Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 28 Thought for the day...no deception

Not to be a pessimists, because most of us are not, but to simply be wise as Christians, you and I must understand there is deception everywhere. The Oscars are an excellent example a group of people who are lost, parading themselves to be wise, yet many of them with no real hope. They believe in the vain, very temporary, glory of stardom only as the star tarnishes they find they have no real value. It is the same thing with so much that the world considers valuable. Can you imagine what was going through Jesus mind as He stood before the rulers of His day? He was on trial but watched them in their deception? Jesus warns us that deception is only going to become worse.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you."

Jesus was preparing us for what will go on as we draw closer to His return. When Jesus is saying "take heed" it would be like anyone yelling "stop" in order to protect us from on-coming traffic. Jesus is getting our attention to make sure we understood that in every aspect of life, as the age comes to a close, deception will be rampant...entertainment, politics, education, and even religion. We must be aware.

The word used for "deceives" has the meaning to be lead astray, as if they once were walking the wise path but something happened and they no longer are on that path.  2 Thessalonians 2 gives us an idea of what some of that deception might be including believing lies instead of the truth. Does that sound familiar?

How do we protect ourselves from deception? The passage in Thessalonians tells us, "love of the truth"! God's Word is truth, Jesus is the truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. As we "read our Bibles", spend time in prayer, and learn to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us we will never be deceived. The only way for the world to see the truth is for us to walk in the truth. As we walk and live in this truth, people will be set free!

Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27 Thought for the day...not where I want to be but not where I was

Those of you who know me, know I am certainly a type "A" driven personality. I am always looking to be better, to have a more significant impact, to see more lives touched, and to help others fulfill their destiny. I am always looking forward. For me, that is a blessing, but for others, the idea of not being where we should be is a life full of regret. If you battle with not being where you should be then Paul has this for you.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" Ephesians 2:2

I don't know if any of us are where we want to be but that is what God's grace is for, to enable us to be patient with the Lord as He works all things for our good, causing our growth and maturity in His timing. Until then, Paul has written this passage.

Paul is reminding us of where we used to be so we recognize how far we have come. Our "walking" as defined here, we were entrenched in a lifestyle apart from the presence of God, in bondage to a worldly mindset, destined for hell. The implication is we were so enslaved by Satan that we were dominated, forced to serve him and his broken plan.

The word "spirit" is akin to the idea of the spirit of the age...the 1920's were called the "roaring twenties." The 60's were the Aquarian age or age of rebellion and experimentation, the 00's were the age of the bland. People were influenced by these "spirits." The non-Jesus world is being controlled by the spirits of this world.

"Following the course of this world" is about the overwhelming influences of culture, education and entertain. Helping us to understand that these things can control us if we are not Christ-minded in all we do.

Paul simply wants to remind us, Look, at one time you were entrenched in a lifestyle, mindset that kept you in bondage, bound by a spirit that was not God, being overwhelmed by the things of this world, that is who you were!. Today, you are moving in freedom, you are growing and reflecting Jesus, you are learning to walk in and understand His great love for you. You might not be where you want to be but rejoice you are not where you were! Rejoice today God is at work in you!  

Friday, February 24, 2017

February 24 Thought for the day....making the change

I love to read, I love to be challenged in my thinking but there are times when I have felt OK but the Lord has brought some conviction into my life. He brings it because there are things I am not seeing that will hinder me from fulfilling my destiny and my dreams. Generally, even though I know His challenge is good for me, it is hard to make the change. Hebrews shows us the answer to making the change.

Hebrews 12:1a

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance"

It is hard when we are comfortable to make changes. We love comfort. We love settling into things. We love coming to a place and believing we have arrived. As long as you are a Christ-follower and want to fulfill His call, He will constantly challenge you to grow to become more like Him. Guess what? It will take growth and change including laying things down. The writer of Hebrews is telling us to do exactly that!

The word for "lay aside" is made up of two Greek words that combine mean to lay something down and push it far away. There are things in our lives that hinder our growth, our destiny and ultimately the fulfillment of our love, peace, joy, and dreams. We must choose to lay it down and push it far away. God shows us His plan, correction, discipline, hope, or dream and to allow these in our lives we must choose to lay it down and push it away.

These are the "encumbrances" in our lives the weights that hold us back from God's greatness for us. The word that is used here leans toward the idea of an athlete who strips down to run a race. The writer is saying there are things that are part of us that we must tear away. A runner would go so far as to change diet to drop weight in order to win the race.

This verse could be translated, let us lay down and push aside everything in our lives working to eliminate anything that would stop us from the joy, peace, dream and destiny God has planned for us. There is always a cost. It is uncomfortable but as the great cloud of witnesses testifies, it will be worth the change!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23 Thought for the day...stinky fruit

In Malaysia and Zanzibar, there is a fruit called Durian. This fruit smells so bad just growing on the trees, nations have outlawed any part of it coming into their country. I have a friend that loves it but to me, it smells like a dead rotting animal and tastes like tuna fish that has gone bad. It is called "stinky fruit". Paul talks about something in our walk that can be just as putrid.

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

Paul's use of the word corrupt here means rotting, putrid, spoiled, decayed. It would be the idea of rotting animal flesh. Combined with the word "logos" which is greek for "word, communication", paints the picture of someone using corrupt communication that is putrid or disgusting to the recipient.

Paul is talking about gossip, racial and off-color jokes, slander, lying, foul and offensive language and other such forms of "communication". He is saying any such language being listened to and especially coming out of your mouth should be absolutely disgusting, rotten, stinky, to you!

Instead, everything that we say should be "edifying". This word means to build up and improve the state of the person involved. Basically rather than leaving a disgusting taste in your mouth, everything you say should leave a sweet taste in your mouth.

In this age of endless lies, slander, and vitriol it is hard to be different, to act Christ-like, but there is so much more at stake. The world is watching us, to see if there is truly any difference in a Christ-follower than a sinner, our hopeful, positive outlook, and language, should bring life to all around us as opposed to the death smell of the stinky fruit. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 22 Thought for the day...a double edged life

We often think about the other shoe dropping or waiting for the next thing to fall. God has a "double-edged" purpose for our lives and it is powerful.

Hebrews 4:12

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,"

The phrase "two-edged sword" appears in multiple places in the New Testament.  Literally translated, the phrase means two-mouthed. We see that illustrated in Revelation 1:16 "out of His (Jesus') mouth went a sharp two-edged sword," Why would Jesus have a sword coming out of his mouth rather than being in his hand.

Stay with me for a minute and you will understand the power of this verse.

In Ephesians 6:17 we are told the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The "word" is the greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly, vividly, and in unmistakable terms and undeniable language. In the New Testament, it also carries the idea of a quickened word. Has this ever happened to you? You have been in the middle of some difficulty, battle, or need and as you are praying the Lord reminds you of a verse of scripture, that is a rhema word straight from the mouth of God. It cuts through the question, the concern and cuts right to the heart to lead you to your answer.

As you think about this word, it begins to bring life, hope, and the return of your joy. As you speak that word, it pushes back the thoughts, clouds, and confusion that held you captive. God's word from his mouth brought life which is one side of the blade but as we believe it and apply it by speaking it out ourselves showing we believe it that it the other side of this blade. Together God speaking His word to us and we standing on His word and speaking it out are able to destroy any enemy that may try to overcome us. This is the power of living a double-edged life. James put it this way

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22

The word is a two-edged sword from God's mouth and ours as we learn to trust Him and it we change the world

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February 21 Thought for the day....the right strategy

I have written before about the battles we all are in. I have taught on spiritual weapons numerous times, but it takes more than spiritual weapons to win the battles we face. Paul outlines our strategy in 2 Corinthians 10:4

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,"

God's strategy for winning our battles is found in this one verse. We need to look at three words the first being "weapons." God has provided for all of us spiritual weapons that are both defensive and offensive. They are found in Ephesians 6:13-18. Paul takes the time to describe each of them one by one and details their purpose.

The next word is "warfare" which is the Greek word which means, strategy. The meaning behind this suggests that our battles are not accidental but strategic by God and also by the enemy. The enemy has strategic plans to attack us, but our warfare is divinely strategic from God. Think of Joshua and Jericho, (Joshua 6:1-27) or Jehoshaphat battling Ammon and Moab through obedience and praise crushed the enemy without even fighting a battle (2 Chronicles 20: 20-25). These were clear strategies from God that overwhelmed the enemy, ideas that were God-given. He will do the same thing for you, giving you unique strategies to overcome your enemies if you will trust Him.

Can you imagine an army of men and women who understand the weapons God has given and learn and follow God strategy? That army will change the world!

The last word "carnal" refers to anything from or of the flesh, anything that is natural or of an un-supernatural origin. Paul wants to make it clear that we can only win the real battles through spiritual weapons with spiritual strategies. We need to begin looking at some of our battles, addictions, struggles, and fights through a supernatural lens. Then begin to overwhelm the enemy through the weapons we have been given and the wisdom God gives in strategic ways, and we will win every time!

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20 Thought for the day....affections? desires?

Every TV/radio commercial has but one goal in mind, to get you to want their stuff. They do it in different ways; if you don't buy this, your will be in danger, if you don't buy that you are missing out on the perfect thing, if you don't buy this you are somehow less than all the others who have bought it. The list goes on and on. Jesus said where your treasure is there your heart will be. Paul challenges us this way. Colossians 3:1,2.

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth."

Some treasures leave our hearts broken, others scarred, some we can never recover from apart from a miracle. If God is our treasure and His desires for us, then we have found the best, perfect treasure for us. The word "seek" here means to put your whole heart into looking, to earnestly search. Paul is saying give everything to seeking Christ and the higher things.

Paul is alluding to the idea that we should completely refocus by "setting your affections on things above." This should more accurately be translated, set you thought life, your intellect on things above, deliberately choose beyond you emotions to trust in what God has for you!  Our emotions often get in the way. Our dreams and hopes get dashed we feel depressed and broken, but Paul is saying here....choose, make the choice intellectually, to look to God and his plan.

What are the things above? Christ is above, so are the Father, and Holy Spirit. Our rewards are above, so are all of those who have gone before us. Eternal life is above and all the amazing future that is for us. Blessings upon blessings and all of the promises of God our above and they are all ours if we will but choose to take our eyes off of the temporary trial, problems, limitations, temptations, and human plans and look higher.

God has so much more for us, and we settle for so much less. If our affections are set on the stuff of earth, then the stuff of earth will be our reward. If our affections are set on the stuff above and of God then the stuff of God, heaven will be our reward...the blessings, anointing, power, authority, gifts and so much more. The choice is ours!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 17 Thought of the day...do questions offend God?

Have you ever questioned God? There are plenty of things that we don't understand. When we walk through some hardship or difficulty it is easy to question God. Does God get angry when we ask Him questions? Even tough questions? James answers that question in chapter 1 verse 5.

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking."

Many people think that God is easily angered, waiting to punish us at any moment, as you learn the scripture, you begin to understand that God understands mankind more than mankind understands God.

The word "if" assumes that there are times where we will truly need answers. The word "need" describes that someone only possesses knowledge in a limited measure. Which of course means that there is a genuine lack that must be fulfilled. You may understand part of what you need, so some way you must gain more understanding in order to have all that you need. In other words, this could be interpreted "if any of you are short of what you need in wisdom.."

The word "wisdom" means special understanding to resolve and problem. When James is saying "ask" the Greek word is pretty intense, it means to "request adamantly, demanding assistance to meet tangible needs such as food, money, clothing and such". James is telling us that we can feel free to, not only ask the Lord for our spiritual needs and desires, but if we have a practical need we can ask the Lord for that as well.

The meaning behind "our" in this verse implies to "come along side". James in indicating here that we can ask God if we have any kind of need, as long as we are willing to have a posture of coming along side of Him. We must be close to Him if we are going to have our need met.

James completes the thought this way, "if you have any kind of need to resolve any kind of problem, as long as you are close to the Lord, He will gladly meet that need, never being angry because you simply have a need"

God is not afraid or offended by any question posed by those who are close to Him! Are you close to Him? Do you really love Him? If so, God will gladly answer any need or question you might have!

February 16 Thought for the day...God's got plans

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew the Lord was speaking with you, but for whatever reason, you didn't follow through? Have you ever known God's leading but didn't follow? We all have done it at one point or another. Paul challenges us with this thought

"Do not quench the Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Thessalonians with a list of final encouragement, each one as important as the next. This one is a particular challenge. The word "quench" means to extinguish, smother, suppress, douse, put out, snuff out, or to quell. It most often means to extinguish a fire by dousing it with water. If we continue to pour water on a fire, it will eventually die. Paul is warning us not to allow the same thing to happen to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The reason we are challenged to not allow the quenching of the Spirit is, every time the Spirit speaks in our lives it is to impact the world around us and to bless us at the same time. God has a powerful and wonderful plan for each of us, but as we grow in Christ, we must learn to follow His lead. The Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is; our guide into all the things of truth, He is the one who quickly convicts us to not hurt ourselves or others, He releases power and anoints, He gives comfort, health, and strength, and He births fruit in our lives.

These are all part of God's plan to bless us and bless our world through us. If we quench the Holy Spirit over and over again, eventually, we will not be able to hear Him or feel His nudging in our spirits, and we will miss so much God has for us. Job 42:2 tells us God's purposes will not be stopped. This means God will fulfill His plan, but if we refuse, He will work through someone else.

If you are not sure if you are hearing,  your own wants and desires or the Holy Spirit's ask those who are more mature in the things of God, your Pastors, church leadership, and others you can trust. Don't miss the blessings God has for you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15 Thought for the day.... we are at war

I know with so much war around the world the title for this thought may be obvious. Even if the world were at peace, as people of faith, we would still be at war.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh." 2 Corinthians 10:3

Paul is warning us here to be ever vigilant because we are in a battle. The word "walk" here implies simply something that is part of a daily routine, something comfortable and regular. In other words, our "walk" is our daily living is all about the flesh. Everything we do begins in the flesh. Even our prayers and other spiritual disciplines all must begin in the flesh. We must bring our flesh into the discipline of wanting to do the things of God.

However, we have to recognize in this war, even though we live in the flesh, we can not defeat the enemy in our own flesh. We must do battle with spiritual weapons. Shouting at the devil, physical and or fleshly actions do not affect spiritual forces. In Acts 19:14,15 the sons of a man named Sceva tried to cast out a demon, the demon said, "Jesus we know, Paul we know but who are you?" The demon proceeded to beat them up. Paul was not a big man nor powerful in appearance in any way, but he had a powerful understanding of winning the spiritual war. There is a very real war for the hearts and lives of people. We must recognize the war.

A quick view of some of our spiritual weapons, prayer, spiritual gifts, moving in the fruit of the Spirit, and of course, reading and living a life according to the Word of God. God's Word is true, and the battle we live daily depends upon our warring God's way!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 14 Thought for the day.....a true Valentine thought

Happy Valentine's Day! It is a day when we are supposed to be celebrating love but in truth, as a person of faith, every day should be a day that we live, love! Some days we have a hard time feeling or knowing that love from the Lord and that is why today's verse is so vital..

"Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Have you ever been driving in an area with which you are unfamiliar? Traveling from one place to another can be confusing and taking the most direct route, even with Google is not always clear. However, in our walk with Christ Paul promises a "direct" route into the love of God. This word is saying that God so wants us to know God's love that He will make a route for us, the shortest, most direct route to grasping the understanding of His love.

Our understanding of this verse needs to go a bit deeper. The word for "heart" here does not mean the blood pumping muscle. The Holy Spirit is leading through the verse to make it clear to us that God will not leave you to try and figure out His will or purpose for you, but He will guide your intellect, personality, will, and whole being into a quick and easy understanding of God's love.

So many have been hurt that the idea of a God who loves them and wants them to understand how much He loves them, is hard to grasp. A quick way to summarize what is being said here is,  the God who loves you so very much longs for you to understand His love, so He will lead, guide, and bring you into His love in a way you can easily understand it.

Now that's a Valentine's day celebratory thought is I have ever heard one! Let Him love you.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13 Thought for the day....struggling to do God's will

There are some books I've read and teachings I've heard that make it sound as if doing God's will is easy. Sometimes it actually is easy, but then there are the times that it takes everything in you to follow the path the Lord is leading you down. It happened to Jesus so you can expect it will happen to you.  Matthew 26:37-39

He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. 38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

You know the story but allow me to take you a little deeper. The word "anguished" here means physical and emotional suffering, being in deep despair, in painful sorrow. It describes someone who has been deeply wounded by another.

The next word "distressed" means extreme depression, dejection. It means to be overwhelmed by an extremely hellish ordeal. Jesus always knew the cross was in His future but knowing that it still weighed heavily on his heart, mind, and body. Knowing God's will doesn't mean that it will necessarily be easy to accomplish, there are many times where we have to keep our eyes on the goal rather than what we are going through at the moment.

Jesus said his soul was "crushed" the translation meaning he feeling nearly emotionally suffocated. He felt so much in despair, overwhelmed and emotionally suffocated that he "bowed with His face to the ground" the actual translation is, He could go no further under the weight that he fell with force to the ground.

Jesus fully knew what he was about to undergo. He felt the full weight of the torment and anguish yet knowing it was the Father's will, still said "Yes." Sometimes doing God's will is not easy. Obeying Him in the short term is inconvenient, a hardship, or even painful. Jesus knew the freedom of mankind was a stake and the resurrection was coming. He completely trusted in a Father that knew what He was doing and would fulfill the destiny for us all. He kept His eyes on the prize. He went through it all to fulfill God's plan and to win our freedom.

What are you going through that is a struggle. Don't shrug it off as not being God's will because it is tough. If you love Him, trust Him, and are being obedient to Him, hang in there the resurrection of your dream is coming. The struggle is part of a bigger plan and a bigger blessing if you will just be faithful!

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10 Thought for the day...God gives rewards

Some days it is easy to think, "Does anything I do matter?" It is so easy in our world to become discouraged but God calls us to not be discouraged but instead to be encouragers. This verse and its meaning will help you stay encouraged.

"So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!" Hebrews 10:35

In the world, when you put in a solid work day you expect, as you should, a full days pay for your work. The writer of Hebrews is saying God will do that and so much more, for people as they pour out of their hearts and lives in the service of the Lord.

The word used for "great reward" here is a compound word meaning "recompense, reimbursement, settlement, or reparation". God is saying that like a person who has worked hard deserves payment so God will do the same. God will not be out-done. When you follow Him in fullness, He already has plans to bless you in this life and the one to come. Jesus put it this way Luke 18:29,30 

"Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

To go even further, because of the way this word is compounded, its further meaning is "reparation". In other words, many have suffered loss from choosing to stand for the Lord. It has cost some relationships, money, jobs, positions and so much more. God's promise in this scripture is, anything lost will be repaid by the Lord. He will either force the enemy to restore or He will cause you to be repaid for your cost some way.

The requirement for this blessing is simply, don't quit on God! "Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord." This is where many have an even greater loss. They have had a great loss then give up on God, just as He is preparing to restore and bless beyond the restoring point. What do they do? Stop reading their Bible, praying, going to church, living the life. God has so much more! Expect the reward! Hang in there, it's coming!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 9 Thought for the day....you are important and chosen

I think for most of us rejection has been an influencer in our lives. We have been treated poorly, ignored, made to feel like we have no value or importance. God knows but he sees us and recognizes our value. He chose us!

Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:28

Paul is writing to a church who had been utterly ostracized by their culture because of their choosing to follow Christ. The word in this translation for "foolish" means to be completely rejected, seen as having no value, considered detestable by others. He is saying this, the people the world mocks, ignores, makes fun of, the people the world looks down on, are not really seen for their real value.

The "powerless" acknowledged only as something to be used and thrown away, the ones who are considered, second rate or second class. The world is blinded by the enemy. He does not want those who don't know Jesus to see all of the gifts, talents, strength, power, love, grace and so much more that make up who we are. He confuses them to believe they are powerful and the "it" people.

Paul is saying don't confuse your value by the way the world sees, they are blind but He sees us. he created us each individually by His amazing love. He sees us and has chosen us above all others because He is truth and He always sees the truth. The truth is you are a gift, you are a blessing, you are extremely valuable, you are the hero the world is waiting for to bring them to freedom. The world doesn't see the truth yet, but we must not allow ourselves to believe the lie!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February 8 Thought for the day...victor not victim

Many people would like us to believe we are victims of so much...they act as if God is not God. Yes, things happen that can give us the impression that we are victims but if our point of view is we serve a risen, all powerful, knowing, ever-present God who loves us, that should change our attitude.

"Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:15

This is part of what Jesus has done for us on the cross and then coming out of the tomb. We have to understand the enemy seeks to destroy us, make us into victims, to kill our dreams and ambitions. He desires to ruin any part of us that God might use to destroy his kingdom. As men and women of God, we must stop toying with the devil and start living like we believe God at His Word.

The devil and his cohorts have already been defeated, but like thieves and drug dealers, unless the authority is enforced on them, they will continue to harass. Our job is to move in that authority. We are to walk out from under a victim mentality to that of a victor.

The idea behind the phrase "public spectacle" is that Jesus boldly, loudly and with great announcement, proclaimed His ultimate victory of the principalities and powers.

"Triumphing" is a powerful word in Greek. It is the idea of a victorious king marching into his hometown, with all his strength, and glory, proclaiming great victory. While bringing behind and showing off the beaten, defeated foe to his humiliation. The enemy was shown to be nothing, thoroughly subjugated to the victor. This enemy is Satan, the devil, and all of his demonic forces and we are granted this authority, because of our surrender to Christ and what Christ did on the cross.

The next time you feel like a victim, remind the enemy, who is making you feel like a victim, who is the victor and who is the victim, as you remind yourself also! Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7 Thought for the day...one of keys to success

We all have to start somewhere! Every day we are given the opportunity to grow, change, and have an impact. How do we fulfill the dreams that are on our hearts? Is there some quick program, or system that will make this happen? Paul gives us some insight in 1 Corinthians 4:2

"Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be found faithful."

Paul is giving a word of wisdom to the Corinthian church. He is saying to be a qualified "manager" the word translated manager here means someone who is in control of the administration and finances of a house, project, or thing. The implication is Paul is saying find people who you have seen that you can trust because of their history. If you are looking for the Lord to promote you, fulfill your dream, or change your world, don't wait for something great to happen, look for what you have in your hands and the opportunity that is presented to you and begin there.

The beginning of seeing your dream fulfilled is starting with what you have in your hands and the opportunities but Paul challenges us with being "faithful". The word implies that this person is utterly reliable, can be totally trusted without reservation regardless of the difficulty. They are a person who can be counted on.

Add to that the idea of being "found" faithful. This means the person was not just discovered by has been watched for a long time and they have been found consistently to be trustworthy.

How do you change the world? How do you fulfill your dreams? Paul is challenging us here to start with what we have, remain completely reliable at the task regardless of how small, and be consistently trustworthy.

Start today, God wants you to grow and to be successful for the Kingdom. Take what is in your hands, be faithful and trustworthy and watch what God will do for and through you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6 Thought for the day....knowing God's plan

We hear all of the time, "God has a wonderful plan for your life." While that is true, it is often tough to understand what that plan is, unless you know how to truly listen to God. Paul writes in
1 Corinthians 2:9,10

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

What an encouragement! God does have a plan for us that we can't even grasp! The problem is God has a plan for us that "we can't grasp."  God's plans for us are fantastic, they will blow us away as we begin to understand what they are. God knows the future. He knows how your gifts, talents, and personality will open doors for you, bless others, and change the world. Paul shares with us that His plan is entirely beyond what we can fully understand but God isn't a God who torments His children. He has made a way for us to understand His plan.

Paul goes on to say God has revealed them to us. The word "revealed," means to pull back the curtain. As God is the one doing the revealing "through His Spirit." It is God's desire that we understand God's grand plan. If we are willing to be quiet, to seek Him, He has every desire to pull back the curtain on His plan for us. He wants us to know His will. He wants us to have an incredible, impacting life. He wants to reveal the plan and the purpose that will fulfill our destiny and our dreams if we will sit and wait for the Spirit to reveal to us.

Be encouraged, the plan is amazing...just wait for it, and you will know it.

Friday, February 3, 2017

February 3 Thought for the day.....fighting division at the root

There are two enemies of healthy relationships that we really don't talk about. These two things are at the root of many problems in marriages, friendships, co-workers, and churches. James nails it in chapter 3 verse 16

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."

When we feel strong and secure these two attitudes are kept in check and under control but when fear and insecurity kick in these attitudes are knocking at the door.

The word used for "envy" means a fierce desire to promote one's convicts to the exclusion of everyone else, it goes beyond normal simple conviction to obsession. It can become and extremist or fanatical point of view. I have seen Christians lose their friendships over everything from their political views to the colors of the napkins at an event. Anytime our views get in the way of our love one for another we may have found ourselves in envy.

The word used for "self-seeking" means strife, an ambition that blinds. People like these often seek out others just like them and together push their agenda to the exclusion of Christ call and our relationships. Ironically many "fixated with this selfish ambition" believe they are doing Godly work.

The result of the obsession being driven by selfish ambition is confusion. The word used for "confusion" means anarchy. James explicitly tells us that when situations of strife and envy are allowed to persist, an atmosphere of anarchy sets in and begins to destroy the relationships we once loved and cherished. This is one of the quickest ways to destroy any relationship. The word evil means "foul-smelling in every way".

I hope this makes it very clear that as Christ-followers we need to pay particular attention to overcoming and better yet stopping these divisions in our lives.

Unity does not mean uniformity we can have difference and differences of opinion but not to the exclusion of God's truth and love. If you find yourself obsessing or striving with everyone over your view perhaps you should spend more time with the Lord and either repent or find gentler more loving ways of communicating that are free of obsession.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

February 2 Thought for the day....remembering your value

Sometimes we need to pause to remember what is important. There are so many things that want to distract us, but Paul reminds us of our value and what Christ has done for us. With everything that is being said and done today, I thought it important to stop, breathe, and remember our value to God!

Who (Jesus) gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:14

You may have heard you were valuable to God, (John 3:16). This scripture confirms that, but Paul is reaffirming the cost Jesus paid for us.

The word "redeem" means to purchase, pay the full price, in fact, this word in this placement suggests that it was not just the price, but that Jesus paid and outrageous price, the absolute highest price to purchase us. Because of Adam and Eve's decision to trust in Satan rather than God, the authority God gave to Adam, Adam in turn, surrendered to Satan. We were slaves to Satan until the purchase price was paid for us.

This is what we need to understand about our value...Christ came into Satan's slave market looking for us. He wanted us and would not be satisfied until he paid the full price for us. He was willing to pay whatever it took to purchase us because of His love for us. He purchased us with His own blood, making us His personal property. Through paying the highest and most costly price to purchase us, He then granted us our freedom, so we are no longer slaves but children of God!

What a price was paid for us! What value Christ placed on us! Please remember how important you are! What was done for you and how much you are loved! Hopefully, this helps with your perspective on who you are and how much you are loved!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1 Thought for the day....dealing with verbal attacks

Bet you didn't think the Bible had anything to say about this topic? It happens to all of us sooner or later. People will misunderstand, have a bad day, or simply not like you sooner or later all of us will be the victim of some kind of verbal attack.

"when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things." 1 Corinthians 4:13

Social media seems to be replete with all sorts of personal assaults. We seem to have given up on civility in our nation, the time where we could disagree but still have respect for another and their opinion. So what do we do if we are the victim of one of these attacks?

Paul was the victim of constant attacks. He was constantly going against the grain of all of the cultures, Roman, Jewish, and Greek. People don't like change, it scares them so often when change, even for the better, is imposed, they attack.

Paul's use of the word "slander" here in the Greek means to slur, to smear, to vilify, to maliciously malign someone's character or name. Have you had that happen? Chances are if you are on social media the answer is, "yes." If you were raised in a non-Christian home, the answer is, "yes." Unfortunately, even if you were raised in a different denomination than you are in now the answer may be, "yes." How do we respond?

Paul challenges us to respond correctly with two words, "we entreat." The interpretation here is that we still need to reflect Jesus. We need to gather with those that have a "Christ-likeness" mindset to be encouraged, that the Lord can handle this, be our defense, and need time for the Lord to show us how to respond. Others will fire us up for vengeance or some kind of evil response.

If you want God to defend, if you want God to have His way in them and us, and if we want to grow in His power and might we must allow our brothers and sisters to encourage us to act like Jesus in all things. It is not easy, but God does such a better job and defending us then we could ever imagine. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt:)