Friday, October 31, 2014

Expect The Best That God Has For You Everyday!

In a world that values the temporal over the eternal, it’s important that we keep our faith strong. We live a life of faith, and not one of sight!  We’re not living by our feelings or the way things seem to be, we are living as if the promises of God were absolutely true!
That means that every day I’m expecting the best that God has for my life. I’m expecting His strength the overcome my weakness, His bigness to overwhelm my smallness, His prosperity to absorb my poverty, His riches in glory to assume the obligation of my need, His health and healing to meet every challenge I face with sickness. Jesus is my all in all. He is the fullness that I am seeking.
Take some time today to remind yourself and the Lord of what He has said about you. Let your own ears hear your own mouth declare God’s word about your life. The Father will use your own words to lift you up!
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. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TheTwo Different Kinds Of Patience We Need Every Day

That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12). But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4)
There are two different kinds of patience mentioned in the above verses. In Hebrews 6:12, the Greek word for patience is makrothumia. In James 1:4, the Greek word for patience is hupomeno. Let’s apply them to our lives for just a moment.
Makrothumia comes from two Greek words. Makros means long and thumos  means heated or passionate. Put the two words together and makrothumia means long temperedness, or someone has defined it as the ability to burn a long time!
Makrothumia is patience towards people. It’s the ability to walk in peace when you’re moved by a situation. Patience gives you the ability to endure tough places. When events don’t change quickly and you’re tempted to become agitated and angry, makrothumia enables you to bear the waiting time. When others don’t treat you the way you think they should, makrothumia enables you to believe the best of them and hold yourself in check so you don’t do or say something harmful.
Hupomeno comes from the Greek words hupo, which means under and meno, which means to remain. Hupomeno means the ability to hold your head up and remain confident when going through a hard place.
James tells us that tests and life challenges produce in us the ability to stick it out and not cave in when the going gets tough. A person operating in hupomeno is able to smile while going through personally painful experiences.
Hupomeno enables you to see the end from the beginning. Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him endured the agony of the cross. Hupomeno enabled Jesus to look beyond His present pain and see how His sacrifice would free humanity from the chains of sin. And when we walk in hupomeno, we’re able to shout and remain upbeat and joy filled when the journey of life is grueling and looks impossible!
We need both kinds of patience today. The Father by the Holy Spirit has placed in us the ability to last a long time and not become enraged with anger when people and circumstances don’t treat us kindly.

The Father has also given us by the Holy Spirit the ability to remain joyful and confident when a situation seems unending and impossible. Let’s allow patience to have its perfect work in us today. If we do, our faith will bring to us the fulfillment of the promises of God of healing; of provision; of deliverance from the hard place; and we will move another step closer to being perfect and complete, lacking nothing! Let’s keep on growing today!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As A Christian, Vote From A Biblical Worldview!

This may be the longest blog I have ever posted!. But, I believe that it is important to know what and why we believe what we do! And, our belief system should undergird our voting, NOT the support of a particular political party!

Today I want to address how we should deal with politics and voting as Christians. There are many issues at stake in this midterm election. I really believe that our nation is at a crossroads. And the choices in front of us as Americans are like a fork in the road. As a whole, our nation has chosen to walk away from Biblical precepts, and has sidelined the God of the Bible for the God of our own imagination. The leaders that Americans elect represent the heart of the majority of Americans.

Here are some thoughts about how to find the mind and will of God as you go to the voting booth this year.

First of all, lay aside all Christian speak and labels. Don't look at whether a candidate says he is a Christian,or a Muslim, or a Jew, etc. Look at the facts of what the person actually believes and does, aside from verbiage. We have had candidates in the past who have said they are Christians, but in practical action are far from it!

The Bible is our infallible guide for faith and practice, so we should look at the issues and what the Bible says about them first, then look at what each candidate believes.

So, here are some of the issues at stake in this election in the light of the Bible. First of all, the Bible in general has a lot to say about personal responsibility, diligence, and hard work. No one should be rewarded for laziness, slothfulness, irresponsibility, and waste. Note these scriptures:

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber (Proverbs 6:6-11 - NLT).

Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find (Proverbs 12:27 - NLT).

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper (Proverbs 13:4 - NLT).

A lazy person's way is blocked with briers, but the path of the upright is an open highway (Proverbs 15:19 -NLT).

Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work. (26) Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! (Proverbs 21:25-26- NLT).

The Apostle Paul sternly charged the church in Thessalonica to refuse to fellowship with a person who can work and provide for his own, but refuses to do so: And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don't follow the tradition they received from us. (7) For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. (8) We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. (9) We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. (10) Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat." (11) Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people's business. (12) We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).

On the other hand, we are responsible to help those who, through due to circumstances beyond their control, are unable to provide for themselves and their families. Old Testament Jewish law gave space for the poor to be provided for. God promises  us that when we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord, and He will repay us! Again, notice the scriptures:

If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would (Exodus 22:25).

Plant and harvest your crops for six years, but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves (Exodus 23:10-11-NLT)

But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need (Deuteronomy 15:7-11).

Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need (Deuteronomy 15:9-11 -NLT).

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and he will repay you! (Proverbs 19:17-NLT).

Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor (Proverbs 22:9 - NLT).

Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed (Proverbs 28:27).

The Bible is clear that life begins in the womb. The Bible guards the sanctity of human life from conception. Jeremiah was known and called by God from his mother’s womb: I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).

David mentions that God had the days of his life mapped out before he was even born: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:13-16). Therefore, abortion is the murder of innocent life.

The Bible is very clear that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman and this unique relationship is blessed by God . Notice Genesis 2:21-24-NLT: So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. "At last!" the man exclaimed. "This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.'" This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
(Genesis 2:24).

It is also very clear that homosexuality and lesbianism are a perversion of God’s plan for human sexuality, and individuals and cultures that promote this sinful lifestyle will inherit judgment unless they repent. Notice Leviticus 18:22-25-NLT: Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. A man must not defile himself by having sex with an animal. And a woman must not offer herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it. This is a perverse act. Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for the people I am driving out before you have defiled themselves in all these ways. Because the entire land has become defiled, I am punishing the people who live there. I will cause the land to vomit them out.

The Apostle Paul clearly addresses homosexuality and lesbianism in Romans 1: 24-28- NLT:
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

The Bible views all men as created equal before God : There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28). Every person, regardless of racial or personal distinction, is to have equal rights and status in culture.

The Bible encourages nations to protect their interests through military strength, as Israel did throughout the Old Testament. The Bible acknowledges the sinfulness and depravity of man, and the practical cultivation of national borders to protect inhabitants from the vices of the wicked. One day, when Jesus reigns after His return, we can then turn our swords into plows and will no longer have need of self-protection.

The Bible informs that each nation will be judged in eternity by the respect  and care that nation had for the nation of Israel (See Matthew 25).

Israel, being the nation from which came our beloved Messiah, enjoys a special status with God among nations. Any nation that hinders God’s plan for Israel will inherit a curse: I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3-NLT). I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves (Zechariah 12:3- NLT).

These are just a few of the issues we are dealing with as a culture. Perhaps never before have the stakes been so high as they are today. America is at a crossroads. Yes, we are citizens first of the invisible kingdom of heaven as Christians. But, we also have a civic duty to live responsibly in this life, and to represent this invisible kingdom well. Your vote matters.

Ask God for wisdom. He knows what we should do, and will lead us by His Word and by His Spirit. Find out as much as you can about each candidate, and vote for the ones that most closely align themselves with a biblical worldview.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14- NIV).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Believing And Speaking God's Word Will Draw His Healing Power Into Your Body!

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases (Psalm 103:1-3)  
Healing is always the will of God for the believer. Right after God delivered Israel from the bondage of Egypt, He revealed Himself as the Physician of His people in Exodus 15:26: If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put (allow) none of the diseases on you which I have brought (allowed) on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.  The phrase I will put in this verse is in the permissive sense, not in the causative sense. It should read I will allow.
This promise of healing is not just for the Old Testament saints, but for us today. We have a better covenant established on better promises. The good new is that the same faith that saves us is the same faith that brings God’s healing power into our bodies. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:10) So you could also say it this way: For with the heart one believes unto healing, and with the mouth confession is made unto health.
Believing for healing is as simple as believing for forgiveness of sin. First, you see the will of God through the Word to save and to heal. Then you believe it in your heart, and begin to say only what God says about your forgiveness and healing. You must look beyond the feelings you have to be forgiven and to be healed. Pray, ask, believe you receive healing or forgiveness, and then stand you ground in faith until the feelings of forgiveness and the actual healing manifests in your body. Believing and speaking the Word will draw God’s healing power into your body!
Diligently hearkening to the Word for healing is refusing to believe or speak anything contrary to the Word about your body. To do this, you must meditate regularly on God’s promises to heal. You must be diligent in the Word. He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions (Psalm 107:20).  I’ll leave you today with God’s medicine for your health. Take it according to the prescription in Exodus 15:26.
So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you (Exodus 23:25).

And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you (Deuteronomy 7:15).

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains); Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5)

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses (Matthew 8:17).

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38-).

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:24).

Monday, October 27, 2014

God Has No Memory Of The Believer's Past!

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins (Isaiah 43:25).
Psychologists tell us that one of the main de-motivators of human personality is guilt and condemnation. Many people carry the weight of failure due to past deeds. Guilt will keep a person in the downward spiral of hopeless addictions as they seek the numb the pain of past failures. Addictions of all sorts: alcoholism, drugs, sex, food, and even in work may find their origin in the covering of and hiding from the emotional pain of failure.
God’s remedy for guilt is the forgiveness and cleansing found in the blood of Jesus! As Isaiah says: Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
I was freed from my chains of personal failure when I learned that God does not even remember confessed sin. He has no record of it!
Years ago I was reading a book by Dr. Roy Hick entitles He Who Laughs Lasts and Lasts…In the book, Dr. Hicks mentions Einstein’s theory of relativity. Part of that theory is the belief that if a person could travel at the speed of light, time would cease. He would enter into the eternal.
The Bible says that God is light (1 John 1:5). God lives in the realm of the eternal. Past, present, and future are all “now” to God. It’s a hard concept for our finite minds to grasp, but it is true. God lives in the eternal “now.” The panorama of history is constantly before Him. He sees everything that was, is, and will be  as “now.” Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (before it was created). The Apostle John was shown The Revelation which shows the future. How? All this is or will be exits in the eternal where God dwells. And God showed John what will be because it already exists in the realm of the eternal.
So when God says that He will not remember our sins, it a big deal! That means that confessed sin is not even history, because history can be remembered! Confessed sin is not found in the mind of God. It is blotted out as if it had never been committed. And that is a miracle!
God can do what we can’t. Our past deeds live in our memory, but He has the ability to completely remove confessed sins from His mind, and from recorded history! So when you sin as a believer, don’t brood and whine over it, repent and confess it! Then it will be completely removed from the history of your life and you can walk free from guilt!
This is all by faith. We are usually the last one to forgive ourselves when we sin.
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:20-21). We often feel the pain of self-inflicted guilt long after God forgives us. The key to being released from this inner condemnation is walking by faith in what God says about you, and choosing to believe what God says and refuse to be affected by the feelings of failure. If God says He forgives and forgets, then you choose to forgive yourself and forget it too!
Regardless of how many times you fail, get up! Confess the sin in repentance, and walk on. Remember, For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again… (Proverbs 24:16). Forget what God has forgotten and be released from the chains of the past!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Life Seeds Are You Sowing Today?

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
The idea in the above verse is that the waves will bring back to you what you throw out into the water.
Reciprocity is an action that produces in return an action of the same kind. It’s a law in the kingdom of God. In one sense our lives are filled with sowing and reaping. Our tomorrow is found in seed form in what we do today. My actions today are the foundation for tomorrow’s living.
Not only is this a law of the kingdom of God, it’s an eternal promise attached to the earth. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22).
This principle is not just about finances, but it applies to all of life. Notice what Jesus said in Luke 6:37-38: Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
The actions, words, attitudes, and kindness that I show today will come back to me. The way I treat others is the way I will be treated. If that is true, I should see every action and word as a seed that will produce a harvest in my life. So what kind of harvest do I want? Plant the seed for it today!
This also includes our material and financial lives. Notice 2 Corinthians 9:6: But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
And again we find this principle in Galatians 6:7, where it also refers to the Galatian believers giving to those who minister the Word to them: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Yet Paul broadens this concept to include a believer’s whole life, including his spiritual life in Galatians 6:8:-9: For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
See yourself as a seed planter today. Only throw the bread on the water that you want to see again! This is a law. A law works all the time. It’s sometimes slow and methodical, but it is always working behind the scenes.
This principle of receiving what you sow is working right now in you. If you’ve sown some bad seed, cry out in repentance for the mercy of God to cleanse you from the wrong. Mercy is when you don’t receive what you deserve! And sometimes God’s mercy will root up a negative seed we’re planted!
Expect the bread you’ve thrown on the water to come back. Sow seeds of kindness, love and mercy into others today. The day will come that you’ll need these in your own life. Let’s sow seed today that we’ll be glad to reap tomorrow.