Friday, May 31, 2013

Showered with Blessings


From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.   John 1:16, NIV


As children of God, we are the primary recipients of His blessing. Regardless of our past failures or present shortcomings, our relationship with Jesus Christ ensures that "from the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."

When the Mediterranean Sea evaporates or runs low, the Atlantic Ocean rushes in at the Strait of Gibraltar to replenish it and keep it full. When you and I are related to Jesus Christ, our strength and wisdom and peace and joy and love and hope may run out, but His life rushes in to keep us filled to the brim - not because of anything we have or have not done, but just because of Him we are showered with blessings.

Blessings

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fruit in My Life


"I am the vine; you are the branches."   John 15:5, NIV

Why is it that Christians go running around, measuring the abundance of each other's fruit as well as their own, reading books on fruitfulness, going to seminars about greater fruitfulness, when it's really not their concern? Before you start to protest, let me assure you I desire with all of my heart to bear much fruit for the glory of God.

But the fruit in my life is His concern, not mine. My concern is to make sure of three things: that as a potential fruit-bearing branch, I am connected to the Vine and keep that connection clean and unobstructed; that I submit to the cultivation of the Vinedresser, which primarily involves His pruning in my life; and that I communicate with Him my heart's desire.

Blessings

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Sign of a Rainbow

This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.   Genesis 9:17, NKJV

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. . . . Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life" (Gen. 9:12-16, NIV).

Even as God spoke, the sunlight may have broken through the boiling clouds and pounding rain, producing a breathtakingly beautiful arch of colors stretching from one peak to another. As God explained to Noah the meaning of the rainbow, surely peace and gratitude flooded Noah's heart as he knew, based on God's Word alone, that he was safe and secure.

God gave Noah the sign of a rainbow to symbolize His covenant. When the thunder clouds rolled and the rain began to fall and Noah was consciously aware of sin in his life and the lives of others, he was to look up and see the rainbow. The purpose was not for him to remember God's covenant but to remember that God remembered His commitment to humanity. And God remembers that He is still committed to us.

Blessings

Saturday, May 25, 2013

In His Presence . . . Forever!


I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.   Revelation 21:22, NIV


The Greek word for "temple" is, in this case, the same word used for the "Most Holy Place," which was the inner sanctuary of the ancient Israelites' tabernacle, and later the temple. It was the place where God was said to dwell. The high priest could only enter once a year to sprinkle the sacrificed animals' blood on the mercy seat in order to make atonement for the sin of God's people. The Book of Hebrews teaches us that today "we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body" (Heb. 10:19-20, NIV). In other words, through the death and broken body of Jesus Christ on the Cross, you and I have been given access to the presence of God when we approach Him by faith in prayer.

In our heavenly home, we will not just have occasional access to the presence of God; we will live in His presence! For all eternity!

Blessings

Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Extreme Make-Over

Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."    Revelation 21:5, NKJV

"Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so" (Gen. 1:11, NIV).


I wonder what it would have been like to watch the bleak, barren, desolate planet suddenly softened with

spidery ferns,

exotic orchids,

weeping willow trees,

carpeted fields of grass,

until it was breathtakingly beautiful!

What does the land of your life look like? Is it drab and devoid of the real beauty of joy and happiness? Is it desolate from lack of love? Perhaps it is even ugly because of the scars of sin and suffering. If God, through the power of His Word, transformed Planet Earth into something that was beautiful, He can do the same for you. Ask Him for an extreme make-over!

Blessings

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Love So Amazing


He . . . did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.   Romans 8:32, NKJV

In the Old Testament, Abraham's faith was tested when God told him to take his son, his only son, the son he loved, and offer him as a sacrifice. And Abraham did. Abraham bound Isaac to the altar and raised his knife to slay him in strict obedience to God's Word. Just before the gleaming knife plunged down, God leaned out of heaven and urgently commanded, "Abraham! Abraham! . . . Do not lay a hand on the boy," and Isaac's life was spared! Abraham looked around; caught in the thicket nearby was a ram. After cutting Isaac loose, Abraham took the ram and offered it on the altar.

As God's Son, God's only Son, the Son He loved, hung on the Cross, the knife of God's fierce wrath against sin was lifted, and there was no one to stay the Father's hand. Instead, "He . . . did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all." Jesus was God's Lamb and our Substitute Who endured the full force of God's wrath for your sins and mine when He was bound on the altar in our place.

"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul , my all!"

Blessings

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Click of the Pruning Shears


"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."   John 15:8, NIV


The firm "click" of the Gardener's pruning shears can be heard in our lives when . . .

we are confined to a hospital room,

we are fired from a job,

we are moved to a new place, surrounded by strangers,

we are isolated in a new job, surrounded by unbelievers.

Your purpose, and mine, is to bring glory to God. Jesus reiterated this purpose as He concluded His challenge to the disciples to be fruitful in service: "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

You will not bear much fruit unless and until you submit to the cutting and clipping of the Gardener. Therefore, when you resist His "gardening" in your life, what you are really doing is refusing to glorify God and therefore aborting the very purpose for your existence. Solemn thoughts, aren't they?

Blessings

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Spirit of God

I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.   John 14:16, NKJV

The same Spirit that hovered over the surface of the deep in the second verse of the Bible is the same Spirit that fully indwelt Jesus Christ. (John 3:34) In John 14 Jesus speaks of Him as the Spirit of truth, (John 14:17) because He always works through the truth, which is incarnate in Christ and written in the Scriptures. (2 Pet. 1:21) He is also referred to as the Counselor because He gives wisdom, direction for living, and understanding of the truth. (John 14:16) And He is called the Holy Spirit because He is totally separate from sin. (John 14:26)

This wonderful Spirit of God is available to live within you when you repent of your sin and, by faith, invite Jesus Christ to come into your life as your Lord and Savior. (John 14:17) In fact, without the "seal" of His Presence in your life, you have no eternal credibility with the Father. (Eph. 1:13) But with the "seal" of His Presence you have the guarantee of a heavenly home and all the blessings of God.

Blessings

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

God Made Visible


Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.   Acts 4:12, NIV


Who do you know who says we can each have our own religion as long as we're sincere? Does that person put a guilt trip on you for what he or she describes as a dogmatic, narrow-minded, intolerant, and exclusive faith? But the Gospel wasn't our idea, was it? Jesus Himself declared, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6, NIV). We must come to God through Him or we don't come at all. The Bible says emphatically that "salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Just the name Jesus.

And Who is Jesus? He is God Himself made visible to all. Praise God! You and I are not condemned to live in the darkness because He has turned on the Light! Praise God for just giving us Jesus!

Blessings

Monday, May 13, 2013

God's Powerful Word


The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword; it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit.   Hebrews 4:12, NIV


One of the primary reasons we need to be in a disciplined study of the Scriptures is so we can saturate ourselves in the truth. When we know the truth and we are presented with that which is false, we will instinctively recognize it. Measuring philosophies or theologies or opinions or sermons or books or doctrines or counsel by the Word of God is like exposing the crookedness of a stick by placing a straight stick beside it. The ultimate compliment an audience can pay me is to bring their Bibles and follow along as I speak so they can double-check what I say against what God says. I am authentic as a Bible teacher only in proportion to my faithfulness to God's Word.

And in order to give God's Word out so that others can hear His voice in their ears, I must - it's not an option - I must read it, study it, understand it, and live by it. And when I do, His Word makes a lasting impact and bears eternal fruit, because it's powerful.

Blessings

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Streets of Gold


The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.   Revelation 21:21, NIV


The streets of our heavenly home are not only made of pure gold but, amazingly and almost incomprehensively, they are also described as being as transparent as glass. Surely gold that is polished until it looks like transparent glass would function as a mirror.

The Bible tells us that when we get to Heaven all of our sins and flaws will fall away, and we will be like Jesus. With our unique personalities and characteristics, every single one of us is going to perfectly reflect the character of Christ. And as we walk on streets that reflect like mirrors, every step we take and every move we make is going to bring glory to Him.

Blessings

Thursday, May 9, 2013

God Is Active in Big Ways


He counts the number of the stars; He calls them by name.   Psalm 147:4, NKJV


Astronomers estimate there are more than 100 billion galaxies. And each galaxy has more than 100 billion stars! And each of those hundreds of billions of stars was personally hung in space by the Creator Who has not only numbered them all but knows each of them by name! The very first words of Genesis tell us, "In the beginning, God created the heavens. . . ." I can't conceive of any activity much bigger than that!

What big things are you facing? A big decision about a career change or a child's schooling or a marriage proposal? A big commitment like buying a new house or beginning a new job or becoming a new parent? A big responsibility such as caring for elderly parents or supervising an office staff or being the sole provider for your family?

God is active in big ways!

Blessings

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

His Offer


I am the Lord, I do not change.   Malachi 3:6, NKJV

Jesus, the Living Logos, is enduringly the same today as He always has been: "He was in the beginning with God" (John 1:2, NKJV). There was no personality change in this Person from the beginning of time until John's day to our day to the last day of human history on into eternity.

The One Who spoke all things into existence and then transformed Planet Earth from a formless, empty, dark, water-submerged blob dangling in space to a beautiful place that reflected His own image is the same Person Who has power today to transform your life and mine.

The One Who offered all men of Noah's day salvation from the storm of His judgment if they would come into the ark is the same Person today Who offers all men salvation from His eternal judgment if they come into Him at the cross. So . . . extend His offer to someone you know.

Blessings

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Life that Works


There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.   Proverbs 14:12, NKJV

The first seventeen verses of Genesis 9 are a direct quotation in God's own words giving principles for you and me and the entire human race to live by. If we want to live a life that works, overcoming the weakness that resides in all of us, we must heed these principles. If we do not want to heed these principles, we have that freedom, but we will never live a life that works as it was created to work in the beginning. It would be similar to having a new computer with the most cutting edge technology, but using it only as a typewriter. It would do the job, but it wouldn't even come close to fulfilling its potential. If we do not heed God's principles for our lives, you and I can exist on this planet yet not even come close to fulfilling our potential or experiencing the abundant life God intended for us.

One primary reason for the collapse of society all around us is due to indifference and outright rejection of God's principles. Our human weaknesses have become dominant, and life just does not work. So . . . for your own good, read God's Word and live by God's principles and enjoy a life that works!

Blessings

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Spirit of Truth



When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.   John 16:13, NIV

The Holy Spirit is so identified with the Bible, one of His names is Truth! In fact, Peter reveals that the Holy Spirit is the inspirational Author of the Old Testament Scriptures. (2 Pet. 1:20-21) And Paul wrote to Timothy, encouraging him to stay in the Scriptures because, "all Scripture is God-breathed," referring once again to the Spirit-inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16, NIV).

Have you been trying to work up some kind of emotional feeling? If you lack "it," have you felt you didn't have the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, which means He always works according to and through the Word of God whether you feel Him or not. Have you been seeking some ecstatic experience, thinking that would be the Holy Spirit? Remember that He never acts independently; He always works through the Truth - the living Word of God, Who is Jesus, and the written Word of God, which is your Bible. He is never spooky or silly or superficial or self-promoting. He is the Spirit of Truth.

Blessings

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's Time to Simply Trust


"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40, NIV

Having commanded the stone to be rolled away from the place where Lazarus was buried, Jesus challenged Martha not only to obedience but to expectant faith: "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). 

In essence, He was saying, "It's time to place all of your small, mustard seed-sized faith in Me and My promise to you."

Martha had said she had faith. She intellectually believed what Jesus had said. But Martha needed to make the transition from faith to trust. Because while belief is the consent of the mind and faith is a choice of the will, trust is a commitment of the heart.

The time had come for Martha to put her faith into action by surrendering all of her hopeful expectations and heartfelt longings and practical common sense and simply trust Him. And the time has come for you to simply trust Him. Trust HIM!

Blessings