God’s Strength Tuesday, Jun 6 2017 

The verse that comes to mind when I set out to write to you about God’s Strength comes from the book of Philippians: Philippians 4:12-14New International Version (NIV)

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Another verse that comes to mind is : John 16:33New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Philippians 4:13 we are told where our strength comes from; through him. And in John it does not say you might have trouble it says, “you will have trouble.”

Just look about you: everywhere you look….trouble.

Paul reminds us in Philippians that we are not always in trouble every minute as he expounds by saying, “I know what it is to have plenty.” Now, we know that having plenty is not a problem. But as he continues he expounds an alternative situation; ” I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Have you ever been hungry? Unless you have been you may not know just how difficult this verse becomes. How can one be content in the midst of hunger or thirst?

It is because Paul knows the LORD Jesus Christ. He trusts him. He is completely free of worry because he knows that the LORD will provide. He was able to do “all things” through Christ.

Look at the list of what Paul suffered: 2 Corinthians 11: 23 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

We too are going to face “troubles.” It is up to us to be prepared. To study His Word now so that when the times come we will be ready. The time to study the Word is not when we are in the middle of some trial or temptation. No! It is now. We must study to show ourselves approved. God gives us His strength for a purpose. Jesus Christ is our strength.

God’s Seed Monday, Jan 2 2017 

Have you ever wondered how a little seed becomes a great big tree? Or how deep the roots go down into the soil?

For many years, I grew a garden and even now, I have a few grow boxes in the side yard for tomatoes and herbs. I grow a few flowers including marigolds.  At the end of each season when I pull up the stalks, I harvest the marigold seeds from the dried pods on top. You hold the base of the pod upside down between your thumb and forefinger and twist.  It pops open and gravity brings a shower of seeds out. Each pod contains many seeds.

It always amazes me how many seeds I get from each plant.

That is how God’s word is when you don’t just read it but you dig a little deeper into scripture references, meanings of words, and looking up the Hebrew meaning of names and places; it is amazing how much you can get out of each scripture.

If you take the time to highlight key verses that speak to your heart and memorize verses you can use later as weapons against the attacks of the enemy; then you grow spiritually.  Your harvest becomes peace and joy and love.  The mysteries of God are revealed day by day continually season after season.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

 

God’s Direction Sunday, Jan 1 2017 

Can we know the direction of God the Father? Can we really know what it is he wants us to do with our lives?

When I was a kid, we use to go to the public pool every day of the summer.  It was less than a mile from our house so we would ride our bikes. Or, in my case, I road on the handlebars of my brother’s bike since I wasn’t old enough to have one of my own. As I recall, I couldn’t quite reach the pedals.

At the pool, in order to be able to go to the deep end you had to be able to swim the width of the pool and back.  You would go to the life guard and tell him you wanted to be tested.  He would watch you and decide whether or not you were allowed in the “deep end”.

There were privileges that went along with going into the deep end. For one, you got to use the diving boards.  You got to hang out with the big kids too. But the life guard had his eye on you because that is where the life guard tower is located.  He had a bird’s eye view of everything going on below.

That is a little bit like how it is when you graduate spiritually to the deeper things of God.  The Spirit of God leads and guides you step by step and he knows when you are ready and puts in your heart the desire for the “deep things” of God.  This is when your prayer life expands, your bible study expands and is directed and led by God himself and not human led. This is where more and more of your prayers are answered because you are praying more and more. There are miracles that happen.  Your awareness of God is heightened. His presence in your life is evident. Others begin to notice a change in you.

It can be a scary thing to walk out in faith believing God for every need.

When you feel unsafe, go to God in prayer.  Just like you would look up to see if the life guard was watching you in the deep end of the pool. My pastor use to say, “When you pray, “drill down” to the deeper things of God.”

Being directed by the Spirit of God brings about a oneness with God’s purpose.

Giving God the time to teach you the nuances of each scripture is how you learn to walk in the Spirit, to hear his still small voice, and to be directed by the Almighty.

1 Corinthians 2:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[b]
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”[d]

But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Ability of God Sunday, Aug 21 2016 

Ephesians 3:20-21Amplified Bible (AMP)

20 Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Jude 24-25Amplified Bible (AMP)

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

If you can’t think of a reason to glorify God, these few verses ought to give you a pretty good idea that we should glorify Him for His ABILITIES.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:16-18Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Peace of God Thursday, Aug 11 2016 

Philippians 4:

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally, [b]believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.

So then peace is a mindset. We have to think thoughts on purpose. Instead of thinking about our cravings or desires, we should meditate on God’s Word-Jesus Christ until it transforms/renews our mind and we put-on the mind of Christ and gain the peace that God intends us to have. We need to meditate on it day and night.

Joshua 1:

I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do [everything] in accordance with the entire law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may prosper and be successful wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be [d]successful.

 

Study of God Saturday, Feb 6 2016 

Each time that we read our bible we find out more about the Creator of the Universe. We begin with a prayer “Lord, help this study to reveal more of you. Help me to understand the manifold riches of your grace. Enrich my mind with more knowledge of you, Lord. in Jesus’ name.”

Take for instance the beginning verses of John 4:

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

We learn that Jesus made disciples by using disciples he already had. Even now the disciples of God are called to make new disciples (Matthew 28:19).

We see the sufficiency of God to whatever task He sets out to do.

We see the call of God. The call was specific. He went to a specific place for a specific purpose.

Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

We see a specific direction i.e. through Samaria. To a specific place: Sychar which means “end.” During the time of Christ there were three provinces in Western Palestine: Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria was in the middle. Most Jews would bypass this area and it was not regarded as part of the holy land at all.

This specific plot of ground was a part of God’s provision to the Israelites for water. We see Christ “resting”. Many times in our own ministry we will be called upon to wait on the LORD, to rest in Him.

He came at a specific time. This was the time when it would be the custom for the women who carried the water to come and draw their daily fresh supply of water. As Christians we are to come daily to the WORD to be refreshed and find rest.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

He came for a specific person. He called on her for a specific need. He calls on us for a specific purpose.

But notice here that the woman questions Him. It is the proverbial “Why me, LORD?” Her concern seems to be that she is a lowly Samaritan. It reminds me of Moses who had difficulty speaking and yet God called him to give his commandments to the Israelite nation. You see, God uses the weak to show himself strong. How about you? Has he called you to a task? Are you asking, “Why me, LORD?”

He called me to a task just this morning: to write this post. The task may seem daunting but the sufficiency of God will lead us through to the end.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

God is a giver of gifts. He has answers for us. If we only knew Him better, we could ask and he would give us “living water.” The living water of God represents all of Him: His WORD, His Spirit, His love.

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

This is classic human nature to question our call. When he calls us to a task, we begin with questions, “Who are you to tell me? How could I possibly do that? ” We make excuses about why we can’t do it. We mistrust our ability or rather His to do whatever the call might be. Here he has nothing to draw with. The task is too difficult i.e. deep well. Where on earth will you get this “living water”?

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This tells us of the majesty and power of God. It tells us of His whole purpose in coming not only to the woman at the well, but to all mankind: He comes that we might have “eternal life.” (John 3:16)

It tells us of the sufficiency of Christ. He is “solo Christo”: all we need to be anointed. He alone is our source. The word “Christ” means anointed one but the anointing isn’t just any ordinary anointing but rather  a “smearing”.  He gives us His Spirit which is able to teach us all things. He gives us His Love which is the gift of Himself that we are to share with one another. (1 John 3:1)

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Here we see the yearning that every heart has for what Christ has to offer. It is human nature to want to make our lives easier both for ourselves and for those we love.

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

He has full knowledge. The truth of God is what He is offering her. He knows her past, her present, her future. Already he has acknowledged her worth just by speaking to her. But here he goes deeper to affirm her. This is why it is so important to “speak the truth.” This is our example of how we should communicate with God. Tell him the truth when you pray. Tell him your concerns. Instantly, he knows your heart. It is obvious from her past that she has been seeking “love” i.e. five husbands. When we read the WORD God reveals to us things about ourselves. He may rebuke, correct, or admonish us. (2 Timothy 3:16)

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Here he has drawn out of her the question he has been seeking. Does “where” we worship matter? But as is his custom he answers this question and drills even deeper and answers the unspoken portion of her inquiry. He expounds on the “truth”. He divulges knowledge that affirms that he knows her custom, her history and his knowledge of her future and the future of the entire world. He tells her the whole purpose of man i.e. to worship God. He tells her how to worship. He tells her about God: What he is like, what he wants, how he wants it.

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

She tells him that she knows there is to be an “anointed one” that will teach us all things. The anointing of God is for all Christians. The declaration of God is that “He is. And that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

 

Study to Show Yourself Approved Tuesday, Nov 25 2014 

When you study your bible, it is important not to just write down the scripture but to take the time to contemplate it.  Because the Holy Spirit takes that time to convert that Word (which is Christ) into something that is capable of renewing your mind.  Some mornings you may even think that it will blow your mind.  Those are the mornings when you get the urge to get ahead of yourself, to read further. But I urge you to park yourself right there where that day’s study is and contemplate what it is you are reading.  You can read the verse in different versions, read the notes in your study bible, pray for understanding.  Let the Holy Spirit do his work in you so that you truly digest the Word. Taste every morsel of it.  Enjoy the nuances.  Who is speaking? Who are they speaking to? What are they saying?  Is there a cultural twist to it?  What is the context? The time you spend will be well spent because it is then that you come to know God and his purposes for this world, this church, and for you.

All things are possible with God.

He is able to save you and to keep you from falling. God be praised.

Thank-you, LORD, for each new day. Walk beside us through this day’s trials for we know that tribulations come.  Help us to understand the purpose of each one so that we can learn to stand strong in our faith, girded by our convictions of right, rejoicing in hope, mindful of your presence, renewed by your strength, and assured by your Holy Spirit.  May we be and do what you want us to.  Forgive us and cleanse us from sin. Guard our hearts and minds from evil.  Bring us unity.  Gather us together under the protection of your wing.  Light our path so that we know the Way and you, dear LORD. In Jesus’ name.

How to Study the Bible Wednesday, Jan 8 2014 

How to Study the Bible

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Have you ever watched a master brick mason lay brick? He follows a string that is straight to make sure that his work is even. Then after he has placed the brick he brings out a level to make sure that it is absolutely straight. A good brick mason can lay a lot of bricks in a day but he doesn’t because the sheer weight of his work puts stress on the previous row so that he is required to stop and let it set before going on further in his task.

This very same method is used in devotions. When we first start we must prepare our hearts to receive the weighty truths that the Holy Spirit has prepared. Even though there is still light in the day and we could see to go on it is better if we rest in Him and let the Living Word do its’ work. We prepare through prayer asking God to open our hearts to what He has for us today. Then as we read we listen for that still small voice that confirms the WORD and speaks directly to us.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

This is a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. He is the one who makes us holy.

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

In the beginning of the study we do our P.A.R.T. which is Psalms, Admit, Request, Thanksgiving. Then He does His part L.M.N.O.P. which is Listen, Messages, New Testament, Old Testament, and Proverbs.

Beginning with the Psalms puts our hearts in the right frame of mind, which is our reasonable service.

 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

As we come into the presence of God we admit all to Him.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Then it is time to make our requests known.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

We are setting the mood for our quiet time. We are full of thanksgiving.

It starts to pour out. And the natural flow from making our requests is to begin thanking Him for all he has done for us. It is the attitude of gratitude that should permeate our whole being. It is a merging of our heart and mind. An agreement that He has all of us body and soul.

Then we can begin to listen.

Listening is an active process whereby we are able to get the messages that come next in the process of a two-way conversation with Him.

Even if you do not write down any other part of your devotions, I encourage you to write down this part.

When you go back and look at the messages you’ve been given it is amazing to see where the LORD has taken you in your spiritual journey. These messages are followed by confirmation by the WORD through the reading of the New Testament then Old Testament. By this time the words are jumping out of the pages at you and speaking directly to your heart. It is as if the bible was written just for you.

It is important to end your devotions with Proverbs. Here we take the wisdom of the ages with us to use each day. There are 31 Proverb chapters which works out to one for each day of the month.

When you are done then let go and let God because He will transform your heart to want to do His will. Just trust Him each day and in the end you will be built up in Him.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.