WHAT A PROMISE AND COMFORT…..

Spiritual Blog - Promise

Isaiah 65:24 – “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”  NASU

            I never cease to be amazed at God and His incredible love and desire to provide for His people that which they need.  Imagine, as a parent, being able to respond to the needs and even desires of your children before they could ask or make you aware of their need.  It is likely that each of us has been able to do that on a few rare occasions but our God is fully aware of everything that is, was, and will be.

            Here He speaks of a time when before we even pray He will answer and while we are forming the words on our lips He will hear our cries.  He knows the spoken and unspoken desires and cries of the heart and He is truly touched by that which touches us.  He is not uncaring or unaware.  I readily acknowledge that I do not truly comprehend why bad things happen to good people at times, I know that God’s Promises are sure and the He will take whatever transpires in our lives and use it to mold and shape us into that which He desires and ultimately use it for our good.  In His Divine Righteousness and following Divine Justice He must allow people to follow their own will otherwise He would make us robots and not responsible for our actions!  That is one reason why God does not always intervene in conflicts between men and therefore bad things happen such as has been the case in some of the national incidents or late.

            Yet, the one thing certain is that God is willing to not only come to our aid but to keep us under the shelter of His arms.  He is willing to respond to our cries for mercy and help.  He is willing to wrap His arms around us and comfort us as only a loving Father or parent could do.  His promises are sure!

            Therefore, if you are facing difficulties right now turn to God and call upon Him.  I fully believe that He is already aware and cares and only awaits our invitation for Him to come into our situation as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

            May God be with you as you go through this day!  BLESSINGS!

REAL PRAYER – Praying God’s Way….

Spiritual Blog - Prayer

Matthew 6:5-7 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”  NKJV

 

The Pharisees loved to appear religious and reveled in being noticed when they prayed. I’ve seen it in church when someone would pray and eternal prayer and cover everything they could in doing so.  I’ve endured that when someone would pray over the food before we ate and once I learned who those were if I were in a position to choose who prayed it would not be them.  Some seem to believe that by their multiplicity of words that God is somehow impressed or maybe they just like to hear themselves talk or believe that others are impressed.  Honestly, I know God is not impressed, I certainly am not, and do not believe that very many other people are either.  Hopefully, I am not sounding ant-prayer, but expressing that the prayer God desires is not based on the volume or length of the prayer but the heart.

Jesus directed us that when we go to prayer to go into our “prayer closet” wherever that might be we are to shut out the world and every distraction.  It is there that we have a private and open conversation with God.  He advised against using vain repetitions which would suggest that He is saying, “Get down to it, say it what is in your heart, then listen for Me to speak.”  God doesn’t have to be convinced to do what He has declared He wants to do. He only has to find open and willing vessels through which to do it.

Real prayer is not how long the prayer is or how many times you say “Oh God,” or whatever it is you say.  REAL PRAYER is when the heart is totally open to the Spirit of God and you express to God what is on and in your heart and listen for His response.  He is a “speaking God”.  We find that in Genesis and find that He is still speaking in Revelation.  What would make us think that He does not want to speak to us today?  I’m not telling you that you will always hear an audible voice, it might only be an impression or a particular scripture coming to mind and into view but He is speaking nevertheless.  He will speak and guide us if we will allow Him to do so.  REAL PRAYER is a conversation, not a monologue where we place before God our laundry or a shopping list of wants, wishes, and desires.  It is where we present our hearts to Him and allow Him to present His to us.  We just might find that what we are seeking is not what He desires to give or have us do and we need to modify our focus.

Therefore, instead of just petitioning God with a continual requests allow Him opportunity and give Him some time to enter the conversation.  You just might find that it is transformational in your life.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

THE ONE THING THAT IS CERTAIN in a World of Uncertainty…..

Spiritual Blog - God Is Certain

Matthew 24:35 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”  NKJV

            There is not much certainty in this world in which we live.  We do not know what a day holds or what the morrow will bring.  We have only the ability to look through a glass darkly and can only see the beginning from the end.  We know in hindsight but do not have the absolute foresight to know the certainties of the future or even the uncertainties.  We are limited creatures living in a temporal world that is passing away.  From the moment we are born we begin the process of dying and everything between the cradle and the grave is a veiled mystery for the most part.  People change, circumstances change, conditions change and we are left wondering what happened as often as we walk in the certainty of how something will turn out.

            Yet in the midst of all the uncertainty, we have a declaration and promise from our Lord here in Matthew 24 that is ROCK SOLID and ABSOLUTE.  He declared that the one absolute certainty is that HIS WORDS WILL NOT FAIL.  If He has declared it you can take it to the bank, set your watch by it, and stake your life on it – – IT IS ABSOLUTE!  Oh, I know that there are those who would argue that but argue as you may I believe it to be the ABSOLUTE TRUTH!

            I have in my heart promises that I know God has made to me in times of prayer and meditation upon Him and His Word and I know that He will move Heaven and Earth if necessary to bring them about.  He gave me some promises when my children were born that looked for the longest as though they would not be realities and today they are.  When I was diagnosed with parathyroid cancer the Holy Spirit whispered to my inner man that God was not through with me yet and I would recover fully and completely and I have.  The medical doctor who did the surgery acknowledged that what took place was not his doing but came from a source higher than he.  His words were, “God did this.”

            I don’t know what is going to happen to this nation.  I don’t know what is going to happen, the rest of today or the rest of my life.  I don’t know what is going to take place in the next ten minutes but I know that God is still on the throne and still in control and will WHATEVER HE DECLARES AND HAS DECLARED IS ABSOLUTE!  I trust His Word implicitly and completely.  So as you face the uncertainties of life face them with the certainty that God’s Word is ABSOLUTELY DEPENDABLE.  

            May God be with you as you go through your day!

GRIEVING WITH HOPE…..

Spiritual Blog - Grieving

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” NKJV

 

            I am not sure why I feel promoted to post this devotional today, but sense that there are some grieving that need encouragement.  I have no doubt that each person who reads this has lost a loved one and has known the unpleasantness of GRIEF.  I’ve seen people I cared very much for pass over to the other side and was terribly uncertain about the condition of their soul.  Oh, I’d talked to them about the Lord and some of them had assured me that Jesus was their Lord but their lives seemed to contradict that assertion and thus the cause for concern.  I make no attempt to judge them for that is God’s business and I will continue to hope that they were, in fact, sheltered beneath His wings as they departed this life and entered that eternal state.

            I know the emptiness of having a loved one or a family member depart this life and the realization that I will never, in this life, get to hear them speak or to tell them the things that are in my heart concerning them again.  I know the pain of the loneliness and at the same time the joy of knowing that they passed from a troubled world into one that knows no trouble.  They passed from a world filled with sorrow to one that knows no sorrow.  I know that they are in a far better world than those of us left behind but missing them and grieving that loss is still natural and even healthy when done biblically.

            I’ve been in memorial services where there was such a spirit or morbidity that one could hardly stand and in others where there was such a spirit of peace and joy that one could hardly keep from leaping to one’s feet and shouting “Hallelujah.”  In one there was HOPE and in the other only GRIEF. 

            I really like the way Paul concluded his statement concerning this eventuality and reality of death.  He said in verse 18 – “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”  What words? 

  1. That we do not sorry as those who have no hope.
  2. That our loved ones who have died in the Lord are with the Lord.
  3. That those of us who remain will one day also be with the Lord.
  4. That Jesus is coming back for us all.
  5. That we will one day leave this world behind giving it a permanent wave and entering into the eternal presence of the Lord.

          Those wonderful words of comfort!  Losing a loved one when there is HOPE is a GRIEVING that can be endured and even be a source of rejoicing as well as giving us a purpose and determination to live in such a way as to see them again.

           May God be with you as you go through this day!  May He turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy in all things and at all times!  BLESSINGS!

HAVING EVERYTHING BUT HAVING NOTHING…..

Spiritual Blog - Everything

Mark 8:34-38 – “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him, the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” NKJV

 

I find the words of our Lord so penetrating and thought-provoking it is beyond words.  Jesus has the ability to speak a few words that would require volumes to fully dissect and digest and yet are so clearly understood and simple.  Here is one of those passages that contains so much that one could spend a lengthy amount of time meditating upon each line and sentence and yet not exhaust what is said.

We spend much of our lives trying to “get ahead” and “carve out a niche” for ourselves and yet Jesus said that if we are to follow Him we have to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.”  Our ambitions must become secondary to His desires, goals, and plans for our lives.  We spend a significant amount of our time trying to “preserve life” or give ourselves a platform, condition, and cushion upon which to live the “good life.”  Yet, the Master said that if we “seek to save our life we will lose it.”  If our singular drive is “storing up for ourselves” we will find that we are putting money in bags with holes and in the end, our lives will come to naught.  Most people want to reach the place where they “have arrived”, their “ship has come in,” or some other description of success materially and monetarily but Jesus said, “So what if you manage to gain all the wealth of the world and its power and prestige but lose your soul what have you accomplished?”   What will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Our LORD makes it clear that it is possible to have EVERYTHING in this life and yet have NOTHING of eternal value.  I’m not suggesting that having money, possessions, or even position is in itself a bad or evil thing I am suggesting that if that comes between you and God it is.  The Scripture makes it clear that we are to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness” and in so doing He will provide whatever we need when we need it and in the amount and timing that we need it.

I don’t know about you but it is my desire to have ETERNAL WORTH, not just EARTHLY  WORTH.  If I can have both and use that wealth for the cause of the Kingdom I will rejoice but if I have to choose one or the other I will choose GOD!  I would rather have Jesus than any wealth or fame.  I’d rather have Jesus than be the king of a vast domain.  I rather have Jesus that anything that this world can offer and in having Him I have everything that this world can afford.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

A VOICE OF REASON IN THE ENEMY’S CAMP….

Spiritual Blog - Enemy

Acts 5:22-42 – “But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 

26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

 33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. 34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it — lest you even be found to fight against God.”

 40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” NKJV

 

            I’ve used a very long passage to make a short statement.  In today’s world, we are, more than ever, coming to the place that we have to choose to obey God or man.  This is true in our daily lives, on the job, in social gatherings, in personal relationships, and in politics.  The enemy will desire to destroy us if we proclaim that our commitment and responsibility is to God not man and that we, at the risk of our own personal safety, will obey God first and foremost.

            In this account, there was a plot to kill the disciples but there was one voice of sanity and reason in the enemy’s camp that I pray exists somewhere today in our government, churches, and relationships.  Gamaliel advised – “If this is of God, you cannot overthrow it lest you be found to fight against God.”  Sadly, those who fight against God and do not believe in him have no fear of opposing the Almighty God!  We need to fully trust God and believe what He speaks to us through His Word and Spirit to our inner man.  If we stand firm in following the Lord, it is my belief that God will open the eyes of some in the enemy’s camp and cause them to realize, as He has throughout human history that it is futile to fight against God.  If they persist they do so at their own peril and it is no longer them fighting us it is them fighting God Himself and that is a battle they cannot win.

            So, in this New Year be encouraged that if we follow the directive of the Lord WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!  I am excited about what I know God is doing and is about to do!  I have more excitement and anticipation as 2018 unfolds than I’ve had in a very long time!   BLESSINGS!

BORN TWICE – DIE ONCE…..

Spiritual Blog - Born Twice

Hebrews 9:27-28 – “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”  NKJV

             My purpose is not to get into a debate about differing beliefs about the “Coming of the Lord” and how that will affect us who are alive on Earth at that particular moment in history.  I simply take this passage and state that according to Hebrews we will all die it is an appointment established by God due to the fall in the Garden.  Job said of us humans that our days are short and filled with difficulty.  The Bible tells us that we are like the flowers that grow by the way we will fade and die.  But, natural death is not the end there is eternity to follow and that affords two distinct possibilities.  Eternal Life or Eternal Damnation or (Death)! 

            The Bible is replete with passages concerning this truth and as the writer of Hebrews describes the way to ensure that you only die once and, are not a part of what the Bible calls the “Second Death” you must be “Born Twice”.  One birth is natural and the second is spiritual as Jesus told Nicodemus a man must be “born-again.”  That new birth is what we call SALVATION or REDEMPTION and takes place when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  It is when we recognize, acknowledge, confess, and repent f our sins and receive God’s forgiveness for our transgressions.  It is what Jesus came for, lived for, died for, arose for, and will return for.

            If you have only experienced the natural birth then I urge you to look to the Cross and ask the Lord to forgive you of your sins and receive His grace, mercy, and pardon and allow the work of the Spirit of God to transform you into a “new creation” where old things are passed away and all things are new.  An event that will have your name inscribed into the “Lamb’s Book of Life.”  An event that will translate you from the kingdom of darkness into God’s Kingdom of Light and make you a member of the family of God.  An event that will cause “death” to lose all its sting and ability to cause fear and trepidation in your heart!  An event that will allow you to live life to the full and live every day as if it might be your last and do so knowing that if it is you will spend eternity in the presence of God in a state the Bible calls ETERNAL LIFE!

            Don’t die twice!  May God be with you as you go through this day!  Blessings!