Monday, April 30, 2007

Beware Of Pride

PROVERBS 16:18 NIV
18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a
fall.

Pride is deadly. But instead of warning us the world encourages
pride in every way.

What is pride?

Pride is faith in yourself, instead of faith in God.

The root of pride is selfishness: putting yourself first.
Thinking you are the most important. Thinking you know the
most. Thinking you deserve better than someone else.

Pride will cause you to go your own way instead of God's way.
Pride makes you think you do not need God's advice or help.

Pride is the root of all sin. It causes you to turn away from
God instead of turning to Him. All disobedience has pride as
its root. All rebellion has pride behind it. All mistreatment
of other people is caused by pride: putting yourself and your
feelings above the other person and their feelings.

The world system promotes people who are proud, and often gives
them great riches. Jesus said pride is evil and defiles a
person. (Mark 7:21-23)

While the world may promote the proud for a short time, their
fame and success will not last.

JAMES 4:6 NKJ
6 . . . "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Pride is the most serious, and the most subtle, sin. It often
goes unrecognized.

Beware!

SAY THIS: Lord, help me to beware of pride.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pray To Be Enlightened

EPHESIANS 1:18 NIV
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

There is much we don't know.

In fact, the most spiritual among us has only glimpsed a part
of God's plan. The Apostle Paul said that he only "knew in
part."

So, with the Apostle Paul we should pray that "the eyes of our
heart may be enlightened." For ourselves, and for others, too.

If study alone was the answer, those who have studied the Bible
the most would have the most faith, and would be doing the most
exploits in God's name. Often, the opposite is true.

Thank God for scholarship, but that is not the total answer.

The Bible is a living message given by a living Author.
Fellowship with God and illumination from Him are necessary for
full understanding from the Bible.

Our prayer needs to be that of the Psalmist.

PSALM 119:18 NKJ
18 Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.

You may have wondered why you see some things clearly in the
Bible that your friends or loved ones seem blinded to.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 NIV
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so
that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of
Christ, who is the image of God.

The answer is that, somehow, our hearts and minds need opened
or illuminated by God. This is a reason, and a way, to pray for
your unsaved loved ones.

ACTS 16:14 NIV
14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia . . . The
Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.

SAY THIS: Lord, open my eyes and give me understanding of all
that you have for me to know.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Your Every Hair Is Numbered

Luke 12:7 ICB
7 Yes, God even knows how many hairs you have on your head.
Don't be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.

Jesus gave us some insight on how much God is interested in us
as humans. God provides for sparrows, and you are MUCH more
valuable to God than any sparrow. Valuable enough to monitor
every detail about you -- even your current hair-count.

However God obtains your current hair-count -- He does know it.
"Why would God waste His time with such useless information?"
you may wonder. The point, which so many miss, is simply that
God is interested in every detail of your life. Everything.

Nothing concerning you is too big or too small to bother God.
You are the "apple of His eye" just as any young child is the
delight of a good parent.

So don't try to hide from God. Don't shut Him out of your life.
Involve Him in every detail of your day. Talk things over with
Him. Ask His advice. Tell Him what you think, and ask for His
opinion.

And do not fear. The God Who loves you enough to monitor your
current hair count will never forsake you or fail you. When
you are face-to-face with Him you will see that fully and
clearly. So walk in faith today. Trust God. He loves you.

Also, be thankful for whatever hair you do or do not have! God
made you unique. If He wanted you different -- He would have
made you different!

SAY THIS: Thank you Lord for loving me and being concerned with
every detail of my life. Because You love me, I will trust you
and look to You for help in both the small and the large
questions of life.

Friday, April 27, 2007

You Have A Purpose

2 TIMOTHY 1:9 NKJ
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not
according to our works, but according to His own purpose and
grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

You have a purpose in life, a job to do, a mission to fulfill.

You are here for a reason.

What is it?

Ask God. He knows.

EPHESIANS 1:11 NIV
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined
according to the plan of him who works out everything in
conformity with the purpose of his will,

Of course, I can only answer that question in general terms.

If you are a parent, raising your child is important. Helping a
friend is important. You never know how your actions may affect
the world -- even through helping just one person.

Don't just wait around for some "big purpose" -- for with God
all the details are important -- even the "small" ones.

If you don't know your purpose, just do whatever you can to
help the people around you. Through that, and walking with God,
you will accomplish your purpose.

SAY THIS: I was born for a purpose. God has a plan for me.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

PHILIPPIANS 3:14 KJV
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus.

What will really matter at the end of your life on earth?

Will what you are giving attention to now still be important
then?

Or, will you be filled with regret for what you did -- or
didn't do?

Distractions abound. TV, phone calls, web sites, books, movies.

It might be a good idea to stop and evaluate how you are
investing your time.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:24 NIV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only
one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Run to win. Win what?

The true prize is to know God intimately and be His friend.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NIV
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is
unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is
eternal.

One day, possibly soon, you will stand before God. Why not
order your life now based on that "final reckoning?"

A wise person would not invest everything in something
temporary. A wise person invests in something that will last.

Invest your life wisely!

SAY THIS: Lord, help me to keep my eyes on what is important
and lasting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You Don't Face Life All Alone

JOHN 14:18 Barclay
18 I will not leave you to face life all alone. I am coming to
you.

Being alone -- with no help -- is a horrible feeling. One the
devil would love for you to believe is your lot.

You are NOT alone! Jesus promised!

When you feel alone, desolate, and helpless -- remember the
promises of Jesus.

HEBREWS 13:5 NIV
5 . . . God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you."

Your feelings are not the true test of reality. God cannot lie.
He is with you now, whether you feel like it, or whether it
looks like it, or not.

Since God is always with you, it would be rude to always ignore
Him. So call on Him and discuss things with Him. Let God be
your friend. That's His plan.

SAY THIS: I am not facing life all alone. God is with me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The God Of Peace

2 Thessalonians 3:16 NKJ
16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in
every way. The Lord be with you all.

Several times the Bible refers to God as the God of peace. But
as English readers we miss the full meaning.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament
of the Bible was written in Greek. All English Bibles are
translations.

The Greek word translated peace is eirene (i-ray'-nay), which
corresponds with the Hebrew word translated peace, shalom
(shaw-lome').

If you study extensively, both in the Hebrew and the Greek, you
will find that these words translated peace have a rich meaning
-- far more than just an absence of conflict.

The primary thought is one of wholeness -- lacking nothing.
When nothing is missing you have peace. There is no anxiety
because all is well.

This is the idea meant to be communicated by the term "God of
peace" or the "peace of God." It includes health and prosperity
as well as the normal English meaning of absence of conflict.

Romans 15:33 NKJ
33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

SAY THIS: The God of wholeness, health, and prosperity is with
me -- to help me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

You Are God's Work Of Art

EPHESIANS 2:10 NLT
10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in
Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for
us long ago.

Outwardly, you may not appear to be much of a masterpiece. You
may look like a piece of junk. But inwardly, and in reality,
you are God's work of art -- and God does not make any junk.

All that is outward and seen is only temporary -- like the
cocoon the butterfly inhabits for only a short time. So, while
you should take care of your present body, don't be overly
concerned about it. Most importantly, don't think of yourself
as just the body you are now living in.

You are a child of Almighty God, creator and ruler of the
universe. Someone God is "raising" to be His companion for
eternity. You are NOT insignificant.

Admittedly, you are a work in progress. God still has more work
to do with you -- but He is the artist, and He will finish His
work. (Hint: as you submit to God, the easier it is for Him to
change you into the wonderful image He has in mind.)

Someday, everyone will clearly see what God has done in you:
making you a wonderful, unique individual worthy of Himself.

SAY THIS: Regardless of how I look or feel, I AM God's work of
art -- His masterpiece.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

God's Word Will Make You Free

JOHN 8:31-32 NKJ
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you
abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free."

Many people are afraid that God's Word will put them in bondage
-- because of the rules they think they will have to follow.
But Jesus said God's Word would make you free.

Abide means to live, to continue, or to spend time somewhere.

If you continue to spend time in Jesus' Word -- you will know
the truth.

When you know the truth, you will act on that knowledge -- and
acting on the truth will make you free!

The Bible, especially the message of Jesus Christ in the New
Testament, will set you free if you continue in it.

We are not guaranteed instant results, although sometimes they
do happen. Freedom is certain, however, if you stick with God's
Word. Jesus gave His guarantee!

If you are not enjoying freedom in any area of your life -- you
have not continued in God's Word enough in that area. Feed it
in: speak it, sing it, read it, write it, think it, dream it!

SAY THIS: God's Word will make me free. Thank You, Lord!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Don't Grow Weary

GALATIANS 6:9 NIV
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

God has a harvest of blessing in mind for you. Don't let the
devil steal it away from you by discouraging you into giving
up. Trust in God. He is able to put you over.

Time has a way of wearing us down -- of eroding our hopes and
dreams. We must look to God for strength and courage and refuse
discouragement. We must, with God's help, overcome -- instead
of being overcome by life and circumstances.

Life is not easy. There are obstacles and unexpected turns in
the road. But always God is with us, for us, and in us as
believers in Jesus Christ. When we grow weary in doing good, it
is always because we are losing sight of God and eternity.

As you walk in faith and refuse to give up -- you bring glory
and pleasure to God. Imagine how it thrills God when someone,
like you, continues to trust in Him and thank Him -- even when
it does not look like it is working out very good. Read the
Bible. You are not the first to be tested, or have to wait for
the promise to be manifested. But God is always faithful. He
will never fail you.

Our faith cannot be in ourselves or our ability -- because that
can fail. Only God cannot fail, so we must keep our faith in
Him and His ability to sustain us and help us.

Remember that as a believer, the Greater One is in you -- and
He is greater than any problem or difficulty. He will help you.
God has the answer for your situation. Look to Him and you will
not be disappointed.

SAY THIS: I will not be discouraged. I will not quit. I will
trust in Almighty God, my Father, Who loves me and helps me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

God's Demonstration

ROMANS 5:8 NKJ
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There is no reason to say, "If God loves me, let Him prove it!"
He already has.

God gave a demonstration proving He loves you at Calvary --
where Jesus died a cruel death on a cross. He died, in your
place, suffering punishment you deserved, to set you free.

By dying for you, God proved He loved you supremely. How could
He love you more?

Jesus showed that He loves you more than He loves Himself.

JOHN 15:13 NKJ
13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's
life for his friends.

Jesus gave His life for you. What more could He do?

1 JOHN 3:16a NKJ
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.

Many people have a distorted view of God. The true picture of
God's nature is that He loves all the people of the world so
much, He was willing to suffer for their freedom.

SAY THIS: God loves me -- and He proved it!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jesus Is The Friend Of Sinners

MATTHEW 11:19 NKJ
19 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say,
`Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax
collectors and sinners!'. . . .

Jesus had trouble with the religious leaders of His day,
because He was a friend of sinners. Jesus is the same today. He
never changes. Jesus is your friend.

LUKE 19:7 NKJ
7 But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, "He has gone
to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."

Religious people couldn't understand how Jesus could love a
sinner -- they certainly did not. But Jesus did, and He still
does.

Notice what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of
adultery.

JOHN 8:11 NKJ
11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do
I condemn you; go and sin no more."

Jesus does not condemn you for your sin. He understands. He
came to earth and lived in a human body just as you do.

Jesus knows the pressure you face. He knows the pain. And Jesus
cares. He cares enough to help you be free of the sin; because
He knows that sin will destroy you.

Sin may give a temporary pleasure, but in the end sin always
destroys. Jesus loves you too much to want you to be destroyed.

So Jesus is against sin because He loves you.

SAY THIS: Jesus is my friend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Is the devil's Authority?

The devil obviously had access to Adam and Eve in the garden of
Eden. Scripture does not tell us why God allowed this. One
theory that makes sense involves mankind being allowed to judge
the devil, possibly after the devil complained that God was not
just or fair in condemning him. First Corinthians 6:3 does say
that Christians will judge angels — and the devil is a fallen
angel. If this theory is correct, God would have to allow the
devil access to influence mankind, or be seen as unfair by all.

The devil gained a certain amount of control over mankind by
Adam's disobedience, which plunged Adam and all his descendants
into spiritual death.

At the time of the temptation of Christ, recorded in Luke 4,
the devil obviously had a great amount of authority in the
world system.

LUKE 4:4-7 NKJ
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall
not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' "
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him
all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give
You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I
give it to whomever I wish.
7 "Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be
Yours."

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated the devil
and stripped him of his authority (Colossians 2:15, Hebrews
2:14-15).

Because Jesus announced that He had all authority after His
resurrection (Matthew 28:18), the devil evidently retained no
authority.

However, in the Epistles, the devil is still called the god of
this world, or age (2 Corinthians 4:4). This does not mean that
the devil is the god of the earth, but of the ungodly world
system. He has this control through the yielding of ungodly
people to speak his words and do his deeds.

The devil gains a measure of authority through any human being
who will yield to his ideas and speak them, or act on them.
Even Christians can, like Peter in Matthew 16:23, fall into
this trap.

A perverted use of this authority is exercised when people
"curse" or "damn" things or people. We should use our authority
to bless — not curse.

All authority the devil may be using now is illegitimate. Only
through deception and ignorance is he able to carry out his
evil plans in the earth.

If the Church of Jesus Christ fails to exercise its God-given
authority against the devil, he will operate virtually
unhindered. This is because unsaved people are already under
his dominion, and find it hard to resist him (John 8:44, 1 John
5:19).

As members of the body of Christ, we have been delegated the
use of His authority on earth to see that God's will is carried
out (Matthew 16:19, Luke 10:19, Philippians 2:10). We must
exercise that authority.

SAY THIS: My Lord Jesus defeated the devil, stripped him of his
authority, and gave authority to me over all the power of the
enemy as a member of the Body of Christ on earth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Do Not Be Afraid

JOSHUA 1:9 NKJ
9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do
not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with
you wherever you go."

Over and over the Bible tells us to not be afraid.

When you stop and think about it -- it's ridiculous to be
afraid when God is with you -- and for you.

As humans, we tend to forget. Maybe that's why God said so many
times to "Fear not!"

Here are just a couple examples.

LUKE 12:7 NIV
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't
be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

ISAIAH 41:13 NIV
13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right
hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

SAY THIS: I will not be afraid because I trust in God, who is
with me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

To Become Like Jesus

ROMANS 8:29 NLT
29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to
become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn,
with many brothers and sisters.

Don't despair over your current condition -- you have an
amazing destiny!

God's plan is to make you like Jesus Christ. Don't laugh!
Remember that nothing is impossible with God.

You WILL be like Jesus!

Always remember that this tops God's agenda for you. You may be
concentrating on some temporal project or need in your life.
But God's focus is always on transforming you into the likeness
of Jesus Christ.

We can't expect becoming like Jesus to always be painless or
without difficulty. After all, most of us have quite a few
rough edges. But, if we understand what is going on in life,
and we keep our eyes on God's goal, it will be easier.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:17-18 NLT
17 For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very
long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that
will last forever!
18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now;
rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the
troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will
last forever.

SAY THIS: I look forward to God finishing His work in me --
making me like Jesus.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Overcomers Impress God

REVELATION 21:7 NKJ
7 "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his
God and he shall be My son.

You face problems. Sometimes you struggle and wonder why God
doesn't "just do something."

God is giving you an opportunity to impress Him!

God is your audience -- rooting for you. He is thrilled when
you overcome. Just like an earthly parent is thrilled when
their child excels.

God still LOVES you even if you fail. You just miss the
opportunity to thrill Him by not overcoming. (But what could be
a more worthy goal than to thrill God?)

"OK, I would like to impress God. How do I 'overcome'?"

1 JOHN 5:4-5 NKJ
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is
the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that
Jesus is the Son of God?

Overcoming is clearly something achieved by believing -- not by
other means.

Further light on this comes in Revelation 12:11.

REVELATION 12:11 NKJ
11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the
word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to
the death.

Because of the redemption obtained by the sacrificial death of
our Lord, and our agreement with it, expressed through words of
faith, we overcome. In short: expressing our faith in Jesus and
what He did.

Another key is mentioned: commitment -- even to death. We must
be resolute and determined, no matter what the cost, to fully
and finally overcome.

Eight times in Revelation great promises are made to those who
overcome. (Rev. 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, 3:12, 3:21, 21:7.)

Our Lord's intention in giving these promises was certainly not
to make us feel guilty, or inadequate, but to spur us on to
victory.

God is cheering you on to victory! He believes you can overcome
(with His help)!

SAY THIS: God made me an overcomer, so I will overcome!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bible Translations

JOHN 8:31-32 KJV
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye
continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free.

Originally, the books of the Bible were written in Hebrew or
Greek.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect English translation of the
Bible. And there probably will not be one until Jesus returns
to earth and we have the "Jesus Translation."

While all English Bibles are only translations done by fallible
men, they are all valuable.

Anyone who knows enough about Hebrew or Greek to translate the
Scriptures, knows more than I do of those languages. So any
intelligent person will realize they can learn something from
them.

I appreciate every translation we do have, and the efforts of
the translators who tried their best to bring us the Word of
God in a language we can understand. Thank God for them!

Please do not tell me we should use only the King James Version
of the Bible. I have already been down that road and know the
arguments. I have even burned other Bibles in the past because
of their "errors."

But, I also know the difficulty of communicating with non-
church people when using the KJV.

And, I have known the leanness of soul that comes from
neglecting the Bible -- sometimes simply because it was boring
-- having read it so many times and being so familiar with it.

I have also known the joy that comes from finding modern
language translations that seemed to speak to my heart in a
fresh way, and helped me to grasp what the Word was saying all
along -- but I had missed it because of the language.

My suggestion is that you use modern translations like
devotional commentaries. Read them and let the Lord speak to
you through them. But for detailed study, I suggest using the
KJV or the New King James Version (and the tools that are
available to study the words used in them).

The important thing is not which Bible translation you use, it
is whether you act on the Bible teaching you know and manifest
the love of God to the world.

Dr. C. H. Dodd, in the Introduction to the New Testament of
"The New English Bible," says, "No one who has not tried it can
know how impossible an art translation is. Only those who have
meditated long upon the Greek original are aware of the
richness and subtlety of meaning that may lie even within the
most apparently simple sentence, or know the despair that
attends all efforts to bring it out through the medium of a
different language."

Clarence Jordan in his Introduction to "The Cotton Patch
Version of Paul's Epistles" provides a thought provoking
example of the difficulty of understanding and translating
something from another time and culture.

"For example, someone would be perfectly understood if he wrote
to a friend, "We had hot dogs and Coke for lunch, fish and hush
puppies for supper, and then sat around shooting the bull until
midnight." But let that letter get lost for about two thousand
years, then let some Ph.D. try to translate it into a non-
English language of A.D. 3967. If he faithfully translated the
words it might run something like this: "We had steaming
canines (possibly a small variety such as the Chihuahua --Ed.)
and processed coal (the coke was probably not eaten but used to
heat the dogs -- Ed.) for the noon meal, and fish and mute,
immature dogs (no doubt the defective offspring of the hot dog,
with which twentieth-century Americans were so preoccupied --
Ed.) for the evening meal, followed by passively engaging until
midnight in the brutish sport of bull-shooting (the bulls were
then processed into a large sausage called bologna, which
sounded like "baloney" -- Ed.)." For such scholarship the good
doctor may have won world renown as the foremost authority on
twentieth-century English -- without having the slightest idea
what was actually said!"

Should you let this discourage you from reading and study of
the Bible. No! Jesus promised that continuing in His Word would
cause us to know the truth which would make us free. But we
must continue. It is not enough to just read the Bible once and
expect to have mastered and understood it completely.

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 KJV
15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all
truth, and bring to our remembrance what Jesus said (John
14:26, 16:13). Understanding the truth of the Bible requires
more than Bible college degrees. The help of the Holy Spirit is
necessary.

LUKE 24:45 KJV
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might
understand the Scriptures,

So, as you read and study the Bible, always do it prayerfully,
asking the Lord to teach you and give you understanding. And
remember to be humble, realizing that what you think -- or what
the whole crowd of Christians have thought for years -- may be
wrong. As the apostle Paul, who was caught up to Heaven,
received direct revelation, and wrote down most of the New
Testament, said in 1 Corinthians 13:9 "For we know in part."

SAY THIS: I will study God's Word and act on it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Press On

PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14 Weymouth
13 ...one thing I do--forgetting everything which is past and
stretching forward to what lies in front of me,
14 with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize
of God's heavenward call in Christ Jesus.

Believers face many difficulties. Trials. Adversaries. Doubts.
At times we're all tempted to quit. The struggle seems too
much, and we wonder if it's worth it to continue, to hold on to
our faith when there seems to be no hope left.

But there is a goal -- supremely worthwhile: life with our
wonderful Lord. Not just existence, but intimate fellowship.

Fix your eyes on the goal -- God Himself -- and press on!

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NIV
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Please read the following verses slowly and thoughtfully.

1 PETER 5:7-10 NCV
7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you.
8 Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy,
goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
9 Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith.
You know that your Christian family all over the world is
having the same kinds of suffering.
10 And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all
grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and
support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share
in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.

Space does not permit much comment on these verses, but notice
that suffering is caused by your enemy, the devil, and its
purpose is to attack your faith.

Also notice that God only allows you to suffer a short time.

"But," you say, "it's already been a long time."

Not really. It seems like a long time when you are going
through trials, but afterward seems like a short time. Even a
few years is nothing when you look back on it. Ask God to help
you see things from Heaven's perspective.

"But why does God allow me to suffer at all?"

Because people make wrong choices. Conflict causes suffering.
But God believes in you! Why should He yank you out of the
arena? God believes that with His grace and help, you will
overcome and experience victory.

The end result is what really counts. God will make everything
turn out alright. (Read verse 10 again.)

Maybe you feel like your faith is barely hanging by a thread.
Just hang on. With God holding the thread -- and He is -- your
faith will survive. You will make it! God will help you.

SAY THIS: I will press on with God. I will not quit or give up
on my faith.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Father's Faithfulness

PSALM 27:10 NKJ
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will
take care of me.

Normally, one's parents are among the ones who can be counted
on to help and love and support -- no matter what.

I recall reading that the mother of a convicted mass murderer
said he was still her son, and that she still loved him. That
is natural.

Yet, sometimes parents do forsake their children. But God's
love for you is more dependable than the love of a parent for
their offspring.

ISAIAH 49:15 NKJ
15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have
compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet
I will not forget you.

Concerning earthly love, none is greater than that of a mother
for her baby. Yet even that can sometimes fail, in extreme
circumstances. But God's love for you is deeper, stronger, and
more sure.

HEBREWS 13:5 NIV
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content
with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you."

People will fail you. You may even fail yourself. But God can
be trusted. He will never fail you. He will never give up on
you and never turn His back on you. He promised!

Does this mean God will always protect you from everything
unpleasant? No. Not any more than a good earthly parent can
keep their child from every unpleasant experience.

We must grow up. We must learn to walk in faith and love, and
to overcome.

But God will be there to help you. And to make sure that
everything does work out for your good in the long run.

Trust in the Father God. He is more dependable than friends or
family, and He loves you more than anyone else ever will.

SAY THIS: God will never turn His back on me. He is always
available to help me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Love Your Enemies

MATTHEW 5:44 NKJ
44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse
you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who
spitefully use you and persecute you,

"Love your enemies? What kind of advice is that? How can you
have enemies, if you act in love toward them?"

Good point.

Why would anyone want to have enemies? Do you?

God's instructions, if acted upon, will make friends out of
enemies. Think how much better the world would be then.

God can, and does, love His enemies. He proved it. No matter
what they did to Jesus, He never quit walking in love.

But it may be impossible for a normal human to love their
enemies -- without God's help. Fortunately, God's help is
available!

No matter how hard it seems, you can love those who have hurt
you. If it was not possible, God would not command us to do it.
Of course, to be successful at it, we need to call on the Lord
and receive His help.

"But why should I love my enemies?" You should know it is the
best thing for you to do, just because God said it. It benefits
you as well as the one who wronged you.

You have two basic choices when someone does you wrong. Do
wrong back to them. Or, return good for evil.

If you fight back, then they will have a valid excuse to
continue mistreating you. Is that what you want? If not, then
the intelligent choice is to stop the vicious cycle by
returning good for evil. Love your enemies until they become
your friends.

SAY THIS: I can, and will, love everyone with God's help.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

God With Us

MATTHEW 1:21-23 NIV
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the
name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said
through the prophet:
23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."

Part of the wonderful good news of the New Testament is that
God is not just a far-off God, but He is right with us.

With us -- in many ways.

With us as we face life -- right here to help us. Not far away,
and out of touch with what we are facing. Not difficult to
reach -- but only a prayer away.

With us in understanding what it is like to live on earth and
face the problems and difficulties we all face.

With us in knowing what it is like to experience pain and loss.

With us in knowing what it feels like to be rejected and
despised and misunderstood.

With us in knowing what it is like to be hungry and have
nothing to eat.

With us in knowing how difficult it can be to struggle against
sin.

With us in knowing what it is like to be attacked by the devil.

HEBREWS 4:15 NIV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize
with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in
every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin.

God came to earth. He became a man. (No, I don't understand
that, I just accept it.) Jesus experienced what we experience,
yet He always walked in victory.

If you let Jesus, He will guide you into victory, also.

SAY THIS: God is with me! He understands, and is here to help
me.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jesus Is Coming Back

ACTS 1:11 NKJ
11 ...This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven,
will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

Jesus of Nazareth, born into this earth by the virgin Mary, who
was the pre-existent, eternal, Creator God, and who suffered
and died on a cross as mankind's substitute, is coming back to
earth again.

You probably have questions, such as "When?" and "Why?"

Fortunately, the Bible does give us answers, just not as many
as most of us would like. (This attitude is really a matter of
pride, thinking we know better than God how much information He
should share with us.)

Godly people, throughout history, have not all reached the same
conclusion by studying Scripture, as far as the specific timing
and events surrounding the second coming of Jesus Christ.

What is crystal clear from Scripture is that Jesus Christ will
return to earth in triumph to rule over all. And that all
people should live in a state of readiness for His return.

(Since all the details are not clear, let us not fall into the
trap of fighting over this doctrine. The Bible does not say
that a perfect understanding of this subject is necessary for
you to be saved.)

My personal opinion is that the coming of Jesus Christ is
drawing very near. (Of course, I have been wrong about other
things.) One thing is sure: it will happen some day!

For a believer, the return of Jesus Christ to earth is the most
wonderful thing that could happen. Any fearfulness is a sign
that you do not know the Lord as intimately as you should.

As believers, we should look forward to the triumphant,
physical return to this planet of its rightful owner and ruler:
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here are a few things Jesus said about His return.

MATTHEW 24:3,4,14,27,36,44 NKJ
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to
Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And
what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the
age?"
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one
deceives you.
14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the
world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will
come.
27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the
west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the
angels of heaven, but My Father only.
44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming
at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Jesus will return in person -- instantly, as lightning flashes
from east to west. Everyone will know it when it happens.

Be ready.

SAY THIS: Come Lord Jesus. Come back and straighten everything
out.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jesus Rose From Death

MATTHEW 28:5-6 NKJ
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be
afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the
place where the Lord lay.

Jesus Christ's resurrection is either the supreme fact in
history or a gigantic hoax. If Christ's resurrection is true --
we ignore its implications at our own peril. If not, then
Christianity is the biggest fraud in the history of the world.

Christ's resurrection forces the question of Christianity's
validity from being merely a philosophical issue to being a
historical one.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact verifiable from
history. No one can challenge Christ's resurrection -- if they
take an honest look at the evidence.

Only those who never study the evidence -- or who refuse to
listen to its testimony -- could deny the resurrection of Jesus
Christ.

Many learned men have tried to disprove Christ's resurrection --
only to become believers instead!

Some people refuse to examine the evidence, because they do not
want to believe in Jesus Christ and submit to Him as Lord.

The facts remain. Confucius' tomb, Buddha's tomb, Mohammed's
tomb, and Lenin's tomb are all occupied.

But Jesus Christ's tomb is EMPTY!

REVELATION 1:18 NKJ
18 "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive
forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

SAY THIS: I believe that Jesus Christ rose from death.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Meaning Of The Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest event in
human history.

Why?

Not just because someone came back from death. That had
happened before.

Jesus was acting as a representative for the human race. What
He was doing was not for Himself -- but for us.

ROMANS 4:25 NKJ
25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised
because of our justification.

The people watching Jesus die on the cross knew nothing of
this. Later it was revealed what actually happened. Jesus was
being a substitute for the human race, suffering in our stead.
When divine justice was satisfied -- Jesus was raised from the
dead as your representative. You got credit for what Jesus did.

It was not just the death and resurrection of one man. It was
the legal death and resurrection of us all. All Jesus did was
as mankind's substitute representative.

Jesus was not raised from the dead until you were justified.
That means declared righteous, or in right standing with God.

The resurrection of Jesus, according to Scripture, is a
declaration that God has taken care of the sin problem and made
you righteous.

SAY THIS: Father, please help me to understand the implications
of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in my life.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Tell satan Where To Go

MATTHEW 4:10 NLT
10 "Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the
Scriptures say, 'You must worship the Lord your God; serve only
him.' "

Jesus spoke directly to the devil -- and so must you.

Many Christians think they should pray about the devil and ask
God to deliver them from his attacks. But the Bible is clear --
God has given the authority to believers to resist the devil.

You must control the devil, or he will control you!

Unless you exercise the authority delegated to you by Jesus
Christ, the devil will wreak havoc in your life, and everywhere
he is allowed to.

LUKE 10:19 NKJ
19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and
scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing
shall by any means hurt you.

Praying to God to stop the devil's operations is no different
than my son asking me to take out the trash, after I have told
him to do it.

God told us to resist the devil and he would flee. We must
believe and act on God's Word.

EPHESIANS 4:27 NKJ
27 nor give place to the devil.

Would God tell us not to let the devil have any place, if we
had no say about it? If the devil does have a place in our
affairs, it's because we allowed it.

JAMES 4:7 NKJ
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee
from you.

We must first submit to God, because we are not greater in
power than the devil. But submitted to God in Christ Jesus, the
devil must back off when we resist him and his works.

SAY THIS: In the Name of Jesus, I command you devil to leave
me, my family, and my property alone! Be gone!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

You Can Be Free

JOHN 8:31-32 NRSV
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you
continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you
free."

Everyone wants to be free, but many have given up hope that it
is possible.

But Jesus gave a promise, valid for you today. You can be free!

Many suffer from physical problems. Jesus' promise includes
you!

Some are bound by debt. The promise of Jesus applies to you,
also!

Others are bound by fear. You can be free!

Many are bound by destructive habits they are unable to quit.
Sin enslaves people, but you can be free from its power!

JOHN 8:34 NRSV
34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who
commits sin is a slave to sin.

Jesus will set you free from the power of sin. He will not take
away your freedom to sin, but He will change you inwardly, so
you don't want to sin.

Real freedom is more than being able to do what you want to do.
Real freedom is not having to do what you do not want to do.

JOHN 8:36 NRSV
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Free indeed!

The answers are in the Word of God: the New Testament.

SAY THIS: I will continue in Jesus' Word, and as He promised, I
will know the truth and it will make me free.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Freely Give Us All Things?

ROMANS 8:32 NKJ
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for
us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all
things?

Most people approach prayer as an exercise in convincing God to
help. They think they must twist God's arm, or promise to do
something, in order to get God to give them anything.

The New Testament paints a different picture. God not only is a
willing giver, but has already given! He is not holding back on
us!

When He gave us Jesus, along with Him He gave us everything we
could ever need.

"Why then," you may ask, "do I not have what I need?"

Friend, there is a great difference between something being
given and something being received.

Many people have been unaware recipients of great good, but
until they became aware of it and took the necessary steps to
properly receive their bounty, it did them no good.

You can be entitled to some inheritance, or other windfall,
without knowing it. You can even know it, but without following
the proper procedure, not possess and enjoy it.

So it is with the things of God. Proper procedure must be
followed. There are instructions on how to receive. But the
instructions are clear and easy to follow. You will find them
in the New Testament.

1 TIMOTHY 6:17 NKJ
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be
haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living
God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

God gives us richly all things to enjoy!

Don't judge God's generosity by what you have, or have not,
received. Find out the instructions from the Bible, and receive
all that God has provided for you.

SAY THIS: God freely gave me all things in Christ. Now I will
learn to be a receiver of God's blessings.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

God Is Not A Killer

John 10:10 NASB
10 "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I
came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.

Ted Turner, the founder of the CNN TV network, tells how he
turned against Christianity because of bitterness against God
in his younger days. After the death of a family member, the
preacher told him that "God took them," and he became bitter
over it.

Ted Turner is not alone. Millions of people are mad at God
because they believe He has done something wrong -- which He
has not!

God is not going around killing people, or stealing from them,
or destroying their lives. That is the work of the devil.

God is not guilty!

The greatest deception in history has been the devil convincing
people that the things he does are done by God. The devil wants
us to believe that God acts like the devil.

But it is a lie!

Of course, to pull this deception off, the devil had to get
preachers to spread his lies. No one would believe it if the
devil personally preached it.

But just because someone who is called a preacher, a reverend,
a pastor, a priest, a bishop, a prophet, or any other title,
says something is true -- does not make it true. To find out
the truth we need to go to the Bible and study it for
ourselves.

Depending on so-called "experts" can lead you astray. Read and
study the Bible for yourself.

JAMES 1:17 NLT
17 Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who
created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, he never changes or
casts shifting shadows.

SAY THIS: Whatever is good comes from my God, Who never changes
into being bad.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Talk To Things

MARK 11:23 NKJ
23 "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
`Be removed ....

Too many people think of the Bible only as a Holy book to be
revered. So they put it up on a shelf and make sure no one
mistreats it.

But the Bible is a message from God. It gives us instruction
for our benefit -- practical advice.

It's time to take the Bible down off the pedestal, read it, and
act on its instructions.

Here is one seldom acted upon: talk to things.

The devil wants you to think it would be crazy to talk to
things. But it's not.

Jesus did it. He talked to sickness. He talked to the storm and
told it to be still. He talked to dead bodies and commanded
them to get up. He talked to trees. And He talked to the devil
and told him to get behind him.

Jesus talked to things. You should too.

You should talk to fear and worry. You should talk to
confusion. You should talk to lack. You should talk to
sickness. You should talk to the devil. Tell them to leave.
Tell them to "be removed."

LUKE 17:6 NKJ
6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you
can say to this mulberry tree, `Be pulled up by the roots and
be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

SAY THIS: Jesus said I can talk to things. So I speak to
everything that is of the devil and command it to get out of my
life now!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

One Thing Is Necessary

LUKE 10:42 Weymouth
42 and yet only one thing is really necessary. Mary has chosen
the good portion and she shall not be deprived of it."

This is the word of Jesus. Someone who knows more than we do --
and loves us more than we love ourselves. So, we need to listen
and take heed. (After all, we should realize that Jesus did not
say things for His own benefit, but to help us.)

It is easy to get busy in life and let ourselves be distracted
from what we know is important. That was the case with Martha,
the sister of Mary, in the scripture quoted from above. Martha
knew she needed to hear what Jesus had to say -- but she also
knew that she was responsible for preparing something to eat.
What could she do?

We all face such problems -- which are actually choices.

WE choose what our priorities are. WE decide what we will spend
our time and energy on. And we should choose wisely.

(Here's a tip: if it won't be important one hundred years from
now, it's not that important now, either.)

In this situation, Jesus brought a calming -- not a condemning
-- word to Martha. (Jesus is still not interested in condemning
people, but in helping them.) In effect, Jesus said to not
worry, but to put hearing what God has to say first, and then
somehow things will work out with God's help.

Jesus is saying the same message to you, today.

The most important and productive way we can spend time is in
getting God's wisdom, guidance, and help. Hearing and heeding
His Word will pay rich dividends in this time, as well as for
eternity.

Never forget that God can do more for you in one minute, than
you could accomplish in a lifetime by yourself.

Don't make the wrong choices.

SAY THIS: I will listen to God's Word. Then, with God's help, I
will make it.