Thursday, January 29, 2015

Growing Wealth

Isaiah 48:17 - "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.'"

How do we gauge prosperity? It is a lie to believe that prosperity can be measured in wealth. Many who win the lottery are not really winners because they end up once again as losers having squandered their winnings. No, true prosperity is defined by the power to create wealth. And I am not just talking about money. If we do not have wisdom to prosper in life, we will not have wisdom with money.

God desires to teach us all prosperity through wisdom. With that wisdom, wealth will inevitably come. The secret, when it comes, is to invest it in the lives of others. The law of reciprocity will then create more wisdom and more wealth than we could ever imagine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spiritual Incarceration

Psalm 79:11 - "Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You; according to the greatness of Your power preserve those who are doomed to die."

My work as a VIC (Volunteer in Corrections) chaplain with the Missouri Department of Corrections is bittersweet. While many that I work with as chaplain at the local rescue mission have hope of refitting into society, many of these men I see in prison are Lifers with no chance of parole. However, I often look in the eyes of some of these men and I see a freedom that many outside of these walls fail to possess. They are truly free by the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Are we incarcerated today, spiritually? Have we allowed our spiritual jailer -- guilt and condemnation -- to doom us to death? "According to the greatness of Your power," O God, set these free from their spiritual bondage. Give them hope to rise from the ashes of despair and surrender to You!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting for the Perfect

Psalm 127:1 - "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain."

We will always be presented with opportunities to do "good" things rather than waiting for God's "perfect" will. We can decide to build our own relationships rather than wait for our perfect helpmate. Or, we can forge ahead with a business decision when peace is lacking, only to find out later it wasn't what God really wanted for our lives. Beloved, waiting is often a form of death as we succumb to a place of misunderstanding from others who may not recognize why we would not do things logically. Common sense becomes spiritual and godly only when it has first been surrendered to Him. Then, His wisdom becomes in us the mind of Christ.

Are we anxiously longing to have our way or to do His will? May we all wait for Him, never substituting the good for the best. He is all about giving His perfect for us.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mistaken Identity

Mark 14:66-67 - "As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, 'You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.'”

How tragic for us when those who don't know Christ (and know we profess Him) see us in compromised situations. There are a number of places we might think of in this regard (may the Holy Spirit show us accordingly). These provide absolutely no "spiritual warmth."

The warmth of the fires of this world are indifferent if not hostile to our God. So, why would we seek to betray our Lord by seeking out associations that will never fulfill? The Lord Jesus Christ has promised a fire that will not be quenched, full of His holy love that will dwell in the heart of every believer that would but trust in Him. May we not turn toward the warmth that the world offers that will only promote mockery toward our God. May we seek Jesus and the Eternal Fire that He desires to grow in all those He calls His own.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Committing God to His Great Pleasure

Isaiah 45:11 - "Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: 'Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.'"

We all enjoy bragging on our kids. Grandparents are especially susceptible to this. We even see bumper stickers that encourage this kind of friendly interrogation (e.g. "Ask Me About My Grandchildren"). When we ask God for wisdom and understanding to fulfill His will for His children, we set in motion the ultimate desire of His heart. Isaiah tells us how God's "delight is in His children." We are His Hephzibah (God's great pleasure!).

Beloved, may we all pray to understand how much God loves and cares for us. Revelation and understanding of this sort will rocket us into another spiritual dimension. We must simply continue to ask, "Papa, show us Your love for us!" When we do, we commit him to His great desire.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Extraordinary Resurrection!

Acts 13:30 - "But God raised Him from the dead;"

An extraordinary verse! Paul's use of the word "but" turns every religion on its ear through his proclamation of Christ's resurrection. Christianity is the only religion in the world to tout a savior dying for a lost race. Jesus Christ tells us there is nothing we can do to gain God's favor -- He has done it all by dying for us and giving us new life.

Never let someone say that Jesus was just a good, moral teacher. If that was the case, there was no need for His death. The "but" qualifies Him to be not only the Great Teacher but the Supreme Lord that rules and reigns in our hearts. That is, if we let Him. May none of us stop short of allowing the death, burial, and resurrection to change our lives.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Our God Who Forgets

Isaiah 43:25 - “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins."

Sin is not something God wipes out because of He just doesn't like it – It is imperative because of His nature. He does it first and foremost for His own sake. Compromising with sin in our lives, in any shape or form, would disqualify Him as a holy God. So, to stay true to His nature, He sent Jesus Christ to take our sin once and for all. God chooses not to remember any of our sin once we give our old sin nature to Jesus and accept His gift of salvation.

Since God no longer regards sin for those who are saved by His grace, and as ambassadors for Jesus Christ, how do we look at the sins of others? Do we look at those who have not accepted Jesus as candidates for this same grace? If so, then our lives should be persuading them of an existence free from the tyranny of sin. For those who already know Him, do we remember when they have wronged us? If so, we view ourselves better than God who chooses to forget. May we all give and find mercy as He so freely grants all who seek Him!