Thursday, November 29, 2012

Doing Things God's Way

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5, NKJV

After following Jesus' instructions to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, the disciples hauled in a huge catch of fish. Back on the beach, He invited them to "come and have breakfast" (John 21:12, NIV). With furtive glances and downcast faces, "none of the disciples dared ask him, 'Who are you?'" (John 21:12, NIV). They knew. And on that early spring morning beside the sparkling sea, Jesus took the bread and fish from the fire and fed His disciples breakfast! They feasted and were satisfied, not only by the food He had provided, but also by the fish they had caught.

Jesus was teaching them an important life lesson. They had been out in the boat, apparently trying to meet their own needs, doing what they were naturally good at, but basically living their lives without Him. And they had come up empty. Unfulfilled. But when He was in their lives, and they obeyed His Word, and they served Him in His way, not only were they successful, but they were also satisfied!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

That's Disgusting!

"You are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!"  Revelation 3:15, NIV

I love hot, black coffee and usually have a cup beside me as I work at my desk. But I will get so engrossed in what I am doing that time will pass more quickly than I realize. Again and again, while concentrating on my work, I will absent-mindedly pick up the cup of coffee only to find it is lukewarm. I am glad I am working in private, because my instinctive reaction is to immediately spit the coffee back into the cup!

What an eternal shame it would be if my life caused the Lord to react in the same disgusted way! Yet indifference to Christ was, and still is, disgusting to the Lord! It is incomprehensible to glimpse the glory of Jesus-

The Lord of glory . . .

The Rose of Sharon . . .

The bright Morning Star . . .

and simply shrug! That's disgusting!

What will you do, instead, to live a life that delights Him?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Drastic Pruning

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit."  John 15:2, NIV

The fruit of the vineyard is only borne in abundance on tender, fairly new growth. As the wood of a branch gets older, it tends to get harder. So even though a branch is living and is connected to the vine, it can become barren. Still leaving the branch connected to the vine, the gardener cuts back the old, hard wood, forcing it into new growth that will produce fruit instead of just more wood and leaves. In fact, there are times when he cuts the branch back so drastically all that is left of it is the connection to the vine.

Jesus described this drastic pruning in a believer's life when He explained that the Gardener "cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit." There are times when God cuts everything out of our lives except our relationship with Jesus. He forces us to pay attention to our relationship with Him because that's all we have. And in the process, our "connection" to the Vine is enlarged and fruit is produced.


Friday, November 23, 2012

An Added Dimension

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.  Psalm 119:14, NKJV

While God's Word is not like a magic wand, it does have the power, when applied by the Holy Spirit, to give a new dimension to your mind and emotions and also to your will. Have you lacked the willpower to stay on a diet, conquer a bad habit, or develop disciplines necessary for character? Until I began to receive God's Word daily, I never had the willpower to get up early in the morning for a time of prayer. I lacked what has been called "blanket victory"-victory over those blankets in the early-morning hours! But God has given my will an added dimension so that I am now able to do what I formerly could not.

Does your life feel confined? Do you sometimes have the uneasy feeling that something is missing, that there must be something more to life than what you are experiencing? That you are not fulfilling your potential? Then open your heart and mind to God's Word and ask Him to give your life an added dimension.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Open Your Heart to God

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me. Psalm 139:23-24, NKJV

Have you erected a shield around your heart? A shield . . . of pride or doubt

or shame

or anger?

Did you think that if you opened your heart and let God see inside, that He would blame you for what you have or haven't done? Or rebuke you for your lack of faith?

You and I can be so foolish! Why do we think we can hide our feelings from God? Why would we want to hide our feelings from God? Would you open up your heart and show it to Him? Let Him see exactly how you feel and what you think. Don't hide it or repress it or cover it up or pretend it's not there. Just pour it all out to Him, and then wait expectantly for His response.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Look to Jesus!

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23, NIV

The wonderful good news of the Gospel was shouted out so clearly by the apostle Paul that it still resounds today: The wages of sin is physical death and spiritual deadness as well. BUT the gift of God is eternal life, spiritual life, abundant life through faith in Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God.

What did you think you had to add to your existence in order to experience real life?

Increasing your investment portfolio?

Traveling to more exotic destinations?

Possessing the latest car or computer?

Achieving public recognition?

Reaching your professional goal?

Wearing the trendiest fashion?

If you want purpose and meaning and satisfaction and fulfillment and peace and hope and joy and abundant life that lasts forever, look to Jesus!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Way Up Is Down

He humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:8, NIV

What opinion do you have of yourself? Because of the lofty position you hold, at least in your own eyes, what service do you think is degrading and "beneath" you? Washing dishes? Baby-sitting children? Visiting prisoners?

The apostle Paul, writing from a Roman prison cell, exhorted you and me to have the same attitude of Jesus, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:6-8, NIV) How repulsive and prideful to think anything-any job, any person, any position, any service, any task, any place-is beneath you and me when Jesus, Lord of glory, Creator of the universe, left heaven's throne and took upon Himself the form of a servant! The way up is down!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Built to Last

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  Revelation 21:14, NIV

My Father's House is a home built to last, not just for a lifetime, but forever! As John continued to gaze on the spectacular vision God gave him, he described Heaven as a city with foundations: "The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. . . . The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone" (Rev. 21:14, 19). The walls of Heaven are actually built on twelve foundations, each one decorated with a different gem. In addition to the spectacular beauty that is implied, we can be assured that Heaven is eternal and unshakable. It's permanent!

Our world is a very unstable place. We can never be certain of the future for ourselves or for the next generation. The fear and apprehension of what's around the corner of our lives can be paralyzing. But when we get to Heaven, we will be certain and sure of absolute, total, infinite stability. Heaven is built to last!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

God Takes the Initiative

Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?   Isaiah 40:13, NIV

"Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?" The answer that reverberates through the millenniums is . . . no one . . . no one. God stands in the august solitude of Himself. When He acts, it is because He Himself has taken the initiative and made the decision to do so.

God took the initiative

to create the universe: "And God said . . . ,"

to create man: "Let us make man in our image . . . ,"

to create woman: "I will make a helper. . . ."

And God took the initiative to send His Son to be our Savior.

How unbelievably awesome is the One Who created everything!

Our heads should bow,

our wills should yield,

our hearts should love

the One Who took the initiative and revealed His glory through His eternity, deity, and activity.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Revelation of God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  John 1:1-2, NIV

John's choice of wording in the Greek language is significant. His Greek for "Word," which he emphasized by repeating three times in the first verse, is logos, the outward expression of the mind and will that rules the universe.

As we meditate on John's words, we realize that the Logos who was in the beginning with God is a living Person . . . but He is more. He is the living expression of what is on God's mind. But He is more. He is the living expression of what is on God's heart. But He is even more. He is the very heart of the Almighty God of the universe laid bare for all to see!

Do you want to know what is on the mind of God? Then look at Jesus! Do you want to know the will of God? Then look at Jesus! Do you want to know what is in the heart of God? Then look at Jesus! He is the exact revelation of God!


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Promise of Hope!

The trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  

1 Corinthians 15:52, NIV

What will it be like on that day when we hear the clarion call of the archangel's trumpet? Quicker than you or I can blink an eye, believers will feel their feet lifting up off the ground, we will be aware of certain changes taking place in our bodies that will enable us to physically live in eternity, and we will look up-into the face of Jesus! We will be swept into the clouds of His glory! And if we can drag our eyes away from His beautiful face, we will see that Jesus is surrounded by our loved ones who had trusted Him by faith and who had been raised from the dead!

Jesus Christ is coming! He is coming! On any day, at any moment, "in the twinkling of an eye . . . at an hour when you do not expect him . . . he who is coming will come and will not delay" (1 Cor. 15:52; Luke 12:40; Heb. 10:37). Now that's a promise that gives us HOPE!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Is Greater than Creation

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  John 1:3, NIV

God is not one of several gods. He is absolutely supreme over everything! 
God is greater than creation. 

This means there is nothing in my life-

no circumstance or crisis,

no habit or heartache,

no sickness or grief,

nothing visible or invisible-

nothing that is greater than God!

What are you facing that is greater than you are?

A habit?

A person?

A problem?

Praise God for His deity! He is the Creator Who is in authority over everything, 
fully able to control that which not only seems but is beyond our abilities to handle.


Monday, November 5, 2012

The Focus of Our Faith

We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  

Romans 5:2, NKJV

Sometimes, when faced with great problems, our tendency is to focus on the hands of God-what He has not done for us and what we want Him to do for us-instead of focusing on the face of God-simply Who He is. Our depression can deepen through this kind of self-preoccupation. Often, in the midst of great problems, we stop short of the real blessing God has for us, which is a fresh vision of Who He is. When we stop focusing on our problems and on ourselves and focus instead on our almighty and omnipresent God, our problems, as the old hymn promises, "grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Have you grown so impatient, wanting your problems solved now, that you are missing the vision of His glory God has for you? Get your eyes off yourself, your problems, your circumstances, and look to the face of Christ!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Never Separated Again

Neither death nor life . . . nor things present nor things to come, . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God.  Romans 8:38-39, NKJV

I love the sea. Every summer, I spend as much time there as I am able. I love to see the vast expanse of sky and water. I love to hear the waves crashing on the shore. I love to walk along the beach and feel the sand beneath my feet and the breeze blowing gently in my face. But the sea separates families and friends and entire continents from each other! In Heaven, there will be nothing to separate us from each other or from God. Ever!

No hard feelings or hurt feelings,

No misunderstandings or critical spirits,

No divorce or death, . . .

No sickness or weakness,

No dangers or hardships. . . .

Nothing will ever separate us in My Father's House.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Heirs Together

Husbands, . . . dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life. 1 Peter 3:7, NKJV

The Bible clearly teaches there is to be an equality between man and woman, husband and wife. "In the image of God, . . . male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it'" (Gen. 1:27-28, NIV).

Dominion over everything was given to the woman as well as to the man. The woman was not inferior to the man; nor was the man greater than the woman. Men and women, husbands and wives, were and are equal. The New Testament reaffirms the principle of equality when it says men and women are "heirs together of the grace of life."

God in His wisdom created man and woman equal in His sight, and this equality is to be reflected in the marriage relationship. Husbands and wives are to give each other respect, appreciation, and understanding as equal partners.