Sunday, April 29, 2012

Praise Defeats the Enemy

I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.  Psalm 22:22, NKJV

One way to drive Satan to distraction, and to overcome him, is through praise of Jesus. 

Regardless of whether the enemy is a visible foe in front of us like the Scribes and Pharisees or an invisible foe outside of us like the devil himself or an invisible foe inside of us like depression, praise drives the enemy away. In the very prophecy that describes Jesus' inmost thoughts and feelings as He hung on the cross, tortured, bleeding, and dying, the psalmist declared, "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises . . ." of Your people (Ps. 22:3, NKJV). In other words, He is enthroned-He rules in power, authority, and supremacy-through our praise.

In some supernatural way, praise ushers the authority of God into any given situation. One practical way to maintain your praise is, every time you pray, to begin your prayer with praise. First praise Him for Who He is. Then praise Him for something He has done for you. Start now!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Created to Know God

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."   John 17:3, NIV

What is life in the image of God? It is life with a capacity to know the Creator in a personal relationship. It is a soul that communes with God and has eternal value in His sight. 
Man was created
to walk and talk with God,
to love and obey God,
to listen to and learn from God,
to glorify and enjoy God forever!

Jesus defined our meaning for existence when He prayed, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Knowing God in a personal and permanent relationship is the ultimate human experience. Knowing God is the meaning of human life. It is the reason for our existence. It was the completion of all the changes God made in the environment in the beginning. And it is the completion of all the changes God is making in your life at the present.

Get to know Him and discover the real meaning of life.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God the Living Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   John 1:1, NIV

John's Gospel begins with the astounding statement that "In the beginning was the Word." The Greek translation for "word" is logos, which means the outward expression of all that God is. Plato once said that he hoped one day there would come a "logos" from God that would make everything clear. John said He has come! "And the Word was with God . . ." as another separate, supreme Being. "And the Word was God." Although the Word is another separate Person from God the Father, He is no less in power, position, or personality. Because He is God the Creator! "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. . . . The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14, NIV)

The "One and Only Son who came from the Father" is the logos of God through Whom God created everything, and His name is JESUS!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


A Marine’s Honor

I found this story about an anonymous young Marine and had to share it,  Often God will call us to do something that might fall outside our comfort zone. See how this Marine was called to do something so important; something that many of us would have turned away from; but he did it valiantly. This random act of kindness will choke you up.
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside.
“Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened.
Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile.
He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night.
Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited.
Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.
“Who was that man?” he asked.
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied.
“I never saw him before in my life.”
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed.”
- Author Unknown
I salute you Marine!  OOHRAH!
Calvin Hall, Chaplain (Maj.) Ret.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Walking with God

Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.   Psalm 143:8, NKJV

Prior to my accident, weather permitting, I used to walk with two friends for two and a half miles. We had to abide by two basic rules when we walked, or we couldn't walk together. The first rule was that we had to walk at the same pace. The second rule was that we had to walk in the same direction. The same two rules apply when walking with God.

To walk at this pace means that we are living our lives in step-by-step obedience to His Word. To walk in the same direction means that we surrender the direction of our lives to Him. The only way we can know His pace and direction is to prayerfully read His Word.

What adjustments do you need to make so you can walk with God? Adjustments in your daily and weekly schedule? Adjustments in your attitude and ambition? Adjustments in your personal habits of prayer and Bible reading? Make sure you are not too busy for daily prayer and Bible reading or you will get out of step and lose your sense of direction.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Filled with the Spirit

Be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18, NIV

God has clearly commanded you and me to "be filled with the Spirit." But an unconfessed sin or resistance to His authority will block the "flow" of His life within us. If we do not deal with it, our spiritual lives become stagnant and we lose our attractiveness and usefulness to God. And we have nothing refreshing about us that would draw other people to Christ.

What is hindering you from being filled with the Holy Spirit? To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be under His moment-by-moment control. He has not been given to you so that you can keep Him confined to a particular area in your life. Let Him loose! He is Lord! The amount of power you experience to live a victorious, triumphant Christian life is directly proportional to the freedom you give the Spirit to be Lord of your life!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Wings of Faith

Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, . . . and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:2-4, NKJV

I understand that a turkey and an eagle react differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey reacts by running under the barn, hoping the storm won't come near. On the other hand, an eagle leaves the security of its nest and spreads its wings to ride the air currents of the approaching storm, knowing they will carry it higher in the sky than it could soar on its own. Based on your reaction to the storms of life, which are you? A turkey or an eagle?

It's natural for me to be a turkey in my emotions, but I have chosen to be an eagle in my spirit. And as I have spread my wings of faith to embrace the "Wind," placing my trust in Jesus and Jesus alone, I have experienced quiet, "everyday" miracles:

His joy has balanced my pain.

His power has lifted my burden.

His peace has calmed my worries.

So . . . would you spread your wings of faith and soar?!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wait for the Lord

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14, NIV

Throughout the Bible, we are given examples of those who waited and were blessed, as well as those who refused to wait and suffered the consequences.

 For instance:
Abraham had to wait for the birth of Isaac; he grew so impatient, he tried to help God out and had Ishmael instead. His impatience delayed God's blessing for another fourteen years and produced turmoil that exists to this day.

Joshua had to wait seven days as he obediently marched around Jericho before God rewarded his patience and brought the walls down.

David, an anointed king, waited fourteen years in exile before God rewarded his patience by placing him on the throne as the greatest king of Israel. From personal experience he testified, "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Foundation for Faith

"Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."  Matthew 7:24, NIV

On what foundation are you building your life?

What feels right?

What works?

What everyone else is doing?

How stable is your foundation? When an unexpected crisis comes, will your life remain firm and steadfast, or will it all collapse?

The foundation of faith in Jesus Christ is one on which you and I can build our lives with confidence, knowing it will last, not only for our lifetimes but for all eternity as well.

As Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount, He said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock" (Matt. 7:24-25, NIV)

So . . . check your foundation!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

How to Build a Cross

Scripture: Matthew 27:33-42
Shall we build a cross? Crosses were commonplace two thousand years ago. Seventy years before Christ, after the smashing of the revolt of Spartacus, roads to Rome were lined with 6,000 crosses and 6,000 men dying on them. At the death of Herod the Great a revolt broke out, and the Romans crucified 2,000 people in Jerusalem. In A.D. 70 at the siege of Jerusalem, the Roman troops crucified as many as 500 Jews daily for several months.

In 1968, during excavations in Jerusalem following the Six-Day War, the remains of a man clearly put to death by crucifixion were found in a hidden tomb. His name was Jehohanan; in his late twenties, he was obviously from a well-to-do family. Jehohanan was fastened to the cross by nails, there being no standard way to put a cross together or to put a person on it. The victim could be fastened to the crossbar by either ropes or nails. Without some other support a person would die within two or three hours on the cross from muscular spasms and asphyxia, so the Romans devised ways to prolong the agony: a pointed peglike affair as a seat, and a footrest. With these aids, a person might linger for days. A long nail was driven through Jehohanan's heels; the nail went on into the upright beam and bent when it hit a knot in the hard olivewood. When his family attempted to get him off the cross after death, they had to cut off his feet, then bury a small section of the cross with his feet still attached to it, and the archaeologists found that.

How you build a cross depends on its use. If it is to be worn as a trinket around your neck, that's one thing. Arthur Blessit, on the other hand, puts wheels on the crosses he pulls across the country. In Passion plays the crosses are made of light wood. The rows of white crosses in cemeteries are often made of stone.

If you are going to save a sinful world by means of it, defeat all the powers of evil with it, crucify the Son of God on it, then making a cross requires more than fine craftsmanship, more than a vertical stake and a crossbar. Look with me at the kind of cross we need to build on which to crucify Jesus.

Endure God's Curse

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 tells us how shameful this death on the cross was, and we've lost that reality. Someone from the first century walking our streets today would be utterly appalled to see the cross on our churches and around our necks. It would be similar to you coming back to earth five hundred years from now and seeing little electric chairs on churches and on chains around folks' necks. Paul says the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews. Yet he does not hide the shame of the cross. He embraces it, saying in Galatians 3:13 that Christ became a curse for us. The One who died on that center cross that day died as a man accursed by people and by God; a criminal soon to be dead, buried, and forgotten.

A drama pictures the mother of Jesus years after his crucifixion. Another son, Joses, and his wife have a new baby boy. They ask Mary what they should name him, and Mary stands gazing out the window for a time, then turns with tears in her eyes and, fumbling with her apron, says, "I would have you name the child Jesus....I would not have him forgotten." Crucified, cursed, but forgotten? Never. But as we build our cross let us remember it must:

Hold a God

The irony is that the cursed One being nailed up is no ordinary thirty-year-old in the vigor of manhood; he is also God: "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor. 5:19) . So what we have on the cross is divinity wrapped in human flesh; God willing to dwell among us and suffer with us and for us, for a higher purpose than anyone gathered around that cross that day could grasp. But let us keep working on this cross. It must be strong enough to:

Hold the Sins of the World

On the cross Jesus becomes the very embodiment of sin. Isaiah 53 vividly points out twelve ways that all the sins of the world—your sins and mine—were heaped on the God-man Jesus on the cross that day: "The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (v. 6). Peter, who may have stood at the edge of the crowd with head bowed in grief and shame, tells us that Jesus "bore our sins in his body on the cross" (1 Pet. 2:24) . What a paradox! All the sin of this world gathered to the cross on which is dying the only sinless person ever to set foot on this earth. But let us keep building, for the cross must also hold the:

Loneliest Man Who Ever Lived

There has never been darkness like what spread over that hill at noon that day and covered the cross of the man Jesus. For when the sins of every human being gathered at the cross, he suffered the depths of all that sin means, and it is seen in the bitterest cry ever wrung from human heart: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34). We know that just as the essence of heaven is the presence of God, so also the essence of hell is eternal separation from God, and that this cry is the agony of hell itself. Consider further the cross we are building for Jesus. It must be:

A Tall Cross

This cross of Jesus towers not just over the crosses of the condemned men on either side of him, but overall the ages, to draw people to it through the years. Jesus told Nicodemus that just as Moses lifted up the pole with the bronze serpent on it for the healing of the Israelites, even so must Jesus be lifted up on his cross, above all the nations, all the tyrants, all human achievements, for his lifting up is the only way men and women, boys and girls, can see the terrible power of their sin and the sacrifice of Jesus that sets us free.

Rooted in the Heart of God

Christ took upon himself our sins by the will and appointment of God. He came as the old hymn says, from the heart of God, and that is also why the darkness and the agony of the cross were so deep. John 3:16 leaves us no doubt that Jesus came because God so loved the world. There is no division between the Father and the Son in their love and purpose—the Son of God came gladly, joyfully, to walk the road of the cross in obedience to the Father's will, and to offer himself up as the greatest act of love ever to grace this universe. I mention only one other aspect of the cross of Jesus; it must be strong enough to:

Hold Two Persons

Remember what Paul said in Galatians 2:19: "I have been crucified with Christ." The New Testament says that the Christian "suffers with Christ," is "crucified with Christ," "dead with him," "baptized into his death," and "buried with him." We who believe are to be identified with Christ in his life, his ministry, his death. Yet in the deepest sense there is no way we can go with him all the way, nor could we have been actually crucified with him on the same cross. We cannot face the darkness he faced, endure the punishment, bear the sins, or die under that ridicule with a prayer upon our lips because we are not the perfect Son of God, the sacrifice without blemish for the sins of the world. But we can kneel at the foot of that cross we have built. Built with our hands? No, built with our sins. We can kneel there and confess that when we survey the cross on which the Prince of Glory died, our richest gain we count but loss, and pour contempt on all our pride. We can kneel there and determine that love so amazing, so divine, demands our souls, our lives, our all. We can kneel at his cross in repentance and contrition, and accept forgiveness, healing, and peace.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Joy in Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13, NKJV

Joy is supremely different than happiness. Happiness, which is an American's inalienable right to pursue, seems to depend more on circumstances or things or people or feelings. Joy is independent of everything except our relationship with God. Someone has defined joy as peace dancing! And Jesus, with eyes that must have sparkled in anticipation of the blessing that His beloved friends were going to receive, explained, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11, NIV).

One of the hallmarks of those who are immersed in a love relationship with Jesus and His Father, which they express through abiding obedience, is joy! Joy in Jesus! Joy in living our lives for Him! Joy in abiding . . . and obeying! Joy that is complete, with nothing that needs to be added to make it more so.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Participating in a Miracle

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord of hosts.  Zechariah 4:6, NKJV

God never asks us to give Him what we don't have. But He does demand that we give Him all we do have if we want to be a part of what He wishes to do in the lives of those around us!

Remember the servants at the wedding in Cana? They had the thrill of knowing firsthand that water went into the pitcher, but wine came out! They had the unparalleled experience of participating in a miracle! Could you be in danger of missing the thrilling blessing of participating with God in a miracle because, for whatever reason, you won't give Him all that you have? The disciples did not know it at the time, but they were on the verge of participating in a miracle because they gave Jesus everything they had found to feed the crowd: five barley loaves and two small fish! As a result, the entire multitude was fed-and blessed!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Paradise Lost!

"The man . . . must not . . . take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:22-23, NIV

Adam and Eve were driven from their garden home, driven from security and safety and serenity and success and satisfaction, separated from God! The loneliness and desperate agony of loss must have been overwhelming. As they looked back, they could see at the entrance to what had been their home a powerful angel standing guard with a sword swirling like a mad dervish, preventing any thought of return. The finality of their separation from all they had been created for must have been devastating.

Since there was only one entrance into the Garden and it was guarded carefully and constantly, it was not just hard to get back into God's presence-it was impossible! God Himself prevented it. Neither Adam nor Eve, nor you nor I, nor anyone ever born into the human race could ever get back into God's Presence. The Garden of Eden, God's heavenly home, can never be regained through human effort. Paradise was lost!


Sunday, April 8, 2012


"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29, NIV

Upon hearing the news of the empty tomb, Peter and John ran to see for themselves. Peter confronted the evidence, but he was confused. At that instant, he must have been angrier than ever. He must have surmised that the enemies of Jesus who had dared to crucify Him, had now taken the body for who knew what purpose!

John quietly looked around. He noticed that the grave clothes were totally unlike those of Lazarus, which had been just a pile of stinking rags by the time Martha had finished unwrapping him. These grave clothes were lying, not as though someone had removed them from the body, but as though the body were still inside! The face cloth was situated where the face would have been, with the few inches of the neck separating it from the rest of the shroud. As he studied the evidence, it must have gradually dawned on him that the grave clothes looked like an empty cocoon! They looked as though the body had just evaporated up through them! Then John knew! (John 20:8). The body hadn't evaporated. Jesus had risen from the dead!

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.   John 10:11, NKJV

Real meaning to your life is found in the glorious dawn of God's story, which breaks into full revelation in the Person of Jesus Christ. What an astounding truth! What a life-changing message!

Because He emptied Himself of all but love, you can be filled.

Because His body was broken, your life can be whole.

Because His blood was shed, your sin can be forgiven.

Because He submitted to injustice, you can forgive.

Because He finished His Father's work, your life has worth.

Because He was forsaken, you will never be alone.

Because He was buried, you can be raised.

Because He lives, you don't have to be afraid.

Because He was raised, you can be strong.

Because He reached down to you, you don't have to work your way up to Him.

Because His promises are always true, you can have Hope!

Praise God for just giving us Jesus!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Solution to Sin

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:13, NIV

God is righteous and just. But God is also loving and merciful. He cannot be less than Himself. Satan, in his temptation of Adam and Eve and in his plan to defeat the purpose of God, failed to take into account the very character of God. He failed to realize one very important thing - how much God loved the man and woman He had created and the depths to which His grace would go in order to bring them back to Himself. It never entered Satan's wicked, self-centered imagination that God would commit the fullness of His eternal, divine nature to bring man back into a right relationship with Himself. It never occurred to Satan, who ever seeks his own preeminence, that the Creator of the universe would lay down His own life in atonement for man's sin. But that's exactly what happened. The solution to the problem of sinfulness is the cross of Jesus Christ.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

God Knows

"I know. I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance."  Revelation 2:2, NIV

How busy are you in Christian service? Are you involved in some type of Christian activity every day of the week? How often are you in church? More than three or four times each week?

Would Jesus say to you, as He did to the Christians at Ephesus: "I know. I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance." 

Did you think Jesus didn't know all that you are doing for Him? Did you think He doesn't see your work behind the scenes, in the kitchen, in the maintenance room, in the nursery, in the parking lot, or in the home - where no one thanks you or encourages you because no one even notices what you do? While others get the attention, the acclaim, the awards, and the affirmation, Jesus says, "I've noticed. I know. Thank you for all you are seeking to do in My Name." Would you accept His encouragement?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Let Him Take Charge

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." John 1:1-3

It can be mind boggling to contemplate the vastness of the universe, from the greatest star to the smallest particle. It is so vast that astronomers are now saying that it stretches beyond what we are capable of penetrating, even with sophisticated telescopes like the Hubble. And every bit of it was created by the Living Word of God, Who, even as He hung the stars in space, counted them and called them each by name!

And Who keeps all this in perfect order? Who keeps Earth from getting sucked into some gigantic black hole, or planets from spinning out of control, or stars from falling from the sky? Who keeps people upright on earth while it turns on its axis? Who established the laws of nature? Who gives people the very breath they breathe?

The answer is none other than the Living Logos of Almighty God Who was in the beginning with God, and Who was God, and Who is the same today. He is bigger than we think and greater than we think. Nothing is beyond His ability. If He can keep the universe in order, He can keep your life and mine in order, too. He knows what's wrong in your life and how to fix it. Give Him the authority to put it right. Let Him take charge.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

No More Tears

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  Revelation 21:4, NKJV

One day, God Himself will take your face in His hands and gently wipe away your tears as He reassures you there will be no more suffering.

There will be no more . . .

suicide bombers or fiery infernos,

broken homes or broken hearts,

broken lives or broken dreams . . . .

No more cancer or strokes or AIDS . . . .

No more war!

You can look forward with hope, because one day there will be no more separation, no more scars, no more suffering - no more tears at all - in My Father's House.