Thursday, February 23, 2017

The King's Kindness

II Samuel 9:7 - "David said to him, 'Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly.'”

Often, I have heard God's great gift of salvation referred to as "religion" and as a "crutch" for those too weak to stand on their own. Tragically, those who say such things are those who do not see they are dragging themselves through life, unable to stand as they imagine. When you know you are crippled and unable to walk, a crutch is a wonderful thing!

I shudder to consider our state if God had not sought us out in our lameness and restored to us a place of honor at his table. While we may feast on God's goodness here on earth, there will be a day when we will forever be at His great banquet table. There we will know that we were once crippled by sin and that our Great King redeemed us --- not on our own merits but through his love and kindness as our Creator.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Godly Provisions

Romans 13:14 - "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."

Making provision for our respective bodies is only natural. We provide it food, water, warmth, and the things needed for general health. However, spiritual conflict results when we make provision to selfishly overindulge in those things meant to give us life. Food is good when we use it to sustain a healthy life. When we abuse it, it becomes gluttony. Sex is a God-given joy given to mankind. However, outside of marriage between a man and a woman, it becomes perverse.

The Christian life is fundamentally simple. If we spend our time doing the "do's" then we won't have time to do the "don'ts". God is not trying to be mean and withhold any good thing from us. He merely wants us to be like Him, the Creator of His creation. Turning to Him will always starve the flesh and deny its provision.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God's Fullness

John 1:16 - "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace."

If we know Jesus Christ and are saved by His blood, we will never receive more of Him than we presently possess. God's Spirit was given to us at the time of our believing in His salvation. We cannot receive the Spirit minus any part of Him. It is fundamentally unsound to believe otherwise.

However, the key to possessing the Spirit is allowing Him access to our entire being. Have we opened every room of our heart, allowing Him to fill us to overflowing? When we allow Jesus Christ to truly be Lord of our lives, then we are filled and immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit. Never settle for a mere "sprinkling" of the Holy Spirit. Tell God to take you under the streams of His delight and to be drowned in His love.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Posterity's Promise

Psalm 102:28 - “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.”

Never relinquish hope that our children or children's children will come to the Lord. It is the promise of God in more than one scripture. Sometimes, our children might disappoint us in the things of God and not live up to their potential. However, their children may begin to recreate the familial fervor for God as in previous generations.

When God establishes our posterity for His namesake, we can be assured He has desired it far more and longer than any mortal. Even now, He is looking through our future generations and He is establishing them for His purposes. May we agree with God for this grand endeavor that will continue to bring His kingdom to this earth.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

God's Glorious Gifts!

Romans 11:29 - "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

What God gives, he does not take back. God's gifts and callings are beyond the possibility of revocation. Other versions say they are without repentance. God is never sorry for what He has given and will continue to watch over us until the things He has started come to a glorious conclusion (Philippians 1:6).

Our duty to God for what He has lavishly given us is to help others. The tragedy is when we take His gifts and talents and "re-gift" them on ourselves, wasting them from any use in the Kingdom of God. No matter how many years we have wasted on ourselves, He can turn these gifts and callings outwardly once again to bring Him glory. Never believe the lie of the enemy, telling us that God disqualifies us from His service. Often, the glory of latter house will be greater than that of the former if we will but only surrender to His will (Haggai 2:9).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Desirable Fear

Exodus 20:20 - "Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.'”

The carnal or fleshly mind might read this and see blatant contradiction regarding our fear factor. The fear of man devours faith. However, the fear and reverence of the Lord is possibly the greatest gift given to mankind outside of Christ's redemption. We are told in Proverbs the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Moses likewise understood this fundamental truth as he tells us from this verse in Exodus that it keeps us from sin.

Do we welcome the testing of the Lord? Tests will always be part of the believer's heritage. However, Jesus also told us to pray that we would not be lead into temptation which is also understanding the fear of the Lord for not sinning against Him (Matthew 6:13).

May we pray daily for the fear of the Lord, for from it we will be able to gain all of Jesus' redemption which cost Him dearly.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fruit With Purpose

Romans 7:4 - "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God."

The angst of youth is often misunderstanding our purpose on earth. This is often carried over into adulthood with many living futile, nihilistic existences until the day of their death. If we are not living for a greater purpose, life is absurd at best without any meaning. Therefore, the logic of Paul's simple statement regarding bearing fruit for God as the main premise of life is simple yet profound.

Bearing fruit – not for ourselves but for God and others is the only thing that will truly satisfy the vacuum in our hearts. Giving is fundamental to man's nature because it is fundamental to God's. Once we understand that living for the Lord is the key to peace and happiness, then we will be finally able to let go of anger and embrace the peace of Christ.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trembling With Love

Isaiah 66:2 - “'For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,' declares the Lord. 'But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.'"

One might say, "I obey the Ten Commandments and am a good citizen." But is this all God wants? Does He not desire those who obeys not only His written word but also His voice as He speaks throughout the day? If we are not hearing God, then we have grieved Him so often that we no longer recognize His voice.

When God says, "Go" we must go. When He says "Stop," we must immediately cease and desist whatever we are doing. A good rule of thumb is if there is any doubt, don't do it! Wait and listen. God will make it clear if we do not grieve Him away. This is what is meant by trembling at His word.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Children of Fire

Psalm 97:3 - "Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about."

It is impossible to determine how God will appear in our lives. However, fire always goes before and with Him (Isaiah 66:15). It may be a soft glowing presence that we experience. But be sure that if He does come as the "Light of the World" in our respective lives, He has first burned up any adversary that might challenge His holiness.

When we get too close to fire, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Often, what lingers in the darkness can see us better than we can see it as we are silhouetted in the flame's light. However, God's adversaries dare not approach. Nothing will remain, only what God puts in us that is of Him.

May we all come to the Light of the World. But know this … God will certainly deal with us as sons and daughters, allowing the fire to burn up in us everything not of Him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Do We Deserve?

Romans 5:19 - "For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous."

God is not a respecter of persons when it comes to salvation. As Adam doomed the entire human race, Jesus Christ redeemed it. This was more than collective bargaining. It was the judgment of a holy God's requirement for disfellowshiping mankind, and then His satisfaction concerning restored fellowship with Him.

Never listen to the lie that salvation was for those who "deserve" it. Simply put, we all deserve hell yet Jesus Christ saved sinners (of whom I am foremost). If He can take a "scuzball" like myself and free me from sin, He can do it for anyone. As I tell those with whom I counsel, there is nothing you can tell me that will shock me. (If I have not done it, I have thought about doing it.) Jesus Christ came to set the likes of "dirtbags" like you and me totally free!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Reasonable Involvement

Isaiah 64:4 - "For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him."

During the so-called "Age of Reason," notables such as Voltaire considered God, at best, to be a God detached from intimate concern over His creation. American counterparts during this time included Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Their human intellect reasoned if there truly was a God, then why did He not intervene more demonstrably in the cause of mankind?

What they failed to "reason" was how God's nature is always to intervene on behalf of those who seek and wait for Him. It was His nature to intervene by sending His Son on our behalf. Why would He not likewise intercede for us in every detail of our lives if it is clearly in His nature to move heaven and earth on our behalf? This, my friends, is only reasonable.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Credit to Whom Credit is Due

Romans 4:5 - "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness."

What do we have in our spiritual bank accounts? Do we have a list of "good works" that we have done for Jesus? Or, is our spiritual debit card flush with the heavenly gold of faith? We must first understand we are ungodly and need justifying. When this revelation really sinks in, we will realize we can never do anything to commend ourselves to God.

It is a humbling thing to know we can do nothing to save ourselves. It is equally as humbling to know that God still wants a relationship with us in our sinful state. "Can't I just clean myself up a bit before I come to God?" The Lord says emphatically, "NO!" We must come as we are and walk with Him as we are in honesty in humility. This fills our spiritual accounts to overflowing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Irresistible Call of God

Mark 3:13 - "And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him."

God's call to those whom He has chosen is irresistible. That is, He calls everyone but knows which ones will respond. While it is tragic how most will not heed the irresistibility of God's beckoning, those of us who embrace His wooing can take great comfort in knowing He will never stop telling us to "come."

He who began a good work in you will complete it, beloved. There is no stopping God once we have become magnetized by His attraction. He will never leave us, nor forsake us, until we become totally His. What He promises, He fulfills.

Friday, February 10, 2017

How to be an Overcomer

Revelation 12:11 - "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."

It is superfluous to believe we would die for our faith if we are not dying to self in the ordinary, day-to-day. How do we ready ourselves to both live for Christ or to die for Him daily, or to ultimately give up our lives? We must confess, profess, and obsess, beloved! Our confession of what Jesus has done for us through His shed blood is fundamental. Then, we must profess daily what He has done in our respective lives, both by word and deed. Then, we must obsess on our great love, Jesus Christ, and daily give ourselves more and more to Him.

The Lord's words become lifeless when we live as philosophical professors of Christ, for they cost us nothing. Yet, if we are doing these simple yet profound things aforementioned, we will be ready to live or die for Jesus in any situation. The cost will not be a consideration in lieu of what we gain.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Go Deep!

God showed me this morning a picture of children playing on a beach in the surf. Some enjoyed frolicking in the surf, only going in ankle deep. Others ventured in a bit further. Occasionally, one would wander out into the deep and be swept out to sea leaving no trace.

This is the church today in America. We are all individuals enjoying our limited lives with God but then withdrawing when the surf or the requirements of the gospel become too much. Individually, we are scattered with no collective wisdom to understand that God wants to draw us into the great unknown of His deep things. We must humble ourselves and seek Him for wisdom to go waist deep then over our heads in the great beyond, together. Otherwise, we will be as those whom the church deems "fanatics" and will never be heard from again. God first wants trust of Him. Then, He wants trust of each other admitting we don't know anything about the ocean before us but will trust Him to take us to new shores of freedom in Him.

An Open Letter to Pastors

This is one of the saddest posts I have ever had to make. However, I know I do it in obedience to Jesus. For the past 5 years, I have been part of a pastors' prayer meeting that comes together twice a month for prayer for our city. What has baffled me is why so few show up? The Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning the reason for so few and why revival has not happened because of our prayers.

Simply put it is pride.

Jesus is looking for leaders with child-like faith. When we think of child-like faith, we may just look at one facet which is asking and believing. However, without trust, faith of this kind is impossible. I see a lack of transparency and trust amongst pastors and leaders that totally inhibits God moving. Revival will still come, I have no doubt of that. However, it will bypass our efforts as pastors unless we begin to start trusting one another. How can we say we are leaders if we are not transparent enough to trust one another with our hidden sins? In the 5 years I have been coming to these meetings, I have never once heard a leader bear his or her heart and say I need prayer because I am struggling in this area. That would be nearly impossible in our current state as pastors. Action of this sort would make us entirely too vulnerable. However, the Lord God is saying that is what I expect of My leaders. Until we come to the point of not fearing man but fearing God Almighty, our ministries will continue to disgrace the gospel of Jesus Christ with powerlessness.

When we as pastors and leaders begin to confess our sins and shortcomings to one another, God will honor our humility and pour out His Spirit. Many pastors are waiting for this. They want reality and that is why many stay away. They can get the superficial relationships that we offer from many of their parishoners. However, once we truly expose ourselves to one another and not fear what the other will say, then others will join this fellowship grounded in reality. Others may still stay away, choosing to fear man and not trusting others and thereby sacrifice the sweet presence of Jesus as a result.

Revival is coming. However, it may very well pass up those who have supposedly been seeking it diligently through the years. God is seeking groups of men and women whose hearts would be completely His. Pastors and leaders are held by a higher standard which means greater humility than those not in leadership. God will seek out the meek and the lowly. God forgive us as pastors for not leading in this way.

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 eternal beings is paramount for receiving the full measure of God's wisdom. The catalyst for this to happen is the fear of the Lord, the gatekeeper which allows God's wisdom to flow (Proverbs 1:7).

We must be taught to number our days, as the scripture states. Teaching is often painful through experience and trial and error. Through our failures and our continual coming to the Lord in humility, our success is realized as we perfect the fear of the Lord. Doing so will allow us to present to Him a perfect heart on that day when time is swallowed up by eternity!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Christ's Appearing

II Timothy 4:8 - "In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

If we have truly loved Christ's appearing in our lives and hearts on the day of our salvation, we will be anticipating His return. Consider King Hezekiah and how he begged God not to take him to heaven (II Kings 20:6). It can be argued that Hezekiah is the reason why the Babylonians later pillaged Jerusalem. If he had not been around to show the Babylonian emissaries Judah's wealth, they might not have bothered with this distant land (II Kings 20:12-19). However, the king was only interested in the "here and now."

Are we Christians that are enraptured with our lives? Have we become so busy with the things of earth that we do not long for the things of heaven? (Luke 14:18-20) We should all beware of loving the "here and now" and long for the "sweet by and by." If not, then have we truly loved His appearing?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Face Time With God

Exodus 34:29 - "It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him."

Show me a man who is in love with God's law of liberty, and I will show you a man who doesn't know he is godly! Moses' face shown with the Shekinah Glory yet he was totally unaware of how he appeared to others. But that is what happens when a man or a woman loves the Lord God with all one's heart, soul, and mind. They walk with Him, and talk with Him, and life becomes a romantic journey!

A huge difference between a legalistic Christian and a Christian who is set free to obey the Lord's command is spiritual appearance. The former will produce a frustration and a desire to depart from their company as soon as possible. The latter will create a longing for the Spirit of God within them. They are like a cool drink of water on a scorching day. Yet, they do not have a clue that God is flowing from them to others.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Power on Reserve

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."

This verse is packed with power! Yet, we must be careful not to allow romantic sentimentality to rocket us away from its intent and to discourage us. Many days, we live out the miracle of the mundane –allowing God's character to grow within a little at a time. We live as fathers and mothers and sons and daughters, doing the next right thing that God desires of us. These days are usually without spiritual drama and can look very much like what our worldly counterparts are accomplishing.

However, the exceptional is made exceptionally grand when we have been living right every day. Then, when we come upon someone who truly needs a touch from God, we can be the one to offer them God's peace while we grind the enemy under our feet. This, my friends, is the real Christian life.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Clouded Revelation

Luke 9:35 - "Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!'”

God does not hide Himself in clouds, but rather He reveals His character. We know from Revelation 1:7 that Jesus Christ's great revealing will be in the clouds. Then, we will see Him as He truly is.

If our own Mount of Transfiguration does not include instruction from God, then we may want to question it. If it is merely a tingling or a feeling of spiritual ecstasy, we might have experienced some other spirit. God always speaks during times of revelation and it always confirms His word. Beware of experience without God's word. Test the spirits as John tells us (I John 4:1). When God's clouds come, listen intently for the Father's direction. It will surely be there if we pay attention.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bread That Satisfies

Isaiah 55:2 - “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance."

Everyone is receiving some type of wages for their respective life. Romans 6:23 tells us "the wages of sin is death." Furthermore, Proverbs 11:18 states: "The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward." So, it is a matter of what we sow for we will certainly reap accordingly.

The irony is when we spend our lives upon others in Jesus' Name, that is when we "delight" ourselves in the abundance of God. Too often, many Christians seek to buy for themselves spiritual peace by helping themselves. If we seek holiness or God's righteousness for ourselves, it will never fulfill. Sanctification is not meant for others to "ooh and aah" how spiritual we are. It is a bi-product of spending our "spiritual cash" on others, because Jesus spent all of His on us. Like Jesus, we can then become the bread of life for others.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Believer's Heritage

Isaiah 54:17 - “'No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,' declares the Lord."

This verse is very clear. Every weapon formed against us by the enemy of our souls will be defeated. It is our heritage. However, Isaiah makes a point to speak about the tongue. We must understand this is the devils greatest weapon. He has a tongue and he knows how to use it. He is tireless as his accusation is 24/7 to God against us (Revelation 12:10).  He also inspires others to use their tongues in destructive ways, continually trying to tear us down.

What we listen to we will inevitably become. If we choose to embrace words (or weapons) of destruction against ourselves or others, then we have denied our heritage as sons of God and we have allowed the devil's weapons to prosper. However, if we look to Jesus when Satan tries to heap guilt on us, then we are walking in our rightful power as children of the Most High.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Stained Garments

Exodus 29:21 - "Then you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments and on his sons and on his sons’ garments with him; so he and his garments shall be consecrated, as well as his sons and his sons’ garments with him."

Peter calls those who believe and trust in Christ "a royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:9). As the Old Covenant could not cleanse a man by the blood of bulls and goats (Hebrews 10:4), it was an important foreshadowing of the blood of Jesus and how He forever cleansed us of our sin. As our High Priest, we have become His priests to serve others by the blood of the Lamb.

As true priests to our Lord, we must not be so in word only. Like Aaron and his sons, we must have signs of the blood of Jesus that has been sprinkled on our spiritual garments. This is the only way to be consecrated for God's use. If we are not stained with the blood of Jesus, beloved, we will be stained by the things of this world. May our garments be soaked with blood of our Savior. There is hope in no other.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Life Held Dear

Acts 20:24 - "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."

Whom do we refer to as "dear?" Our spouses, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, friends? All of these we should certainly hold dear to our hearts. If, however, we are holding our own lives dear, then that is something which must be measured in degrees. Paul tells us not to merely look out for own interests, but for those of others (Philippians 2:4). Therefore, it is not wrong to look after ourselves, but we must place a higher interest in others. As Jesus said, if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, then our needs will be provided (Matthew 6:33).

Life should be a romance as we walk hand in hand with our Creator. He is the One we should hold dearest to our hearts. When we do, we will finish the course with great joy He has given us to run.