Sunday, December 28, 2014

Humbling From the Hand of God

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.  And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
 Daniel 4:37

In the Book of Daniel, we study about King Nebuchadnezzar.  King Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest of the Babylonian kings.  God’s Word describes him as one of the foreign rulers God used for His purposes.  Reading and studying the life of this king, we see that he thought of himself as a god and was a very prideful leader.  Until God’s divine humbling of Nebuchadnezzar, he never accepted the sovereignty of God.  He did not see that all he owned and all he had accomplished were because of the hand of Almighty God.  King Nebuchadnezzar was given royal authority from the King of King. 

In Daniel 4, we read that King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream about a tree and this dream greatly troubled him.  Scripture reveals that he was terrified.  I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my palace, contented and prosperous.  I had a dream that made me afraid.  As I was lying in bed, the images and visions that passed through my mind terrified me – Daniel 4:4-5.  When the Babylonian magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and diviners could not interpret the dream for the king, Daniel was called. 

Much of the world considered Nebuchadnezzar a divine king.  God was about to demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar was an ordinary man placed in the kingship because of His sovereign will.  After the fulfillment of the dream, Nebuchadnezzar recognized the sovereignty of God and proclaimed God’s sovereignty to the nations and the people.  Daniel 4:17 gives us a glimpse of messengers making a proclamation of the reasoning for the divine punishment of Nebuchadnezzar.  The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.  God was about to place Nebuchadnezzar in a situation where he would come to recognize the sovereignty of Almighty God. 

In Daniel 4:19-27, we read that Daniel interprets the dream for the king.  Also Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that if he would renounce his sins that his prosperity would continue.  Daniel 4:27 – Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice:  Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.  It may be that then your prosperity will continue.  The LORD withheld His divine judgment of King Nebuchadnezzar for one year, twelve months.  But Nebuchadnezzar was still filled with pride and refused to humble himself an accept the sovereignty of God.  Daniel 4:30 – He(King Nebuchadnezzar) said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power, and for the glory of my majesty?” 

Scripture reveals that as the words passed through his lips, divine punishment came upon him.  King Nebuchadnezzar’s royal authority was taken from him.  He was driven away from the people and lived among the wild animals for seven years.  After seven years had passed, Nebuchadnezzar sanity was restored and he began to praise, honor, and glorify Almighty God.  It took divine punishment - a humbling from the hand of God – for Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge the sovereignty of God.  Daniel 4:34 – At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.  Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.  His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 

Let’s learn a lesson from King Nebuchadnezzar.  Acknowledge and accept the sovereignty of God.  Take these words to heart – Daniel 4:37 – Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praised and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.  And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to always acknowledge and accept Your sovereignty.  Your ways are just and right.  I pray you will reveal any evidence of pride in our life so we can humbly bow before You and repent.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Praying Friends

“Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness.”  William Carey 

Are you blessed with praying friends?  Praying friends are such a precious blessing.  It is very comforting to know that when you contact your prayer warrior friend, that they will approach God’s throne of grace on your behalf.  As we journey towards our Heavenly home, we will encounter many needs and we will have many concerns.  It is a privilege to have a friend who is truly a prayer warrior and it is also a privilege to take your friend’s needs to Almighty God’s throne of grace.  Almighty God answers prayers. 

You and I have a powerful resource – prayer – communion with our Savior and LORD.  Let us never look at prayer as a last resort.  When a need or a concern arises, the first thing we must do is approach the throne of God.  We often see prayer as the last resort.  This approach is backwards.  God’s power is infinitely greater than ours; therefore let us rely on the power of God.  James 5:16 – The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 

In Daniel 2, we see Daniel at a crisis point.  King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that greatly troubled him.  He had called the wise men of the land and instructed them to tell him what the dream was and also to interpret the dream.  Because the men were unable to do so, he ordered all the wise men to be put to death.  When Daniel heard the verdict that the wise men would be put to death, he asked to see the king.  Daniel approaches King Nebuchadnezzar and asked for time so that he might be the one to interpret the dream.  The king agreed and then the praying began.  Daniel’s prayer warrior friends were needed.  Daniel 2:18 - He (Daniel) urged them (his friends) to plead for mercy from God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.  We might not be facing an execution but our need can be great when we ask our prayer warriors friends to plead for mercy on our behalf.  Do you have these prayer warrior friends as Daniel did?  Prayerfully ask God to rise up around you a small group of prayer warrior friends. 

We notice in Daniel 2 that Daniel did not panic.  He trusted God and believed in Almighty God’s power.  He chose not to panic because he understood that prayer was effective.  When we choose to panic instead of approaching the throne of God, it confirms that we consider our need as hopeless and that we do not believe in the power of God.  Do you believe in the power of God?  Do you panic or pray when you have a need or a concern?  Choose to obliterate your panic by praying to God.  Daniel 2:19 – During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.  Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.  Daniels trust in Almighty God saved not only himself, but also his three friends, and the wise men of Babylon.  Where have you placed you trust?

Do your prayers include praise?  Daniel knew where to place his trust and hope.  We read Daniel’s prayer of praise in Daniel 2:20-23“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.  He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.  I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:  You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”  Daniels prayer was answered and before he went back to reveal the dream and interpretation of the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, he offered a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God.  He took time to give Almighty God credit for all wisdom and power and for answering his request.  We must never forget to offer our praise and gratitude to our Sovereign God. 

You can place your hope and trust in God just as Daniel and his friends did.  Present your request to the King of Kings.  Wait and watch with anxious expectation as God answers your prayers and never forget to offer Him a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we acknowledge You are sovereign.  We praise You and thank You for what You have done and what You will do.  Thank You for my prayer warrior friends.  Bless them LORD.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Choices to Make in a Babylonian Culture

But Daniel resolved…..Daniel 1:8

We live in a Babylonian culture.  Our culture is focused on youth and beauty.  It values the educated and the prosperous.  This culture has many indulgences for us to choose from.  We have a wide array of entertainment venues.  Even the variety of food choices gives us pause to think about at lengths.  Many people are self-absorbed and focused on their next indulgence.  The question is, are the choices you are making in this Babylonian culture bringing honor and glory to God?  We need to strive to be like Daniel.  Daniel resolved to not be defiled by the Babylonian culture in which he found himself living.  Daniel 1:8 – But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.  Daniel was living in a culture that did not honor God, yet he chose to obey God’s laws.  We are living in a culture that does not honor Almighty God.  Will you resolve today to make choices that honor and glorify God or will you allow this Babylonian culture to influence your choices?

Long before Daniel was taken into captivity he resolved to commit his life to Almighty God.  He chose to be devoted to God and His ways.  Pressures from our culture are all around us but we can commit to making choices that honor and bring glory to our Savior and LORD.  Prayerfully ask God to help you make a lifelong determination to do what is right in the eyes of God and not succumb to the pressures in our culture.  Proverbs 3:6 - In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  When we acknowledge God in all our ways, He will guide us.  Choose to make Almighty God a vital part of every area of your life and allow Him to lead and guide you as you journey through this Babylonian culture. 

Our culture is filled with moral depravity and sin-inducing pressures.  In this world we will be faced with temptations, but Scripture clearly reveals that our God will help us resist when confronted with these temptations.  1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  Prayerfully ask God to help you live in this extravagant, excessive culture without being poisoned by it.  Just as Daniel resisted the poisonous charms in Babylon, we are able to resist the poisonous charms of our culture.  God will help us to stay strong and focused when faced with deception if we turn to Him. 

Daniel learned all he could about this new culture he was living in so he could do the work he was assigned to do.  Yet while he learned, he maintained steadfast allegiance to God.  God blessed him with skill and wisdom.  Daniel 1:17 – To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.  And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.  We must make the choice to maintain steadfast allegiance to our God.  God is faithful and will give us the grace to stand even if we are the only ones committing our allegiance to Him. 

We live in a culture which has turned away from God.  Will you influence your culture or will your culture influence you?  Choose today to commit all your ways to Almighty God.

Dear Heavenly Father, lead and guide us.  Help us to stay strong and focused on You when we are faced with the temptations of this wicked world.  Bless us with godly wisdom and knowledge.  I pray that we will be people who have a godly influence on our culture.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Waiting Between Your Need and His Provision

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

We take our petitions to our Heavenly Father and sometimes we wait.  Our prayer is not answered when we expect it to be answered.  What are we to do in the waiting between our need and His provision? 

Prayer is the act of communion with our Savior and LORD.  God desires for us to bring our petitions to Him but our prayers also should include adoration, confession of our sins, and thanksgiving.  We can approach our LORD with confidence, knowing that He hears.  The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them….Psalm 34:17.  Whenever we pray, God hears us.  Wherever we pray, Almighty God hears us.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually.  How are we to pray continually?  We are to have a prayerful attitude at all times.  It is time for us to acknowledge our total dependence upon Almighty God and realize His presence is with us always.  1 Chronicles 16:11 – Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.  Seek the LORD in prayer to offer thanksgiving and praise and to meet your needs. 

In the waiting between our need and God’s provision, we must place our trust in Him.  Even when we can’t see the hand of God at work, He is working.  Our LORD is faithful and we can trust Him.  His presence is with us always.  Psalm 37:3-4 – Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  We need to come to the place in our faith walk where we are able to entrust everything – our lives, families, jobs, possessions – to Almighty God’s control and guidance.  God knows our every need and will provided for our needs in His perfect time.  He desires for us to humbly enter in Holy Communion with Him, through prayer. 

We must attempt to stop our grumbling and trust in our Savior and LORD.  Scripture reveals that the Israelites did a lot of grumbling and complaining in the wilderness.  God provided for their needs but they still complained.  Prayerfully search your heart.  Are you a complainer in the waiting?  Focus on Almighty God and wait with eager anticipation for the time that He provides an answer to your prayer.  Psalm 37:7 – Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…..

In the waiting between our need and God’s provision, we should continue to serve.  We should continue to meet the needs of others in the name of Jesus Christ.  Present others with love and compassion in the same way Jesus did.  We demonstrate our love for Christ when we minister to others in His name.  Hebrews 6:10 – God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you helped his people and continue to help them.  As we serve during the waiting, we should remember God’s past faithfulness and provisions.  This will strengthen our faith and provide us with the grace and strength to continue to serve.  Never forget the goodness of Almighty God.  1 Samuel 12:24 – Be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 

In the waiting between our need and God’s provision, we must continue to offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving to our LORD.  Remember God’s goodness and dependability when you approach His throne in prayer and offer praise and thanksgiving to your Savior and LORD.  Psalm 100:4 – Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 

Our God is good and faithful.  He loves us more than we can even imagine.  Trust in Him today.  Wait and watch for His provisions in your life.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God – Philippians 4:6.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to wait patiently between our need and Your provision.  LORD, we will continue to pray and trust You to meet our needs.  We recognize You are good and faithful.  We will continue to trust you and serve you and offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving for what You have done and what You will do.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Content in an Ungodly World

Do you ever wonder what type of influence you have on the people around you?  Would you consider yourself to be someone who has a godly influence on your family, friends, and co-workers?  When we study the life of Lot, we see a man who did not have a godly influence on those around him.  2 Peter 2:7 reveals that Lot was a righteous man, but when we study his life we see that his testimony in the city of Sodom meant nothing to the people.  Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you if you have a godly testimony to those in your realm of influence. 

In Genesis 13:10-11, we notice Lot making a decision that had detrimental effects toward his family.  He decided to move his family near Sodom, a city that was known for its wickedness - its sin.  Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt.  (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.  The two men parted company.  Life presents us with a series of choices.  Our choices affect many and can reach into the future.  Prayerfully seek God’s direction when making choices.  Even though the choices look promising in the moment, the future consequence can be devastating. 

Lot had an opportunity to be a godly voice in this wicked city.  In Genesis 19:1, we see Lot sitting in the gateway of the city.  The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city – Genesis 19:1.  The ones who sat in the gateway of the cities were judges.  Lot not only chose to move to Sodom, but once there he got into politics.  He had an opportunity to be a godly influence but Scripture reveals when the time of destruction and judgment had come upon Sodom, those near and dear to him did not take him seriously.  Genesis 19:14 – So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters.  He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!”  But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.  Lot lived so long among the wicked and sinful in Sodom and was so content among the ungodly people; he was no longer a believable witness for God.  Lot had allowed his environment to shape him instead of shaping his environment.  Are you shaping and influencing your environment in a godly way or is your environment shaping you? 

Lot blended in and became one of the crowd and when he finally made a stand, nobody listened.  For us to make a difference and a godly influence in our sphere of influence, we have to choose to be different in our faith and our conduct.  We will never be able to conform to the world’s standards and make a godly influence.  Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Lot chose to conform to his environment.  Let’s prayerfully seek our LORD and ask Him to empower us and guide us to be a godly, spiritual influence in our environment. 

We live in a world filled with sin.  We must guard ourselves that we do not become accepting of the sin that is in our world.  Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it – Proverbs 4:23. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to be a godly influence in our sphere of influence.  Help us to recognize sin and understand we cannot flirt with sin.  Father, we recognize that You have called us to be a godly light in this lost and dying world.  Provide us with the power and strength to stand strong.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

God's Deliverance

From the LORD comes deliverance.  May your blessing be on your people.  Psalm 3:8

When you and I study Scripture, we see many examples of Almighty God’s deliverance.  Are you in a season of life where you may be crying out to God for deliverance?  Scripture reveals to us that sometimes God delivers us from, sometimes God delivers us through, and then sometimes God delivers us later.  Whether God chooses to deliver us from, delivers us through, or delivers us later, we can be assured that He is present with us.  Psalm 139:7-10 – Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  We can be assured that no matter what we are facing, our God is with us desiring to provide the comfort that only He can give. 

In the Book of Genesis, we read the account of when God destroyed the earth.  God looked at His creation and saw that the earth was corrupt and full of violence.  So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.  I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth” – Genesis 6:13.  God delivered Noah and his family from this destruction.  He instructed Noah to build an ark that would protect his family when the flood waters came upon the earth.  Almighty God is sovereign and for His honor, glory, and purpose, chose to deliver Noah and his family from the flood. 

In Daniel 3, we see God’s deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego through the blazing furnace.  All the people in the land were instructed to fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.  Whoever refused, were to be thrown into the blazing furnace.  When the time came to bow down and worship the image of gold, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused.  They refused to worship anything or anyone other than Almighty God – the One True God.  The king, in an angry rage, summoned the three men.  The king said to the men, “If you do not worship it (the image), you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace.  Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” – Daniel 3:15.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego boldly replied to King Nebuchadnezzar.  “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” – Daniel 3:16-18.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were pressured to deny God, but made the choice to be faithful to Him no matter what happened.  They trusted that Almighty God would deliver them, but if God chose not to deliver them they would still remain faithful to Him.  Will you choose to be faithful to God whether He intervenes on your behalf or not?  Our eternal reward will be worth any suffering we may have to endure upon this earth. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the blazing furnace.  Scripture reveals God saw them through and delivered them through the blazing furnace.  As King Nebuchadnezzar gazed into the furnace, he saw four men walking in the fire unbound and unharmed.  Daniel 3:24-26 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”  They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”  He said, “Look!  I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”  Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out!  Come here!”  So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire.  God sovereignly chose to deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego through the fire.  There may be times, when in His sovereign grace, God will see us through difficult situations and circumstances.  Know that when He see us through, He is right there with with us, providing His comfort and peace.  Choose to rely on Almighty God. 

Then there are times when God’s deliverance comes later – when we reach our eternal home.  We live in an evil, fallen world.  Believers will encounter difficult circumstances, illness, pain, and lose.  Suffering will occur in our life and in God’s sovereignty, He may choose not to deliver us from or through the pain.  Know deep in the depths of your soul, a better day is coming.  Hold on to the deliverance that can only occur when we are ushered into the presence of Jesus.  Hebrew 11:35-40 reveals saints who received deliverance later – in their eternal home.  There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.  These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 

Prayerfully ask God to help your faith stay strong no matter if He chooses to deliver you from, delivers you through, or delivers you later. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness.  LORD we recognize Your sovereignty.  Thank You for Your presence no matter if you deliver us from, deliver us through, or deliver us later.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seasons of Refining and Transformation

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 

2 Corinthians 3:18

Have you been through a season of refining and transformation?  Seasons of refining can be quite difficult.  These seasons can leave us with many unanswered questions.  During the midst of the refining we are often unable to see the reason, the purpose for the refining; but often afterwards, we are able to look back as the LORD reveals His purpose.  Then there are seasons of refining that we will never understand the purpose of the refining, until we reach our eternal home. 

We are ultimately being refined to be conformed to the image of Christ.  The Christian life is a process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.  This process will not be complete until we are ushered into our Heavenly Home and see Jesus face to face.  Knowing that Christ is molding us into His image should help us to surrender to the work of God in our lives.  Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sister. 

Scripture reveals that we are the clay and our Heavenly Father is the potter.  Isaiah 64:8 – Yet you, LORD, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. During the transformation process, the pressing and molding might be unpleasant.  But we must remember that our LORD is sovereign, He loves us more than we can even comprehend.  During this molding process, hold on to the promises of your Savior and LORD.  Allow Scripture to soothe your hurting soul.  We do not have to understand to submit to the molding from our LORD.  Isaiah 55:8 – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  Some works of God we will never understand until we are ushered in to eternity, but we can rest in knowing that we can trust our Savior and LORD.  Proverbs 3:5-6 – 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. 

Trials refine our character and bring us a new and deeper wisdom.  Trials also help us realize that life is a precious gift from God.  Whatever the trial you may be facing, Almighty God is with you.  There will be deliverance from the trial, either in this life or in our eternal home.  Without testing we would never know what we are capable of doing, nor would we grow spiritually.  Prayerfully ask God to help you submit to the refiner’s fire.  Allow your trials to refine your faith and purify your heart.  1 Peter 1:7 – These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

When we are in the midst of the refiner’s fire, we can have confidence that Almighty God knows, plans, and directs our lives for good.  Our Savior and LORD is leading us to a better future.  Jeremiah 29:11 – “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.”  When in the midst of the refiner’s fire, we can also have courage.  Jesus is with us and will not abandon us.  Deuteronomy 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 

Prayerfully ask God to fill you with strength and courage as you submit to the refiner’s fire. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to submit to You when we are in the refining fire.  Allow us a glimpse of Your mercy and grace during the difficult times.  I pray that we will draw closer to You and allow Your Word to soothe our parched souls.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Driven By Desperation

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Has there been a season of your life where you have felt desperate, hopeless?  The King James Version Dictionary defines desperate as a giving up of hope or hopelessness.  When driven by desperation, people tend to run to God or run from God.  What will you choose to do? 

Scripture reveals several examples of people driven by desperation.  They had lost hope and knew that Jesus was the only answer to their desperate need.  We must realize when we are driven by desperation that Jesus Christ is the only answer.  He is the only One who can give us hope, comfort, peace, and healing – whether it is spiritual healing or physical healing. 

In Matthew 9, we notice a man who is driven by desperation.  His daughter had died and he believed that Jesus could bring her back to life.  He believed the healing touch of Jesus could bring his daughter back from death.  This man was a synagogue leader.  He was educated, religious, and well respected.  His education, religion, and his status could not help him in his desperation.  The synagogue leader knew he had to approach Jesus with his desperate need.  Matthew 9:18-19, 23-25 – A synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died.  But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”  Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.  When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said, “Go away.  The girl is not dead but asleep.”  But they laughed at him.  After the crowd had been out outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 

The synagogue leader did not come to Jesus until his daughter was dead.  It was too late for anyone else to help.  Jesus Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for anyone else to help.  If you are driven by desperation and your situation and circumstances look hopeless, know that Christ can do the impossible.  Luke 19:27 – Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  This father knew the touch of Jesus changes things.  “But come and put your hands on her and she will live.”  Choose today to be like this father.  Allow your season of desperation to drive you to Jesus Christ. 

In Mark 2, we read of four men desperate to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus.  Because of the large crowd gathered around Jesus, the men could not enter the home where He was teaching.  These friends were determined to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing, so they took him to the roof of the home and lowered him to where Jesus was teaching.  Mark 2:3-4 – Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.  Can you just imagine being in the home watching as a man on a mat is lowered from the roof into Jesus’ presence?  These four men believed that Jesus could heal their paralyzed friend.  They were desperate to get him into the presence of Christ.  Their desperation led them to Jesus and because of their faith, the paralyzed man was healed by Jesus Christ.  Mark 2:5, 11-12 – When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.  I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.  This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Desperation is irrespective of title, position, or social standing.  When your season of desperation comes, let it drive you to Jesus. 

Dear Heavenly Father, when we are faced with hopelessness I pray that we will seek You.  Help our faith in You be strong no matter the situation or circumstance.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

When Faced With Distractions During the Journey

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

We are on a journey towards our Heavenly home.  Until Jesus Christ calls us home, we are called to do good works that God has prepared for us.  Because we are individually unique, your calling is unique.  What is Christ calling you to do today?  Are you willing to step out in obedience to His call upon your life?  When we step out in obedience to our call, there will be times on the journey that we will face distractions.  How will you handle the distractions on your journey?  Satan will do everything he can to keep us from carrying the Gospel Message to a lost and dying world.  He will attempt to stop us from carrying out the good works God has prepared for us.  Let’s choose to stay focused on our God given calling and our Savior and LORD.

We notice in Acts 16:16-25 that Paul and Silas were faced with distractions during their journey.  Scripture reveals that Paul and Silas were in Macedonia and were going to a place of prayer.  A slave girl, who had an evil spirit, began to follow Paul and Silas.  She followed the men for several days shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  Paul became annoyed and commanded the spirit, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her.  What the slave girl said was true, although the source of her knowledge was a demon.  If Paul accepted the demon’s words, he would appear to be linking the Gospel with demon-related activities.  This would damage the Gospel Message because truth and evil do not mix. 

The girl’s owners were faced with the loss of the girl’s fortune telling ability and their way of financial gain.  They became angry and had Paul and Silas dragged into the marketplace to face the authorities.  They were stripped, beaten, and placed in stocks in a prison cell.  Acts 16:19-24 – When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”  The crowd joined the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be striped and beaten with rods.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  Despite Paul and Silas awful situation – distractions during the journey – they praised God by singing and praying.  Acts 16:25 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 

How did Paul and Silas handle the distractions they faced on their journey?  They remembered the call.  Acts 16:9-10 – During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.  When you are faced with distractions during the journey, remember the call the LORD has placed upon your life.  Remember the good works God has prepared for you to do.  You are unique, you have a unique calling.  Stay focused on Almighty God and the task He has called you to.  When Paul and Silas were bound in prison, they continued to share the Gospel Message through praying and singing hymns.  No matter the distractions, continue to share the Gospel Message with those you come in contact with.  When our journey is filled with distractions, we must trust our Savior and LORD.  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.  Almighty God desires for us be obedient to our calling.  God is faithful and will be with us as we travel on our journey towards our eternal home. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we recognize that as we journey towards our Heavenly home we will be faced with distractions.  Help us Father to remember the calling You have placed upon our life.  Help us to stay focused on the good works You have prepared for us to do.  LORD, help us to trust You.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Seeking the Face of God

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” your face, LORD, I will seek.  Psalm 27:8

What does it mean to seek the face of God?  To live in this fallen world, we must seek the face of God each and every day.  We must seek the will of God to be able to live a life that will bring honor and glory to Him.  We are Christ’s representatives in this lost and dying world and we need His power to live in a way that will be pleasing to our Savior and LORD.  2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  The precious, indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life which will bring honor and glory to our Father but we must seek Him. 

Do you truly desire to know God?  Do you truly want to know His purpose and plan for your life?  Scripture clearly tells us if we seek God, we will find Him.  But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul – Deuteronomy 4:29.  We can’t seek God half-heartedly and expect to find the guidance we need.  We must seek our LORD with our whole heart, desiring to grow in our faith walk.  Seeking the face of God is not passive, it is intentional.  Our relationship with our Savior and LORD must be a priority. 

Seek God for godly wisdom and knowledge.  He willingly gives His children wisdom when we truly seek His face.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you – James 1:5.  As children of Almighty God, we do not have to grope around in the dark hoping to stumble upon answers when we are faced with a decision we must make.  We seek God’s face and ask for God’s wisdom to guide our choices.  Seek God’s face and ask Him to provide you with the ability to make wise choices and decisions.  He promises to provide.  God is willing and ready to meet our needs but He desire for us to seek Him, to ask Him for assistance.  When we seek God’s face and ask Him to meet a certain need, we are acknowledging that He alone is Almighty God and that we cannot accomplish anything in our own strength.  Humble yourself before Almighty God and seek His face.  Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know – Jeremiah 33:3.

Wisdom is God’s gift to us, if we earnestly seek His face.  For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding – Proverbs 2:6.  God’s wisdom is hidden from the rebellious and the foolish but His children who earnestly seek Him, He will provide the gift of wisdom. 

Scripture reveals that when we seek God with our whole heart, He will be found.  He will reveal His self, His will, His wisdom, and His provisions for our life.  There is nothing, when we earnestly seek our Savior and LORD, that will break our communion with Him.  Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

God alone is the only one who can satisfy our deepest longings.  He is the only one who can truly provide what we need.  Seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, place the desire in our hearts for a more intimate relationship with You.  Place a thirst in our very soul that only You can fill.  We thank you Father for Your wisdom and provisions.  Help us to realize that in You and You only will we find soul satisfaction.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Contend for the Faith

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.  Jude 3

Our world is filled with false teachings.  We are called in Scripture to contend for the faith.  To be able to contend for the faith, we have to know the truth which is found only in God’s Word.  Jude’s letter was a reminder to the church for constant vigilance.  In addition, it was an encouragement to the church to keep strong in the faith and to oppose false teachings.  We are being called today to continue to be strong in our faith, even when confronted with false teachings.  We are being called to be vigilant and to recognize and confront the false teachings which are infiltrating our homes and churches.  But to recognize and confront these false teachings, we must know the truth which is only found in the Word of Almighty God.  

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus.  He was one of the leaders in the early Christian church.  Jude was emphasizing to the Jewish Christians the important relationship between correct doctrine and true faith.  God’s Holy Word gives us the real facts about Jesus and salvation.  Any doctrine that does not align itself with God’s Word is false doctrine.  The truth of God’s Word must never be compromised.  God’s Word should never be manipulated or twisted to fit an agenda or a belief. In verse 4, we notice that false teachers were teaching that Christians could do whatever they wanted to do without fear of God’s punishment.  For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.  They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  We must never look at God’s holiness and His justice lightly.  Be on guard against false teachers who are twisting Scripture teachings to justify their own opinions, lifestyles, or wrong behavior.  There will come a time of judgment when God will judge the false teachers for excusing, tolerating, and promoting sin. 

 How do we know the truth?  How do we contend for the faith?  We must spend time in the study of God’s Word allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to our very souls.  Without the study of God’s Holy Word, we cannot know what to defend.  The study of God’s Word needs to be a priority in our daily lives.  God reveals truth to us and speaks to us as we read and study the Bible.  We must guard our hearts so we will not be led astray by false teachings. 

We contend for the faith when we grow and mature in our faith walk with our Savior and LORD.  Knowledge of God’s Word is important but we must possess an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus.  We must possess more than head knowledge.  We have been blessed with the precious gift of the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us and teach us as we study the Word of God.  John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  As we study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will teach us truth, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from God’s will.  John 14:26 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 

Christians have various preferences –  types of music in worship, methods of worship, methods of outreach.  That is fine.  That is a preference.  But we must be unified and defend the truth of God’s Holy Word.  We must contend for the faith.  Stand on the truth of God’s Holy Word. 

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to contend for the faith in this world filled with false teachings.  Reveal truth to us found in Your Holy Word so that when presented with false teachings we are about to recognize and confront these false teachings with the truth.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Almighty God's Unfailing Love

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

As we journey upon this earth, we will encounter change.  There is no way around it.  Relationships will change, jobs will change, our physical addresses will change, and our health will change.  Change is inevitable.  But there is one thing we can rely on, God’s unfailing love for us.  Our individual worlds may crumble around us but Almighty God’s love for us will not change.  God will always love us.  He promises us that His love is unfailing and God has never and He will never break a promise. 

Jesus Christ’s willingness to die for us is proof of His unfailing love.  There is nothing that can interfere with Christ’s presence with us.  When you accepted Christ as your Savior and LORD, you were blessed with the precious indwelling Holy Spirit.  God reveals to us throughout His Word how great His unfailing love is so that we will know that we are totally secure in Him and His love.  Romans 8:38-39 – 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.  Nothing can separate us from the love Jesus Christ has for us. 

Scripture is filled with the evidence of God’s love for us.  Throughout His Holy Word, God tells us He loves us.  Psalm 86:5 – You, Lord are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.  God’s Word is full of His proclamation of His love for His children.  Open God’s Word and allow the proclamation of His love to soak into your very soul. 

God demonstrates His love for us.  He loves us so much He sent His Son to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.  Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Before we even turned to God, He loved us.  He loves the sinners and desires to be their Savior and LORD.  God demonstrates His love through godly discipline.  Have you ever received godly discipline from your LORD?  He loves us so much He will not allow us to continue down the road of destruction without correcting us.  Hebrews 12:6 – Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. 

There may be times when we don’t feel loved but choose to take God at His Word.  We are loved with His unfailing love.  Belief is not a feeling it is a choice.  Prayerfully ask God to help you believe. 

Author Beth Moore states in her book Breaking Free, “God loves perfectly.  His love is both vocal and demonstrative.  He balances blessing and discipline.  God’s love is unfailing, so any time we perceive he does not love us, our perceptions are wrong.  Anything we perceive about God that does not match up with the truth of Scripture and the portrayal of His character in Scripture is a lie. 

Psalm 90:14 – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our day.  Prayerfully ask Almighty God to satisfy you with His unfailing love. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love.  Help us Father to choose to believe that You truly love us.  Draw us to Your Holy Word where You speak Words of love over us.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Identifying Our Love for Almighty God

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

Do you truly love your Savior and LORD?  As children of Almighty God, of course our answer would be yes.  But, what evidence other than our yes is there to give identifying evidence that we love our LORD?  How do we identify our true love for our Savior and LORD?  We need to recognize that our ability to love God and to love others come from Him and Him alone.  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God – 1 John 4:7.  God is the source of love.  The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the power to love.  Prayerfully ask God to help you to love Him more and more and to help you love others.

A person who truly loves God will have thoughts of Him.  Do thoughts of your Savior and LORD circulate through your mind often?  Psalm 63:6 – On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.  Our love for God will draw us to spend time with Him.  Are you often drawn to spend time with God by reading His Word and by spending time in prayer?  Psalm 27:4 reveals to us that David’s greatest desire was to live in God’s presence each and every day of his life.  Can you say that you desire to live in the presence of Almighty God each and every day of your life?  One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I ask, all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 

Prayerfully examine your heart and your life.  Does your life demonstrate a love for God?  If we truly love our Savior and LORD, our lives will demonstrate our love for God.  God demonstrated His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.  Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were sinners, Christ died for us.  We demonstrate our love for our LORD when we live a life that honors and glorifies Him.  Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way:  bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God – Colossians 1:10

Do you find satisfaction in spending time with God?  Do you enjoy spending time in the presence of your Savior and LORD?  Evidence of our true love for our LORD is seen in our enjoyment of the time we spend together.  Remember, Almighty God is the source of love.  Prayerfully ask Him to place in your heart a desire to spend time in His presence and to provide you the joy that only spending time together can bring.  Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal presence at your right hand. 

We show our love for our Savior and LORD by obeying Him.  Love is more than words.  It is total surrender and commitment to our LORD.  We demonstrate our love for Christ by being obedient to Him and His Word.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.  The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to him – John 14:21

Prayerfully ask God to help you to love Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, we recognize You are the source of love.  Place in our hearts a love for You like no other.  Draw us to Yourself and Your Word.  Help us to live a life that truly loves You and truly loves others.  Place in our hearts joy and satisfaction when we spend time in Your presence.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.