Thursday, January 31, 2013

Appropriate Praise


Luke 4:15 - "And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all."

At the start of Jesus' ministry, all was "good." Possibly the love offerings were flowing and the healings were happening. If there was radio and TV in those days, there would be those seeking to take him coast to coast, from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean! However, things were about to change, and we must say, for the better. Later in this chapter, He was being mobbed and He was nearly thrown down a cliff (Luke 4:29). The reason? His preaching had gone from "good" to "perfect" in its truth factor. He had affronted Jewish sensibilities with the idea that God cared for both Gentile and Jew alike. This was untenable to the Jews, thus the firestorm.

We should not seek to be "praised by all." In so doing, we make ourselves a friend of this world which is hostility toward God (James 4:4). If we are doing and saying what God wants, there will come a day when others will seek to dispose of us over a proverbial cliff. Whatever the outcome, we must trust the Lord and speak the truth in love regardless.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sustaining the Weary

Isaiah 50:4 - "The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple."

This prophetic scripture regarding how the Lord Jesus learned to disciple others is also applicable to our lives as believers. As Hebrews 5:8 states: "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." To disciple others, the Lord knew that he must first be disciplined by His Father. This meant perfect obedience.

What is the condition of our discipleship to others? Do we have "tongues of disciples?" If we do, we will likewise be able to "sustain the weary with a word." Are we speaking life into the souls of our children, spouses, and all those we come into contact with on a daily basis? If we are, we have embraced obedience and discipline from our Lord.

Lord, help us to "listen as a disciple" that we may have life giving tongues to help the weary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

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!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

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. 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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Aligning with God in Prayer

Mark 11:24 - "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."

As a child, I seldom came to my parents and asked for something I knew was impossible to receive. If I went and asked for a B-52 Bomber (since a Strategic Air Command AFB base was close to our house), my dad would have said, "Oh, we're playing let's pretend, huh?" I had no need for a B-52 and we both knew it. However, if I asked for something reasonable within his power, he would tax all of his resources to get it for me.

What are we praying and asking for? If it is a reasonable request, God will tax all of heaven to answer our prayer. The key word here is "reasonable." The implication with any request is ... are we praying the will of God? That is really all prayer is, agreeing with what heaven already wants to do. Once we have God's wisdom in a situation, then we can "pray through" and know that it is a done deal. 

May we all pray according to His will and align heaven's desires with ours.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Impartiality of God


Acts 10:34-35 - “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him."

God cares not who we are but what we become through our obedience to Him. Some folks make following and worshiping God a complicated matter by a myriad of rules and regulations. Others choose no rules and say their god accepts them in their spiritual journey as long as they continue to "search." However, the truth is different than what we might perceive as reality.

Simply, as Peter states, we must "fear Him" and do "what is right." Some try to reverse the order and think because they are moral and doing the next right thing, that they are fearing God. However, the fear of the Lord means more than just being afraid of the consequences of bad behavior. It means to be afraid of not loving the Lord with all one's heart. If we are truly in love with God, then our right living will supernaturally follow. Then, as this scripture states, he will welcome any one without partiality. May we all love Him supremely with a reverence to do otherwise. Then, God's perfect love will cast out any fear not of Him (I John 4:18).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Somethingness Out Of Nothingness


Isaiah 38:17 - “Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back."

King Hezekiah was overjoyed when Isaiah told him God was extending his life another 15 years. The king was to die in the prime of his life but God had mercy.

How many of us have been granted a grand reprieve? Our lives were full of bitterness, not understanding that God was there all the time. Our existences were filled with nothingness, yet we did not know it. The anxiety and the pain of living filled us with overwhelming despair, masking how truly empty we were in reality. Then, the glorious revelation of Jesus Christ came when He "cast all our sin behind His back." The epiphany of this great act and the realization of the emptiness of our lives as he backfilled them with His love, joy, and peace became our moment of transformation.

If you have not done so, or have lost your way and are “stuck,” please consider the following: Embrace God this day. He desires to turn our nothingness into great somethingness.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zeal for the God Within


Psalm 69:9 - "For zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me."

What often appears as religious fanaticism to the world, can be the zeal of and passion of a believer for the God who lives within. It is a wonderful ambition to keep our bodies pure, both in what we consume and what we allow it to do. However, this verse speaks to us about the temple of the Lord and how He lives -- not only in our bodies but also in our souls and spirits.

Are we consumed with what God thinks about His living quarters within us? Or, are we ashamed when we participate in some conversation, or watch some movie, or when we go somewhere He would not approve? He is our guest yet so many of us treat Him like a hobo in a flophouse! When we have a zeal for the God who dwells within, then we will become partakers of the reproach of the world. Is no one reproaching us for our zeal? Then possibly we have none. May we all live passionately and fervently for the One who dwells within.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Strength in the Skies


Psalm 68:34 - "Ascribe strength to God; His majesty is over Israel and His strength is in the skies."

If we could see into the supernatural this day with the ability to comprehend what was going on in the heavenlies, we would see a glorious covering of glory over the nation of Israel. Even in their spiritual blindness to Yeshua, God still broods over this land like a mother hen over her chicks.

Even so, God's strength and power is in the skies throughout the earth. Certainly there are principalities of wickedness over certain areas. Yet, God still reigns and rules supreme in the heavens. Some versions suggest His strength is in the "clouds." While we may not see Him today in the heavenlies, beloved, there is a day coming we will all see Him coming in great power on the clouds. Come Lord Jesus, come!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Burden Bearer

Psalm 68:19 - "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah."

We often marvel at someone who has done a particular feat daily for years and years. I am reminded of a fellow who has run every day since the early 1970s. Truly remarkable when you think how life often attempts and succeeds to derail our daily plans. There is something to be said for faithfulness and perseverance of this sort.

Is there ever a day that you know you should do something, yet you blow it off? We have all done this. However, God never tires of daily bearing our burden. If all 6 billion souls on this planet would turn to Jesus this very day, He would still be strong enough to carry every care and woe of the human race. All we must do is trust, surrender, and rely upon Him as the "God who is our salvation."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Jesus' Name


Acts 3:16 -" And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all."

What is in a name? No sane person would name their child "Stupid." Most people know that when you call something by its name, the meaning of the name is reinforced. When the angel Gabriel announced the name of Jesus (Yeshua) to Mary before His birth, heaven had an agenda. Jesus literally means "God saves." The etymology of Yeshua means every kind of salvation mankind needs or desires. He is first and foremost our Savior from sin. Additionally he is our Healer, our Deliverer, our Sustainer, our Protector, and our Overcomer. Jesus Christ is the salvation solution for every circumstance.

Are we Christians who call on the name of Jesus Christ in faith of its great strength? If not we have denied the power He came to give every believer. May we look to the Savior and the power of his name. Our God is mighty to save!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Godly Stability


Isaiah 33:6 - "And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure."

What are we banking on for retirement? I'm not speaking of earthly retirement, but what have we banked for our eternal repose? Everyone receives dividends for however they are preparing. Some are readying themselves for this inevitable day by avoiding Jesus and giving themselves to the things of this world. Their lack of the fear of the Lord is evident by their lack of treasure as suggested in our lead verse.

However, those who have opened their bank account in heaven through their surrender to Jesus, and then have faithfully added to their ledger day by day, can be assured of dividends both in this life and the one to come. Their treasure is reflected in earthly "stability," as this verse suggests, and also the assurance of eternal peace with Him who faithfully guards their riches. Beloved, our greatest treasure is the fear of the Lord. May we surrender to His fear and reverence and we will never be dismayed what man might throw our way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Universal Prayer

Psalm 65:2 - "O You who hear prayer, to you all men come."

When does a man become a fool and say there is no God? Surely every man at one time in their lives has offered a prayer to heaven. Possibly the only time was when they were in a dire circumstance. As a wise man has said "there are no atheists in foxholes."

If, perchance, there is someone who has never said a prayer to God in this lifetime, they certainly will say one in the life to come. Scripture tells us that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). We can either pray for grace in this lifetime or mercy in the one to come. It is our choice. For every man will pray to God and eventually come to him. May we all choose to come to Him in this lifetime.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Evidence of a New Life in Christ


II Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

Just because we don't do wrong things outwardly is no proof we are new creatures in Christ. Not sinning can certainly be an outward sign of an inward work. However, the honest proof of a new creation within us is one of desire. Do we long for those things we no longer do? Do we secretly desire those things that once brought us and our Lord such pain? If we do, then we may want to question whether "old things" have truly passed away.

If we are not loving the Man, Christ Jesus, rather than a way of life or a creed, then we have missed the point of regeneration. New life in Jesus has never meant promotion of truth but devotion to the One and Only Truth Giver. To be a new creature simply means we are passionately in love with Him who created us. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind has all the wisdom and evidence of a new creation in Christ (Matthew 22:37)

May we all know and understand His great love for us, knowing He has given all that we can be all in Him.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Grace is the Word


Revelation 22:21 - "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen."

This is God's last word to mankind in His written word. This is the summation of all the work God has ever done through Jesus Christ on our behalf. Nothing more can be added to the wonderful, beautiful word "grace." He has given His life that we might share in it through His death. What more is to be said?

Beware of those who would say "Yes, but it is grace and this or that." If it must be qualified with a "but," question whether it is really anything that we can "do" for our salvation. True, obedience is necessary to live holy before God." This, friends, comes only through His grace and His ability through us to do so.

May we all live with eternal gratitude toward a Savior who has given us all things through undeserved grace!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Living for Others


Ruth 1:16 - "But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.'"

Holiness (or setting ourselves apart for God) is never for our edification. The bi-product of sanctification truly is a life of peace and joy, but this was not God's main desire in making us holy. Like Ruth, our desire should be to cling to God at all cost. Then, He will reveal His grand plan as we follow.

Sanctification's ultimate result is to draw all our attention from ourselves to others. The only way that can happen is by first looking to Jesus who is passionate for mankind. In the beginning, we will find our focus to be firmly transfixed on the Savior, as Ruth was toward Naomi. In time, however, we find we begin to see the Savior in others as we minister (e.g. Boaz). This is seeing beyond God and recognizing the image of God in others.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Strength From Hope


Isaiah 41:10 - "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Spiritual exhaustion can be so liberating or it can likewise be very debilitating. Once we come to the conclusion there is no way we can save our loved ones, or pay the mortgage and the car loan this month, or be reconciled to a friend who’s become embittered against us, or be set free from our besetting sin – then God can step in. That is, if we allow Him. Hope is the catalyst that propels us toward God's solution. Conversely, hopelessness leads to spiritual and eventual physical suicide. When we trust in God – when all else has failed – the dynamic of hope is energized which brings the miracle.

May we never abort what God is about to do in our lives by giving up on Him. Know this … He will never give up on us. He is mighty to save, beloved of God!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fulfillment of Scripture


Matthew 26:54 - "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

Peter came to Jesus' defense with misplaced heroism by cutting off the ear of Malchus, the High Priest's slave. Jesus was quick to point out the folly in trying to protect Jesus or His mission. Many today seek to do the same by defending Jesus as someone He is not. He is not the great liberator of social injustices. He is not even the One to bring peace on earth through remarkable sayings such as "Love your neighbor." However, He is the One who fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies through His obedience to His Father. (http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/messiah.htm)

Beware of those who would seek to make Jesus a humanistic, sentimental human being that wants to make our world better. He came to fulfill scripture by redeeming humanity and will one day create a new heavens and a new earth filled with righteousness. The best we can do in the meantime is seek to convince others He is coming back to do this very thing and to reflect His life to others as ambassadors of our Lord.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Proper Denial


Matthew 26:35 - "Peter said to Him, 'Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.' All the disciples said the same thing too."

Peter thought he could choose the place of his death. As we get closer with Jesus, we find that dying to self never has the extravagance of knowing the place where the Lord requires us to lay down our life. We may be heroic and sentimental in our loyalties, yet we often lack the pluck to identify with Christ's crucifixion when He is telling us to die to our old ways. It is easy to live in the "glory hallelujah" of the resurrection. It is quite another to live in the shadow of His crucifixion when all have deserted us.

Our misguided understanding of death to self can impinge on those around us. Instead of increasing their faith to live and die for Jesus as He desires, we create self-sufficiency in others by our own obstinacy. Humiliation is the touchstone of true death to self, beloved. Humility seeks not its own place of death but embraces whatever the Lord says.

 May we surrender all to Him, properly denying ourselves. For only then will death to self have its greatest reward -- a glorious rebirth in His image.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Godly Reasoning


Judges 17:13 - "Then Micah said, 'Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest.'”

This is symptomatic of the calamitous thinking of people who do whatever is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). Micah considered that since he now had a religious person living with him that God would bless him. This is so typical of those who do not understand the God of grace. We can never do anymore to get God to like us or love us anymore this side of eternity. He did all He will ever do in this wise through redemption in Jesus Christ His Son. True prosperity will only come in recognizing that we are not God, nor can we orchestrate our situations by religiosity in order to gain God's favor. This is an impossibility, beloved.

Once we understand that works will not save us, then we can trust in God for our salvation and sanctification. God's holiness does not come by aligning our circumstances, but by positioning our hearts to receive from God. May we look to Him and accept His prosperity. Not on our works, but by His grace.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Judgment That Kills


Exodus 2:14 - "But he said, 'Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?' Then Moses was afraid and said, 'Surely the matter has become known.'”

When we take God’s judgment into our own hands, the world goes into an uproar! Jesus told us "Judge not lest you also be judged" (John 7:1). However, He also told us not to judge by appearance but to judge righteously (John 7:24). Whenever we judge a person, place, or situation outside of God, we show the world we have nothing other than judgment to offer. Then, like Moses, we run away or retreat to our own frustration of trying to "right the world." It will often take time in the desert (40 years for Moses) to understand that judgment outside of God's bidding creates nothing but fear in us and anger in the world.

The beauty of God's judgment is that while men breathe it is always coupled with mercy. This, my friends, is the character of God. As ambassadors for Him, He never wants us to judge someone without giving them His alternate character attribute of mercy. Otherwise, like Moses, we will kill unsuspecting opportunities and cause a worse dilemma than before our feeble attempt.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Lone Fig Tree


Matthew 21:19 - "Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, 'No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.' And at once the fig tree withered."

Did Jesus know this fig tree had no fruit? It seems obvious that He chose not to use His divinity to ascertain this particular instance. This, in a way, was added grace for this tree which was soon to be cursed and withered under His divine power. In the same respect, God gives us much grace until the time He comes looking for fruit on us. He allows us to grow wherever we are planted and appear to be "green" and useful for the kingdom. However, when He comes looking, we had best have produced more than spiritual leaves.

Are we a lone fig tree in our walk with God? We have far less chance of producing fruit if we are. The main benefit of fig tree groves rather than solitary fig trees is fertilization. A lone fig tree has far more likelihood to not be fertilized than a grove of trees. (A random insect or bird may cause fertilization to a lone tree, but don't count on it!)

May we all look to the Lord and then to other believers for our strength. Then, may we produce fruit as we serve both for God's glory!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Godly Sustenance


Psalm 54:4 - "Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul."

Our souls are the gateway to our entire person, supporting our body and spirit. Whatever we allow to sustain us in our mind, emotion, and will (soul) will affect every part of us. That is why the Apostle John stated that he desired those he ministered to would prosper even as their souls prospered (III John 1:2). Whatever we allow our minds to dwell on will nurture our entire being. Likewise, what we allow our eyes to fasten on will feed us. Our emotional response to these things will be food for the entire living being which God has created.

What sustains us today? Are we drawing pure life from the Vine and the Vinedresser? (John 15) Or, have we elected to munch on the soulish "processed foods" of this world? It will become evident to all which we choose, especially ourselves and the Lord. May we please Him by looking to Him for our sustenance.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Power to Bend


Psalm 52:8 - "But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever."

A green olive tree is obvious to most of us as a metaphor for life. To David, it must have implied great hope. However, just because an olive tree is green does not mean it is bearing fruit. Nevertheless, there is the hope of fruit as long as the tree stays green. This means rooted in God, the very tabernacle of His presence, which allows the life of God to flow through every branch and leaf.

Are we a green olive tree planted in the house of God? Or, have we isolated ourselves outside of God's will only to wither without producing fruit in season? The lesson of abiding in our Lord is paramount to staying green and "bendable" without breaking under the winds of adversity that will surely come.

Holy Spirit, allow us to bow to your gentle winds so we can withstand the winds of this world which seek to destroy our fruit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Original Sin

Psalm 51:5 - "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me."

King David's understanding of original sin afforded him a depth of repentance that would have been inconceivable without this knowledge. If he believed that there was the slightest hint of something good in him, this would have undoubtedly given him hope for self-redemption from his sin of adultery. Instead, he understood with his heart how he was lost and separated forever from God unless He intervened on his behalf. As the Scripture tells us, David found God's forgiveness -- not on his merit but through the God’s grace.

The depth of our revelation of Adam's original sin as the great spiritual cancer of our world will equal the extent of our deliverance. When we know all our attempts at redemption are futile and as "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), then we can experience gratitude, knowing we have become the righteousness of God in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21).

Beloved of God, there is salvation in no other way than accepting Jesus Christ’s redemption. He is the Great Redeemer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Joy Forever!

Psalm 16:11 - "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

There are few greater joys a believer can experience than experiencing the presence of God. The closeness of the Holy Spirit when we are free of guilt and shame is a most extraordinary thing! When we come before God with uplifted faces and open arms to His life, then we experience his embrace a bit more fully each day. The walk with Him becomes sweeter and sweeter as we trust in Him to lead us—not caring where we go, only that He is with us.

How much different will it be for those who continue to turn from Him until the bitter end! Those who instead choose to gaze at themselves or to other things as their "gods" will experience something quite different when they come into His presence. We have the choice of receiving His mercy in this lifetime and experiencing His joy both now and forever, or waiting for judgment on that final day only to be driven from His glorious presence forever (II Thessalonians 1:9). It is our choice ... learn to walk in His joy and pleasures now, or experience the lack thereof for all time and eternity. May we today choose life, beloved!