Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Power to Love Perfectly

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 - “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

Most would say this is an impossible commandment of the Lord. One might ask what is the feasibility of loving God in the fullness of expression as He commands? Perfect love only comes through the empowerment of Jesus Christ within. Only He can create a perfect love within that matures into this "fullness of expression."

Perfect charity is only possible through the love of God that has been poured out in the heart of every believer (Romans 5:5). Only through the Holy Spirit and His zeal for the Son and the Father can we experience a perfect love that is passionate for God and likewise for those with whom He loves. Beloved, while perfect hearts of love are far beyond our capabilities, they are always an ever present reality if we will but yield ourselves to His loving Spirit.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Judging Righteously

John 7:24 - "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

Jesus told us to judge sin, not sinners. Judging sinners is God's job. However, we are deceived if we believe He does not want us to mourn, pray, and speak up against sin in all its forms. Obvious sins are lust, drunkenness, abortion, homosexuality, murder, theft, and so forth. However, we must see things such as anger and jealousy are equally as offensive to God.

We must first judge the sin in ourselves. Then, we will be able to compassionately judge sin in others with love and with the promise of God's forgiveness. Remember, Jesus wept over Jerusalem before He whipped the moneychangers out of the Temple. May we have surrendered hearts, judging only when He tells us to do so in love.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Unwavering Faith

Romans 4:20 - "Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God."

It took many years for Abraham to realize the promise of God through the birth of Isaac. What has God promised to birth in our lives that we are holding onto by faith? Or, have we wavered, seeking instead to birth something in our own power?

We all have "Ishmaels" that we have tried to give to God in place of our Isaacs. However, God is faithful and will keep His promise even when we sometimes lack faith. Where is the promise of salvation for our children? Where is vision we once had for ministry? What happened to that healing for ourselves or a loved one we were sure God desired? It is not ours to question, only to believe. Like Abraham, we must repent for our Ishmaels and continue to grow strong in faith, giving glory to God. In due season, we will reap the promises of God because He cannot deny Himself.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Roasting Our Prey

Proverbs 12:27 - "A lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence."

The Bushmen of Africa were said to have pursued animals for days, running with endurance until they exhausted an antelope or gazelle. Their diligence and steadfastness meant that eventually they would overtake their fleet-footed quarry. In the same way, God desires us to pursue righteousness (Proverbs 15:9), until we capture it. Often, it will escape us in the short-term, but if we set our eyes on the goal of becoming like Jesus, then we will soon capture His heart and become like Him.

Godliness is the birthright of every Christian. Some just desire it more and will run the race with endurance until the "quarry" is theirs. May we never give up, never give in, until we "roast" our prey and partake of all He desires to give us.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Freedom Through Obeying God’s Truth

John 8:31-32 - "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'”

Understanding God’s word and doing God’s word are related but so different. Jesus understood this reality and it grieved Him deeply. Likewise, we see limited freedom in Christians because of limited obedience. We hang on to our own words and what we think best for our lives rather than continuing in Christ's words.

Beloved, we must surrender all to know true freedom. Then, we must stand against the lies of the enemy and take possession of all Jesus has given us. Obey, trust, and believe. If we continue in these, we will know freedom beyond comprehension.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Eyes to See

John 9:25 - "He then answered, 'Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.'”

The most powerful convincer we have regarding our faith is our testimony. People can argue theology and apologetics, but it is difficult to argue experience. If we have been set free from alcoholism, or anger, or jealousy, or homosexuality, or adultery, or greed, or any other sin, it is difficult to argue against the power of God.

John the Revelator tells us the testimony of Jesus' work in our lives is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). May we all prophesy hope into dead lives through what Christ has done in our hearts. In so doing, we will show a blind world the glory of His power.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

All Things Work Together for Good

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

Do we love God? Then we can be assured that He is orchestrating all things on our behalf. Will we love God perfectly? That is the promise of eternity. Until then, He only desires that we keep turning our affection toward Him. His response will be a perfect harmony of events resulting in our sanctification. We need only to continue turning to Christ and to rest in Him.

Lord, grant us the wisdom to understand that You are causing Your great love to bring us to the place You desire. May we know You are perfecting us everyday into the image of Your Son as we believe and submit to Your plan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Overcoming Temptation

Hebrews 2:18 - "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."

Compromise is easy, for there is little immediate pain involved – just the ultimate consequences of sin that will require due payment. However, when temptation comes and we suffer through it, we are behaving like our Lord. And, with the temptation comes the same power which Jesus' overcame His temptations.

Don't let the devil lie to you and say that Jesus had it any easier. Philippians chapter two tells us that Jesus emptied Himself of God, taking on a sinless human nature, therefore subjecting Him to the same sufferings that we go through.

May we draw upon Christ's victory over sin in our own lives, knowing we have been identified with Him in His glorious triumph!

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Word of Our Testimony

John 4:41-42 - "Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, 'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.'”

Those of us who have been delivered from desperate lives understand the power of a testimony of God's saving grace. However, testimonials only go so far. Many religions claim converts who have been equally depraved and now are set upon a new course of enlightenment.

The difference is when the Holy Spirit comes in and takes our testimonies, piercing the hearts of those chosen for eternal life. No longer do we need to persuade them, but God Himself has moved upon their hearts and made them born of His Spirit. May we continue to testify to Christ's goodness, but may we also pray that God will have His way with the lives who hear of His amazing grace!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Encouraging Ourselves in God

I Samuel 30:6 - "Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God."

David's 16 month sojourn in Ziklag took him out of the will of God. Therefore, the enemy was able to come against him and his men and loot them of all they owned. However, David made a correction and "strengthened himself in the Lord." Even as David inquired of God, the Lord told him to pursue and overcome his enemy. David humbled himself, sought the Lord's direction, and was rewarded for his faith.

When we find ourselves out of the will of God, it is important not to run from God, but run to Him. Sometimes He is telling us, "Okay, you messed up. Now what are you going to do? Time to suck it up and trust in Me!" When we encourage ourselves in Him, He will quickly help us to set things right. All it takes is faith that God is for us!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Faces of Lions

I Chronicles 12:8 - "From the Gadites there came over to David in the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains."

When we face our everyday battles, do we have "faces like lions?" Have we allowed the Lord to train us for battle, taking up the armor of our God against the enemy? If we are spiritual Gadites, then our hearts no longer melt like wax in the face of trouble. We have learned that the battle is not ours, but the Lord's.

Father, I pray over every one who would receive this short prayer. Make them lions that tear their prey. Give them an uncompromised perspective over the things which would assail them. Allow them the courage to roar mightily, causing their circumstances to bow the knee to God within them. May they command sickness, anxiety, fear, and any other foul thing to come under the rule of God. In Jesus' Name, the Lion of Judah ... Amen!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Acquiring True Wealth

Proverbs 23:4 - Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it.

Dictionaries miss the definition of wealth by limiting it to what a person can garner, materially. Wealth is actually anything which allows a person to prosper in life – physically, mentally, or spiritually. Jesus tells us not to seek it in any form, but to seek first the kingdom of God and what we need will be given to us. Wealth will then come, as we need it, to supply first other's needs and then our own.

Seeking the wealth of wisdom and that of money are equally wrong if we merely desire to waste them upon ourselves. God lavished upon us the wealth of salvation and He desires our hearts to be taken up with the same task for all mankind.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

True Living

Romans 14:7 - "For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself."

Many lessons we learn by degrees and this is one of them. None of us live perfectly for the Lord. However, when we begin to understand we do not live for ourselves, then things begin to change. We give a little more, and speak kindly a bit more.

As that modern sage, Bob Dylan, so aptly put it, "Well, it might be the devil, or it might be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody." May we all ask God for wisdom, importuning Him to show us that we are just a vapor that appears only for a moment in time. For who we serve will make all the difference in heaven and earth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Numbering Our Days

Psalm 90:12 - "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom."

Understanding that we are transitory by God's wisdom is entirely different than how the ungodly see it. Numbering our days, through God's knowledge, is learning the fear of the Lord for that is truly the beginning of wisdom. With that understanding we can live in the hope of eternity.

Not so with the wicked. Their faith believes we are all part of a collective, humanistic endeavor to change the planet with no hope for an individualistic future. How surprised will they be one day when they kneel before Jesus and confess Him as Lord and then be dismissed into eternal punishment! Lord, give us wisdom to know what we do now will totally determine our eternal destiny. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Living for Others

Hebrews 7:25 - "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Perfect love means perfect sacrifice. How heaven would move upon earth if we began taking our eyes off ourselves and began to see and feel the heart of God for those around us! What would happen if we lived to make intercession for others as Jesus is doing right now at the right-hand of the Father? This is what would happen: Heaven would come down and the glory of the Lord would cause an unprecedented revival!

Beloved, as the world continues to get darker with sin, may we become endued with God's heart for this lost world. May we turn our eyes from ourselves and be captivated by His desires for those around us. What a day that would be!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lasting Greatness

Jeremiah 45:5 - But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the Lord, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.’”

Greatness should be superfluous to the child of God. Especially when it has to do with personal gain. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? This rhetorical question of the Lord from the Gospels is similar to the one He asked through the prophet 700 years earlier. The betterment of the flesh has not changed from Jeremiah's time up through Christ and even today. Self-seeking will only result in "disaster on all flesh."

If we seek greatness, it should be wrapped in a cloak of humility that is seeking Christ's kingdom. Without our surrender to Jesus, we are merely profiting the flesh which -- in the end -- will not redeem anyone or anything. It will be consumed only upon our own lust for recognition. However, if we desire to see Jesus lifted up and magnified, then paradoxically we will know greatness for both ourselves and all we touch in His name.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Resurrecting Lazarus

John 12:10-11 - "But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus."

When the resurrection of Christ begins to take hold of our lives through our experience, the flesh and the devil will seek to silence the "Lazarus" within. None will be more persistent than the religious folk in our lives. Those who see the freedom and joy in our hearts will seek to kill it by saying we should live sober, reflective lives. We should not behave in a way that is contrary to the way they believe.

However, when we begin to obey Jesus in all areas of our lives, we see something remarkable begin to occur. Others who are seeking freedom are drawn to us, confounding those who think they are following God. Beloved, may we allow our inner Lazarus to break out through obedience and love for the Risen Lord!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Selfish Ambition

I Corinthians 3:3 - "For you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?"

Paul says in another place that the companion of godliness is contentment (I Timothy 6:6). Have we become content with Jesus Christ who lives within? Have we, like the Psalmist, come to that place where we are like a weaned child resting against a mother, not grasping for anything? (Psalm 131:2)

As long as there is jealousy over what God may be doing in another's life – and it is accompanied by selfish ambition rather than contentment – we must agree with James "there is disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16). Beloved, may we rejoice in the Body of Christ and all that is being done through our Lord and not envy another. May we allow Jesus Christ to move freely within our hearts and allow His gifts to manifest through us in His time.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Relative Truth

Judges 21:25 - "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

In America and in many places around this world, there is no longer spiritual kingship over the land. We have allowed demonic, devilish princes to rule from the heavenlies rather than inviting heaven to invade earth through the Kingship of the Lord Jesus. We have sought for ourselves those who would tickle our ears, letting Hollywood set our moral standards.

Just as in the days of Israel, there will come a reckoning for our apostasy. May the Lord have mercy upon our modern idolatry. May we turn back to God before it is too late! May the Lord draw us all to a place of repentance and restoration!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Governing With Godly Fear

I Chronicles 21:30 - "But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the Lord."

David forsook his arrogance when he sinned against the Lord. Therefore, he became terrified of God's judgment. Beloved, we need those who rule over us to have a vision of the "sword of the angel of the Lord." We need them to see how He is poised over our land to reap the grapes of His wrath and trample them in His vengeance.

Lord, we pray for those who You have set over us. Move upon these as You did in the days of Jonah – just as You did with the wicked king of Nineveh – and give them the understanding to see we are on the precipice of destruction. Give wisdom and insight to these before it is too late. Cause Your Spirit to have His way in the hearts of all our elected officials, and then allow Your Spirit to move through the electorate. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Not of Works

Hebrews 9:14 - "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

What is the difference between dead works and live works? The former is steeped in arrogant pride that says my work for God is good therefore He should sanctify it for His glory. Live works are those which come from a humble heart and faith that the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. From this state comes a life that wants to serve the Lord out of thankfulness rather than duty and guilt.

Beloved, I pray that God would allow us to see with His eyes how He has set us free from having to do anything ever again to save our souls. We are saved and being saved (sanctified) by our willing sacrifice of a thankful life, confirmed by our desire to serve Him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Feigned Obedience

Genesis 35:4 - "So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem."

The difference between feigned obedience and obedience from a willing heart is love. As parents and leaders in our homes, churches, etc., we will exercise devotion according to what is in our hearts. If we still love the sordid, questionable things in our lives, then we will bury our idols for a season. If, however, we are serious about loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and might, then we will destroy them.

Beloved, those we influence will only regard our devotion with the degree of passion we give to whatever we worship. May we all love Jesus zealously as we destroy all things which would keep us from utter devotion to Him.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Eternity in the Heart of Man

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - "He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end."

Time has its purpose, to give structure to our lives. However, there is also the deep, abiding longing within the heart of every person for eternity. The conundrum of eternity's great mystery – its lack of explanation – and our desire to embrace it are constant dynamics which keep us longing for the everlasting. To put it simply, we are immortal beings trapped inside mortality.

Yet, the more we gaze at the Eternal One, the result is increased glimpses into our uniform destinies. Beloved, it is what all creation yearns for, the swallowing up of time-bound creation by the eternal. Come Lord, Jesus!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Ancient Paths

Jeremiah 6:16 - "Thus says the Lord, 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls.'"

Are we humble enough to stand "by the ways" that others have walked before us and take instruction? This might be possibly looking to those in our past who have lived with great peace because of the fear of the Lord upon their lives. They have lived in the tradition of the Bible and did not attempt to make it fit their lives, but instead humbled themselves to live according to God's ways.

Beloved, if we will first observe the right way to go, and then walk in it, we will then know peace. Rightness of soul does not come by merely seeing and asking, but by doing. May we all walk in the richness of God's unchanging wisdom, for in it are the paths of peace.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Pursuit of God

Hebrews 12:14 - "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord."

The pursuit of God is not complicated. We must be vertically aligned with heaven and horizontally in tune with mankind. These things come by desire and asking God for wisdom to live holy, and then a desire to love all men as He loved them.

Lord, we will never know You as we should without a desire to live holy and right. Grant us eyes, ears, and hearts of wisdom, allowing us the fortitude to reject the unholy things of this world and to cling to You. May we seek heaven upon earth as we consecrate ourselves to You, fixing our gaze upon Jesus who is making us into Your image. Help us and perfect us, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Praying by Stealth

Matthew 6:6 - "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."

Do we hide our prayer habits so that others cannot see them? Or, do we make sure we are seen by others? Public prayer rooms are wonderful. However, if we are not seeking to hide ourselves from men's approval then we cannot be hidden in God for His purposes, or for His pleasure.

We must covertly offer up prayers continually. As a result, others may not overtly see the act of prayer, but rather breathe prayer's fragrance. If we are interceding continually to God then no one will need to see us, but it will be evident by the aroma of Christ upon our lives. Beloved, may we all seek to stealthily hide our prayer life from men. For in so doing, God will make it evident to all both in this life and the one to come.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Collective Obedience

John 21:6 - "And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.' So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish."

When Jesus speaks, things happen – often beyond what we are capable of handling alone. Until the church is bound together by purpose and destiny, we will never do the seemingly impossible unless we cast our nets in humility and obedience together.

May we put all put our denominational differences aside and pull together as Christ's Body on this earth. For when we do, the "catch" which we bring into the kingdom will only be astounding to us, and certainly not to our Lord. He knows and understands what will happen when His beloved hear His voice and obey.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Omnipotent God

Numbers 11:23 - "The LORD said to Moses, 'Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.'”

We have all doubted God's word. For instance, we may find it easier to believe for another rather than for our own healing. However, if God has spoken to us, and we have faltered in belief, we should know He is most patient with our mortal flesh. Though we often deny Him, He cannot deny Himself nor His word. It will not return void, beloved.

Have we aborted God’s power through unbelief? It is imperative that we wait on God. In time we “shall see” God’s word come true if we grow in faith, believing His power is unlimited.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Certain Judgment

Ecclesiastes 8:11 - "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil."

Both man's and God's justice can often seem slow and arbitrary. There is something to be said for nations which impose swift judgment on crimes. There are seldom repeat offenders. The guilty quickly learn that retribution is swift and certain.

However, God weaves His mercy into the dynamics of judgment lest we be consumed. He tells us through the prophet Jeremiah how his mercies in the midst of judgment are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
Let us all know that whether or not we witness judgment in this lifetime, it will surely come. May we all live accordingly, beloved.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wise Leadership

Ecclesiastes 9:18 - "Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good."

The peaceniks love this verse, stating how many of our past leaders have not shown wisdom but have instead resorted to "weapons of war." Abraham Lincoln deplored the conflict he was immersed in, but knew there was no other recourse to stem the tide of unrest than through the civil war which engulfed the nation. Woodrow Wilson sought to keep America from conflict in 1917, yet evil would not rest through its relentless provocation. Consternation still rages whether Harry Truman's decision to use atomic weapons was prudent to end World War II. And, lately President Bush is and will be the subject of debate whether the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were necessary.

However, I believe Solomon is getting at something deeper and greater than just the decision of government leaders regarding the toll of human mortality. What about the toll of human despair brought on by a man not governing his family? What is the cost of a man not humbling himself before God and acquiring wisdom to lead those in his charge? The casualties are much greater than all wars combined, beloved. As men, we need to rise up and collectively humble ourselves on behalf of those with whom we are entrusted. In so doing, we ensure future generations the opportunity to live in peace and security. While wars and crimes against humanity are inevitable in our sinful, fallen state, they can certainly be minimized through widespread revival in our respective homes. May we all acquire God's wisdom to do accordingly.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spiritual Fathering

Hebrews 12:9 - "Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?"

I am thankful today for the love and discipline of my father. It meant life for me, even though he did not father perfectly. There is only one who will exceptionally look after us in a paternal manner. God will always be the benchmark of the loving disciplinarian.

Our Father watches to fill up what is lacking in us as sons, fathers, grandfathers, and uncles. With each passing year, we have the opportunity to learn more what good fathering entails. May we all be grateful and blessed that our Father in heaven continues His wise instruction in our respective lives.