Monthly Archives: April 2014

Watch Your Readiness

Matthew 24:42-44
(42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
(43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
(44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

I’m not into predicting when the Lord will return, but as I watch the news each evening, I often wonder, could this be the hour?

What I see on the news and hear while listening to the conversations that people have, I really get the sense that no one is really thinking about the end. Even without an understanding of the coming of the Lord and eternity, it seems people believe they’ll live forever; as if some miracle anti-aging cream will change the inevitable.

Jesus warns us not to be like that. We are to be sober and wise. Understanding that he can return at any moment. And when he does what will he find us doing?

Each day, it’s important to act as if it is the day that He comes for His church. He is expecting to find “figs on the tree”; servants who will do the Father’s will.

Prayer: Father, teach me by your Holy Spirit to know your will in this season. Show me what I must do to be ready for your Son’s return. Help me to bear much more fruit in a world bent on going to hell. Give me the words to speak and the heart to love as you love. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

The Lord Has Spoken

Jeremiah 1:18-19 (read the whole chapter though)
(18) For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
(19) And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

The first chapter of Jeremiah is full of powerful statements, assurances and instructions from the Lord. It’s such an encouraging chapter and makes me feel like I can conquer the world. However, what we must remember is that it’s not us that does the conquering but the God in us…and He’s an unstoppable force!

His word never returns void. What he starts he completes. He knows the end of a thing before it even starts. He knew each and every one of us before we were even formed in our mother”s womb. He is the great I AM, alpha and omega, beginning and the end.

By His word, the universe was created. By his sovereignty it remains. By His authority kings rule. By His mercy we become sons and daughters and fellow heirs to his kingdom.

Who is like our God?

Who can compare to his glory?

If he be on our side, we have all that we need.

The Lord has spoken from His throne, “my kingdom will be established in all the earth” – and we get to be a part of it. HALLELUJAH!

Prayer:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Exercise Your Faith

Hebrews 10:23-24, 35-36 / Hebrews 11:6
(23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

(35) Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
(36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Hebrews 11:5-6
(5) By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
(6) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Faith is not just a thought or an understanding, it is something that is backed by and requires action. We’ve all read “faith without works is dead”, but what are the works that please God?

Hebrews 11 gives several examples:

  • Giving an offering (verse 4)
  • Believe and diligently seek God (verse 6)
  • Obey and do as God instructs (verses 7 & 8)
  • Be patient and wait on God – don’t get ahead of Him (verse 9)
  • Look forward to the future and bless your children (verses 13, 20 & 21)
  • Do what is right without fear (verse 24 & 25)
  • Expect miracles (verses 28-30)
  • Subdue evil (kingdoms) for righteousness sake (verse 33)
  • Endure affliction (36, 37 & 38)

The people referenced in the stories didn’t have what we have, they only hoped for it. We have the promise and power of the Holy Spirit. It’s time to please God.

Prayer: Father thank you for the great and precious promise of the Holy Spirit. Help my unbelief as I pray and exercise my faith. Amen.

More Fruit

John 15:1-5
(1) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
(2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
(3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
(4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
(5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Fairly self-explanatory, but for those who are new to the concept of abiding in Christ, it means to commune in prayer, worship and reading the word.

Interestingly I had actually started writing this before Resurrection Sunday. What I find fascinating is that the Lord downloaded a whole sermon called The Power of His Resurrection of which he expanded on the whole “abiding in Christ” topic.

The word abide can be substituted with “live in”, “remain in” and “continue in” which helps us get a better idea of the depth of commitment required to bear more fruit.

The Lord is looking for those who will pray, fast, worship and read his word as if it were the very air that we breath. Each day, our actions, interactions, words and thoughts should be centered on Jesus and the Father’s will. A large part of His will is LOVE and FORGIVENESS.

Life is too short to waste time following TV soaps, sports standings, worrying about bills and holding grudges. The true followers of Christ will follow Him.

Task: Check your schedule and track your activities for a week and see how much you abide in Christ and how much you abide in the things of this world. I know I have some work to do.

Mental Health

2 Timothy 1:3-7
(3) I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
(4) Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
(5) When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
(6) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
(7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

I would have quoted the entire chapter, but for the sake of brevity I’ll encourage you to read it for yourselves…you guessed it…10 times!

I also want to highlight a few (probably obvious) points. First, this letter is written by Paul to Timothy as encouragement. In those days there was a lot of persecution and Paul knew that at any time a saint somewhere could lose heart and often their lives. He didn’t want them to fall away because the eternal penalty would be far greater than losing life on earth.

Secondly, I want to highlight verse 3. Paul often started his messages with “I remember/mention you often in my prayers”. As saints, we need to do this more and more. Pray for the strength of our righteous leaders, pray for persecuted Christians, pray for our friends in the Lord, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

Lastly, I want to mention the state of our nation as it relates to verse 7. My oldest daughter spent a day and a night downtown with a group of Girl Scouts and she said in their travels she noticed people talking to themselves, people giving evil stares and the homeless all which, rightfully so, was frightening at times. It’s reported that many of the homeless are either mentally ill or have some form of substance abuse…they need our prayers. Even people (including saints) who seem “normal”, struggle with depression, doubt, fear, anxiety, migraines, stress and other dis-ease; they too need prayer and to know the truth and power of verse 7.

Last year, my best friend’s nephew, who struggled with mental health issues, was shot dead by police. Before I had received the call from my friend, I had watched the scene unfold on television and know one knows what really happened. There were other similar instances last year and it seemed it was becoming an epidemic. Saints, the enemy’s greatest area of attack is the mind. We need to be praying for a sound mind and reminding ourselves to STIR UP THE SPIRIT WITHIN US that we would share this good news and set the captives free.

Prayer : Father, I pray for the saints and your servants who are persecuted. I pray that you continue to strengthen them and cause their enemies to be at peace with them. I pray for their protection and power as they take ground for your kingdom. I pray for the saints who struggle with fear and doubt. Put them in their right mind to remember to pray and stir up the gift of your Holy Spirit that is within them. Father cleanse our minds with your Word that we may also help those who don’t know that you’ve set all men, women and children free. Amen.

Family

Matthew 3:8-9
(8) Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
(9) And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Interesting two verses eh? You’re probably wondering, “where does ‘family‘ fit into all of this?”

It all started with a meeting with my wife and three children. As we each talked about our desires, concerns and areas of improvement, the Lord said, “there is nothing more important to me than family.”

After the family meeting was over I reflected on the family discussion and I began to look for parallels in the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. I couldn’t really draw on any messages I had heard about family so I began to meditate on the scriptures and decided to make it the topic for today’s message. So let me start with some questions.

  • Why did John the Baptist bother making the reference to children in relation to God an Abraham?
  • What was being communicated?
  • What does God have to do with Abraham’s children?

Well, in the context of Matthew 3, John the Baptist is telling the Pharisees and Sadducees to not think they’re safe from judgement because God made promises to Abraham. Just because they are Abraham’s descendants doesn’t mean they don’t have to live holy. But that’s not all of what God wanted me to write about. God brought me back to Genesis and the Creation of Man and then to the Fall of Man and Cain, Abel and Seth and then to the call of Abraham and then to Jesus and then to us and finally to Revelation.

In the beginning God created a man in his image. His name was Adam, a son of God. He was created to reflect His glory in the earth and God had fellowship with him. Man forfeited the pure fellowship/son-ship through disobedience. As generations pass, God locates Abram & Sarai who, like God, had no son(s)/children in the earth. So God strikes a pact/covenant with Abraham.

Through the covenant, both would eventually get what they both wanted; sons/children/heirs in the earth. However, man’s sinful nature proves to be quite an obstacle…getting righteous and holy children in the earth won’t be so easy. The children have to be righteous, because that is God’s nature. It’s important because no one in the earth will see God’s glory (nature) through sinful beings.

We can’t be identified as being apart of God’s heritage (family) without righteousness, so God sends an angel to a young maiden named Mary who by the Holy Ghost receives in her womb a new creation “a natural child with God’s nature”. His name Jesus (Greek form of Joshua meaning Jehovah is salvation or God saves) and Emmanuel (meaning God with us). God, through one act, saves and abides with us forever.

Later on, in the same chapter as quoted above, after Jesus is baptized by John, God speaks;

Matthew 3:17:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

To make a long story even longer; because of Jesus’ obedience (death on the cross) God now unveils the final step in his plan…giving us the same Holy Ghost so that we too can become a new creation and thus be holy as He is holy. Essentially, since we aren’t conceived by our heavenly father we are adopted into his family by the Holy Spirit. We take on His nature and name through confession and obedience. Hallelujah!

John 1:12-13
(12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 John 3:9-12
(9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
(10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
(11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
(12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

In closing: A family encourages one another and cares for one another. In a loving family there are sacrifices and everyone looks out for one another and not just for themselves. In a real family, people want to spend time with each other and get to know each…fellowship. Godly families don’t gossip or take advantage of one another. I’ll leave the rest for you all to reflect on what family means to you.

Task: Remember that we are part of a family and not a religion. Remember that our actions reflect on the family and God the Father. The love we have for our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and children is an indication of whether or not we are a part of God’s family.

You Are Victorious!

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

You’re probably wondering…”what does this have to do with me being victorious?” Well, let me explain a few things that the Lord explained to me.

The people who allow the stresses and strife of the world to dictate their lives, do not have peace. Lack of peace means there is inner turmoil, struggles and wars. Contrary to that if we are not in the world, but in Christ we have peace. If we are in Christ and He has overcome the world then we, by reason of our position in Him, have also overcome….we are victorious!

If we read through the Bible we will see that God has said in many places “I have given you victory”, but the Israelites still had to go to war to bring the Word of God to pass. Likewise, Jesus is saying we will have tribulation, but He has already won the battle in the spiritual realm; we just have to walk it out in the natural. That is why we can be of good cheer and not fear…we are already victorious!

Romans 8:35,37 (I recommend reading the whole chapter…20 times)
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

The key is being in Him and not in the world.

Ephesians 2:4-6
(4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
(5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Romans 6:4-6
(4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
(5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
(6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We need to know that whatever battle or challenge we are facing internally or externally, we’ve already overcome through the blood and resurrection from the dead, of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sin and Satan have no more dominion over us…we are victorious when we remain in Jesus!

Prayer: Father, I thank you for your wisdom and grace. I thank you for your son Jesus who took back the dominion that Adam lost in the garden. I declare victory over sin and make Jesus my example of authority, faithfulness, power and love. Amen.

April Fools!

Psalm 14:1-3 (KJV)
(1) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
(2) The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
(3) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

I’m not sure how the tradition of playing pranks on people got started, nor do I really care, but what is really pressing on me today is all those who say “there is no God”. Notice the scripture reads “said in his heart”, which to me means it’s not necessarily words, but a mindset or feeling towards God and the things of God. The Psalmist says that there is none that understand or seek God. They’re all going their own way and doing things that God calls filthy or lacking in righteousness.

Proverbs 18:1-2 (NLT)
(1) Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.
(2) Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

Scientists, evolutionists and atheists ignore common sense and promote their opinions (theories) as fact. They seek and send probes into outer space, but in their hearts is utter darkness.

Archaeologists dig into the depths and darkness of the earth looking for fossil mysteries, but rarely do any seek the deep things and mysteries of God. In the depths of their heart cries a voice, but rather than search and find the truth, they lean on their own understanding and what they can see with their natural eyes. The Apostle Paul wrote this thousands of years ago:

Romans 1:19-20 (NLT)
(19) They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.
(20) For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

The truth is, the more archaeologists dig and scientists probe the natural things, the more the accounts found in the Bible are confirmed; the more the truth comes to light and on judgment day no one will have an excuse.

As believers it’s important to be wise. I’ve done my research, I’ve seen Jesus, I’ve heard the voice of God and I KNOW HE IS REAL.

The theory of evolution, by Darwin’s own definition, has been dis-proven (I’ll write about that this spring). What scientists, of old, have believed, they’ve had to change over time, but I’ve yet to hear any argument that holds up to or been able to change the truth found in God’s Word. Selah.

Prayer: Father God, I pray on this April Fool’s day that many will seek your wisdom and come to know you as you truly are. I pray they will see how short life is and know that eternity is sure. I choose to spend my eternity with you. Show me your ways and by your Holy Spirit I will walk in truth, power and righteousness all the days of my life. Amen.