Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28 Thought for the day....stay aware

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February 27 Thought for the day...not there yet, but well on your way

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

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" Ephesians 2:1,2

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26 Thought for the day...dying to yourself in a different way

Paul said that he became all things to all people that he might win some. He wasn't a hypocrite he was being sensitive to his surroundings, understanding the people and the situation and knowing how to best present Jesus in that atmosphere. He challenges us to do this in very practical times as well.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15

Have you ever shared some great news with someone and their response is either cold or stone-faced? Sure you have, all of us have had it happen at one time or another. Paul is saying, put your own emotions, feeling aside, put down your flesh for a moment. When someone is rejoicing, Paul is, by the Holy Spirit, commanding us to rejoice with them. We are one body and when one is celebrating it is cause for all of us to celebrate. We are to pause our own troubles, struggles, thoughts, and difficulties and take time to rejoice with them. This serves two purposes. First, we take time to celebrate with our brother or sister in the Lord over their good news valuing what is going on in their lives as something as important. Second, it very well may be the thing that helps to change our mood into remembering to celebrate the goodness of God, always!

Paul then also tells us to weep with those who weep. This is for the same reasons as the rejoicing. This too is a command from God, not simply a suggestion. Our hearts are to be broken with the things that break God's heart. If one of His children has a broken heart, it breaks His heart. They may need a shoulder to cry on, just to know someone cares. The Holy Spirit comes to us in times of heartbreak and stays with us comforting and loving until it is time to get back up. At that time, He encourages and helps us to get up. We need to reflect this in our love for people, weeping with those who weep.

Our flesh demands us to do what it wants, however, if we are a reflection of the Holy Spirit we have to die to our flesh and be Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not easy. Don't you enjoy when people rejoice with you, and if you have gone through great sorrow it is healing and comforting to have someone who will be with you, feeling your heart in the situation? Just be Jesus

Friday, February 23, 2018

February 23 Thought for the day...stinky fruit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

February 22 Thought for the day....a two-edged sword life

The writer of Hebrews often saw Roman soldiers with two-edged broadswords. They were powerful offensive weapons that would make quick work of any enemy. God has a "two-edged sword" created for a powerful purpose in our lives, to destroy the thoughts, attitudes, and approach of the enemy.

Hebrews 4:12

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

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

Stay with me for a minute. Allow me to explain to you the power of this verse.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February 21 Thought for the day...strategy to win every time

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20 Thought for the day...what do we want vs. what do we settle for?

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

Colossians 3:1,2.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

February 19 Thought for the day....loving with room and board

We have many friends from around the world. Most of them have stayed with us at one time or another. some did not start as friends, but after opening our home to them, they became friends. Some stayed for a night others for weeks. Each one added to our lives, and with each one, we loved as Jesus loved. Paul challenged us to always have this heart.

"....always be eager to practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

Paul is continuing to instruct us in what it means to act like a Christian. During the first century, many who came to Christ had to flee persecution, others lost them homes due to persecution. The Lord was using this persecution to spread the Gospel all over the known world. It was not His doing, but He used it for His purposes.

Because of this persecution, the early church had to develop an "open home" policy. They were always open to feed and shelter any at any time. This mindset was so important that Paul said it was a requirement for any who desired to be leaders in the church (1 Timothy 3:2)

The word "hospitality." means to love a stranger or foreigner like a brother. Paul is instructing Christians to be willing to love and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the ones who are outside of our circle of friends. We are to always be generous with our time, energy, and finances to be careful to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are genuinely in need. Please don't be deceived, there are "users" in the church, people who seem to always be in need because they have not learned how to handle their finances. They expect everyone else to care for their folly. Paul spoke of them in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 telling us if someone is not willing to contribute to the good of the body, especially their own family, they should not be given help from the church.

However, as Christians, Paul says we need to be "eager" with our hospitality. This means we must be aggressive about and always ready to love and care for our brothers and sisters who are not in our circle of friends and those from totally different cultures but are part of the Body of Christ.

I am so grateful for people like my friend Ed Wethli who made sure many of our brothers and sisters from Syria, who had lost their homes due to war and terrorism in that nation, are now starting a new life in Canada. It was a privilege for Paige and me to take in so many from around the world who were visiting, to encourage, care for a supply for the needs of many. It is a joy to be hospitable. Pray and open your heart to what the Lord might want to do through you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

February 12 Thought for the day....meeting needs

One of my greatest joys is the privilege we have as a church of investing in the lives of those who are touching the lives of others. We are able to give 10's of thousands of dollars to help our families that are spreading the Gospel around the world. At the same time, on occasion some of our families here at home are overwhelmed by a need, everyone can have financial difficulty sometimes, together as a church are able to bring joy to them as well. Paul talks about this being part of our call as a church family...Romans 12:13

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

Together we are fulfilling this direction from the Holy Spirit. I know it can get confusing with all of the great humanitarian organizations out there, but the instruction from the Lord through Paul is that our responsibility first is to the needs of the saints.

The word distributing is taken from the Greek to means to share to give some kind of financial contribution. The tense tells us that Paul is calling us to do it with intentionality, continually. It should be a consistent regular habit of ours to do this.

When Paul uses the word "needs," it means the basic, daily supply for the family. Paul is challenging us to make sure that those who are doing the work of ministry or being an example of Christ-likeness to everyone is daily having their basic needs met.

I have worked with many good humanitarian organizations, but as family, it is our job to make sure our family is cared for first. John first epistle, chapter three makes that clear when he writes, "If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."

I want to thank you if you are a regular tither to your church. Hopefully, your church is doing what we do, and we support fellow believers around the world so they can continue to minister and we help those in our church family who will be accountable with the funds to overcome their financial struggles. If so, then every week, you are following the Holy Spirit's directive from Paul, and you should begin to look for the blessing in your life!

We never give a handout only a hand up!

Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9 Thought for the are chosen and important

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February 7 Thought for the of the keys to success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 5, 2018

February 5 Thought for the excellent

When I was young I came across this verse, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might," Ecclesiastes 9:10. I was 11 years old, I had just begun my first job, mowing lawns. This verse challenged me to mow lawns with excellence. It paid off, literally as well as spiritually. God blessed because I always did the best job I could.  Since that day, I consider it a powerful way to honor the Lord to always work with excellence, I am in good company too, Paul said...

"Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit," Romans 12:11

God has given to each of us a measure of faith, many gifts, our personalities, and all kinds of material possessions. What better way to honor Him than to make the most honorable and excellent use of all of this.

Slothful is the same word Jesus used talking about the "wicked" servant who buried his talent in Matthew 25. It means to be apathetic toward life, to have a lackadaisical attitude, to be lazy, idle, to be a do nothing.

The word zeal in the Greek means to do something with diligence, eagerness, be attentive, act responsibly. In other words, you have responsibilities to people, yourself, church, your business, don't be lazy about them. Do them with all of your might, the best you can that will honor God!

"Be fervent in spirit" means the Holy Spirit requires us to always, enthusiastically do what God has placed in your hands with honor, integrity, and to the best of your ability, always.

Don't get this confused.  You do not lose your salvation if you aren't diligent with your gifts and call, but you do not please God either. God so loves the world that he sent His Son. Jesus did many good works, spoke many things all that honored the Father. People could see His good works and glorify His Father (Matthew 5:16). The Father's heart is that the whole world will have the opportunity to know His Son and this know Him. Our reputation, diligence, faithfulness all show the world whose we are as well as who we are. Be excellent in all you do. Let people see you living the purpose and gifts the Lord has given you to the fullest. In turn, they will glorify the Father because of your excellence. James 2:14

Friday, February 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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