Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, more than a feeling

Today is a day of the celebration of love and all the relationships in our lives that are impacted by it.

For many, love is a feeling. We say things like, “I fell in love with you”, “I feel like I love you” and other such things these are not really love but the fruit of love. Love is not a feeling nor is it an emotion but it is a person.

Here is what the Bible says,

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7, 8

Now anyone can experience the fruit of love because God is here among all of us. Jesus went away to send the helper, the Holy Spirit, to come to us part of the fruit from Him is love. What a gift God has given even those who refuse to acknowledge Him. Even though they don’t know Him they can still know His fruit, love.

Part of the blessing of both the Holy Spirit’s presence on the earth and the measure of faith given to each one of us in Romans 12 is that despite our relationship or lack of relationship with God we can still feel love. He is love and He is here.

The tragedy is hell. Hell is not only a place of torment and darkness but also a place where love has abandoned everyone. Hell is the absence of God with the absence of God there is no love, no compassion, no grace, and no mercy. It is not simply the darkness, fire, and sulfur that make it such a horrible place but no one has ever felt what it is like to be in the absence of God, until hell.

We love because of God. Thank Him today for His love for you and that you can share that love with others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be careful what you say

Proverbs 13:3

He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

Thinking about the debates and the election coming up it reminds me of how much trouble we get into when we talk before we really have thought things through.

Someone wise once told me we have two ears to listen twice as much and only one mouth so we ought to speak half as much.

James challenges us that the tongue is untamable we need to be careful about how we use it. It is easy to complain. It is easy to say critical or harsh things to people or about them. What we say is only a sign of who we are.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) It is not so much a problem of taming our tongues as it is developing the right attitude. There is a choice that we have to make many times per day and that is to trust the Lord or not.

When we tear someone down we are merely revealing the insecurities of our own heart. When we are critical (from a negative point of view) we are merely showing our fear.

Secure your heart in trusting the Lord and you will tame and guard your tongue.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart don’t lean on your own understanding acknowledge Him in all of your ways and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The good way or the best way?

In Acts chapter 1 we have the story of the disciples picking the replacement for Judas.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and
Let another take his office.”

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

History tells us that Matthias was a good choice but not necessarily the Lord’s choice. Matthias served the people well; he was a good deacon but did not function at the level of an apostle.

The apostles chose him by lots, kind of like praying, “God, as I flip the pages in my Bible, show me what you want to say to me today!” God can speak to you that way and any time you are reading the Bible is a good thing but what the Lord is looking for is maturity, we need to be seeking God rather than trusting chance to be a “God-word”.

God had a perfect choice, Saul. Saul was a persecutor of the church but God saw a man who was hungry for truth and had a heart to honor the Lord. It is important to seek God for our choices because often we can not see all that God sees. God saw in Saul, a Paul who would be willing to lay down his life for the Body of Christ. The Church saw only a persecutor.

God has given you wisdom, intelligence, and a command of knowledge in many areas but even in those things we need to seek God first. He knows all things so why not ask Him. He may have a better plan.

Proverbs 3:5 - 7 says this

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil”

God always has a plan. He sent his Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Trust Him for your best decision. Don’t settle for a good decision.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Really listen!

James 1:19, 20

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”

Some one once told me that God gave us two ears so we might listen twice as much and one mouth so we might speak half as much.

Most relationships need to take this passage to heart. Much of what Paige and I need to do when counseling people is to teach them to listen to one another. Hearing and listening are often two different things. You may acknowledge that a person is speaking to you but when you really pay attention to what they are saying you are beginning to listen.

We get into trouble because we do not listen to one another and then we response without really understanding what the person is saying. Many of the walls in relationships are built because we have been too quick to speak and have not truly listened to the person.

Here is a exercise to practice; when someone is speaking to you, fight thinking about your response. Focus in on what they are saying. Many times people will say one thing and mean something totally different or they will say one thing looking for a reaction from you and will make a decision as to what more they will share with you based on your reaction. If someone is taking the time to talk with you, it is important that we learn to listen.

God is always listening to us. He knows our hearts. He knows how to respond. You will know how to respond to someone if you really listen to him or her. If you have a habit of judging quickly before you know their heart chance are you will do the same to God.

Practice listening, it may change every relationship in your life.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Lord is our defense! He will defend and restore all that has been taken!

Have you ever had times where all you were trying to do was the best you could and be the person God has called you to be then out of no where you are attacked, your character assassinated, or the promotion went to someone else.

It is easy to wonder, “why me?” or “what did I do wrong”. It is never wrong to search your heart. David cried out for the Lord to search his heart to see if there is any wicked thing in him. We always want to grow. While none of us love discipline, Hebrews tells us that God disciplines those He loves. Our growth does come through difficulties but the Lord is always there to comfort and encourage.

What about times when the enemy continues to harass. When it seems he is getting away with so much and there is no hope. God will always come to your defense.

In the small book, Nahum (it is only 3 chapters), the prophet is burdened, God’s people have been harassed by the Assyrian army. The Assyrians were a brutal, arrogant people. Despite their brutality and ungodliness, God used them to return Judah back to Himself. Once they were serving him again God rose to their defense and was against them and restored all that had been stolen from them.

God says twice to the Assyrians, “I am against you” This is to say, you will no longer harass my people, they are no longer their own defense, I am.

God is merciful. When the Lord spoke to Nineveh (the capital of Assyria), they could have repented but they refused. People, governments, and nations only have hope because God is with them. When we stand against God for so long, His patience wears, because He loves, He warns, and if it is not heeded, He acts.

God loves your enemies. He is always giving them time to repent. He is always talking with them, while they are causing you difficulty, trying to get them to repent. If they do not, He will defend you and not only defend you but restore what has been stolen!

You are His child. He loves you and as He said of Judah, (Jacob) He “will restore the excellence” of His people.

Going through a hard time? Be patient, ask God to show you what He is doing. Know that He will rise to your defense and restore all that has been stolen.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fasting Day 21 the last day!

You have made it! Congratulations! I know some have struggled and stumbled but you picked yourself back up, fasted, and prayed. You have spent more time building your relationship with the Lord! You have sacrificed time and energy to do what He has called you to do.

Expect abundance in return!

Mark 10:29, 30

“So Jesus answered and said, “ Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life”

Jesus was talking with his disciples Matthew 6, explaining to them what God does when people give (verse 3), pray (verses 6, 7) and fast (verses 16,17).

18 “…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Please expect great things in your life from the Lord.

I would also ask that the habit of praying, reading scripture and generally just being with the Lord would be one that you continue even though the fast has ended. God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Start doing the things God has shown you that are your gifts! Be bold! Believe for miracles! Overcome the junk! Expect great blessing!

Fasting has spiritually, matured you expect to hear and understand the Lord on a much deeper level.

Thank you for taking the risk and for doing something different! Expect the different results in your life!

Read Acts 23 and 24 Paul’s boldness caused even leaders to fear the man of God. Watch and see what God will do for you!

More testimonies will be coming over this entire year, as like Daniel, we have prayed and fasted and at the right time God releases the blessing. Just because the fast is over does not mean the blessing will stop. We are only beginning. Look for them and you will see them! Expect them and they will come!

The things that are impossible with men are possible with God!

Please pray today for

- Pray for the 2012 elections
- Choose another family in our church to pray for (we have approximately 150 families, praying for 21 should not be a problem)
- Pray for the power of God to flow in our lives, in the Mon Valley, and in our church. I know I keep repeating this but I believe it is one of our greatest needs.
- Pray for every person to know their calling and begin operating in it, in our church!
- Pray for that portion of the fruit of the Spirit that is “Peace”
- Choose a country with a “W, Y, or Z” name to pray for today (find out information by going to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fasting Day 20

God will give you a boldness and confidence in being a Child of God!

Read Acts 21 and 22. The apostle Paul shows confidence and boldness all that he does with both friend and foe.

Proverbs 28:1

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion”

Daniel 11:32b

“but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”

You have spent 19 days so far seeking the Lord. There should be a confidence in who He is to you and who you are to Him that has built in you. God speaks to us through the prophet/statesman Daniel saying if we know God we will do great exploits.

Every prayer you pray will be heard and answered. They may not be answered the way you want them but they will be answered. God will lead you, perhaps not where you thought you wanted to go. Both the answers and the leading will be exactly perfect for you!

Our relationship with the Lord should be one of confidence knowing without hesitation that God is good, He is with me and for me, and He has a great plan for me. He loves all the people you see everyday and wants them to come to know Him. You are the vessel He wants to use to rock their world.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” Joshua 1:9

Pray for boldness to rise up with in you; a boldness not based in pride but in presence, His presence in you.


Please pray today for

- Pray for Speaker of the House – John Boehner
- Choose another family in our church to pray for (we have approximately 150 families, praying for 21 should not be a problem)
- Pray for the power of God to flow in our lives, in the Mon Valley, and in our church. I know I keep repeating this but I believe it is one of our greatest needs.
- Pray for the “gifts of the Spirit” to flow freely and clearly in our church
- Pray for that portion of the fruit of the Spirit that is “Joy”
- Choose a country with a “U or V” name to pray for today (find out information by going to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fasting Day 19

God wants to fill you with power!

Acts 1:8 tells us “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”

It is the power of God that makes a difference between Christianity and any other faith. The power of God heals, delivers, restores, but most importantly saves.

As long as we believe God’s power is for other people and not us, we will continue to live under a mindset of limitation. God’s power is distributed to all who are willing to submit to Him. It is God’s desire that every man woman and child come to Know Christ. It is His desire that people see Jesus in you and me. It is God’s desire that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. All of these things and more are His plan for you. It takes the power of God to make it happen.

Read Acts 19 and 20.

There are many difficulties we will face, because Satan wants to destroy us, our flesh hates us following God and people want us to all stay at their level. If we allow the power of God to flow through us then we will always overcome.

Your power will be linked to two things; your humility and love. God resist that proud but gives grace to the humble. God is love. It is His very character. We become most like Him, as we love.

Please pray today for

- Pray for Senate Majority Leader – Harry Reid
- Choose another family in our church to pray for (we have approximately 150 families, praying for 21 should not be a problem)
- Pray for the power of God to flow in our lives, in the Mon Valley, and in our church. I know I keep repeating this but I believe it is one of our greatest needs.
- Pray for our “Go” team. You may not know who they are but this is the committee in the church that supports our missions outreaches.
- Pray for that portion of the fruit of the Spirit that is “Love”
- Choose a country with a “T” name to pray for today (find out information by going to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fasting Day 18

Expect God do destroy legalism and Pharisaic thinking.

Here is a bit of an odd scripture that I believe deals with this.

Jeremiah 17:14

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise”

Legalism is a curse, a disease of the spirit. Most of it is routed in a wounded heart that is trying to control God and people. I know that the word “legalism has also been used by people in rebellion who do not want to submit to authority as well so it is a fine balance of love and self-control.

It is not only Christians that can be legalist. Read Acts chapter 18 and 19 and see the legalism that Paul encounters and how he handles himself and those in bondage.

Love is our ruler to measure whether we are legalists or not. You can even be legalistic about not being legalistic. However, as you press into God it is easy to see what is true faith and what is deception. Place your love for God and his children above all else. Ask the Lord to keep you heart in check.

God may challenge some of your thinking. He may show you ways that you have put Him in a box. Allow the Lord to stretch you and cause you to press more into him. Psalm 103 tells us the difference between those who have true relationship verses those who may be legalist. “the children of Israel knew God’s acts but Moses knew God’s ways”

Please pray today for

- Pray for the union leaders and the unions in our region. Much of protection of and representation of the work force of this region is dependent on the unions. I know some of you have difficulty with this which means you should especially pray!
- Choose another family in our church to pray for (we have approximately 150 families, praying for 21 should not be a problem)
- Pray for the power of God to flow in our lives, in the Mon Valley, and in our church. I know I keep repeating this but I believe it is one of our greatest needs.
- Pray for Cornerstone TeleVision and all the other Christian Television ministries on your cable or satellite system. Many people will watch and receive strength and encouragement but they too need to be encouraged.
- Pray for that portion of the fruit of the Spirit that is “Self-Control”
- Choose a country with a “S” name to pray for today (find out information by going to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html