Monday, September 30, 2013

God in Our Midst

Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned: he has crossed over from death to life.   John 5:24, NIV


Every reject in the city must have gathered at the pool of Bethesda, the "House of Mercy." The emaciated bodies, the pale faces, the pain-deadened eyes, the hollow cheeks all gave silent witness to the helplessness and hopelessness of the diseased and disfigured and dying who lay, crumpled and sprawled, like discarded refuse on the terrace that led to the water's edge. As the eyes of God scanned the mass of misery, He saw "a great number of disabled people . . . the blind, the lame, the paralyzed," (John 5:3, NIV). Each pitiful sufferer focused all attention on the water's surface, desperately pinning his or her hope on being the first to spot the bubbling movement and the first to react by jumping-or falling-into the pool. Each was totally preoccupied with his or her own disability-blindness or lameness or paralysis.

The multitude of the miserable were all focused on the pool, on the water, on the place, on a traditional source of help, even as God Himself stood in their midst! Where is your focus?


Blessings

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shaped by God

The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.   Genesis 2:7, NIV

The Hebrew word for "formed" is yatsar, which means "to mold." It is the same word used to describe a potter molding and shaping clay. The description reveals that while God spoke

the worlds into space,

the planets into orbit,

the earth on its axis,

the seas within their boundaries,

the sun, moon, and stars to appear in the sky,

the trees and flowers to cover the earth,

the animals to fill the earth,

God personally shaped the physical characteristics of man with His own hands and breathed into man His own life! Such knowledge should cause us to pause and worship the Creator Who molded you and me from the "dust of the ground."


Blessings

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Facing Death

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

In the beginning, we were never intended to die. Death was not a part of God's original plan. He created you and me for Himself. He intended us to live with Him and enjoy Him forever in an uninterrupted, permanent, personal, love relationship. But sin came into our lives and broke the very relationship with God for which we were created.

When your loved one dies and your grief is tinged with anger, don't direct it toward God. He's angry too. Direct it toward sin and its devastating consequences. Dedicate yourself to sharing the gospel as often as you can. Pray that through your witness others who face physical death will choose to escape the second death, which is hell, the ultimate separation from God, by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. As we face death, our only hope is in knowing there is genuine, triumphant, permanent victory over it that is available to us in Jesus' Name!


Blessings

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grieving - but with Hope

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.   1 Thessalonians 4:13, NIV

When I was small, my grandmother lived right across the street from where I lived with my family. Whenever I got sick or just wanted someone to read to me or sew for me or fix me something special to eat, I went across to her house. She taught me, read to me, played with me, fed me, and nursed me. When she died, I felt as if a part of myself had died. To this day, in unguarded moments, I still weep with that yearning, homesick feeling just to hear her voice or to see her smile or to feel her hug.

Paul says it is all right to grieve, even more than twenty years after her death. But I am not to grieve as one who has no hope, because we believe that the same Jesus Who died on the cross to offer us forgiveness of sin, and the same Jesus Who was raised from the dead to give us eternal life is the same Jesus Who one day will come again! And when He comes, "God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." When He comes, He will bring my grandmother with Him!


Blessings

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Persistent Prayer

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.   Matthew 7:7, NIV 

When Jesus confronted a man beside the pool of Bethesda who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, He asked, "Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6, NIV)

At first, it must have sounded like a thoughtless question. Surely anyone who had been lying down for so long would want to get up. But Jesus knew it can be easier to lie on a cot letting people wait on you hand and foot, than to pick up all the responsibilities of life that are required when you can walk. The man answered that he did want to get well, and immediately Jesus told him to pick up his pallet, and walk. And the man did.

How do you and I show our eagerness to receive all that God has promised us? One way is through persistent prayer as we ask God for change, seek His Word about the change, then persistently pray until He brings it about. If you have asked God to change your circumstances in some way, claiming His promise for yourself or for a loved one, what are you doing to demonstrate your faith?

Blessings

Friday, September 20, 2013

His Tears on My Face

The Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.   Isaiah 25:8, NKJV

God, as our heavenly Father, so closely identifies with His children that our tears are His. This precious revelation of God's relationship to us is first glimpsed plainly when we read how God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and follow Him in a life of faith, encouraging him by promising, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse" (Gen. 12:3, NIV). In other words, God would be so closely identified with Abraham that He would consider Abraham's friends and enemies His own. God not only loves His children, He identifies with them.

And in response to such loyalty and love, I, in turn, desire to so closely identify with Him - with His grief, His joy, His love, His pain, His blessings, His honor - that His tears are on my face.

My tears - and yours - are precious to Him! How He loves those who love Him enough to shed His tears as they share His cross!


Blessings

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So Dry and Thirsty

"If you knew . . . who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."   John 4:10, NIV

While the woman of Samaria and I have many differences, we have one thing in common. I, too, find myself from time to time running on empty.

In the busyness of ministry,

the weariness of activity,

the excitement of opportunity,

I sometimes wake up and realize, "I am so dry and thirsty." Invariably, when I examine myself, the reason for the dryness of spirit can be traced to one thing. I'm not drinking freely of the Water of Life. I'm neglecting my Bible study. I'm rushing through my prayer time. I'm not listening to the voice of the Lord because I'm just too busy to be still. At those times I carve out quiet interludes to confess my sins and read and meditate and pray and listen and just drink Him in. Thank You, dear God, for still giving us today, Living Water from the 
Well that never goes dry.


Blessings

Monday, September 16, 2013

His Plans Are Perfect

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.   2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV

"Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female" (Gen. 7:2-3, NIV ). 

Just how big was Noah's assignment? We know that there are more than eighteen thousand different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians today. If the number is doubled to include two of every kind, with several thousand extras added to make up the five additional pairs of each "clean" species, then double all of that to include any that have become extinct, the total figure is about seventy-five thousand animals!

According to the dimensions given, when Noah had all the animals assembled on the ark, only 60 percent of the available space would have been occupied. The remaining 40 percent would be available for food storage and living quarters for Noah's family. It all worked, as impossible as it had seemed!

God knows what He is doing! His plans are perfect! You can obey His instructions with confidence!


Blessings

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Door to God

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."   John 10:9, NIV

The Shepherd's call has echoed down through the centuries. It's a clarion call to all sheep, offering freedom and salvation to those who are willing to come out of the . . .

denominationalism,

traditionalism,

ritualism,

agnosticism

of their religion and enter into a personal relationship with God. It's an authoritative command to turn away from sin and selfishness and walk through the open Door of salvation into the fold of a personal, permanent, love relationship with the Creator Who became our Savior.

Just as there was one door that led into God's presence in Eden and one door that led into the safety of the ark and one door that led into the inner sanctuary of the temple, a personal relationship with God is only accessed through one Door Who is Jesus Himself.


Blessings

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Overcomers

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.   Revelation 21:7, NIV

The apostle Peter confirms that the inheritance being laid up for the Father's children "can never perish, spoil or fade" - it is "kept in heaven for you" (1 Pet. 1:4, NIV). Although our inheritance is safely stored in heaven, there is a condition we have to meet before we can claim it: "He who overcomes will inherit all this."

What do you have to overcome in order to claim My Father's House as your own?

 You have to overcome . . .

your pride that refuses to acknowledge you are a sinner who needs a Savior...

your religiosity that substitutes rituals for repentance...

traditions for truth, and orthodoxy for obedience...

your unbelief that Jesus Christ is God's Son, the sinner's Savior.

Overcomers place their faith in Jesus alone for salvation . . . and inherit heaven!


Blessings

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

God's Primary Purpose


I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.   Psalm 23:4, NIV

Trusting God to accomplish His primary purpose through our pain was eloquently expressed by the widow of Todd Beamer. Todd was a passenger on the fateful United Flight 93 when it was hijacked by suicide bombers on September 11, 2001. He and other passengers overpowered the hijackers, thwarting their use of the plane as a flying missile apparently aimed at the very heart of Washington, D.C. But the passengers were unable to prevent the plane from a nosedive crash into a vacant field in Pennsylvania, so September 11, 2001, was the date of Todd Beamer's entrance into heaven. 

Lisa Beamer gave us a snapshot of her faith that is being developed through suffering when she told an interviewer, "God says, 'I knew on September 10, and I could have stopped it, but I have a plan for greater good than you can ever imagine.' I don't know God's plan, and, honestly, right now I don't like it very much. But I trust that He is true to His promise in Romans 8:28."

Thank you, Lisa, for trusting God when you don't understand why!
Blessings

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Worshiper God Wants

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.   John 4:24, NIV

God wants us to worship Him in spirit. What does that mean? It means we must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We must be born again. It also means we must worship Him sincerely, earnestly, with a right spirit, with a sweet spirit. We are to worship from the depths of our beings as we are continually occupied with God. Worship is not just the act of going to church because we always have or because it's the thing to do. It is not just putting your body in a pew while your mind is elsewhere. It is not just smiling serenely on the outside while on the inside you are filled with unconfessed sin.

God also wants us to worship Him in truth. What does that mean? It means there is no way to God, no way at all, without coming through Jesus Christ Who is the Truth. It also means that we must base our relationship with Him on His Word, which is the truth. And to worship Him in truth means to worship Him honestly, without hypocrisy, standing open and transparent before Him.

Are you the kind of worshiper God wants?


Blessings

Monday, September 9, 2013

Four the Hard Way, by Sister Debra Webb-Reddick



LUKE 5:17-20

TOPIC: FOUR THE HARD WAY

NOTES:

WITH SO MUCH TECHNOLOGY IN TODAY'S WORLD IT'S A RARE COMMODITY TO HAVE PEOPLE TIME.

DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS THAT'S WILLING TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP YOU GET TO JESUS?

ARE YOU THAT FRIEND?

YOU CAN TALK SOMEONE INTO DOING ANYTHING EXCEPT FOR GOING TO CHURCH.

WHERE EVER JESUS IS, IT BECOMES A SANCTUARY.

RELIGION WILL KILL YOU, REVELATION WILL SAVE YOU.

BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO CENSOR OR SUGAR COAT THE WORD OF GOD.

ARE YOU DETERMINE TO GET SOMEONE TO CHRIST?

JUST LIKE THE FRIENDS IN LUKE 5:17-20, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO TEAR SOME THINGS UP TO GET YOUR FRIEND TO JESUS. BE BLESSED IN THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS. AMEN

DEBRA

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Core of a Miserable Life

Do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves.   Hebrews 12:5-6, NIV

The New Testament teaches us that we are not to "make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son" (Heb. 12:5-6, NIV). God, as our loving Father, confronts us with our sin and convicts us of it in order to get us to confess. Because He knows if we do not confess and correct it, our misery will envelope us and we will live life at a very low level in comparison with the life He created for us.

If you and I resist confessing our sin when God brings it to our attention through our own Bible reading or through a spouse or a child or a friend or a pastor or just our own consciences, we harden our hearts. And a hardened heart is an impenetrable barrier in our relationship with God, in our enjoyment of His blessings, in our emotional and spiritual security, and in our eternal reward. A hardened heart is the core of a miserable life.


Blessings

Friday, September 6, 2013

Evidence that Demands a Verdict

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.   2 Corinthians 3:17, NIV

And "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" for you and me. Freedom from sin and selfishness and spiritual defeat and Satan's snares. Freedom to reflect Jesus as we are "transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18, NIV).

As we live moment by moment under the Lordship - the control of the Spirit - His character, which is the character of Jesus, becomes evident to those around us. The outward evidence of His inward filling of our lives is His "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal. 5:22, NIV). Is there enough evidence of the Spirit in your life to demand a verdict from your closest friends and family members? The Holy Spirit empowers us, not just to live for Jesus, but to be like Jesus as He forms Christ within us. (Gal. 4:19)


Blessings

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Still, Small Voice

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1, NKJV

Do you sometimes cry out, as I have, "God, don't You see my tears? Don't You see my broken heart? God, never mind me, but how can You bear to see the agony of my loved one? God, I know that You care. I just don't understand why You don't intervene in this situation right now. Why don't You do something? And, God, why did you do that?!"

Then, to my heart, I seem to hear His still, small voice whispering, "Taz, trust Me. I know what's best." And I'm left to wonder why I think I know better than God what's best for me or my loved one.


Blessings

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where Are You?

The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God.   Genesis 3:8, NIV

I would imagine that up until this point, whenever God would come into the Garden Adam and Eve would run to meet Him like excited children. But when they harbored unconfessed sin in their hearts, His coming was a dreaded event. The thought of His presence was terrifying.

Adam and Eve were overlooking the single greatest truth in the universe! God loved them! He loved them in their sin so much that He sought them out! He did not leave them quivering in fear, devastated by guilt and saturated in sin. He came. "But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?'" (Gen. 3:9, NIV).

God knew exactly where Adam and Eve were. He was not calling them to get information but confession. He wanted them to confront what they had done so they could set it right and be restored in fellowship with Himself. And where are you? Instead of hiding from God, would you run to Him? Confess your sin and enjoy reconciliation with Him.


Blessings