December 2017  
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Daily Encouragement

 Daily Planning                                                                                                                                                                                                          November 16, 2017

Life is real busy, and it seems that the more we plan the more we think we can cram into our days. While to some degree this may be true all the planning and cramming only puts more stress on us. I am not saying don’t plan planning is good; over planning and/or not planning wisely is not good.

There are things in our lives that need considering everyday i.e. family, work, school, food, and worship (not necessarily in that order). Of life’s priorities these are five areas that we must plan every day to succeed and live. However, for all the planning and organizing we can do none of it means anything without not only including God but placing HIM first on the list.

God must come before family, work, school and food. God must be at the top of our daily planning. We must learn to depend on His provision; the families He has given us, the jobs He has placed us in, the ability He provides for us to freely go to school and the food that He provides on our tables each night.

When we begin to include the master planner in our daily planning our priorities change and the things that maybe once were placed at the top of the list now move to the middle or maybe even get removed! When your planning begins to include God, it will be a much healthier plan containing all that is important for our health and well-being.

Ask God each day to help you plan according to His plan for your life and/or your family’s life. His plan brought the children of Israel (around 2.4 million people) out of Egypt fully equipped with joyful family’s, the ability even for the old to work, time for the teaching of the children, miraculous food, and clothing that never wore out!  

Jeremiah 29:11 says it all, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Plan, yes but be flexible. Let God’s perfect plan lead yours.

 Forgiving                                                                                                                                                                                                                     November 2, 2017

Often in this life things happen that should cause us to either forgive or be forgiven by someone.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:21-22,

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven”.

“Seventy times seven” equals 490. Indeed, forgiveness is a really big deal to the Lord. As a “body of many parts” no part better or superior to the other, we all are in need of forgiveness not just by our Savior but by our fellow brother and sister. When we forgive the trespasses of others He is faithful to forgive us our trespasses.

When dealing with believers initiating the forgiveness allows the other person an opening to do the same thereby allowing both parties the find favor in God’s eyes. In other words, forgiving until forgiveness takes hold is our responsibility and the thing that can bring us back into a right relationship with our Father in heaven. Unforgiveness only hurts the person holding it.

I encourage you today to live in forgiveness. Don’t let anything come between you and the Lord. Keep the lines of communication operating the way they were intended. Demonstrate the hope and love we have in Christ Jesus by forgiving.

 New Beginnings                                                                                                                                                                                                         November 1, 2017

This is the beginning of a new month, a new day and a new opportunity to start again. Life is full of distractions both seen and unseen. We live in a world of constant change and uncertainty. That said, in God’s plan there is a time for all things:

“There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Keep a clear conscience, live right before God, and rely on His infinite wisdom for your life. He is the One who encompasses peace, that put the stars in the Heavens, divided the seas and created you. He is the One who loves you no matter what. Put all your days in His hands and regardless of the direction that the world goes rejoice and look to the Creator of new beginnings!

The Greater Light                                                                                                                                                                                                    October 27, 2017

In Genesis God created two lights “the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night”. We know these two lights to be the sun (greater) and the moon (lesser). The sun is a light that needs no other source to achieve its purpose; it is the source of all light. The moon on the other hand was not created to be a source of light but to reflect it.

We can equate Jesus to the greater or true light and believers to the lesser or reflecting light. Matthew 5 tells us:

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The degree that you reflect is based on your direct contact with the source. We must step in to the light so that our light shines brightly! The more we seek the light the more we reflect it, it can’t be hidden!

I encourage you today to draw nearer to the true source of the light…the author and finisher of our faith. Be the reflection of the greater light that resides within you, so others will see and Glorify our Father in heaven.

Conformed or Transformed?                                                                                                                                                                       October 26. 2017

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” Romans 12: 4.

The word “conformation” according to Merriam-Webster, is change brought about by simply doing good or improving our behavior. Imagine a person who is undernourished, sickly, and pale, but who puts on makeup to improve their appearance. They may look healthier, but the makeup is only cosmetic, something externally applied. It means to “adapt to”.

The word “transformation,” according to Merriam-Webster, means “a complete or major change in someone or something’s appearance, form, etc.” It means to “re-make”.

In the original Greek language of the New Testament, the word used for transformation is metamorphosis. The biological definition for metamorphosis, again according to Merriam-Webster, is “a profound change in form from one stage to the next. For example, “a caterpillar transforms to a pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly.” Its change is based on its diet. Most caterpillar will only eat one kind of leave its whole life.

Our Christian life like the caterpillar can cause the preferred transformation based on our diet…the Bread of Life; Jesus.  As we grow, we are in the process mentioned in scripture that says in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “being transformed from one degree of glory to another, little by little, into the image of Christ”. This is an internal change.

I encourage you today to set your mind on things above and consume the bread of life each day. Be intentional about the thing you “eat”. The transformation must start inside and overflow to the outside! Don’t be conformed into what the world thinks is good but be transformed into the beautiful butterfly God wants you to be.

Through the Storm                                                                                                                                                                                             October 24, 2017


Life is full of storms. The bible often calls them trials and tribulations. They can be related to family or friends, sickness or death, work or lack thereof.  Storms of this life can take on many different forms all of which can devastate or at least distract us from all else. Some can seem so insurmountable. Too often we see those utterly crushed by the storms of life to the point that they may never really recover. There is nothing sadder than to see a Believer being overcome by the fear of what may or may not happen as the result of a storm. The Bible says this in 2Timothy 1:7:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.

In this verse the Apostle Paul was assuring Timothy that God was with him and would give him power to overcome all trails/storms that would come in life.

Often God will allow storms in our lives NOT to defeat us but to cause us to draw nearer to Him. The world would see storms as God’s unkindness or His punishments. This is not a “sound mind” way of thinking it is a mind being blown by the wind. Hard though it may be focus on the FACTS…God loves you, and He wants you to love Him too.  We must not be distracted from the love of God.

Though we may not always understand God’s reasons they are always for our good to bring us closer to Him. We can believe that because He does not lie, and His Word promises “for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

I encourage you today when storms come call on the One who is not only in the midst of that storm but will see through the storm so that you will know that He loves you and that He is God!

Good Fruit                                                                                                                                                                                                          October 23, 2017

Matthew 7:15 Jesus begins teaching about distinguishing the corrupt from the incorrupt or more specifically how to tell bad from good. As always, He used terms that they could related to, so He chose fruit and the attributes thereof. He teaches them that a good tree can only produces good fruit. A corrupt tree can only produce corrupt or evil fruit. Another example He gives is false prophets that come to us looking like sheep but are in reality, wolves seeking to corrupt. In other words, someone may look “good” but they are corrupt or evil. In verse 20 Jesus encourages them by saying, “Therefore by their fruit you will know them” suggesting that indeed they would be able to tell. So then how do we make the distinction? Some would say that the fruit relates to the number of people that a person has led to the Lord or how much money we put in the offering plate. This is corrupt thinking. The good/ correct answer can be found Galatians.

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit sums up the attributes of a Believer. According to Paul’s letter to the Galatians there is a way to separate the sheep from the wolves when he says:

"… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

You will note that it does not say fruits (plural) no, it says fruit. This means it is an individual who has these nine attributes or characteristics. This is how they (the world) will know who and whose you are! Do you display the good fruit God means for you to display or do you need a little work?

I encourage you today to inspect your own fruit. Ask God to help you and reveal to you where you can improve. Display your good fruit so that your Father in Heaven will be Glorified.

To Stand Out or Blend In                                                                                                                                                                                             October 20, 2017

As Believers the Bible says that we are to be sanctified. Sanctified means “set apart”. To be set apart means to be different; to stand out! It was Jesus Himself who said,

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:14-16.

In other words, stand out and be seen! How? First and foremost, it is NOT to be finger pointers or judges and it is not to proclaim ourselves superior to others. A Believer’s character, conduct, and conversation should be reflections of Jesus, who lives within. Love should rule the day. Love will win a heart before yelling and condemnation.

It’s not the popular or even easy choice in a world that has all but removed lines of decency and common curtsies. It is difficult to be a Believer in a time when people see themselves independent of everything and everybody. Their strength is enough and if they have things it’s because they did it on their own with no help from anyone including a God they don’t even know. One day they will need to remember what they saw in you. One day the light of Jesus you showed someone will make a difference in their life. There are times when one may need to blend in but in our daily life we must be “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid”.

To blend in is to be like everyone else with no quality that causes you to stand out. If your job is an undercover agent, military infiltrator or perhaps Santa’s secret shopper blending in would be a good thing.

I encourage you today to let your light shine. Be Jesus for someone today. Jesus hand delivered you for a life set apart…Stand out!

One Accord                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       October 18, 2017

The phrase “one accord” is used 11 times just in the book of Act, and is eluded to more than 20 time in the whole of New Testament. When the writers of the Bible, being inspired by God repeat themselves, we should pay attention. Like a parent with a child repetition is how he/she learns. For example, look how many times Moses was sent to Pharaoh saying, “let my people go”. The Lord wants us to pay attention and learn His ways so often He repeats Himself.

The disciples had been told by Jesus to gather in Jerusalem and “wait for the promise of the Father”.

Acts 2:1 says, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

When the Bible speaks of one accord it means that the people were gathered together praying and having conversations about things of God. They were not chatting about the weather or the latest battle. When we gather for example our thoughts and conversations should be on Him.  This is a concept not easy to understand because there are so many things that keep our thoughts elsewhere. The disciples had the same problems. In fact, the things that kept them distracted was thoughts of persecution, beatings, and often the threat of death because of the Word of God.

If the disciples could focus their thoughts and conversation on the Lord who kept them, we should be able to. Each of us are responsible for the time we choose to spend in one accord with God. The more one accord time with Him the less time we have to worry about things.

I encourage you today to spend some one accord time with the One who created you and loves you. He too, wants to spend some one accord time with you.

The Ugly Root                                                                                                                                                                                                                            October 16, 2017

What is the one thing that people never seem to get enough off? It’s something that will divide friends and family. It’s the number two cause of divorce in America. It’s something people fight over when a family member passes away. I could go on by telling you a story about a woman, a lost cat, and a reward. Accepting the reward was going to cause conflict with her friends so she struggled with taking what God wanted her to have.

The culprit is Money. Money in and of itself is not bad. It is a necessity and something we need on a daily basis. The Bible says,

“For the love (or priority) of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” 1 Timothy 6:10.

There is nothing wrong with money and nothing wrong with having a lot of money. There is nothing wrong with being thrifty and certainly nothing wrong with saving for a rainy day. The Bible also tells us in Thessalonians, “that if any would not work, neither should he eat”. We need what we have to tithe, pay bills, and by groceries and gas. We work hard for the money that we have to feed ourselves and our families and this is right.

The problem is the ugly root.  The love (or priority) of money is the wrong. Regardless of what we love, when we love a thing we place it as priority in our life. When we place an unreasonable priority on money we place less priority on God’s provisions. When we seek anything for our own good not considering the good of another (like the lady and the cat) we can rob someone else of what God wants them to have.

I encourage you today,” …seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Allow God to be your provider and rely on Him to take care of what you need. Give money it’s due but don’t let money have you!

 It’s a Process                                                                                                                                                                                                                     October 13, 2017     

We are born/created with the ability to learn. When we are children we learn to eat and to drink, we learn to talk, and to walk. These are the basic skills that we learn first out of necessity. Our intended purpose is learned, as we walk and grow. God’s purpose for all humanity is that we grow in Him.

In 1 Thessalonians the Apostle Paul says to the church at Thessalonica, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… that each of you should learn to…”. Sanctified refers to when something has been used for the purpose God intends. Sanctification then, is the process by which we are learning to function in that purpose. To sanctify, means "to make holy" not made holy which tells us holiness is a process.

“For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy…” Leviticus 11:44.

This scripture says sanctify yourselves: recognize that you are set apart for a purpose, learn what that purpose is by growing daily through the scriptures and then begin to walk in purpose for which we were intended. The process of learning, growing, and walking is the process the Bible calls sanctification!

When Jesus walked on the earth with the 12 men called His disciples, He taught them about the Father and showed them how to live according to His Word and in the end set them out to walk out or “go” and share what they had learned! Did they still suffer and struggle in their lives?  Yes, but they continued to seek God and His righteousness and His mercy thereby continuing the sanctification process.

I encourage you today, to seek God and His mercy and realize that as believer you are being sanctified/ “set apart” for a purpose. Allow Him to teach you, grow you and then move in the purpose for which you were intended…to be like Him.

Focus on the “one”                                                                                                                                                                                                    October 12, 2017

God made all people to be one, not necessarily equal…one. We are to be one with Him. The Bible says,

 “As it is, there are many parts, but one body” 1 Corinthians 12:20.

As Believers we need to remember that no part is superior to the other. We are all created differently; each designed to serve a different purpose. Why? To build the House of God / the Kingdom of God. If we consider ourselves to be superior to another part, we are not functioning in the will of God. For example, when denomination becomes who we are there is an air of superiority at play. For example, the Baptist way is right, and the Methodist way is wrong (and visa versa) or Catholics are right, and Protestants are wrong. This is corrupt thinking and serves only to divide. We must begin to focus on being one in Christ according to the original plan. Heaven will not be segregated according to color, race, age or denomination.

In God’s Word there are two distinctions, good and evil. When we are functioning in the way we were intended God calls it “good” or “very good” (Genesis 1:31).  The opposite is not necessarily just evil, wicked or bad, but anything or anyone not functioning as it was designed. God does not see grey, He sees black and white; right or wrong, functioning correctly or functioning incorrectly. When we are functioning correctly within the body there is no division between members; each serves a purpose and each purpose unites and serves the other: THIS function unites, this function serves the purpose for which it was created.

I encourage you today to seek the Lord and His good purpose for your life in the body. God’s Good purpose being fulfilled by the one Believer unites the whole body under “the head” of Jesus Christ the Messiah.

 The Ministry of Service                                                                                                                                                                                                     October 11, 2017

To serve God is to serve others. You serve others by engaging. To serve is an intentional act to give to someone without expectation of anything in return. Service is not a hit and miss proposition where you a lot a certain amount of time per week to do a good deed and check the block. Service is not just that you help when called upon.  To serve the Lord faithfully, you’ve got to realize that it isn’t always going to be easy or convenient.

When Believers set out with a heart to serve the enemy will almost always try disrupting that action. Most people don’t think about service being a fight. Many feel it is done when called upon perhaps to move chairs in the church house or going to visit someone.  Sometimes people do things to “be seen” doing something good. Some see service as a “feel good” act of kindness. All the above is certainly NOT why one genuinely serves.

When a Believer genuinely serves they realize it is not about themselves but another. To truly serve one must realize where service began. It began when Jesus left His throne in Heaven to come to earth to serve and save all mankind. To serve a people that would spit on Him, ridicule Him and ultimately murder Him. Not all would take that stand but a great many did. Knowing that would be the case He served anyway by laying down His life for others. He served from the Wedding in the Galilee turning water wine, He served the sick, deprived, and the lonely and He served us with His death on the Cross.

Today I encourage you to sacrifice from your own day to serve someone else. It will make you feel good but more importantly it will make someone else feel that someone loves them. Show the love of Christ by serving someone else with your whole heart.

Trust                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  October 10, 2017

Do you ever feel you are ready to through your hands in the air and just give up? Maybe you have tried everything within your power to achieve a goal or to just get ahead in this world. Maybe you have a family member that is lost and hurting, or sick and you don’t know what to do. Maybe this life just feels too hard sometimes. You are not alone, everyone has felt like that at one time or another but as Believers that is not a place that we can stay. We must find strength the question is where?

“Trust you in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength”, Isaiah 26:4

As a Believer we can put our issues at the feet of Jesus and trust Him for the best answer. We can expect the He will lead us in the way that is best for us. That way may not be what we might think is best but because He loves us and has our best interest in His heart. We can and must put our trust in Jehovah. We must trust in the strength that only He can provide; strength to get us through this life because the fact is this life is hard.

We are told 191 times to trust and find 33 different verses encouraging us to find our strength in Him:

“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 40:10,

 “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” Psalm 18:1-2,

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” Ephesians 6:10.                    

These are few verses to stand on every day. Pray for favor in your goals and in the work place, pray for direction and/or healing for your family members and friends, pray for daily provision. The things that are important to you are important to Jesus and He wants you to talk to Him. The Bible says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you”.

I encourage you today to stand strong in the Lord and His promises. Trust that He will help you in your time of need.

 Hope                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        October 6, 2017

An atheist once wrote, “hope is the worst of all evils, it prolongs the torment of man” (F. Nietzsche). Well that is the dumbest thing that I had ever heard not only as a Believer but as a human being. Even for those not believing in anything there must be at least hope. Without hope there is nothing.

“Anyone who is among the living has hope…” Ecclesiastes 9:4

In the early 1800 the word hope was a word used more often than not. The people hoped and had hope for life, provision and they had hope in God.  Since the early 1900 the word hope has taken a beating and since 2010 the word is not used near as often while words like depression, addiction, and divorce have skyrocketed! The word suicide doesn’t become a prominent word mentioned until the 1900. Why? Because people are losing hope. True hope. Hope that is not just a word but a genuine certainty that all is not lost.

Hope is all we have to hold on to when the things in our lives and in the world, are spinning out of control. We must find and hang on to true hope. Our hope for today, tomorrow, and next week lies in the hands of the Almighty. If we place our hope in the Creator of the universe we can find peace regardless of the circumstances of life.

Hope is NOT the torment of man but a gift from God. Jesus is our hope. In Him we find our true hope in this life and the next.

I encourage you today to find your hope for tomorrow in Jesus. While there is breath it is not too late to find the hope that can sustain you in all things.

Sufficient or Superficial                                                                                                                                                                                                  October 5, 2017

Today social media / Facebook promotes many superficial connections who are called “friends”.  A lot of the people we “friend” are people we don’t personally know in fact they are “friends” with someone else. According to Webster’s, friend means: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of family relations.

When you consider the saying that blood as being thicker than water, the below proverb can rather mind boggling:

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24

There are two kinds of “friends.” There is the friend who exists because you have something to offer them and then are friends who exists due to genuine love and care for another. The genuine or authentic friend is someone who can be counted on; someone who is steadfast and faithful in a time of need, someone who knows your deepest thoughts, someone you can confide in. Someone who will be there for you even more than a family member. Brotherhood is one of the strongest relationships we know but a friend who sticks closer than a brother (or sister) is indeed a rare and wonderful thing.

Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34), He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus is truly the Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and blessed are those who have Him as their Friend  (John 15:14).

Jesus is the best friend one could have because He is always there, when you call He always answers, He is never too busy to be with you. He is someone we can vent to when we have had a bad day, He is someone we can cry with when we have experienced loss. Jesus is someone we can rejoice with, and share triumphs with. He IS the friend that is sufficient and incomparable to all others and He wants to call you friend.

Today I encourage you to examine the One who is a true “friend”. In Him you will find no fault, no lie, no need for anything you have except your love. Find a friend in the One who wants nothing from you but your heart.

Live for today                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     October 4, 2017

In this day and time, it is very easy to get caught up in the everchanging issues of this world; shootings and mass murder we see on the news, the hurricanes, politics, disease, “wars and rumors of wars” etc. We must remain focused on the One who does not change. We must keep our eyes on the One who offers hope. Jesus is the only one who knows what tomorrow will bring. We must learn to walk in His footprints. We must learn to:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

When we see things going on around us that cause us, or others pain or distress we naturally tend to want to try and “fix” it and rightly we should attempt to correct a wrong that we have committed toward someone else but to take on that which is bigger than ourselves is not wise. That does not mean we do nothing. It means we pray and do what God puts on our heart to do.

When it comes to people we have no control over another person’s heart or motives. We have control only over ourselves. We must find a way to live a life submitted to the One who is in control. This is not a “cop out” or excuse to stick our heads in the sand. When we choose to submit ourselves to Him and if we walk according to His Word we are much better off. Why? Because in all things there is a plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11.

Whether one is a Believer or not when bad things happen we want to know why. This is a human response, but the fact is the why is not always known and knowing why rarely actually helps it certainly doesn’t change the bad thing that happened. The Truth is that God does NOT find pleasure in our pain in fact we should find our pleasure in the arms of the One who loves us through the pain.

One day this life will end and if we have chosen Jesus we will find a place where,

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Revelation 21:4

Today I encourage you to focus on the One who loves you and worry about the only thing that you have control over…your actions, and your choices.

Paradise or Purgatory                                                                                                                                                                                                         October 3, 2017

Speaking to the “malefactor” or thief on the Cross

 Jesus answered saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43.

If we stopped there the answer is clear; today. Let’s go a step further and look at the sentence itself.

Note a very important thing about this sentence…the placement of the comma. The comma is before the word today creating a pause before the answer. If the comma was after the word today it would change the meaning.

Let's read the passage again, what if Jesus was saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The comma placed after the word today, shows Jesus referring to that day; the day of his crucifixion. His statement would implicate no apparent hope, I am promising that you will be with me in paradise…someday, eventually. However, because the comma is inserted before the word today, Jesus would then be promising that the thief would be with Him that very day in paradise.

The Apostle Paul said speaking to the church at Corinth confirms Jesus statement in Luke saying, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” 2 Corinthians 5:8.

The two thieves are representative of two kinds of people, Believer and non-believer/ saved and unsaved. To the one who believes Luke 23:43 applies. To the non-believer paradise is not promised that does not mean they don’t go somewhere. While the Believer is transferred into the presence of God the non-believer is transferred to a place absent from God. This place is called hell, hades, lake of fire, etc. 

We have two choices: Heaven or Hell. They are a choice. To not choose is by default choosing the later.

I encourage you today, choose! Choose Paradise! Choose the hope provided by the Cross and promised by Jesus! “If it were not so I would have told you”.

 Grace                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  October 2, 2017

 “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”.

What is grace? According to Webster’s: a virtue coming from God, approval, favor, mercy, pardon, special favor, privilege. WOW! That’s a mouth full but when you boil it down it’s all about love. Love that He freely gives through grace.

Grace is something we have access to because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Of the 170 times the word grace is used in the Bible (KJV) Jesus himself never actually used the word. Of the 13 “Letters” written by the Apostle Paul he begins 11 of them with “Grace and peace…”

Jesus taught grace by His actions and with the instruction He gave us… “the greatest of these is love”. Love is an attribute of Grace. It is easy to love the lovely. It’s easy to love the person who is nice to you but try to love the person who has just called you an ugly name, cut you off on the highway, stolen something from you or worse caused bodily injury. When we love in spite of ugliness we are showing love through grace undeserved just as “while we were yet in sin God sent His Son”. We must try to show grace to others and that comes by love.

For the individual grace allows Believers to repent of sin and be forgiven. Grace allows the love of Christ to flow in and through us to allow others to see His love. True grace comes from above. Without true grace there is no peace. Without true grace there is no wisdom.

Grace is a place must learn to walk understanding that grace is a walk we must learn from God. I encourage you today to seek the giver of true grace. Allow Him to fill you up with prefect peace, wisdom and joy unspeakable!

 The Thorn                                                                                                                                                                                                                September 28, 2017

Within days of Saul’s conversion, he was thrust into conflict. Much like all Believers once you are made new in Christ the enemy will come in and begin to “trouble” you. In Paul’s case almost immediately he encountered, verbal abuse, physically beaten, arrested and harassed for the sake of the Gospel. In Acts 9:16 Ananias tells Paul that God will “show him great things he must suffer for my name’s sake”. Paul did not withdraw from the task at hand he embraced until his death.

To the church of Corinthians Paul reveals that he is being harassed by a messenger of Satan and the messenger had become Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and he wrote:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. - 2 Corinthians 12:7

There has been much speculation as to the identity of that thorn in the flesh. Some have said the he had an eye disease and so he could not see well. Others have said he had a wife who resisted and would remain unconverted. Others say he was small in stature or that he was physically deformed calling him a hunch back.

All of these theories are just that: theories. If you look at scripture you all see that Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus but he was healed when Ananias prayed over him. When God heals it is completely and fully not partially or temporarily.  Paul may have had a wife since he was a Pharisee but when he wrote 1 Corinthians 7:7,8 he was not married. Additionally, Leviticus 21:20 makes clear that no man, “crookback or dwarf or him with blemish in his eye” could be high priests in the temple and since Paul’s aspiration was to become exactly that he would never have been considered and most certainly was aware of that.

The “thorn” Paul refers to is clearly seen the middle of that scripture… “there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me”. As Believers doing the work of the Father will always be subject to the same “thorn”. Satan will always to try to deter us from our given job by means of deception, lies, and division. But if we look back at 2 Corinthians 12:9 the answer is clear:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Rest in His strength sufficiency today! It is more than enough!

A Prayer Above                                                                                                             September 27, 2017

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them the most wonderful prayer of all; The Lord’s Prayer! “This, then, is how you should pray”:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13)

You will notice there no eloquent words that need explanation nor is it a long drawn out prayer. It is short and to the point yet full of power!

Our Father: The One to whom we pray.

In Heaven: Where the Father resides.

Hallowed be your name: He is the Holy One of Heaven. Not just the person of God is Holy but even His name is Holy.

Your kingdom come: This statement refers not only to then but know

Your will be done: Jesus came to fulfill Gods plan and even in the garden before the Crucifixion He prayed, “…not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).

On earth as it is in Heaven: This statement is actually referring to now. In God’s will, earth would be as in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread: This is a request for God’s provisions. You will note it does not say, give us our bread for the rest of the week, it says, give us today. This prayer is meant to be said daily. As God’s children are to make petition daily for our needs to include food.

Forgive us our debts: This is referring to our personal sin toward God and others.

As we have also forgiven our debtor:  This is referring to those who have sinned or wronged us. The Bible says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15).

And lead us not into temptation: God may allow us to be tempted but He does not lead us into it.

But deliver us from the evil one: This is referring specifically to the Devil. He is the great deceiver, tempter and liar. Deliver us from the one who would destroy us.

For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever:

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1-3). Forever and always.

Amen: so be it.

This prayer, like Jesus, is perfect in every way. Not only do we acknowledge to whom we are praying and where He is, but we recognize our sin nature, our need for forgiveness and the dependency of the hand of God both in our daily life and to deliver us from the evil one.

Power From on High                                                                                                                                                                                             September 26, 2017

Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. He then gave them a job to accomplish. He said, “go”. He did not say if you are comfortable or if you feel like it. He said, “go”. It was not suggestion but a command.

“…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

To this point in scripture the “laws” given to Moses by God (the Father) and prophecies of the Old Covenant regarding the coming of the Messiah Jesus (the Son) have been fulfilled. It’s now time to complete the Trinity.

Luke 24:47-49 tells us that He sent them first to Jerusalem to wait. Jesus tells them they will be “endued with power from on high”; the Holy Spirit. It is through the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus and sent from God, that we the Believer have power! Yes, power!

The Trinity is now complete! The Holy Spirit has many different ministries that He accomplishes in every Believer. He gives us wisdom and revelation about scripture. He is the comforter, our guide, our intercessor before the Throne when we don’t know what to pray. He helps us show love and walk upright.

He reveals Biblical truths and empowers us to witness! The Bible says that we are to always be ready to give an account for the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. This is witnessing. This is telling others who we were before Jesus and who we are now that we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior of our lives.

If you have confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit dwells in you providing power from heaven to achieve the task given to all Believer…to witness. Anybody can testify about one thing or another but where there is no power there is no effect. Power from heaven allows us to affect the lives of others with our testimony. Power from heaven allows us to lay hands on others and they become healed, allows us to defeat the enemy when we are tempted, helps us love those who are unlovely and to forgive those that have hurt us.

As a Believer the Holy Spirit is in you! Use the power that has been gifted to you today to stand upright, overcome and grow in Christ Jesus. Be encouraged today! God sent His Son, the Son sent the Spirit and the Spirit bring us closer to them both! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to witness to someone today!

The Shōfar                                                                                                                                                                                                                    September 25,  2017

The shōfar is the horn of the ram. The word shofar is found 72 times in both the old and new covenant. The shofar is used for signaling and alerting (Judges 3:27; Nehemiah 4:12-14), as a weapon for frightening the enemy (Judges 7:22), for announcing victory (Samuel 13:3), for announcing rebellion (Samuel 20:1), a call to cease fighting (Samuel B 20:22), and as a warning sign about approaching enemy (Jeremiah 4:21; Hosea 5:8; and other).

It is first seen as the ram caught in the thicket by its horn which Abraham sacrificed in place of his son in Gen 22:13. By extension, the “Ram of God” prepared from the “foundation of the world”, is a picture of the substitutionary sacrifice Gods Son would become for the sins of the world. In Gen 3:15 notice the violent overtone of spiritual warfare between God and Satan regarding her seed and His! For the Believer of Jesus, the blast of the Shofar will come to represents the shout of God’s victory over the power of sin and death.

Jesus Himself spoke of the Shofar in Matthew 24 and in fact He Himself is seen blowing the Shofar on the day of the rapture “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Additionally, we see “Look, I will tell you a secret — not all of us will die! But we will all be changed!  It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51,52). Further “The seventh angel sounded his shofar; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and his Messiah, and he will rule forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).

The word shofar is first used in Exodus 19:16 when it was given to Israel during Pentecost (Shăvuōt). The people were also instructed in Leviticus 23:24 to blow the shofar on The New Year (Rōsh Hashanah) and in Leviticus 25:9 on the Day of Atonement (Yŏm Kippur).

From Genesis to Revelation and many times in between the shofar plays an important role in God’s beginning and final plans for the world. The shofar also is a fulfillment of scripture being used to ushering in a new age and crushing the enemy of old. The shofar is the symbol of God; it is God’s voice!

All Have Sinned                                                                                                                                                                                                             September 21,  2017

“For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

If by faith we believe in and receive the atoning work of Jesus on the Cross we can become forgiven and justified by the mercy of God. Justification takes place when a guilty person is declared not guilty of his or her sins by the heavenly court presided over by the High Priest of our heart, Jesus Christ.

The word sin is spoken 448 in the King James Bible. Sin means disobedience; a willful or deliberate violation or transgression, a great fault or offense. Sin separated us from the Glory of God. All of mankind deals with sin due to the disobedience of the first Adam. Only the obedience of the second Adam (Jesus) can reconcile us back to Himself if we accept the price that He paid for a debt He did not incur. With His death He paid the price of sin once and for all; past present and future.

Jesus died at Calvary for our sin, our disobedience. His death was a free gift to all who accept it. The Bible says, “whosoever (anybody) who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21 and Joel 2:32! The Old Testament and the New Testament declares the Salvation to all who call on the Name; the Name above all names, Jesus!

This life is short and you have purpose. Every life matters because God created it. If we have truly accepted the gift of Salvation sin should take a back seat. The good news when we repent or turn from the thing(s) we do that in disobedience to God’s plan for us He is faithful to forgives us, love us anyway and draw us closer.

Don’t let this moment pass without asking God to help you. If you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Savior, call on Him. He will forgive you and begin to teach you. There is no sin or wrong too big, nothing too broken nothing too ugly that He will not forgive no not one. You don’t need to “get yourself together” before you come…just come! Let Him forgive you! It’s your choice. Make it a good one.

God’s Calendar                                                                                                                                                                                                                     September 20, 2017

In the Old Testament sin was realized and dealt with through the “Law”. The Law was divided into three categories:

1)            Blood Sacrifice – a flawless animal one without blemish or defect

2)            Ceremonial – Included circumcision, dietary restrictions, Jewish custom, etc.

3)            Moral/Civil/Beneficial – Specifically speaking the Ten Commandments. The first four govern the relationship with God the last six govern the relationship one to another.

We are no longer bound by the “Law” of categories 1 & 2: Jesus says in Matthew 5:17 “…I have not come to do away with the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them.” Jesus became the flawless, sinless, and perfect sacrifice. Therefore, we now live under the Grace of category 3: Jesus, and the Apostles taught and exemplified the Ten Commandments. The seven feast/festival or holy convocation set forth By God in the book of Leviticus are not included in the “fulfillment”.  Jesus kept all of these feasts and was the “sacrificial lamb” of the Passover.

As a Gentile (not Jews) we can still recognize and keep to the best of our ability the feasts.  Let me explain. The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” Leviticus, 23:24. This feast (AKA festival) is the third set forth by God and is called Rosh Hashanah which literally means “head of the year” it is the Jewish new year. It is also called the “day of blowing”, “feast of trumpets” and “The time of Jacobs trouble” (Jacob is Israel). This time is set forth in heaven as a time when God opens the books and reads the account of every individual for the previous year and they have ten days to repent of their sin before their sentence is announced and the books are closed.

As Believer we should not let the sun go down without repenting of our sin. This specific time however is a period that should bring a deeper understanding that God is evaluating our hearts and excepting us to do the same with intentionality. It is a time of self-evaluation and growth. As it happens, this day September 20, 2017 at 7:30pm begins the ten-day period of repentance and reflection.

I encourage you to look inward and ask God to reveal anything that you have not dealt with. Bring your issues before the throne of the One who loves you and wants to be the God of your heart.

Persevere!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   September 18, 2017

 As Believers we serve a Sovereign, risen Savior who loves us and has good plans for us. If this is true why do we have trails, tribulations and temptations? Because God understands His children and works in our lives daily to grow us and help to become more like His Son. This growing comes in part through trails and tribulations.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” James 1:12.

The word temptation that James uses here refers to trials and tribulations. In other words, the pressure one feels to sin. While God is not the tempter He does allow us to be tempted. Why? Because it is how we learn; having two choices, to sin or not to sin.

When we were in school the teacher gave a test over studied material and we must choose the correct answer. If we chose correctly we moved onto a new subject but if we chose incorrectly we had to continue to study it until we could answer correctly. Once we overcame the test we received a reward; a good grade or perhaps a little gold star! This scripture is an encouragement to the student exhorting him to press on until he gets it right because a reward awaits his perseverance…not that little gold star but a crown!

This life is not easy. Being a Believer is not always easy. Jesus never promised that this life would become easy just because we decide to follow Him in fact He promised exactly the opposite. In John Jesus says, “…If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you”. The good news is “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” 2 Cor 4:8, 9!

Today’s encouragement is to persevere! Hang in there! You are loved!

What Are You Attached To?                                                                                                                                                                                               September 15, 2017

In life we can be attached to different kinds of vines such as a work, money, or material things. The vine in which we choose to be attached to speaks to who we are and what holds us, feeds us, and drives us. In return we feed that vine with our time, and devotion, and often our full and undivided attention. We will become the vine that we are attached to.

For example, a person attached to the vine of work can become so focused on the “job” they devote hours both at the office and/or at home forsaking all other activities with family or friends. The person attached to this vine is often called a “work-a-holic”. To be clear you are to work to provide for yourself and your family because “…that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thess. 3:10) however, a work-a-holic must not be what you become.

Another example is the one who is driven by money; they are consumed with how to get or make more. The value that is placed on money often destroys this person and/or their family. They feel that they must have as much as possible laying aside all that does not appeal to that need. To be clear money is not bad there are many scriptures about money and how to be a good steward of your finances however, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1Tim. 6:10). Money must not be what exhausts your every thought.

Additionally, the same could be said of the one who is compelled to buy, buy, buy. Their lives are filled with “stuff”. The newest cars and homes, closets full of shoes, enough clothing to outfit a small city. Because of this they are usually in great debit. Having nice things is not a bad thing however, “…for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

Speaking to His disciples Jesus said the following,

I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” John 15:5 (KVJ).

The “true vine’ of Christ is the one through which all nourishment is received. If we choose this vine, if we live in this vine being properly pruned and fed we will grow and prosper. To do that we must devote time in scripture, prayer and worship. We must decide what is MOST important in this life and in the one to follow. Previously, I said we will become the vine we are attached to. Look at that scripture again and see the words in bold letters.

When you attached to the “true vine” and the “true vine” is attached to you, you are the same. An apple tree will never grow bananas. A grape vine will never grow oranges. You will produce that which you are attached to…you are the same as what you are attached to.

Christ is saying, I Am, you are, the same. Will choose to be attached to something that will be of no good or will you attach yourself to the “true vine” AND LIVE!

What Does Humility Look Like?                                                                                                                                                                             September 14, 2017

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Outside of showing love towards one another showing true humility is one of the hardest things for human beings to grasp. We live in a time that demonstrates less and less humility and more and more self-importance. The role models of today exhibit pride and individualism which intern teaches our young people that being a “team player” is no longer a valid goal. We have talk show host spouting “self-awareness” and preachers who “tickle our ears” with what we want to hear rather than the fullness of what the Bible says. We must make better choices about who we listen to.

Truth be known for most of us humility is an ongoing struggle because it does not come naturally. We are all born with a “sin nature” therefore attributes of love and humility are learned behaviors that go hand in hand and require the presence of God in our lives to achieve. Without love for one another there is no ability to be truly humble. Humility requires love and love humility. If this were not true the Bible would be half its size not because of the number of times the words are used but because the entirety of the New Covenant is Jesus and the Apostles teaching and displaying love and humility in word and action. Jesus shows us the ultimate act of humility when He gave His life not for Himself but for others…you and I. Love humbly laid down His life for all.

Humility is not an impossible attribute for humanity. Humility like love is an attribute that we must choose if we are to truly be Christ-like. Being humble does not mean being weak it means being meek. The Cross is not a sign of weakness but of humility; humility that restored mankind back to God. The humility of Jesus made possible the salvation of all those who call on His Name.  Christ values you and I so much that He laid aside the robes of His high position with God in heaven to come humbly as a servant to all mankind…to put us first.

A Rose By Another Name…                                                                                                                                                                         September 13. 2017

It may be true that a rose by another name would smell as sweet. But concerning Bible names this could not be farther from the truth. In the days surrounding the time of Jesus a name gave great insight into who they were and/ or who they would become. A name was well thought through and often based on who your family was and who you would become. For instance, Abram means “exalted father”. God later changed Abrams name to Abraham meaning “Father of many/the multitudes”.  Jabez in Chronicles means “one born in pain”. Moses means “to draw out” and we know the God used him to draw out His people from Egypt. Some names were instructed by God himself such as the Name above All names, Jesus. When it came to the name of Jesus we see a much different insight. There is not only one meaning but many. His name, titles and references mentioned in the Bible total more than 120.

The names of Jesus not only describe who He was and is but who He wants to be in our lives. He is the advocate (1 John 2:1) that intervenes on our behalf to the Father. He is Savior and Redeemer (Isaiah 49:26). He is Lord of lords Revelation 19:16. He is the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:9).  He is, was and always will be The Word (John 1:1).

The name of Jesus is one that causes the enemy to “flee” and Angels to “sing His praise”. At the Name of Jesus “every knee shall bow”. He is the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah.

No other can claim to be all things to all people. He is “the way, the truth, and the life”. There is no other like Him. Is your life in turmoil? Call out to the “Prince of Peace”. Do you need direction? Pray to the One who can lead you in to righteousness. Are you in need of a true friend? Cry out to the One who hears your prayers, quiets your soul, relieve your burdens and give you rest. Rely on the one who will never leave you or forsake you. The One who will never talk badly about you or remind you of your past mistakes.

He was sent that all who would call on His name would be saved. Jesus came from the Father, lived, died and rose again for you. He wants to have a relationship with you and has given you many names to call Him by. What name will you call Him today?

Rejoice in The Lord always; and again I say Rejoice!                                                                                                                                       September 12, 2017

Many times, throughout the Word God repeats Himself. Do you think it is because He forgot He already said it?! NO. When the Word repeats Himself it is because it is important. For instance, “Whosoever shall call on the Name of The Lord shall be saved”; Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13 and Act 2:21. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 and Psalm 22:1. “And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” Luke 4:12 Deuteronomy 6:16, and Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice In The Lord Always: and again I say, Rejoice”. These are just a few but today I want to encourage you in the last. “Rejoice In The Lord Always: and again I say, Rejoice”. Yesterday was not only September 11 but also a time in which hurricanes are active in such a way as never in both frequency and intensity.

As Believers it is easy to have faith in God and rejoice in what He has given us however, when it is taken from us that is another story. Faith, trust and rejoicing is easy when things are going the way we think they should but its when things begin going in another direction that we find it hard to maintain an ongoing state of rejoicing. As a person with no faith or hope in Christ they often feel that these times are directed at them and they become bitter and angry and blame a God

they don’t even believe in. Often their lack of belief pushes them farther away from God.

We must encourage both Believer and non-believer a like to know that God loves them and if we can muster joy when it seems sadness and anger should take hold the outcome will be different. When we begin to thank God for our very lives and the lives of those we love and set aside all the things that are replaceable upward motion becomes possible.

God created all things and He wants us to prosper but more often than not prospering has little to do with things and more to do with drawing us closer to Him. The knowledge that the Creator of the universe loves you and wants a relationship with YOU! Rejoice!

Who do you say that I Am?                                                                                                                                                                                              September 11, 2017

Who do you say that I am? What would you do if someone walked up to you on the street and asked you that very question? Would you give them a blank stare or would you actually think about it before deciding they were crazy and walk away? In the book of Mark Jesus asked the disciples that very question.  Later in John 14:6, Jesus very specifically answered the question saying, “I Am the way, the truth and the life”. The disciples had seen with their own eyes who Jesus was yet still He asked them who do YOU say that I Am?  There answer was based on sight; they witnessed who He was. Peter answered calling Him “The Christ of God”.

As human beings in the world today we would answer that question based on our knowledge of the person; is the person one of integrity, one who makes sound judgements, someone in which you can have every confidence. There is not one person in this world that can, without fail, every time, everywhere claim even one of those qualities.  The world will always disappoint you, lie to you and leave you wanting more and better. This is not pessimism. This is fact. There is only One who can fully supply all of your daily needs, One who is faithful to complete the good work He started, and One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

For us to answer that question we must have faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the Word of God”.   I encourage you to take hold of the Word of God each day and you will see for yourself that only He is fully trust worthy and will never let you down. Be strong today in the saving knowledge of Jesus who longs to hear your cries and dry your tears. Jesus who longs to hear your prayers. Jesus who wants you to have all that He alone has to offer you. Jesus who loves you not matter what you’ve done or who you are.

Act Like We are Staying!                                                                                                                                                                                                      September 8, 2017

Many people to include myself, pray that we will be ready if today should be the day that we (the Believers) “17shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17 KJV). Oh, what a day, what a glorious day that will be! This scripture is and should be constantly in the forefront of our minds. Having said that, does this mean we are to stand around staring at the clouds in anticipation? No, certainly not! We all have a job to do…while we wait…we must be about our Father’s business…we must act like we are staying!

The Apostle Paul makes very clear in the following scriptures that if we are to be among those called in verses 17, we must follow a certain guideline. I chose the Message Bible translation because it makes it so clear:

One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and He will take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.  If you disregard this advice, you’re not offending your neighbors; you’re rejecting God, who is making you a gift of his Holy Spirit. Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it. Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends” (1 Thess. 4:1-12 The Message).

We must keep doing what we do as Christ following Believers. We must keep sharing the Gospel; the Good News of Jesus Christ. We must show the “world” that we are in it with them and there is hope! But they must see the difference in us. They must see the hope we have in Christ Jesus. Then and only then might they be willing to hear it. We must look different to them, sound different to them and we must be different to them! We must teach the Truth according to God’s Word. The Word teaches that above all we are to LOVE. Jesus is the judge NOT you and I. Show the love of Jesus today because love is the only way to show Jesus. Love doesn’t look like it is waiting to go, love acts like it is staying.

We Are Not Becoming Overcomers!                                                                                                                                                                      September 7, 2017

 “…In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37.

    This verse does not say we are becoming overcomers, NO! In fact, it says, ‘we are more than’.  The Apostle Paul made this statement to a people who were being persecuted and even put to death for their faith. Today Believers suffer many of the same persecutions that Believers then endured. Persecution takes many forms all of which are meant to oppress, abuse, torture, humiliate, degrade and discourage. Any of that sound familiar?

     The word “conquerors” in this verse comes from the Greek phrase hupernikeo. Huper means “over, above, and beyond”. The second half nikeo means “to be a champion” and “one who overcomes”. The phrase means “super-overcomer” or someone who mightily prevails.  

     Paul makes it very clear that we are not becoming overcomer but that we ARE overcomers through Christ Jesus. In fact, Paul further drives the point home in the following verses by saying, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

     Life is hard and just because we are Christians does not mean that things will all suddenly go our way or that we will not have troubles. NO! Jesus makes it clear in the last verse of John chapter 16 by saying, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. Like the people of the Apostle Paul’s day we must realize not only who we are but whose we are! We are conquerors and overcomers not because of anything that we have done or anything we could ever do but because of what He (Jesus) did for us.

Our ability over, above, and beyond comes from the One who resided in the heart of every Believer. He promises to see us through, to give us Grace to deal with others, to give us rest when we are burdened, to give us peace where there is none, and to give us hope until we are called home. This life is about becoming more like Him but because of Him we ARE overcomers!

Is sin really diminshing?                                                                                                                                                                                                           September 6, 2017

Why is the concept of sin diminished in the public perception? This statement does not imply that sin itself is diminishing but the awareness of it is. From a Believer point of view the obvious, in your face answer is simple; the concept of sin is diminishing because the reality of God in His people is diminishing. The subtler answer is exactly the same. Satan works today just as he did in the “days of Noah” and just like then Believers and unbelievers alike are just as oblivious. There are many examples but let’s go to the 2016 Presidential race of the United States of America. Of all the men and women that started the race there are now four remaining nominees. None of these three men and one woman has God or Godly precepts in their platforms. Even though they say they “go to church” none of the four have any apparent Christian values, moral or otherwise. For example, the Jewish nominee, Mr. Sanders: when asked, “do you believe in God…” on a latenight show in Oct 2015 said, “I am who I am and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together…”. Mrs. Clinton, a Methodist, on when asked about the topic of abortion stated, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” That was to say that she approves of it and the afore mentioned “topics” must change to her way of thinking. Ted Cruz, a Southern Baptist, stands up for people of the Christian faith but makes no stand on the LGBT topic. Last and most least of credible nominees, Mr. Trump, Presbyterian: where does one begin? “I think religion is a wonderful thing…I am a Sunday church person”. According to MSNBC Emma Margolin called Mr. Trump “a person with a penchant for name-calling and one who would deport all undocumented people”. All this to say, all the above mentioned are subtle ways that Satan distracts people from the truth… “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Sin only seems to be diminishing because the values and precepts of God’s Word are being compromised. Sin is still sin and God still sees it. He has not changed and neither has His Word. We as Believers must be careful that we do not fall into the mold of the world and stay focused on who we have been called to be!

"Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine."                                                                                                                                                      September 5, 2017
John 21:12

In these words the believer is invited to a holy nearness to Jesus. "Come and dine," implies the same table, the same meat; aye, and sometimes it means to sit side by side, and lean our head upon the Saviour's bosom. It is being brought into the banqueting-house, where waves the banner of redeeming love. "Come and dine," gives us a vision of union with Jesus, because the only food that we can feast upon when we dine with Jesus is himself. Oh, what union is this! It is a depth which reason cannot fathom, that we thus feed upon Jesus. "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." It is also an invitation to enjoy fellowship with the saints. Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they have all one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the bread of life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes round we pledge one another heartily therein. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who are like yourself, supported by the same heavenly manna. If we were more near to Jesus we should be more near to one another. We likewise see in these words the source of strength for every Christian. To look at Christ is to live, but for strength to serve him you must "come and dine." We labour under much unnecessary weakness on account of neglecting this precept of the Master. We none of us need to put ourselves on low diet; on the contrary, we should fatten on the marrow and fatness of the gospel that we may accumulate strength therein, and urge every power to its full tension in the Master's service. Thus, then, if you would realize nearness to Jesus, union with Jesus, love to his people and strength from Jesus, "come and dine" with him by faith.

"Bring him unto me."                                                                                                                                                                                             September 4, 2017
Mark 9:19

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician's words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning's need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.

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