Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31 Thought for the day....know who you are

We all what to accomplish great things. We want to be a blessing. There are times when especially if you are very good at something, it is quite possible that you could be asked to do something that is beyond your abilities and you end up failing. When we know who we are it saves us from such mistakes. The Bible talks about that in Romans 12:3

"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

Paul wants us to understand who we are, the phrase "not to think of himself more highly" means to think rationally, think respectfully, understand your own limits and respect them. We all know when we are starting to burn out when we have taken on far too much. Paul is saying know your giftings and know your limits and respect the way the Lord has gifted you so that you will be a success.

The idea of acting "soberly" is evaluating what exactly what you can do. God wants everyone to use their gifts and function in them to their fullest. If you are doing things that you are not called to do you may find yourself burning out, getting depressed, and feeling like a failure. It is the same if you are sitting on your gifts and not using them. It is funny but you can feel burned out and depressed because you aren't using your gifts.

Recognize the gifts of others and encourage them to use their gifts. Recognize your gifts and apply them to serve the Lord and His people but also recognize your limitations. Each of us is given a "measure of faith." we all have a calling, a purpose, and the faith given to us to accomplish that purpose. Stay focused on your call and do it to the best of your ability. Balance what you are called to do, know who you are and what someone else is called to do. Encourage others to follow their call so together God's purpose will be complete on "earth as it is in heaven."

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 30 Thought for the day....keep the door closed

I like de-fanging the devil. The church has been his greatest cheerleader giving him all kinds of accolades and power. We blame him for our own short comings. We give him power and authority greater than the Holy Spirit, and he loves it. Paul challenges that thinking with this verse...

"and don't give the devil a chance." Ephesians 4:27

We never have to give in to the devil as long as we choose not to give him a chance or as the KJV says "give place to the devil." If you are a born again believer, the Spirit of the living God lives in you and "greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

Wow, that is freedom and accountability all at the same time. Freedom to know that the devil has no right to control us. Accountability to know anything we do that is not God honoring and blessing our family in Christ is our choice.

The phrase "a chance" means more like giving him a part, as in a region, an area, or a zone. We have specific areas in our lives. We have relationships, jobs, finances, health and much more. I am sure you can think of other specific "zones" in your life. It is easy to get hurt, spend foolishly, take our job or health for granted. We often open the door for the devil if we...

- Refuse to forgive
- Dabble in things with our health that are not good for us
- If we complain about our jobs or bosses too much
- If we develop destructive patterns with our finances
- If we refuse to lay down our rights for others

All of these things and other attitudes like them, swing open the door for the enemy to destroy us. Allow the devil to run roughshod over our minds and hearts is our choice. Walking in forgiveness, love, grace, mercy, and truth enables us to keep the door closed.

I have failed in this area, I have given a foothold to the enemy, but I also found the key to freedom. Learning to say "I'm sorry," learning to forgive, and most of all, above all things, love! I encourage you if as you are reading this, you are thinking of some thing, in particular, pray about it, apologize, forgive, and love. If they accept it, you have healed a wound if not, God will still bless you for reflecting His heart!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29 Thought for the day...why the devil attacks

All of my life I have heard "well I'm just under attack from the devil!" Some times the "attack" at your job means you really should be working harder and maintaining a level of integrity. Some times the "attack" is because you said something behind someone's back or something you shouldn't have said at all. These are not "attacks" of the devil they are a lack of Christ-likeness being revealed. Paul explains to us about why the devil attacks

"I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:11,12

In verse twelve Paul uses the word "suffer" means to suffer at the hands of an outside force...physical suffering due to persecution, mental suffering due to outside pressures anything coming from the outside of one's self.

Paul wrote this from a Roman prison. Satan was afraid of Paul. If Paul were able to focus on his call 100%, the enemy would be beaten and bruised always. While Satan could not touch Paul and could not find a way personally to attack or destroy him, Satan used outside forces, the Jews, Romans, and others to cause conflict for Paul. Paul said all of this was because of his calling.

When you scare the devil when he is deathly afraid of what you will do because of what you have already done for the Lord, he will use every force at his disposal to push against you. Paul would not or could not be defeated because he would not give up. Philippians 3:12 tells us he was not willing to give up until he knew he had reached what the Lord wanted. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:13 that those who "endure to the end" win the prize.

You may consider yourself filled with the Spirit, born again, or whatever other brands of Christian but that alone is not enough to overcome the enemies attacks. The devil would never attack the Holy Spirit, but if you are frightening the devil, giving him a headache, then you must choose to not be overcome, not surrender to his tactics. You must not give up until the assignment is finished.

Many who claim the devil defeated them simply gave up. The devil can not make you quit. He can fight you, try to stop you, throw up road blocks but only you can give up and quit. Remember if the real devil is giving you a real hard time, attacking you even through the people closest to you, know that he is afraid of you...Don't quit! Get into a solid church where they will help you grow! Start serving others! Become a holy terror to the devil, and you will be life and light to the world!

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28 Thought for the day...finding heroes in unusual places

Our culture lauds false heroes, sports or movie stars in particular. People who many in our culture call heroes but in fact do nothing to move mankind to a better place. That is not to take away from the skill and talent that they genuinely have to make them great at what they do. However, it is certainly not worthy of hero status. They are good but not our best. Veterans, EMTs, police, fire fighters, missionaries, people that regularly risk their lives for the love and care of others. If you are a Christ follower, God calls you one of these heroes!

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are 1 Corinthians 1:27, 28

It is easy in our culture to compare ourselves to the fake world where many of the stars of our culture live. It seems glamorous, exciting, and wonderful but they are still just people, very good at what they do but their fame often exposes the very real problems that lie just beneath the surface. Relying on their strength or skill often limits their ability to reach their real potential and a life that brings hope to others. Marriages fail, addictions develop, lives fall apart.

Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit explains to us that God rarely chooses those the world thinks are the greatest and best instead chooses to make heroes out of those who will trust him above their natural gifts, intellect, and talent. David was a lowly shepherd boy, Mary and Joseph nobody's in a no name village, fishermen, tax collectors and rebels for the closest friends of Jesus. Yes, He does choose the intelligent, strong, and extremely talented sometimes but often they need to be emptied first before they can be useful, Moses, Joseph, and Paul are great examples.

I bring this all up and focus this way so that you may know you are chosen to be a hero. The enemy comes to many chosen by the Lord, he lies to them. The devil tears us down, reminds us of our failures. He often reminds us of the cruelty of parents, coaches, other children growing up. His goal is to get us to believe we are nothing and will accomplish nothing.

Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us that if we believe the Lord at His word rather than the devil and our own flesh, we will "put to shame the things that are mighty." Others may not value you as they should but let me tell you God does. Allow Him to show you what He thinks of you, to reveal His plan and purpose for you. He knows you, you may be in places where you think the Lord can't find you, doing things you think are not useful to God, but He knows you, knows where you are. He has called you to be a hero. Be the hero He has called you to be! 

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25 Thought for the day....there was a big party and you should still be celebrating!

What is your biggest celebration of the year? Is it a birthday? Anniversary? Christmas? Perhaps it is New Year's Eve. None of these, even the dropping of the ball in Time Square compares to what happened in heaven one day and still should happen for us every day.

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

When God created mankind, He gave us authority over everything. Adam and Eve walked in full authority over the earth, and the earth responded to that, it was paradise. When mankind fell it not only broke intimacy with God but surrendered our authority to Satan. They assumed like many do today, that if they chose against God's idea that they would have the authority over their own lives and actions. Like those who rebel against God or godly authority today, they became bound to Satan's authority in their lives.

God created a system of righteousness, though not able to save anyone if kept, freed people from the complete bondage of Satan. The law was good for natural righteousness but did not have the power to free mankind from Satanic authority. Jesus had to do that for us.

Through the cross, Jesus took all of our sin and rebellion. He took the full brunt of the Father's justice allowing Him to take back the authority mankind handed over to Satan. He rose from the dead to seal it all proving He is God! When Paul wrote "disarmed principalities and powers" this is what he was talking about. All of the authority and power Satan has over mankind was stripped out of his hands. He was exposed and is exposed to the fraud that he is. He is nothing compared to God.

When Paul writes, "he made a public spectacle of him." In the days of Rome when an enemy was defeated the King would bring the enemy and all of his servants bound with heavy chains, dragging behind him in the most humiliating way. This is what Jesus did with Satan and all the demonic forces.

The King would then rise to his throne, and everyone would shout, feast, dance, and celebrate their freedom from fear and bondage. It was a vibrant, loud, celebration. This what Paul was referring to when he stated, "triumphing over them." We should be doing this every day! Satan's authority has been stripped from him, and we are made free by Jesus.

Don't feel free? Satan is a liar, who seeks to kill, steal and destroy. He only has permission to do what we grant him authority to do in our lives. Our sin, rebellion, lack of submission grant him authority in those areas of our lives. You have a choice daily to either believe the lies of the enemy or celebrate the victory we have in Jesus. We should be celebrating!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

August 24 Thought for the day...we can't do it alone

We all have passions, visions, things we want to accomplish. When God stirs a passion, He also has planned all that we need to fulfill the vision He has given us. Let me share a scripture today that ties in with this idea.

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1

Ok, you're saying "what???" Here is where the Greek makes a difference. The word Paul uses for "servants" represents the idea of a galley slave. He purposely used this word to show that as Christians we, like the galley slaves are chained together sharing a common bench and common chains for one purpose.

Galley slaves were responsible for moving very large ships. As individuals, they were not able to move such a large vessel. As Christians, the vision the Lord gives us requires us to work with the people the Lord has placed in our lives. I thank the Lord for the Pastors, Elders and ministry leaders and team He has blessed me with at the Christian Center Church. Each person has their unique gifts, talents, personality that is exactly suited to fulfill the purpose God has called us too!

When the galley slaves have worked hard and accomplished their task, the entire group is rewarded equally. My calling may be different than someone else's, but God isn't looking for everyone to be a Tim Burgan He is looking for everyone to be faithful to use their gifts, talents, and personalities to accomplish what, together we are able to do to move the Kingdom of God forward. We are all moving this ship forward, together by each one using what God has given to the fullest. As we do, we are all rewarded for using what the Lord has given us, doing our part.

It is the working together, using everything the Lord has given us, filled with His Spirit we become the carriers of the mysteries of God. Together we are fulfilling the plans of the Kingdom, but only as a team. We work together functioning in our call, position, authority together each one doing what God has designed as part of the team, to advance the Kingdom and each one receiving their reward. We can never accomplish all of this alone. Together we change the world!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 23 Thought for the day...following the lead

Nearly every morning I begin my day seeking the Lord. I have found one of the most dangerous things I can do is to presume that I am doing exactly what the Lord wants having not waited on the Lord for guidance. Jesus is our example, and he waited for the Holy Spirit. This may change your way of thinking...

When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” Matthew 9:27-30

Jesus walked right past a couple of blind beggars. They followed Him, yelling at the top of their lungs (the word translated "crying out"). Jesus walked a distance as these men continued to follow him stumbling and yelling all along the way. They caught up to Him when He entered into a house. Why did He pass them up? He could have just quieted them by healing them, but it was not the time to heal.   But they pursued Him, then He asked them, "Can I do this?" Their answer, "Yes!" He did not heal as He did in other instances, instead placed the onus on them, "according to your faith!" Even Jesus only moved by the directing of the Spirit. Learning to not presume but instead to know what the Father wants to do and when, is key to moving in power.

Here is another example Luke 5:17 "Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them." Jesus was busy teaching when He sensed the Holy Spirit's leading to heal, that is when He began to heal.

Jesus only did what He was being led to do (John 5:19). As He did, healing, deliverance, teaching flowed from Him. As He was led, lives were changed even in healing Luke 6:19 tells us everyone who came to Him when He was led to heal, was healed.

Many people presume the Lord is doing something when He is not, almost demanding Him to perform. As Christ-followers we must choose to seek Him, wait on Him, when we do we will find His strength, and we learn to do what He is doing when He is doing it. I know this may challenge some of your theology, but at the very least you can follow Jesus' example of seeking the Father as He always did and we read quite often in scripture. Many of our problems and struggles can be found in presumption rather than seeking Him and following His lead. When we follow His lead amazing things happen!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22 Thought for the day....are you ready to be a leader?

For anything to come to the market in the United States, it must go through rigorous testing. If flaws are found the product is redesigned to make sure it functions properly, powerfully and safely. God wants the same thing for you. Paul gives this instruction to his protege Timothy...

Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure. 1 Timothy 5:22

Many have misinterpreted this to think that it means not to pray for anyone hastily, but we are called to lay hands on the sick, to bless people's homes when we are shown hospitality and many other things where we should be praying for people. Instead, the meaning of this passage is in choosing leaders, choose wisely, be careful whom you place in leadership.

Entrusting a child with a gun or a car without proper instruction and training is dangerous. Placing these things in the hands of someone who needs to gain maturity in the proper care of these things is hazardous for them, the people around them, and the gun and car.

A spiritual leader must be willing to protect the people under them, defend them, guide them into truth, and show them, love, even if it cost them. When choosing a leader, they must be someone with the same vision as the church, political position, or business with which they will be working. My friend, Myles Munroe used to say if there are two visions then you are destined for di-vision. For anything to be accomplished through a ministry, business, city, county, state or region the leadership must all be working toward the same vision. People wanting to be leaders in business, politics and especially the church must understand that leadership is a position of servanthood. Your life is no longer your own. It is those with this understanding that should be promoted to leadership. Otherwise, there will be problems which Paul states next!

If someone is placed in a position of leadership and they don't have these qualities, then they are destined to fail. This failure hurts them and the business, church, or political arena in which they serve. Arrogance, fear, anger, insecurities will flair up. In leadership at any level, we are stretched you hope that you are liked, everyone wants to be liked but unfortunately being a leader requires you to love people enough to speak truth, challenge, and take stands that are not always popular. If a leader is unable to handle any of this, they will blow it, sin, and fail. If we have chosen them, then our unwise choice has helped that failure.

If you feel the call to leadership, great! The church needs good leaders, business needs good leaders, every aspect of life is looking for quality leadership. Be patient, allow the Lord to work off the rough edges, to fine tune you, to humble you, to strengthen and encourage you, so you will stand.

If you are looking for leaders, look for the qualities I have listed here and more to make sure you get the right pick. You want someone who will work with the vision the Lord has given you rather than needing to fight someone who doesn't have that vision. It is so much harder to get people in leadership to your vision than to have people raised to join your vision.

Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21 Thought for the day...don't start stinking

We have all been around them, people who have been hurt by someone, it may have been a month ago or twenty years ago but rather than dealing with the pain they wallow in it. The writer of Hebrews tells us there are those who once were believers but are wallowing in their pain

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10: 38,39

When our expectations are not met, we feel hurt. The problem is that often our expectations are not God's so when we bring our hurt to the Lord, He gently tries to show us that we had false expectation and to refocus on His expectations. Sadly, many choose to be disappointed rather than listen to the Lord. Their disappointment can easily develop a disgruntled attitude, which leads to backing away from the Lord and their church family, which leads to a bitter heart. I have seen this many times in my 36 years of ministry.

God's desire is to give us hope. The challenge is faith requires patience (look at Abraham). Jesus made it very clear in John 15:7 when He said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." The word for "abide" literally means having faith and patience. 

So what happens when we walk away from the patience it takes to have faith? The phrase "draw back" means someone who is on a journey then abruptly turns and goes back. When we are on our faith journey we will hit walls, difficulties, struggles but faith pushes through it doesn't back off because we know to whom we are on our journey!

The word perdition is an interesting word it means "stinking like rotting food, meat, or a decaying corpse." The writer is telling us this is what happens to a person who gives up on God. The bitterness, anger, disappointment, disillusionment rob us of the fruit of the Spirit, and the sweet fragrance of the Lord and all that we touch gets corrupted by our attitude and actions.

I have found whenever I set my eyes on others or the illusions I have about others it is easy to become disillusioned. God wants no illusions for us only truth so I have learned to keep my eyes on Him, and I see Him in the people around me. I can then hope for the best rather than expecting the worst. I don't ever want to be stinking and this the way I have found to protect myself from the disappointments and disillusionment of faith. Faith with patience keeps us from stinking!

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18 Thought for the day...the need for intimacy

Whether we acknowledge it or not we all have a need for intimacy. We need to make connections with people that are real. We need to have people in our lives that we can be truly honest with and not be afraid of their response to us. We have made that word dirty, but it is the greatest form of love. Finding someone who knows all about you, you can share anything with, and they still love you! We all crave that, and the Lord wants that with us too!

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Matthew 6:6

When you first read this verse it is a "yeah, yeah, I get it God wants us to pray alone!" While that is a very simple reading of it, that is true. It means so much more!

When Jesus says, in this translation, "go into your room," He is talking about going into a place where you can have a completely intimate conversation. A place and time where you won't get distracted. A secret place and time for just the two of you. Now that's a little different than the English translation!

Jesus is talking about a secret place where intimate conversations can take place that is just between you and the Lord. It is out of these intimate times that relationship is deepened, unity is developed, so you really know how the Lord "thinks and feels" and you know He understands the same about you. What a great and deep relationship, it is exactly what Jesus is asking us to do.

Out of this relationship, it is easy to know what the Lord is looking for from you and for you to understand more your own heart, drive and passions. He sees them, you know them, and as you walk it out together because to your intimacy, the reward is great, you are doing everything you were called and designed to do.

Such unity comes from this intimacy that nothing can stop you. Try it today. We make time for everything else, try it for a week. Get alone with the Lord, spend time with Him, let your heart beat be known to Him and listen to His. It will change your world!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17 Thought for the day...when you don't know how

There are times when I don't want to do something, I am too tired, too busy, or just simply have no interest. I'll bet you have been there too. However, for me, there is nothing more frustrating than needing to do something and not knowing how. Paul addressed one aspect of this...

"Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" Romans 8:26

How many times have you found yourself in an impossible situation and you didn't even know how to adequately pray? The word translated "helps" here shows us just what God does for us. It means the Holy Spirit comes to us, partners with us to guide us, direct us, and meet us in every way we need to allow us to achieve the goal. We are no longer walking alone. Instead, we are co-laborers together hand in hand with the Lord. How cool is that!

The word weakness here has to do with brokenness, weakness, or sickness in body, mind, or emotions focusing in on the spiritual root because "we do not know what we should pray." Interestingly the word "what" means something that is little or insignificant. Paul is saying here that we are at such a loss that even the small things are beyond us. We are so limited in our view and understanding because of what we are going through nothing really makes sense. This is why the Holy Spirit partners with us at this time.

How the Holy Spirit does this is through "intercession." An interesting thing about this word is this is the only time this specific word is used in the Bible. It means to drop down and help someone, to rescue them. It is like you have fallen into a deep ditch and the Holy Spirit drops down into the ditch with you, assesses the situation and knows exactly how to deliver you.

Have you ever been in a place where you didn't know what to do, your back was against the wall with no way of escape, or you were so overwhelmed you couldn't think or move? Then you are a perfect candidate for what the Holy Spirit can do! He is amazing if we will allow Him to be! He can swoop to our rescue even if we are totally clueless as to what to do, assess the problem and deliver us out of it if we will just come to Him and ask! Don't wait...start asking!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16 Thought for the day...stay strong

All of us go through dark times. We feel forsaken, we lose hope. We battle depression, anxiety, or any number of things. What do you do in those times? Paul challenged his young disciple Timothy in the middle of one of these places.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season...." 2 Timothy 4:2

Timothy had been used to change Ephesus very quickly. He shared the Gospel, and the people responded, the church grew. A few years later, Nero came to power. Persecution of Christians became common place. Many died in the arena and through torture. This thriving church became a dying church both literally and figuratively. Needless to say, young Timothy found himself, shaken, depressed, and hopelessness was creeping in. You may not have been tortured or seen it happen to friends or family but if you are like most people you have hit difficult places and found yourself battling depression, anxiety, and or hopelessness. What is Paul's response?

"Preach the word! Be ready..." I'm not sure that is what Timothy wanted to hear. I would be hoping for some comfort and encouragement, and that is exactly what Paul did! Paul's words here mean something a little deeper than our English does justice. An accurate translation is "stand your ground," "don't give up and inch," "hold on tight!" God had placed Timothy in his position, and no one could take it from him.

I learned this lesson very well. In my past work experience, I had been fired 6 times for standing for what I believed was the Lord and integrity. I would not compromise what I believed to be correct and was immediately fired. God is always our defense. I never once made it out of the building before I was called back and apologized to and in three of the times, promoted. Walking humbly, keeping our eyes on Him and not compromising our integrity causes the Lord to stand for us, and we stand our ground for Him!

Paul then challenges Timothy with being ready "in season and out." This phrase means whether you are happy or despondent remain faithful. Our emotions, condition, or status should not determine whether we trust the Lord or not. God is always faithful, and we win every time when we remain faithful to Him. What would have happened if Daniel, Joseph, or Abraham would have given up? God's plans never fail. Be faithful and watch His blessings flow! It happened to young Timothy it can happen to you!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15 Thought for the day....someone's got a plan for your life

There are people planning our day every day. From our boss to customers, employees, our children, and so many others. There is also a demonic plan for your life, but I thank God (literally) that He has the perfect plan for our lives. Jesus explained this when He said this...

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10

We need to understand how devious the devil is and Jesus was letting us know in this statement. He is letting us know the devil has a plan for us, and so does Jesus! We need to know what God has in store for us if we will just believe.

When Jesus said the thief comes to steal that word means to be sneaky and devious, to take something right out from under our noses. It references the shrewdness of a professional pickpocket, the devil can take things from you before you even notice they are gone. The thief can plant thoughts into our minds, stealing our peace, joy, love, or beliefs even before the person realizes they have lost these precious gifts.

Jesus also said that the enemy comes to "kill" the word doesn't mean to murder someone but means to "sacrifice." The enemy wants to do whatever he can to get you to give up any blessings that he has not been able to steal from you. He tries to back you into a corner where you become willing to give up the things that are truly important to you thinking that that may solve the problem. You actually believe if you sacrifice your hopes and dreams that somehow this will bring you freedom. He hates anything that you might believe is from God and love!

Last Jesus said the enemy wants to "destroy." This word means to devastate, ruin, or destroy. Any blessing, honor, or gift he can't steal or make you give up, he will try to ruin to make it useless. Sounds pretty bleak, doesn't it. Thank God for God!


Jesus has come to give us abundant life! The word here is one of my favorite Greek words "zoe." It means exciting, fulfilling, life. It is something way beyond anything you think is ordinary! It is exceeding, extraordinary, super abundant vitality. Wow, that ought to get you up and going each morning! Add to that His prefacing the phrase with "may have" which in the Greek means something that is continually given without stopping. What a promise!

Recognize what the enemy has stolen from you, gotten you to sacrifice or out-right ruined in your life. Put a stop to it today by choosing the Lord's superabundance to overwhelm you! It will change the enemies plan for your life and allow you to fulfill the perfect one, God's!

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 14 Thought for the day...its time to win!

It is easy to grow pessimistic in our world. We see trouble on the streets, trouble in families, impossible situations everywhere. I want to encourage you today that there is nothing new under the sun and God has a powerful answer to all of today's struggles, fears, and heartache.

"But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" Romans 5:20

Paul's world was a disaster. Corruption was everywhere. Integrity was hard to find. Persecution and attacks on him personally abounded. He went through trials, struggles, and difficulties that you and I pray we never see but to the Romans he said, where sin is growing, grace will grow even more.

The word Paul uses for "abounds" means ever increasing, something that exists as an abundance, something that is growing larger and expanding over time. Paul is saying, when we sin is growing and seemingly getting to a place where it is nearly overwhelming, don't worry God will overcome if you allow Him!

The English fails us in this translation because the word for "abounded much more" is a different word than abounds, similar but different. While the first word deals with something that exists and is kind of fermenting to expand, this word means something that has come and is out of proportion to the need, like coffee overwhelming the size of the cup or a river overflowing its banks. It is something with the overwhelming power to not just meet a need but to so overwhelm it that the need is not even remembered.

In other words, when the enemy of your soul tries to hinder or stop you in any way, if you will but take a breath to put it in the Lord's hands He will not just show up to handle the problem but will so overwhelm it that even the memory of it being a real problem will be overwhelmed.

God's promises are so powerful. No weapon that the enemy forms against us to trip up or cause us to fail can prosper if we will just wrap our thoughts, minds, passions, drives, and heart around His promises and His Word.

What sin battles are you facing today? You can and will win, this time and every time if you will apply this promise to your life!

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11 Thought for the day...lightening our load

In our culture there is the same 24 hours that the world has always had but some way, somehow we manage to over load ourselves in it. Many in our culture seem to burn out fast. We get overwhelmed trying to do everything for the kids, the job, and to move ahead in life. Is this the plan the Lord has for us?

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Roman soldier's packs increased in weight and size depending upon the journey. If they were on a short journey, the load was small and light. If a long one more stuff would be required and a bigger much heavier pack was necessary. They were heavy laden. If you are following Jesus, you are on this type of journey, the load you are carrying can be heavy.

Jesus is addressing that our walk in this life with Him, will be a long one. On that kind of journey, the weight of the pack will become quite the burden. Jesus promises in the midst of our journey, rest.
This word "rest" means, take a breather, take a break, relax from all responsibility for a moment. The Lord wants us to take a moment to breathe! It is a time of refreshing for the journey.

After our breather, He challenges us with a decision; continue to carry the load ourselves or take up His yoke. In third world and developing nations, I have seen this all of the time. A yoke is a piece of wood that holds two best of burden together, so the load is lighter. Jesus gave you the burden to carry, and He is saying choose to allow me to carry the majority of the load. I will take the weight all you need to do is come along side.

The burden then becomes so light that it is a joy. The word "easy" means a delight, joy,  pleasure. When we are "yoked" to Jesus, he does the heavy lifting of everything in our lives. The word "light reiterates that idea in that it means easy and light.

Following Christ is not easy. It is a long journey. The Father knows that so once we accept Him and His call on our lives we feel the joy and burden of it all. It the middle of this, He calls us to take a breather. After that break, we have a choice press into Him and allow Him to do the heavy lifting. If we do we live a life filled with joy and an anticipation of what the Lord is going to do. WE can choose to carry the load ourselves, feeling the weight with every step until Jesus gives us another rest and another choice.

Try it today. Choose to give your burden, life, gifts, calling, talent all back to the Lord and watch Him cause you to have more favor, more productivity, and more life! That is what He wants for you but do you want it for you?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 10 Thought for the day - the future stealer

Being the parent of two children who were successful in all that they put their hands to, I was at many events where they were applauded or cheered on. You always want your children to win, to be successful. In life, there are so many things that will cause us to fail but what if we could win every time? Allowing the "fruit" of the Spirit to reign in you will ensure that result and in particular applying this last portion can make a major difference.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

The definition of meekness from yesterday sounds like it might be redundant to "self-control, " but they are slightly different. Combined though they are powerful for our walk in Christ. Meekness is more about the control of our attitude in all things. The word that we define as "self-control" means to bring all desires under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Our flesh craves fulfillment. If you question that statement watch the lewdness, arrogance and over the top violence on television. We are number one in the world for diabetes and heart problems. As a nation, we are pleasure and wealth addicted. However, the amount of teen suicide, opioid, heroin, and alcohol addicted people shows us that pleasure is not it is all cracked up to be.

God's radical plan is that He created us with a purpose and plan and that all of our drive and passion was created to fulfill that plan. Our flesh and the enemy are in rebellion to our fulfilling God's plan, so they both try to get us to compromise so we are always wanting and never being satisfied.

Self-control is not used to limit us, but to keep our drive and passions focused on fulfilling the dreams God has for us. About 18 months ago, I read this scripture, 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. It was not that I was over eating or purposely doing anything to violate Scripture, but my lack of self-control in caring for my body was convicting. See a lack of self-control can short-change God's plan in my case high blood pressure and cholesterol could take me out before I can fulfill all God had for me. Not disciplining my time or sleep habits all in the name of caring for others, was going to kill me. It was nothing bad but was bad for me. I welcomed the Holy Spirit's help, and for me, I am feeling healthier, stronger, more focused, and productive because I allowed the Holy Spirit to take control of an area I didn't understand was out of control.

So many lives get derailed due to passions, desires that are not controlled. Look at your life, is there anything that is stealing your future? Welcome the fruit of the Holy Spirit to fulfill your dreams!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 9 Thought for the day...taking ownership of the world

Meekness is not a way most people want to be described. Believe it or not, it is one of the strongest and best descriptions a Christian can be given. If you want to take ownership of the world, it is the only way to go!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness...." Galatians 5:22,23

Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" Matthew 5:5. He was basically quoting the Psalmist from 37:11 when He said that. How can that be when our view of meek is basically someone who is weak! That is not what meekness means!

Meekness means a person who is patient, slow to anger and has their attitude and emotions under control in high pressure and hostile situations. It is a person who is never rash or has an outburst of anger but is in complete control of his/her fleshly responses at all times.

The idea is not a weak or timid person but instead a strong willed, even opinionated person, of powerful character that chooses rather than to respond out of flesh or will to respond under the control of their leader and/or the Holy Spirit. A meek person is a person completely surrendered to the power, grace, wisdom, anointing, and strength of the Holy Spirit. Exactly what we should be!

When difficulties, trials, the devil or anything comes into the life of a meek person, they don't lose control. Instead, they gain control over the situation. If you are in a situation where what is said is completely wrong, you are able to be patient until it is the right time to speak or act to get the best response.

Instead of responding to hostile people or situation in an explosive manner the meek person is able to see through the situation, have their flesh under control and bring life and truth every time. This is the essence of Paul's meaning of meekness in this verse.

Very different than what you thought? This is why the meek will inherit the earth, they live a life where the fruit and anointing of the Spirit controls them, and the flesh and the enemy, that would skew their responses, view of the world, and their thinking has been defeated in them. A meek person brings peace, love, truth, and life to every situation. It is my hope that after reading this that, like me, you will leave each day to become meek!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

August 8 Thought for the day...faithfulness, a trait of the devoted

I think if you asked most people, "Are you a faithful person?" They would say, "yes." I think most people don't understand what it means to be faithful. Here is why Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, included it in the list of the fruit of the Spirit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...."Galatians 5:22

The Greek word used for faithfulness means, "reliable, trustworthy, loyal, dependable, dedicated, constant, unwavering, and devoted." In our culture, to find a handful of people in your life that are like this is a gift but Paul is challenging the entire church to do this!

When Paul's young disciple Timothy was in need of leadership to help him grow his church, Paul instructed him to look for leaders that have these qualities; reliable, trustworthy, loyal, dependable, dedicated, constant, unwavering, and devoted, 2 Timothy 2:2. The Holy Spirit requires this type of attitude from anyone considering to be a leader!

Faithfulness is part of the very nature of God. 1 Corinthians 1:9 "God is faithful." God is unwavering, devoted, and as Numbers 23:19 tells us, He does not change. If His Spirit is in us, then we should reflect this part of his nature.

Think about this regarding your family, your work, your church. Can you be counted on to keep your word, to always arrive on time, can you be counted on to follow through on your responsibilities. Psalm 15:4 tells us that a man (woman) of God keeps his word even if it hurts. Now that's being faithful.

Please consider this, as a pastor I know one of our greatest struggles in our church is getting volunteers. Every church depends upon volunteers to minister effectively to the people. Every job in every church is important to touching someone's life. Wherever you attend church, ask those in charge of, children's church, nursery, worship, av, and even your pastoral leadership where they need help.  You have a gift, and as God has been faithful to you he expects you to be faithful to Him!

Monday, August 7, 2017

August 7 thought for the day...goodness, the heart of generosity

Goodness, what do you think of when you think someone or something is good? We generally with children, well-behaved with adults altruistic, benevolent, kind. When Paul listed it as part of the frui of the Spirit he meant so much more.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness..." Galatians 5:22

I want us to look at another scripture today that will help us to understand what "good" really means. Once again, bear in mind that this is a portion of the fruit of the Spirit and if you are filled with the Spirit you should bearing this fruit in your life.

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil"  Acts 10:38.  In this verse we see the phrase "doing good" Jesus healed, delivered and did "good" everywhere. The word "good" means generous, big-hearted, charitable with finances, a giver. The word used in Acts 10 takes it a step further to mean a philanthopist (someone who generously donates finances for the blessing of others). The implication is that Jesus did have access to wealth and he used that wealth to bless others.

It is important for us to understand that Jesus not only healed the sick and demonized but he gave to them financially to help them get back on their feet. He gave us the example of how to properly care for the broken and down trodden. He would take from the resources given to him to help meet the basic human needs as an active part of His ministry on earth. Jesus was not only a giver of healing, deliverance and the words of life but also of financial help to turn a life around.

This verse and Paul's encouragement are all part God's challenge to us to kill off our flesh and be generous with all the Lord has given us. Selflessness is a large part of exemplifing Christ. Money, wealth and things can trap us and bless us in such a bondage. The Holy Spirit's encouragement is that as we walk in goodness, we walk in freedom from the stuff of this world and in the process we bring freedom to those in bondage by giving them a hand up rather than a hand out!

Friday, August 4, 2017

August 4 Thought for the day...kindness, reaching down to lift others up!

This is not something people necessarily think about every day. Spend 10 minutes on Facebook, and you won't find too much kindness. Mainly because our pride and insecurities get in the way. Let's look at the meaning of kindness.

Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness..."

The Greek word translated "kindness" means to be friendly to others but the idea behind it goes much deeper than that. It infers that if you have power or authority over a person or a situation in a person's  life adapt to serve them to help them become who they are called to be. It is the idea of a ruler being especially benevolent toward his subjects.

Paul gives us an excellent example in 1 Corinthians 9:22, "to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might, by all means, save some." Paul is not asking people to adapt to him. Instead, in every situation, he is finding a way to adapt to the Jew, Gentile, every culture, and race so that he might find a way to show them, Jesus.

What hurts us from showing true kindness is our own pride. We want everyone to adapt to us. Kindness is being secure enough in who you are that you see your brother or sister in need and rather than asking them to come up to you, you come to where they are, not compromising Christ in you, but humbling yourself to reach them where they are. To speak to them and act toward them in a manner that they might understand which will enable them to become more Christ like.

Our flesh hates this! We are saying to our flesh you will not demand your own way, you will reach down to this other person to try to lift them up. You will ask yourself, "Is there a way I can serve this person so that they might see Jesus?"

This is acting like Jesus. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus left heaven, became a servant, to go to the cross so we might have life eternal.

How can you show kindness today? What people in your life need to see Jesus in you? How can you reach down to where they are to lift them up? Be like Jesus today!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

August 3 Thought for the want me to have patience?

Road rage, quick boiling points, accidents at traffic lights, yelling at the kids, your spouse, employer/employee, at the root of most of these is one thing, a lack of patience!

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience...." Galatians 5:22

Have you ever prayed this or something similar, "Lord deliver me from this person! I am tired of dealing with their whining, rebellion, and basic bad attitude. I am so tired of dealing with them I would rather walk away than deal with them anymore. Please give me the patience to endure!  If we were, to be honest, we all have prayed that prayer or something very similar in the past. Some people we do need to just walk away from because they really don't want help. Others, we simply need to be patient.

It is very easy to be patient with people who appreciate us. Those who listen to our counsel, appreciate the wisdom, help, time, finances, and/or energy we give them. It is easy to be Christ-like with them, But there are those who are rebellious, broken, hurting and seem uninterested but God sends them our way, and we need to be just as Christ-like with them.

The word Paul uses here translated "patience" mean the restraint of anger. The KJV calls it long suffering. It stresses taking a very long time before anger arises. Isn't that really what patience is about? Patience like all of the other portions of the fruit of the Spirit is available to us and is a choice for us. In his letter to the Colossian church, Paul says "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 3:12" Paul is making it very clear that even though we are full of the Holy Spirit, we must choose to clothe or put on "patience." Isn't that interesting? Clothes don't jump out of the closet and throw themselves on you. You make a choice every day to dress.

It is our responsibility as Christians to be patient. Who knows how God will impact the life of a person. I have been amazed at how some of the people in my life have turned out for both the good and the bad. Most of it comes down to patience or the lack of. You never can tell just what the Lord will so choose each day to clothe yourself in patience and bless others by your decision!

Please also, if someone you have been dealing with for a long time is not changing, pray and see if it is not the time to change that relationship so either someone else can help them or they need time away from you to realize they need to choose to change.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August 2 Thought for the day...peace that is real

Peace seems to be at a premium these days. Turmoil in Washington D.C. wars in various places as well as on the streets in the US but peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Can we have it in today's culture?

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace..."Galatians 5:22

Once again, it is the Holy Spirit who produces this fruit in us. Our job is simply to allow Him to do it in us. I remember being in a life threatening situation in Africa and even though by every logical thought,  I was going to be killed, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me. I knew that was part of the fruit of the Spirit, peace as I had never experienced it before.

The word translated "peace" infers the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by outward circumstances or pressures. When a person has the Holy Spirit's peace ruling their lives, they live with an inner stability and calm that leads to a peace that is maintained even in the most tumultuous situation. Can you imagine, living that way all of the time? As we daily surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He will work this out in us.

Paul lived this peace out in his life. In Acts 27 we see he is caught up in a storm that is so brutal that it is as if it has taken the ship and is simply tossing it like a toy. The crew was fearful for their lives, they had given up on any hope when Paul in the middle of all the turmoil and chaos says "I heard from the Lord, don't be afraid" these were trained sailors knowing what they were up against. Paul had sailed enough as well, but he kept calm, allowed the Holy Spirit to rule, and he had peace.

What is going on in your life, job, health, finances right now? Do you have peace? If not, know that you can have it. It doesn't matter who caused your storm. It doesn't matter if your trouble is self-inflicted. God is God, and He is peace. Jesus is the prince of peace. Choose today to pursue Him. If you do, you will find your peace every time

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 1 Thought for the day....real joy, more than a feeling

As I think back over my life, during all the trials, struggles and life threatening situations God sustained me with his joy and peace. Joy is so much more than happiness. Let's take a look at joy today!

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy..."Galatians 5:22

When most people think of joy they think of pleasure, merriment, exuberance, all of these things are fine but a moment of bad news or someone says a harsh word or a disapproving look can instantly rob us of our happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances or fleeting emotions where joy is based on God's Spirit, and it normally thrives in difficult circumstances.

The Greek word translated "joy" has at it root the word translated "grace." We are always to remember that any portion of the fruit of the Spirit is by and through grace. In other words, joy is not the result of human choice, but instead, it is directly divine in origin. Happiness is completely determined by our choices, but joy is a direct result of our being filled with the Spirit.

Allow me to give you an example of the way joy works. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 "So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord."

The word "suffering" means to be crushed by a heavy weight. Paul is saying that joy was shown through them in the middle of their crushing experience. The Holy Spirit's joy seems to flourish best in difficult times. Perhaps it does because, during the most strenuous times, we get out of the way and allow God to shine because we can't, then He does.

The best the world has to offer us is a happiness which is temporary and fleeting. Joy is birthed by the Spirit of God and is able to be alive in every person filled with the Spirit. It is a choice, but it also thrives in difficult places when we choose to trust Him. When the enemy or life circumstances rise up to overwhelm us, we can fight to put those things in God's hands. When we do a supernatural move of God rises up inside of us to overwhelm the darkness and bring us through to the light of who He is!

If you are going through a tough time right now or when you go through a tough time next, ask the Lord to release His joy in you. You will not only experience His great joy but also a peace which we will talk about tomorrow!