Archive for July, 2015

July 31, 2015: 7:20 pm: Christian Love

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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July 30, 2015: 12:12 am: Daily Scripture

Jeremiah 12:3-6
3 But as for me, Lord, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like helpless sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered! 4 How long must this land weep? Even the grass in the fields has withered. The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land. Yet the people say, “The Lord won’t do anything!” 5 Then the Lord replied to me, “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? 6 Even your own brothers, members of your own family, have turned on you. They have plotted, raising a cry against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Jeremiah is before the Lord asking for direction in dealing with a faithless nation.  He has repeatedly told them that God would send judgment if they did not turn back to God.  But they refused to listen.  When Jeremiah questioned God because of the trouble he faced, God asked how he ever expected to face big challenges if the little ones tired him out. Times of trouble can be useful in anyones life if they learn and grow from it.  Troubles will reveal who you really are.  But if you cannot deal with small troubles, how will you deal with large calamities when they come your way?  God wants you to not complain about your problems, but to learn and be strengthened from them.  The trouble you face today is training you to be strong for more difficult situations you will face in the future.  Learn and grow strong according to the Word of God in all that happens in your life and you will be able to deal with what is yet to come.

Have a God Day!

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July 29, 2015: 8:39 pm: Daily Scripture

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked–But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.  10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

How could an Old Testament person understand the idea of Christ dying for our sins and actually bearing the punishment that we deserve? But yet Isaiah wrote this prophecy over 600 years before Christ would come to the earth. The scripture is clear that God would come and take the punishment for all those who have turned away, which is all of us.  The sacrifices Isaiah did only suggested this idea, but it is one thing to kill a lamb and something quite different to think of God’s chosen servant as the Lamb.  But God was pulling aside the curtain to let the people of Isaiah’s day look ahead to the suffering of the future Messiah and the resulting forgiveness made available through His sacrifice.  We have hindsight to see and know the identity of the promised Messiah, who has come and died for our sins.  So it is easier today for us to believe than it was for those in Isaiah’s day. If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ today, you will have no excuse when you stand before Him. The Word given to us by God is clear.

Have a God Day!

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July 28, 2015: 12:40 am: Daily Scripture

Jeremiah 8:4-6

4 “Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: When people fall down, don’t they get up again? When they start down the wrong road and discover their mistake, don’t they turn back? 5 Then why do these people keep going along their self-destructive path, refusing to turn back, even though I have warned them? 6 I listen to their conversations, and what do I hear? Is anyone sorry for sin? Does anyone say, ‘What a terrible thing I have done’? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse rushing into battle!”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Jeremiah prophesied for about 21 years before the Babylonians came to destroy Jerusalem and took the Jewish people into captivity.  God had given them plenty of time to change their ways.  God had repeatedly told them, “Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say, and all will be well.”  But even though they still followed the rituals of worshiping Jehovah, they also had many other gods and also worshiped them.  At this time in history it is known that the Jews also worshiped a god that required them to sacrifice their own children and they did.  All the while they were still thinking they were safe from harm, because they keep up the appearance of worshiping the God of Jacob.  Most people who fall down realize that they are headed in the wrong direction.  It only makes sense for them to get up and change directions. But the Jews at this time were living sinful lives by choice and deceiving themselves that there would be no consequences.  They had lost perspective concerning God’s will for their lives and had minimized their sin.  If we continue too long in sin, the same thing will happen.  The longer we stay in sin that we know is sin, the greater the chance we will stay there regardless of what the consequences will be if we continue on.  That is why it is so important to stop and move in a different direction the minute the Spirit of God speaks to our heart about sin.  And you know what sin He is referring to in your life that you just do not want to give up.  God is saying to you today to stop and move back to Him or else you will suffer the consequences of the sin.  God has set into motion the consequences of sin and one of them is our ability to hear Him.  The longer we stay in sin, the less we will hear His voice.  Don’t let this happen, as soon as you know it is sin, stop and move back to the One and the only One who save you. He can have no fellowship with sin and sin will keep you from growing in faith in Him.

Have a God Day!

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July 27, 2015: 12:14 am: Love

Luke 6:37-41

37 “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. 38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving-large or small-it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” 39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “What good is it for one blind person to lead another? The first one will fall into a ditch and pull the other down also. 40 A student is not greater than the teacher. But the student who works hard will become like the teacher. 41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

A forgiving person demonstrates that they understand their own sinfulness and have received God’s forgiveness.  When we realize how great our sin is, no matter what it is, we will be able to move forward in freedom to forgive those who have wronged us.  If we are critical rather than compassionate, we will receive criticism.  If we treat others generously, graciously, and with compassion these qualities will come back to us.  If we rationalize our own sin by pointing out the sin in others, we have not understood the forgiveness God has given us through Christ Jesus.  It does not matter that your neighbors sin is “worse” than yours, you still have sinned and need God’s forgiveness as much as the greater sinner.  By putting a level of wickedness on our sin, we put ourselves above others and God does not see it this way.  Our standard of measure is always God.  And no one can measure up to His perfection.  So all sin is evil in God’s eyes and all sin, no matter how great or how small, is sin against God. If we minimize our sin, we do not make changes and so we keep on sinning.  But if we view every wrong attitude and action as a serious offense against God, we begin to understand what living for Him is all about.  To live without faith is hopeless, to express sorrow for your sin without change is hypocritical.  Everyone is sorry for their sin when they are caught. But only those who understand how great all sin is will make changes in their life that will reflect Christ living in them.  Being sorry for sin is not enough.  Repentance demands a change of mind and heart that result in changed behavior.  Seek to know Him and seek to understand how great His sacrifice was for your sin and your heart will reflect through your behavior the changes God has made in your life.

Have a God Day!

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July 24, 2015: 12:12 am: God in us

Jeremiah 1:4-10
4 The Lord gave me a message. He said, 5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.” 6 “O Sovereign Lord,’ I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” 7 “Don’t say that,” the Lord replied, “for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” 9 Then the Lord touched my mouth and said, “See, I have put my words in your mouth! 10 Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. You are to uproot some and tear them down, to destroy and overthrow them. You are to build others up and plant them.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

God knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.  And He knew how you would respond to His love.  He thought about you and planned for you.  He has also called you to a work.  We are all “appointed” by God to do a work for Him and it should be done to the glory of God. If you do not hear a specific call or task, as Jeremiah had, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers–to love, obey, and serve God.  We are all called and there are no excuses.  Jeremiah felt he was too young to taken seriously.  Do not allow feelings of inadequacy keep you from obeying God. He gave you an assignment and He will give you the power to accomplish it.  He will not always keep you from the storms and trails of life, but He will provide what you need to tell and show others His love.  All are called; there are no exceptions to serving Him, if you love Him.  Seek His direction through His Word and know that He is with you and do not be afraid to tell others what He has done for you!

Have a God Day!

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July 22, 2015: 9:19 pm: Prayer

Luke 6:12-16

12 One day soon afterward Jesus went to a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:
14 Simon (he also called him Peter),
Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James,
John,
Philip,
Bartholomew,
15 Matthew,
Thomas,
James (son of Alphaeus),
Simon (the Zealot),
16 Judas (son of James),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

Throughout the Gospel writers note that before every important event in Jesus’ life, He took time to go off by Himself and pray.  Jesus was preparing to chose His inner circle of disciples.  He had many disciples (learners), but He choose only 12 to become apostles (messengers).  The apostles were His inner circle to whom He gave special training and whom He sent out to build His Church. Christ needed to know the Father’s will completely in this matter and took time to pray through the night.  He had a direct connection to the Father to know His will in this matter, just as we have a direct connection to the Father because of what Christ did for us.  If He needed to spend a lot of time to know the Father’s will how much more do we?  Do you take the time to know what direction God would have you go?  Do not use prayer for a way to try and control what God does for you; it is a way for you to put yourself under His control.  There is a big difference.  Sometimes we do need to go a certain direction until God directs us differently, but most of the time we need to wait until we hear from Him until we move.  Follow the example Christ gave and take the time to know what the Father would have for you to do.

Have a God Day!

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July 20, 2015: 12:02 am: Daily Scripture

Mark 11:22-24
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I assure you that you can say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. 24 Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

One of the most asked questions is  “Why doesn’t God answer my prayer?”  With all assurance, I can say that God hears all prayers, but not all requests get the answer wanted.  But all do get answered.  It is just not always in the way we want.  God is continually working all things out according to His purpose, His design and His time.  Our request may not fall into what He has intended or our request may not be good for us.  They may not take us the direction that He wants us to go.  There may be unforgivness in our hearts towards someone that needs to be dealt with before God will meet our request.  Jesus is telling us that for our prayers to be answered the way that we want, we must first believe that God is there.  We must be a believer in Him. And we must have faith that He hears us and will give us the object of our request if it is for the good of His Kingdom.  Take your focus off of the request and put it on Him.  When you come before Him give it to Him and then focus on Him and His will and not on the request.  Trust that He will work out for you the request according to His will and have faith that His will is best in the situation. If you are praying for healing, not all will be healed as we all have to die at some point and usually of an illness.  So relax in His care and know that He is with you and is working all things out for the glory of His will and that is what is best for you.

Have a God Day!

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July 17, 2015: 1:51 am: Your mind

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

This text tells us that Satan targets his attacks on our minds. We know that because Paul is talking about “arguments”: “the knowledge of God,” and “taking every thought captive.” Our freedom in Christ begins in our mind: we must learn to think differently.  When Satan attacks a Christian’s mind, he starts building strongholds.  This is a place that he can operate from and he wants to set up permanent residence about this issue in your mind. He will get a grip on the your mind until you begin to think there is no way to overcome the problem, no way to save your marriage, no way to become effective for Christ, no way your child will be saved. Whenever you say, “There is no way or it can’t be done,” you are looking at a stronghold in your mind that Satan has set up to prevent you from receiving victory or becoming effective for Christ. Satan can whisper things in your ear that you think are in your mind, but he cannot make you continue to think about it or make you do it. You are responsible for what you do with the thought after he places it in your mind.  If you continue to think the thought that is contrary to God, even if it is a good thought, he can set up a stronghold in your mind to keep you in bondage. Our weapons against such attacks are: prayer, reading the Bible, obedience to God, meditation on His Word, fasting and service. These weapons can prevent strongholds, but we must pull down the ones Satan already has set up in your mind. This can be done by recognizing them when they come up and by loosing Satan’s hold through prayer. Matthew 16:19 says, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” We are to pull down these strongholds and stop thoughts planted by Satan or our own rebellious thoughts by recognizing them.  Pray for wisdom from God to do so and rebuke the thought. Focus on what God can do in your situation and think on Him and His power to take care of your problem. Ask God for wisdom to know what you are thinking is good and building your relationship with Him.

Have a God Day!

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July 16, 2015: 7:56 pm: Millennium

Isaiah 11:1-9
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot-yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will never judge by appearance, false evidence, or hearsay. 4 He will defend the poor and the exploited. He will rule against the wicked and destroy them with the breath of his mouth. 5 He will be clothed with fairness and truth. 6 In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard and the goat will be at peace. Calves and yearlings will be safe among lions, and a little child will lead them all. 7 The cattle will graze among bears. Cubs and calves will lie down together. And lions will eat grass as the livestock do. 8 Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes and pull it out unharmed. 9 Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. And as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

This is a description of the Millennial rule of Jesus Christ as King of the world.  After the Tribulation (God’s judgment on the earth for rejecting Christ) and the Second Coming of Christ, Jesus will live and rule the world for 1000 years.  Isaiah saw this time in a word from God and wrote about it over 2600 years ago.  Many today look to this time to come after we get things right here on earth. They quote Revelation 21:5 which states, “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new!” This verse is talking about the time after God judges the world.  The world will go through a terrible time as stated in Isaiah 13:11-13, “I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and the haughtiness of the mighty. 12 Few will be left alive when I have finished my work. People will be as scarce as gold-more rare than the gold of Ophir. 13 For I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move from its place. I, the Lord Almighty, will show my fury and fierce anger.”  Things are not going to get better, they are only get to worse!  So much more worse, that those who live through it will think that what happened on 9/11/01 was a picnic! Don’t be fooled into thinking that God will not do what He said He would.  Judgment is coming for those who reject the One true Branch and that is Jesus Christ the Son of God who died to free us from sin.  Only those who accept His free offer will escape the coming judgment of this world.  It will not get better it will only get worse.  God will make all things new, but only after He has rid the world of evil!  Trust Him today and believe Him that the blood of Christ is all you need to be accepted by God.  Then go and be used by Him to bring others with you into His kingdom!

Have a God Day!

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