Sunday, January 31, 2010

Be Quick to Obey

So as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' “ Hebrews 3:7-11

And whom did God swear that they would never enter my rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter because of their unbelief. Hebrews 3:18-19

Mary, the mother of Jesus, listened and obeyed the hard saying of the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to a son through the Holy Spirit. She received the word of God with meekness. The Israelites, however, chose not to believe the promise that the Lord would cause them to overcome and take the promise land. Because of their unbelief and disobedience they wandered through the wilderness for forty years and never received God's blessing.

We must choose to receive God's word to us with faith, expectation, and a heart determined to put His word into practice. When we live ready to obey God, we will stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit's voice. Whether God speaks to us through His written word or through His still small voice that agrees with Scripture, we must learn to be obedient.

Disobedience gnaws away at our inner peace that comes from God. When we disobey the word of God, our lives become fragmented and God declares that we are not able to enter His rest. If you are having a difficult time receiving God's direction, it could be because you did not follow through on the last command He gave you. If you will repent and follow the Lord in this matter, you will find that the closeness you once had with Jesus returns.

God loves us and wants to communicate with us. He will help us to follow after Him. He wants us to enjoy His peace and the realization of His promises. Let's be quick to obey Him. When we stumble, let's repent and receive His forgiveness. The glory of the promise land awaits us.

Dear Lord,

Please help me to hear and obey your word to me. Teach me to trust and believe your promises. Thank you for the rest you offer me. I am glad to be Your child. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Whispers of the Spirit

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that the herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time... Habakkuk 2:1-3a

My sheep listen to my voice... John 10:27

The prophet Habakkuk sought the Lord for insight regarding the treatment of the Jewish people. God had shown him that the Babylonians were going to attack the Israelites. God was going to use an ungodly nation to punish His chosen people. This didn't make sense to Habakkuk so he questioned his Lord. Then Habakkuk watched and listened for the Almighty's response.

When God spoke to him, Habakkuk wrote down the vision, which awaited an appointed time. We too can hear the voice of God. He usually speaks to us in whispers. As we station ourselves in a quiet place and lean our ear to Him, we can write down what we see in our hearts and what we hear with our spiritual ears. We can develop a sensitivity to the Spirit's communication. Later we can go back and test what we have written with the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit desires to fellowship with us, and He wants to lead us more deeply in the ways of God. Let's develop eyes that see what the Spirit is doing and ears that hear His still small voice. As we do, we will grow in our relationship with the Lord, and we will become more effective in the work of the Kingdom.

Dear Holy Spirit,

Give me eyes to see You and ears to hear Your voice. Help me to develop a greater intimacy with You. Teach me to grow in the things of God. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Growing in God's Love

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. (Romans 5:5)

God filled our hearts with His love, when we embraced Christ as our Savior. We now have the potential to love as Christ loved. God's love seeks the best of others without asking for anything in return. It is altruistic and selfless in its devotion to God and man. But we do not always display this nature in our relationship with God and people. How can we learn to grow as lovers of God and others?

One way is to spend time in worship, which helps us grow in our devotion to God; and prayer, which enables us to express God's love towards those we intercede for. Another way is to meditate on scriptures that focus on the topic of love. God's word is a seed that when planted in the soil of our hearts, will bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love... (Galatians 5:22).

The third way we grow in love is through obedience to the written word of God and to the voice of the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:5 says, “But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him.” Our obedience to God is not always tied to our feelings. We may not always feel loving toward a particular person, but when we reach out to the individual in obedience to God, we are displaying Christ's love.

Let's practice loving God and others. We will not always get it right. We will stumble and fall, but the Lord will help us to grow as children of God's love.

Dear Father,

Thank you for depositing within me your unselfish love. Help me to live in a way that expresses this love to You and to those around me. Thank you for being patient with me when I fall. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

I Will Trust in You

When I am under attack
When I experience lack
When darkness blinds my sight
When I cannot see the light
I will trust in You

When the world's an angry flame
When tongues accuse and claim
What's false and worthy of shame
I will trust in You

You are altogether holy
I place my trust in you wholly
You are forever true
I put my faith in You

Thank you for your endless love
Rose of Sharon, gentle dove
Mighty One
I will trust in You

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prayers with Answers

You have not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2

When I am traveling by car and I find myself lost in an unfamiliar region, I have a choice. After looking at the map or relying on my sometimes misguided GPS, there comes the time when I realize I need to ask for directions. My answer to which way to travel may only be a phone call away, but if I don't swallow my pride and ask the question, I fail to receive the guidance I need.

Answers to prayer come to us in the same manner. Three days ago I lost my keys. Among the metal lock openers were color coded keys to my house, my car, my wife's car, and to our mailbox. This was the only key to our mailbox that we own. I have been searching the house for days now. I have prayed, but it wasn't until today that I received my answer. I communicated my need to the Lord today in writing and reminded Him of His promises to me to meet my needs. I broke out in honest and expectant prayer to God. I believe He told me I would find the keys today. Then I looked again and found them within five minutes of the prayer. Praise the Lord - this was a miracle.

God wants to answer our prayers. Whether we are praying for little or big things, God cares about our needs and the needs of others. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” When we choose to live our life in the light of God's presence and under the inspiration of His word, we will see more of our prayers answered by God. The answers sometimes come instantly, and many times they arrive after a time of waiting.

All that said, God is God and because He is God He always knows what's truly best for us. He will only give us those things that compliment His will for our lives.

Let's boldly come before God's throne praying for our own needs to be met, but let's also offer prayers to God that plead for Him to minister to those in need and that serve to advance the Kingdom of God on this earth. Remember, we do not have because we do not ask.

Dear Father God,

I praise You and worship You. You are holy. Dear Lord teach me to pray with honesty and faith like a little child. Help me to spend time before you praying for the needs of others and seeing you miraculously meet my own needs because you love me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Giving Sacrificially

(As you read the piece included below, please pray about giving to a worthy ministry that is aiding the victims in Haiti.)

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

For God so loved the world that He gave... Our giving is an expression of our love for God as well as an act of compassion towards those that benefit from it. The truth is we do not have to have an abundance of wealth in order to give in a way that pleases God. Jesus took notice of a widow worn by her years of lack. She quietly gave all she had, yet all she had was worth less than a penny monetarily. But she gave from a fervent heart of love. In fact Jesus said that this widow gave more than all the others. She gave sacrificially. When we give to the Lord sacrificially of our time, talent, and treasure, we bring pleasure to the heart of God.

God also promises to bless us when we give like this – “Give and it shall be given unto you”. He says that whatever we sow, we shall reap. Though our primary reason for giving should not be for the blessings we receive, it is not wrong to expect God to bless us. He is pleased with our faith – even faith to receive from God's supply. He is our Provider and he longs to meet our every need.

Let's give with a heart of love of our time, talent, and treasure. Let's be faithful to give what we can to aid in establishing the Kingdom of God. When we do we too shall receive a blessing.

Dear Lord,

Speak to my heart about the giving part of my faith. Show me if I have been faithful, and help me to give sacrificially of my time, talent, and treasure. Teach me to love as Jesus did, by giving of myself to honor God and help others. Thank you Lord for working in my life in this way. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Intimacy with the Holy Spirit

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

The Holy Spirit is not some power that we wield against the enemy, or manipulate to give us skill, wisdom, and good favor such as we find in the use of the “force” in the Star Wars series. The Holy Spirit is God, but He is also a Person. He is the third Person of the Trinity. The Bible reveals to us that He can be grieved by our actions, and we can also quench the Spirit by our disobedience.

The Holy Spirit desires to fellowship with us, if we have embraced Christ as our Lord and Savior. We can have an intimate relationship with Him – we can hear His voice, and He can show us the things of the Spirit. We also become more sensitive to His promptings when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. When He speaks to us, His word always agrees with the words of Scripture. He wants to encourage us; He desires to show us things to come. He also wants to reveal Himself to us, and He longs to show us the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit will always lead us to glorify Christ.

Let's draw near to the Holy Spirit. He is gentle and we must come to Him with great humility. But He will welcome our friendship. He just wants us to spend time with Him. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Dear Holy Spirit,

I want to know you in an intimate way. Forgive me for being too busy to spend time with You. Teach me to fellowship with You. May I grow in my love for you as well as for God the Father and the Son. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Take His Lead

Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church... Ephesians 5:25
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

In our relationship with the Lord, He is the initiator. Just as a man is to pursue a woman and not visa versa, so our Lord pursued us. He demonstrated this by coming to earth and dying on the cross for each of us. He took our place and received the judgment for our sin.

Still our Lord initiates in His love for us. His Spirit draws us to the Father. The Holy Spirit leads us into sweet fellowship with Himself. We can not even call Jesus Lord, without the Spirit's help
(1 Corinthians 12:3).

Our walk with Christ is a response to what He has done and is doing for us and in us. Because of this, He will forever receive the glory. Romans 11:36 says, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!” He will draw us into deeper intimacy with Him and fuller obedience to His ways. He will help us reflect Him more and more. Let's learn to submit to Him, for he is the Head of the church. He is the One that leads us in the dance of our fellowship with Him. Let's learn to take His lead. He will take us to places we have never been, and He will use us for His own glory.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for first loving me. Your love compels me to love you in return. I surrender all to You. Help me to follow You all the days of my life. Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Giving Him Glory

How can we give You glory?
It starts with a thought
Centered on Your precious word
As we apply ourselves to Biblical thinking
And Biblical speaking
Strongholds disintegrate

We reflect You more
Our actions are affected
As the stream of our individual lives
Enter into your raging river of life

It is God who undergirds the process
He is to be praised
And as our lives conform more to His image
We bring Him greater glory
Our light is brighter
And our lives have a greater impact
On the world around us

All because we gave ourselves to the process
It started with a thought
Founded upon the word of God

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Prayer

Dear Father God,

I embrace Your limitless care for me. I receive Your love. I don't deserve it and never will. I am a jumbled mess of mixed emotions, like electric wires all tangled in a heap. My heart is constructed with some good, yet some misguided intentions. Much of the time I am oblivious to my great need for Your mercy. Forgive me Lord for my shallowness, for believing I have it all together. I am sorry. My only hope is Your righteousness, and You give this to me as a gift. Thank You. I worship You my King. I give You all my fears - those known and those I don't perceive. I ask You to prepare me for the year ahead - for the troubled seas and the days of dancing in the sun. Give me today my daily bread. Provide for my needs and help me to meet the needs of others. Lord, open my eyes to see your goodness, even in the midst of pain. Lord I love You and praise You. Thank You for giving me all that You are so that I can know You as You really are. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Do You Have Life?

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
John 3:16 The Message

Do you have life? Are you experiencing abundance and liberty in your soul? Are you free inside? God wants to give you His life, for today and forever. He wants to change you on the inside, so you will never be the same.

Have you been searching for something more? Have your pursuits for significance and/or pleasure left you bankrupt? The Bible says that sin brings pleasure for a season, but soon the cheers turn to empty sighs. Perhaps you have spent your life pursuing goals that are noble, such as raising money to provide for your family. God wants your family to be provided for, but He wants you to put Him first.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all that you are. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Is this what your life has been about? God's standard for us is holiness, for He is holy. None of us are fit for heaven on our own. We all need a Savior. This is why God gave His Son to come and die for us, and to be risen from the dead. He bore the full judgment for our sin. The perfect for the flawed. He died in our place so that we could have new life.

Come to Him, receive His life. He will fill the emptiness in your soul. He will satisfy your heart cry for significance. Come and pray with me to receive Him into your life.

Dear God,

I have tried many things that I thought would bring me satisfaction. The truth is that I am a sinner in need of You my Savior. I ask for you to forgive me of all my sins. Come and cleanse me and give me your everlasting life. I receive you into my heart and life. Have your way in me Lord. I choose to follow you all of my days. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.