Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Be A Giver

God is a giver and desires His children to be givers. Giving is
the opposite of selfishness. Giving is love in action. And God
blesses those who give.

LUKE 6:38 NIV
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed
down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into
your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you."

PROVERBS 3:9-10 NKJ
9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the
firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will
overflow with new wine.

MATTHEW 10:42 NIV
42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these
little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he
will certainly not lose his reward."

2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-8 NIV
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap
sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap
generously.
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to
give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a
cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in
all things at all times, having all that you need, you will
abound in every good work.

HEBREWS 6:10 NIV
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love
you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue
to help them.

LUKE 12:33 NIV
33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses
for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven
that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no
moth destroys.

ACTS 20:35 NIV
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard
work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord
Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to
receive.'"

God designed His system with incentives to encourage people to
give. He has promised to bless those who give, both now and in
the age to come.

SAY THIS: I will be a giver, like my Father in Heaven.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Be Who You Are

1 CORINTHIANS 15:10 NIV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am....

ROMANS 12:2 WUEST
2 And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come
from within you and is not representative of what you are in
your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change
your outward expression to one that comes from within and is
representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your
mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of
God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having
found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.

God is a brilliant Creator. He only makes originals -- not
copies. According to Ephesians 2:10, you are God's work of
art.

God made you unique. So be all that God created you to be.

Don't try to be someone else. Don't try to be an ear in the
Body of Christ, if God made you a foot. Just be yourself.

This does not mean that you cannot improve, or grow. Growth is
part of God's plan. And we can certainly learn from others, and
imitate excellent actions and attitudes.

But too many people are insecure and hope to gain acceptance
from others by conforming to what they think will make them
popular or successful -- even though they hate it and know they
are not being real.

ROMANS 12:2 PHILLIPS
2 Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own
mould....

Don't let the world pressure you into conforming.

Express the originality that God put within you. God made you
the way you are for a purpose -- His purpose.

This is not to encourage rebellion, of course. But it is not
God's plan for us all to be identical and do everything in the
same way.

I am not saying you have to try to be different. Just be who
God made you -- without fear.

Not everyone may like you, or what you do. But that is normal.
You can't always please everyone. Make it your aim to please
God by expressing what He made you.

ROMANS 12:2 NLT
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let
God transform you into a new person by changing the way you
think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you
will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

The Bible reveals many truths about who we are once we receive
Jesus Christ. We actually receive new life, a new standing with
God, and new ability. As you feed the Word of God into your
thinking, that new life will be able to manifest more and
more.

SAY THIS: I am what I am by the grace of God. I will be what
God made me and fulfil His plan for me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lack Of Knowledge

HOSEA 4:6a NKJ
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

People wonder why many Christians experience so much trouble in
life, instead of victory. The reason, according to the Bible,
is a lack of knowledge.

The Bible tells us the devil is out to destroy us, but it also
makes clear that we can overcome his attacks. The real problem
lies with our ignorance.

Real knowledge produces faith. When we really know something,
we have faith in it. Then we will act on that knowledge.

The reason God's people are destroyed by calamity is not
because God doesn't love us, or because God is not able to help
us. It is simply that we don't know the truth. If we really
knew the truth, we would act on that knowledge. Acting on true
knowledge makes you free -- it does not destroy you or put you
into bondage.

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."

God's Word is our instruction book. When we act on it, things
will work for us. God allows us to make choices. When we make
the right choices, we will be blessed.

Don't let the devil condemn you with this message. Instead, let
it give you hope. You can learn God's Word and act on it more
accurately in the future -- and be blessed!

SAY THIS: God gave me the knowledge in the Bible so I could
know the truth, act on it, and be blessed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Honor Your Parents

EPHESIANS 6:2-3 NKJ
2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first
commandment with promise:
3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the
earth."

Think about this: God himself promises that if you will honor
your parents you will have a long and blessed life.

What a promise!

So we need to learn from Scripture what God means by "honoring"
our parents, so we can do it and be blessed.

MATTHEW 15:4-6 NLT
4 For instance, God says, `Honor your father and mother,' and
`Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to
death.'"
5 But you say, `You don't need to honor your parents by caring
for their needs if you give the money to God instead.'
6 And so, by your own tradition, you nullify the direct
commandment of God.

Here we have Jesus telling one way that people are to honor
their parents: by caring for their needs.

So honoring your parents is not just speaking politely to them,
or telling others that they are great parents. If your parents
have needs, you should help them. In this way, according to
Jesus, you are showing them honor.

Here is Mark's account of the same speech:

MARK 7:10-12 NLT
10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: `Honor your
father and mother,' and `Anyone who speaks evil of father or
mother must be put to death.'
11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their
parents, `Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to
God what I could have given to you.'
12 You let them disregard their needy parents.

Obviously, letting your parents go with unmet needs, when you
could meet them, is the opposite of showing them honor.

Of course, the words we speak and the attitude we have toward
our parents, also indicates how we honor them.

The word translated honor means to value or prize. God is
telling us we should value our parents highly. When you
consider something valuable you take care of it, and speak well
of it. This is how you should treat your parents -- if you
desire God's blessing.

(This is not to say we should honor parents above God and His
will. Parents should not control the lives of grown sons or
daughters. But, no matter what, our parents deserve love and
respect -- not necessarily obedience.)

SAY THIS: I will honor my parents and God will bless me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jesus Prayed

LUKE 5:16 NKJ
16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

But why?

Jesus prayed and He is our example. If prayer was necessary for
Jesus -- how much more so for us.

JOHN 13:15 NKJ
15 "For I have given you an example. . . .

LUKE 6:12 NKJ
12 . . . He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all
night in prayer to God.

MARK 1:35 NKJ
35 . . . a long while before daylight, He went out and departed
to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

Jesus obviously impressed His disciples with His prayer life,
and the importance of prayer. They asked Him to teach them to
pray -- the only thing recorded that they ever asked Jesus to
teach them.

LUKE 11:1 NKJ
1 And it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place,
when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord,
teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."

SAY THIS: Jesus knows more than I do, so I will follow His
example and spend time in prayer with my Father God.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Believing Prayer Changes Things

We have authority in our domain and can choose to invite God's
involvement -- or not.

EZEKIEL 22:30 NKJ
30 "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and
stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should
not destroy it; but I found no one.

JOHN 16:23-24 NKJ
23 ". . . Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the
Father in My name He will give you.
24 "Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you
will receive, that your joy may be full.

JOHN 14:13-14 NKJ
13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the
Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Christ has delegated a certain amount of His authority in the
earth to His Body, the church. Our decisions as believers --
which we can express in prayer -- make a difference in our
lives and others' lives.

MARK 11:24 NKJ
24 ". . . whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that
you receive them, and you will have them.

JEREMIAH 33:3 NKJ
3 `Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and
mighty things, which you do not know.'

PSALM 50:15 NKJ
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and
you shall glorify Me."

SAY THIS: God invites me to pray and believe, so His will can
be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cursed By Blessings?

PROVERBS 10:22 KJV
22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no
sorrow with it.

What we might consider "blessings" don't always help people.
Sometimes they hurt.

We don't always know what is best for us. Often, what we think
we want turns out to be a big mistake.

Consider the case of two girls: one extremely beautiful -- the
other quite plain looking. Because of her natural beauty, the
one becomes totally self-absorbed. Thinking herself superior,
she grows haughty and proud, and, although rich and famous, has
no true friends.

She selfishly only seeks her own welfare and gives no thought
to other's desires or happiness.

As she grows older and less attractive, she cannot live with
not being the center of attention. Lonely and depressed, she
finally takes her life.

The other girl, not being endowed with any great natural
beauty, is not tempted to be proud and haughty. She is forced
to develop in other ways.

She, being humble, is willing and ready to help others and
gains many friends. Because she could not rely on her natural
abilities in life, she was forced to turn to God and seek His
help. With God's life and love manifesting through her, she was
able to marry a godly man, and they raised a fine family
together and enjoyed a long and happy life.

Which girl was really blessed?

Just remember: what you think you want is not always what you
would really want. Be thankful for what you have and who you
are.

SAY THIS: Thank you Lord for my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pride and Humility

PROVERBS 22:4 NKJ
4 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and
life.

Humility is the opposite of pride.

Humility does not think it is better than anyone else. "I am
what I am by the grace of God."

1 PETER 5:5 NKJ
5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your
elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be
clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives
grace to the humble."

A humble person is one who follows God's instructions, instead
of leaning to their own understanding.

Being a humble person does not mean being a loser. A humble
person is one who has the proper relationship to God and grasps
reality, which is: without God, we can do nothing.

Humility will cause a person to remember their need to pray.

A humble person is one who prefers to suffer wrong rather than
do wrong.

Pride will bring you low. Humility will cause God to exalt you.

LUKE 14:11 NKJ
11 "For whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who
humbles himself will be exalted."

God cannot exalt proud people without it harming them.

JAMES 4:10 NKJ
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift
you up.

1 PETER 5:6 NKJ
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Motives

PROVERBS 16:2 NLT
2 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines
their motives.

Motives are important to God.

God is interested in WHY we do things, not just in WHAT we do.

Why do you do what you do?

Is it to help others? To please God? Or do you live focused
totally on yourself?

These questions are important to ask ourselves. As First
Corinthians 11:31 says, "if we would judge ourselves, we should
not be judged."

However, we must use caution when trying to judge other people.
We don't know their motives.

PROVERBS 21:2 LB
2 We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives.

We often justify ourselves, but judge others harshly. We may
judge ourselves based on our good intentions, but we are only
capable of judging others by their actions.

So, we must be very cautious about judging others in a
condemning way.

1 CORINTHIANS 4:5 NIV
5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till
the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in
darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that
time each will receive his praise from God.

One main reason we are not qualified to judge others is because
we don't know their thoughts, intentions, and motives. Only God
does.

SAY THIS: Lord, please help me to be aware of my motives.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Are You In Trouble?

JAMES 5:13 NIV
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone
happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

The Greek word translated as trouble in this verse means to
suffer trouble, be afflicted, or to endure hardship or evil.

The best thing anyone facing trouble can do is pray. You don't
have to know how, just pour out your heart to God and discuss
the situation with Him.

We are tempted to do many other things: cry, complain,
criticize others, but Scripture says we should pray when we
face tough problems.

Notice it does not say you should ask everyone else to pray for
you. It says you should pray.

There is nothing wrong with having other people pray for you.
But there is something wrong with expecting others to pray,
while you never pray.

By praying, we do not mean begging God for help. God loves you,
and always desires to assist you.

What is needed is not twisting God's arm to get Him to help.
Usually a part of the answer is God getting us quiet enough for
long enough so He can speak to our hearts and show us what
needs to be done.

Sometimes we have missed it, and that is why we are in trouble.
Other times, we may face trouble just because we live in a
fallen world. But always, when we are in trouble, we need to
know God's direction as to what to do.

Discuss your situation with the Lord. Lay it out in detail.
Often just telling Him honestly about the situation will cause
you to realize what should be done. Pour out your soul to the
Lord, but also wait in His presence with thanks and praise. Let
your heart and mind get quiet. Let God's peace overcome your
turmoil and worry.

God tells us that if we will draw near to Him, He will draw
near to us. This is why you should pray. You need God's help.
He has the wisdom and knowledge to get you out of the trouble
you face.

Direction may not come the first time you determine to seek God
and pray. You may not seem to get the answer while you pray.
But know this: God is working, and the answer is coming. So
keep praying. Keep on drawing closer to God. Help will come.

JOHN 16:33 NIV
33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have
peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I
have overcome the world."

SAY THIS: When I face trouble I will pray and draw near to God,
and He will help me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You Are Important!

1 CORINTHIANS 12:22,27 NKJ
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be
weaker are necessary.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

There are NO unnecessary parts in the Body of Christ.

The devil wants you to think your part does not matter, so you
will slack off.

But your part IS important. Your prayers are important. Your
giving is important. Your witness to others is important.

It is easy to believe a famous person who ministers to
thousands is vital in God's plan. But we need to be
reminded that every member of the Body of Christ is needed --
including you!

Don't condemn yourself because you aren't doing a job that puts
you in the spotlight. Don't worry that no one knows what you
are doing. God knows.

Someone witnessed to Billy Graham. Someone prayed for Oral
Roberts to be healed of tuberculosis. Do you know their names?
God does. What if they hadn't been faithful and obedient to do
their part?

What if the person who brought you the Gospel hadn't been
obedient?

So, when you are tempted to be discouraged and think what you
do doesn't matter -- resist those thoughts!

No one but God may see what you are doing, but it is
significant.

Have confidence in God. He knows what He is doing. God placed
you where you are. God has a plan and a job for you to do
there. Be faithful and do it. When it is time for you to do
something else, God will arrange it and lead you out.

Don't try to be somebody else. Just be faithful and obey God
where you are.

Too many Christians think preachers are supposed to do all the
work in the Body of Christ. Preachers may be likened to a
mouth. A mouth is important. But a mouth is not more important
than our hidden, internal organs. We don't see the liver and
kidneys working. However, you could live without a mouth
capable of speech, but not without functioning kidneys or
liver.

1 CORINTHIANS 12:22 NLT
22 In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least
important are really the most necessary.

A body may exist without some of its parts functioning, but it
cannot accomplish as much as it would otherwise.

Do your part! God thinks it's meaningful. Don't let the devil
convince you otherwise.

Maybe all you can do is pray, but that is most important.

Obey God and be faithful where you are. You are needed or God
would not have placed you there.

SAY THIS: God says I am necessary and important.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rejoice In Hope

ROMANS 5:2 NKJ
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in
which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We may not always have good circumstances around us that would
cause us to rejoice. But we can always rejoice in hope.

What is hope?

Hope is a positive expectation for the future. Things may not
be great now, but you can have a hope that the future will be
better. (Hope is always future, by definition, but can be in
the near future -- not just when we get to Heaven.)

According to Romans 8:24, hope involves what is not seen. The
only way humans have of dealing with things that are unseen is
by using our imagination.

Hope is not seen, or detectable by our physical senses. Hope is
a positive imagination, something we can only see inwardly.

As Christian believers we can rejoice in hope. We can rejoice
when circumstances are not perfect. We can rejoice ahead of
time.

ROMANS 12:12 NRS
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in
prayer.

As we mature as Christians, we are not to be controlled
exclusively by our physical senses. Being controlled by the
physical senses is what the Bible refers to as being "carnally
minded."

Because we believe what God has said, we know that we have a
bright future. A glorious future with God! In this we can, and
should, rejoice now!

And as we rejoice in hope, our present situation will also be
affected for good.

SAY THIS: I will rejoice even before I physically see victory.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feed Your Faith Daily

MATTHEW 4:4 NKJ
4 But He answered and said, "It is written, `Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth
of God.'"

You may neglect the Word of God and still exist, but you will
not enjoy life -- really live -- as God intended, without
feeding regularly on God's Word.

Just as you need physical food to remain strong physically, you
also need spiritual food to stay strong spiritually.

God's Word -- the Bible -- is the food that feeds our faith,
and gives us spiritual strength.

Every day you need to feed, at least some, on God's Word.

A helpful key is to develop good habits, such as reading the
Word every time you eat food, or every morning when you awake,
or right before you go to sleep. The time is not important,
just that you remember every day.

There are many ways to feed on God's Word available to us
today. Reading, or listening to, teaching from the Bible is one
way. Speaking the Word -- especially when you personalize it,
can really build your faith fast. Of course, nothing can
replace your own reading of the Bible, or having it read to
you.

Most of us have busy schedules. Time is scarce, and we must
invest it wisely. Nothing will benefit us more -- both in this
life and in the one to come -- than feeding on God's Word.

All of us can find time for God's Word, if we want to. You can
write Scriptures on cards to read and meditate on whenever you
stop in traffic, or whenever you have to wait for someone.
Maybe listening as you travel, or as you prepare for work, is a
good plan for you.

The important thing is that you have a plan, so you don't let
this most important habit slip.

Seeing the Word. Hearing the Word. Speaking the Word. Thinking
about the Word. This is what builds our faith and keeps us
strong spiritually.

SAY THIS: I will feed my faith daily on God's Word.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Respect People

JAMES 3:9-10 NIV
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we
curse men, who have been made in God's likeness.
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers,
this should not be.

It seems that respect has gone out of style. But God's
unchanging Word teaches us to treat people with respect.

Not agreeing with someone is no reason to treat them
disrespectfully. Just because they are wrong does not make them
unworthy of respect.

By His death for them, Jesus showed us He considers people
valuable and precious. So, we should not treat people as
insignificant or worthless.

Disrespecting people is actually disrespecting God who created
them.

God considers this so vital for wives, He gave a specific
command to respect their husband.

EPHESIANS 5:33 NIV
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves
himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Certainly, we should respect all people, but God obviously
thought a special reminder to wives was needed.

A wise woman will enjoy the benefits, both now and for
eternity, of acting on this command from a loving Heavenly
Father.

MATTHEW 25:40 NIV
40 "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you
did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for
me.'

The world respects people who are rich, famous, and successful.
Anyone can do that.

But how do you treat those who are thought to be the "least,"
who seemingly cannot help you in any way?

SAY THIS: I will respect people because they are valuable to
God and He loves them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jesus Took A Nap

LUKE 8:23 NLT
23 On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he
was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed
that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger.

So many people are driven -- feeling and acting like the
responsibility for running the whole world is on their
shoulders.

But Jesus was able to relax. Arguably, He had an important job
to do. Yet He had balance in His life. He knew when it was time
to take a nap.

Jesus also spent whole nights in prayer. So, His example does
not encourage laziness or apathy. Just balance -- and trust in
God, instead of worry.

Some may think it would be a sin to "take a nap" because we
should always be working. But Jesus never sinned, and we may
safely follow His example, and keep our lives in balance.

SAY THIS: I will relax and trust God.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Read The Bible

1 TIMOTHY 4:13 BBE
13 Till I come, give attention to the reading of the holy
Writings, to comforting the saints, and to teaching.

HEBREWS 4:12 BBE
12 For the word of God is living and full of power. . .

There is no substitute for the basics.

The words of God recorded in the Bible are containers. They
contain ideas from God. They contain life. When those words
enter us through our eyes, ears, or our thinking, they impart
life and faith.

Even if we don't understand everything, we are still receiving
a deposit of life from the Word.

JOHN 6:63 NIV
63 . . . The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are
life.

Many Christian believers are weak in their faith simply because
they do not take in much of the Word of God.

If you spend hours each day listening to, watching, and
thinking about the news and views of the world, but you only
listen (half-heartedly) to a twenty minute sermon on Sunday --
you should not be surprised if your faith is weak and the
influence of the world is great in your life.

The choice is yours. Yes, you are busy, but you can, and do,
make time for what you think is important.

Fortunately, today there are many aids we can take advantage
of. You can read the Bible online, and be reminded each day by
an email. You can obtain recordings of Bible translations to
listen to while you drive or exercise or work.

"But what should I read? The Bible is so big."

All of the Bible is instructive and worthwhile. However, the
New Testament, and specifically the letters to the Church, is
written directly to us and is most applicable for us today.

If you want to get acquainted with the Lord, read the four
Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I would recommend
starting with John. Mark is the shortest.

If you want to understand redemption and what has happened to
you as a result of receiving Christ, and how to live in
victory, then you need to read the letters in the New
Testament, which are all the books except the Gospels I just
mentioned, and the book of Revelation.

Always remember that the Bible is faith food. So if you want
your faith to be strong, you need to feed it on the Bible. It
does not matter if you feel any different, for faith is not
something that you feel. Faith is of the spirit, not of the
feeling realm.

SAY THIS: I will read the Bible and it will help me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

God's Word Will Build You Up

ACTS 20:32 NLT
32 "And now I entrust you to God and the word of his grace--his
message that is able to build you up and give you an
inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

Many shy away from the Bible because they think it's just a
bunch of rules to keep them from enjoying life.

Although many have misused the Bible -- to tear people down,
its true purpose is to build people up.

Tradition makes us think a good sermon should "skin 'em alive"
and make the listeners feel guilty.

But God is on your side and He loves you. So He gave you His
Word for your benefit, to build you up and give you things --
not to take anything good away from you.

Certainly God's Word can, and will, correct you. But primarily,
if you understand it correctly, the Word will build you up --
not beat you down and make you feel guilty.

Yes, there are passages in the Bible that will not encourage
you. They are needful at certain times for certain people who
need to be corrected and called to repentance. But for those
who love God and are His children, there are words of
encouragement to build you up.

Feed on the Word of God's grace -- His favor, His love, His
goodness. It will build you up.

If what you are feeding on is not encouraging your faith, check
to see if it really lines up with the Word.

Don't spend all your time meditating on a passage from the
Bible that's not written to you. All the Bible is profitable,
and we can learn from it. But you should concentrate on what
God is saying to you, as His child: a member of the Body of
Christ.

The message God has for His family, the church, is primarily
found in the letters (epistles) in the New Testament. These are
written directly to us, the church.

God is never interested in just cutting you down, or hurting you.
His intention is to build you up, to encourage you, to make you
better.

SAY THIS: The true message of the New Testament will build me
up. It is good news.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Watch Your Words

PROVERBS 6:2 NKJ
2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by
the words of your mouth.

MARK 11:23 NKJ
23 "For assuredly, I say to you . . . he will have whatever he
says.

Words are powerful. They are the way humans express their
decisions. Words carry authority, even in the spiritual realm.

God created the world with spoken words. Humans are created in
the image and likeness of God. Therefore our words also carry
authority.

The words you speak are important and carry more weight than
you may realize.

Words can get you into trouble. And words can deliver you.

The most powerful and life-giving words in the universe are
those spoken by God the Creator.

Fortunately for us, some of what God has said has been written
down, for our benefit, in the Bible.

So, we can, and should speak words that are in agreement with
what God says. When we do, the power of God is released,
because it is God's Word we are speaking.

Remember: whatever God says never loses its power.

SAY THIS: Please help me Lord to watch my words and speak in
agreement with Your Word.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ministry Of God

EPHESIANS 4:12 NIV
12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the
body of Christ may be built up

Ministry means service. To minister is to serve.

How does God "serve us"?

God serves us by helping us. So, primarily, ministry means
helping people. Of course, the foremost way of helping people
is to help them know God and His Word, so they can receive all
God has provided for them.

But anything that helps people -- that makes their life easier,
or better -- is also ministry. That is, it is part of the
ministry of God: God's purpose, God's plan, God's desire for
humanity.

God desires the best for all people. People were God's idea,
and He longs to bless them.

God helps people. So, when you help someone, even in the
smallest way, you are acting like God.

EPHESIANS 5:1-2 NASB
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave
Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a
fragrant aroma.

We are to imitate our Father God -- or act like Him. How? By
walking in love, just as Christ did.

In practical terms, what is walking in love? Helping people.
Walking in love means you will help people, you will put their
interests first.

When you help people, you are involved in the ministry of God.

SAY THIS: When I help people, I am serving God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Overcome!

1 JOHN 5:4 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?

All of us have a choice: we can either make excuses, or make
progress in life.

Most people have an excuse. They are too young or old, short or
tall, educated or uneducated -- whatever. We all have some
reason to justify our failure.

But when we focus on God and His ability and willingness to
help us in every way -- all our excuses become insignificant.

God's intention is not for His children to be defeated by the
problems of life. No! The problems of life are opportunities
for us to experience God's help and provision.

God plans for His children to overcome.

How?

By faith!

And faith is available to anyone who will feed on the Bible.
Faith comes from God's Word like physical energy comes from
eating physical food.

So, if your faith is weak, take in more of God's Word.

Then your faith will grow strong. Then you can overcome the
problems you face. Then God will be glorified in you.

SAY THIS: With the help of God, I will overcome!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Prayer: An Exchange

ISAIAH 40:31 NKJ
31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and
not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Time is precious. Our lives are full. Life is busy. Many of us
think we are too busy to spend time in regular daily prayer.
But is that a wise choice?

In the Scripture passage above, the literal meaning is "those
who look to the Lord expectantly will exchange strength."

Prayer is an exchange of strength.

God offers to exchange what He has for what we have. As we
spend time looking to Him, this exchange takes place.

What strength does God have? Wisdom. Understanding. Insight.
Guidance. Favor. Influence. Health. Everything we need!

When you give your time to God, He reciprocates by giving His
time to you. He goes ahead of you and makes your way smooth,
giving you favor and guidance so you can walk in victory.

God will give you ideas as you wait on Him. Ideas of how to do
things better. (For example, I got this message while praying.)

You may think you don't have anything God would want. But God
wants your love and your trust. As a human, you also have God-
delegated authority on Earth, especially as a member of the
Body of Christ.

Exchanging the little strength you have for the strengths of
God is a great trade!

Don't miss this wonderful benefit!

SAY THIS: I will invest time looking to the Lord expectantly in
prayer.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Keep Thanking God

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 CEV
18 Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ.
This is what God wants you to do.

There are many things in life we may not understand. But we
can understand this verse, and know that God gave these
instructions for our benefit, to help us -- not because God is
so insecure that He needs constant thanks.

When bad things happen, what should we do?

Will it help to gripe and complain and feel sorry for
ourselves?

No. That only makes things worse.

When bad things happen they seem to contradict belief in the
goodness and care of God.

But we must remember that there is an enemy, the devil, who is
out to steal our faith, our peace, and our joy. We are
commanded in Scripture to resist him, staying strong in our
faith.

Giving thanks is a powerful way to resist the devil. Even when
we do not understand, and it seems like things are out of
control and going downhill fast -- we should force ourselves to
stay in faith and be thankful.

(I am not saying God is responsible for evil, or to thank God
for evil. Instead, I am saying we can thank God for what He is
doing, and what He has already done for us in the sacrifice of
Jesus -- no matter what may be happening.)

1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 NLT
18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is
God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

SAY THIS: I will keep thanking God, no matter what happens.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

God Feeds The Birds

MATTHEW 6:26 LB
26 Look at the birds! They don't worry about what to eat -- they
don't need to sow or reap or store up food -- for your heavenly
Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than
they are.

Have you ever watched birds eating on a snowy day? It takes
some effort on their part. They don't just sit around waiting
for someone to put food in their mouth.

Is God feeding them? Directly or indirectly?

Jesus stated clearly that God is the one who provides food for
the birds. This implies that God provides for every creature.

Yet, if a bird sits still, instead of gathering the food God
has provided for them, they will starve.

Yes, the birds can be a good lesson for us. They don't worry.
Neither should we. They gather what God provides for them. So
should we.

I don't know whether the birds are thankful to God, or not. But
we should be thankful. And we should recognize that God is the
Source of all the good that we enjoy in life.

So work, but don't worry. (And if you can't do normal work --
still don't worry, because God cares more for you than He does
the birds, and He will provide for you somehow.)

SAY THIS: God cares for the birds, so I know He will take care
of me.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Don't Hurt God

Fortunately for us, God is not motivated or moved or controlled
by His feelings. But that does not mean God has no feelings.

We are made in His image, in His likeness. Just as we have
feelings, and can be hurt, God also has feelings, as the
following verses show.

GENESIS 6:6 NIV
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and
his heart was filled with pain.

EPHESIANS 4:30 KJV
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed
unto the day of redemption.

It is inevitable in human relationships that there will be
misunderstandings and hurts. When we are hurt, the natural
response is to strike back, to retaliate so they will know we
are hurt, and they will also hurt.

(Doing that, we hurt not only the other person -- but God
Himself. Just as a human parent is upset when they see their
child acting badly, God is hurt when we act badly.)

But the way of God is different. God's command to us is to walk
in divine love.

JOHN 13:34 NKJ
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another;
as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

When you have been hurt, and are starting to retaliate, to
strike back, remember that when you walk out of love, it is God
that you hurt and disappoint.

(Often people don't even know they are hurting us. Most people
are not doing it intentionally.)

We can choose how we respond. As a child of God, we have God's
divine love deposited in our inner being. We can allow that
divine love inside us to respond.

ROMANS 5:5 NKJ
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has
been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given
to us.

After all the love God has shown you, does He really deserve to
be hurt?

SAY THIS: Just because someone hurts me, is not a good reason
for me to hurt God.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Accurate Message Of Jesus

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."

The promise of Jesus is clear: the end result of staying in His
Word will be freedom.

So, if you are not becoming more free, you need to examine if
you are accurate in your understanding of the Word of God.

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.

Whether the Greek word is translated as continue, abide, or
remain, the meaning is clear. You need to stick with the Word;
not stop and start; not try it for awhile; but jump in with
both feet and stay there.

"What do you mean by freedom, preacher?"

I don't mean a license to sin. Sin produces bondage -- the
opposite of what I am talking about.

I mean freedom in every area of life. Freedom from having to
sin. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from doubt.
Freedom from strife. Freedom from confusion. Freedom from
family problems. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from poverty.
Freedom from disease.

Note that Jesus did not promise that everyone who called Him
Master would automatically and instantly be free. Instead Jesus
indicated that time would be involved before those who truly
followed Him would see the full result of the freedom His Word
would produce in their lives.

If you continue....

If you abide....

If you live in....

If you remain in....

Don't forget the "IF." And don't forget the "CONTINUE." This
Scripture promise is NOT for everyone who claims to be a
Christian. Only for those who are willing to spend the time and
effort required to feed on God's Word.

While I do not wish to criticize any group of Christian
believers, I do think we should all individually judge our own
situations. If the Bible teachers you have been listening to
are not producing freedom in your life, you should prayerfully
examine whether the message they proclaim is accurate -- or
distorted.

Remember that it only takes a tiny amount of poison added to an
otherwise wonderful and nutritious meal to make it dangerous.

SAY THIS: I will continue, abide in, and remain in the accurate
message of Jesus Christ, without ever giving up, and it will
produce freedom in my life.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Your Body Is Your House

2 CORINTHIANS 5:1 NKJ
1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is
destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with
hands, eternal in the heavens.

The "real you" is not your body. Your body is just a house you
live in so you can function here on earth.

Just as someone can change houses where they live, you can, and
will someday, leave your body and still exist.

We focus too much on our body. The inner part of us is most
important. These bodies we live in are not eternal.

It is not wrong to take care of our bodies, any more than it is
wrong to take care of the house or apartment where we live. It
is a mistake, however, to spend all our time on our body and
neglect our spirit and mind.

1 TIMOTHY 4:8 RSV
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of
value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life
and also for the life to come.

Who a person is on the inside is more important than what their
body looks like.

We judge too often on the house (body) that people live in,
instead of focusing on the real person living inside that body.

SAY THIS: My body is only a temporary house where I live.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Act On God's Word

JAMES 1:22 NKJ
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving
yourselves.

How easily we fall into the trap of listening to, or even
studying, the Bible -- but not acting on its instructions.
According to this verse, that opens us up to deception. We
think we are spiritual. We think we are safe. But then, when
things don't work out we will blame God and question why He let
us down.

LUKE 6:46-49 NKJ
46 "But why do you call Me `Lord, Lord,' and do not do the
things which I say?
47 "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I
will show you whom he is like:
48 "He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid
the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the
stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake
it, for it was founded on the rock.
49 "But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a
house on the earth without a foundation, against which the
stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin
of that house was great."

Trouble is coming -- it's part of this life. If you act on the
Word, trouble will not destroy you and your household. If you
neglect acting on the Word -- no matter how much you hear it --
when trouble comes your way, it may be devastating.

Why?

Not because it's God's will, or God doesn't love you. Simply
because you refused to act on the instructions which God -- who
knows more than you do -- gave you for your protection.

DEUTERONOMY 12:28 NKJ
28 "Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that
it may go well with you and your children after you forever,
when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord
your God.

God gave us His Word because He loves us and desires to help
us. Not because He likes to boss people around and give orders.
Acting on God's Word is for our benefit.

SAY THIS: I will act on what God says to me in His Word.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

3 Keys To A Happy Marriage

(Or, any relationship.)

JOHN 13:17 KJV
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

1. Be thankful.

It all starts with attitude. If you don't stay on the positive
side, failure is inevitable. You cannot have a happy marriage
without happy people. Have you noticed that unthankful people
are never happy?

2. Express your appreciation.

Let your spouse know by word and deed that you appreciate them.
Be specific and lavish in your praise and thanks. Nothing
encourages people like encouragement.

People love people who love them. If you want your spouse to
love you, the best thing you can do is love them, and let them
know it.

3. Aim to please.

If you make them happy, you will be happy. True happiness is
never found in trying to please ourselves. Fulfillment comes
from accomplishment, and the greatest accomplishment is helping
someone else in their life.

SAY THIS: With God's help, I will have a happy marriage.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Life Is Not Over

JOSHUA 14:11-12 NIV
11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm
just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.
12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that
day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and
their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping
me, I will drive them out just as he said."

Too many people, especially as they accumulate some years,
settle into a rut and quit expecting.

It's time to dream again. Expect God to show Himself strong
on your behalf.

Don't believe the devil's lie that it's too late.

You are never too old for faith to make a difference; remember
Abraham and Sarah. The key is to keep your focus on God and His
ability instead of on yourself and your shortcomings.

GENESIS 21:2 NIV
2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old
age, at the very time God had promised him.

God, who created this universe, is ready, willing, and able to
bring forth new things in your life.

You may have failed before -- but you are still alive. With God
you can succeed this time.

LUKE 1:37 NKJ
37 "For with God nothing will be impossible."

All things are possible!

Life may be full of challenges, but with God you can meet the
challenge and overcome.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that bad is ahead of you.
The good old days can be the days ahead. It depends on your
attitude and focus.

If you don't quit, God won't quit. Keep on believing the
promises of God. Keep on expecting blessing.

PSALM 92:14 NKJ
14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh
and flourishing,

SAY THIS: My life is not over. With God's help, my best days
are still ahead of me.