Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30 Thought for the day....complete the work

There is always so much on my plate, as I am sure there is on yours. The enemy often can not get a maturing Christians to fall away, but he will do his best to keep us distracted or busy, so we do not complete the work the Lord has for us. I heard this many years ago and have believed it since, "the enemy of best is good." I never want to settle for good when God wants my best. Paul makes it clear that if we are willing, God will make that happen. Philippians 1:6

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"

We have two days until we start a new year. What do you have that has been left undone, spiritually? You might be thinking its impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Paul's word for "confident" here means "to be completely sure, to have an absolute conviction" that He is going to complete the work you started together at the beginning of the year.  Think for a moment, what had God begun to walk you through? If you are a willing vessel. If you are open to the Holy Spirit's guidance. You should, like Paul, have total confidence that He can and will complete that work in you.

He doesn't want you bringing last years work, garbage, limitations, or stuff into this year. His plan for the New Year is amazing, if you will allow Him to complete this year's work in you over the next two days.

Consider this promise, He began a good work in you and He will complete it! Your job; believe, agree, and allow Him to do it!

Start the New Year with a fresh start! Complete the work and look for the new coming your way!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December 29 Thought for the day.....letting go

Periodically, Paige and I will clean things out. Throwing away things that we had saved but really are of no value. At one time we may have thought they were important, but as time goes by, we realized they aren't or they have out lived their usefulness. Paul encourages us to do that with our emotional and spiritual lives as well.

"....For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8

The word that we translate "rubbish" in Greek really means, "the most disgusting vile things you can think, human waste, rotting corpses, vile garbage, animal dung", the things that are most disgusting of refuse.

Paul is challenging us to look at all the hurts, bitterness, wounds, unforgiveness, and even our accomplishments prior to Christ and to let them go. We should count them as garbage in order to receive from the Lord all of the amazing things He has for us.

Prior to Christ we did our best and in the process picked up a lot of bad habits, trust in ourselves (rather than God), hurts, wounds and rejections. All of which, will limit our openness to allowing God to flow through us in great anointing and power.

Make room for the Holy Spirit and all the Lord has for us but starting the New year out right. Let go of your abilities, attitudes, wounds, unforgiveness and all the human trappings. Choose instead to grab onto God with both hands and prepare for His power to flow through you. Your old stuff may have seemed important long ago but if you are willing to let go, God will amazes you with the new He wants to give.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28 Thought for the day....overcoming negative stuff

As we prepare to enter another new year, are there some changes in your life you would like to make? Is there some emotional or other baggage you don't want to carry into the new year with you?  Jesus was having a discussion with His disciples about dealing with sin and offenses. They struggled with having enough have to overcome these things so asked to how to increase their faith, Jesus' response...Luke 17:6

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The word "say" here means to, "shout out loud with conviction and authority", "to make a firm command". Jesus is telling us, if there is something in our lives we want to get out of our lives we must have enough conviction to believe it so completely in our hearts that we speak out loud with authority, saying we will not have this bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness, lust, greed, whatever the baggage we are carrying, controlling us anymore.

We have to begin to accept personal responsibility for our sin, bad moods, areas of emotional baggage. We need to understand God's promises for our lives, His word for our lives and say "No more". Standing on His promises and taking our authority in Christ, daily, changes everything. We choose what offends, what sins we allow, what unforgiveness we bear. Jesus is telling us to speak against those things with conviction of heart, believing God's promises, His Word and they will be pulled out by the roots. The key is we must decide and we must do it.

Make the change this year. Be come the free person God wants you to be. Make the decision today to start the new year fresh.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 27 Thought for the day.....being thankful

How quickly have your children or grandchildren forgotten about the excitement of Christmas morning. Do you remember even what you had gotten just a couple of days ago. For a bigger challenge do you remember what you were given for your last birthday or Christmas. Someone gave time energy and thought into finding you the gifts you have received. How many wonderful gifts does the Lord give us everyday? How often are we truly thankful?  Paul writes

"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Paul is using the word for "everything" that means, "in every detail, in the smallest of things", or in other words "in every circumstance", be thankful

The word Paul uses for thankful is a combination of two words one that simply means to have a "good feeling" and the other means "grace" When combined Paul's sense is this, someone who is grateful for an outpouring of overwhelming good feeling". Add to that "in every circumstance".

Thankfulness is a choice. Because of how blessed we are and God's great love for us, we need to begin to choose to be thankful in every circumstance. We need to remember that God is in control of our lives and He has a plan. Thankfulness is also built around trust, we will only be as grateful as we are able to trust the Lord.

Take time to look at all your blessings. Take time to look at all of your challenges. Know that God has blessed you and you can be grateful, in advance, that He can handle your challenges, if you will only trust Him!

Monday, December 26, 2016

December 26 Thought for the day.....being different is OK

Being a team player is not always easy. Many men especially have the "lone wolf" mentality. We are far better together, are able to accomplish so much more, and encourage the use of everyone's gifts when we work as a team. Paul stresses that in 1 Corinthians 12;12

"For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ."

The word Paul uses for "many" in this verse describes both "huge quantities" as well as "great variety."  Paul is telling the church not only are there significant numbers in the church, each called by God with a specific purpose but there are multitudes of different types of giftings that are individually from God for the purpose and need of fulfilling the unity of the Body of Christ.

Some people believe that unity is when we all walk in lockstep together, acting and speaking exactly the same. Paul's description here is saying there are so many people and such a wide variety of gifts that the Body to be whole must make use of all of these people and gifts.

True unity does not mean that we all look and act the same. Instead, true unity is every person and every gift being fulfilled so that we are all unity in cause and passion. This is so strong that all hostilities and disagreements are set aside, and every gift, anointing, talent, personality is connected to honor and glorify God and to fulfill each of our destinies. The results are an amazing valuing and honoring of each other and God and an impact in the world that has never been seen.

I believe this is possible and that God has given the church a window of opportunity right now to make this happen. You are a gift and needful in my life and the life of the church as a whole. You are not expected to be anything or anybody other than who God called you to be, but you are expected to use all of that for the purpose of building up the Body and honoring God. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

December 23 Thought for the day...the real reason to celebrate

I love Christmas. It is a time of the year, where if kept in perspective, is truly the most joyous time. There is an anticipation among nearly everyone, of celebration. We read the story in Matthew and Luke and it comes to life. Today I want to share a different verse to remind us of the power of this story. 

Paul writes something a profound Christmas message to the Philippians in 2:7.

"but made Himself (Jesus) of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."

Paul is verifying to us first, that before the baby was born in a manger, Jesus already existed. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have eternally existed before anything else was, God was!

"Made of no reputation", before the baby, Jesus in all his power and glory would not have been able to be in the presence of human beings. Paul is saying here that Jesus divested, relinquished, vacated certain things in order to come and live in human form or else mankind would not have been able to be around Him.

Christ literally "taking on the form", took from His own creation a form of humanity so He might be able to live among us. Not in just any form but that of a slave. The Almighty, all-powerful God who created everything surrendered glory to reveal His character, His heart, His love to all mankind.

He did this in the "likeness of men". Hebrews 4:15 explains why He did it this way. He not only took on the appearance of mankind but was like mankind in every way, being able to feel the same suffering and temptations we battle as well. He did it all so He could stand and take on all sin for us as our high priest.

That is the greatest gift of the season and a wonderful reason to celebrate regardless of what you may be going through. He really loves you!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December 22 Thought for the day....being kind

This should be an easy thing to do this time of year, Some times what happens in the midst of celebrating the birth of our savior the one who loved us enough to die for us, we lose the meaning. We can get short tempered, anxious, or even mean. Today I want us to keep kindness in mind.

In Ephesians 4:32 Paul writes this

"Be Kind to each other..."

This simple phrase will help our Christmas celebration to be so much more amazing. What Paul states with "be", our English doesn't quite express the full meaning. The word Paul uses signifies, constantly becoming, always being, in other words to always be in the process of becoming.

In this case what we are constantly becoming is "kind".  Paul chose the word, "chrestos" for kind here. It goes beyond what we think of as kind to also mean, useful, good, worthy, and benevolent. It is the same word that he used in describing the fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5:22.

A way to interpret this scripture that is totally in line with the meaning is, "If something is important to my loved one, I'll do my best to make it important to me."

Kindness is not something we generally grasp over night but it is here a command from God for us. It can be hard to keep this in mind with all the expectations we have, but a little kindness can trump much preparation and be remembered far longer as well.

Have a Merry Christmas and a kind one as well!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21 Thought for the day...handling the holidays

It is Christmas time, a time of great joy, excitement, and stress. Today's thought may help you deal with the stress of family and expectations.

Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians 14:40

"Let all things should be done decently and in order."

Paul's reference here is how things should be done in the church. I think that we can apply the same principles to everything that takes place over the holidays. So much of the stress we put ourselves through is because we don't honestly assess how we are feeling or speak lovingly and honestly to the family and friends we spend time with over the holiday.

Paul's use of the word "decently" in the Greek implies, being real, honestly and handling things properly. It is hard to be fake for a long period of time. We hurt our relationships when we are not real nor honest in a loving way.

The word Paul uses for the phrase "in order" means to be respectful, courteous, differential, and organized. If we can not allow things to get away from us, prior planning prevents poor performance. Being on edge will add to our stress and tension but taking the time to plan but not so intensely planned that you forget to treat family and guest with courtesy and respect.

In other words allow your times together to be real and honest organized but flexible enough that your family and guest are treated with courtesy.

Let your holiday be filled with peace, less hectic and more like Jesus. After all He is the "prince of peace" and wants your home filled with peace especially at this time of year

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16 Thought for the day.....generosity

Christmas is an amazing time of year. The lights, trees, decorations, celebrations and even "Merry Christmas" is making a come back. The love and joy of the season is poured out in so many ways, generosity is definitely one of those ways it is shown. 

As Christians we should recognize that everything we have has come from God. He supplies freely and generously so we ought to not fear being generous. God will not be outdone by our generosity.

Paul stresses this idea in Romans 12:13

"distributing to the needs of the saints,...."

The Holy Spirit speaking through Paul challenges us to "distribute" the tense and the root of the word encourages us to continually give financially to help those less fortunate than we are. I know many in America feel they are poor. Around the world many in the third world survive on $3/day or less. Even the poor among us are much more blessed than even many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in India, Central Africa, China, and many places in South America. We are challenged to recognize we are blessed and should trust God to supply not fearing being generous.

The Holy Spirit stresses our main priority here too, the saints! We are to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ first as they are our family. It doesn't mean that we don't care for others but as 1 John 3;17,18 states 

"But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

God has been so generous to us, Paul is simply stressing that we have been blessed for a reason. I believe that reason is because He trusts us with blessing and expects that we will be genius to others.

Know that with every gift, every donation in the offering, every dollar in the kettle you are fulfilling a command from God and he will not be outdone by your generosity. Look for the blessing coming back.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December 15 Thought for the day....dealing with our work

We know that we are to love God heart, mind, soul, and strength. At church, with our families and friends. We get that, but how does that play out in the work place or with the work we do in life? 

Paul writes to the Romans this challenge...Romans 12:11

"Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically." 

Everything we do reflects the Lord, our work ethic should do the same. I have been working since I was 12 years old and for much of my adult work career have worked two jobs. I was taught to always be an example of Jesus in everything I do. At the same time, I rarely missed a sporting event in which my kids were participating and never missed a band or choir concert and made the most of every minute with family. I believe if you work hard enough you will be a success, it doesn't mean you will have all the "things" of life but you will have blessed your family, and the Lord, and can hold your head up.

Paul had to deal with a poor work ethic in Rome. The word "lazy" reflects a lackadaisical, apathetic, "do nothing" attitude, with the inference of expecting things handed to them. It is the same word Jesus used for "wicked" in Matthew 25:26. When God gives a person health, gifts, wisdom and they also have responsibilities and are too lazy to work, they are "wicked". Wickedness has no place in the life of a Christ-follower whether it be serving the church or a boss.

"Work hard" is being "attentive", faithful, the idea of reacting quickly to the requirements or needs. It is being whole-hearted in your work or serving.

Serving the Lord enthusiastically - the KJV says "fervently", is a reference to "boiling" as if deep inside you are driven to perform everything you do with excellence. It implies always having the right attitude.

This is just as important as sharing your faith, because being a living example is an excellent step to allowing people to see Jesus, (Matthew 5:16)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 14 Thought for the day.....dealing with loving one another

A number of years ago I pastored a church where many young men from difficult backgrounds started attending. I grew up with a "Brady Bunch" kind of family. Most of these young men had never known real unconditional love from a Father. Their lives were so different from mine but the way I was able to reach them was telling them, "I love you" and showing them my love for them was authentic. It radically changed our church. I believe this was Paul's challenge to the church in Romans 12:10

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another"

In the Greek, Paul's use of the phrase "kindly affectionate" means a love that is authentic, sincere, tender, and warm. This kind of love is expressed as friends that should love each other as family. He further stresses that point with "brotherly love". The Greek meaning behind the phrase is loving like a brother or sister.

This is tough in the American church, because we are taught to keep our space, to remain private, to not get involved, afraid to let people get too close for fear they won't like us. Paul pushes that mindset aside with the next phrase, " in honor giving preference". The idea here is that you love so much, you work to help others to succeed and rejoice when they do, you admire, esteem, respect someone so much that you only want the best for them.

Don't you wish church was like that? It doesn't start with someone else. It begins with you. Love authentically like we are family, look for and help others succeed, admire and respect everyone, and believe in them as if they are family. 

We each make the difference as we trust God enough to love one another.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 13 - Thought for the day.....dealing with evil

There is both good and evil in the world. Just a few minutes watching the news ensures us that there is evil and following the life of a true Christ-follower should remind us of good.

In yesterday's "thought" I mentioned overcoming hypocrisy is really about love. Love can not be real love unless you love enough to stand for those you love and against evil. Paul says in part "b" of Romans 12:9

"Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."

"Abhor" is not a word I use everyday but Paul's use here is strong. The intent is to stand against, don't allow, be repulsed by, anything that would be evil. It is to completely back away from anything that is evil. The culture in the Middle East at this time, was Roman which is actually not unlike our culture today. Pleasure at the sacrifice of others and selfishness were the norm and this is what most Christ-followers came from. I know it may seem cliche but the idea would be; if Jesus were standing beside you, would you be doing what you are doing. If it is something you know to be wrong, then you should not simple stay away from it but be repulsed by it.

What is evil? Anything that goes directly against what God's Word says. Anything that could potentially harm, body, mind, or spirit. Anything that would hinder you from fulfilling the destiny God created for you, anything that would limit the love, joy, and peace God has planned for you. Practically, think about what you watch on TV, what you view on the internet, the conversations you have with others...evil or good?

In our culture we are surrounded by so much evil how do we overcome? The word Paul uses for "cling" means to glue or cement something together so tightly that it can not be separated. It suggests also working at "clinging to the good". 

The good are the things that the Bible outlines that are beneficial and a strength to body, mind, and soul. These are the things that are profitable to you being fulfilled, blessed, and for you to live out your destiny.

Take time to notice both the evil and the good around you. How do certain TV shows, movies, conversations, things on the internet make you feel? The more time you spend with the Lord the more you can tell the difference between the evil and the good, real lasting love, joy, and peace, versus the temporary versions our culture offers.

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12 - Thought for the day....hypocrisy

One of the reason I hear often for people not wanting to come to church is hypocrisy. This really baffles me because there is more hypocrisy in the world than in the church. Entertainers who decry environmental issues yet drive in limos and fly in personal jets. Politicians who vow they care about the poor yet have made their career by passing legislation that keep the poor in bondage to government. 

I will give them this, the church should always be as trustworthy, truthful, and lacking hypocrisy as is possible. How do we stay free from hypocrisy? Paul has the answer

Romans 12:9a "Let love be without hypocrisy."

To understand hypocrisy we must understand love first. Have you ever had a friend who you loved that has gossiped about you, or attacked your character to others behind your back? Anyone can fail in a relationship but if on confrontation they lie to you about their failure their relationship with you is hypocritical. 

The word for the love God has for us and we should have for him and our Christian family is "agape". It is the highest, most noble, and most genuine type of love. Our culture has distorted love to almost make it dirty. This love occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in someone for another that they are compelled to love. This is what Jesus was talking about in John 3:16 and John talked about in 1 John 3:18.

This kind of love; honors, respects and values a person for who they are and would sooner be wounded themselves than wound another. It is hard in our culture to love and receive love this way, but if we want to live free of hypocrisy we must learn this kind of love for each other

Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10 - Thought for the day....beating the devil

I don't know that there are too many things more misunderstood among the body of Christ then the role the devil plays. I feel at times we become the church of the devil rather than Christ because we spend more time focused on him than Jesus.

James writes 4:7......"Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

When James chose to use the word we translate as "resist". our english doesn't quite capture the meaning. He is saying, Stand against his attacks on your thoughts with everything you have, believing God's Word above every lie and temptation. We are to defy the operation of the devil at every level. It is implied that as we dig in our heels and choose to believe the Lord we drive the devil back out of our lives.

The word used here for devil basically is a description more than a name. It means one who continues to chip away. Like someone using a hammer and chisel to break through a wall. That is the way he works, continually chipping away until we resist or give in.

James writes if we do this the enemy will "flee" which is to run away like a criminal who breaks the law is running from punishment. You see the devil is afraid that if a believer really stands, the devil himself will be forced to bow to the power of God and in His word in the believer so he runs before being trapped.

God's word is powerful. A person who believes in God's Word and love of God having real relationship with God is the greatest fear of the enemy.

Start realizing who Christ is in you. Drive back the devil, don't allow him to chip away at you, cause him to fear Christ in you!

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9 - Thought for the day....healing

We all battle sickness at one time or another. Many who have read their Bibles are familiar with the many instances of divine healing Jesus, the apostles, and the early church saw in their ministry.

Is healing for today? If so, why don't we see it as frequently as in the New Testament. If we believe the Bible to be a "living" book then the scriptures are just as true today as they were when written. Jesus commanded those who would follow Him to "lay hands on the sick and they will recover" (Mark 16:18)

We need to pray and believe for those with mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical difficulties to be set free. God will do it through those who believe.

James gives us the reason why some may not be healed. This is not the reason for all, some it is timing, others God has a unique plan for, and others God may be looking more long term at their lives for greater impact. Here is what James says

"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." James 5:14,15

The idea here is that someone is so desirous to be healed, they are expecting a miracle, so they urgently ask for prayer. When asking for prayer it is our job to believe that God really wants to heal us and that we are important to Him.

The Elders (according to the Greek word used here) are the leadership of the church, those who have been chosen by God to lead, in positions of authority so they are functioning under their God anointed, authority, when praying.

"Praying" is the passionate, fervent, belief in the God who heals. Knowing that He is listening and watching what is being done.

The "anointing with oil" is a symbolism, throughout the Bible oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit's presence. In other words, when the elder is praying, anointing with oil, they are standing in the place of Jesus, acting on behalf of Jesus, and moving in His authority to defeat this enemy. We are ambassadors of Christ. So like any ambassador, we function with the full authority of the King. 

Begin to believe today that you are important to God. Expect Him to bring healing to your mind, body, soul, and spirit when needed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 8 - Thought for the abundance of joy

Have you ever been so happy you almost want to burst? Joy, elation, happiness, excitement are all within the purview of appropriate Christian responses.

Between you and me, this is one of my big problems with much of the contemporary Christian music. It seems we have trouble writing up beat, exciting music filled with joy. Our Pastor friend, James mentions about having an abundance of joy.

"Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms." James 5:13

The word translated cheerful here, should be expressed, having so much joy that you can not contain it. I can't imagine the shepherds seeing the angels and hearing that God has "good news of great joy for all people", and the shepherds not being about ready to burst with excitement.

God is a God of abundance and miracles. Miracles happen in our lives every day, if we will but take the time to notice them it won't be long until we too are about to burst with great joy.

The phrase for singing psalms is really more like simply singing at the top of your lungs or banging out a tune that whether anyone else enjoys it or not, it is expressing the fullness of joy in your heart. So go ahead make some kind of joyful noise. Do it with everyone around or no-one but let your joy be full.

Remember the angels words, "Good News of great joy for all people" We have the good news, let's celebrate always with great joy!

December 7 - Thought for the day....talking about your troubles

It is good to have close friends, pastors, and/or counselors with whom we can openly and freely share our troubles and difficulties. Some times just having that sounding board helps us process some of what we are walking through.

James, the pastor in the epistles challenges us with a thought about our troubles.

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray." James 5:13

The word suffering here is often talked about as sickness but the meaning is actually much more than that. It really means any kind of difficulty, mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical trial. In other words if you are facing any kind of duress, "pray".

Once again, it is great to talk wth people you can trust but some just want to talk and talk and never deal with their struggles. They just want the attention. James is saying, it doesn't matter what you are going through, if you really want answers, pray!

But the word for prayer here is more than throw up a few words to God. James word choice means much more than that, he is saying, "bring whatever your trouble is to God but be prepared to do whatever or give up whatever the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, then you will gain your freedom from your troubles.

In other words, if you have a struggle you are facing, talk with God about it, listen to Him, and expect to make changes in your life that He tells you to do, that will answer your need.

God has answers for all of our problems but we miss out on His answers because we throw up a simple prayer and expect Him to magically handle it, what He is expects, if we ask for answer is for us to wait for the answer and do what He tells us to do.

Got troubles? Wait for the answer, then do what He tells you to do. It simply a matter of God not only answering your trouble, but teaching you how to avoid it and overcome it in the future.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 6 - Thought for the day....winning battles

Every day we are in a battle. Some it begins with simply fighting to get out of bed. Others a battle to get motivated. For others it can be a series of personal attacks that happen against their nature and/or character throughout the day. We all end up in some kind of battle. Our battles could be internal or external but we will face something today.
Paul gives us a list of the armor of God and in his mention of these armaments he says this.
"above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."
Paul tells us to "take" the shield which is to say, we always have a choice to pick up faith and run with it, not in our own strength but His through us.
Paul is saying here, let your faith always go ahead of you in the battle. Faith is simply saying, "God I am afraid, I am having doubts, I am struggling" or whatever but then also saying "But God I want to trust you through this, help me!"
We win battles not by our strength, power, wisdom or whatever but instead by His. Pick up your faith today. Be honest with God about your fears and doubts and He will pick you up and get you through it all! You will win every time.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5 - Thought for the day....being tested

Quite often we blame our boss, our spouse, our neighbor, the devil or so many others for some of the tough places we are in. In the Gospel of John we see Jesus putting his disciples in a tough place to find out the metal of which they are made.

"Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do." John 6:5,6

By all accounts they were probably looking at actually feeding around 30,000 people. Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do but he wanted to see if the disciples had learned to trust and believe in Him yet. Jesus tested or "proved" His disciples.

When challenges come into your life, the reason doesn't matter. All that matters is do your trust God enough that He will bring your through it. Many of you have heard me say Christians don't have problems only opportunities for God to move. That is what we have, if we actually believe God is real and loves us. He will prove our "metal" to us so we can see where we stand in faith with Him.

He already knows but chooses to "prove" us so we will know where we have left to grow. Growing is a good thing, it makes us stronger and more like Him. Growing proves you are alive in Him!a

How are you going through the "proving" and growing today? Be the miracle God has called you to be allow Him to prove you so you can grow!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just because some one says they speak for God doesn't mean they do!

In 1 Kings 13 we have one of the most confusing text in the Bible. A young prophet of God came from Judah and spoke a word of judgment to King Jeroboam. The word is accurate and powerful with signs and wonders shown. 

As this young prophet is leaving, the narrative tells us that an older prophet comes to him and invited him to dinner, stating he Lord had commanded him to feed him. The problem is that the younger prophet was instructed by God to not eat or drink anything while in Israel, He was not to join with the people of Israel in anyway because of their great sin.


1) Why would one prophet ask another prophet to do something that God directly told the young prophet not to do?

2) Were both prophets, prophets of the same God?

3) How does something like this happen and is it happening today?

When Jeroboam became King of Israel he established an anti-God kingdom, setting up idols promoting idolatry, human sacrifice, homosexuality, lesbianism, and all types of sin. We find later under the reign of King Asa of Judah, that many from the north in Israel could not stand the sin and moved to Judah. The old prophet was one who stayed, he became comfortable under all of the sin of Jeroboam, rather than become more like the Lord, where he should have been the one to call Jeroboam on the carpet. He was comfortable with the sin in the land. 

If he was comfortable with the sin in the land how can he still be a prophet? Paul's letter to the Roman church answers that in 11:29 "For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn." When God distributes his gifts and anointing He does not taking them back (this explains Satan's power). This older prophet still had the gift of God of prophecy but was so comfortable in his sin and compromise that he could not really live the character of a godly man even though he had the gift. Character counts! Jesus warned us that people will have the power to perform certain signs and wonders, to speak prophetically, heal, cast out demons but that they would not be part of the Kingdom (Matthew 7:21-23). Just prior to that Jesus cautions us not to be amazed by people's action but by their character, their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20).

Both men were prophets of God. Both had the gift of prophesy, however one man had the flesh ruling in his heart (perhaps jealousy was his motive), but the Spirit of God was not ruling his life and his character, despite the gift was compromised.

Does this happen today? Absolutely, the church today needs to be made much more aware of character than power. Character counts, how does a person treat their family? How does the non-Christian world view them? How do their neighbors see them? No one is perfect but the overall view of their actions, attitude, and representation, should be that of the character of Christ.

However it is not just individuals but the overall life of the church should be challenged. Many things even good things can compromise us as a church. Things like worship, Jewish heritage and traditions, entertainment, buildings, even the way we "feel" and projects are all good things in themselves. If the focus is on them rather than Christ and His call to the church then we are just like the old prophet, getting caught up in what is happening rather than the focus on the Lord.

We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach the world for Christ.This is the Father's mandate to us, yet so few Christians have lead anyone to Christ. The leadership of faith is to equip the saints for the work of service but are we equipping the saints for the work of service or to sit in one, watch one on tv or read their book? Don't get me wrong we need to attend church, worship, fellowship these are all vital parts of our growth as Christians. BUT....if we do not have a drive to introduce people to the God who sent His Son to die on a cross for us, because of His great love for us, what fruit are we really bearing? Love requires us to not allow people to go to hell. There is no peace for a Christ follower if there are people who don't know Him yet! How can we have real joy when we are not seeing lives affected by the life changing message of the cross.

Not every person who claims to follow Christ today is a real follower of Christ. Some are deceived and know it and some are deceived and don't know it. The difference is the fruit, pointing you to Jesus or to them? Challenging you to be like Jesus or codling you.

Ask yourself is the message of Jesus I am sharing with others through both actions and words or am I like the Old prophet, burdened under the sin of this age. Believing I am serving God when in truth, I am gifted but far from the one who gifted me?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Trusting God despite the division

The next few month's will be the perfect time to pray for our nation. 
There is great division among both Republicans and Democrats. Those of faith can pray and believe and overcome.
Please do not lower yourself to the vitriol and hatred pushed by the media. Spend time researching each candidate, not listening the the media rhetoric, this is a great time to be a witness to others even if you are in total disagreement with a candidate or the candidate they support.
Jesus supports and reemphasized the commandment to "Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength" Mark 12:30. We can be an example of that love in this season. 
We are very passionate for or against certain candidates but we must love God with our heart first. 
This season is all about choice and our choices are reflective of the condition of our souls. Believe it or not, God does have a choice here. Leadership is placed by God (Romans 13:1) but He gives us the power to be the light even when the leadership is dark. We have the power through Christ, not the government.
We have the ability to think, reason, imagine and that ability too is given by God. We are expected to make wise decisions and use understanding based on God's Word and the truth not what the media may say (both candidates are being fried by the media). Loving God with our minds means, not panicking but reasoning with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, the times and the seasons and what we as Christians ought to do.
We have great power in this country. We are given more power because of the freedoms we have, based on the founding principles of this nation, which came from God's Word. One of those powers, is the power to vote, we must not throw that power away, we must research, pray, and then vote based on the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. This way is part of loving God with all of your strength.
There is hope! Don't be afraid! God does have a plan but being negative, condescending, using the same vitriol, hatred and wicked approach the media uses to gain viewership, will not honor God. People will not see a true representation of Christ in you. When it comes down to it, can't we trust God?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Voting like a Christian

How is Tim going to vote?

I have been asked many times of the past few weeks and have refused to answer, mainly because I like to first research, then pray. I research first so I know how to pray. We have a number of people we will be voting for not just president.

I vote issues. I don't vote men or women, age, skin color, ethnic background, political party, nor how they grew up. What matters is what they believe in and how it relates to the Word of God. Please understand I don’t vote only for Christians. If I did I would hardly vote for anyone. Being a Christian is not about whether you claim to believe in God or claim to be a Christian. Jesus said if you love me you would keep my commandments. Keeping the commandants requires knowledge of God’s Word and living God’s Word. I am sorry to say it is rare in our political process today. However, there are some very devout men and women of God running for office. I believe I am responsible before God to vote for the ones who most reflect godly principles.

It is also critical to understand that I believe regardless of who is elected, God’s will, will be done. We have Israel as an example. God would allow godly and ungodly kings to rule over both Israel and Judah. Even the ungodly served His purpose in drawing the nation back to Himself. As a Christian my destiny is not held by who is in office but by God. I must do everything I can to surrender to him daily (take up my cross daily and follow Him) and be the salt and light to ultimately bring freedom to millions of people around the world. I do believe certain philosophies held by our government can make that easier or harder in the natural arena, so I vote.

Here are some of my issues (not all).


This is a core value in the Kingdom of God. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Moloch an ancient Ammonite god is still being worshiped today. Moloch required the sacrifice of children as an act of worship (1 Kings 11, 2 Kings 23, Jeremiah 32, and 49). Today we have sacrificed many under the guise of convenience; over 53 million children have been exterminated to the god Moloch in the United States alone. Our economy is suffering because 53 million who could be in the work force, 1/6 of our population are simply missing. Many are missing from art, science, engineering and other fields. Over half of those aborted have been female. So while this is done in the name of women’s rights it is at the same time an attack on women. 

It is genocide against African Americans; this is the real race war. African Americans proportionally are the largest group having abortions. African American women are 5 times more likely to have an abortion than white woman. While they make up 13% of the population, African American women have 36% of all the abortions, to me that sounds like genocide. Nearly 1/3 of the African American population is missing.

 Abortions have been linked to incidents of breast cancer. A Howard University study has shown that women who have had an abortion are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who have not. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation made a correct decision to stop supporting planned parenthood if they really do want to help stop breast cancer. Politics of abortion is not about rights or freedom it is about money.


The borrower is a slave to a lender (Proverbs 22:7). This is pure and undefiled religion that we care for widows and orphans (James 1:27). Our debt has been increasing over the last decade. Under President Bush his 8 year term gave us a deficit of 5 trillion dollars. Under President Obama’s 4 year term that deficit has grown and additional 14 trillion dollars. Our present deficit is over 19 trillion dollars. I can’t even grasp that number. We are in debt to China and others which makes us a slave to these governments. If we want to pressure them for human rights violations or for fair trade practices, they hold us by the throat because they hold our debt. This is not the worst of it!

Most of our debt is to Social Security. At least 2/3 of the debt we owe has been taken from our parent’s futures and ours. The widow’s money has been stolen and I can’t see, except for an extreme change in the way we spend money, that money will ever be returned. The widows and orphans have been robbed. Our future has been stolen. God can’t bless when we intentionally hurt the poor and widowed. It is defiled faith not undefiled! Printing more money does not solve the problem. President Obama believes that we are a household in trouble and the answer to our money issues is to pay our debts with a credit card. If we borrow more we can work our way out. Governor Romney believes we need to look at our spending and cut to come back to a place where we can afford to live. Both plans will cause us pain. Governor Romney’s will cause us pain as a country in the immediate future and President Obama’s will cause us pain in the future. Think about both of these approaches, if these were your personal finances which would you do to solve the problem?

Energy Independence

Jesus did not talk about energy independence, obviously, but I believe in some ways this also comes under the idea of being a slave of the borrower. As long as we are not independent with our energy needs we will always need to serve those who hold our “energy life” in their hands. Since President Jimmy Carter, every President has stated that we must become “energy independent”. Despite all of their best efforts it still hasn’t happened.

Much of the support for terrorism around the world comes from money that flows through these oil-producing nations. In effect, every time we purchase a gallon of gas we are in some aspects helping to fund terrorism against our own nation. 

More importantly the Gospel is being blocked because of the power these oil rich nations carry. Many are dying and going to hell because our support of their oil has kept them arrogant enough to block the Gospel. We have enough oil, natural gas and coal reserves in our own nation to carry us through hundreds of years, at least enough time where we can develop cleaner alternative power sources like solar, wind, fusion, and better batteries. I believe in alternative energy sources. I am cheap enough to believe I would like “free” energy like wind and solar and cheaper energy like fusion technology but to develop it to a marketable level is going to take more time. We have invested millions into solar energy companies that have failed us. I do not blame our President for this. I believe he simply believed in the wrong people. He has the right idea but we can’t do it that fast it is just not possible. To effectively and efficiently develop these alternative fuels is going to take time and much more research and development. I believe we can be there within the next twenty-five years with a correct plan but we must become energy independent now and not mourn over a lost dream.

Thousands have died because of our dependence on foreign oil. Millions have died without Christ because of our dependence on foreign oil. We have become a slave to foreign governments because our lack of insight.

Religious Freedom

In the United States last year a woman was fined and arrested because as a photographer who owned her own business, she was asked to photograph a lesbian wedding. It violated her religious beliefs so she turned down the offer to photograph the wedding. She was sued, thrown in jail, and lost her business. Her religious freedom was violated.

A pastor was holding a Bible study in his home. Cars were parked off of the street in his driveway. His Bible study was shut down and he was arrested for holding an illegal meeting.

This is America, we are given such rights by our creator. Our freedoms are being dismissed daily.

I am worried about our ability to have the free exercise of religion in America today. When claims came from wherever, that it was a movie that started the riots in Egypt and Libya. The man who produced the film was arrested and is still in jail. Where is freedom of speech and religion? The movie was stupid, ignorant, and poorly produced but that is part of the freedom we have in America.

We may say, “these things don’t affect me”. If we allow the rights of others to be violated it will not be long before our rights are violated and there is no one left to stand. Christianity and freedom are under attack in America and it must stop.

There are many more issues we must think about as Christians and Americans. These are the ones on the top of my list. Please pray before you vote. Vote as if the Lord were with you. 

Our Destiny

Please remember our destiny is not in the hands of whoever is elected on Tuesday April 26th and then again in November. However, it may make our jobs easier or more difficult. Our destiny is in God’s hands. I will pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for whoever is elected on Tuesday. I hope you will as well. If your candidate is not elected it is not the end of the world, it is simply a greater reason for you to pray more fervently. We are called to be salt and light and whoever is in charge does not control that we do! God will be always our God. Don’t allow the government to be your god! Your future is in God’s hands. Live like it is!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Listening for God

In the book of Samuel, the young boy Samuel, had never heard the voice of God...

"Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the LORD by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the LORD were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon. 2   One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3   The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle* near the Ark of God. 4   Suddenly the LORD called out, “Samuel!” “Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5   He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did. 6   Then the LORD called out again, “Samuel!” Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” “I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.” 7Samuel did not yet know the LORD because he had never had a message from the LORD before. 8   So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy. 9   So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed. 10   And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Samuel had the Lord talking to him personally and directly and he thought it was someone else. That happens to us more than we may know.

Here are three quick points from the story that may help you hear from the Lord.

1) Many times we believe God will talk with someone else but not us, so we don't expect to hear from Him but we must remember we are His children, His beloved, the pupil of His eye,   that His thoughts for us are more than the sands of the sea (all things listed in God's Word about us) of course He wants to talk with us.

2) Samuel thought it was Eli's voice he was hearing. Sometimes God speaks through others to us, it may sound like their voice but it really was Him.

3) Samuel was busy doing, it wasn't until he quieted himself and determined to listen to God (speak your servant is listening) that he really could hear from God.

Look for these things and you will learn to hear the voice of the Lord on a regular basis.