Monday, March 31, 2014

The Proper Time

I Timothy 6:13-16 - "I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."

Sanctification is the touchstone of salvation, because without it no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). That is the paramount reason to keep ourselves unstained by the world. Jesus is returning for a bride without spot or blemish, beloved. He is waiting for a spouse that has prepared herself appropriately (Revelation 19:7).

The next time someone asks when the Lord is coming for His bride, tell them you know the exact time of His return. Paul tells us when the time is "proper" He will return, and not a moment before. May we continue to seek His face and His heart so we might be those who are the chosen – pure and undefiled when He does appear.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Protecting the Mind

Psalm 140:7 - “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle."

The psalmist was well aware when he wrote this regarding the vulnerability of the head in battle. Jesus also understood this truth when he stated in the Lord's Prayer that we should pray "not to be led into temptation, but to be delivered from evil" (Matthew 6:13). The battle is fought in the mind and that is where it will be won or lost. Our heart will inevitably be the keeper of whatever spoils we win or lose for the Kingdom of God.

Are we winning the battle today? Have we surrendered our thoughts and affections to things above and not to the things of the earth? Paul tell us "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8). However, we must make sure we are asking the Lord for His help, otherwise it becomes merely trying to create "mind over matter." Conversely, if we mind the things of God, what truly matters will manifest and grant us the victory, without exception.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Living For No Other Than Jesus!

Philippians 1:21 - "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

For Paul, life outside of Christ had ceased to exist. Every breath, every movement of his day was an orchestrated love affair with the Man, Christ Jesus. This is the story of any Christian since this beloved apostle who exudes Christ -- the death of self and the life of Jesus that escapes from every pore and corpuscle of the human frame.

Paul was not saying something clever when he announced to the Corinthians that he died daily (I Corinthians 15:31). It was his love statement that he was so committed to his Lover that he dared not do anything that would offend.

If we desire our walk with Christ to become a romance, then we must first acknowledge it is not. Then, we must ask Jesus to draw near and obey His slightest desire. Then, we will know the life Paul speaks of regarding the Savior.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Radiating God's Light

Luke 11:36 - "If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”

Living a transparent life can seem daunting. It means not allowing any compromise whatsoever in our hearts to the Lord. Even as rays of light are linear by nature, it is our nature without God to create crooked pockets of darkness within where light cannot reach through linear penetration.

We must make the crooked ways straight in order for His light to invade every area of our lives. We do this through confession and surrender. May we all allow God's light to shine its rays into those dark recesses, allowing us the honor to radiate His nature to a dark world.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Redeeming Our Time

Ephesians 5:15-16 - "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil."

Walking in the Spirit is tantamount to doing what we want with our time. We should always be conscious of how we use our time for the Lord and for His kingdom. God wants us all to live joyous and free and not under bondage to do this or that. However, when we are spending our time doing the will of the Lord, life will seem like a romance and not drudgery.

The only thing that we can give God is our time. He owns everything else. We must therefore jealously guard every waking minute and not squander God's inheritance on our own selfish ends. When we redeem the time He has given us then we return to the Father what is rightfully His in the first place. This is the love of a true son and daughter of the King.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Genuine Kindness

Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Kindness and forgiveness come from the heart of God. They are God-given and not merely actions that can be acted upon from man's heart with impunity. They are granted from hearts that are endued with God's Spirit. Those not born again of God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, can often times behave kindly and forgiving. However, it is impossible for these to come from the root of love unless they are drawing from God Himself. Anything less than this is a counterfeit. Remember, Satan can never create, but he always mimics.

Solomon tells us what is desirable in a man is kindness (Proverbs 19:22). True kindness can only come from God and the forgiveness that comes from it. We should be wary of those who act kind to us and yet do not know the Savior. Remember, Jesus did not entrust Himself to men because He knew their hearts (John 2:24-25). Mankind’s kindness is only a copy of the original and may turn on us at the opportune time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Avoidable Injury

Luke 10:19 - "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you."

Whether we believe the Lord's statement regarding our position in Him is superfluous regarding the reality. The reason why many Christians are continually getting "injured" by the enemy is because of lack of faith through obedience. If we obey God, He will give us faith to remove mountains (see Luke 17:5-10).

Once we start obeying, trust becomes evident, whereby faith can flow. Injury -- physically, emotionally, or spiritually -- is not the heritage of a child of God. It usually comes through unbelief rooted in sentimentality that God is not able to do what He says.

May we all trust and obey and watch faith heal all perceived injuries as we trample the enemy of our souls.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Getting Out of This World Alive

Romans 6:11 - "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

We will all someday die. Our mortal bodies will either decay in the ground or be transformed through His resurrection power. The Bible tells us there are two resurrections and we are blessed if we are partakers of the first rather than the second. The first means life everlasting -- the second means death eternal! (Revelation 20:5-6)

The only way we can know for sure which resurrection we will someday be part of is to put our trust in Jesus Christ. We must first surrender to God and tell Him we are heartbroken over our sin. Then, we must consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to Jesus Christ who lives within those who have trusted in Him.

Want to get out of this world alive? There is no other way then through Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man goes to God except through Him (John 14:6).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lavished Grace

Ephesians 1:7-8 - "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight."

The King James Version says that his grace "abounds" to His beloved. However, the intoxicating effect of how He "lavished" His grace upon us from the New American Standard version creates a vivid picture in the mind of a believer. The Greek for this word in both translations is "to exceed a fixed number of measure." Isn't that just like the Eternal Father to withhold not his immeasurableness, but to give us an infinite amount of His grace?

Beloved, do you feel lavished upon by God? Regardless what we might "feel," it is a completed fact. If we know the Savior, Jesus Christ, then He has lavished His grace upon us in a way that if we understood, just in part, it would make us swoon with overwhelming joy.

Lord, reveal Your grace to us all ... may we experience the understanding of Your great love toward us!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Doing Good For God

Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

Doing good for the sake of making the world a better place is a commendable thing to do. However, will it have eternal consequence? The only way to know for sure is to do it from the heart of God. Those born of His Spirit, who have the indwelling Son of God in their hearts, possess the fundamental Root of Jesse which produces God's fruit within our respective lives (Romans 15:12).

Beware and refuse to listen to the lie that other religions are working for God. Jesus said "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). That is why without Christ, "do-gooders" will eventually "lose heart." We must continue to know our Source for goodness, submit to Him, and allow the Vine to produce fruit in us according to His will.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Desirable Recognition

Acts 19:15 - "And the evil spirit answered and said to them, 'I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?'”

To be known in hell is like being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor of Heaven. Such spiritual rectitude shows that we are surrendered to Christ and are causing great defeats to the hellish realm.

What would it take for us to likewise be known in hell? We often excuse ourselves from this consideration, stating we are no Jesus or Paul. However, Paul was but a man like us who gave up His life in extraordinary fashion. In his own words he stated, "I am a nobody" (I Corinthians 12:11).

To the degree of our identification with Christ, will be the degree of our notoriety in hell. To the degree of our compromise with the world, will be the degree of relief from Satan and his minions.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Watching and Waiting

Psalm 130:6 - "My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning."

The role of the watchman in biblical times was of paramount importance. Falling asleep during one's time on the wall meant certain death for those guarding the city. By so doing, he put all those under his watch in jeopardy. The seriousness of this crime against his people cannot be understated.

In the same way, the psalmist knew the watchman yearned for the morning light. He knew there was both greater visibility regarding an approaching enemy and less chance to be caught dozing since the light is less conducive to sleep. The analogy the psalmist uses typifies his earnestness to convey the importance of waiting only on the Lord. The gaze of the soul toward our creator is the source of our salvation. The morning's Sun of Righteousness is He who will protect us from certain devastation by the enemy of our souls (Malachi 4:2).

Beloved of God, may we wait only for Christ ... there is salvation in no other!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Remaining Teachable

Galatians 3:24 - "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith."

How teachable are we? Do we allow God's law to bring us to a place of understanding and surrender regarding our inability to save ourselves? The law will produce various responses. Three relevant to this verse are as follows: (1) We are doing pretty good compared to most people, (2) We just need to try harder and do better, and (3) There is no way I can fulfill what God wants ... Lord, help me!

Of course, the most sensible response is number three. To the point where pride is alive in our old sin nature is the degree where we will deny we need God's help. As the Lord stated through Jeremiah, "they have turned their backs to me instead of their faces" (Jeremiah 32:33).

Beloved, the only way we can receive a proper education from God is to allow His "tutor" to instruct us. The gaze of the soul toward the face of God can only happen when we are surrendered to His direction.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our Only Hope

Luke 8:43-44 - "And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped."

Have we exhausted all our options regarding health, wealth, and security? Have we finally accepted that there is salvation in no other than Jesus Christ? Just as the woman bled out for years before her desperation led her to Jesus, many of us have hemorrhaged unbelief for years without any reasonable hope for a different outcome. However, once we understand that we cannot be "healed by anyone" except Jesus, then our desperation turns into answered prayer. The unsaved loved one comes to the Lord, or the impossible financial situation turns around, or the incurable illness is suddenly curable.

Beloved, it will often take pursuing Jesus with an abandonment that shows there is no other solution unless the power flows from Him to our situation. May we all touch but the fringe of His garment, for He will help us in our desperate moments.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Halting Death

Luke 7:14 - "And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise!'”

Jesus has always been in the life-giving business. When the Lord suddenly appears and touches our lives, death cannot resist as life irresistibly permeates our being. In that moment, when God arrests death, the world will "halt" in wonder at the significance of this supernatural happening.

The world will always be stupified when men choose to live according to His will. However, we cannot worry about what they will say or do, but we must climb out of our coffins of despair and unbelief and give glory to God. That is why resurrection is fundamental to the Christian faith and diametric to the teachings of this world. The former instills resurrection hope while the best the latter can do is give us a false hope of humanistic betterment.

Even if the world seems to have nailed our coffin shut, beloved of God, know that He can always raise us up through His Holy Spirit.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mutual Adoration

Luke 6:20 - "And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'"

God's gaze is always turned toward His beloved. However, the depths of His truth often come when we have fixed our gaze upon Him ... then we are able to hear the epiphanies from His nature which change us forever. As a result, we understand it is not what we possess which proves our nearness to God, but what we dispossess of this world.

Beware of judging others by prosperity of body, soul, or spirit. Material wealth or bodily health are not necessarily indicators of closeness to God. However, poverty of self and our rights to what we think best will result in the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in our lives. May we fix our gaze upon His gaze upon us. For as we do, He will speak great and wondrous things that will make us like His Son.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Favored Faith

Psalm 147:11 - "The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness."

There are generally two reasons why it might seem as if the Lord is withholding His favor from a believer's life. While we may fear the Lord and are obedient in what He has shown us, we can often abort His goodness by not waiting in faith for Him to move. Paul says that when we have done everything, to stand firm and not allow our resolve to be shaken (Ephesians 6:13).

Never quit until the answer manifests. Beloved, obedience must be married to faith if we will indeed experience all that Christ has done for us. May we look to Him, knowing through our surrendered lives of obedient faith we will experience all He desires to do in our lives, families, and homes. Our intended gaze will always result in His intended love and how we experience it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Proper Fear

Psalm 56:4 - "In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?"

One day, when time is swallowed up by eternity, we will understand the foolishness regarding the times we feared what man thought about our faith. Or, how we worried about finances or insignificant things that matter not in the light of heaven!

Often, the way we react to others publicly is according to the way we act privately in our devotion to Jesus. When we are in love, we care little who knows or who cares.

Lord, may we understand how transitory we are and seek to understand how to fear and reverence you above all!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Are You Looking At?

Galatians 5:13 - "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

Selfishness will always cause our gaze to turn into morbid introspection. It is our responsibility in Christ to remove our attention from ourselves and fix it upon Jesus. When we do, the love of God is once again shed abroad in our hearts. As the eyes of a servant looks toward their master, so our eyes look to the Lord until he is gracious to us (Psalm 123:2). This is fundamental regarding our love for Jesus Christ.

Beware of serving God with human sentimentality. It only reinforces the power of self. Abandonment toward God is not meant to focus us on a cause, but on Jesus. A fixed gaze upon His Person will ensure our love will grow for Him and ultimately for others, providing no “opportunity for the flesh.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Privilege of the Lowly

Psalm 138:6 - "For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar."

In another psalm it states how the Lord humbles Himself even to look at heaven (Psalm 113:6). How much more mortal flesh? Yet, He loves and adores us, seeking our companionship in all things. He sees those who have trusted in His Son as robed with His righteousness.

Shall we know the Lord intimately through humility and obedience in all things? Or, shall we know Him as an acquaintance from a far off? It is possible to be saved and going to heaven with this nominal relationship. However, may we all desire to stand before the Great King on that wonderful day when time surrenders to eternity, knowing Him in our lowly state as He exalts us in the presence of all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A God Who is Near

Jeremiah 23:23 - “'Am I a God who is near,' declares the Lord, 'And not a God far off?'"

God's rhetorical questioning is meant as soft interrogation, allowing the nation of Israel to come to their senses regarding God's ability to save. Throughout scripture, we see a pleading Father addressing His children with a sorrowful heart. His one and only desire is for reconciliation through the redemption of His Son, Jesus Christ.

There are many today who have similar deist beliefs. They see God as way out there in the Universe somewhere with little concern about the affairs of mankind. However, either God is a liar or He speaks words of sober truth when He states His desire is to come to our aid. The greatest expression of love–putting His action to words–was sending the Son to earth to redeem us. How much more could a loving God do to show us His nearness?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dominion Authority

Psalm 119:133 – “Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me."

Dominion is a legal term that implies ownership. The Psalmist understood that how we walk and where we allow our footsteps to take us will inevitably determine who owns us. Only the naive believe they are their own lord and master. The prudent know that God's word empowers Christ's dominion to rule where the flesh and the devil would otherwise be enthroned.

Jesus told us to pray that we would not be lead into temptation, but to be delivered from evil (Matthew 6:13). The only way this will happen is to give ourselves to what God's word says about us. We are overcomers and victorious if we are in Christ, whether we believe it or not. However, believing what God says will inevitably allow Him to rule with power and dominion through those who would but trust.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Test Yourselves

II Corinthians 13:5 - "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you— unless indeed you fail the test?"

I trust that none of us would fail the test. However, it would be foolish not to check ourselves from time to time. We do many self-exams on things such as cancers or strokes. Why would it seem strange to check whether we are in the faith?

Some might say, "I don't need to check because by faith I am saved, now and forever more in Christ!" That may be true, but John and Jesus told us to bring forth fruits with our repentance. If the fruit is there (Galatians 5:22-23), then we have correctly judged ourselves. The word will always accurately reveal our thoughts and intentions if we will hold ourselves to its scrutiny.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My High Places

II Samuel 22:34 - “He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places."

God will always lead us to higher ground. In so doing, He will always equip us to be there and to overcome the heights. The sure-footedness of the Ibex is certainly a sight to behold as they effortlessly ascend and descend sheer mountainsides in the Judean Wilderness. Similarly, God has given those He leads higher the necessary gifts and the callings to succeed. He will never lead us beyond what we are able (I Corinthians 10:13).

Know this, beloved, that God will only lead us to "my high places." We should not look with envy or disdain at another's high place where God is leading them. When we do, we put ourselves in jeopardy of falling from the height He has brought us to.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Holy Spirit Fire

Jeremiah 20:9 - "But if I say, 'I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,' then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it."

Once God puts His hand on a man or woman, it is impossible to successfully run from God. Jeremiah understood this and most assuredly Jonah knew it was futile to forsake God's calling. The Holy Spirit will certainly be that "Hound of Heaven" who will not compromise His position within all who are chosen by the Lord.

Even during my backslidden years, I often felt a fiery burning within my chest, full of sorrow and remorse. I knew then as now that it was the Holy Spirit grieved within me, desiring my reconciliation with God.

God's burning will always manifest itself as holiness and uncompromising devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are experiencing God's burning within ... Rejoice! For some of us it may mean a need to repent and turn back to God. For others, it may mean God is about to take us to a higher place of intercession for others.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Simple Salvation

Psalm 116:6 - "The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me."

How low can we go? How simple can we become? The mighty paradox of the Kingdom of God is the weak are made strong by His grace. As Paul states, not many of us who are wise by the world's standards have found the wisdom of God in salvation (I Corinthians 1:26-27).

While God's redemption is utterly simple in that we must embrace the seeming foolishness of the cross, it is often not easy (I Corinthians 1:18). We all have this mental beast on our shoulders that wants to be king instead of allowing God His proper place in our lives. When we finally do experience the simplicity of the Gospel, then we can say with the psalmist: "Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." (Psalm 116:7)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

God Amongst Us

Exodus 25:8 - "Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them."

God has never been in the business of building places for His presence. Just as the Hebrews were instructed to construct God's dwelling place according to His desire, so we too must continue to prepare that place for His glory to rest within us. Those of us who know Christ will always be justified and cleansed by Christ's blood. That is Jesus' completed work in us. However, it is our responsibility to manifest Christ's presence within us through sanctification.

Just as the Israelites were obedient to the smallest detail of the construction of God's dwelling place, so must we be concerned with obeying God in all things. As we do and we no longer quench the Holy Spirit within, He will rise up and take possession of our entire life for His glory sake.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our Lives in Perspective

Psalm 39:4 - “LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am."

Youth creates an illusion regarding our respective mortality. As we grow older, we understand more fully how we are but a mere breath and significant only in how we treat others, especially God.

Wisdom is our greatest asset which leads us to choose how we should live towards God and man.
Throughout God's word we are reminded how the fear of the Lord is the way we obtain this great treasure. When one truly understands they are merely passing through this life as a vapor, then eternity--and the things we do in view of it--become paramount and the only thing which really matter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Giving Our Children a Hand

Jeremiah 47:3 - “Because of the noise of the galloping hoofs of his stallions, the tumult of his chariots, and the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers have not turned back for their children, because of the limpness of their hands."

Fear can be paralyzing. However, it is unconscionable for fathers to allow the world to consume our children while we are afraid to stand up to those who would seek their lives. For too long, the church has sat idly by and allowed our offspring the misfortune of "finding themselves." This has only resulted in more hedonistic narcissism. Many of us who failed to raise our children and grandchildren on God's word have seen the result -- children given over to the enemy because of the "limpness of our hands."

However, as long as we draw breath, there is time to lift up the banner of Jesus and let the younger generation know whom we have believed. We must speak up, act up, and show up for Christ's sake. This witness will strengthen our hands and bring light to an increasingly dark world for our children’s sake.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Delighting in God's Word

Jeremiah 15:16 - "Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts."

We have all known picky eaters. Maybe we are one. Proverbs 27:7 tells us "A sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet." When hunger is the driving force, it doesn't matter how something tastes. The only concern is to quell the hunger pains.

Are we famished for God's word? Are we daily in the Holy Bible, digging out its treasures? The only way to get hungry for God's word is by getting into it. Then, we will long for it when we miss a day. The Word of God is not a drudgery, beloved. It is "a joy and the delight" of our hearts if we will but discipline ourselves to seek God there daily.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Light Out of Darkness

II Corinthians 4:6 - "For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

It is an extraordinary thing when we gaze into the face of Jesus. It is remarkable, when we do so, how the darkness in our lives suddenly becomes light! It is as though God flips a switch when we come to Him in surrender and our souls are flooded with understanding. Though we grope in the darkness, we will not find true illumination until we submit to God. Remember, human knowledge is no substitute for God's wisdom.

Never underestimate God's ability to bring light to what seems like a hopelessly dark situation. Does the darkness seem impenetrable, beloved? Gaze upon Christ and God will call light out of your darkness.