Friday, December 14, 2018

December 14 Thought for the day...we will win and have won

I have mentioned before my frustration with people believing the devil is so powerful. While I don't want anyone to underestimate his authority, I want to make sure that we do not underestimate the power of God. He is all powerful, you are His child, the same Spirit lives in you! Paul shows us just how powerful Jesus is in today's "thought."

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8

Jesus is so amazingly powerful that the world leader, the leader of billions will be utterly annihilated in an instant. Can you imagine it, the world is in the ultimate deception having wholly rejected Jesus birth, death, and resurrection. The world will have completely turned their backs on the God of the Bible having cast Him off as myth, legend or just not relevant. In an instant, He appears!

In the instant of His appearing the world leader, the anti-Christ will be completely obliterated, wiped out, he will no longer exist, that is what the word translated "consume" means. Everyone was looking to this leader to bring peace and harmony but as we understand from other passages he brings nothing but bondage, destruction, and slavery. Jesus came to set people free, and at the end of the age, He will do so as he destroys Satan's attempt at becoming God.

How will Jesus do this? It will be done with the "breath of His mouth!" The meaning here is either Jesus will quick literally "blow" him away with a short burst of breath or that He will speak a word and the anti-Christ will no longer exist. He has taken millennia for Satan to work out his strategy for the domination of mankind, to bring them all to a place of worship. Satan manipulates, tries to control and attempts at every level to defeat God (as he thought he did with the cross). Yet Satan is a created being, he is not God, and there is no comparison to God. A grain of sand as compared to the Rocky Mountains would not even be an adequate comparison of Satan to God. Yet we fear and submit to him and believe he has more power or nearly the power of the Lord most high. How foolish we are! Just a word, just a snort from his nostrils totally obliterates the anti-Christ and all of Satan's plans.

The "brightness of His coming" refers to a gloriously, captivating, suddenly, of power that takes everyone by surprise. Jesus shows up, and all the enemies of the Kingdom scatter or are destroyed. He is the greatest champion in history. We worship the greatest warrior, a champion who will wipe out everything the enemy had planned in an instant! Now please hear me in this, you are a joint heir with this power and authority. You have, as a servant of the Lord God almighty, indued with this same power from on high. He has given you this power so you might fulfill His commission to allow the whole world to know they are loved by God and can become His children. Don't get distracted by the devil and his cohorts. He is a liar and wants to steal your time, energy, confidence, and freedom.

One breath, one word will obliterate the enemies plans and future. Walking with Christ, you too can do the same with the enemies plans for your life and the lives of others. "Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!" (1 John 4:4) If we begin to believe it and live it, we will tick the enemy off because we will be taking his ground. He will be upset, throw a fuss try to stop you any way he can, but if we persevere we will crush him every time! We win!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 13 Thought for the is the time

I can sense the move of God stirring everywhere. I see Him drawing people, and at the same time, I see people become deluded by the enemy. I see humility being poured through people and I see arrogance rising. However, thankfully I am mostly seeing people grow hungrier and hungrier for the Lord. God is on the move I see it in my church every day, this is not the next outpouring but the groundwork for the next outpouring. God is on the move, and His timing is everything!

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-8

I know we all see evil in the world. People blame the devil for a lot of it but sadly the devil is not directly involved in most of it, the flesh is more responsible than the devil. It makes people feel better if they can blame the devil. Most of the enemies power is being "restrained" by the Holy Spirit.

Paul didn't spend much time with the Thessalonian church, but he felt an understanding of the end times was an important doctrine that they needed to grasp, and so do we. Paul says the Holy Spirit is restraining the enemies advances. The word translated "restraining" means to hold down, suppress, hold back, control, limit, delay. You see the Holy Spirit is limiting the power of the devil because the Father's heart is for people to come to Jesus (2 Peter 3:9).

When the enemy is released a full-on deception will take place. Conviction of the Holy Spirit will no longer be felt by people, real love will no longer be known. All the things we take for granted now will diminish because the only way we know love, joy, peace, selflessness, kindness, goodness, and so much more will disappear over night. People will no longer repent of the sin but will choose an even greater rebellion, making the anti-Christ god.

Once again it will be as if a curtain has been drawn back ( the translation of revealed). God is in complete control, He is pouring out His Spirit, always on the church, breaking our hearts for the lost so that we might share the greatest story every told. He wants the world to know that He is real, His power is real, and anyone can have a real relationship with Him. In the Old Testament, we see numerous examples where God allowed people to choose what side they would be on before He poured out judgment.

I don't know when that day is coming. What I am thrilled about is the way the Lord is pouring out His Spirit, especially in our church right now. It is very sweet and gentle but at the same time to those who are willing, powerful. He loves people and wants them all in heaven with Him so he is strengthening us, blessing us, preparing us so the world can see Jesus. The enemy is easily held back by God so we can share and people can receive.

How many people in your life have yet to come to Christ? Pray for them, pray the Lord opens opportunities for them to receive, through you, this life-changing message. Jump into what God is doing, sticking your toes in the water of what He is doing is never going to get you to where you want to go...luke warm Christianity kills. Now is the time to dive in 100%

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December 12 Thought for the day...signs and wonders

I love to see the Lord move powerfully. In the last few weeks, we have had people delivered of various problems and bondages, some have been healed, heard this morning that someone who has stuttered for years due to an accident no longer stutters. Backs have been healed, families are being restored. I love it! But there is a danger to be a seeker of signs and wonders rather than He who does them.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9

I have been in places around the world where Satan has "healed," a stronger demonic force has replaced a weaker on, and it appeared to bring healing. Satan has "prophetically" spoken over people. It is not a prophecy at all. Instead, a demon speaks to a situation then causes it to happen. The anti-Christ will do these types of things.

The anti-Christ will function within the realm and authority of the angel of light, Lucifer. He has certain authority, and he will grant it to the anti-Christ. The word interpreted "sign" here means a beacon that points in a direction. The anti-Christ will do things that will point to himself as being the one full of power and being god!

He will do "lying wonders" these are the things that amazes people. miracles that make people marvel and say, "Wow!"  Jesus warns that in the lat days there will be people that will do this. There have been people with this ability for ever. Jesus warned us that things like this would happen in Matthew 24:24 "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Satan will do whatever he can to deceive people to attempt to destroy them in a way to hurt God. He will use these things to draw people away from God who do not know how to discern what is God and what is the devil.

Signs, wonders, prophecy and other gifts do not necessarily mean the Lord is doing something. As I said earlier I like when they happen but the last days church will be surrounded by things like this happening because people want the "magic" and not intimacy with the Lord. How do we know something is of God or not. Jesus told us how. Matthew 7:15,16 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits." 

When we are filled with the Spirit, gifts are a natural outgrowth of the Spirit being alive in us. They are after all "gifts" that the Lord pours out freely. Anyone can have them and use them to impact the lives of others. However, fruit is the work we allow the Lord to perform on our character. He teaches us to live: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are things a mature Christian chooses to example in their lives. Even an immature or baby Christian can flow in the gifts but the nature of the fruit is that it is time tested.

I have really upset people in the past when I have not just accepted them because a particular gift or gifts are flowing through them. I hunger for integrity and for what is real. Someone can move in a powerful gift today and fall very badly tomorrow but they will still possess the gift God gave them. Satan still has his gifts because God does not take them back. Fruit is something that assures life from every gift. Watch for the fruit when you see gifts flowing. If the fruit is good rejoice and join in. If the fruit is bad, stay away trouble is coming.

Seek the Lord, never the gifts. The gifts will come if you seek Him. He desires to give good gifts to His children, and He desires for the world to know He is real!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11 Thought for the day....Satan has his day

I have heard many theories about who the anti-Christ is, Ronald Wilson Reagan (his name has 6 letters in each part so 666). Henry Kissinger, Barak Obama, and Donald Trump have all made someone's list. Yes, there have been those in history who possessed the anti-Christ spirit; Nero, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, and Kim Jong Un. The anti-Christ spirit has been around since Herod tried killing the Christ child within two years of his birth.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4

Paul talks about the falling away which you can read about in my last "thought for the day" if you missed it. After those outside the church become so anti-Christ themselves, the place for the anti-Christ himself has been opened. It is as if a curtain has been pulled away and this man of lawlessness will be revealed. The word "sin" means "lawless" or anti-Christ and Paul is saying this man will be alive but at the appropriate time the curtain will be pulled back and he will be revealed to the world.

The world will see him as a savior, a hope for the society but Paul calls him the son of perdition meaning the son of rot, ruin, decay, and doom. The world will think that this man will bring peace and harmony, he may in some ways but, he will spell doom to the world and the people.

Isaiah tells us (Isaiah 14:13,14) that Lucifier's desire was to be worship and to be like God. Through the anti-Christ, he will destroy all religious observance of all religion, and he will be his own religion so he alone might receive worship. The Greek tense and definite article indicate to us the anti-Christ will not just oppose God once, but his rule and reign will be a continual opposition to God. He will be so blatant in his opposition that in the rebuilt temple he will go into the Holy of Holies and proclaim himself the god!

We need to understand this all needs to happen before the end of days. We have not discussed whether this is pre or post-rapture. We must also understand that all of this can take years or the Lord can make it happen in an instant. Despite what the devil may desire God is always in control. If someone tells you, they know who the anti-Christ is, they are wrong. Paul says there will be a specific time when he will be revealed.

Until any of this happens, let's work while it is yet day (while the light is here) because night comes (when the light is gone) when no one can work! God's Spirit is being poured out right now. Jump into what He is doing and watch Him bless!

Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10 Thought for the day...not quite yet

I love Christmas! The sights, sounds, smells the joy and anticipation. I enjoy that many are happier and that the world feels the love of Christ through all the muck and mire of life. I know it is a hard season for many but Christ can still be revealed through the season even in tough times. Believe it or not, Christmas is one of the reasons that the end of times is not quite yet!

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2: 3,4

All of my life I have been told, "Jesus is coming soon!" I think this was very deceptive of the church to focus on this, not that we don't want and look for the return of Christ, but I believe it took the focus from telling the world about Him to a selfish position of "rapture practice!" The Father's heart is that all would come to know Him and that must be our drive and passion. We do it in different ways, leading people to Christ, disciplining them, challenging them, encouraging them. We each have been given gifts and skills to impact our world.

So how does the celebration of Christmas impact the second coming? I'm glad you asked! Paul says don't be deceived the return of Christ will not happen until a few things happen first. He is already assuming that we understand the Gospel being preached everywhere has already been accomplished.

I have been taught all of my life that the "falling away" was Christians walking away from Christ. While that may happen in some cases that is not the inference Paul is making here. The phrase means a mutiny, defiance, or a revolt against God. What is not implied nor inferred here is that it is in the church. It seems to more appropriately be talking about the general attitude of society. Paul is saying there will be a purposeful outright revolt against God, everything He stands for a complete turning away.

This absolute rebellion against God in every way permeating throughout world society is necessary. Nature abhors a vacuum so Satan, through this defiance against God, is establishing the perfect set up for his anti-Christ to arise on the scene. Can you imagine a world so anti-Christ in mentality that they willingly accept an anti-Christ as a leader? Look for it because it is going to happen!

BUT NOT QUITE YET! While we have an open door, before the hearts of the world turn against Christ, we must share the love, joy, peace, and life that we have been given! Our lives have been changed, we have hope because of Him. It is a hope that the world needs and this season is a great time to remind people how they can have this hope all year long! Tomorrow, I will pick up these verses and go a bit deeper. I hope this is encouraging you and that you are beginning to understand the real signs of the Lord's return and will not allow yourself to be deceived by signs on the earth, in the sky or by any words other than those that come from the Lord.

We have a great privilege to bring the most powerful life-changing message to the world that needs the truth. Please no longer allow yourself to be taken off track from our most important call. Be who the Lord has called you to be and you will change the world!

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7 Thought for the day....when will Jesus return?

If you have heard it at all. I will criticize very severely those who say, "This is happening in the world, or the planets are doing this, that is a sure sign of Jesus return!" It is all bogus, jargon either as a well-meaning person who doesn't really understand the Word, or someone looking to make a buck. What bothers me is no one holds them accountable! People keep buying their books. There is one book that explains the signs of Jesus return it is the Bible. Paul writes about it in his second letter to the Thessalonians....

"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come" 2 Thessalonians 2: 1,2

Jesus told us that there would be signs in the heavens and on the earth but not to worry about them but to look for "....this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."  We are not there yet, but with today's technology it could happen fairly quickly, but then again many still do not have the technology available to them. However, the Lord is on the move.

Paul is saying here that there is another sign of the Lord's return that will occur within the church. The "gathering together" Paul is talking about is the end of the age when Jesus returns to gather His bride to himself. He is speaking very clearly about the last days. Yes, he does give us a sign. Are you ready for it?

The sign Paul gives us is in the phrase "the coming of our Lord." The Greek word Paul uses there gives us an indication of what will happen just before Jesus returns. The word he uses for "coming" is talking about a manifest presence of the Lord. Paul is saying just before Jesus returns as the church is meeting, worshiping, and living their lives we will sense and feel a very tangible presence of the Lord. The idea behind his words is there will be an ever-increasing presence of Jesus, in the church before. It is as if he is already with us in a very real way, His return will be a very natural next step as the church is already prepared.

I think that is pretty exciting. We will know when Jesus is coming because we will already be living in a very real sense of His presence. I'm looking forward to that, how about you?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6 Thought for the day...a long term investment strategy

I am so grateful for all of the people who faithfully give their tithes and offerings. I am especially grateful for those who are wealthy in this world (which compared to the rest of the world is most of us in America). Why? Because wealth is a temptation, you can handle it wisely or poorly. Paul challenges us to not think of only the short term pleasures but to always be thinking long-term with our investments.

"storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Timothy 6:19

Paul is encouraging Timothy to speak to those with means that with their means they think about long-term investment strategies. He is not saying to never enjoy the fruit of your work. We talked about that yesterday. We are to enjoy the way God blesses us, but we have to keep in mind the bigger picture. The fruit of our work expended on ourselves quickly fades away, but the investment in the Kingdom has eternal value.

"Storing up" refers to placing your investment into a safe place where it can never be stolen or destroyed. Most people want their investments to grow so they look for the place where they will get the greatest return. They don't want to see their wealth diminish. Jesus commends the wise servants who invest well and condemns the one who has no forethought for the future (Matthew 25). We are encouraged throughout scripture to invest wisely to take care of our families this is part of the meaning of the "good foundation."

Our call to store up is not so we would hoard, or spend frivolously but so we could invest wisely for the time to come. This phrase, "time to come" refers to eternity.

The Holy Spirit is speaking through Paul saying, everything you invest in the Kingdom has eternal value. Build on a foundation of long-term investing in rebuilding families, reaching the lost, impacting the world with the Gospel and it will be the best investment strategy you can make!

The money we spend on ourselves is good for temporary pleasure, but it is gone in eternity. However, when you invest in the Kingdom, when you give your tithes and offerings you are blessing the Lord, and it has eternal, positive consequences. Enjoy the fruit of your labor but understand it is gone as quickly as it came. Make sure you have a long-term investment strategy. Knowing that lives are being changed for eternity because of your finances.

Bear in mind, like some wise investment plans you may not see the return right away. It takes time for some seed to come to harvest. Fruit trees take, on average seven years. Just because you don't see it right away doesn't mean it is not germinating and has thousands of apples in that seed.

Think long term. The investment will have a more significant impact that way. Invest in your eternity and the eternity of others. Enjoy your harvest now but do your best investment long-term!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5 Thought for the day...the work is hard but the reward is amazing!

We have a home that is was built in the 1850s or 1860s. It is a very nice farmhouse, but we have been working on it, remodeling, updating, adding on and then redoing for 30+ years. When we moved in the electric was severely limited, everything was covered over with paneling, drop ceilings, and rugs now it is almost done. I love completing projects. We have done a lot of similar things with the church building. There is such joy and reward when things are finished. God blesses especially when we fight through to achieve something as well.

"You, therefore, must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops." 2 Timothy 2:3-6

In past posts, I have talked about the need to be a good soldier and an athlete. Young Timothy was watching many in his church executed, run away from the church, even the leadership he thought he could trust had abandoned him and Paul is telling him, "Fight like a fearsome soldier, prepare and compete like a professional athlete and....Be a good farmer?" What was Paul talking about?

When Paul is talking about a hardworking farmer, the Greek word he uses means someone who does arduous labor, working to the point of physical and mental exhaustion by the sweat of his brow. Someone who keeps plodding on until the task is complete regardless of their fatigue. Paul is telling us that we must realize if we are going to reap a harvest we must be ready to work hard and keep at it until the task is done!

There is a high reward that comes with it! God promises that anyone who works this hard is to be the first to take part in the harvest. In other words, He will bless you. In fact, the phrase "must be" is emphatic the Lord is saying if you work this hard, He is obligated to make sure you are rewarded with the first part of the harvest.

What does that mean? I'm glad you asked! Because you have worked hard to fulfill His dream for the world, He will fulfill yours. He will honor you with promotion, blessing, and recognition. Whatever it cost you in time, money, or energy He will make sure you are rewarded in greater abundance. God recognizes your work and sacrifice, and He will not be outdone!

Don't be discouraged if the battle is intense, if the preparation and competition are severe, or if the work is backbreaking and seems unrewarding for the moment. Your harvest is coming, and it will be greater than anything you can imagine. It is just for you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4 Thought for the day...the cost of impacting the world

Having served as a "televangelist" for nearly 30 years, I heard all the criticism, took all the abuse and ridicule for everyone's fundraising style. The media lumped us all into the same category, charlatans, frauds, people wanting to steal from old ladies. I would gladly take anything anyone wanted to dish out because I knew my heart was pure and I would do whatever it took to see people come to Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him. There is a genuine cost to do ministry. The "love of money" is the root of all kinds of evil and because of that, we need to learn how to be generous to make the work possible...

"...certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance." Luke 8:2,3

One of the signs of those who were true followers of Jesus, those who were closest to Him is they had generous hearts. The word used here, "provided" can be translated ministered to or served. I want to get back to this in a moment. While in our church it is my call and anointing to lead this exciting work with each of the Pastors, staff, Elders, and volunteers, leading in their roles. Every person who gives through their tithes (being 10% of your income) and offerings (those gifts beyond the tithe) is equally called and anointed for their ministry to support financially. Every person who is delivered, saved, healed, restored, or encouraged, every family we touch through our outreaches, each nation that has been impacted through our missionaries, every family that is restored and turned around is all done because there have been the finances to make it all happen. I never want you to think because you are not the Pastor that you aren't impacting lives. Your faithfulness every week is changing the world! Those who are faithful in giving will be rewarded as greatly as those of us whom they make possible to be on the front lines every day.

Allow me to get back to the "provided!" It is a picture of wait staff who painstaking, diligently works hard to meet the needs, through service, of the customers. They did it honorably and gaining the highest value from serving this way. This was the attitude that the women listed here had. They felt it was the purpose, the God-given assignment to make sure Jesus was supplied with all He needed to keep changing the world! The verb tense means they did it regularly and consistently. They were faithful, someone Jesus could count on!

The word "substance" means out of their goods, possessions, properties, and material goods. Luke is telling us they simply supplied all Jesus needed to feel free to be who He was without concern for his personal or the group's corporate needs. Luke points them out because their hearts of giving made them valuable partners in the ministry of Jesus.

Every scripture is important and valuable. Generally, when I talk about money people get quiet, offended, shy or the mature ones get excited about what God can do through them. Luke pointed these women out because everything Jesus did came back to be a blessing to them. Every life that was touched they took part. Your faithfulness through "providing" your "substance" is affecting more people than you can imagine, lives are being changed because of you. Thank you for faithfully giving. If you are part of my church, I am especially grateful. For the others who read these post daily, whatever church you are investing your tithes and offerings, thank you on behalf of your service to Christ. Together we are changing the world

Monday, December 3, 2018

December 3 Thought for the day...its harvest time

In all of my adventures around the world, I have had some "take my breath away" moments of God's amazing beauty. One of them was in Moldova, a small nation between Romania and Ukraine. I happened to be there when the sunflower fields were in full blossom. It was very close to the photo I have attached to this post. I can imagine Jesus seeing a similar picture with a wheat field when he said...

"Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" John 4:35

Let me give you the picture of what is happening. Outside of the Samaritan village of Sychar is a vast wheat field. Jesus was just in the village spending quality time with a Samaritan woman who was broken and rejected. She had come out to fetch water from the village well during a time when no one else would be there because she did not want riduculed. Jesus spoke to her, patiently shared freedom and His identity to her it radically changed her.

Jesus was the sower of seed in this Samaritan field. He sowed the seed into the heart of one woman. It so impacted her that this seed multiplied as she went to every person in the village saying, "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Because of seed sown in her life, she went from shame, guilt, and rejection to a person set free and on fire for God.

It generally takes four months from seed sown until a full wheat harvest. One person can handle the sowing of a field but it takes a whole village to bring in the harvest. Jesus had just sown a seed into one womans heart, but within hours not days, weeks, months, or years, Jesus and the disciples reaped an abundant harvest.

As Jesus is standing in or near this fully ripe wheat field, He is looking behind and beyond the disciples at an entire village coming to meet Him. The field was ready for harvesting so the villagers would have been dressed in harvesting clothing, generally white garments. Jesus is saying, it doesn't take a long time for a harvest to come, look here comes our white harvest already.

What does this have to do with us today? We have entered into a unique time in history with the Lord. He is doing some very amazing things right now. You may have shared the Gospel with many people over the years and have been frustrated at the results. I want to encourage you today that we are in a time, right now, when it no longer takes "4 months until the harvest," God is on the move. Get ready!

Also every person needs to take part in the harvest. I may sow and others may sow but it quite literally is going to take all of us to reap the harvest. If you have been praying for someone for a long time, if you have been sharing with very little fruit, if you have been disappointed by the harvest, get ready, the fields are white! The season has changed and God is in the process of being radical in His approach. Keep being faithful and get ready because the season has changed!

Friday, November 30, 2018

November 30 Thought for the day...getting rid of the slime

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, I headed there, and we established teams to help rebuild. All in all, we rebuilt 55 homes and 3 churches. The storm was severe enough but the slime that was left all over everything, a mix of waste material, garbage, silt, and dead fish, smelled to the heavens and ruined what the storm itself had not. This can happen in our lives after an emotional storm as well. The Holy Spirit warns us about it in Hebrews

"looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" Hebrews 12:15

I shared part of this verse several months ago. I need us to look at this verse deeper to see what happens if we allow hurts to survive in our hearts. There are two things I absolutely hate in the church (in general not our church specifically) people allowing offenses to live in their hearts and entitlement mentality where people believe they are owed something by God or the church. I see the latter in our part of the country a lot. The former can happen when either we are corrected and refuse the correction or being that all of us are human (even me by the way), and we say or do something, not intending to be offensive, but it comes across that way! The challenge for us as maturing believers is taking our offenses to the cross rather than allowing them to live in us. I hate them because they are sent by the enemy to stop our growth and limit our destiny.

When the phrase "cause trouble" is used it means, to harass, trouble, annoy. It is referencing something that is always eating at you, on your mind. It is the picture of a person, because of an offense, is stuck in the mire of woundedness and offense and cannot grow, receive healing or move past it because the choose to relive it day after day. It just entrenches them deeper and deeper into their own wound, insulating and isolating them the Holy Spirit's influence in their life. This happens because they grieve the Holy Spirit because of unforgiveness. Hurts will happen but Jesus went to the cross for all of them and to hang onto them violates the cross.

The word "defiled" means to spot or stain. The Holy Spirit is reminding us that is we do not allow the Lord to heal through our forgiveness then the very raw emotion related to the offense will eventually bubble out of our mouths onto others, in effect "sliming" them with our bitterness. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" Matthew 12:34. 

Here is what happens, someone feels an offense from church leadership, their boss, or extended family member. It overflows, and they begin grumbling in a way that their children hear their bitterness. While the children have had no reason to become bitter, they are "slimed" by the parents, and soon they too are bitter toward their church, their parents boss, or the extended family member. This effectively not only destroys the original person but their children as well. Ruining the relationship with the persons involved but worse their relationship with the Lord as they are choosing to grieve the Holy Spirit.

We can all find ourselves offended, and we can all offend people. As Christ-followers we are to be beyond allowing offenses and certainly should be beyond purposely offending others. Paul's focus teaches us an important lesson regarding things like this he said: "I die daily." Daily he was taking everything to the cross, leaving it all there. God's mercies are new every day for those who walk in mercy, His joy, peace, and love are there for those choose to walk in it.

Ask the Lord if you are allowing bitterness in your life. If so, ask Him to walk you through forgiveness, mercy, and love so you can walk in freedom. You may have bitterness from yesterday or from 40 years ago. Either way, it is grieving the Holy Spirit and limiting your destiny. Choose freedom today! No slime!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November 29 Thought for the day...what doesn't kill you only make you stronger

Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes. I am truly grateful and birthday yet

My brother often uses the phrase I placed in the headline of this post. He has gone through much in his life, and I believe it is what has kept him going. I, on the other hand, am not quite as sarcastic. However, what is interesting is Paul basically says this to Timothy.

"....exercise yourself toward godliness." 1 Timothy 4:7

Timothy was facing all kinds of hardship. I have mentioned this in previous posts. Paul uses a word here that was only used to describe professional athletes. These athletes were quite literally always in a life or death match. Their training consisted of training in the unbearable heat. Most of their competition took place in the heat of summer so all year they would train in the harshest of heat. They would place themselves in the most difficult of hardships knowing that this hardship would enable them to overcome whatever may come their way in the competition. They would even ask trainers and other athletes to viciously beat them while they were training so in case they were wounded during the battle, they would know how to keep fighting to win.

Theses athletes lives depended upon the harshness of their training. They welcomed hardship knowing that whatever did not kill them only made them stronger. They were preparing in every way mentally they would strip away every fear, wrong attitude, thoughts of failure, and even their clothing so to give no advantage to their enemy to grab something mentally or physically to use against them.

Their training would have brought them to near physical, mental and emotional perfection to win. Paul uses this word with Timothy reminding him not to expect it to get easier but rather than fearing the difficulties, embrace them knowing the Lord will use them for his good and make him stronger, ready for bigger more important battles. Making t possible for him to win every time.

The Paul says "godliness," this is Paul stressing a "radical, fanatical, devotion." The Holy Spirit is stressing through Paul that mediocre efforts reap mediocre results, but radical efforts reap radical results! Putting your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength into something will gain us the freedom, joy, peace, harvest and so much more we desire.

Allow the Lord to help you look at the hardship in your life differently. If you are growing in Christ, then you are already overcoming hardship. It will not get easier, but you will gain strength, influence more people, win every battle, and bring freedom to yourself and others. The athlete that performed well most often would win his freedom and the freedom for his family. Freedom from slavery, taxes, discrimination, and so much more. God wants you free, but he also wants everyone you know to come to freedom. Your training, battles, and overcoming win impact many more people than you know. Train hard and win! Freedom is coming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November 28 Thought for the day....knowing you are loved

It is my birthday today, and with that, I want to give YOU a gift! As I have traveled around the world, over 100 nations so far, I have found the most significant roadblock to a powerful, fruitful relationship with the Lord is not demons or governments but an understanding of the love of God. Today I want to give you a gift of knowledge, what I have come to understand about the love of God!

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38, 39

I know you have read this hundreds of times, but stay with me. I hope over the next few moments to strengthen your understanding of the way God loves you. Paul begins saying he was "persuaded" which means he has been coaxed, convinced, had his opinion radically changed, and will never allow his mind or heart to think any other way! This is how profound his understanding has become. Paul was a Pharisee among Pharisees, intelligent, wise, tremendous in the scripture and theology but coming into relationship with Christ gave him the most potent revelation, God's great love for him.

"Neither death nor life," The Holy Spirit wants us to understand that while in death we may be separated from our loved ones as believers we will never be separated from Him. The word can also be translated even if we find ourselves in mortal danger. His love is with us. He also wants to help us understand that no matter how down life may bring us, no matter what circumstances you may face, even if of your own doing, God is still with you, loves you and will never abandon you.

"Angels, nor principalities, nor powers." Angels and principalities are powerful spiritual forces. The both have an authority and are potent beings that deliver messages from their perspective Kingdoms to sway mankind. Yet, even in all of their power, they do not have the ability, not authority to stand between us and the love of God. The devil seems to have great marketing in the church, people falsely believe he has certain powers and authority that he does not. The love of God is powerful much more powerful than any angelic or demonic force. Powers refers to government authority, man's authority. The Holy Spirit is reminding us that no spiritual force nor fleshly authority has the power to stop God's love for us or limit it in any way!

"Nor things present nor things to come." Paul is stressing that whatever your present situation may be nor what you fear may come to pass you can not and will not be separated from God's love. Think about it, the enemy strikes us with guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy, fear and worry about our future. It is all in God's hands as our lives are in His hands. None of it can separate us from Him!

To ensure us that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from His love. The Holy Spirit reminds us through Paul "nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing." God is the only "non-created" person or thing, everything else has been created. Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the Lord. No matter to what depths or heights you may go, God is there!

I know God loving us enough to send His Son should be good enough for us to understand His great love but there are times that we need to be reminded of the depths of His love for us. Today, I hope this does it for you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

November 27 Thought for the day...dying makes you very powerful

Life can become so daily! You do something day in and day out and if you are not careful your work or quality of task begins to slip. The sad part about that is often we don't notice ourselves that the quality has begun to slip. I believe the Holy Spirit challenges us through Paul's letter to the Romans that would not happen.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. Romans 12:1

When Joseph and Mary came to the temple to present Jesus there, the same Greek word is used that is translated here as "give." The word means to present, to place at one's disposal, to surrender, to offer as a sacrifice to God. When Jesus was presented at the temple, He was given over to the Father as a gift back to God. In return they expected the Lord to provide, protect, and oversee his life. Paul uses this same word challenging us to present ourselves to the Lord surrendering ourselves to His provision, protection, and oversight.

He is not simply requesting that Christians do this he is constantly, continually urging us to do this until the victory is won. That is the meaning behind the word he uses for "plead." It is a military term used by generals when they were exhorting the troops to fight until there is a complete victory.

Here where it gets interesting. The term "living sacrifice" is in opposition to a dead sacrifice (duh)! A dead sacrifice can only be offered up once, a living sacrifice can be offered over and over again. You might be saying, "when I came to Christ, I gave my life over to Him!" While that is true, we are in a battle with our flesh, daily. It wants what it wants. Until the day we are totally dead in Christ, we must daily offer ourselves up to Christ as a living sacrifice. We must be willing as Paul mentions, to "die daily!" If this were completed at salvation, Paul would have never urged the church in Rome to do this regularly and constantly. We don't realize how much further we have to go or how far we have fallen away if we don't daily check our flesh against His Spirit. It is easy to sneak up on us!

I have mentioned at other times, my concern for the Body of Christ is not so much with the devil because any Christian who is generally sold out to Christ will allow Christ to overcome the enemy in their lives every time. However, free will makes the flesh a very powerful adversary. Paul writes that we will find ourselves acceptable to God for his power, anointing, purpose, destiny, and use as we learn to offer ourselves up to Him on a daily basis.

You can have the power daily to be a radical, sold out, child of the King if you will but choose daily to offer yourself to Him. Watch Him provide, protect, guide, and oversee every aspect of your life. Let's change the world together. Try it for a month and see if everything changes in your life.

Simply pray..."Father, I give all that I am over to you...shape me, change me, empower me, fulfill your destiny through me today. Help me to get out of the way and allow you to be God!"

Watch and see what He will do in you and through you!

Monday, November 26, 2018

November 26 Thought for the day...excellent opportunities

There are so many things the Lord wants to accomplish through you. There are lives He wants to touch. There are whole cities, states and nations He wants to pour out His Spirit upon. The door is open He is simply waiting for you!

For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

Paul was writing this letter from the city of Ephesus. Ephesus was a pagan, idol worshiping, and a promiscuous city that hated Christianity. However, finally, there was a breakthrough. The spiritual wall had crumbled, and the church was growing and impacting the community.

When Paul is writing that a great and effective door opened to me, the word translated "to me" means he was given a unique and personal opportunity. Paul had cried out for the city, and God heard that cry! What are you crying out for? What is your hearts cry? God hears it, believe me, and He will answer. His heartbeat is for everyone to know who He is!

Paul's use of the word "great" implies a massive and unique opportunity for Paul. We are given this example and Paul's life to see that we too can have this happen for us. If you stay focused and true to the Lord call on your life, He will provide amazing opportunities for you too! God will not leave a door in front of you, but He will open it and keep it open for you as you trust Him.

However, Paul gives a warning, there are many adversaries. Paul is referring to those people who became jealous of his ministry and wanted to destroy it. He is also referring to those who saw his ministry and became envious and wanted to try to steal it. Both of these were inside the church. He was referring to those in the world that rejected it and wanted to see Paul imprisoned or killed.

It is not unusual for adversity to come against you when you choose to follow the Lord to such an extent that you are taking the enemies territory. You should expect resistance. It can catch you off guard if it comes from friends or others that were once close to you. However, like Paul, never allow it to stop you, discourage you, frustrate you in any way. God opened a door so walk right through. He will bless, encourage, and give you more ground, just keep your eyes on Him and trust Him!

I want to encourage all of the blog and facebook post readers that God has opened a great door for us at the Christian Center. He is pouring out His Spirit in a very gentle and powerful way. If you have the opportunity, come check us out. We are near the intersection of Routes 51 and 70 in Rostraver Township, PA 15012

Friday, November 23, 2018

November 23 Thought for the day...dealing with people, especially jerks!

Have you ever said, "God if you could just remove this person from my life, life would be so much better!" Or something like that? I wrote a sermon once called, "Don't let the jerks get the best of you!" We will always have difficult people in our lives until we go home to be with Jesus. If you didn't read yesterday's post, this one might not make sense to you. If people are driving you crazy, you are in good company with Paul!

Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9

Our church slogan is, "The perfect church for imperfect people." We mean that and as a church, we embrace everyone, and we desire that each and every day we all grow to become more like Jesus. Along the way, we may struggle with contentious, even mean and disingenuous people some will become more like Jesus and others more like the other guy and eventually walk away. We have no way of knowing who will follow which path so we must pour love into everyone.

Paul pleaded with God to deliver him from all the people causing him great hardship and heartache (the thorn in his flesh), but God would not do it. God is full of hope and love, and He will allow difficult people in our lives in the hope that they will choose Jesus, because of our faith and witness. Another thought is if God removes all the difficult people in your life would there be any left? Remember God sent His Son to the cross for everyone and He desires for none to perish. God will not leave you helpless.

It might seem at times that life would be so much easier if it weren't for the people. However, it is for blessing people (which ultimately blesses God) that we are here. God knows our struggles, so His "grace is sufficient for you." Sufficient means to give protection, power, means, more than enough and it is continual!

He also promises the "strength" needed. The word "strength" means dynamic power, ability to make any needed change. You may at times feel you can't handle this person, but God is saying I'll give you the ability and the power to more than deal with them but to keep you walking with your head held high.

This dynamic power is made perfect (matured) through our "weakness." The word choice Paul uses has to do with emotional stresses, unsettled emotions and does not have anything to do with a physical malady at all. It could be frustration, anger, fear, anxiety or any other gambit of emotions. God knows we feel insufficient to deal with difficult people if we choose to trust Him, He will supply all the strength we need to overcome in every situation.

Living with some people can be a challenge. It generally is not God's will to remove them from you but to give you all that you need so they might be changed and that you might be changed as well. Our loving heavenly Father desires for us to become more like Jesus, to engage people the way He did and to always reflect the Father's heart toward everyone. He desires every person to live a life that fulfills them and that they spend eternity with Him. He will allow people to be "jerks" in your life so you will grow and they will come to know His love, through you!

Be thankful today for God's strength and all the ways he blesses you. He is more than sufficient for you!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

November 22 Thought for the you have a thorn?

Many theories on what Paul's thorn in the flesh might have been. I'd like to show you what I believe based on the Bible, it may have been and why you might have one too. If so, what do you do about it? For some, reading this, you may be saying, "What is he talking about, a thorn in the flesh?" (a bit of theology today)

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul had spent deep times with the Lord, even had gone to heaven, in this process he had been given a great abundance of things from the Lord. "Abundance" meaning a great amount and a great depth of meaning and insight into the things of God.

He had been given so much so that he felt he had been "exalted above measure." This phrase means he had been greatly promoted, given a high level of prestige, honored beyond measure. Paul was given the privilege of seeing, grasping, and understanding deep into the heart of God. We have been given the privilege of understanding these things too as we read his letters. Paul's letters and his life adventures that we read about in Acts, reveal to us all the depth that was given to him.

The word translated "thorn" here means the type of spike used to put a decapitated head on. The messenger of Satan wanted Paul's head on a spike. Paul was sharing the powerful insight into the heart of God that had been revealed to him. Please notice the thorn was sent by Satan, not God. There is no evidence anywhere in the Word, and it would be against God's nature for Him to reveal something and then want to suppress it at the same time. Messenger commonly refers to a spiritual being like an angel or in this case demonic force.

Paul stated this messenger was sent to "buffet" him. This means to continually be pounded on with fists. I shared with you many of the things Paul went through, beatings, imprisonment, stoning, being whipped as well as betrayal, and persecutions of other kinds.

The enemy was upset that Paul was given insight into the Lord that would set more and more people free from his grasp. So he sent those from outside the church who would persecute him, and he stirred up the flesh of people inside the church that would fail him and stand against him. This constant buffeting has more validity in scripture to defining Paul's "thorn in the flesh"than there is evidence that he had some kind of physical or other spiritual maladies. Paul prayed for this harassment to end, but God's word to him was "my grace is sufficient for you!" Paul kept going, and because of that, we have the insight and depth of the Father's heart that was revealed to him, through both his words and actions in the New Testament.

Think about it. Do you have a thorn in the flesh? If you are growing in God, becoming daily who the Lord has called you to be, others flesh and the enemy will stand against you. Don't become complacent, fearful, or overwhelmed! God has called you! He has given you a unique purpose. He has revealed to you, truth, that you can share with others, in a particular way. Don't give in to the messengers of Satan, don't get frustrated, angry, or fearful. "My grace is sufficient for you, and My power is perfected in weakness" 2 Corinthians 12:9 Keep changing the world, allow nothing to stop you. Paul didn't!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

November 21 Thought for the day...blessings

As we think about what we are thankful for in this season, I want to encourage you. We can all have times where we feel overwhelmed, there is too much going on, or the task or day ahead of me is simply too much. The good news is, there is always encouragement and blessings in God's Word.

I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. 1 Timothy 1:2

Every letter of Paul he begins with "grace and mercy," do you know why? Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles. The standard Gentile greeting, kind of like our "How are you?" Was simply saying the word "grace." The word translated grace here carries with it the idea of favor. So when Paul is greeting us through his letters, he is not only blessing us with a divine grace, but we are also people who have been blessed with divine favor. Favor is every kind of blessing, peace, joy, rest and a whole host of other things that make our lives rich. We are still blessed with this grace today as we read and study God's word.

Then Paul proclaims peace. The common greeting even in the Middle East today is peace. It is not just generic peace he is proclaiming to us but the peace that God can give to calm any storm or situation in our lives. He is proclaiming a powerful pronouncement over our lives that we need to accept and apply in the daily grind of life.

In the books of first and second Timothy and Titus Paul adds the word "mercy" to the greeting. This is especially important for our topic today. These three books were written as personal books in times of challenge for the two men, Timothy and Titus. If you are going through something difficult today you need to hear this, but then again if not today it may be tomorrow or next week but we all have times of struggle. In the first book, Timothy was overwhelmed by the task of pastoring the largest church in the world at the time. In the second book, persecution had begun some had been killed, some abandoned the faith and even the trusted leadership he had raised up, had abandoned him because of the testing of their faith. Titus was left to finish a job Paul had started. Crete was famous for people who were liars, cheats, and scoundrels. Titus was working diligently to establish Christian leadership among this mindset.

The task for both men was overwhelming, so Paul pronounces "mercy." This is a special outpouring of God's kindness and help. It is the supply from heaven of all that is needed to get them through the difficult time. For us, it is important to remember that God always provides blessings for every trial and difficulty. Whatever you are going through today, you are not alone. Rest on his mercy today. Just like Timothy and Titus, God has a call and plan for your life, and you will face impossible challenges to fulfill that call. He expects you to rely on his mercy, that kindness, and help that will give you all you need to successfully fulfill your call!

For those of you around the world, the photo is of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

November 20 Thought for the thanks for partnership

I appreciate being appreciated, many hear me, read these posts, see the work in families and the community and recognize all that goes into it and appreciate it. I am grateful for that, but everyone who prays and gives for this ministry is a partner in the world-changing work that is being done...the Holy Spirit says so, through Paul...

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. Philippians 1:4,5

Every day hope is being given, families are restored, throughout the year many have come to Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered. The great and the small are all being challenged and impacted for the kingdom. Because you read this post and pray for the on-going ministry and because many of you give, what happens through the church or through me personally, you are my partner, you are a partner in changing the cities through coffee, just like Paul was talking about the Philippian church.

The Philippian church was a struggling church, financially but spiritually they fought off every adversary to stay true to the Gospel. When Paul says here that he "prays" for the church at Philippi the tense there means it is a continuing action, he quite literally prays for them always.

Paul making "requests" means that he was continually, without ceasing, standing in the gap for their physical, spiritual and overall well-being! He recognized all they were doing and their hearts for Paul and his work. He recognized their value in not just their personal ministries but their recognition of the ministry he was doing.

Why did he pray so much for them? They were his partners in the ministry. The Gospel was being preached through Paul's ministry because of their prayers and giving. The way he could best say, "thanks," was to not only literally to say the words but to stand in the gap for each of them, believing for their needs to be met.

I am saying, "thank you" to you today. Your prayers for me give me the strength to continue on in the ministry. Those of you that give through our church are valuable and absolutely necessary to keep the Gospel going, the lives changed, the hope given. Each week thousands view our Friday night service, every day over 1000 people from around the world read this post (mainly through the blog). Your prayers and financial gifts advance the Kingdom. Every life changed is part of your ministry as well.

"The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work" 1 Corinthians 3:8 I have the privilege of doing the planting, your participation in this ministry, waters, and I expect an abundance of blessing for you because of your hard work. Together we have partnered to change the world...thank you for your faithfulness! By the way, I am praying for you daily and continually!

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 19 Thought for the day...hate, and love confrontation.

No one likes confrontation. As a Pastor, I have to almost be a pro at it because every day I have to confront someone about their sin. I don't like having to do it, and the results are not always pleasant (people rarely think they are wrong even if the Bible says they are). However, confrontation done correctly is an extremely loving thing to do.

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, Luke 17:3 (Jesus' words)

If someone sins against us many times, it will sit and eat at us until we deal with it. We can sit and stew on it for hours, days, weeks, and even years. Why waste that time when Jesus plainly tells us what to do. The word translated "sins" here means to cross the line, violate a rule, cause a grievance. If someone has done this, we aren't to stew over it where nothing gets accomplished except our living and pain and the relationship falling apart we are to "rebuke" them!

Rebuke doesn't mean what most people think it means. It means to speak to someone honestly, frankly, and politely as you tell them how you believe they have wronged you. Honesty is critical, it is a key to intimacy in any relationships and is a reflection of our being able to be "one" with each other as Jesus prayed in John 17. It is critical to our impacting the world that we be an honest people.

When confronting follow this plan...

1) Pray - make sure you have indeed been wronged, and it is not the Holy Spirit trying to bring correction in your life. If it is an offense pray the Lord gives you the right attitude to confront. Pray for the person who offended you, they are not your enemy, the enemy is the enemy. The Holy Spirit may give you a strategy to reach out to your brother and sister that will ease the tension.

2) A judgmental attitude does not reflect Christ. - We have all made mistakes and when getting ready to confront, remember you have made mistakes too! Please begin with the assumption that the person did not mean to offend you. You don't know the reason the person offended you, and as you move in grace and love, you can be assured that when you need it, you will receive grace and love. Remember you are going to want to keep a relationship with them after you handle the offense.

3) Remember how you felt in the past - when you were told you offended someone, you felt bad, perhaps even sad when you heard you had hurt someone. You want the person who offended you to tell you the truth so coming off strong, self-righteous, or accusatory they will be most likely to become offended rather than being won as your brother or sister.

If after reviewing these three steps you still want to confront, when you do forgive. You have been in the presence of the Lord in prayer, His love, joy, and peace have been with you. Your heart should be in the right mode to talk with your brother or sister. You have been forgiven many times by the Lord and others. Remember it is being like Jesus to forgive. Forgive means to release, set free, to liberate completely, to let it go!

Our faith is all about relationship, relationship with God, each other, and the world. The world is looking for examples of Christ-likeness in people who claim to follow him. Working out of offenses in love shows our love of Christ to everyone. I know it is uncomfortable, but the alternative is years of anguish, hurt, and division. Gently confront so you may save your relationships and grow to be who God has called you to be! You can grow to love it if you see how many relationships you save!

Friday, November 16, 2018

November 16 Thought for the day...put anger to bed

I think we all have done it at one point or another, gotten so angry about something we couldn't sleep. I have done it, it is rare, but someone or something has infuriated me so severely that I lay there tossing and turning at times only getting angrier. Paul has a solution

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26,27

Wrath is a funny word. The Greek meaning is someone who brings anger alongside them and embraces it. In other words, recognizing it for what it is and dealing with the wrath, you embrace it coddle it, nurture it and help it grow. Wrath will then get "under your skin" you will own it then. It will begin to tear at your heart, love, joy, peace and before long you are utterly miserable and restless. I have seen people carry wrath for years. They have missed out on many joys, opportunities, blessings, relationships, and the Holy Spirit because of carrying wrath. Some even justified it as part of their Christian right.

Wrath is there because we haven't learned to forgive, intercede, live in grace, speak loving correction or a combination of the four. Being Christ-like requires us to live in forgiveness we can't hold things against people, Christ didn't and neither should we (there is much more to this like not submitting to abuse but still being able to forgive). If someone wounds us, we are to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We have been given grace so we ought to extend grace to others. At times we simply need to speak a word or teach correction to someone. Each of this will crush wrath in our lives.

If you have a hard time letting go do one or all of the following:

- Pray
- Talk to your spouse or a close friend you can trust about it
- Talk to a pastor, elder, or another church leader

If you don't the devil knows the "place" to attack. The word devil means one who comes alongside to accuse. He will find the place in your mind where you are the most vulnerable and attack that place with a vengeance. He will find various ways to create offenses, wounds, corrupt thinking, illegitimate thoughts, anything he can do to destroy your walk, testimony, and Christian life. He does an especially good work when you are trying to sleep at night. So put your anger to bed before you go so you can rest.

Your rest is as much a part of your Kingdom work as your work is. We are required by the Lord to rest so don't allow the enemy to rob it from you. Walk in forgiveness, grace, and life don't give the enemy another moment of your rest!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November 15 Thought for the day...don't think it gets easier

I remember when I opened my own business, people who had never owned a business told me I had it made. They thought how much time I would have because it was my business, I was my own boss. I could choose to work the hours I wanted. I could take days off. I had come into easy street according to some. My business was fantastically successful but because Paige and I were each willing to work 60-70 hours per week taking off only Sunday. When we weren't at the store, we were thinking about it. Many people daydream about what life would be like someday but someday is today!

Don't have anything to do with worthless, senseless stories and daydreams. Work hard to be truly a man of faith. 1 Timothy 4:7

Many people daydream about life being more comfortable if I only had my own business or if I were the boss, and my favorite wish I could be a Pastor they only work one day a week! Being a success at anything, especially in the Kingdom takes complete commitment and focus. Paul was warning young Timothy to not have daydreams about an easier life but instead to stay focused on the Kingdom. He was most likely dreaming about how much easier life would be if he weren't in the ministry or how much easier it would be as the ministry grew and he could finally relax. That would come under the idea of a senseless story or a daydream.

If God calls you to a greater purpose and anointing along with that calls comes a greater demand on your time, energy, strength, and gifts. As we learn to rely on God's grace, wisdom, and strength our character will blossom and grow and we will be able to handle anything that comes our way and be successful as well!

When Paul says, "don't have anything to do with" It means to refuse, utterly reject, walk away from any fables, old wives tales, or daydreams that will limit you. Paul doesn't want young Timothy to get caught up in wishing, dreaming, schemes or anything other than God's great plan. The enemy wants to get our focus off of the greatness God has for us. He will fill our minds with useless thoughts that take us away from God's purpose. It especially happens when things begin to get tough. We long for easier days, hoping every problem will go away. Those who follow the Lord's anointing will be taking on the prince of this world and his kingdom and will be conquering one kingdom after another.

"Work hard" is that word exercise, again. We are to grow in strength, stamina, endurance to win the race, to overcome, to win the crown. Ease is not something that men and women, who are hungry for God, will ever attain. However, rest, joy, peace, love, grace, wisdom, and power are the place where the man (or woman) of faith exist!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November 14 Thought for the one loves discipline but...

We have all seen them, you are at Walmart, and there is a child or a couple of children that are entirely out of control. They are screaming, yelling at their parents, refusing to listen, maybe even telling their parents, "no!" They are a little-undisciplined anarchist. I can predict their future...jail time. Discipline is not only needful but absolutely necessary for success. Our flesh hates it, the devil hates it, but God blesses us through it.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11

We are all born of flesh, and the flesh wants what the flesh wants, and most of that are things contrary to God's best for us. Our most significant battle is not with the devil but with the flesh. If the flesh is under subjection to Christ, then the devil has no possibility of ever winning in our lives. Being wholly submitted to the Father crucifies our flesh and leads us to more power, greater anointing, and complete freedom, love, joy, peace and so much more! Walking in a disciplined life allows us to be entirely used of the Holy Spirit tieing in with yesterday's "thought" regarding excellence!

The word "discipline" means to educate, instruct, any action taken for the betterment of one's life. It is not only the process but also the attitude we want to be disciplined to grow, mature, and excel! This type of attitude is vital if we are going to mature. I know how important my disciplines of being in the Word, prayer, and working out our to my spiritual and physical health but some morning I lack the desire to do them, even though I know how vital they are to me. This word is a severe word meaning we must have a strictest of disciplinary approaches to life in order to overcome our flesh.

If I want the outcome of a disciplined life; moving in a greater anointing, power, wisdom, and all of the fruit of the Spirit, I must choose to discipline my flesh, effectively killing it off so the Holy Spirit may completely flow through me. It certainly is neither easy nor comfortable. Little children put it this way, "Mom, everyone else is doing it why can't I?" It hurts, "painful" meaning grievous, uncomfortable, distressing. It is hard work to go to get a degree, work out every day, learn a language. It is also hard to stop smoking, lying, swearing, or any other bad habit. "trained" is the word for weight training, physical exercise, or running, the results will be worth it.

The writer in talking about a "peaceful harvest of right living" is referring to progress in your life of godliness. You will see the fruit of the Spirit in everything you do, the power and anointing of God in greater measure, fear, anxiety, worry, anger, and all of the work of the flesh will be subdued in your life. This is not a "do it once and done" Jesus said, if anyone wants to be his disciple (follow His discipline) they must take up their cross (crucify their flesh) daily. For me, just like the working out discipline walking in His discipline is so very daily. It is worth every moment, every sacrifice, to witness all the lives that are being changed and the way the Holy Spirit is moving in our church. Try it today and see if it is worth it to you!