Thursday, January 31, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 7


7. Thanksgiving -- Do the Right Thing 

For the Christian, every day should be Thanksgiving Day. We should even be thankful in the midst of problems. The Apostle Paul said, "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 7:4). He knew that God was working all things together for his good, even though he was going through trials (Romans 8:28).

Problems will come your way. God will see to it personally that you grow as a Christian. He will allow the storms, to send your roots deep into the soil of His Word. We pray more in the midst of problems, but it's been well said that you will see more from your knees, than you will on your tip toes.

A man once watched a butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon. In an effort to help it, he took a razor blade, and carefully slit the edge of the cocoon. The butterfly escaped from its problem . . . and immediately died.

It is God's way to have the butterfly struggle. It is the struggle that causes its tiny heart to beat fast, and send the life's blood into its wings.

Trials have their purpose. They make us struggle -- they bring us to our knees. They are the cocoon in which we often find ourselves. It is there that the life's blood of faith in God helps us spread our wings.

Faith and thanksgiving are close friends. If you have faith in God, you will be thankful because you know His loving hand is upon you, even though you are in a lion's den. That will give you a deep sense of joy, and joy is the barometer of the depth of faith you have in God. Let me give you an example. Imagine if I said I would give you one million dollars if you sent me an email. Of course, you don't believe that I would do that. But imagine if you did. Imagine if you had knowledge of more than 1,000 people who had sent me an email, and every one received their million dollars -- no strings attached. More than that. You had actually called me, and I had assured you personally that I would keep my word. If you believed me, wouldn't you have joy? If you didn't believe me -- no joy. The amount of joy you have would be a barometer as to how much you believed my promise.

We have so much to be thankful for. God has given us "exceeding great and precious promises" that are "more to be desired than gold." Do yourself a big favor -- believe those promises, thank God continually for them, and "let your joy be full."

An old farmer once had an ungodly relative visit him. After the farmer had bowed his head and thanked God for the food they were about to eat, the relative rudely said, "What did you do that for? There's no God. We live in an age of enlightenment." The old farmer smiled and said, "There is one on the farm who doesn't thank God before he eats." The relative sat up and said, "Who is this enlightened one?" To which the farmer quietly replied, "My pig."

Blessings

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 6


6. Fellowship -- Flutter by Butterfly 

Pray about where you should fellowship. Make sure the place you are going to call your church home calls sin what it is -- sin. Do they believe the promises of God? Are they loving? Does the pastor treat his wife with respect? Is he a man of the Word? Does he have a humble heart, and a gentle spirit? Listen closely to his teaching. It should glorify God, magnify Jesus, and edify the believer. One evidence that you have been truly saved is that you will have a love for other Christians (1 John 3:14). You will want to fellowship with them. The old saying that "birds of a feather flock together" is true of Christians. You gather together for the breaking of bread (communion), for teaching from the Word, and for fellowship. You share the same inspirations, illuminations, inclinations, temptations, aspirations, motivations, and perspirations -- you are working together for the same thing, for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God on earth. This is why you attend church -- not because you have to, but because you want to.

Don't become a "spiritual butterfly." Send your roots down. If you are moving from church to church, how will your pastor know what type of food you are digesting? The Bible says that your shepherd will have to give an account to Him that has entrusted you to him (Hebrews 13:17), so make yourself known to your pastor. Pray for him regularly. Pray also for his wife, his family, and the elders. Being a pastor is no easy task. Most people don't realize how many hours it takes to gather a fresh sermon each week. They don't appreciate the time spent in prayer and in the study of the Word. If the pastor makes the same joke twice, or shares something he has shared before, remember, he's human. So give him a great deal of grace, and double honor. Never murmur about him. If you don't like something he has said, pray about it, then leave the issue with God. If that doesn't satisfy you, leave the church, rather than divide it through murmuring and complaining.

A woman once spread some hot gossip about a local pastor. What he had supposedly done became common knowledge around town. Then she found that what she had heard wasn't true. She gallantly went to the pastor, and asked for his forgiveness. The pastor forgave her, but then told her to take a pillow full of tiny feathers to a corner of the town, and in high winds, shake the feather out. Then he told her to try and pick up every feather. He explained that the damage had already been done. She had destroyed his good reputation, and trying to repair the damage was like trying to pick up feathers in high winds.

The Bible says that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. We can kill or make something alive with our words. The Scriptures also reveal that God hates those who cause division among the brethren (Proverbs 6:16). Pray with the psalmist, "Set a guard O Lord, over my mouth; keep the door of my lips."
Remember the old saying, "He that gossips to you, will gossip about you."

Blessings

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 5


5. Warfare -- Praise The Lord and Pass the Ammunition

When you became a Christian, you stepped right into the heat of an age-old battle. You have a three-fold enemy--the world, the flesh, and the devil. Before you became a Christian, you floated down stream with the other dead fish. But now, God has put His life within you, and you will find yourself swimming against a three-fold current. Let's look at these three resistant enemies.
First, the world. When the Bible speaks of the "world" in this context, it is referring to the sinful, rebellious, world system. This is the world that loves the darkness and hates the light (John 3:20), governed by the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4)( -- the "prince power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). The Bible says the Christian has escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. "Lust" is unlawful desire, and is the life's blood of the world --whether it be the lust for sexual sin, for power, for money, for material things. Lust is a monster that will never be gratified, so don't feed it. It will grow bigger and bigger, until it weighs heavy upon your back, and will be the death of you -- see James 1:15.

There is nothing wrong with sex, power, money, or material things, but when these become predominant in God's sight, the Bible calls this "inordinate affection" (Colossians 3:5). We are told, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (1 John 2:15, James 4:4).

The second enemy is the devil. As we have seen, he is known as the "god of this world." He was your spiritual father before you joined the family of God (John 8:44, Ephesians 2:2). Jesus called the devil a thief, who came to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).

The way to overcome him and his demons is to make sure you are outfitted with the spiritual armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-20. Become intimately familiar with it. Sleep in it. Never take it off. Bind the two-edged sword to your hand so that you never lose its grip. The reason for this brings us to the third enemy.

The third enemy is what the Bible calls the "flesh." This is your sinful nature. The domain for the battle, is your mind.

If you have a mind to, you will be attracted to the world and all its sin. The mind is the data-processing control panel for the eyes and the ears. It is the center of your appetites. All sin begins in the "heart" (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:19). We think before we sin. This happens because we don't think before we sin. The Bible warns that lust brings forth sin, and sin when it's conceived brings forth death. Every day we have life, we have a choice. To sin or not to sin -- that is the question. The answer to the question of sin, is the fear of God. If you don't fear God, you will sin to your sinful heart's delight.

Did you know that God kills people? He killed a man because he didn't like what he did sexually (Genesis 38:10). He killed a husband and wife because they told just one lie (Acts 5:1-11). Knowledge of God's goodness -- His righteous judgments against evil, should put the fear of God in us, and help us not to indulge in sin.

If we know that the eye of the Lord is in every place beholding the evil and the good, and that He will bring every work to judgment, we will live accordingly. Such weighty thoughts are valuable, for "by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil" (Proverbs 16:6). Jesus said,
"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5).

Monday, January 28, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 4


4. Prayer -- "Wait For A Minute."

It has been well said that God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, "Yes." sometimes He says, "NO." Sometimes He says, "Wait for a minute," and a day to the Lord is a thousand years to us (2 Peter 3:8). That means that a ten year wait for us, is 14 minutes and 24 seconds to God, so ask in faith, but rest in peace-filled patience.

Surveys show that more than 90% of America prays daily. No doubt they pray for health, wealth, happiness, etc. They also pray when grandma gets sick, and when grandma doesn't get better (or dies), many end up disillusioned, and some end up bitter. This is because they don't understand what the Bible says about prayer. It teaches that sin will stop God even hearing your prayer (Psalm 66:18). It teaches, among other things, that if we pray with doubt, we will not get an answer (James 1:6-7).

Here's how to be heard.... 

1.) Pray with faith (Hebrews 11:6).

2.) Pray with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3-4).

3.) Pray genuine heart-felt prayers, rather than vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

4.) Make sure that you are praying to the God revealed in the Holy Scriptures (Exodus 20:3-6).

How do you "pray with faith?" If someone says to you, "You're a man of great faith in God," they may think that they are paying you a compliment. But they aren't -- the compliment is to God. For example if I said to you, "I'm a man of great faith in my doctor," it's actually the doctor I'm complimenting. If I have great faith in him, it means that I see him as being a man of integrity, a man of great ability -- that he is trustworthy. I give "glory" to the man through my faith in him. The Bible says that Abraham "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." (Romans 4:20-21). Abraham was a man of great faith in God. Remember, that is not a compliment to Abraham. He merely caught a glimpse of God's incredible ability, His impeccable integrity, and His wonderful faithfulness to keep every promise He makes. His faith gave "glory" to a faithful God.

As far as God is concerned, if you belong to Jesus, you are a VIP. You can boldly come before the throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). You have access to the king, because you are the son or daughter of the king. When you were a child, did you have to grovel to get your needs met by your mom or dad? I hope not.

So, when you pray, don't say, "Oh God, I hope you will supply my needs." Instead say something like, "Father, thank you that you keep every promise You make. Your Word says that you will supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory, by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Therefore, I thank you that you will do this thing for my family. I ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus. Amen"

It was the great missionary, Hudson Taylor, who said, "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see Divine power wrought in the place of weakness, failure, and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, 'Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things of which thou knowest not of.'"

How do you get "clean hands and a pure heart?" Simply by confessing your sins to God, through Jesus Christ. His blood cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7-9). When you confess them to God through Jesus, God will not only forgive your every sin, He promises to forget that sin (Hebrew 8:12). He will even justify you, on the grounds of the sacrifice of the Savior. That means He will count it as though you have never sinned in the first place. He will make you pure in His sight -- sinless. He will even "purge" your conscience, so that you will no longer have that sense of guilt that you sinned in the first place. That's what I mean "to be justified by faith." That's why you need to soak yourself in Holy Scripture -- to read the letters to the churches and see the wonderful things that God has done for us through the Cross of Calvary. If you don't bother to read the will, you won't have any idea of what has been left for you.

How do you pray "genuine heart-felt prayers?" Simply by keeping yourself in the love of God. If the love of God is in you, you will never pray hypocritical, or selfish prayers. In fact, you won't have to pray selfish prayers, if you have a heart of love. When your prayer-life is pleasing to God, the Bible says that He will reward you openly (Matthew 6:6).

How do you know that you are praying to "the God revealed in Holy Scripture?" Study the Word. Don't accept the image of God portrayed by the world, even though it appeals to the natural mind. The world sees God as a loving, kind fatherly-figure, with no sense of justice or truth which appeals to guilty sinners. Look to the thunderings and lightnings of Mount Sinai. Gaze at Jesus on the cross of Calvary -- hanging in unspeakable agony because of the Justice of a holy God. Such thoughts tend to banish idolatry.

Blessings

Sunday, January 27, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 3


3. Evangelism -- Our Most Sobering Task 

It was late in December, 1996. A large family gathered in Los Angeles for the joyous occasion of wrapping Christmas presents. It was a big family because it was the product of two marriages. There were so many gathered that night, five of the children slept in the garage. It was a converted structure, kept warm during the cold night by an electric heater which sat by the door.

During the early hours of the morning, the heater suddenly burst into flames, blocking the doorway. In seconds the room became a blazing inferno. The frantic 911 call revealed the unspeakable terror of the moment. One of the children could be heard screaming, "I'm on fire!" The distraught father vainly rushed into the flames to try and save his beloved children. He received burns to 50% of his body. Tragically, all five of the children burned to death. They died because steel bars on the windows of the garage thwarted their escape. There was only one door, and that was stopped by the flames.

You are back in time. It's minutes before the heater burst into flames. You peer through the darkness at the peaceful sight of five sleeping youngsters. You know that at any moment the room is going to erupt into an inferno and burn the flesh of horrified children. Can you in good conscience walk away? No! You must awaken them, and warn them to run from that death trap!
The world sleeps peacefully in the darkness of ignorance. There is only one Door by which they may escape death. The steel bars of sin prevent their salvation, and at the same time call for the flames of Eternal Justice. What a fearful thing Judgment Day will be! The fires of the wrath of Almighty God will burn for eternity. The Church has been entrusted with the task of awakening them before it's too late. We cannot turn our backs and walk away in complacency. Think of how the father ran into the flames. His love knew no bounds, and our devotion to the sober task that God has given us will be in direct proportion to our love for the lost. There are only a few who run headlong into the flames to warn them to flee (Luke 10:2). Please be one of them. We really have no choice. The Apostle Paul said, "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

It was the "Prince of Preachers," Charles Spurgeon, who said the words, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that." A Christian cannot be apathetic about the salvation of the world. The love of God in him will motivate him to seek and save that which is lost.

You probably have a limited amount of time after your conversion to impact your unsaved friends and family with the Gospel. After the initial shock of your conversion, they will put you in a neat little ribbon-tied box, and keep you at arm's length. So it's important that you take advantage of the short time you have while you still have their ears.

Here's some advice that will save you a great deal of grief. As a new Christian, a friend of mine did almost irreparable damage by acting like a wild bull in a crystal showroom. He bullied his mom, his dad, and many of his friends into making a "decision for Christ". He was sincere, zealous, loving, kind, and stupid. He didn't understand that salvation doesn't come through making a "decision," but through repentance, and repentance is God-given (see 2 Timothy 2:25). The Bible teaches that no one can come to the Son unless God "draws" him. If you are able to get a decision but they have no conviction of sin, you will almost certainly end up with a still-born on your hands.

In his"zeal without knowledge" he actually inoculated the very ones he was so desperately trying to reach. There is nothing more important to you than the salvation of your loved ones, and you don't want to blow it. If you do, you may find that you don't have a second chance. Fervently pray for them, thanking God for their salvation. Let them see your faith. Let them feel your kindness, your genuine love, and your gentleness. Buy gifts for no reason. Do chores when you are not asked to. Go the extra mile. Put yourself in their position. You know that you have found everlasting life. Death has lost its sting! Your joy is unspeakable -- but as far as they are concerned, you have been brain-washed. You have become part of a weird sect. So your loving actions will speak more loudly than ten thousand eloquent sermons.

It is because of these thoughts that you should hold back from verbal confrontation until you have knowledge that will guide your zeal. Pray for wisdom and for a sensitivity to God's timing. You may have only one shot, so make it count. Keep your cool. If you don't, you may end up with a lifetime of regret. Believe me. It is better to hear a loved one or a close friend say, "Tell me about your faith in Jesus Christ," rather than you saying, "Sit down. I want to talk to you."
It is important to realize that we should share our faith with others whenever we can. The Bible says that there are only two times we should do this -- "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2). The Apostle Paul pleaded for prayer for his own personal witness. He said, ". . . that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak," (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Remember that you have the sobering responsibility of speaking to other peoples' loved ones. Many times when you open your mouth for the Gospel, you may be the answer to the earnest prayer of another Christian. Perhaps he has cried out to God that He would use a faithful witness to speak to his beloved mom or dad, and you are that answer to prayer. You are that true and faithful witness that God wants to use.

Never lose sight of the world and all its pains. Keep the fate of the ungodly before your eyes. Too many of us settle down on a padded pew and become introverted. Our world becomes a monastery without walls. Our friends are confined solely to those within the Church, when Jesus was the "friend of sinners." So take the time to deliberately befriend them for the sake of their salvation. Remember that each and every person who dies in their sins has an appointment with the Judge of the Universe. Hell opens wide its terrible jaws. There is no more sobering task than to be entrusted with the Gospel of Salvation -- working with God for the eternal well-being of dying humanity.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians - Pt 2


2. Faith -- Elevators Can Let You Down

When a young man once looked at me and said, "I find it hard to believe some of the things in the Bible," I smiled and asked, "What's your name?" When he said, "Paul," I casually answered, "I don't believe you." He looked at me questioningly. I repeated, "What's your name?" Again he said, "Paul," and again I answered, "I don't believe you." Then I asked, "Where do you live?" When he told me, I said, "I don't believe that either." You should have seen his reaction. He was angry. I said, "You look a little upset. Do you know why? You're upset because I didn't believe what you told me. If you tell me that your name is Paul, and I say, 'I don't believe you,' it means that I think you are a liar. You are trying to deceive me by telling me your name is Paul, when it's not." Then I told him that if he, a mere man, felt insulted by my lack of faith in his word, how much more does he insult Almighty God by refusing to believe His Word. In doing so, he was saying that God isn't worth trusting -- that He is a liar and a deceiver. 

The Bible says, "He who does not believe God has made Him a liar," (1 John 5:10). It also says, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. . ." (Hebrews 3:12). Martin Luther said, "What greater insult . . . can there be to God, than not to believe His promises."

I have heard people say, "But I just find it hard to have faith in God," not realizing the implications of their words. These are the same people who often believe the weather forecast, believe the newspapers, and trust their lives to a pilot they have never seen whenever they fly in a plane. We exercise faith every day. We trust our car's brakes. We trust our history books, our medical books, and we trust elevators. Yet elevators can let us down. History books can be wrong. Planes can crash. How much more then should we trust the sure and true promises of Almighty God. He will never let us down . . . if we trust Him.

I have often heard cynics say, "The Bible is full of mistakes." It is. The first mistake was when man rejected God, and the Scriptures show men and women making the same tragic mistake again and again. It's also full of what seem to be contradictions. For example, the Scriptures tell us "with God, nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). We are told that there is nothing Almighty God can't do. Yet we are also told that it is "impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18). So there is something God cannot do! There's an obvious "mistake" in the Bible. The answer to this dilemma is to be found in the lowly worm.

Do you know that it would be impossible for me to eat worms, although I have seen it done. I once saw a man on TV butter his toast, then pour on a can of live, fat, wriggling, blood-filled worms. He carefully took a knife and fork, cut into his moving meal, and ate it. It made me feel sick. It was disgusting. The thought of chewing cold, live worms is so repulsive, so distasteful, I can candidly say it would be impossible for me to eat them, even though I have seen it done. It is so abhorrent, I draw on the strength of the word "impossible" to substantiate my claim.
Lying, deception, bearing false witness, etc., is so repulsive to God, so disgusting to Him, so against His holy character, that the Scriptures draw on the strength of the word "impossible" to substantiate the claim. He cannot, could not, and would not lie.

That means that in a world where we are continually let down, we can totally rely on, trust in, and count on His promises. They are sure, certain, indisputable, true, trustworthy, reliable, faithful, unfailing, dependable, steadfast, and an anchor for the soul. In other words, you can truly believe them, and because of that, you can throw yourself blindfolded and without reserve, into His mighty hands. He will never, ever, let you down. Do you believe that?

Blessings

Friday, January 25, 2013

10 Principles for New Christians



Over the two weeks, I will present 10 Principles for New Christians (Old Christians ALSO!)

1. Feeding on the Word -- DAILY Nutrition

A healthy baby has a healthy appetite. If you have truly been "born" of the Spirit of God, you will have a healthy appetite. 

The Bible says, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby," (1 Peter 2:2). Feed yourself every day without fail. Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food," (Job 23:12). The more you eat, the quicker you will grow, and the less bruising you will have. Speed up the process and save yourself some pain -- vow to read God's Word every day, without fail. Say to yourself, "No Bible, no breakfast. No read, no feed." Be like Job, and put your Bible before your belly. If you do that, God promises that you will be like a fruitful, strong and healthy tree (see Psalm 1). Each day, find somewhere quiet, and thoroughly soak your soul in the Word of God.

There may be times when you read through its pages with great enthusiasm, and there may be other times when it seems dry and even boring. But food profits your body whether you enjoy it or not. As a child, you no doubt ate desserts with great enthusiasm. Perhaps vegetables weren't so exciting. If you were a normal child, you probably had to be encouraged to eat them at first. Then, as you matured in life you were taught to discipline yourself to eat vegetables. This is because they would physically benefit you, even though they may not have at the time, brought pleasure to your taste buds.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jesus Weeps with You


In all their affliction He was afflicted; . . . in His love and in His pity He redeemed them.   Isaiah 63:9, NKJV


When was the last time you wept into your pillow at night, thinking no one cared? Is the pain so deep and your hurt so great that you cry night after night? In your misery and loneliness, do you think Jesus is emotionally detached? That He just doesn't care? Or that He's simply too busy to notice? Or that He is somewhat callous since He sees a lot of pain that's worse than yours? Or that He couldn't possibly understand how you feel? Or that He's not concerned enough to meet your needs?

Did you know that Jesus weeps with you? Did you know He puts all your tears in a bottle because they are precious to Him? (Ps. 56:8, NKJV) He has said in all of your afflictions, He Himself is afflicted. Why? 

Because He understands! And He loves you!

Your suffering is His.

Your grief is His.

Your tears are on His face!

Blessings

Monday, January 21, 2013

Facing the Future with Hope


Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.      Revelation 21:2, NKJV


Exiled to the island of Patmos in the midst of the Aegean Sea, the apostle John knew he would be facing death in the not-too-distant future. This was the very moment in time when God chose to give John a vision of the glory of Jesus Christ! This vision included a tantalizing glimpse into Heaven, where one day God Himself will live forever with His people. This glorious vision has been recorded in the final book of the Bible, Revelation, because John was commanded to write down what he saw. The vision was to be not only for his own personal comfort and encouragement but for all people down through the centuries who, when facing daily challenges, extraordinary circumstances, or even when plunging to certain death, could do so with courage and with hope.

Blessings

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Vessel of Beauty


Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.   Jeremiah 18:6, NIV


The old clay pot was cracked, shattered, and broken. So the man took it to the Potter, Who broke it down even further, moistening the clay with water, making it soft and pliable before He put it on His wheel. Then He began to remake it into a vessel pleasing to Himself. He firmly applied pressure on some areas, touched lightly on other areas, added more clay to a specific spot that needed filling, and removed clay that hindered and marred the shape He had in mind. As He turned the wheel, His loving, gentle hands never left the clay as He molded and made it after His will.

Finally, the Potter was finished. He took what had once been a broken clay pot off the wheel, but now it was unrecognizable. It had been transformed into a vessel of beauty. The Potter put it in His showcase that others might see the revelation of His glory in the work that He does.

God is the Potter. You are His clay. How pliable are you to the soft, firm pressure of His touch?

Blessings

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wait...


Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.    Isaiah 40:31, NKJV


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

Israel waited for the Messiah to come. Mary waited nine months for Jesus' birth. Jesus waited for the woman of Samaria to come to the well, Mary and Martha waited for Jesus to come to Bethany, and Jesus Himself waited three days in the tomb for the resurrection. A person who lives in submissive obedience to Christ is a person who is often called to wait.

Are you waiting on God for something? What plans have you made in the meantime? Who else have you involved in those plans? Is there someone else, a mother-in-law or pastor or best friend, who is leading you to join him or her in decisive action? Instead of blindly saying, "I'll go with you," take a moment to pray and ask God for His direction. Then wait until He answers you.

Blessings

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

According to God's Purpose


In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28, NIV


Romans 8:28 says, "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." In other words, when you are in the purpose, or will, of God, everything that comes into your life can work for your good. You may immediately question how the pregnancy of your unmarried daughter can work for your good, or how God can work even a divorce for your good, or how the loss of your job can be for your good, or how your terminal illness can be for your good. If, by "good," Romans 8:28 meant your comfort, convenience, health, wealth, prosperity, pleasure, or happiness, we would all question it! But your ultimate good is conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. And when you are in God's will - "called according to his purpose" - everything God allows into your life is used by Him to make you like Christ. Everything!

Blessings

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Blight of Sin


"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."    John 15:3, NIV


There is one primary "internal blight" that attacks the branches of the Vine, which, if not severely dealt with, will destroy our fruitfulness. The "blight" is sin. Sin obstructs the free flow of the "sap" of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And since the Holy Spirit is the One Who truly produces the fruit that we bear, anything that grieves or quenches Him affects our fruitfulness. Jesus addressed the necessity of confronting sin in our lives when He confirmed, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you." The disciples were already clean because they had placed their faith in Him and given Him their hearts. They continued to be cleansed as they listened to His Word and applied and obeyed it.

In the same way, you and I are clean when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, then give Him our hearts in total surrender. We continue to be cleansed as every day we live by His Word, which we read, apply, and obey. How free-flowing is the "Sap" in your life?

Blessings

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Be Expectant

The following message was written by IN HIS HANDS MINISTRIES member,
 Evangelist Billy Bayert of Casper, Wyoming, and shared with his permission.


Be Expectant 

God's power is released when we pray in faith, trusting and believing Him, because faith pleases Him. Expectancy is an attribute of faith that carries its own kind of power - the power of hope. Faith reaches out into the spiritual realm and expects God's supernatural power to show up and do what no person on Earth could do. Doubt, on the other hand, is afraid nothing good will happen; it does not please God and is not something He is able to bless. We are powerless when we live with doubt, disappointment, and a lack of confidence in God.

Just think about a time when you were not really sure God would come through for you. You were not able to pray very powerful prayers, were you? Now recall a time when your heart trusted completely in God and you really believed that He would come through for you. You were able to pray then with a certain sense of power, weren't you? That's the power of expectation in prayer. Even if things don't work out exactly the way you hoped they would, trust God to know what is best and keep expecting Him to do great things.

God's word for you today: Expect God to do great things in your life and pray boldly.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Light of the World


The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   John 3:19, NKJV


Jesus Christ is the true Light that gives light to every man and woman. There is no other light! Other religions and peoples may have some truth, but only Jesus Christ is the truth for everyone who has ever been born into the human race, regardless of culture, age, nationality, generation, heritage, gender, color, or language.

There is not a Light for America and a Light for Africa and a Light for China and a Light for Europe and a Light for India - there is only one Light for the entire world for all time, for every person, and His name is Jesus. That's why John bore witness to the Light. That's why you and I share our faith, present the Gospel, and refuse to be intimidated by a multicultural, pluralistic world.

Blessings

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Foot Bath


"A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean. . . ."               John 13:10, NIV


In Jesus' day the people went to common baths, similar to a public swimming pool, where they would bathe all over. However, as soon as they left the bath and walked along the streets, their feet would get dirty again. So when they arrived at their homes, it was not necessary to have a complete bath. They only needed to wash their feet of the dust and dirt they had picked up along the way.

Jesus was explaining to Peter that once you and I have been to the cross for our complete "bath," we are clean. All of our sin - past, present, future, small, medium, large - is washed away by the blood of Jesus and we are totally, completely, permanently forgiven! Praise God! But we still sin! Our feet get dirty again! So every day we come back to the cross, not for forgiveness since we are already forgiven, but to confess our sin and be cleansed that we might maintain a right fellowship with God and with others and ourselves. Do you need a foot bath?

Blessings

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just Turn on the Light!


You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.   Ephesians 5:8, NKJV


I live in the southwestern part of the United States. During the warmer months in particular, if I leave the porch light on at night, all sorts of moths and insects swarm to it. The variety can be fascinating. Everything from large luna moths to beetles to strange green crawly things beat and flutter their way to the light. I have never stood at the door and called these insects to come or set out bait for them. All I have to do is to turn on the light and they come of their own volition - by the hundreds. Moths, in the midst of the darkness, are not attracted to more darkness. They are attracted to the light.

People today, living in the midst of "darkness," are not attracted to more darkness; they are attracted to the Light. So let your Light shine! Lift it high! You don't have to have a clever presentation to your witness or learn evangelistic formulas or take a course on communicating to postmodern man. For heaven's sake, just turn on the Light!

Blessings

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Becoming More Like Jesus


He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.               Philippians 1:6, NIV

The stronger I grow in faith, the closer I draw to Jesus, the more I learn to love and trust Him alone, the more disgusted, discouraged, depressed, and defeated I become over sin and failure in my life! I am sick of sin! My sin!

But there is hope for me! God's Word promises "that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." What I will be like "has not yet been made known. But [I] know that when he appears, [I] shall be like him, for [I] shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2, NIV). Praise God!

One day I will no longer struggle with sin.

I will no longer stumble and fall.

I will no longer falter and fail.

I will no longer be tried and tempted.

One day I will be like Jesus!

Blessings

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Power to Overcome


This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.   1 John 5:4, NIV


Praise God for the glorious dawn of His story! He is separate from and greater than Creation, yet He chose to humble Himself and become part of it when He took on the form of a man. And as Man, the One Who is greater than Creation submitted Himself to it - to the heat of the day, the cold of the night, the storms on the sea. On occasion, His deity was revealed when He calmed the sea or cleansed the leper or gave sight to the blind or raised the dead, but for the most part of thirty-three years, He lived in subjection to the very things He had created. Why? So that you and I might have the power, through faith in Him, to overcome the empty, broken, sinful, bitter, meaningless, lonely, helpless, fearful, weak, religious, and hopeless world of which we are a part.

Blessings

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Keeper


The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.   Hebrews 1:3, NIV


With His unlimited power, the Living Logos of God not only created all things but even today He still sustains "all things by his powerful word." Who do you know who says he doesn't need God? Think about it for a moment!

Our planet is ninety-three million miles away from the sun. If the sun were any closer to earth, we would burn up. If it were any farther away from earth, we would freeze.

Our planet tilts exactly 23 degrees on its axis, giving us four seasons a year. If it tilted at any other angle, we would have massive continents of ice.

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? The answer is none other than the Living Logos of Almighty God. If He can keep the universe in order, He can keep your life and mine in order, too.

Blessings