Monday, March 31, 2014

Wonderfully Crafted...Psalm 139:13-14

Psalm 139:13-14 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my bodyand knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 

We call them exceptional children. Special needs children. Disabled. Handicapped. Whatever the term, the challenge is enormous for a parent gifted with such a child. But this much is clear: every child is perfectly made by God. God is sovereign over all the earth, including the womb. He has superintended our very conception and existence, and every child born is fearfully and wonderfully crafted by Him.
Scripture is actually filled with those who are physically handicapped. Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life after his midnight wrestling match with an angel. Mephibosheth’s body was hopelessly twisted and crippled. King Jereboam had a withered hand. Namaan was a leper. Even Paul suffered from an unnamed “thorn” in his flesh.

In addition to their challenges, all of these had something else in common: not one of them was miraculously healed. So many times we gravitate toward the miracles of the Bible, and there were many. But there were many more who lived day to day with all kinds of indignities, pains and disabilities. A lot of people live without a miracle. But who is to say that the power of God cannot be even more dramatically displayed in the life of one who struggles, but remains steadfast…who seeks to make sense of what appears as nonsense? I believe the power of God is displayed all around us, in the lives of exceptional people who never experience a life-changing miracle. They are not changed. They change us.

Father, thank you for creating me the way you intended me to be, thank you for loving me so. Empower me to do your will and shine your light for all to see. May they see you in me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Commentary by Dr. Ed Young

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Savior as well as a Servant...Isaiah 53:3-4

Isaiah 53:3-4 

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,a punishment for his own sins! 

Jesus was everything and became nothing for us. Yet most of the people who were on earth that he came to save didn't know him or accept him. The crowds just assumed he deserved what he got. Most did not repent. But there was something about that sacrificial story that has grabbed hearts over the years and called God's lost children home. In our journey home, we find him to not only be a Savior, but a servant for our salvation as well.

Matthew 25:21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’  May we always remember our humility by the blood of Jesus and be the servant he has asked us to be in His name!

Heavenly Father, we ask that you teach us your will through your Holy Spirit and help us to utilize the gifts we each have been given. We praise your name always! In Jesus name, AMEN!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Slavery...become holy...Romans 6:19

Romans 6:19 

Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. 

When we reflect on our past in this country, the word "slave" has a very specific meaning. Derogatory in nature. So many people have lost their lives because of what this word means. The civil war almost destroyed this country. Slavery continues to exist in the continent of Africa as well as others. The worlds view of slavery is one associated with injustice and inequality, hatred and disrespect, bigotry and evil. Why then does Paul call us to be slaves? 

I believe to graphically prove a point that we are to be something that is completely opposite of what the world believes a slave to be. According to Paul, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, In order to be holy, we must surrender ourselves completely to righteous living. To be a slave to God's will, His purposes His plan. These are examples of slavery for what is RIGHT! What we have experienced in human history is an example of what is WRONG! Romans 6:19-21 ..Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 

There is nothing wrong with being a slave to what is right and true, to this I boldly refer to our creator, our Father, our Redeemer, His Truth through His Word, His Son, His Spirit! Paul often began his letters referring himself as a bond slave of Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 
The gift of free will has empowered us to choose. Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 

When we accept Jesus as our savior, the gift of the Holy Spirit helps us see this Truth and leads us to follow & obey God. Being a slave is not bad, its what you're a slave to that makes the difference.

Romans 6:17-18 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 

Thank you Father for your wisdom in understanding the difference between right and wrong throught Jesus and the Holy Spirit which lead me in serving you. Allow me to be your bond slave and serve you with all that I am. With all my praise, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Who Created God?...

Who created God?

A common argument from atheists and skeptics is that if all things need a cause, then God must also need a cause. The conclusion is that if God needed a cause, then God is not God (and if God is not God, then of course there is no God). This is a slightly more sophisticated form of the basic question "Who made God?" Everyone knows that something does not come from nothing. So, if God is a "something," then He must have a cause, right?

The question is tricky because it sneaks in the false assumption that God came from somewhere and then asks where that might be. The answer is that the question does not even make sense. It is like asking, "What does blue smell like?" Blue is not in the category of things that have a smell, so the question itself is flawed. In the same way, God is not in the category of things that are created or caused. God is uncaused and uncreated"He simply exists.

How do we know this? We know that from nothing, nothing comes. So, if there were ever a time when there was absolutely nothing in existence, then nothing would have ever come into existence. But things do exist. Therefore, since there could never have been absolutely nothing, something had to have always been in existence. That ever-existing thing is what we call God. God is the uncaused Being that caused everything else to come into existence. God is the uncreated Creator who created the universe and everything in it.

Thank you Father for your exisence and for creating me through Love. I am blessed just because! May you always be Blessed! In Jesus Name, AMEN!

Commentary by

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good News...Romans 10:9

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The word gospel means “good news,” so the gospel of Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe (Colossians 1:14; Romans 10:9). Since the beginning of time when the first man sinned, mankind has been under the condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). Because everyone breaks God’s perfect law by committing sin (Romans 3:23), everyone is guilty (Romans 5:18). The punishment for the crime of sin is physical death (Romans 6:23) and then an eternity spent in a place of eternal punishment (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:46). This eternal separation from God is also called the “second death” (Revelation 20:14–15).

The fact that all are guilty of sin and condemned to spend eternity in a place of torment is very bad news. But God, because of His love for the world, has made a way for man to be forgiven for their sins (John 3:16). He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the sins of man on Himself through death on a cross (1 Peter 2:24). In placing our sin on Christ, God ensured that all who will believe in the name of Jesus will be forgiven (Acts 10:43).

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that God provided the way for man to be freed from the penalty of sin (John 14:6: Romans 6:23). But not all people will be saved from hell; only those who place their faith in Jesus will go to heaven when they die (Acts 4:12).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the best news anyone will ever hear, and what a person does with this news will determine where he or she spends eternity. God is calling you to choose life. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13)!

Commentary by Got

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hall Pass...Romans 6:15

Romans 6:15 

Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 

Many people struggle with this verse. The understanding of what God's grace is and what it means. Ephesians 2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. If you have genuinely surrendered your life to Jesus and made him your savior, you then follow him because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. That's an example of love. What do you mean want to? I'll compare this to a marraige. When a man and wife are in love and get married, they choose to act a certain way that has been outlined in the God's Word. Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-40. You act and behave in love because you want to, not cause you have to. When you choose Jesus as your savior, its the same act of love, in that you will follow Him & obey Him. Jesus didn't sin while he was on earth. If he's asking you to follow Him, why would you do otherwise? What gives you the right to go on sinning when Jesus tells us to sin no more. John 8:10-11 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” 

In order to have salvation, you need to surrender yourself to Jesus, GENUINELY! You have to mean it and you have to WANT Jesus, Not because you selfishly want something for yourself. Romans 10:9-10 You should want to cultivate and maintain a loving relationship with Jesus as you would a family member you truely love. When you love somebody, you will do things you never thought you'd do, you'd go out of your way for them. In some cases, die for them. Thats what Jesus did for us, DIED for us on the cross. Thats Love!

You want salvation? You want the benefits of heaven when you die, turn to Jesus, BUT check yourself before you wreck yourself! Are you turning to him selfishly because you want something for yourself? HEAVEN? This is your sin nature at work. Romans 6:16-18 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 

Hebrews 13:4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 

Thank you Father for your Love for us in that you sent your only son to die in our place so that we who choose Jesus as our savior would have eternal life with you in heaven forever! Thank you so much for loving me more than I deserve! I pray in Jesus name! Amen!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Immature Faith...Judges 6:14-16

Is it acceptable to 'lay out a fleece' before God in prayer?

The concept of “putting out a fleece” comes from the story of Gideon, a leader in Israel, in Judges 6. When God directed him to gather the Israelite troops to defeat the Midianite invaders, Gideon wanted to be sure it was really God’s voice he was hearing and that he understood His directions. He asked God for a sign to prove that this was truly His will. So he put out a piece of wool overnight and asked God to make it wet while keeping the surrounding dirt dry. God graciously did as Gideon asked, and in the morning the fleece was wet enough to produce a bowl of water when it was wrung out. 

But Gideon’s faith was so weak that he asked God for another sign—this time to keep another fleece dry while making the surrounding dirt wet. Again, God complied, and Gideon was finally convinced that God meant what He said and that the nation of Israel would have the victory the angel of the Lord had promised in Judges 6:14-16. Putting out the fleeces was the second time Gideon had asked for a sign that God was really talking to him and would do what He said He would. 

There are several lessons for us in Gideon’s story. First, God is incredibly gracious and patient with us, especially when our faith is weak. Gideon knew he was treading on dangerous ground and was trying God’s patience by asking for multiple signs. After the first fleece sign, he said, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make one more request” (Judges 6:39). But our God is a merciful, loving and patient God who knows our weaknesses. However, the story of Gideon should be for our instruction and not serve as a model for our own behavior. Jesus said on two occasions that “a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign” (Matthew 12:39; 16:1-4). His point was that the signs He had already given them—His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, healings, and miracles—were sufficient for them to respond to the truth, if truth was what they were seeking. Clearly, it was not.

Another lesson of Gideon’s fleeces is that those asking for signs are exhibiting a weak and immature faith that won’t be convinced by the signs anyway! Gideon had received more than enough information without the sign of the fleeces. God had told him he would have victory (v. 14), and He had responded to a previous request for a sign with a miraculous display of power in fire (v. 16). Still, Gideon asked for two more signs because of his own insecurity. In the same way, even when God does provide the sign we ask for, it doesn’t give us what we crave because our wavering faith still doubts. That often leads us to ask for multiple signs, none of which give us the assurance we need, because the problem isn’t with God’s power; it’s with our own perception of it.

A problem with following Gideon’s example of fleece-setting is that it does not take into account that our situation and his are really not comparable. As Christians, we have two powerful tools that Gideon lacked. First, we have the complete Word of God which we know is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God has assured us that His Word is all we need to be “thoroughly equipped” for anything and everything in life. We do not need experiential proof (signs, voices, miracles) to verify what He has already told us in His Word. Our second advantage over Gideon is that every Christian has the Holy Spirit, who is God Himself, residing in his heart to guide, direct, and encourage. Prior to Pentecost, believers had the Old Testament only and were directed externally by God’s providential hand. Now we have His complete Bible and His indwelling presence in our hearts.

Rather than seeking signs via fleeces, we should be content to know God’s will for us in every situation every day: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16); “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18); “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). If these things characterize our lives, the decisions we make will be in accordance with God’s will, He will bless us immeasurably with His peace and assurance, and there will be no need to put out fleeces or ask for signs.

Commentary by Got

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Paying Attention to Scripture...2 Peter 1:21

2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 

There are many different interpretations of the Bible and many different human opinions of what the Bible says. Whats important to understand is that we believe the Bible, New & Old Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible and authorative Word of God. Matthew 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. In faith, we hold the Bible to be Truth! Its our benchmark to how we should live. It defines our purpose to why we're here, to glorify God! Isaiah 26:8 Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. Ephesians 1:14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. 

Seek God's perspective when in doubt. Turn to His Word in the Bible. I once heard a pastor use the following acronym for the word BIBLE. Beautiful Instruction Before Leaving Earth! How appropriate. Its God's instruction manual for us to use daily. Unfortunately, we elect to skip the instructions and attempt to figure it out ourselves. I am guilty of that everytime I purchase something that requires assembly. I first try and figure it out mysekf and I always get stuck. But when I do, I turn to the instruction manual to get it right. Why do I feel that I can do it my self? Am I so proud that I dont need instructions? That's my sin nature speaking. God wants us to turn to His instruction manual and thats His Word, the Bible! But if our sin nature gets in the way, which inevitably will, we know that God is merciful and forgiving through His son, Jesus. Deuteronomy 4:31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors. We can turn to His Word and rejoice!

Father, thank you for your Holy Word, our instruction manual! Direct your Holy Spirit to guide me daily for your purposes! In Jesus name I pray, AMEN!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No Self-Control...Proverbs 25:28

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. 

Merely, shrugging our shoulders and accepting ourselves the way we are is not honoring to God. In fact, God instructs us to stand firm for His truth and purpose in our lives. 1 Corinthians 6:15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? When we accept Christ as our savior, we receive the Holy Spirit and he dwells within us forever to guide us and lead us for God's glory! Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The bible also tells us in Galatians 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  In Proverbs 5:21-23 we read "For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins;they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control;he will be lost because of his great foolishness." 

Its clear that we are to live for God, seek Him in all that we do, act according to the Spirit and not of the flesh because we were created to love and honor God with our lives. We were born with our sin nature and destined to death but by God's grace, He sent his only son to die for us on the cross so that we may have eternal life! John 3:16-17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. We need to learn to discern the truth from the lies of this world. Psalm 119:124-125 I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love,and teach me your decrees. Give discernment to me, your servant;then I will understand your laws. 

Bretheren, see God through Jesus today! Start living your life for his purposes and begin enjoying His grace abundantly! 

Father, thank you for your grace, for it is all I need! Thank you for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His leadership in my life daily! May I bless you today and the rest of my life! In Jesus name, AMEN!

Monday, March 17, 2014

I need to know...Proverbs 3:5

Proverbs 3:5 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding

Do you find this verse difficult to see through? Most of us have heard this verse & generally understand the basic meaning behind it but actually doing what Solomon instructs is not easy. To trust means to let go, surrender, have faith in someone or something. In this case, Solomon is telling us to Trust in The Lord with all your heart. What happens when you fall in love? You surrender yourself and give all of yourself for that person. Love is a very powerful force! Wars have taken place because of it. Love makes you act irrationally, that's because you stop acting from logic but from the heart. If faith required logic, we'd be hard pressed in believing some of the wonderful and amazing miracles God performed through Jesus and the apostles. To trust with all your heart is to love The Lord unconditionally as He loves you! We can do this because we were made in his image. We were made to love!

He also tells us not to lean on our own understanding, meaning, dont try and figure everything out in order to believe. We dont always HAVE TO KNOW WHY! I know some of you are thinking, but I should or I deserve to know. Well we dont so stop trying because God tells us so in this verse through Solomon's writings. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

When you feel the need to know something in order for your faith to grow, remember to Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding because there are things that we're just nnot supposed to understand. Remember that Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

He has a plan and its perfect! Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. 

Thank you Father for having a plan for my life, walking by my side and for being there when I need you the most. Even though I may not understand, I will Trust you and Love you! Praise your name always, in Jesus name, AMEN!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Forgiving...AMAZING!...Luke 23:34

Luke 23:34 

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Jesus did the impossible. Not only did he allow himself to be put to death for us, he did something far more difficult. He forgave them. All of them. His accusers. His enemies. The very people who put him to death. He asked God, the father, to forgive them. AMAZING! And we struggle to forgive someone when they talk bad about us. 

God is pleased when we forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. We are most like the Father when we forgive others because God is a merciful God. Luke 6:36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 

We need Jesus in order to be right with God dating back to when Adam and Eve sinned against God Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. At this point we have been separated from God and deserving of judgement and death. But Jesus made it possible on the cross to be made right with God by being the perfect sacrifice in order for us to be righteous through Christ! Romans 3:22-26 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 

Next time you feel the need to hold a grudge, anger against anyone for any reason, remember that God has forgiven you through His son! 

Father, thank you for being a merciful and forgiving God, washing away my sins by the blood of Jesus at the cross! I am not deserving but you loved me so that you sent Jesus in my place!  I love you Father, thank you! In Jesus name, AMEN!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Word of God...Hebrews 4:12

Hebrews 4:12 

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

There is nothing more powerful that the Word of God. It was what Jesus used to defend himself from Satan in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-4, 11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. 

Paul describes it as the sword of Truth when talking to the people in Ephesus. Ephesians 6:17.. and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

We can use His Word not only for protection but to advance His kingdom, lead others to Christ! The scriptures tell us that Jesus is the Word of God. John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 

How blessed we are to know that we have been given a great gift by God! His son, Jesus, our savior!

Father, blessed be your name! Thank you for your son, your Word, your love for us! May your Will renew our spirit and transform us to be like Jesus! In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Conviction...Luke 6:46

"So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?" (NLT) ( Luke 6:46 ) 

Do you ever get a feeling that God is telling you to do something? That is called conviction. One reason we fail to obey God is because we don't know what God is telling us to do. Mostly because our sinful nature pulls us from our adoration of our Lord. How would I know what He wants you ask? Good question..God already thought of that...His Holy Word called the Bible, is our instruction manual. I once heard a great acronym for BIBLE (BEAUTIFUL INSTRUCTION BEFORE LEAVING EARTH). I believe that the BIBLE was written by the Holy Spirit through the apostles. Its THE benchmark by which man has established his moral standards. Anything you want to know about life is there, you just need to search for it. Just like Google on the internet, the BIBLE has answers for your questions. Knowing this, what do you do with the answer youve been given...OBEY! This is where our sinful nature interferes again...Belief requires Faith! Faith is Trusting in something you Believe in....Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

Next time you feel convicted to do the "right thing", check with God's Holy Word, pray for discernment and understanding and OBEY! 

Genesis 27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. 

Hebrews 11:8-9 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 

Romans 10:16-17 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 

Romans 2:8-11 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. 

Father, thank you for your Truth in your Word, for Loving me enough to sacrifice your son Jesus for my salvation. Teach me your will so that I may Obey you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

Monday, March 10, 2014

squeezed into the mold...2 Corinthians 10:1–7

2 Corinthians 10:1–7 

Today, let's focus in on a single passage of Scripture and digest it carefully. One of the most helpful passages to help us train our minds is 2 Corinthians 10:1–7. Take a few moments to read and meditate on these seven verses. Try reading them out loud.

Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. (2 Corinthians 10:1–7)

The Corinthian Christians were an ornery lot! Although born again, they often operated in the realm of carnality because they had a secular mentality. They were "in the mold" of the world system . . . their minds were "unrenewed." At times you would have sworn they weren't even in the family of God. For example, they fought with one another, they criticized Paul, they were competitive in the church, and they winked at gross immorality in their midst. Other than that, they were just fine.

In this section of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he points out several of the ways they revealed natural thinking. I find five characteristics:

They were prejudiced instead of objective (10:2).

They focused on the visible rather than the invisible (10:3).

They relied on human strength, not divine power (10:4).

They listened to men instead of God (10:5).

They perceived things superficially rather than deeply (10:7).

When our carnality is in gear, Paul's comments aptly describe our mind-set: surface judgment, shallow thinking, lack of depth, closed, independent, overly impressed with humanity, and spiritually out of focus.

When we get "squeezed into the mold" the world does a number on us, doesn't it?

Father, help us to stay rooted in your truth and keep us from the temptations of this world. Keep us in your will so that your light shines bright in the darkness. In Jesus's name we pray, Amen!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Foolish Talk...2 Timothy 2:15-16

2 Timothy 2:15-16, 22-23 

Do your best to know that God is pleased with you. Be as a workman who has nothing to be ashamed of. Teach the words of truth in the right way. Do not listen to foolish talk about things that mean nothing. It only leads people farther away from God...Turn away from the sinful things young people want to do. Go after what is right. Have a desire for faith and love and peace. Do this with those who pray to God from a clean heart. Let me say it again. Have nothing to do with foolish talk and those who want to argue. It can only lead to trouble. 

When you have truly given your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit helps you discern the truth clearer when facing the world and the spiritual war we're engaged in. Every day, a little more than yesterday. You begin to see how others act, the things they say, their motives and what truly motivates them. When faced with temptation from those whose foolish talk involves you, turn to the Word! Seek God's purpose, His ways & courage to stand for Jesus. Encourage others. Its easy to simply fit in and conform but it takes great faith to stand up for God. Don't let foolish talk set standards where you work or within your family...Give God His place of honor here and fight. I dont mean literally of coarse but act in faith with love and peace to share God's Word. Let they who dont know God see God in you!

Father, thank you for your Love for us, for instructing us through your Holy Word. Teach us your will so that everyone can see you as we do now. In the Holy name of Jesus, AMEN!

Friday, March 7, 2014

unsqueezed...Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1–2 

Let's talk about some positive input on the correct mentality of a servant. Is it possible to think so much like Christ that our minds operate on a different plane than others around us? Not only is it possible—it's essential!
The familiar words of Paul in Romans 12:1–2 need to be reviewed.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 
(Romans 12:1–2)

At this point in his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul drops to his knees, as it were, and pleads. That means it's important, perhaps one of the most important truths he would ever write. After urging us to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, he adds a warning. Let's read it this time as J. B. Phillips paraphrased it:

Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity (Romans 12:2 PHILLIPS).

Stop being squeezed in! Quit aping the system of thought that surrounds you, its line of reasoning, its method of operation, its style and techniques! How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness.

Living differently begins with thinking differently. A life that is characterized by serving others begins in a mind that is convinced of such a life. That explains why that great section of Scripture describing Christ's willingness to take upon Himself the form of a servant begins with the words: "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

Jesus's life of serving was the outworking of His mind—"unsqueezed" by the world system in all its selfishness—and remains, forever, our example to follow.

For us to be true servants of God, our minds must be renewed.

author unknown 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Forgiving & Forgetting...Psalm 42:11

Psalm 42:11 Comparing the acts of forgiving and forgetting, I think forgetting is the tougher assignment.

Why? Because forgetting is something shared with no other person. It's a solo flight. All the rewards are postponed until eternity . . . but how great they will be on that day!

Forgetting requires us as Christians to think correctly, which means our full focus must be on the Lord and not on people. By God's great grace, it can happen.

Before we move on, let's pause long enough to ask ourselves two questions:

First, is there someone or something I have refused to forget, which keeps me from being happy and productive? If your answer is yes, stop right now and declare it openly to your Lord. Ask Him to take away the pain and the bitterness.

Second, am I a victim of self-pity, living out my days emotionally paralyzed by anguish and despair? If your answer is yes, stop and consider the consequences of living the rest of your life excusing your self-pity rather than turning it all over to the only One who can remove it. As the Psalmist wrote:

Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why have you become disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

It is not "too late" . . . you are not "too old to change" . . . and your situation is not "too much to overcome."

Truth be told, it is never too late to start doing what is right.


Hospitality...Romans 12:13

When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 

What would it look like for you to be eager to be hospitable? Hospitality is both a mindset and preparation. A lot of times we talk ourselves out of hosting a gathering because our home isn't ready. In actuality we don't want to extend ourselves. Other times, we are willing and able, but aren't prepared with clean sheets or a meal in the freezer. Don't let things stand in your way of practicing hospitality, be ready.

Commentary by daily bible devotions

Monday, March 3, 2014

Magic Formula...1 John 5:14-15

Question: What is the proper way to pray?

 Is it best to pray standing up, sitting down, kneeling, or bowing down? Should our hands be open, closed, or lifted up to God? Do our eyes need to be closed when we pray? Is it better to pray in a church building or out in nature? Should we pray in the morning when we get up or at night before we go to bed? Are there certain words we need to say in our prayers? How do we begin our prayers? What is the proper way to close a prayer? These questions, and others, are common questions asked about prayer. What is the proper way to pray? Do any of the above things even matter?

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a "magic formula." Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly, John 14:13-14 declares, "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

So, what is the proper way to pray? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a "pattern" for prayer is the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord's Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a prayer"worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord's Prayer talks about, using our own words and "customizing" it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night"these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God's desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

commentary by

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tied to Jesus's Future...Ephesians 2:4-5

Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)

Of all things to be rich in, I cannot think of anything I'd prefer the Holy God to be rich in than mercy. I know my failures, shortcomings, sins, and transgressions. Without his mercy, to pardon again, and without his grace to send Jesus to pardon at first, I would be lost and without God. Now, because of his rich mercy, my life is tied to Jesus' future and not the one I earned for myself.