Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Giving All (Saturday)

Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not i, but the grace of God which was with me."

I have had the great priviledge of working alongside some very wonderful and Godly christians. 
They had a compassion and grace about them the exuded Jesus.  I wanted to be like that.
But what did I have to do to be that type of person?  

I needed to give God, what He gave to me, my all.
Paul says "once I understood the grace of God in relation to my life and who is was, before knowing Him, there was no turning back."
As we read throughout the New Testament scriptures of the bible, Paul and the men and women of the early church gave their all to the spreading of the gospel.  Every time they encountered someone along the way, their was, a drawing of the spirit, to them.  But, the outward got of the Light of Jesus could be seen upon them as well.
Giving all, first begins within our spirits.  We must surrender our spirits to the Holy Spirit so He can freely flow through us.  Then, we must surrender our bodies in service to the Lord as well.
Our spiritual sacrifice must be more than mere words; it must be an investment of our lives in the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of others (1). 

If God gave His all, Jesus Christ, so that we may find forgiveness and redemption through the cross, then how can we give less and expect others to see the love, mercy and grace of God in us?

God bless.

Hope Lives (Friday)

I was running at a good pace.  My breathing had settled and as I looked at my watch, this would be one of my all-time best times.  There was no one around me.  Digging deeper I push on ahead trying to catch the cross country runner in first place and the chain smoker not far behind him in second place.

Less than a mile to go and I can see to the top of the road and the finish line.  I pick up my pace and so do the two in front of me.  Now realizing I have no chance of catching either one I settle for third place, again.  Significant achievement.  With the last vestiges of will power i plow through the finish line with a personal time of 20:45 in the three minute mile.  

Marine corps boot camp can be intense to say the least.  But the hardest part is the running.  

In the beginning I was a scared little runt from Chicago.  Now, three months later I am a well conditioned human being.  My life has changed so much.  I have met people from all corners of the globe.  We sweated together, trained together, fought together and in the end became brothers.  Marine Corps boot camp is not for the faint of heart.  You are constantly being pushed to your limit only to find out that we can do and give more if the need arose.  This was my first time being away from home.  Away from my family.  Away from my friends.  It was indeed a culture shock.  

However, as the days and weeks went by, I was closer to my goal of becoming one of 
Me likes the sound of that.  For years it was all that I wanted, to be a Marine.  And now I am.

For that goal to come about, I had to commit myself to doing it.  I had to endure physical and mental pain that I never knew was possible.  My mind and body was transformed and I had to become one with the other men around me reaching for the same goal.  There are no individuals in the USMC.  it is not possible to exist that way.  We all depend on one another and our lives are in each other's hands.  

The body of Christ is that way also.  We are one part of One body, have One mind and One Spirit.
If the goal of saving the lost if not OUR GOAL, as it is the will of God, then we are fighting a losing battle.  
First Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

That living hope is what sustains us in good times and difficult times.  We must always look to the end goal of heaven and being with the ONE who made it possible.  
Without hope I and so many others would have never made it through boot camp.  Many times we talked to one another and wanted to give up.  I was more than we could bare.  But, looking to the end of all this enduring, we saw ourselves wearing the colors of the United States Marines.

Let your hope be in Jesus.  His reward is far more precious and never perishes.  

God bless.

Now Go! (Thursday)

Now Go!  

The period at the end of the sentence for me as I am being scolded.

Now go to your room!
Now go do your chores!
Now go and stand in the corner!

Those two words put the kabutzs (stop) on any arguments I was offering to my mother as to why I had not done something, or I had done something that I should not have been doing.  
With my head hung low and my tail tucked firmly between my legs I was off to serve my sentence.

Today, those words are used in a much different context.  They encourage.
In the closing chapter of the gospel of Mark, Jesus charges His disciples that they are to "now go into all the world and preach the gospel."
These 11 men had been trained and soon equipped (day of Pentecost) to do such a daunting task.
As the Holy Spirit filled and empowered each person who was in the upper room, they soon realized that would not be alone.  
As ambassadors of Christ we were given certain powers and authority in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out and change the world.  We must never feel deserving of this honor because we are not.  Humility and meekness should be the badges we wear.

Without the presence of God going before us, we will not no where to go or how to lead someone to salvation.  If we go out on our own, then we become like our younger selves and get into trouble and fail miserably.  We must rely on the strength and ability of God to help us day-to-day as we go forth.  
Let the "now go!" we hear be an encouragement to continue on in the work of His kingdom and not from rebuke because we were doing something we should not have been doing.

God bless.

A Happy Ending (Wednesday)

Life provides us with many obstacles.  Some good, some bad.  

As for me, I would love an obstacle free life.  I seem to have gotten to a point in my life where I just 'want it easy'.  Not ease as in riches, but ease as in no turmoil.  However, that is not possible.

Jesus' earthly ministry lasted a mere three years.  Yet, His life had a lasting impact on everyone around Him then and those of us who live now.  Many times throughout His life He was tempted.  Satan came against Him in the wilderness, and of course in the garden of Gethsemane before His arrest.  In between Jesus dealt with religious rulers, corrupt officials, crowds of people and the twelve He chose to follow Him.  Each day bought with it new attacks from the enemy and still Jesus remained steadfast in His goal...The Cross.  
Did Jesus become discouraged?  Yes.  
Was He frustrated at the state of the people?  Yes.
Did He have second thoughts?  No.

For Jesus to satisfy God's judgment He had to go to the cross.  There was no other way.  
As each day started and ended and the years went by, the Cross loomed larger in the distance.  

Jesus' happy ending did not come during His time on the earth, it came at the end of His life when as Hebrews 12:2 says, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We all would love for life's circumstances to end happily ever after.  (I won't believe you if you say otherwise).  Some do end on a happy note, but something else is waiting for us around the corner.  The only lasting happiness is in Jesus Christ and that Happy Ending will come when we too are in heaven with Him.  

Facing the Impossible (Tuesday)

Joshua and the Israelites have come to the city of Jericho.  Jericho is a well fortified city upon which many nations have come against and failed to take.  Knowing the history of Jericho, Joshua may have felt that, they too, were facing an impossible task.
As Joshua waited on the LORD, a Man appeared to him and Joshua asked "Are you for Israel or our enemies?"  
And He said "Neither.  But as commander of the LORD's army I have come." 
It says Joshua fell down and worshiped Him and took off his shoes, because he was on holy ground.

When we get to that point where OUR problems seem bigger than what we can handle then we must do the three things Joshua did.  
1.  We must wait on the LORD
2.  We must worship Him regardless of our situation, because He is still God.  
3.  Do as He commands us to.

Many times i have seen my situation as bigger than it really is.  Fear begins to fill my heart and i lose faith.  With my faith failing, I look for a resolution rather than wait for God.
In the waiting is when I should be worshipping.  In the worshipping is where God presents an answer.
Once i have God's direction, then and only then, will the walls come tumbling down.

Jericho was another avenue God used to show His people that He is in control.  We must take our eyes off of our problem and look to the Problem solver. 

A Father Who Runs (Monday)

The story of the prodigal son from the book of Luke is one of the well known stories in the bible.
A son takes his inheritance and goes off to a foreign land and spends all of his money on foolish living.
A severe famine strikes the land he is in and he falls on hard times.  Eventually he goes back home and seeks to return as a servant to his dad, but instead is welcomed back as a son.

We all have different views on who God is and what type of person (sorry) He is.  To some God is authoritative and distant, only willing to judge us when we do wrong.  Many see Him as loving and kind, ready to forgive us and forget.  And those things are true.  But do we see God as patient?  Expectant?  Or hurting?  
The prodigal son knew his father, because he had grown up around him for the first 18-20 years of his life until he decided to go out on his own.  Having spent time around his dad, the son saw a authority figure.  He saw a loving father and a kind and caring business man who took care of his workers.  So the younger son had a pretty good idea of who his father was.  Yet, because of what he had become as a result of foolish living, the son did not know what to expect when decided to go back hom.

It says that the father paced outside his home, looking across the horizon for his son.  Patiently waiting for his return day after day.  Then one day his father, going through his daily routine, seeing the son from a great distance away, ran out to meet him.  No one expects God to run out and meet them.  But He does.  When we return to Him, by way of the Cross of Calvary.  
It does not matter how you lived your life before coming back home.  It does not matter what you did before returning home.  All that matters to the Father is that you see the lost condition you are in (sin) and come home.  Luke 19:10 The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
At one point we were all lost.  But God sent His Son Jesus to renew us and turn us back to Him.  We are accepted by God because of His grace, not our merits.  Be assured we can never sink to deep for God to reach us.  With open arms He is running to greet us.

God bless

God's World (Sunday)

Whenever things start to go bad for me i unknowingly say "my world is crashing in."

The devotional for Sunday joyfully reminded me that this is "God's World".  
When i look around at all the things that make up this world i am humbled.  God, in His wisdom, said to Adam in the garden of Eden, "tend to it and keep it.  Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat."
God did not intend for us to plog along in this life but because of sin and its destructive forces, have caused the beauty of creation to become stained.

Sin stains me and all of humanity.  At times sin will run rampant in the world and we see a side of life that makes us question God "Why?"  
Take a moment and look at some of the things that comprise this world.  The birds of the air.  Clouds.  Beautiful mountain ranges and a magnificent sunrise or sunset.  What of the four seasons spring, summer, fall and winter?  Each with its own unique blend of life.  
God has entrusted His incredible creation to mere humans.  He knew some of us would mistreat it, and deny He made it.  Still, He allows us to call it home and sustains it through His Son."

After reading the devotion I took some time to enjoy life in God's world.  
And you should to.  
God bless

Saturday, April 25, 2015

God's blessings

This past week has been interesting, to say the least.

As I read through my devotional in the previous week the Spirit of God spoke to me EVERYDAY.
So, with that in mind I will post in the coming week reflections from the previous week.
Each post title will be the title of the daily devotion from the 'Our daily bread' devotional.
The first post will be tomorrow afternoon.

God bless and good night.

Friday, April 24, 2015


A sister in the Lord told me today while we were chatting, "God puts roadblocks in our lives in order for us to stay on the path He has for us.  Sometimes we circumvent those roadblocks and we get into situations we should not be in, all because we want to go our own way." 

I stood there in stunned silence thinking,  "Could this be what God is doing to me right now?"

"Ms. C" continued dishing out the sage advice.  "You have to remember we are bought with a price.  We are His (God's children), and He knows all about us.  So anything we experience in life remember 'He is there'".

I looked at Ms.C in admiration.  Only the wisdom of God could have said that.  
We talked a few minutes more about our days since we last saw each other and had a good laugh.
Before departing I thanked Ms. C for the encouragement, prayed  and went away full of joy.

God does know.  He is Omniscient.  
These roadblocks to me are merely Gods way of saying "Trust me."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Battle Royale

Quiet has come to my corner of the world right now.  The only sound I hear other than my heartbeat is the intermitent sound of cars passing by on the road near my house.  
As each cars passes by, I try to imagine where they are going.  Perhaps someone is on their way to the hospital expecting their first child?  Or a loved one is making a run to the grocery store needind a late night snack?  It is more likely someone coming home from work at this the midnight hour.

Why am I blogging at 1258 in the morning?  Good question. 
Would you like an answer?  Can't sleep.  

I am going over in my mind the last 24 hours of my life trying to figure out some things.
Seeing as how I cannot change what has already come and gone, why ponder it?

Elijah's victory on Mount Carmel (1st Kings 18) stirs within my soul.  
Having read the story previously, I know that in the end God speaks to Elijah, asking "Why is he hiding from Jezebel?" After he had just killed the 850 prophets of Jezebels temples?
Surely Elijah would be dancing in the streets.  However, he is found in a cave lamenting his life because of a threat against his life.

Going backwards from there.  (V.38) The fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it kicked up the water that was in the trench. 
Elijah had just proven that there was only One True God in heaven and earth.  So the end result of the deaths of the priests was warranted.  They are false.

Going back further still, to the beginning.
King Ahab has gathered Israel and the 450 prophets of Baal together with the 400 prophets of Asherah on Mount Carmel.  All the participants have come together.  What will happen next?
Well, Elijah says something that explains my current post.  Speaking to the all who are on mountain, but mostly to the nation of Israel, Elijah says "How long will you falter between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."  But the people answered him not a word.
Just as silence filled the space then, it fills the space now as I consider the words my heart knows is true.  
"When will God become God of your life?"  
"When will He have to stop showing you His miracles to prove whom He is?
I stop and realize the implications of where I am in the will of God?  

Daily we must examine ourselves and guard against the dangers of idol living and to whom we offer our sacrifices to.  Will it be THE GOD or will it be a false god?  Looking at the totality of this lesson, Israel was three and a half years into a severe drought.  There is no water and no rain had not fallen from heaven the whole time.  Yet, the people do not see how far outside of the will of God they are.  The conditions around them closely mirrored their hearts regarding their relationship with the LORD.  Dry and barren.
Are you in a spiritual famine?  
Have you put up an alter to Baal? 

America is in a spiritual famine and it is only by the grace of God and the faithful prayers of the remnant that is keeping us in His remembrance.  But how long will God allow these things to continue?  
How long will it be before we realize the so called gods of this world are not real.  

This battle royale is for the souls of every man, woman and child on this planet.  
If we are one nation under God, then why do we have so many?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Famous Quotes

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you,
knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and 
better than your current situation. 

Brian Tracy

Monday, April 13, 2015

His Glory and His Grace--Love and Fear

Why does God love me?  

For years I struggled with trying to find an answer to that question.   
Then one day, God, knowing the despair I was in touched my heart.
Some time later while reading from the book of Jeremiah, God revealed to me the answer to my long saught question.

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:  "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
                          therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you."

Finally, the veil was lifted.  God did not put a condition on His love towards me.  It was freely given.
Like a gift, all I needed to do was accept it.  How could I have known?  God was drawing me to Him.
God!  The Creator of all things.  This very same God who showed unending mercy to the nation of Israel in the book of Jeremiah.  Sin and idolatry marked the existence of Israel during this time.  The people had rejected God and turned their backs on Him to follow after the gods of the lands around them.  Jeremiah, His prophet, was even beaten and cast into a prison because he tried to get the people to see the error of their ways and repent.  Silence.  They continued on the path they wanted to go down.  The rebellion of a nation did not cause God to desert them.  
God says "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.  (v.1)
Those who survive the sword, those who have found my grace in the wilderness--Israel, when I give them rest."

Oh to know the true depts of the love of God towards mankind.  We cannot.  Our humanness will not let us. Imagine God saying this to each and every person on this planet from eternity past to this present day, "there is nothing you can do that will make me love you less than what I already do."
Read the verse above.   "You are loved with an everlasting love."  

                                    E V E R L A S T I N G   L O V E

I trembled with the hearing of these words.  His grace, undeserved favor, I found while in my wilderness, and I was given rest.  

The Love of God can be seen on the Cross of Calvary 2,000 years ago.  
The Glory of God can be seen on the Cross of Calvary 2,000 years ago.
The Grace of God can be found in the garden of Eden, six thousand years ago, when Adam and Eve sinned against the Almighty.  Instead of judging them in their sin of disobedience with death, He offered them repentance through a blood sacrifice.  This promise was to be fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, a once and for all sacrifice.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

His Glory and His Grace--God

Isaiah 6:3,5
(3) And one cried to another and said:  "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Of hosts; the whole earth
is full of His glory!"
(5) So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in 
the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

Anything in existence owes its existence to God.  The Creator of all things. The giver and taker of life.
What would happen if we were to come before this God?  Would we fall down and worship Him?  Would our hearts melt from fear?  Would we try to give Him a laundry list of questions to answer?  Would we know instantly whom He truly is?

In my early days as a believer, I often heard people say, "God is so quick to judge us.  How can we live up to His standard?"  On our own we cannot.  For some time this bothered me and I questioned what was I getting myself into?  However, as I read the bible I began to see that we were not looking at the whole picture, or shall I say the bigger picture.
It was not until I read the book of Jeremiah that  I saw the grace of God and how much He extends to us. His judgment comes some time after, if we do not realize His grace is our chance to find forgiveness.

The prophet Isaiah saw the glory of the LORD and was immediately stricken with a great fear because of what he had seen.  The people of this world can imagine what they will and what do will do when the come before the Almighty God.  And they have the right to.  Free will.  But God is not a man.
As the seraphim cried out "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts" they did so with face covered.  No one can stand before God and proclaim their own goodness.  The fear Isaiah experienced was the fear of impending death.  "Woe is me, for I am undone."  
If Isaiah, the prophet of God, who spoke directly to God and heard directly from God, is fearful in the presence of God, what chance do you or I have?  (Answer that within your own heart.)

When that Day comes just the awesomeness of God alone will cause many hearts to stop.  Countless people will realize the foolish words they have spoken in this life and say "I had no idea just how truly magnificent You really are."  I know I will.  My flesh limits me in understanding who and what God really is.  I cannot fathom it.  But on that Day, in His presence His understanding will give me understanding and I will be like Isaiah.  
The grace of God paves the way for us to come to Him.   Whether it be a means to salvation (its true intent), or just to get through our daily lives.  God's grace is there.  Let it be known that God reigns.
However, until we appopriate the grace God so freely bestows to us, the God of Judgment is who we will meet on that Day and not the God of Grace.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

His Glory and His Grace--Supplication

Exodus 33:17-18
So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name."
And he said, "Please show me Your glory."

Moses is at a crossroads.  As God's chosen leader to the children of Israel, Moses is under a great weight.  The two million plus people he is shepherding to the promised land have once again started murmuring and complaining, against the provision of God, thus grieving the heart of Moses and rightly so, the heart of God.  So much so that God has refused to continue going before His chosen peoples and instead said He would send an Angel to lead the way.  Moses, unhappy with the decision, intercedes for Israel.

Moses the man is weary.  His passion for God is starting to ebb and he is in need of spiritual refreshing.  
The constant pressure of his position and duties are starting to take a toll.  In verse 12 we see Moses talking to God, and saying "See You say to me, 'Bring up this people.'  But You have not let me know whom You will send with me."
God responds to Moses by saying "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
The LORD agrees to continue on before the children of Israel but Moses was not yet done making his  
supplications know to God. 
"Please, show me Your glory." Said Moses.  

I have always been in awe of this passage of scripture.  Would I be so bold as to ask the God of glory to "show me His glory?"  No one in the bible other than Jesus spent more time in the presence of God than Moses.  At one point Moses had to wear a veil over his face because the glory of God shined so brightly on his face and the people were afraid to look at or even talk to Moses.
Moses was blessed.  Not because of who he was , but because of what he did.  Moses was obedient to God.  So the LORD to spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend (v.11).  
Talk about grace?  Grace is divine favor.  None of us deserve it, however God will not/did not withhold it.  His grace is for all mankind.  Gods grace allows us to be...  How can I say this?  Renewed.  Yes, renewed.
That is what Moses sought from God, a renewing of his spirit.  Moses did not want to succomb to the will of the people nor his own flesh.  What a wonderful example we have here in Moses for both the believer and non-believer. 
God can renew our spirits.  All we need do is ask.  For the believer we get renewal from reading the bible, from personal prayer time, worship, corporate worship and fellowship with other Christians.  
The non-believer gains renewal only by way of the Cross of Jesus. 

Moses found grace in the eyes of God and saw the glory of God.  
Grace has been bestowed upon mankind and this grace allows us to see the glory of God, through Jesus Christ His Son.  

God bless.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Prosperity Gospel

Someone told me yesterday.  "This job means nothing to me.  I only do it for the part time benefits and nothing else.  When I punch out from here, I go to my main source of income.  It's a real job."

I pondered his words as the spewed out of his mouth.  And I do mean 'spewed'.  His countenance took on a different color.  His eyes seemed to get smaller and his words bitter.  The air around us became darker and heavier.   
To lighten the mood, I made a joke and we all laughed. (Three of us were present.)  Nothing bad or dirty I declare.  

As I read from Job 20 tonight, I am drawn back to the conversation and how the prosperity gospel
is not something only taught within the walls of a church building but also out in the world.  Oddly enough, I think this prevailing thought was brought into the church.  Mankind seeks to gain as much wealth and possessions as they can so that they do not have to work in their later years of life.  Get as much as I can now, then retire early.  
Question:  What becomes of this person who puts worldliness before godliness?  

Jesus spoke to a young man in Luke 12:15  "Take heed and beware of coveting, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possess."  
This is so true.  Not to say that owning things and having wealth is bad.  It's not.  But has it become your sole focus in this life?  Read the parable in the following verses that tell of the rich man who had much goods and decided to build bigger barns to store his excess.  "I will take it easy for the rest of my life.  I shall eat, drink and be merry." God called this man a fool!  God!!!
All of his efforts were placed on taking care of his physical needs and he totally dropped the ball when it came to his spiritual needs.  In the end he never got to enjoy the treasures he had laid up.  Others may have, but not him.

This man, like the coworker I was talking to, was building up an earthly treasure that will eventually turn to dust.  In the latter days of this dispensation anything that does not have eternal value will be counted as loss.  Our most glaring need is of the soul.  Sin has robbed us all of the greatest treasure known to mankind.  A personal relationship with the Creator GOD.  

Answer:  Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.  An unfanned fire will consume him.
The prosperity gospel of God is eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for your sins and mine.  What abundance can we gain in this life that will surpass the inherited abundance promised by Jesus to all those who believe in His name?  None whatsoever.  

The prosperity gospel of man leads to eternal seperation from God and the consuming fires of hell.  
It is a gospel that teaches self-worth, self-sufficiency and personal well-being.  Hell is the portion from God for the wicked man.