6

3 Dear brothers and sisters, we always thank God for you, as is right, for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing and you are all growing in love for each other. 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. 5 But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering, 6 and in his justice he will punish those who persecute you.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Why do bad things happen to good people, those serving the Lord? This is the questions so many people ask today. Many outside of Christ say, “If there is a God why would He let this terrible thing happen?” This often will keep them from coming to believe that God loves and cares of them. Because there is sin our world, there is suffering, sickness and death for all people, those who love God and those who do not. Pain and suffering come from three areas in this world. One is because there is sin and all of us will eventually die because of it. Sin is evil and goes against God’s will. Man has free will and many choose to do evil and many others suffer because of their evil choice. The second circumstance that brings suffering is our own choices. If we choose to smoke, we will eventually suffer. If we choose to jump off a cliff, we will suffer. These are very obvious choices that will lead to our suffering. Others are not so obvious, but all of the choices we make in life have consequences either good or bad. The third circumstance in life that brings suffering is our decision to serve Christ. And that is what the Thessalonians were suffering. Paul had to leave Thessalonica very quickly because of persecution and so the believers he left behind also suffered greatly for their decision to serve Christ. Many in this country do not suffer much because of their decision to serve the Lord. But many around the world everyday are killed because they serve Him. Whatever your reason for suffering, God is not indifferent, uncaring, unjust or powerless to comfort you. Bad things happen and we may never know the reason why. The consequences of sin (not necessarily our sin, but sin in the world) and our poor decisions are usually the reason for our suffering. It is important to remember that even though we suffer, God is still in control and can use our suffering for our good, for those who love Him. Your focus should remain on His Word and His love even though you do not understand the “why” of your pain. Know that He is always with you and will never leave you, no matter what you are feeling or experiencing. Just because you cannot understand or do not know the reason for the things that have happened does not mean that God is not with you. Read the Psalms and see what others have suffered through and see how God worked in their lives. And then trust that He will give you peace of mind and heart during your time of pain.

Have a God Day!

 

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July 30, 2014: 11:13 pm: God in us

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 have chosen. 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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July 29, 2014: 11:08 pm: God in us

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 to those who love Him. Even in the evil we chose, 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 chose 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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July 28, 2014: 11:10 pm: Christian Love

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 fishermen 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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July 25, 2014: 11:54 pm: Grace

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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July 24, 2014: 11:54 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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July 23, 2014: 7:05 pm: Return of Christ

Genesis 2:4-9

When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, 5 there were no plants or grain growing on the earth, for the Lord God had not sent any rain. And no one was there to cultivate the soil. 6 But water came up out of the ground and watered all the land. 7 And the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person. 8 Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had created. 9 And the Lord God planted all sorts of trees in the garden-beautiful trees that produced delicious fruit. At the center of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

As we move forward into the 21st century, we are going to see more advancement in science and medicine. And if we look back over the 20th century, we will see more advances in technology, science and medicine than in all pervious centuries combined. Knowledge is advancing exponentially. And it will not be long before man once again attempts to clone a human being. Under the disguise of wanting to save lives, man will be manipulating life. Recently a rare and endangered species of wild ox called a gaur was cloned from a skin cell and an empty egg, but the clone died after two days. And a monkey was genetically engineered from a jelly fish cell. So the monkey’s cells all have a jellyfish gene in them. Most recently there are groups that claim to have the first cloned person, but there is no proof. Life is sacred to God and only He can create it, man can only manipulate it and only as long as God allows. The very breath of God is in us and we are created in His image. No matter how much man tries to change this or denies it, it will never change. I do not believe that God will allow man to create human life through cloning. But we will see more and more embryonic stem cell research. Scientist, stating they are helping man, will destroy him by killing embryos. A human embryo is a female egg cell that has been implanted by a male sperm cell. This is a human being. And all life is sacred to God. The stench of man’s sins will soon reach heaven and God will say enough. Romans 1:22 states it best, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” We are created in the image of our Father and His very breath is in us. No matter how hard man tries to change this, it will never be accomplished. Stay true to the knowledge of His Word. Plant it deep in your heart and water it with time in prayer and be in this world but not a part of it.

Have a God Day!

 

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July 22, 2014: 7:03 pm: Christian Love

Zechariah 3:1-10

Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. Satan was there at the angel’s right hand, accusing Jeshua of many things. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from a fire.” 3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes. And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.” 5 Then I said, “Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by. 6 Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: If you follow my ways and obey my requirements, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk in and out of my presence along with these others standing here. 8 Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of the good things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord Almighty, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. 10 And on that day, says the Lord Almighty, each of you will invite your neighbor into your home to share your peace and prosperity.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996

Born in Babylon during the exile, Zechariah was a young man when he returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. He was a prophet and priest. Being one of the first to return, he was working on rebuilding the Temple and the walls around Jerusalem. Jeshua was the high priest and chapter three is a vision that Zechariah had concerning the Jewish people. Satan is accusing Jeshua, who represents the nation of Israel. He stood in “filthy” clothes (sins). Yet God is revealing His mercy by stating that He chooses to save His people in spite of their sin. This is a very graphic image of how we receive God’s mercy. We do nothing ourselves. God removes our “filthy” clothes (sin), and then provides us with fine new clothes (the righteousness of Christ). All we need to do is believe on the Branch that God sent to die for our sin, ask God to save us and repent. In a single day, Jesus Christ removed the sin from the land. And that redemption is available to all who come to Him. When Satan tries to make you feel unworthy and dirty, remember that the clean clothes of Christ’s righteousness, now on you, make you worthy to draw near to God. And in His presence there is always great joy and peace!

Have a God Day!

 

 

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July 21, 2014: 7:02 pm: Grace

Romans 12:9-17

9 Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. 13 When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. 14 If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

A person who wants peace cannot be argumentative and contentious. If you are asking for peace in your life, you may need to look at what peace you are giving. In other words, it is difficult to get what you are not willing to give. Peaceful relationships and peace with God begin with what you are doing in your life. It is difficult to think that we are just passive receivers of peace, when the truth is far from it. We must live and act peacefully to have peace in our lives. This is not to be confused from the peace that comes from knowing you are in right standing with the God of this universe through salvation in Christ. The peace that comes from day to day living your faith is the peace Paul is talking about in Romans. One can have peace with God, but be at turmoil with those around them. God wants us to live in peace in all aspects of our lives. But it is not a passive receiving, it is an active giving that maintains peace in our lives. The Bible is very clear about what to do and how to do it. Do what God is instructing in these verses and you will not only have peace with God, you will have peace with all those around you. Decide what you want and then give it. Don’t just expect to receive what you are not willing to give. Faith in Christ is an active faith and requires that we act the love so freely given to us to all those we come in contact with.

Have a God Day!

 

 

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July 18, 2014: 8:39 pm: Sanctification

Ephesians 4: 20-25

20 But that isn’t what you were taught when you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness-righteous, holy, and true. 25 So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth” because we belong to each other. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

A major aspect of holiness is living a life separated from the world. Jesus taught us to be in the world but not of the world. What used to be good is now bad and what used to bad is now good according to the world’s standards. But the Word of God does not change; sin is still sin, no matter what you call it or how you look at it. And it is God’s standards that we use to measure. He laid out the plan before the beginning of time and it has not changed. We need to shed the “old man” and stand in readiness for spiritual combat. We need to recognize that we have demonic enemies that are out to separate us from God or at least make us useless Christians. If we are too weak in our faith and relationship with God, we will not be an effective witness to those around us. Reject any evil attitudes and let God work His divine nature through you.

Have a God Day!

 

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