Saturday, August 24, 2013
Are you working on forgiveness? If you are not the battle is upon you! When one becomes "saved" things start to happen in one's life. One of those things is that one starts to go to "church"; which is a good thing. One also find that they are going to more "church" activities... But as time goes on something happens. It seems that it starts to get easier not to go to "Church". That something... be it about us or about the Church we attend... That the joy of going to "church" has ended. Sleeping in, doing yard work... almost anything seems to get in the way of going to church. Now there can be many things that can take us away from going to church. Yes many things. Now in this devotional we cannot address the many problems one has about going to Church, nor can we address the many problems that maybe in the individual Churches. What we will address is that one needs to go to Church. Heb. 10: 23-25 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and to good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." Now I know it doesn't say/imply going to Church but going to Church is very important and yes it is where we should be getting encouraged... and loved... and yes it is much more to Church than that; not forgetung worship. So going to Church is a good thing and assembling with Christians in other ways... is also a good thing. We all need to be loved upon and we all need encouragement. We all need to learn how to love more and more; we all need to learn how to encourage more and more. You see we can be blessed by other believers... and we can also be a blessing to other believers. Now if one does not go to "Church" , who knows what one might be missing? Think about it!
Monday, August 12, 2013
We have come a long way in our summer study. Noticing the battle. We did not say that when this happens... that that is where the battle is. But we took the approach of when these things are not being done, that there is where the battle is for us. Alright we started about seeing the battle around us, then we moved to telling the Gospel, praying when the Gospel is shared, sharing of the works of God, rejoicing when Jesus is proclaimed, to are you hiding from God... for Husband and wives doing more together... So now let's talk about the next thing that Christians do. That would be forgiveness. Forgiveness is right at the center of who we are in Christ Jesus. Just like sharing about Jesus; forgiveness is what we do. Let me say that again forgiveness is what we do! Matt. 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." Also see Col. 3:13. Now forgiveness has 2 basic components (not to say that there are only two... because forgiveness has many components and does many wonderful things...). The first of these components would be that of one asking forgiveness. One has done a deed/action... that was wrong. So what I would like to do is to go back to the basics of knowing what is wrong; that would be the ten commandments. Now the first half, if you will, deals with our relationship with God while the second half deals with our relationship with each other. When one sins, one needs forgiveness. When one sins one needs forgiveness, period. There is no way around it. So when one breaks one of the first half of the commandments one goes to God and asks for forgiveness...(the right way, true sorrow and repentance). Now to the second component of forgiveness; the one that is asked to forgive grants forgiveness. Now back to the example of one breaks one of the 10 Commandments that deals with God. The best way to put is to go to 1John 1:9"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We confess to God and He is faithful to forgive and cleanse. Now if one breaks one of the 10 Commandments dealing with people one needs to confess to God (remember He is faithful...) and confess to the one whom you have committed the offense. Now here is the tricky part people are not always faithful; they may not choose to forgive...or maybe it may take some time. What happens is that there is a wedge if you will between the two... You see without forgiveness it opens the door for all sorts of bad things... You see without forgiveness we cannot get cleansed/washed. Some versions use healed. That we cannot be cleaned/washed/healed... that the relationship cannot be cleansed/washed/healed. Restoration would be a good word also to use. Forgiveness is a powerful thing when done right but being ignored... destructive forces if you will can come into play... Let us all choose to forgive. One last note choosing to forgive cost. When God choose to forgive us it cost Him His Beloved Son! But the cost of not forgiving for us can be more than one can imagine.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Last devotional was to have a second part, but half way through I decided not to include it. For it may have been a little much or too much. Just getting a handle on going before God the right way if you will is hard... confessing our sins... You see 1John1:9 is not only for salvation but a process for the rest of our lives. So let us continue with our keeping short accounts before our God. Back to Gen.3:8-9 " What I would like to address now is that not only that we go before God alone for fellowship... That when you get married you need to go and fellowship... with God together. Remember that when you are married you become one! There is a oneness that should be about you. A sharing of life... that brings you together as one. That even before our God we bring our marriage life... and we need to do this together. We praise God together, thank God together, pray to God together and share our lives with God together. For there is a oneness that is part of us, a oneness that most of us need to understand more. An openness that is part of our marriage... Alright this is for us as men, are you hiding? Seriously are you hiding things from your wife? Be it big sin if you will or just a temptation that you struggle with but not falling into... Hiding is not good! You see you cannot hide from God. Nor should one be hiding from their wife. Now for the wife; now if your husband comes a sharing (not hiding) bringing things to the open... in the right way. Try not or do not condemn... making the matter worst... You see forgiveness also has the aspect of healing... now how it works... that is what God does. Now remember that this process/principle is also for the wife. How blessed is a marriage that is open and forgiven and healed before our God!
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
It is so easy to lose track of what or where... we should be/ doing. Now this is a hard a hard devotional for me to write. For I do ok in some ways but in others I fail. Sometimes I do well but then,____ you know what I mean. The topic will be prayer, better yet talking with God! You will understand more as this devotional goes. We sing songs about our interaction... with our God. If you are like me they touch my heart... But do I do what they are saying... "Early in the morning" yes part of a worship song. Do we start our day with God? Or do you get up and just start doing, Oh how I know too well about that. But all the while singing that hymn... hearing brothers teaching about starting your day... Or even making your day to be with God. Prayer/Praise/thanksgiving... Turn in your bible to Gen.3:8 "They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." So this happened after they have eaten the forbidden fruit. They had one commandment and bang they broke it. Just like us we cannot keep the ten commandments... So what happened God comes into the garden to fellowship with Adam and Eve; and Adam and Eve hide from God. No they were not playing hide and seek. You see sin, trespasses, iniquity in us separates us from God. For us we want to hide or keep it hidden(the sin). And 2 God cannot have sin in His presence, He needs to do something about it. So here we have it when sin is upon us... we tend to hide if you will. God wants to fellowship with us but sin needs to be dealt with for fellowship to be restored. This was done and is done at the cross of Jesus Christ. Now how does this work for us? A friend/ fellow believer in Christ told me to keep short accounts with God. That is confess your sins daily/ hourly/ minutely... For us that means not to hide them! For if you are hiding from God (like Adam and Eve in the trees) then you cannot fellowship truly with Him. But thanks be to God! 1John1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Isn't that great, God through Chris Jesus restores us back to fellowship with Him. He wants to have fellowship with each of us. Yes each of us. So are you in fellowship with God? Or are you hiding? Do you talk to him throughout the day? Or are you hiding? Or are you to busy? Fellowship with God is much more than "traditional prayers" "traditional praise" traditional thanks" it has the personalized touch to it. The praises of Tom ,Harry ,Jane... new sounds, new thanks, new prayers and most of all the individual sharing of ourselves to God. He cares about each of us.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Have you been rejoicing in the Gospel? That is have you been rejoicing when you hear the Gospel? For us followers of Jesus Christ, it is what we do! You see proclaiming the Gospel is what we do. It is part of our everyday life... We should be talking about Jesus throughout the day... We should be thanking Him every day. We should be singing praises to Him every day. We should be before Him in prayer... every day. We should be learning of Him every day... We should be in His word the Bible every day. Remember what our series is about? Being aware of the work of the enemy. So many times the enemy get's in our circle of life to do his deadly work. Oh, it is deadly and oh it is more extensive that what you will hear from me. What we all need to see is that if there is a breakdown of the things described above that the enemy is doing his work. So far we have only been talking about how the enemy is destroying the work of proclaiming the Gospel being share but he/they are trying to destroy us the believer also. He wants to disrupt the communication... we have with our Lord Jesus... He wants to destroy our fellowship, friendship...we have with our Lord... Seriously he does not wanting us sharing the Gospel. He does not want us talking about Jesus at all. Nor does he want us to sing praises to Jesus... Nor does he want to see us in prayer or reading the bible. Not only is it hard to share the Gospel... but it is also hard to talk about Jesus with other believers... Why is that? Does the evil ones have such and influence... fear seems to over whelm us... what if what I am learning/sharing is "simple"... I am not as spiritual as so and so... Do not let the enemy get a victory, Let us all be talking about our Lord Jesus. Not only is he mighty to save, He is mighty to finish the work He started in each of us. Phil. 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." You see that God is the one doing the work in each of us. He is perfecting each of us and with that we are all in different places of being perfected if you will. The lessons of Christ are not like the lessons of going to school; first grade then... but they are more suited to each individually. Yes we all have a start but some skip ahead to learn such and such... then skip back to learn such and such... So with that let us continue to rejoice in the Gospel being shared and with people sharing about the works of God and sharing about the blessings of God in their lives... For with this the name of Jesus is being honored... Let us be united in this effort as believers.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Sharing about Jesus, sharing about the works God is doing in our lives... Yes this is hard, very hard, but it is an easy task! You see we are only to do the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For God is the one Who does all the work... I cannot make anyone to really hear/understand the word I say... But God can! More over my words are powerless... but God's words are powerful... God is the one who draws men... to Himself. He is the one who saves... He is the one who changes lives... He is the one who does all the work... we are to share the Gospel. So many times we forget that it is God who does all the work. We get to doing the work of God in our own strength. We are talking about Him... but we forget that it is Him that has the power... We forget to pray... It is a slow process or it can be a fast process. Phil. 1:15-18 "Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the Gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice!" In this passage it is talking about how to different ways of the Gospel is being proclaimed; truthfully and envy and strife. But the Apostle Paul rejoices with both. You see it is the name of Christ that is being proclaimed and in that name is the power... So when you or anyone is sharing about Christ, we all must not forget that is God who does the work... Even when one is sharing with mixed motives or even when one shares fumbling along... We as believers must rejoice when we hear Christ being proclaimed! For there is power in the name of Christ no matter how it is proclaimed; or even the way it is proclaimed. So let's proclaim Christ.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sharing about Jesus. What an important task! Last week I encouraged you all to share Jesus with some one... Was it hard, did you try... or did you just forget... I am not here to chastise you... but to encourage you.... Believe me when I tell you that it is hard to do these "Christian" things. We must never forget that the battle is still raging all around us. That we need to recognize this, and to remember that just because we have made the step in faith to Jesus Christ, that the battle has stopped for us; for the battle has not stopped even for us. An important part of sharing Jesus Christ comes from experience. I am not talking about formal training, schooling... but the experience of living a life filled with God/Jesus/Holy spirit. The experience of seeing God working in your life... The experience of God answering prayers... In Deut.6:20 is a helpful passage that encourages us in our sharing about God. A few verses before it is telling us to teach our children the commandments/statutes of God... Then comes verse 20, "When your sons ask you in times to come, saying, 'What do these testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?' then you shall say to your son, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out with a mighty hand. Moreover..." You see when we tell about Jesus how He saves us from our sin... We need to also share the moreover He is doing... The moreover He is doing in our life.... The more over He is doing in the lives of believers... The moreover He is doing in modern times... We are asked the same types of question what does this mean, is it real... So stop and think to share what Jesus is doing in your life that will make Him to be real to someone who does not believe.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Have you been on the alert? Have you seen the enemy at work? Have seen the pulls of this world working? These things and more are working all around. The thing is that we can see some things, the obvious bad if you will, but the common things of life... we just pass by as happenings... So what we all need to recognize that when things are happening in someone's life; and yes they are working in our life too. These things are working inside the Church. Yes, these workings...are inside the Church. More on that later. Last week I asked you all to look around... to try to recognize the workings of the evil one and the pull of world. We need to stay alert! So can you see the biggest workings of the evil one? That would be to silence the work of the great commission. Seriously, sharing the name of Jesus; is so hard now-a-days. Talking about God, is also hard... Presenting the Gospel of our Lord; it is something that is not happening. Think about it even in Church services sharing the salvation message seems hard; also when it is shared some (believers or regular church goers) put up a fuss... Why is that? Another also that more and more the Gospel of our Lord is being presented in a watered down version if you will, just get them to say a simple prayer... then go your way... Another thing that is happening that we make the Gospel of our Lord to be politically correct, that it fits in with all other types of beliefs/religions. This week let us all try to recognize the workings of the evil one. That we will pray that the Gospel of our Lord will shared more... That we will have the boldness to share the Gospel of our Lord or something about Jesus this week. Yes it will be alright if you do not lead someone to salvation in Jesus, the important thing is to start sharing about Jesus... We are to proclaim(share) the Gospel. God will take care of the rest. After all He is the one that draws men, women and children to Himself. Tell someone about Jesus this week!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
As we walk on this Earth, the enemy is there. We think of the enemy as Satin but if we only think that he is the only one, alone. How misled, mistaken... we are. You see there is a whole host of angels that follow him... That together they do their deadly work... I wish it was easy to see the enemy working... that there is the sound of gun fire... if you will when he plans an attack. Or that we can see him coming from a far off, that someone will send out a warning call... But no that is not what happens, we don't usually hear the gun fire and let's face it a warning call... from other Christians, that doesn't really happen either. Even when the battle is in full force, it seems that we stand alone. Calling for help is not something that we do. And if we do, who will hear the call? Or if they hear the call for the most part there is no help... For whatever reason. Not only do we have an enemy; we live on earth! An earth is not a perfect place... nor does the world systems(government...) run perfectly or designed in a godly way. You see it is hard to live on earth, it involves hard work... and sometimes things cause us great grief... And guess what, we need to interact with others... and not all people are nice... even us as Christians are flawed. And even when we do seem to have a handle on the earthly stuff, it seems that the evil ones find ways to use these things against us... As we mentioned early do we see these troubles coming? No not really, maybe some. Or better yet when we are in the mist can we call for help? Will people get involved to help... no not really. Maybe sometimes you can get help for financial problems... but for more complex problems... Even in the church, we use the same theme, you need a specialist. A trained counselor... Well maybe but it seems we go that way, way too fast... Not to say that counseling in not important. You see there is a of things and a very powerful enemy pulling... at us. And it is not for our good. In John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." So with that we will start our next series of encouragement. So first we think of these three words: Steal- to take what does not belong to you, Kill- take life, Destroy- to ruin. For that is the goal of our enemy. We must recognize that this is what is happening all around us and even happening or trying to happen to us. O.K. Let me go a little further let us think about steal. What is the evil one trying to steal? It is people, for God does not one to perish, 2Peter3:9 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing anyone to perish, but that all should reach repentance."
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
So many times we lose our focus! We do this in everyday life all the time; trying to do too many things at once. Thinking of something while doing something else... Or even being distracted from a task by something happening around us. Think about it, it is so easy to lose focus, the t.v. is on we lose focus, this is happening... we lose focus. A storm comes we lose focus. The pull of people doing things...and having an easy life...(but doing wrong or sneaky things) seems to draw us to the same, we lose focus. Really it is very easy to lose focus of who we are in Jesus Christ... The pull of not following Him... is great! And sometimes seems like it will never end... The other day I heard of a man telling that some believe that heaven is here on Earth now, that is we are here right now and this is as good as it gets. That life here and now is it. Let me tell you I know that this is not heaven right now, that here on Earth is still not a perfect place... And the Heaven that God/Jesus promises is perfect...Now a days many believe all kinds of different things about life...God....or gods... or whatever else someone might think of, and some say I believe in nothing... You know what the problem is for us believers? That some of those things being offered really look somewhat good... That what is being offered in place of the real God, not only is inviting, but the ones practicing those things seem to be "well off"... happy. But we must not lose our focus! For there is only one true God, Who's Son is Jesus Christ. Who created the Heaven's and the earth and all that is in them; seen and unseen. There is no one like Him and there is no one who can compare to Him. There is no who can contend with His power, might, knowledge and ... And He alone is the one who has power over death, and He alone is the only one Who can save our soul. To bring us back into fellowship with Him... Remember the saying, " money can't buy love"? But love can pay the price to redeem our souls. "For God so loved the world that He sent His begotten Son, that whoever believes (trusts) in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." You see God put things into motion, rules, laws... and if one breaks those things then the just God does what He said will be the punishment for those things broken. But the God of love reaches down to pay the price for the things which we have broken. This He did through His Son Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord! For redeeming me. Now Lord help me to stay stead fast, focused, on you. To run the course of this life on earth fixed on what lies ahead for me. That is heaven and eternal life through Jesus Christ your Son and my Lord. Philippians 3:8-21 Read this passsage of our Lord. This will help us to understand that there is "more" to life than we know and that this "more" is found in Jesus Christ and in Him alone.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Last week we talked about how life is hard... that becoming a "Christian" does not make life's problems...go away... What we need to is to recognize that God is working. That no matter where we are our God is with us. Yes, I am fully aware that this doesn't always seem to be true; but He is always with us no matter where we are...This is one truth that we all must hold on to. No matter what is going on in your life, remember that God is there. Another truth we need to hold on to is; That matter what is going on in your life, recognize that God is there. You see these two principles we all need to be part of our lives. The nation of Israel did things to remember that God did things... In 1samuel 7:12 the prophet Samuel sets a stone for the nation to remember of what God has done and is doing. The stone was called, Ebenezer. Remembering what God has done for us will help to keep us on track to trust Him in the future... It is so easy to forget what God has done for us... How He has helped us through various struggles of life... So we too need to remember! Now the second principle goes with the first. We must give God thanks...and praise... for the things He has done. So many times God does something for us... we don't recognize it or we just brush it off with little importance... and sometimes we might give a little thank you... You see we are created in God's image, His likeness... Just like us when we do something for someone... we appreciate the thank you... And sometimes even more. You see God does so much more than anyone you will ever know and God will use people... to do for you so much more than you ever will know... so as we thank people we must remember to thank our God even more.
Friday, April 12, 2013
We have just finished Psalm 23; so what next? Well let us stop and reflect on this Psalm a little more. You see for some of us we read this Psalm and guess what; It just doesn't seem real... You see my life is just_____ or things...are just____....and .... Some of us are in such turmoil and some of us are in such situation and some are in places... that they cry out saying is God real? Or they cry out saying does God care? You see They start out with reading "God is my Shepherd" and they want Him to be... but they cannot see Him leading... they are in such turmoil, places, situation and... there seems like there is no way out...They ask, Is He leading? Or they say "I don't see any still waters or green pastures and rest?" Even I sometimes say these things or things like these when life is hard... You see no matter what you may have heard... life is hard. Also life is not fair! Some of us live in places that in of themselves make life hard. When one becomes a believer(Christian), follower of Jesus Christ; there seems to be this thinking that life becomes easy... all your problems...will be fixed... you have arrived! But that is not the case! One thing that does happen is that now God will be with you to help you through... but for life on earth becoming easy... that is not a promise of God. What He does promise is everlasting life in Heaven a perfect place. A place with no pain, sorrow.... or sin. You see Psalm 23 is a process...we need to hold on to the end. To the day we are in glory and we can see the big picture of our life and how God was working even when we couldn't see Him... that He was leading us... to His Son and to the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven. One thing I do know that life on earth is hard, even with Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I cannot imagine how much harder it would be without Him... So let us all encourage each other to stay the course of following Jesus Christ.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Last weekend we celebrated Easter Sunday. Now let me tell you Easter Sunday has a lot of different meanings/observance ... Depending on who you talk too. If you go to the stores you will see a lot of Easter things, chocolates bunnies ... different types of candies... Easter baskets... Easter bunnies and Easter eggs... and the hunt for Easter eggs... Some dress up.... Even churches do things a little different... For the most part more people think that Easter is something special... even if they really do not really know why... So what is Easter? A little over 3 months ago we celebrated Christmas, The birth of the baby Jesus, Emanuel - God with us. Another big day that is celebrated by many. So with Christmas God with us...the beginning if you will to Easter the finishing of His work on earth. You see God has/had a plan; He sent His son for a purpose. That purpose was to pay the price of our wrongs, bad thinking, bad actions...(we call this sin). That price was to shed His blood on the cross and to die. But to prove that He was God...after three days He rose from the dead. Now let's not get caught up saying that this is a fairy tale/myth... That is what most think or even might think, some might think it might be true...but not sure. Here's the thing one must believe that Jesus is the son of the living God. That He was born...and that He died on the cross and on the third day He rose again! That He did all this and more for me, for you, for him, for her... He did this because He loves you.... Now it is for us, individually, to believe and to trust Him, Jesus... So that we can believe and say, "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" We believe that He will do what He says He will do for us, Everlasting life with Him in heaven.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
As we continue on our study in Psalm 23, we come to a section that is hard to to to... what would be the word or words to use here. The phrase is, "Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, " Let me begin with that this is a hard passage for all of us. As we live our lives, we sometimes cannot see the goodness in what we are facing... nor can we feel the lovingkindness. Sometimes life is hard... and for some of us it is harder... and for some it is harder than one can think of. We often ask or think, where is the goodness, the lovingkindness? How can it be here in this situation... I believe that a key to understand this phrase is in the word, "follow". You see the goodness and lovingkindness follows us, it doesn't go before us. You see we need god's help in the present. That is we need His help while we are going through life that no matter what we are going through that God's goodness and lovingkindness will come into play. So when we are walking were we shouldn't we turn to God for His goodness and lovingkindness (forgiveness). Now we also need to see that our God is helping us through those times... Have you seen God doing things in your life? Goodness and lovingkindness. Think about it how do we know that God is working? When He does for us the things we cannot do for ourselves. When He comes to the rescue or when He makes a bad situation not that bad... When we look back on our life seeing God working... Now next week We will touch more on this though. One verse to help us, Romans 8:28 "And we know for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."
Monday, March 18, 2013
As I was thinking about what to write this week, I really pondered to not write anything. It's been a hard week, a hard couple of months and a hard year. In times like these it is not easy to write about heaven; even though we have the hope, as believer's in Jesus Christ..., that we will be going to Heaven to be with our Lord. So this week think about your walk with Jesus Christ! It is so important, so many of us in different times of our lives, neglect that walk with Jesus; we go astray. Like sheep we go astray...for whatever reason. So today is the day to return...to Jesus. Today is the day to trust Jesus. So on to our study, did you notice that the psalmist started to refer to us not as sheep but, as a person (verse 5). Sheep don't need a table to eat, people do. The psalmist continues this to the end of the psalm when He says, "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." You know when we go to heaven we don't go as sheep, no but as a person. A person with a personality. A person that God wants to fellowship with; a God who wants us to dwell in his house. You see God wants us there in heaven with Him. A place more glorious than we can think...It's perfect and God will also perfect us. Now there is only one way for that to be done. That way is through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Some may say, that by saying that I'm narrow minded...But think about it, no matter how hard we try to be good...don't we all fail; never mind trying to be or act perfect. Or how about this has anyone else ever came back from the dead to live forever? Only one. So why not put your trust in the one that has; Jesus Christ. The one who says He can do it for you; if you believe in Him.