Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stay Thankful!

Before an individual or a nation goes astray, they lose their thankfulness. Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:21).
 
The early settlers here in America were thankful for the provision God had provided after their arrival and the harsh winter that ensued. They held a feast together and gave thanks for the blessings of God.
 
In 1789 George Washington proclaimed a day of thanks for God’s blessing and favor on our nation. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln also signed a Thanksgiving proclamation. Then in 1942 the US Congress passed a law declaring the fourth Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
 
Let’s take some time today to give thanks to our Father for His provision of life and resources. It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves. Don’t take for granted the blessings of friends and family, of food and shelter, and of the freedom and liberty that you enjoy.
 
Remember today those who have had life changes; a divorce or a death in the family. Holidays bring stress to many. Ask the Father to help them and minister to them.
Susan and I pray that the Father will continue to reveal Himself to you, and to provide for your every need. Happy Thanksgiving!
I’ll leave you today with scripture concerning giving of thanks:
 
When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you (Deuteronomy 8:10).
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High (Psalm 92:1).
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name (Psalm 100:4).
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy (Psalm 107:1-2).
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Holy Spirit Is Jealous Over You!

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously? (James 4:5).
The Holy Spirit is a jealous lover. He is jealous over what occupies our thoughts, our time, our ambitions, and our daily lives. His major job is to make Jesus real to us.
He works constantly to keep us on the path of righteousness, bearing conviction through the Word when we go astray. His goal is our Christ-likeness. We should be thankful for this jealous lover that the Father has placed within us.
 
The Holy Spirit wants us to hear the words well done good and faithful servant when we stand before the Father one day. He works incessantly to keep us out of trouble and close to Jesus and the Father.
We should be careful not to grieve Him through neglect of conscience, bearing unforgiveness towards others, or by the wrong use of our words or our anger.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:30-32).
 
The Holy Spirit is chosen by Jesus and the Father to be our constant companion throughout life. Listening to Him will keep us out of trouble and will enable us to fulfill the will of the Father every day. He is very sensitive to the Word. One of His major responsibilities is to open the Word to us, making it real and applicable to daily life. He feels neglected when we don’t spend time with the Father in the Word.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to pray for fellow believers that goes astray is to pray for this jealous yearning of the Holy Spirit to rise us within them. I pray that everywhere they are and everywhere they go the Holy Spirit will woo them and make them uncomfortable with wrong living. I’ve seen some wonderful answers to prayer by this method.

Honor the jealous lover in your life today. If you do, He will give you’re his joy and peace. These only comes through obedience to the Word and obedience to His incessant pull away from the world and to Jesus and the Father. Remember, you are never alone!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Regardless Of The Tough Circumstances, Expect God To Work On Your Behalf Today!

The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master (Gen 39:2 –NLT). So He took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king's prisoners were held, and there he remained. But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden (Gen 39:20-21 NLT).
Circumstances never dictate the will of God for the believer. At the same time, we must realize that Jesus is in control of us since He is Lord. He can cause whatever happens to work out for our best and His glory.
Joseph was destined by God to be a leader, and to save his family from starvation when a severe drought hit the land where they lived. Yet, it seems at every turn, he was resisted. Difficulties arose that seemingly could thwart the purposes of God for his life.
Regardless of the negatives that rose against him, Joseph prospered because the Lord was with him. You see, Joseph realized that God was with him and was working on his behalf. When his brothers turned against him and sold him as a slave, instead of becoming bitter and angry at them, He looked to the Potter that was guiding his life. With God on his side, He knew that, regardless of the challenge, God would work the problem out in his favor.
When he was falsely accused of attempted rape by Potipher’s wife, he refused to become angry and bitter. The natural thing to do would have been to sulk in self-pity, wondering how such a thing could happen to him since he had acted in such an honorable way by refusing the risqué advances of the Potipher’s wife. Instead, when he was thrown into prison, he prospered.
Circumstances prove what is in us! When we know that regardless of what comes, we have the favor of God upon us, then we will be confident and upbeat in the midst of terrible situations that may arise. If we cower down in self-pity and anger, we tie God’s hands and limit His grace and mercy.
Remember, if God is for us, who can be against us. He who did not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans  8:31-32).

Let your attitude be like Joseph’s today in whatever you face. The Father is with you. Let your thoughts today agree with Romans 8:37 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! You destined to come out on top! Expect God’s best!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

God Sometimes Treats Us Like A Mother Eagle Treats Her Young

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself (Exodus 19:4). As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him (Deut 32:11-12).
An eagle must lead his young to maturity or they will die. The baby eaglet is helpless at birth and must be fed and cared for by its mother. High in a nest on the crag of a mountain cliff, the baby eagle is protected from anything that would bring harm. The mother had lined the nest with her soft feathers prior to the eaglet’s birth, and the first part of the eaglet’s life is filled with comfort as mother brings it daily food.
 
But the baby eagle will soon become so large that the mother cannot carry it enough food, and the nest will become too small to support its weight. If the eaglet’s wings are not strengthened, it will one day die of starvation.
So one day the mother eagle comes to the nest after a time of hunting for food, and to the eaglet’s surprise, begins to tear the down feathers from the bottom of the nest, leaving sharp thorns and twigs exposed. Chaffed from the thorns, the baby eaglet jumps to the side of the nest, and to its shock, the mother hits it with her beak and pushes it off of the nest.
It plunges toward the ground below to what looks like a certain death. But just before it hits the ground, the mother swoops down and catches the eaglet on her back and flies safely to the nest, only to repeat this process over and over.
What the baby thinks is harshness is really the mother loving her child enough to train it to fly. Without the seeming harshness, the dependant eaglet would one day die of starvation.
The Father in a similar way deals with us as children of God. As we mature, the challenges of life come to us. Sometimes His Spirit leads us down a path filled with uncomfortable things that force us to exercise our faith, and to believe in what we cannot see. His gentle firm hand is leading us to walk by faith so that we are not choked by circumstances in our future. He teaches us to navigate life by faith. In doing so, in His wisdom, He allows the difficult to come our way.
 
Don’t forget that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Spirit of God actually led Jesus into a hard place. He may lead you there too. Without the hard places of life, you’ll not develop spiritual muscles that will lift you above life’s circumstances. I’m not talking here about God putting sickness or disease on us, or causing hurtful things like accidents or tragedy. I’m referring to God purposely leading you into a place that demands faith!
 
Some of the greatest growth places in my life have also been the hardest. God was kicking me out of the nest. He wanted me to develop my character and my faith.
When your way seems challenging, remember the little eaglet. The Father wants you to stretch your faith wings and learn to live by faith! Don’t despise the hard place. Allow it to help you grow!

Friday, November 21, 2014

God Wants You To Be Blessed So That You Can Be A Blessing!

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22).
 It’s never been the will of God for His people to be poor, broke, or lacking. In fact Jesus said that if we seek first the kingdom of God all these things would be added to us (Matthew 6:33). These things He mentioned are natural things, food, clothing, and shelter.
To be rich is to have an abundance of provision; to have a full supply. In that sense, God wants His children to be rich. He wants us to be abundantly provided for. And Jesus has made that provision available. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
 
He took our sin, so that we could be free from sin. He took our sickness so that we could have His health! In the same sense then Jesus also took our poverty so that we could have His prosperity!
 
Poverty is part of the curse of the broken law, and Jesus was made a curse for us so
that the blessing of Abraham could be ours! The curse of the broken law was threefold – poverty, sickness, and spiritual death. Jesus became all three so that we could be blessed with Abraham’s blessings which include restored relationship with the Father, health, and prosperity.
The first Adam brought a curse on us through disobedience. But the second Adam brought back to us the blessings of heaven! God created the earth as our habitat and placed within it all the resources necessary for human life to thrive. And God is not withholding the blessing from us! He didn’t place abundance here and then lock it us where it would be unavailable! Adam’s sin let a thief loose, and the thief wants to keep from you the blessing of God.
Meditate on Deuteronomy 28: 1-14. Get rid of any lack or poverty mentality that you may have. As God’s child He wants to bless us not only spiritually but also naturally!
He wants us to be blessed so we can be a blessing! And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18). He wants us blessed so that we can give and finance His causes and purposes in the earth!
 
God is not opposed to our blessing, but He is opposed to our being covetous! Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:17-19).
Expect the Father to bless everything you put your hand to today! Expect Him to prosper you. Be a giver. Be a blesser! See yourself as a redeemed child of the King! You have a rich inheritance. Command Satan to keep his hands off of all that belongs to you! Thank God for His blessing being on you, both naturally and spiritually! His blessing has made you rich! Expect His best!
 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Purpose Of God's Law Is To Produce Conviction Of Sin!

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:10-13).
 
In our witnessing to the lost, it’s important to appeal to the conscience. No person will really long for salvation by faith in the blood of Jesus until they are aware of their extreme need for salvation.
 
Don’t offer a person the cure until they are aware of the illness. A perfectly healthy person will not be interested in the latest pill they will cure a disease that they don’t have.
 
The conscience must be smitten by the conviction of the Holy Spirit before the unbeliever will want salvation. The above verse gives a great clue as to how best to win the lost. As you’ve developed a conversation with an unbeliever, ask them, Have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, disobeyed your parents, committed adultery, or killed anyone? 1 John says that if you hate your brother, you’ve the same as a murderer. Jesus said the look to lust is the same as the act of adultery.  
If I’m guilty of breaking any on the Ten Commandments, I’m guilty of breaking them all! Then at death, the scripture reveals, It’s appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). The penalty for breaking moral law is incarceration in hell, then the lake of fire!
Once an unbeliever sees his guilty state before God, then the gospel really is good new. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, the whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!
Too many times we seek to win the unbeliever to Jesus by dangling the carrot of blessing in front of him. Come to Jesus, and He will heal you, prosper you, bless you, etc. While these things are true, they don’t convict of personal sin, and an unbeliever will not be saved without being first convicted of personal sin.
I’ll leave you with these quotes from men of God of yesteryear:
Before I can preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, law, and judgment…In writing to a young friend, he advised… “Preach 90% law and 10% grace (John Wesley).
They must be slain by the Law before they can be made alive by the Gospel (Charles Spurgeon).
I have found by long experience that the severest threatenings of the Law of God have a prominent place in leading men to Christ. They must see themselves lost before they will cry for mercy. They will not escape from danger until they see it ( A.B. Earle -wrote the hymn – Bringing in the Sheaves).
(On using the Law of God to bring conviction)…But more, there is war between thee and God’s Law. The commandments are against thee. The first comes forward and says, Let him be cursed, for he denies Me. He has another god besides Me, his god is his belly, he yieldeth homage to his lust. All the Ten Commandments, like ten great cannons, are pointed at thee today, for you have broken all God’s statutes, and lived in daily neglect of all His commands. Soul! Thou wilt find it a hard thing to go to war with the Law…What will you do when the Law comes in terror, when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave, when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul, when the great books shall be opened, and all your sin and shame shall be punished? (Charles Spurgeon).
Our churches are full of the nicest, kindest people who have never known the despair of guilt or the breathless wonder of forgiveness (P.T. Forsyth).
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Attitude Is Everything When You're In A Tough Place!

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2).
If we have the right attitude, then every challenge and hardship that comes our way can be an opportunity to become a stronger believer. Satan often brings tests and challenges into our lives to defeat us. He has yet to learn that the very think he uses to defeat us is the very thing that enables our spiritual muscles to become strong!
 
When we resist the pressure of difficult circumstance with the Word of God, we grow a bit spiritually. When we choose to keep our chin up when things “go south,” we’re choosing to allow our spirit to override our fleshly responses, and we’re gaining ground in the spirit.
 
If you’re going through a hard time and you feel stuck, as though there’s no way out, look up! Expect the Father to make a way for you! Instead of whining and complaining about how hard it is, look up to the Father and give thanks for His goodness and expect Him to deliver you.
Your attitude in a test shows where your focus is! Don’t look the things seen and felt, look at the Word and God’s promises to deliver and help! 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 4:18).
He’s promised to never leaver or forsake us (Heb. 13:5); to be with us in trouble (Psalm 91:15); to be our very present help (Psalm 46:1); that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37); and to deliver us from difficulty (Psalm 37: 39-40).
A few years ago I was on top of a mountain in Ethiopia, in the midst of pouring rain, slogging uphill in mud. Inches of mud were caked on both feet. My clothes were soaked through. I was not happy! I thought about the importance of my attitude. I could not change the circumstance I was in. I had to go through it. So I just determined to use the experience as a spiritual stepping stone, and began to praise God for His goodness in my life, and for helping me get through this. It made the two and a half mile trek through the mud, rain, and cold much shorter!
 

Make sure your attitude point you to the Father and His Word during the challenges of today! If you do, tonight you’ll be stronger!