Thursday, May 21, 2015

Love Is Jesus' Advertisement To The World Through You!

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another . By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35).
 
If I strip away all the Christian speak that I use; if I remove all religious symbols from my person, my car, my home, my office, etc.; if I use no references to God, Jesus, the Bible, church, etc., would others know that I am a disciple of Jesus by the way that I love them? Jesus said by this all men will know.
This love is to be the main advertisement for God in my life. It’s to make me attractive to others. I must ask myself, is love attracting others to the God who lives in me? If I say no, then there is still too much of me ruling me!
 
Until we make love the main thing, we’re not going to be effective in moving our culture towards God. His plan is that this love be the advertisement, the display that draws attention to Him.
 
Think about it this way. When I was born again, He deposited this love in me, actually poured it out inside of me, in my spirit. This love is designed to be the power supply for my spiritual life. If I renew my mind to it, if I think and meditate on it, it rises up from my spirit and begins its process of taking me over. Little by little, like honey, it oozes into every crack and crevice of my personality. It’s a slow process. Some parts of me are hard and unyielding to it, but this love is so powerful, that even the hardest areas of my life break under its force.
This love has nothing to do with feeling or emotion. Most often it moves me to act against reason and feeling. It urges me to do the loving thing when harsh words threaten me, when human impulse urges me to retaliate.
My mind sometimes rebels against this new boss that has moved into me. My mind often thinks it knows how best to protect me from the hurts others may bring. But this love stands up within me, telling my mind to sit down and be quiet.
It is constantly speaking. Father knows best. Love your enemies. Do good to those who mistreat you. Pray for those who use you for their advantage. Return good for evil. Do to others what you want them to do to you. Be kind. be gentle. Calm down and be patient. Overlook that fault you see in that person. Forgive and act as though that word was never spoken to you. Act toward that person as though they had never done you wrong. Don’t reveal that fault you see in this person to anyone else. Don’t brag about your skills or accomplishments.
 

Open yourself to this love boss that’s moved inside of you. This love only wants your success. If you let it lead you today, it will lead you out of every relationship problem that arises. Love never fails. It’s a good boss. By this all will know

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Your Words Govern Your Life!

Even so the tongue also is a small member [of the human body] and boasts great things. Behold, how great a forest a little fire sets ablaze. And the tongue is a fire, the sum total of iniquity. The tongue is so constituted in our members that it defiles the entire body and sets on fire the round of existence and is constantly being set on fire by Gehenna [hell] ((James 3:5 – Wuest)
 
Thoughts are constantly bombarding our minds. But thoughts that are not put into word or action die unborn! Words are the most powerful force in our lives! Your tongue really is the strongest muscle in your body.
The round of existence mentioned in the above verse is referring to the whole of human activity from the time a person is born until the time they die. A rudder determines the course the ship takes in the ocean. A bit and bridle determine the direction of the horse. And what you do with your mouth determines the direction of your life. What are you speaking? Are you focused on life or death? Are you positive or negative? Do you speak every thought that comes into your mind?
Satan longs for you to put his negative mind interjections into words. Don’t play his game! I frequently have negative thoughts bombard my mind. But I just don’t speak them and they die! Instead, I say what God says out loud. That counteracts the thought and releases faith from my heart to the Father.
Faith must be put into words to be effective. You may think you are believing God. But take the next step and speak and act your faith. Faith must have corresponding actions to be effective according to James 2.
Words affect your demeanor and emotions. Words have the ability to move you. They can move you from doubt and fear to faith. Use words that register on your heart and that contain faith. Words really can move mountains. Use your words wisely today.

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't Brood Over Your Past Mistakes!

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared (Psalm 130:3-4).
The greatest hindrance to faith is condemnation and inferiority. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is skilled at reminding you of what you have or have not done and how you don’t qualify for the blessings of God.
In an interview some years before his death, Oral Roberts startled the interviewer when he made the comment: “I’ve never made a mistake!” In the context of the interview, Oral was commenting on how he keeps his faith strong and said that though he makes mistakes, he walks in the forgiveness God offers!
As far as God is concerned, you have never done wrong! That’s a reality that you need to meditate on to allow it to soak in! Don’t brood over wrongs you have done. If you miss it, confess your sin. Keep short accounts with the Father.
When you confess your sin, God is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse the sin. And when God forgives, He forgets. Most of us are hard on ourselves when we do wrong. God and others forgive us long before we usually forgive ourselves. And that kind of condemnation will hinder your faith life.
Take plenty of time to meditate on the forgiveness the Father offers you. I’ll leave you with the scriptures I meditate on regularly to arm me against the accusations of Satan. Be free from condemnation and inferiority. Your Father never thinks of your past!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).
Then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more (Hebrews 10:17).
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases (Psalm 103:3).
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins (Isaiah 43:25).
He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).


Monday, May 18, 2015

How To Increase Your Hunger For God

For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9).
 
Hunger is a sign of physical health. And spiritual health is strong when we’re hungry for God. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).
 
Smith Wigglesworth said, Spiritual hunger is when nothing satisfies us so much as being near to God. As I’ve read about the life of Smith Wigglesworth, I’ve been stirred to fresh hunger for Jesus. In his book Ever Increasing Faith, he said, I’d rather have a man on my platform that is not Spirit Filled but hungry, than a man who is Spirit Filled and satisfied.
Smith Wigglesworth’s passion for God is seen in a letter he wrote to a friend, Pleased to receive the news of much blessing in your ministry, especially in souls being saved and God keeping you in a very hungry and needy place. W. Hacking wrote a book about Smith’s life and summed up his work by saying, Wisdom, brokenness, purity, and spiritual hunger characterized his ministry.
If you’ve lost your hunger for God, you can get it back. Here are four things you can do. First, fast things that steal your time. Turn off the TV, turn away from Facebook, the computer games, or whatever and take time to feed on the Word and to pray.
The Lord ministered to me years ago during a time of personal disappointment that quenched my spiritual zeal. A guest speaker in our church said: Your desires always follow your attention. When I heard that I knew that I must turn my attention to the Lord. I made myself listen to tapes and take notes word for word as my pastor preached just to force myself into the Word. I had no desire to do it, but I put my attention there every day. A couple of weeks later I woke up one morning with a desire to fellowship with my Father. Desire follows attention.
Secondly, feast on spiritual things. You desire what you give your time to. James 4:8 says draw near to God and He will draw near to you. We have to take the first step!
Thirdly, become desperate! Make lifestyle changes. If you want to see something you’ve never seen before, you must do something you’ve never done before. Make time in your day for God. Read your Bible and have a season of prayer during lunch. Take a walk in the evening and pray. Read the Word just before you go to sleep at night. Take time with the Lord throughout your day!
Fourthly, Ask the Lord to make you hungry. I’ll leave you with these verses:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise  him up at the last day (John 6:44).

And He said, Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father (John 6:65).
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an
everlastinglove; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you (Jeremiah 31:3).
When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek
(Psalm 27:8).


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Are You Spiritually Hungry?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
 
Some years ago the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, You are filled with what you are hungry for. Our hunger draws us. Hunger is a tremendous motivator. Susan and I were walking in downtown Raleigh some time ago, and I watched in shock as a man reached into a trash can on the street and retrieved some partially eaten food for himself.
 
You may have read accounts of single mothers who become prostitutes so they can earn money for their hungry children. Hunger motivates. I confess that there have been times that I’ve gotten so hungry (was just too busy to stop to eat) that my health conscious brain was tempting me to eat some McDonald’s fast food! For me that’s pretty radical. Hunger is a powerful force.
The word hunger here in Matthew 5:6 is in the present durative tense in the Greek. That means that the action continues on and on without ceasing. The hunger continues even after you’ve been fed. The longing is not satisfied.
In so many ways in life our appetite drives us. How we spend our time, what we value, what we spend our money on, what kind of occupation we are involved in all have to do with our appetite on various levels.  
 
Since our spiritual life is really the hub of our existence and determines our life values, it would benefit us to remain spiritually hungry! The word here in Matthew 5:6 could be translated starving. Starving people are desperate people. To be starving spiritually would alter daily life! A starving person would do anything to eat. Are you starving spiritually? Are you desperate for God? If not, work on increasing your spiritual appetite.
Three things that hinder spiritual appetite are excessive entertainment, excessive activity, and anger and disappointment.
Globally people spend almost 2 trillion dollars annually on entertainment! Here in the US it has been estimated that we will spend upwards of 70 billion dollars a year on entertainment. So do you wonder why so many lack spiritual zeal? The many entertainment distractions inhibit spiritual hunger. Movies, video and computer games, all sorts of technology can just eat up your time. Don’t let it happen!
Excessive activity can also crowd out time for God. Recreation is important for high stress lifestyles. But too much can damage your spiritual life. Put recreation in its place. Going to the beach or to the lake, or involvement in a sports activity or working out has great benefit. A hobby is a great diversion from normal routine. But make sure these things don’t crowd out attending your local church or spending time in the word and in prayer each day. For me, I take care of my spiritual life first, and then I involve myself in some form of recreation to relax. Seek first the kingdom of God!
Anger and disappointment at God or yourself when life doesn’t go the way you thought it should or would go can quench spiritual hunger. An I don’t care attitude can do some real damage to you spiritually. I’ve been at the place where I was so disillusioned that my natural person just wanted to quit and throw in the towel. That’s a dangerous place to be. And the enemy of your soul will take advantage of this kind of demeanor. It can totally quench your hunger for God.
Next time I will talk about how to develop your God hunger if you’ve lost it. Don’t let the candy of the world quench your hunger for Jesus. You become what you’re hungry for.

Friday, May 15, 2015

None Of Your Past Sins Are In God's Mind If You Are In Christ!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. (19) For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (20) So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" (21) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 - NLT).
Every person you meet today is equally loved by the Father. He has no favorite children. We are His ambassadors to share the good news with others. The good news is that He’s not mad at anyone and doesn’t hate them. Though according to the scriptures a person is a sinner, every person’s  sin debt has been potentially canceled. All any person needs to do is to bow his or her knee in repentance to God acknowledging that they haved sinned. The blood of Jesus will then remove that person’s personal sin debt, and they go free.
 
This is the truth that brought me into the family of God years ago. I had the idea that the Father was mad at me, and that all God did was brood over my sin when He thought of me. When I found out that God did not hold my sin against me, hope sprang up! I saw that if I acknowledged my wrong, forgiveness for all my past deeds was immediately available.
 
A guy said to me, did you know that God is not holding your sin against you, that He loves you? The only thing holding you back from His love is your lack of relationship with Jesus Christ. In Christ, your sin debt is cancelled, and you are free!
 
No one had ever put it to me in those terms. My sin debt is canceled. For a person consumed with guilt, flaws, and personal imperfections, that’s a big deal! Finding out that the God had already dealt with the sin issue freed me to come to Him, confess my sin, and embrace His free offer of grace.
 
Never approach a person who doesn’t have a relationship with God through Christ with angry words and tones. They have enough condemnation to deal with. Show that person the love of the Father God.  Be a good ambassador as you represent God the Father today. Let others know that in Christ their sin debt is settled. The only thing that stands between them and God the Father is their lack of relationship with Jesus!
 
It’s a great thing to be forgiven all your past sins! Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2). There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).
  
Be a beacon of light to those you meet today! A free gift of absolute mercy, grace, and forgiveness is theirs today for the taking!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Problems Are Temporary!

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
 
When you’re going through a rough place in life, these verses contain some wisdom for the fight. Realize that the tough place is only temporary, and if you’ll keep your eyes on the finish line, the tough place will just make you stronger.
 
I’ve been cycling as a means of exercise for several years now. When I’ve planned to ride a distance of 50 miles or more,  I sort of “hit the wall” somewhere in mid course. That means that I get very fatigued and I feel like quitting. But if I press through this fatigue moment I get a “second wind” and I actually feel stronger and a peace settles over my entire being. I can then go the distance.
To get through this “wall” I usually make my mind think about pleasant things and I keep my vision adjusted way ahead of me. If I only focus my eyes on the ground right in front of me, I exacerbate the feelings of tiredness.
I think about this when I’m facing the pressures that life brings. The current problem is only a stepping stone to better days ahead. And the pressure of the moment will only prove to undergird my resolve and make me stronger in the days ahead.
We look at things not seen by keeping our focus on the Word of God during difficult times. The need will be met. The answer to prayer will come. The healing will manifest. The circumstance will eventually yield. Our job is to keep our eyes, our ears, and our mouth on the Word and the problem will eventually be swallowed by the peace of God! So the problem , which was meant to defeat us, actually makes us stronger!