Friday, February 27, 2015

FEBRUARY 27 "I BELIEVE BUT I DON'T BELIEVE"

Wow! If only we could all have the liberty to speak in contradictions and nobody challenge us on them. "Do you love me babe?"  "babe, you know how it is, I love you, but I don't".  Who's going to hit the Altar, to get married with that kind of statement. I am a Christian, I have to believe, it's "supposed" to be part of my genetic make up. Do you believe!? "ughhhh....of course, c'mon, are you serious, how could you ask me that, especially in front of all these people!" Jesus asks if " He will find Faith" in the earth in the last days. I know lots of Christians that have Christian attributes and cliches that the live by, but I don't know to many that are "walking on water". They are believing God    For a good year, they are believing God for Health and for steadied employment in rough times, but who is really believing God for "the impossible?" Jesus told his disciples that He was training in Faith..."I want you to go out from city to city, preaching the Gospel and I don't want you to take any sacks of provision, not even an extra pair of sandals. And as far as where you will stay, I will provide that for you when you get to where you're going, now GO, in FAITH! Most of us would say and have said, "this is a preposterous way to live". Think of it, what are you really believing God for right now that is "impossible"?  Not only are few believing God for the impossible but even less actually receive that miracle, because "they believe, but they don't believe". I was in a bible study some time back and we were talking all sorts of spiritual talk, faith and Christianeese lingo and stuff; and then I asked, who here in the past months has believed God for a genuine miracle and received it? Well, that's when it got quiet. The truth is, while many Christians are going around living nice lives, few are stepping out and believing God for a miracle and for the few that do step out to believe God for a miracle, even fewer stay the course and actually receive that miracle. Few sign up to join the Navy Seals and of the few that sign up even fewer have the resolve to see it through to the end, even if they die trying.  Faith works in the same arena. Few sign up for a journey of Faith and for the few that sign up there will be even fewer that don't run to "The Bell" to ring it for their salvation. I have had many want to join me on this journey of Faith and some traveled quite a distance with me, but eventually they rang the bell and they were rescued, only problem, not by God. With the Navy Seals, at least you have the comfort of knowing you tried. But we are not "trying" God. For those of us who say we are Christians, God is everything for us, "for in him and through him we have our being" and the only right answer is not " I tried to walk by faith, but yeah, I gave in eventually", but rather " I walked by faith and would not ring the bell, and every time God has come through and I have not died yet, have not lacked and have not gone hungry". I know that " if He wills is not a question" He does will!  I also know He has the power!  Everything is line up perfectly for the miracle, not just once, but an on going miracle and the only ingredient that's missing is me and my Faith.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

FEBRUARY 26 "DO NOT _______ YOU FILL IN THE BLANK"

     "Don't do this" is HALF of righteous living, the other half is DO THIS, do these things and you will be blessed.  HOWEVER today, it's about "don't do this" and the question is "why would we do these things" that God tells us not to? Simply cause....we are not righteous. Most people you meet in life are not righteous people.  When I read this "when you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen..."  I thought immediately of Boaz, as I'm sure you did.  Boaz gives implicit directions to his men, that this principle is followed (did they not already know about this principle, of course they did) so that poor (literally) Ruth may benefit. If you study the life of Boaz you will find a man who lived a life worth wanting to emulate.  Boaz is not a man of much fanfare, he is simply a righteous man. Boaz's life speaks for itself and obviously has caught God's attention.  Boaz, no doubt has "the goods"  It is no surprise that Boaz ends up being in the lineage of Jesus Christ. Boaz applied these Godly principles that were long forgotten or ignored by the unrighteous.  Godliness is not defined by how many prayer meetings we attend it is defined in righteous living. This is not an excuse to blow off prayer, but prayer in itself does not always depict a righteous man or woman. As we have all seen people who seem to pray allot that are not righteous in the day to day. They are mean tempered and ill towards other men. Every now and then you will come across a righteous man or women, they are the man, the woman, doing the right thing actually for the right reason, not to be seen by men but simply because they are righteous.  Another man that comes to mind that depicts this righteousness is Cornelius. He is not an "Apostle", he is just a simple man, living out his life, doing right, being right, being liberal, praying behind the scenes, giving to the poor, dealing justly with his fellow man, in short; doing the right thing for the right reasons and this man catches the eye and ear of God!  Yes, it is written in the Word of God "there is none righteous" but it is also written that Abraham committed an act the God records as "...and it was counted to him as righteousness".  Jesus said, "hunger and thirst for righteousness (and you won't ever get it?) and you SHALL BE FILLED!" Filled with what? With God's righteousness. No, these men were not filled with their own righteousness, they were filled with God's righteousness, but in the end, that made them "righteous men".  Boaz, Cornelius and David, we know were not perfect men, certainly not David, but yet these men were amazingly righteous. And it often comes down to "not doing" whether we like it or not. Most of David's righteous living came not so much in what he did, but what he DID NOT do that revealed his righteousness. "he would not strike down Saul" "he would not take an altar for free"  "he would not strike Nabal down". These truths in our text are timeless, if you want to be righteous, Do not take everything for yourself, leave something for others, the poor, Do not deceive each other, Do not defraud each other, Do not hold back wages, Do not pervert justice, Do not show favoritism or partiality, Do not  slander people, Do not hate, Do not seek revenge, simply said, at the end of the day, God is simply saying, "would you just be righteous! The righteous man does not live righteously because life has afforded him too, he lives righteously because HE IS righteous, ie: filled with the righteousness of God! If you are a Cornelius or a Boaz, then a bad day doesn't change that, fatigue doesn't change that, unanswered prayer doesn't change that, mean and cruel people don't change that, a bad day at work doesn't change that, none of these external circumstances influences a Boaz, they are irrelevant to him. Your rating (concerning righteousness) before God will not be tallied by how many church services, prayer meetings, ministries you were involved  in, it will be measured by how you lived out your life, were you just, liberal, merciful and compassionate with your fellow man, this will be the standard God uses. This message is consistent from Genesis to Revelation, and if we fail here, no matter how faithful we are to church services, prayer meetings, ministries, committees, boards, and various other functions, it does not matter, we have failed. Oswald Chambers said it best"many a man will give himself to a religion, to a creed or to a mission, but are there any men that will give their hearts to Christ?"

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FEBRUARY 25 "I DID IT MY WAY!"

THE song that Frank Sinatra may very well be most remembered for may just be, "I did it my way". Not so much because it was such a wonderful song (although it was pretty good) but more so due to the irony of the song and how it's meaning played out in his life.  Frank Sinatra did not leave behind a legacy anyone would want to follow in. It was certainly a life of failure, misery and destruction. He was an alcoholic, divorced, scattered children, scattered relationships and involvement with the mob.  He died a broken, miserable and lonely man, but yet today, the radio stations will still play one of Frank's greatest hits, "I did it my way".  So what does this have to do with today's reading....well we read that the children of Israel are offering sacrifices in the open fields and God commands them to stop doing this or be cut off from His people. God is telling Moses, "you tell these people they are not to make sacrifices in the open field but are to bring their sacrifices to the Lord, at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and sacrifice them there!" (paraphrased by me)  And my first thought is, "so what, who cares where they are sacrificing, as long as they are?, right?"  WRONG! God says "what do you think i instituted this for, for nothing?" (paraphrased by me)  I can't help but think of the Church when I read this; more and more Christians are blowing off the church and doing "their own thing...my way" at home.  And DON'T you dare try to challenge them on it or they will tear you apart. Would not God say the same here?  "No, you're not going to do your own thing, do you think I instituted the Church for nothing, is there not a reason a purpose?" (paraphrased by me)  "But it's imperfect", we say.  Even more imperfect than the church was the practice of the sacrifices, but yet God says, we will continue to do them and YOU will do them at the Temple, NOT just where you want.  And there are many reasons for this that we don't have time to get into, but first and foremost would be the reason God clearly defines and that reason is, left to ourselves, and our ways, we will get squirly. We will naturally start to pervert everything, doing it our way.  "Out on our own, out in the open fields is how CULTS get started, it naturally breeds a perversion and twisting of the way things "ought" to be. The Antithesis of the Christian Faith is "my way".  Remember, when you are doing "your way" one thing you can be sure of..., is you're not doing it GOD'S WAY.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FEBRUARY 24 "OUT OF THE HEART"

It's always pretty amazing when the Old Testament reading coincides with the New Testament reading. In the Old Testament we have Jehovah giving all the requirements for the cleansing and forgiveness of uncleanness; then in the New Testament we have Jehovah, incarnate, giving us the deeper issues of uncleanness. Jesus explains to us uncleanness comes from what's inside the heart of a man/woman. We know that before Jesus ever spoke to the disciples about uncleanness being stored in the heart, He warned us through the inspired Word in Proverbs that we "should guard our hearts with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life." God gives us insight into the heart; that it is more than a muscle that pumps oxygen and blood through our bodies, but is actually a container that holds both evil and good. Psychologists try to deal with the mind when attempting to heal and help a patient. However, they neglect or are ignorant that therapy for the mind is not therapy for the heart. The promise of Salvation brings with it both the "renewing of the mind" and the gift of a new heart. "For I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh". The promise of Salvation is the promise of a new mind and a new heart. A healing that is complete! We have a life that has imprinted images, hurts, pains, sins, guilt, shame and more and all this is literally embedded in the heart of a human. The story of an eight year girl that received a heart transplant from of another young girl that was murdered in a crime that went unsolved. After the heart implant the young girl began having nightmares of a man murdering her. The vivid memories seemed unusual to the psychologist who decided to get the police involved. The young girl who had the heart transplant gave such a clear description of the man from her nightmares, that the police were actually able to track the man down and arrest him. This incident and many other documented incidents just like it reveal to us that Jesus meant it literally when He told us to "guard our hearts";  our hearts are literally containers, a reservoir of memories. Salvation brings with it forgiveness of sin, which is a must to make heaven our home, but Jesus also gives us a New Heart, something no therapist, no drug, no psychologist could ever bring. In the Old Testament Jesus is showing us that a sacrifice must be made for uncleanness, but the Heart is never changed because the sacrifice is imperfect, but through two prophets He prophesies of the day when the sacrifice will be perfect and not only will men be able to be forgiven, but by the Grace of God will be able to receive new hearts!

Monday, February 23, 2015

FEBRUARY 23 "HAD A LONG DAY?"

Have you had a long day for Jesus? Has he spent you for all the energy that you had? If He has, then He will say to you, “I have not asked of you what I myself have not given”. Jesus had such a large crowd of people around him that He and his disciples cannot even sit down to eat. And so they endure, they get through and finally Jesus suggests that they climb into the boat and get to a place where they can get some food in their stomachs and get some well over due rest. We know that when we are being exhausted physically and deprived of food at the same time, it’s a bad combination. It can make the most pleasant amongst us to be quite mean, moody and ill tempered. Well, at least we can say, there’s an end to the madness, they will get to their remote location, eat and maybe laugh about the whole, crazy event. However that’s not the case, our text says, they crowd saw them in the boat and ran along the shoreline to “meet them” on the other side. Can you imagine the anger burning within these men as they watched these people run ahead to meet them at the place they were going for solitude.Enough is enough, they’re gong to see a side of Jesus now they haven’t seen, I’m sure Jesus is going to let them have it, He will send them away so we can eat and have some peace and quite. Unfortunately, for the disciples Jesus does not send them away, Jesus went there to eat, Jesus went there to rest and now he find himself doing nether, bur teaching and praying for more people. It’s been a long day, the sun is starting too set, the disciples have had it and they approach Jesus and tell Him, “send them away!!!”. Let’s eat!  What does Jesus say, “You feed them”.  Here the disciples start getting snippy with Jesus, they’ve had it. “Really Jesus, really….it would take a year’s salary of wages to feed these people, just send them away! We’ve been trying to eat since early this morning. Long story short, they end up feeding 5000 plus people, imagine how exhausting that must have been and this all started with them boating to this remote location to get a-way. Now we pick up the story, it’s 3am in the morning, these men still have not had a chance to lay down to sleep and on top of that, they are caught in a storm. Jesus walks out on the water, steps into the boat, the storm calms and when they get to the shore guess what.........,.more people waiting to be ministered too.  At first we jump at the chance of ministry, at first we are so thrilled that we were used by Jesus, that we were able to help and minister to some needy soul, but eventually it will wear and tear on you and it will exhaust you. Jesus will tax us to some very long days, longs weeks and we will find ourselves exhausted and saying, "I can't do this anymore". Have you had a long day for Jesus? Chances are, if you have signed up for “the ministry” you have had some very long days, days that were longer and harder than you think you can endure and as you begin to complain and gripe to God about your long day, remember the day Jesus had in our text today and this was just one of many that He would have. If we try to do this on our strength we will falter. We will quit the ministry. We must find ways to be replenished by Jesus, we must find ways to rest and be fed and we must cry out to God, "give me supernatural strength to do the work that you have called me to do, because I am exhausted and cannot go another day." If we will be honest with God, if we will cry out to Him, He will replenish us and He will give us divinely orchestrated moments of rest and peace and it is up to us to have the wisdom to see and seize, those opportunities, as they come. Have you had a long day?  Jesus says, "I know how you feel!"

Sunday, February 22, 2015

FEBRUARY 22 "CRY OUT IF YOU ARE UNCLEAN!"

     How interesting...or perhaps uninteresting this reading on boils, leprosy and every other manner of disease. What's the point?! Well, there's a very practical application especially considering they did not have doctors back then, I'm sure the Israelites' loved this instruction, it would save many lives.  Hmmmm, the saving of many lives...by separating the clean people from the unclean people, lives could be saved.  The clean people would not be infected and the unclean people could be healed. Yes this instruction from God was very practical but it was also very spiritual. Notice it was the Priest who "pronounced" if you were unclean. This was not left to the individual to determine for obvious reasons. "Pronounce" is a big word, it describes a definitive statement, it is judgmental in a sense.  So let's put all this together now, we have a God who separates the clean from the unclean, he pronounces those that are unclean and commands them to be separated from the people until they are clean, 7 days. Then (check this out!) He (God) says they are to.... cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.  From my experience, even from what I saw posted on Facebook today by a supposed Christian, there will be many that God will pronounce unclean on their day of judgement. God will not allow them to determine whether they are clean, he will make a definitive pronouncement on them and they will be deemed unclean and will not be allowed to dwell with those that are clean and they will be ostracized from God's people for Eternity.  Notice in the N.T. reading for the day, Jesus gives the disciples authority to cast out...."impure spirits".  A spirit, just like a virus or disease is something that attaches itself to you and I thought it was interesting that the New Testament reading would mention this.  Revelations reiterates that nothing that is impure will enter God's presence. God says to all of us today, "if you are unclean, cover your face and cry out, UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN" until you are made clean. In other words be ashamed of your uncleanness and hopefully the shame will be a motivator to be made clean. Better to face shame on this side of eternity and be made clean, then to be pronounced unclean for eternity, on the other side.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

FEBRUARY 21 "SHE GREW WORSE"

Our text says as she went and spent a great deal on the Dr.'s not only did she not get better, she grew worse. It's hard to believe that that was written a couple of thousand years ago and not just last week. "Spending more and more money at the Dr.s, but yet getting worse". I guess that's been happening for quite a long time. I can relate to this, can you? And this is not a slam against Dr.s either. I am very glad for Doctors, where would we be without Doctors. We know even one of Jesus' disciples was a Doctor, Dr. Luke. Yes doctors have their place, but as believers in Christ, surely Jesus has His place too, when it comes to healing. Where do we find the balance? We know that good hearted, but misguided people have died, refusing professional, medical treatment. However this woman has not only, not refused, but she has paid large sums of money to be healed and still no healing; but yet in one simple act of faith and touch of Jesus she is healed instantaneously. I think there comes a time when we need to realize we have put all our faith and hope in the medical system to heal us, all the while attending church every Sunday, we sit, with no faith or hope for Jesus to heal us. Are you spending lots of money on doctors and getting worse? Then maybe this is the sign for you that you really need to turn your faith and hope to Jesus for this particular healing. Thank God, we could say, for the advances that we have made in the medical profession and in our ability to treat illnesses and diseases, but we must never forget, that Jesus is the master physician, He is Jehovah Rapha, He is The Lord who heals us of all our diseases.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FEBRUARY 20 "DON'T FORGET YOUR OWN SIN OFFERING"

Moses, as directed by God of course, instructs Aaron to bring his sin offering too! " Oh yeah, that's right, I have sin also....I almost forgot!"  It's easy as a Priest/Pastor to become focused on other people's sins, as that is what we often have to deal with. The danger is we become focused on other people's sins and can forget that we also have sin. This can create two problems. The first problem is it can create a frustration in us and lack of empathy towards those that are sinning. Secondly it can cause us to be out of touch with our own sin. The more we concentrate on other people's sins, the less we are aware we of our own sins. Moses, wisely instructs Aaron to bring an offering for his own sins. Aaron is the Leader, he is the Priest, he is the Holy one being used by God, but he must also be reminded that he too has sin. This is not just a strategy for a leaders demise it is a strategy used for the demise of churches, marriages and ministries. The more we talk and focus about other people's sins the less aware we become of ours and the more harsh and rigid we become towards others. The other relevant point to this passage is that Moses also gets Aaron's sons involved in the offering of Aaron's sins. This is not in anyway done to demean Aaron in front of his sons but to let his sons know that even dad, the great High Priest has sin. This not only helps Aaron, but it helps his sons who are also Priests and who will also struggle with sin and failings through out their lives, even though they are priests. It will also prevent Aaron from putting to heavy a yoke on his children that even he could never abide by. We often put a yoke of perfection on our children that we ourselves never even came close too. We want them to be perfect in school, nothing but A's but yet when we were kids our performance was not even near what we are holding them to. You say, "yeah, well that's why, I want them to be better than I was", but the problem is, you cannot Live out the life you wish you had lived, through your children. It would have been easy and probably what Aaron would have done, had not Moses intervened. Aaron, in thinking of his past failures and his family name would have put an undue and unreasonable yoke upon his sons to be the perfect Priests, even though he was far from it himself. And every time his sons sinned and failed as people and as Priests they would have felt condemned and hypocritical. Moses nips this in the butt, right from the start, by having Aaron make an offering for his own sins and getting the sons involved. This one act saves both Aaron and his sons from much future hardship, that surely would have hit, had Moses not instructed Aaron to do this one act of humility.  It was good for Aaron's sons to know his father also struggled and sometimes, gave in to sin. Many families today would be doing much better if Leaders still instructed Parents to make an offering for their sins before their children. No to humiliate, but to bring humility and to keep parents from putting to heavy a yoke of perfection upon their children, when they themselves are full of sin. This keeps the parents humble and keeps the children from thinking "what's wrong with me?"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

FEBRUARY 19 "GO AHEAD AND EAT MY SACRIFICE!"

This is a transition stage for the Israelite's as it is for a congregation that is transitioning to support it's Priest/Pastor.  Moses is trying to explain to the Israelis that "The Lord" wants them to make a sacrifice. A sacrifice that will cost them financially. "Well, I guess if it's for The Lord". Imagine their response when Moses says, "well it's for The Lord, but The Lord told me to give the breast and the thigh to Aaron and his sons".  "Oh I see what's going on here, this is a scam, you say, The Lord, wants....but then coincidentally the offering goes straight to your brother, how convenient! We give and he and his sons just feed off of our sacrificial giving, why he might as well not even work!"  That's when Moses has to break the news to them..."ughhhh, actually, that's the plan, that your offerings support Aaron and his sons, they are going to be Priests". We can read over this quickly and not think twice about the resentment and opposition Moses faced with this new offering. Can you imagine as this hard working man, comes and sacrifices a valuable Ram and then he comes by later and he's watching Aaron and his sons chow down on his Ram, that he sacrificed, that cost him and they're enjoying it.....as they look up, with grease dripping down their beard, "thanks bro, great Ram, tastes great, thanks man!" In his mind he must think this is ridiculous, we've been had by Moses and he and Aaron are pulling a scam on us". But yet, it's there, in the Word of God for us to read, how can we deny this is not God's doing, how can we deny, this is not what God wants. People, congregation members 'till this very day have a hard time accepting that the Priest, the Pastor, should eat off the backs of their hard work and offerings, but the tragedy is, a congregation that does not accept this teaching will never prosper. A congregation that thinks it's Pastor should go out and work a regular job just like them is in for some hard and despairing times a head of them.  And the sad thing is, they will never quite get, why they are not prospering, why they are not moving forward and the very reason will be right in front of the. Every Sunday. The tired, burnt out dishonored Pastor that stands right before them. Until a church values and esteems the office of Priest/Pastor, they are not moving forward and this was fundamental that the Israelites understood this before the moved on with their destiny.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FEBRUARY 18 "DON'T LET THE FIRE GO OUT"

     We can get very deep an analytic about all the requirements of the altar and rightly so, or we can completely ignore them, BUT there is even one that I can figure out, that speaks loud and clear and that is... "The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."   God ignited the fire and it was up to the people to now tend to that fire and it was their responsibility to keep the fire going and NEVER to let it go out?  I wonder what would have happened if they had?  This is obviously a foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit being born in us, Jesus said, "John has come to baptize with water but I will baptize in the Holy Ghost and FIRE!  God will ignite the life of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit and we must keep the fire burning and never let it go out.  The priests were to tend to the fire daily, add wood as needed and maintain the fire. God could have made it not only that he would supernaturally ignite the fire but also that it would be self perpetuated, but HE DID NOT!  You maintain the fire daily!  This is the main purpose behind this blog and the One Year Club, it is the maintaining of the fire, the tending to the fire daily and making sure it NEVER goes out.  There have been days, weeks, months and years were my flame was flickering to nothing and I feared my flame going out and tended desperately to that flickering flame.  In Isaiah, The Lord says, "a smoldering flask I will not put out". God will never be the one guily of putting out our flame, if it goes out it is because we have not tended to it.  So what happens if it does go out? I would not want to find out...will God re-ignite it? He may or he may not.  I know people who used to have Faith in God, walk in his ways who no longer have faith nor believe anymore. It is better to make sure you follow God's command "NEVER" to let the flame go out, rather than be negligent and hope that God re-ignites it, do you really want to play with fire like that? (No pun intended). You know when your flame is flickering down to nothing and the slightest strong breeze (trial) that blows on you will snuff it out; get to work today, add wood, burn some fat, do what you need to do to get the flame up and running once again!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FEBRUARY 17 "I'LL GIVE WHAT THE LORDS LEADS ME TO GIVE"

God makes sure to tell Moses, "make sure for the offering, they give a Ram without defect and of proper value".  We want to be quite spiritual about our giving, "I will give as the Lord leads" but it's interesting how The Lord so often leads us to give such skimpy amounts".  I can't tell you what "The Lord is leading you to give" in your deceitful, I mean, pure heart, but I can tell you what His written Word tells us to give and it is never just "whatever".  God, who knows people, makes it a point to warn Moses about what people will try to do in their offering, and that is, they will try to give something in the offering that will not cost them and God tells Moses, "don't accept it!".  It needs to be a Ram without defect and it ALSO needs to be the right value. Practically speaking, it would be a good idea to bring a defected Ram, after all, the Ram is just going to get sacrificed, why bring a healthy one? However, God wants it to cost, he wants our offering to cost us.  We are not free to give as we choose and then try to coax the Pastor or church to hold a rummage sale to try to collect money for the church needs.  I wonder what would happen if they had brought a defected Ram for the offering, and the defected Ram made its way past Moses, some how? Well, what would happen is their sins would not be covered because it was a "sin offering" and there was a specific amount designated for that. God would not honor his part of the deal since you did not honor your part. So then the same applies, that if we give every Sunday, as we feel lead, but never give "the first fruits, the tenth" of our income, what's the sense in giving? God promises to rebuke the devour if we give "The Tenth & offerings" not if we just give whatever we please. "I'll give what I want and what I think I can afford!", you say...Well, go ahead, but your giving is in vain, because it's not accomplishing  what giving is supposed to accomplish.  We give in obedience, yes, but we give also that the devour may be rebuked, we give so that God's covering would be upon us and that God would make all Grace abound towards us, that in all things at all times, we would have all that we need and there would be excess. However, if we give what we want, how we feel, then God does not honor his part of the deal and we might as well not give, because we are now just throwing away money. We will not get any blessing back from it.  If you are going to give then you might as well give the right amount, the designated amount, the Ram without defect, of proper value, otherwise, your giving is in vain and that's worse, than not giving at all!

Monday, February 16, 2015

FEBRUARY 16 "AS A RESULT OF YOUR ACTIONS, JESUS COULD NO LONGER...."

     AS A RESULT, "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places". Imagine, this man's disobedience actually put an an end to what Jesus had previously been able to do; not only that but it forced Jesus to remain outside in lonely places. I wonder what is the result of our disobedience? What have we stopped Jesus from doing? What have we hindered? Often we can get caught on the idea that God is sovereign therefore I can do whatever I want and God will make it work out.  Of course this releases me of all responsibility of having to "listen" and puts everything on God. We like this false theology....BUT read this passage, Jesus gave this man specific instructions for a reason, AS A RESULT of this man not listening, no longer could Jesus enter a city, "way to go dufus", we might say, but how often have we done the same? What will you say today, what will you do, where will you go, how will you react, even after the Holy Spirit has urged you NOT TO, that will hinder Jesus' influence in that place?  "Aghhhhh, God will find a way, it will all work out", no, that avenue will be shut, that place of influence will be done with, that door will now close, that revival will cease. We don't have to be psychics to please God, we just have to obey him when he says, "don't do that, don't say that, please do this" that's all we have to do. "Jesus sent him away with a strong warning, see that you don't tell this to anyone..."  Jesus knew what the ramifications would be if this man did go tell everyone and Jesus knew he would not be able to reverse it either! Next time you're in a predicament that is similar, just think..."AS A RESULT Jesus ____________________ (and you fill in the blank).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

FEBRUARY 15 "SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO"

     WOW, imagine having to live like this??? I'm so glad we don't have to live like this anymore....imagine having to wait on God to move.  In our text we read that "...in all the travels of the Israelite s whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out-until the day if lifted".  I mean, how restrictive is that?  Well that was the Old Testament and now we are in the New Testament and I can come and go as I please, I can go here and there and God will just follow me around like a lost puppy dog, so glad "I am free in Christ" and not under oppressive legalism of the Old Testament. Of course that was all just facetious talk...The principles of God are forever enduring.  Jesus himself reitereated in the Gospels, "do not say tomorrow I will go here and do thus....". This principle is very, very applicable to the Christian life today. Wait on God, don't move a head of God and don't lag behind either. No we don't have a cloud hanging over our lives to guide us, we have better, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We do have the liberty to motion forward, but always remember when the Holy Spirit checks you, stop in your tracks, you have either gone a head or are going in the completely wrong direction.  The Apostle Paul writes, "we were going in one direction but the Holy Spirit forbade us and we went in another" (paraphrased by me).  In the normal on goings of life it's not so much about praying whether or not I should have Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes for breakfast, but it is more in keeping an open heart and mental disposition towards God that when we are moving a head, lagging behind or going in a completely in a different direction that He can check us and we will halt in our tracks. Be very careful about thinking you can just get up and leave and go and do whatever you want when ever you want, if you believe that, you have missed the principle being taught here and enforced through out the N.T.  Our life is not our own, it has been bought with a ransom and God really does have a divine plan and though we do not have to stop and pray at every decision, we must be open to his will, his place, his timing and if ever there's a conflict, that we would yield and either cancel our plans or rearrange them, even as the Apostle Paul did.  Nobody has a blue print laid out before them that maps out God's perfect will and direction; it is a matter of decision from day to day, move when God moves, wait when he does not and be sure, he will get you to that intended destination!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

FEBRUARY 14 "HAPPY VALENTINE'S LADIES"

It's in interesting that Jesus first appears, as the resurrected Jesus, to ladies. Jesus always had a unique place and purpose for women in His ministry; just one more aspect of the uniqueness of Jesus' movement, ie: Christianity. They were 2nd class citizens and still are, in the Middle East. Yet He came accepting them, ministering to them, even Samaritan women. Jesus saw the unique qualities of women that He had put in them when He created them. The greatest event that ever happened for the rights of women, was Christianity. Nobody understood the value of women more than Jesus and no movement has fought for woman's rights more than Christianity. No, not supreme rights over her own body, ie: Abortion, but neither man or woman has supreme rights over their own body. My question is, when we see that Christianity was and is and has always been at the forefront of Woman's Rights and Liberation; why is it that today's Feminist would not be caught dead in a CHRISTIAN Church. Why is it that Feminists oppose right wing fundamentalists and stick so far to the Left, when it comes to politics? I can only think of one logical answer and that is the modern day feminist movement has an  opposing, antagonistic spirit, to that of Christianity. In any logical sense, any well grounded and good hearted Feminist would embrace Jesus and Christianity. If a woman came up to me after church and told me she was a Feminist, I would say, "so am I and I am because Jesus was and I do value the contribution that women make to society, the family and most certainly the Church of Jesus Christ, BTW I love women, my mom was a woman and my wife happens to be one too, so I'm glad you're here!" I have been in quite a few churches and every church I have been in, that is doing well, has a core of women in that Church, that were it not for them, that church would be in trouble. I don't think men are as much into Valentines Day as Women (actually, not even close) and here we are, FEBRUARY 14th, Valentines Day, in our One Year Bible and Jesus is resurrected and although Jesus is a Man's Man in every way, He chooses to first reveal himself to the women who so faithfully followed him and anointed his body for death and who carefully tended to Him after his death. HAPPY VALENTINES!

Friday, February 13, 2015

FEBRUARY 13 "DON'T DRINK THE CUP OF BITTERNESS"

Jesus refuses to drink the cup of Vinegar, mixed with Gall (Bitterness).  He tastes it, but refuses to drink it, when later on he is presented again, with a drink (vs. 47) now the Gall has been left out and he drinks.  Jesus has defeated immorality, he has conquered the temptation of revenge, power, greed and even the temptation to lash back out and kill. But he most importantly must be triumphant over Gall. Jesus chose the bird He created, the Dove as His representation of the Spirit that would descend upon Him when he is being baptized by John. The Dove, a bird with no Gall, no desire to retaliate, a peaceful bird that no matter how much the Dove is provoked, does not retaliate. Jesus is 99.9% victorious, He is near death, but He must win this final quest before He can die. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do", and he refuses to drink the cup of bitterness that is being offered to him, even at The Cross and now He is 100% victorious over sin. "It is finished", he says, and He bows his head totally victorious.  This is the victory we must each possess before we die. While many of us have been victorious over drugs, alcohol, immorality, the one sin that the Church is struggling with is bitterness & resentment. We have been able to get victory over so much, but will this sin, this vice be the one that gets us at, or brings us to.... our death. The Church of Jesus Christ is filled with bitter people.  Bitter at their brother, bitter at their wife, their husband, bitter towards their Pastor or previous Pastor, bitter towards their Church, their employer, bitter towards their Government, bitter towards their father, mother, mother-in-law, does the list ever end? Why do we drink the cup of Gall that is presented to us? Do we not know that it is only a poison to those who drink it! Isn't that what a "Gall bladder" does, it collects all the toxins and poisons to protect you.  The one sin that may just keep folks from entering heaven may be the one they have to resist right until their very last breath, just like Jesus. As they mocked and scorned, crucified naked in front of his mother, tortured and beat, the perfect set up for bitterness, He refuses to drink the cup of Gall. Beware of bitterness, it is an ongoing battle to defeat it; as people will continue to hurt and disappoint you until the day you die and the cup will be there for you to drink too and I hope like Jesus, you refuse and die in victory and assurance, that you will make Heaven, your eternal home. "If you will not forgive those on earth that have sinned against you; then neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you our transgressions".

Thursday, February 12, 2015

FEBRUARY 12 "THE TABLETS YOU SMASHED!"

A lot of the focus up until this point has been on Aaron and his total screw up, while Moses was on top of the mount with God. God says, "Chisel out two more stone tablets like the first ones......THAT YOU SMASHED." God could have so easily left that last part out, but He decides not to and throws it in right at the end of the sentence. Moses at this point must have taken a big gulp and said, " oh yeah, I did do that didn't I....would you believe me if I told you they slipped out of my hand? " No I guess you wouldn't cause you already told me I smashed them".  "That's right Moses, you smashed the stones that I, God, carved out with my very own finger!" I like the way God doesn't beleaguer the point, but He does address it to let Moses know, "that wasn't a good thing, just to let you know, but you're forgiven even though you have never even said sorry or asked for forgiveness".  Now this is not some new doctrine here that I am trying to present, that God automatically forgives our sin even when we don't ask for forgiveness, but what I am saying is that God gives us more Grace and Mercy than we give Him credit for. Moses has been through some craziness at this point, the shock of the golden calf, the revelry, his brother totally failing and succumbing to lewdness and revelry and then the 3000 that perished in the judgment sword fight. But yet in the midst of that, Moses lost his temper once again and smashed the tablets inscribed by God himself, not to mention Moses made them grind the dust from the golden calf, into the water and DRINK IT!  They saw the anger and temper of Moses flaring and in fear they drank. I don't quite recall God telling Moses to grind the calf into dust and throw it into the water and drink it. God is so gracious with us and in our times of wrath against God's stupid, stupid, faithless people, what's wrong with them.....He gently reminds us of our own selves, our own sins and what we have done that wasn't so great and haven't even said "sorry" because we are so fixated on other people's failures, but God also doesn't beleaguer the point...."just a reminder you did this, but's it's okay, I know you had a bad day, just bring me new stones and let's move on and oh Moses, show the same Grace with my people that I have shown with you and BTW, the burning and grinding of the calf and making them drink the water.....yeah...that wasn't cool and make sure you tell them that was your idea, not mine!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

FEBRUARY 11 "WHERE IS WISDOM?"

For 3 days we have been reading on wisdom.  The conclusion in today's reading is..."whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death".  Wisdom here is a metaphor, but this statement is literal. Those who hate wisdom will end up dead quicker than most of us, but what about those of us that don't necessarily "hate" wisdom, but just kind of in the middle? We may end up being the most miserable. We don't love or cherish it enough for it (wisdom) to benefit us, we don't hate it enough to where we will probably die for lack of it, so we just remain in this quagmire....of ...of misery. I am currently in a a very complex situation concerning my taxes, having lived, resided, worked and been a citizen of two countries in one year makes is very difficult to file tax returns.  The complication of doing my taxes far exceeds any financial benefit to me (as I have had to hire a CPA in each country), to the point that I (not wisdom) would say, "forget it, who cares", but WISDOM cries out (as in our text) "do it right, the first time and it will save you trouble in the long run". To be honest, I have not always loved wisdom, as a matter of a fact, she (wisdom) has gotten on my nerves many times, it's just my bad nature and the rebel within. How many times have I heard the voice of wisdom and ignored her? How many times have YOU heard the voice of wisdom and ignored her?  What I like about wisdom is anyone can love Wisdom, Christian and non-Christian alike. Wisdom (like God) is no respecter of persons.  Wisdom says, " I will benefit any prosper "ANYONE" that loves and cherishes me. The fact is, there are many Christians who sit in the church, sins forgiven & redeemed but still have not learned to value and cherish wisdom.  They are forgiven (thank God) but their lives are plagued with problems.  Wisdom is a complex thing in itself, as there are so many facets, Wisdom is mixed in with understanding and prudence, they come in a package, to possess one, you must possess them all. Wisdom is not one dimensional, you cannot say, " I have wisdom here, in this area, therefore I possess  all wisdom".  No, I would say, "you possess wisdom in that one area".  Many successful people in our society possess wisdom in areas of life, such as: career and secular decisions but don't possess wisdom concerning their eternal future and security. They are the neighbors we hate because they seem to have it more together than we do, and truth be known, they sometimes do and this is the reason. Christians have wisdom in sight of eternity, they see and have enough wisdom to fear God, but that is only one aspect of wisdom, but for many Christians, it ends there! The have wisdom to fear God, but every other decision they make seems to be one that blows off wisdom and they make one unwise decision after another. Why did you do that? Why did you ignore that matter? Why did you say that? These are the questions that Wisdom would have asked and they are the questions we ask, from the outside looking in, we think, "did they not think that this would come back to haunt them? Statistics show that many Christian marriages will end in divorce in a few years, many Christians will file Bankruptcy in a few years, many Christians will die of diabetes and other health related problems in a few years and we can only sit back and ask, "did you not think these decisions or lack of decisions would not come back to nip you in the but, harm you or even kill you?" THE POINT IS....Wisdom is not an automatic virtue that comes at salvation; salvation brings with it forgiveness of sins, deliverance and eternal life, but wisdom, just like before you were saved, still is looking for those that will cry out for her, still looking for those that will cherish her above all things and from now to eternity, the promise will ALWAYS be, "Blessed will be the man who listens to me.....but whoever fails to listen will harm himself; all who hate me loved death".  You think you will be blessed just because you're a Christian?!  Think again and look around at your brothers and sisters in Christ and you will see this is not true. Question is, do you possess wisdom and if so in what facet, just one? The bible says if you will seek wisdom you will find her. What is wisdom crying out to you today, to do?  Will you do it? Do you love and cherish wisdom? Ignore wisdom, don't cherish her and you will live a Christian life, plagued with one problem after another (this is what proverbs means by "you will be harmed) while you watch the ungodly prosper because though they may not have wisdom to fear God, they listen to the voice of reason, wisdom, understanding and prudence on every other facet and it is sad when we watch the lives of those who don't fear God, run smoother and better lives, than those of us that do. We cannot say, " i have the wisdom to fear God" and that's all that matters, i don't care about the rest....if you live long enough, you will learn to care and you will learn to regret, hopefully sooner than later.....your disregard for....WISDOM!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

FEBRUARY 10 "GOD INTERVENE QUICKLY"

     We like to encourage each other by often saying, "God always answers prayer", is that true?  It's comforting, but is it true?  Jesus says, "don't you think I can call on God now and he will send twelve legions of angels.....BUT, how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say, it must happen this way?".   Our answer to this question would be, "ughhh....Lord I didn't think all that through, all I know is this is a bad situation and I want it to end...NOW!".  And God's reply would be, "okay, but if I intervene here, things will take a different course than I had planned".  There will be times where the Father will not intervene even though we ask.  Are you going to the cross? It could possibly be and it could possibly be that every day you pray, "hey, I'm not Jesus, so why don't you go a head and send those 12 Legions of Angels, if Jesus won't take them, then I will!!!"  Unfortunately, the Father's answer will but, "BUT then how would my will be fulfilled that I am trying to bring to pass...?"  And we may say, " I don't care about that!"  BUT unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) God does care and hopefully years gone by, we will appreciate that God did not intervene.  There's nothing wrong with crying out to God in a crisis, there's nothing wrong with praying, "God let this end today!"  Nothing wrong with that, what is wrong is when we get bitter at God because he does not answer our prayer, that is what's wrong.  "If any man want to follow me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross", Jesus said. Every true Christian has their unique crucifixion (so to speak) to go to and we are not like Jesus; we will cry out for him to intervene, not caring about the greater purpose behind our cross, BUT be prepared if he ignores your petitions and then pray, "then Father, give me the strength to endure through this if you're not sending the Legions of Angels, thank-you, yours truly __________ (fill in your name)".

Monday, February 9, 2015

FEBRUARY 9 "DISAPPOINTED WITH JESUS?"

A side from Judas' satanical inspiration, many believe that alongside with that disposition was also a great disappointment Judas had with Jesus, yes Jesus, can you imagine?!!  In Judas' eyes, Jesus did not deliver as he could and should have and Judas finds himself not just grieved at what he is about to do (betray Jesus), but grieved over Jesus' failure do deliver the goods, so to speak. I love the flow of the reading today, it transpires from Judas (one of the twelve) negotiating the betrayal of Jesus right to the disciples (the other 11) asking Jesus what they can do to prepare for the Passover.  Don't miss this!  They're ALL "the disciples" the "chosen 12" and while one is off disappointed and betraying Jesus for his failure to live up to his expectations, the other 11 are marching along appreciating Jesus for ALL He is and ALL He is doing.  Is this not the same Jesus ALL 12 have had a relationship with for the past 3 1/2 years, why then such contrasting views? It's an issue of the heart, isn't it! Judas' heart is not right. You can come to church, you can try God, ....see what "he can do for you, how God can benefit your life" but at the end of the day, if your heart is not right, you will betray Jesus. You will walk away from God accusing Him for never having lived up to your expectations.  We see people walk away from God everyday and we, the rest of the disciples, scratch our heads and ask why? And the answer is normally something along the lines of ...."God didn't do what I had expected, he wasn't all that I thought he would be or do"...and we the rest will simply scratch our heads and say..."really???" and then we will turn to Jesus and say, "what can I do to help you Lord, because you are everything you say and more". Does your view of Jesus contrast from your brothers and sisters in Christ, for the worse? If so, watch out, you're on a slippery slope to betrayal, don't be a Judas, don't betray Jesus!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

FEBRUARY 8 "ABANDONED IN MY TIME OF NEED"

  This may end up being one of the greater indictments against The Church of Jesus Christ at our judgement; that we abandoned our brothers and sisters in their most dire time of need.  In our reading today, the Psalmist  eludes to a time of great anguish in his life and because of this his strength is failing; he then goes on to say concerning his friends, "I am a dread to my friends....I am forgotten by them".  Unfortunately, it is when we are not at our best that our brothers and sisters in Christ seem to get turned off by us and often abandon us when we need them the most!  Why is that? Is it because of selfish reasons, after all, who doesn't want to hang around upbeat people full of joy and victory, but are there not times that we need to also grieve with those that are grieving?! Another reason is their weakness probably turns us off, "why are you even struggling with this ....what's wrong with you!!?" Thence, we're turned off and leave them to struggle alone.  I am not talking about a brother/sister who has strayed, is unrepentant and living in sin, I'm talking about a brother/sister who is simply struggling and weak in their faith, probably missing church and putting out a lack luster performance. Do we have empathy for those consumed in anguish or do they now become a dread to us, as the Psalmist writes.  Are they forgotten by us as we move on to fellowship with our more jovial brethren, after all, who wants to be brought down?! Be careful, there's often a demonic strategy here, as the brethren turn their backs on the weak because they are turned off by their weakness, the sinner(s) now come around to comfort because they are not turned off and what can happen is a re-kindled allegiance with the world can be formed in these times because we will often gravitate towards those that are there for us in our time of need, whether that be the world or the church, we will gravitate towards the one(s) that show us empathy. One of the grater indictments against the church will be our lack of empathy for our struggling brothers and sisters in Christ.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

FEBRUARY 7 "DON'T DELAY"

As with everything about God, there is a Paradox.  Jesus' delay in his coming will add many to the Kingdom and also true, is Jesus' delay in coming will take many out. These virgins have enough oil for a quick appearance, but definitely don't have enough should the bridegroom delay.  We can call them "flash in the pan" Christians.  We see them come with much excitement and enthusiasm for the Lord, but their Oil, their light quickly begins to dim and go out, after a few months. Unfortunately, it's not just the "flash in the pan" Christians that I have seen this happen too. Christians that have been around for 20 + years are now beginning to loose their oil. Had Jesus come back when they thought, the '70's or 80's, they'd be in Heaven with Jesus today, however the Bridegroom has delayed in his coming. The longer you serve God, the more brothers and sisters we see falling by the wayside. Is it not our duty to keep the "fire alive".  We know that Jehovah originally lit the fire in the Temple, but he commanded the Priests not to let the fire go out.  Our duty is to attend to the business of our souls, to take great care of the fire, the oil, or lack of it, within us. We can and do grow careless in waiting for Christ's return.  In the parable, the Wise and the Foolish both slept. First they slumbered, then they slept.  It is always easy to see a Saint that is wavering off, losing zeal and interest, however, never to any admission on their part. Those that allow themselves to slumber, to become spiritually lackadaisical will rarely, not continue in that downward spiral. Slumber, does lead to sleep, stay awake! "Stay Awake" is the warning in verse 13. So we can conclude that even those that are considered wise should not have fallen asleep. "A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler"  The same thought is being used in Proverbs, that one course of action or inaction, is clearly leading to another. They are all intertwined. And so while neither of us our "mind readers" and neither of us "knows the heart of another" we do know that slumbering, leads to sleep, that "relaxing" spiritually is a progressive motion, progressive towards are spiritual demise. We ought to dread the beginning of spiritual decay in our lives. The wise virgins would not share their oil because we cannot give somewhere the fire of God, the Spirit of God, that is in us.  We can comfort, we can encourage, we can fellowship, but they must purchase the oil themselves. Those that have more oil than others is not because they were just more privileged or favored by God, it's because they purchased it.  While others slept, they prayed. While others indulged in carnality they kept themselves in The Word. While others were lackadaisical about the assembling of the Saints, they were diligent to be there...for Faith comes by hearing; and by hearing the Word of God. The time will come when fading brethren will ask for "our oil" and we will have to tell them what we've been telling them for years, " I can fellowship with you, I can help you, I can be a shoulder for you to cry on, but you must establish your own relationship with God, that I cannot give you! They want what we have, but they don't understand that what we have has come from years of investment and we cannot give it to them, as much as we would like.
As the scripture says, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"......."for the first shall be last and the last shall be first"....how much of a reservoir of oil do you have, go purchase some now, today and through out this year because the bridegroom may not come as soon as you had wished or hoped. For some that is good news, for others it will be bad! The delaying of the bridegroom will be what added many to the Kingdom, but it will also be, what took many out, be ready!

Friday, February 6, 2015

FEBRUARY 6 "DOES GOD STILL FIGHT OUR ENEMIES"

What a promise God makes to the children of Israel. I will be an enemy to your enemy and oppose those that oppose you. But doesn't God love everyone, how could he take sides? Aren't we all God's children? We may all be God's creation, ie: human beings, but we are not all his sons and daughters. We are not all His children. " but all who did receive him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His Name".  It is clear in The Bible that God does make a clear distinction between those that serve him and those that don't. What a promise this is to us, God's children; that our enemies will be His enemies and He will oppose those that oppose us! The only thing is, is that still relevant for us today? And if the answer is yes. Then why are so many of us, beat up and losing? It could be, that one of the most difficult aspects of Pastoring, is watching the members of your congregation get beat up and surrendering the white flag to their enemy or those that oppose them. Perhaps knowledge isn't the great elixir, but application is! Perhaps we don't even have the knowledge, "for my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge..."  I would say between those that don't know God's Word and those that know, but don't apply it, we are in a battle, a fight, that we are going to get beat up in. The general rule of thumb is, don't get into a war you cannot win.
I have seen 6' 4, 240 lb men taken out of this fight, in just a few months, but yet the Leader of the Fellowship I am in, is 5'5 and weighs probably 140 lbs soaking wet! What's the difference? One man with knowledge and application is leveraging God's Power on his behalf and winning, 40 plus years later, with over 2000 churches under his leadership and the other man is losing for either "lack of knowledge" or knowledge with no application. Which one are you?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

FEBRUARY 5 "YOU STUD MUFFIN!"

     I've been saved since 1991 and have never really had a problem with wanton women trying to hit on and/or seduce me. HOWEVER, I've heard stories from other Christians that have often experienced this and have often thought, "odd that it never happens to me" (Thank God!!).  I've never been in a situation where I've had to run for my life and "all the better for me", I would say. Sometimes I have thought, "well, I must not be a stud muffin and that's why I don't have these problems and other men/women do. Could it be,  perhaps, that there is more to this, than meets the eye?! In our reading today (Proverbs) we get a little insight into the matter. Our text gives us two insights into the situations of approached by someone into an immoral temptation, #1. That women (or men) can discern those that are open to be seduced, they can discern when a man (or woman) might be open to fowl play and they are the ones they go after. #2. We see that these situations are not just "hap-circumstance" as one might think...(we just ended up alone in the break room) but that these situations are premeditated.  When a man or a woman looks at you, what do they see? Do they see a man or woman that is vulnerable, do they see a man or a woman that is looking for fowl play or when they look at you do they see a slammed door in their face? Fact is nobody wants a slammed door in their face or flat out rejection or worse an open rebuke, that could be embarrassing, especially if done in public. Men and women that are looking for someone to illicit and affair with will only go after the one they are getting the correct signals from. (Remember this) What vibes are you giving out at work, at church, or social functions or to your neighbor? If you find yourself in situations that you are constantly being "hit on" and having to resist temptation, perhaps it's not so much that you are a "stud muffin" but rather that you a simply giving out vibes that are soliciting those responses from other males or females. Is this always the case? Of course not, there's always the exception to the rule, but according to God's word, there is a discernment that is being exercised by the one that is seeking out someone to have an affair with, let them never discern, that you are one!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

FEBRUARY 4 "THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!"

The 10 Commandments are here!  Never would the world be the same. Not only are these iconic symbols of our Nation, but they have influenced our Nation even until this day. The 10 Commandments hung in our courtrooms for decades and decades. They hung on the walls in our schools. Today, sadly enough, they have been removed from most court rooms and schools; as if they were commands for a by gone era. I once had a man tell me he could never even think of becoming a Christian because he knew he could never abide by the 10 Commandments. At the time, I was a young Christian and to be honest, I was quite ignorant of what the 10 Commandments were. I knew a few of them, no doubt, but what exactly were all of the Commandments and was I even abiding by each and every one of them myself? Now, many years later, I realize how ridiculous that man's statement really was. First and foremost, we are no longer under " the law", we are under Grace. That being said, are the 10 Commandments really that unreasonable, that we as human beings cannot follow them and thank God for Grace.  And I do thank God for his Grace, every day, but how unreasonable are these commands and should I not even teach them to my children if they are going to put too great a burden, a yoke, upon their backs? As I began to study the 10 Commandments, I realized that these are actually not 10 burdensome commands by a harsh God, but that they are rather....enduring principles of life that I must teach my children! Is it to burdensome a yoke to put on my children, by teaching them that they should not murder? Is it to burdensome a yoke to put on my son, to teach him he should never take another man's wife or to teach my daughter that it is wrong for her to have an affair with another man? Is it to burdensome a yoke to teach my kids that lieing and stealing are not good virtues? As I look back at that man's statement I now almost find his statement almost embarrassing to himself. What kind of degrading society do we live in when we admittedly say, " I am not sure if I can truly commit to not murdering, stealing or committing adultery, I mean those are some tough commitments to stick to". But sadly enough, that's where our Nation has ended up and things will get worse before they get better. And I say that not because I am a fatalist, but because The Word of God tells me so. What is your opinion of the 10 Commandments? 10 Unrealistic Commands from a harsh God or 10 Enduring Principles of Life?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

JANUARY 3 "WHO IS JEHOVAH NISSI?"

One might think that all the different names for God in the Bible were made up by Pastors and Theologians, to make them sound smart in front of their classes and congregations. However, we know that not to be true and the fact is, that The Lord himself is the one who identifies himself by these different names because there is more to God, than just one aspect of himself, ie: The Lord Saves. In our text he reveals himself to Moses and Joshua, as Jehovah Nissi, translated in English, The Lord is my banner. So what does that mean? It means The Lord who fights for you! A more modern word for Banner would be Standard and a more modern word for Standard would be Flag.
This coincides with Isaiah's Prophecy, "when the enemy comes in like a flood, I will raise up a Standard....".  When the Israelites fought in war, they would have a pole with a Standard, a flag on it and where ever the fighting was fiercest, they would raise up The Standard and the fighting men would all rally to that place to help defend.  This is the imagery that The Lord is using to describe himself.  He is saying, you know me by Yeshua, The Lord Saves, but I also want you to know me as Jehovah Nissi, The Lord who will fight for you! We may thank God every day for our salvation and be sincere and than try to take on all the battles of the day by ourselves and why? Because we do not know and have not met Jehovah Nissi, The Lord my Banner.  And just like He did for Moses and Joshua in a great time of war and conflict, so does He want to do for you, "let them know, let him know, let her know, that I AM The Lord, Thy Banner, Jehovah Nissi and I will fight both for you and with you! When the enemy is coming in heavy against you, call upon me, Jehovah Nissi and I will raise the banner above your head and rally my defenses to you, to fight for you and on your behalf.

Monday, February 2, 2015

FEBRUARY 2 "TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY"

   If you were a neutral bystander listening to the ranting rages of the unrepentant sinner, you would hear something like this, " I have a hard time believing in a God who just wants to send everyone to hell; poor, helpless people, loving people, just trying their best with the lot they have been given in life and yet, all this God wants to do is send them to hell".  Pretty convincing eh! You might think after that, "yeah, that is pretty harsh, what is wrong with this God anyway".  However, best advice we can ever take heed to, is to listen to both sides of the story before we make a judgement. AND here in our text today (Feb 2) Jesus (God) gives his side of the story. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a King who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. ......but they refused to come".  Wow!  That is completely different side of the story than what I've heard...what I've heard is people want to go to heaven but there is this mean and unjust God that just wants to send them to hell.  Well, there's TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY!  Which one are you going to believe? The sinner says, "they want to go, but God won't let them". God says, " I am inviting them and they're not interested, they're refusing to come".  My experience would lead me to believe that God's side of the story is true. But you say, "you're a Christian so obviously you will say that".  True, but "in my personnel experience" I would also say that.  Invite these same people to church, they will refuse.  Invite these same people to a prayer breakfast, paid for an all...and they will refuse.  Invite them to a bible study, with dinner included and they will refuse. Invite them to anything remotely related to God and they will refuse.  How do I know, cause I've tried all of the above! It's not that people want God and Heaven, it's just that they don't want hell.  "If Heaven and God is the only other option, than I guess....."  But the grimm reality is, the answer for the majority of the population is "no thanks, I'm not interested".  Are you interested in Heaven, in God or is it that you simply think it as a better option than the default package, ie: hell.  "I guess if it's hell or heaven, I'll take Heaven, but is there not another option, I mean, after all,  I don't want to be stuck in some long, eternal, boring church service for all eternity?"  The same people who would utter such foolishness are the same ones that judge God for being unjust and simply a God who loves sending people to hell, but the reality is, it is not that He is sending his creation there, His creation is willingly choosing to "opt out" and taking their chances on the default package. Right now is the time to "opt in" or "opt out" for your annual Health Insurance Renewal.  Many will look at the value of their insurance costs, then they will evaluate the benefits and many this year will "opt out" and say, "it's not worth the cost" I will take my chances....This is where humanity is today, they are looking at the costs vs. the benefits of Heaven (in a way a fire insurance policy for the soul) and many and I mean many, are choosing to "opt out" and take their chances.  What will you do?  Will you "opt in" this year or "opt out"?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

FEBRUARY 1 "FAITH BY NECESSITY"

     Verse 31 "And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."   Faith by Necessity, they were forced to either believe or die.  How often in our walk with God will be be forced into situations that we would never have engineered (as long as we were in our right mind) and come to a place where either I believe here or I die. The faith that came, came by a situation that was forced on the Israelite s. Verse 31 is a longgggggg way from the beatings, the..."Moses why don't you leave us alone"....things are only getting worse, why don't you and your God leave us alone...".  Sometimes it's a long journey from..."God you're not helping to and then I saw the hand of God and put my trust and faith in him".  As a matter of a fact, it's such a long journey, sometimes people don't make it! Point is. trials don't always force faith by necessity but rather, at times, force people outside of the kingdom of God.  And we might be quick to say, "way to go God.., look what you've done, they've backslidden"; as we can often be tempted to do when going through gruesome trials...but the question is, do you? There's a big difference between being tempted to do something and actually doing it.  I don't think anyone will ever be able to point the finger at God and say, "you're trials are the reason I backslid". Unfortunately, whether we want to admit it or not, trials are simply a means often of weeding out the tares from the wheat, the sheep from the goats. God puts us in situations where we are only left with two choices, "believe in me here or walk away". He did it to the rich man, he did it to Peter, he did it to the large crowds and he did it here in our text.  Each morning we wake in a trial, we must make a conscious decision, do I believe God for another day or do I stop praying and walk away, faith by necessity, we either keep believing or we die. It is one thing to be tempted, as we are all tempted in the same manner, but it is another thing to actually do it.  Where are you today? Will you make it to Verse 31? "And when the Israelite saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant."   or will you say, " I have no choice but to believe or I die..."FAITH BY NECESSITY".