Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ME FIRST! (Growth Series)


Isn't Christianity supposed to be is known for unselfishness and denial of self?
Normally, we advocate of putting ourselves above others but in one aspect of the Christian life -
I wholeheartedly endorse an extreme "me-first" attitude!

Has the universe become unhinged? Not at all - but there is one area in our walk with Christ where we are to put ourselves above others!

This might startle or shock our senses at first glance - but hear me out!

When an airplane is getting ready to takeoff, the steward or stewardess instructs the passenger about when to remain seated and what to do if the plane begins an unexpected downward descent. "A mask will drop from the compartment above you. Place the mask on your face like this."

Then they give what at first may sound like a peculiar instruction. "If you are with a child or someone who cannot place their own mask on their face - PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST!" How selfish is that? A small child or elderly person is passing out right next to us and we should think of ourselves first!?

You get the principle! If you pass out while you are trying to help a child with their mask, you will potentially both pass out! If you put on your mask, you will be able to breathe well enough to help the child!

The same principle is in effect in the Christian life! If we try to help others in the world before we have FIRST taken care of our own spiritual life, we will lack the energy to help them effectively! If we put God first, we will be able to breathe in the Holy Spirit of God so that we have the divine power to help others!

It may seem counterintuitive to spend time seeking God first - above helping others! We may immediately want to rush out do good works that will help people. If we do, we have unknowingly chosen a path that will severely limit our ability to help the very people we want to help!

A lumberjack may be full of desire to cut down as many trees as he can in order to be a faithful employee. Yet if he does not take the time to first sharpen his axe, he will not have good results. Have you ever tried cutting something with a very dull tool or knife. As well intentioned as you might be - it just does not do the job!

Time spent seeking God is never wasted!

48 And you are witnesses of these things.
49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but TARRY [wait] in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Luke 24:48-49

The desire to love and help others is commendable but it is not enough - we first need to wait before God until we are properly equipped to do the job!

We need to have the Word of God hidden in our hearts, have a strong powerful prayer life and be in a body of believers where spiritual excellence is embraced!

The world will not be changed or saved because we do some of the same works they do. It will be changed when, as a result of being full of God, we do those works in His strength and power, His way with His wisdom!

‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6

If we operate in our way and in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail miserably! We may have a lot of outward success doing works for which the world will commend us. But if they are not done God's way - under His authority, power and wisdom - they are really just dead works!

When I pray, I have a tendency to start by bringing my perceived needs and the needs of others to God. But I have learned that God's FIRST priority is for ME to be lined up with Him, His Word and His ways!

Prayer then, is not so much us pressuring God to line up with what we want as it is allowing God to line us up with what He wants! We are successful in prayer when we have exchanged our own will agenda for His!

Put on your mask so that you will be able to breathe freely - then and only then - go out to help the world!

Monday, September 8, 2014

THE "OTHER" DEMONS! (Growth Series)


43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.
44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 
45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Matthew 12:43-45

When we come to God, we want to rid ourselves of "the bad stuff" - sins, bad habits, addictions, psychological problems and weaknesses - anything that we realize is holding us back in life. Cast out the demons and move on!

Thank God that He is in the business of doing these things! I am very grateful that God has delivered me from many things and forgiven me for many sins!

But it doesn't end there - it is vital that we do not leave ourselves empty once we come to Christ! God's plan is not for us to simply clean out the bad stuff and send us on our merry way. In fact, if we stop there much of the "bad stuff" may return, or as in this passage of Scripture, seven other demons more wicked than the first!

We may think of demons coming in as a state of lunacy where we are foaming at the mouth, cursing or running around naked in the cemetery. These kinds of manifestations may appear in some extreme cases but let me challenge you to also think in more subtle terms.

Jesus cast out a "legion" of demons from a man who broke chains, and lived naked among the tombs! A Roman legion in the time of Jesus is said to have been about 5,000-6,000 men. That's a lot of demons to cast out of one person!

But consider that the great majority of demonic influence is not in these types of outward manifestations but in the much more subtle influences and deceptions of Satan and his cohorts in our lives!

"Seven other spirits..." Notice that the first demon brings "other" spirits!

For example, a demon influences a person to become a drug addict. When the demon is cast out, the person becomes free from his drug habit. But if he is stops there, seven "other" demonic influences come into his life and "the last state of that man is worst than the first."

Does that mean that now his drug habit will return and become seven times as bad? I don't think it necessarily does! The demonic forces of Satan work together to "steal, kill and destroy" us! (See John 10:10)

The first demon brings "other" demons. Their combined purpose may not be to lead him back to a drug habit seven times as bad. They are "other" demons. Now their purpose may be very different!

What does this mean in practical terms?

After someone has been emptied from his demons, one who is not diligent to seek being filled with God  is now ripe and vulnerable to new and different demonic influences and deceptions. Jesus called this a "worse state!"

People may go to rehab to successfully become free of some addiction. They may "relapse" in the same addiction or become addicted to something else. However something far worse may happen!

Often, we see things only in terms of this temporal world. If a person goes to therapy or counseling, his goal is to feel better or live better. He or she may be given advice to "Have more fun"or "Don't take life so seriously." Some extreme therapists may even advise someone to have an affair! This advice does not have eternity in mind. The goal is merely to straighten out temporal feelings or life circumstances!

Temporal "happiness" (evolved from the greeting "good happenings") is all that seems to matter to many of us!
  • This is humanistic and short-sighted. In fact, happiness in this life is often the very thing that keeps us from the eternal joy which only God provides!


24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25 CHOOSING RATHER TO SUFFER AFFLICTION with the people of God than to enjoy THE PASSING PLEASURES of sin,
Hebrews 11:24-26
  • How might a therapist today advise Moses about His value system? Choosing affliction over pleasure - reproach over riches, purpose and position? 
  • Giving up all to follow God would not be very popular among most non-Christian Psychologists today - would it?
God desires for us to fully experience His joy! But if we focus on our own personal happiness as our goal,  we will find ourselves running everywhere to find it. As a result, we only experience the momentary, passing "highs" of earthy activities and miss the far greater joy of the presence of God!

Back to those demons...
These seven "other" demons may gladly trade an addiction for one or more humanistic philosophies, warped values or false beliefs! Many become free from addiction by discovering an unbiblical belief in God - that is an epiphany that I would never want to have!

A man or woman who previously had one addiction-causing demon now has eight, causing God-only-knows what kinds of sins, deceptions or life philosophies to come into his life! If that were not enough, consider that at any time these eight demons can still  play "the relapse card" any time they want!

We are not called merely to say a "sinners prayer" and stop there - afterward only coming to God when our own dreams hit bumps in the road or when we completely drive off into a ditch!
  • Christians are called to lay down their lives as living sacrifices and be filled with the things of God - His Word, His Spirit and His ways!
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1-2

This is not an accomplishment like running a marathon but a daily grind to keep ourselves in shape and full of God!

If we do not, we leave ourselves open to demonic influences and deceptions! We may not find ourselves foaming at the mouth or breaking chains but something far worse - believing something is true and not finding out until it is too late that we have been deceived!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

EMPTY YOURSELF! (Christian Growth Series)


6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 BUT MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5-7

When He made Himself of "no reputation," the Greek Word kenophōnia is used which means TO MAKE EMPTY OR VOID.

Jesus was equal with God but "emptied Himself!"

The Amplified Bible says it like this:

But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave).

If we are to grow in Christ, we must ask God to fill us with Himself. Before we can be filled - WE MUST FIRST BE EMPTIED!

One of the biggest roadblocks to growing in Christ is trying to hold on to our lives - all our beliefs, likes, dislikes, philosophies, etc!

We simply cannot have both! The world, the flesh and the devil are all highly contrary and incompatible with God's ways, thoughts and words! We simply must surrender one to get the other! The flesh clashes with the  Holy Spirit. They are like matter and anti-matter! No wonder Christianity is so weak when we try to appease both!

We want to watch and listen to what we want, eat and drink what we want, think how we want and do what we want - when we want. Then we tell God to work in us and through us without meddling in any of it!

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.
Galatians 5:17

Jesus taught that, even loving our own families above God can hinder the work of the Spirit in our in our hearts:

37 HE WHO LOVES FATHER OR MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Matthew 10:37-39

These are Jesus' words - not mine! Don't shoot the messenger!

OUR VALUE SYSTEM! We all grew up in a certain place. We were either taught certain values by our parents. We were influenced by peers. We were molded by what we saw and heard. Each of us had a unique set of life of life experiences. All these mixed together became the foundation stones for what we believe later!

Unfortunately much of what we believe is wrong! If we are merely random products of evolution and consist only of cells animated by chemical reactions then we cannot really say if our thinking is right or wrong. Any morals we have will and should be based on personal preference.

On the other hand...

Proverbs 14:12

We mistakenly assume that, because we accept Christ or go to church, we have comprehensive knowledge of God. We believe the rest of the world around us is complex and should be thoroughly studied in order to understand it. Yet with the things of God, we somehow that believe everything can be understood by saying a once-and-done prayer, followed by a half-hearted, casual acquaintance!

If I am to learn from a qualified tutor or mentor, I must first submit to his or her wisdom by emptying myself of preconceived ideas. If I know very little about music and decide to study under a world-class musician, I would not constantly disagree with him and doubt what he is teaching me.

How much more so with God! It is fine to ask Him any questions in order to clarify what He is teaching or understand more fully. But following Christ is not democratic process!

If we are to truly allow the master to teach us and fill us - WE MUST EMPTY OURSELVES OF ANY PRECONCEIVED PRINCIPLES, ETHICS, MORALS, VALUES OR NOTIONS!

We are not free to pick and choose what we believe. There is objective truth that is beyond debate, discussion or personal feelings

Earthly teachers constantly change their methods and practices. For example, for many years, athletes were taught to utilize"static stretching" before competing. This is the most familiar kind of stretching in position for a fixed length of time. Recently, athletes have switched to "dynamic stretching," in which a muscle is flexed repeatedly for a number of times.

Since new information and methods change, it not unreasonable to doubt our earthly teachers from time to time. Some may become stuck in "the old ways" or there may simply be alternatives ways which our teacher or trainer does not accept! We may "pick and choose" which teachers to follow and may accept some or all of what each teaches.

God, on the other hand, does not change! He does not adjust or correct His ways for new trends! He never needs to update His knowledge base! No new information can come before Him that He needs to consider or new issue that He must wrestle with! He is entirely, exhaustively familiar with the past present and future and the individual needs of every human that has ever lived or ever will live!

"That doesn't make sense" some may argue! How can He know something before it happens? This illustrates my point! Many turn from God because they do not understand His ways. Until they do, they will adamantly refuse to believe in Him or submit to Him!

How arrogant and foolish to think God must answer to us or to assume that if He just explains Himself, we will understand Him! Many intellectuals often seem to struggle with this. (Some incredibly intelligent people believe strongly in God by the way!)

Could it be that intelligence is not the problem. Could the problem be that all their lives, many have been told that they were "gifted," "advanced" or "special?" They have been led to believe that they are the hope for our future because their greater intelligence allows them to see what "normal" people cannot! If something was true, surely they would be able to understand it! They cannot understand how God can know the future therefore it is not possible!

Scientists deride a literal Noah's Ark. They calculate the dimensions of the Ark and the number of species they believe existed at that time and laughingly discard it as impossible. Yet often these same scientists speak of all the great things man will do in the future! They predict man will one day be able to accomplish everything from transporting matter to creating a giant screen to block the sun and protect the ozone layer!

These predictions illustrate the haughty attitude of man, believing that God can't override nature but man can! Much of what is taught in today's universities and colleges is contrary to God! If we simply and naively accept it as truth and fact, we will find ourselves at odds with genuine truth and on the wrong side of many of life's issues!

We must make a regular practice of laying our own ways, ideas and desires on the altar before God - thus emptying ourselves! Why? Not to remain empty - but so that He can fill us!

BUT THE NATURAL MAN DOES NOT RECEIVE THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 
1 Corinthians 2:14

These things you have done, and I kept silent;
But I will rebuke you,
And set them in order before your eyes.
Psalm 50:21

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
PSALM 50:23

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

4 PILLARS OF TRUTH FOR CHRISTIANS! (Christian Growth Series)

Growing as a Christian is a life-long process. Through personal time with God studying His Word, praying and listening to His voice we grow in the knowledge of Him.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
John 17:3

When Jesus spoke of knowing the Father and Himself, the word He used implies intimate knowledge - not second hand, not a casual acquaintance, not mere "head knowledge" - but a deep, close intimacy with God. In fact the same word is used in intimate relations between a man and his wife. Adam "knew" Eve and Abel was born... (You get the picture!)

It is that depth of intimacy that God longs to have with us and that we desperately need with with Him!

Yes - intimacy takes time. A newly born-again Christian knows God but has a great deal yet to learn about God, His ways and His thoughts!

Let's be clear - the Holy Spirit is living in every true Christian! Perhaps it can be compared to a person who lives in our house. We definitely know this person but if we are coming and going, we have may not get much opportunity to know him intimately. When we see him or her, we ask, "How was your day?" and talk about sports, hobbies and world events - but we never get to know the deepest feelings of that person!

Unless we apply ourselves to an imitate relationship with God, it will never happen!

But if this process takes a lifetime, what will we do in the meantime? What about issues that confront us today? What if I can't answer every question or offer an informed opinion on every issue? You and I cannot become theologians overnight! We can't all become experts on every verse of the Bible or answer every difficult question that someone may ask.

That's OK! We do not all have the same starting point and therefore cannot always finish at the same place!

What is important is that we do make diligent effort to develop intimacy with God! We don't have to know everything instantly but the sooner we learn some basic truths, the more our intimate knowledge of God will grow!

You may develop your own list but I have found that the more I burn these four truths about God into my mind and heart, the more confidence I have that I getting closer to understand His mind, will and purpose!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2


(Remember - intimate knowledge - not merely memorizing  repeating these four things like answers on a test but having them deeply engrained in our hearts!)

1. Know that GOD LOVES YOU!
Even as Christians, the acute awareness that God loves us seems to come and go. We can however read, study, meditate and memorize Scriptures which speak of His love for us and the great price Jesus paid to prove that love!

A deep sense of God's love for us will put a spring in our step and a joy in our hearts - no matter what is going on! But we must rekindle that awareness by renewing our minds daily to its reality!


When I first walked with God, I highly questioned whether He always was doing what was best for me. I had my own ideas about that!

As I began to seek Him more deeply and walk through the experiences of life, I began to trust Him more. I still complain, like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, saying, "He brought me here to die!"

Each time I came through a trial I learned that He ALWAYS had, and has now, my best in mind!
No I do not always "feel" that He has my best in mind, but it has become so deeply engrained that I refuse to give up when I doubt. I KNOW He is working what's best for me even if I can't see how it can possibly be!


Becoming a strong, mature disciple of Christ is not as popular as it used to be. In America, we seem to worship fun, personal fulfillment and our own happiness above all!

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
2 Timothy 3:1-5

But it is important to know that there is no greater life than intimacy with God! We were created and designed to have intimacy with God and He is the only source of true, pure joy! David understood this joy when he wrote Psalm 16:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

I love getting a new car or cell phone but the joy never lasts! Nothing created can fill the "God-shaped-vacuum" that Blaise Pascal spoke of! Only intimacy with God can do that!

No sincere efforts to seek God will go unrewarded! Conversely, we cannot find the fullness of God if we do not diligently seek Him!


4. Know that GOD IS IN CONTROL!
I personally don't understand how I can be responsible my actions and the corresponding consequences in my life and God can be in control at the same time - but I absolutely believe it is true! We must do our part but ultimately God can make up the gap between our lack of perfection and His will in our lives.

This truth is often misunderstood to mean that everything that happens is designed and approved by God. God didn't create the world or intend the state of chaos the world is in today! He has handed a great deal of responsibility for the world over to man!

Yet in spite of that, we do not have to achieve absolute perfection for God to move in our lives!

Think of a child. We reward them according to their diligence in whatever stage of life they are in and according to their abilities. If we see our child did the best they could, we pat them on the back even if they have not been perfect! If our child is lazy or rebellious, we do not reward them - not because we do not love them but because we want them to be able to differentiate between good and evil and right and wrong!

In the same way, God will not simply take control of everything in our lives while we float around on beds of ease! But He will make up the gap when He sees diligent effort on our part.

He is also merciful with us! He is not looking over our shoulder waiting for the least lack of effort so He can squash us like an insect! I believe God knows we have days when our efforts are not up to par but covers them in His mercy!

13 As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32 “ Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:31-32



You may not be able to become a theologian overnight but you can begin to implant these four pillars of truth into your heart.

You may not be able to answer every question but as these truths grow in your heart, they will encourage you to keep pressing through in trials and draw closer and deeper to intimacy with God!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014


And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you 
may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

According to Paul, we are to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds!

You know how it works. The team is getting killed - then the head coach makes his fiery half-time speech and inspires the team to a come-back victory. You thought your bank account was empty and you realize you were looking in the wrong place and you actually have a lot more than you thought! You are going through a rough time but a friend's encouragement lifts you! A thought came into your mind which transformed your thinking for the better!

This also works in a negative sense. We can also become discouraged by negative input.

The bottom line is that whatever we feed on is going to effect us. It will transform us into the image of God's Son Jesus Christ or it will conform us to the thinking of the world.

God's written Word is the main source of transformation for the Christian!

It has a power beyond human inspiration and can impart God's nature into our thinking in a unique way! Someone said that the Bible is the only book we can read where the Author is always present!

Jesus spoke of the power of His Words:

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
John 6:63

In today's world, we have many alternatives to God's Word to choose from. The author Richard Wurman once wrote that "A weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person in 17th-century England was likely to come across in a lifetime."

What is your source? How much time and energy do you devote to the input alternative sources compared to God's Word?

Paul gave the reason for a renewed mind:

...that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Absorbing the Word of God renews our minds and transforms us into His image! Alternate sources conform us to the inferior thinking of the unbelieving world!

Some may keep their radio tuned to their favorite "talk" station. All day long, they are absorbing the opinions of the hosts and guests into their minds!

Others watch the conservative news channel - still others, the liberal news channel. Is it any wonder, we are having so much trouble finding and proving the good, acceptable and perfect will of God? No wonder there are so many opinions floating around the Church of Jesus Christ!

If we "Google" a current popular issue, we will come up with a huge number of dogmatic opinions. Where did all these people get their facts? From studying the Word of God? On the contrary, anyone can post his or her opinion! Not only do they not need to be avid students of the Bible, it is not even necessary that they had ever read a Bible or even went to church once!

Do not think that misinformation comes only from listening to discussions or reading about issues. It perhaps most often comes from more subtle sources such as music, TV movies, video games, etc.

There is no way that you can allow all of these thoughts into your mind and not have it affect you! What are the messages or suggestions that you are allowing to be implanted into your mind?

Only the Word of God has the pure thoughts of God that will allow us to correctly understand Him and His Ways!

The Word Greek word "transformed" is the same one used of Jesus when He went up on the mountain and was "transfigured" before Peter, James and John! His clothing turned bright white and His face shone like the sun!

Do you want to be transformed into the likeness of God? It can only come by doing two things:

1. Limit the input of ungodly messages, concepts and suggestions that you allow to come into 
    your mind!
    - How do I know what to limit? The more you know the Word of God, the better you will get at
      discerning false information!

2. Renew your mind by diligent reading, study and meditation in God's Word seeking God's   
    approval instead of man's! 

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
2 Timothy 2:15-16

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Thursday, July 3, 2014



But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

"Seeking first the Kingdom of God" may suggest:
  • Giving God the first part of the day.
  • Having "devotions" every day.
  • Praying, "Not my will but Yours be done, Lord" before we act.
  • Being aware that He is the most important thing in our lives. Therefore if we lose our home, jobs or security, we still have God.
The Greek word used here  for seek, zēteō is much stronger and it means to "desire, enquire, endeavor, require, seek in order to find, strive after and crave."

Seeking is not merely an acknowledgement that God is first and foremost in our lives but a determined whole-hearted action!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Jesus told us to seek two things:

So many times when I am seeking God for something I have sensed God pointing me back to the highest priority of prayer - to present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice!

I believe that persistent, effectual fervent prayer changes things! Yet I have found that it is easy to drift from this top priority - seeking first God's will and pleasure and the glory of the Kingdom of God!

I want something. It may be a good thing. I may want wisdom, guidance or help for another. I may ask God to show me something or give me the power to do something. These may all be good and godly requests. "God change this situation at work." "God help me to pay this bill." "God solve this problem."

Yet God will bring us back to seeking His Kingdom FIRST! God does want to answer these prayers and move on our behalf in these situations but he wants to deal with something first - where we stand in relation to the Kingdom of God!

The love of my heart for the Kingdom of God and my willingness to surrender all for His sake are much more important than having my prayers answered!

We have all cried out in prayer, "God I must have this." God's response?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 But SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34

Our heavenly Father knows the things we need! He encourages us to pray for them but FIRST - pray that we are lined up with the plans and purposes of the Kingdom of God!

Whose righteousness? God's!

This part of the verse is often neglected!

We all have preconceived and tainted concepts of right and wrong. We all come to Christ with a lot of baggage from the world.

...all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted 
   garment... Isaiah 64:6 (Amplified Bible)

But as we seek to know Him, humble ourselves before Him and learn His ways, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds! (Romans 12:1-2) We begin to understand that His ways are not our way and His thoughts are not our thoughts!

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways
   and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Until we come to Him empty of our own righteousness, we cannot begin to be filled with His righteousness!

We are to lay down all of our own concepts of righteousness and present ourselves to Him as blank pages!

As you come to God in prayer, before you ask Him to meet all your needs or the needs of others, ask God to search your heart and honesty reveal where you stand with Him! Ask Him two vital questions:

1) Am I dedicated heart, soul, mind and strength to the glory of the Kingdom of God as the first   
    and top priority of my life?

2) Am I righteous according to Your standards Lord - not my own, not in comparison to others  
    or by the current trends - but according to Your eternal ways?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


What kind of life is the Christian called to?

Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

We are called to PERFECTION!

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:29


12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),
13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality WHICH IS NOTHING LESS THAN THE STANDARD HEIGHT OF CHRIST’S OWN PERFECTION), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
Ephesians 4:13 Amplified Bible

We are to continue to grow as Christians!When can we stop growing?


1. Lighten up
- In the interests of wanting to emphasize God's great love and forgiveness toward us, we often  
  neglect the importance of these verses or completely disregard them!
- We tell people that the New Covenant is about not taking the Christian life too seriously. Jesus paid
   it all so concepts like sin, obedience and holiness belong to the Old Testament.

2. Legalism
- The Pharisees required many rituals and rules which were beyond God's laws.
- In some cases, their rules and traditions actually negated God's laws!
- Some churches demand instant holiness and perfection as a proof of salvation.

It is important to realize that, although God does not require instant perfection and holiness, He does demand that His children grow in them!

14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

It is not a sin to be imperfect but it is a sin to be stay there!

We understand that we must apply great effort, diligence, perseverance and discipline in so many areas of life in order to grow and be successful. We apply these to education, exercise, careers and relationships.

It is a great mystery why we think these apply to every area of life except Christianity!

Very often, we teach that our walk with Christ should always be a "fun" and "happy" experience but the New Testament has much to say about the pain of discipline, persecution and suffering.

If you are growing, it will require discipline! Often that discipline will be painful!

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
Hebrews 12:5-6

God disciplines every true born-again Christian to cause them to grow!

The writer of Hebrews tells us plainly that if God is not disciplining us, we are not really children of God:

8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Hebrews 12:8

He also tells us that the end result of discipline is growth:

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

My son Chris quoted one of his pastors:

The wisdom you have today will not be enough to get you through the trials that come tomorrow!

What steps will you take today and in the days, weeks, months and years to come to grow in Christ?

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


If we are to truly understand the difference between the Old and New Covenants, we must clearly see an often neglected biblical truth - that GOD IS IN US!

26 The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:26-17

3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that THROUGH THESE YOU MAY BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4

For IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

No - God is not in everyone but He is in all true born-again believers!

We shrink away from this truth because it can so easily be abused. False religions believe in a "divine spirit." Some believe we all have some kind of "divine spirit" within us. There are "spirit guides," "spirit animals" and ghosts of dead relatives which speak to people. Some may be pure imagination, delusions, hallucinations or any combination of those. Others are very real but not of God!

The problem is not that a spirit is guiding us but that the spirit is often the wrong spirit. In reality, it is a manifestation of Satan!

This should not detour us from seeking the true spirit guide, the Holy Spirit which is from God!

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come
14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 
John 16:13-14

Notice some things Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:

1. He is the Spirit of truth!
  • His very nature is truth!
  • Other spirit guides lie to us or tell us half-truths. They may be able to tell us some true facts but their  end-game is to lead into lies.
2. He will guide into all truth!
  • He will not always tell us what we want to hear but in the end he will lead us into truths which will bless us, save our lives and lead us toward heaven!
  • The devil has a "credit card" mentality. his goal is to lead us toward pleasure and blessings now but will later result in eternal debt!
3. He does not speak on His own authority but only speaks what He hears!
  • The true Holy Spirit is in perfect unity with the Father, the Creator of the universe and with the Son, Jesus, the Savior of all who believe!
  • He will never lead us in conflict with the Word of God, the Bible!
4. He will glorify Jesus!
  • He will always glorify Jesus as God and as equal with God!
  • He will not acknowledge Jesus as merely a great teacher or prophet but as the One True Son of God!
We miss out on so much if we relegate the work of the Holy Spirit to the past!

Dynamite can be very useful to remove large stumps, to harvest rock in quarries or to demolish buildings. It can also be extremely dangerous and must be used very carefully by trained personnel.

In a similar way, the Holy Spirit can bring great power to our Christian lives. However we refrain from interacting with Him because of the dangers of misuse. Many have led others astray by claiming that God spoke to them. Many abuses of prophecy have guided believers in the wrong direction.

Dynamite was used in many advances that we enjoy today. If the dangers would have moved the innovators who built roads, railroads, etc to stop using dynamite, these advances would have never taken place.

The point here is not to defend the use of dynamite but to encourage interaction with the Holy Spirit of God!

Just because there have been abuses and misunderstanding does not mean that there is no hope for us to safely be led by the Spirit!

We must learn to hear accurately and carefully, comparing what we "hear" with the written Word of God! We should also take into account what others say about God but not necessarily be locked in to what others believe. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety! (Proverbs )

If we take our time and learn to hear the still, small voice and witness of the Holy Spirit, we will enter in to a whole new level of intimacy with God.

We should never allow those who carelessly seek the Holy Spirit to their own hurt to deter us from seeking Him in a humble and careful way!

He is the True Divine Spirit who wants to live within us and communicate His will and ways to us on a regular basis!

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!

Monday, May 26, 2014


I am always amazed at people who can multitask. Some college students seem to get straight A's - while starring on the school football team - while being president of a school club - while gardening as a hobby!

Richard Hudson, a professor of linguistics at University College London is said to have coined the term, "polyglot," a person who can master several languages.

Accounts differ but one man,  Ziad Fazah, is believed to hold the world record with 58 languages!

These are exceptions but the majority of us do not have the capacity to accomplish so much at once!


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21 

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

Another way of saying these things is to identify the main focus of your life!

What do I focus on, press toward, embrace and exercise the hardest to gain?

There may be times in which we must focus almost entirely on one thing. Our job may be require us to be immersed in a project for a short period of time. There may be an illness or crisis in our family which must be addressed immediately.

There are seasons which pull us away from God as our main focus but they should be just that - seasons! If they become a lifestyle we will allow our treasure to be in something other than God.

Fo example, our job may distract us from our family from time to time. We may have to miss the occasional little league game or picnic with our family. Yet families have become dysfunctional and even been destroyed when that begins to happen too often!

Some of the busiest and most successful people in the world have been able to keep their focus on God first in their lives!

What is the primary personal focus of your life?

7 ...exercise yourself toward godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:7b-8

Though they certainly have their place, many exalt exercise and eating right beyond their usefulness!

Paul wrote that exercise profits "a little" but godliness is profitable for ALL things!

What do we exercise ourselves toward - great body, lucrative career, personal happiness, power, success - or the things of God?

Godliness is profitable for ALL things!

Yes but isn't it hard to put off reward into the heavenly future? Read the last part of verse 8:


Godliness is more profitable than money, exercise, education, power and success!

Many of these things have their rightful place and can be a blessing if God is the focus and treasure of our lives. If things become the focus, they can indeed become a curse to us instead of a blessing!

Jesus put it another way:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 
Matthew 6:31-33

If only we had time to seek God first but we would lose so much!

Would we?
We must trust that seeking God first will never subtract from our lives but will 
always ADD!

What will it add?
We won't have anything but spiritual blessings. Read the verses again! What we eat, drink and wear!

Our Heavenly Father knows that we need ALL THESE THINGS and promised that HE would give them to us if we seek Him first!

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


God has wonderful ways of providing for us. When one source dries up, He has another in place!

Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

Most of us know the story. God delivered the children of Israel from the slavery of Egypt and was leading them to Canaan - "The Promised Land!"

On route to Cannan, God led them through the desert. It was designed by God to be a short journey, possibly as short as eleven days but wound up becoming a journey of over forty years because of sin and disobedience!

While in the desert, God caused manna to appear on the desert floor. It was a peculiar food and fell with the dew at night:

7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium*.
8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil.
9 And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.
Numbers 11:7-9
*(Bdellium is a gum-like resin which is similar in color and appearance to a clump of dates!)

Whatever this manna was, it was sufficient to feed a large number of people for many years and tasted like pastry!

The very day after they began eating the produce of the promised land, the manna ceased.

God always provides one source until the next is ready!

Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing;
you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Leviticus 26:5

In other words, there will be not be a gap between the threshing time and the vintage (harvest) time and there will be enough harvest left until more can be grown!

Elijah is another great example of how God provides a new source when the old dries up!

By God's authority, Elijah proclaimed a drought in Israel. During that time God provided Elijah's needs in a very unusual way:

5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:5-6

The ravens brought him meat and bread to eat! Hello!

There came a time when that changed...

And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
1 Kings 17:7

When the brook dried up, God sent Elijah to a widow in Zarephath. She was suffering from the drought and had only a handful of flour and little oil in a jar. She was about to prepare it for herself and her son for one last meal before dying.

13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’”
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.
1 Kings 17:15-16

God not only provided for Elijah but for this widow and her son!

When would the flour and oil run out? On "the day the Lord sends rain on the earth!"

"On the day!" God will keep one source going until the next source is ready!

The natural human way is to stay in one place and rely on the same source for a lifetime!

The children of Israel even wanted to return to Egypt at one point just so they could eat leeks and onions again!

God had a work for Elijah in another place. He may have adapted to being fed by the ravens and drinking from the Brook Cherith! It may have been a comfort zone for him.

Still another time, God provided for Elijah by giving him "heavenly cakes!"

God is not bound by what we see or the normal way things are done or even by our 401K's! In fact, He delights in shaking us out of our comfort zones so we can fulfill our callings and see him move in more miraculous ways!

Many Christians even fall into the trap of setting up their own resources to live on. They hold tightly to savings and to retirement accounts. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these things but so often these become our source instead of Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider!

Corrie ten Boom, a dutch woman who hid Jews from the Nazis in World War II, was quoted as saying:

"I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the   
  Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!"

Elijah spoke to the widow woman the often repeated command of God, DO NOT FEAR!"

We may plan and use wisdom in preparing for the future but we are never to fear letting go - of anything and everything that we are holding onto and relying on for provision.

Savings, retirements accounts, possessions and even the purest gold cannot be relied on to provide for us. They are all on sinking sand!

Only the provision of God through Christ cannot be taken from us!

Only in the center of God's will are we truly safe from any storm!

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014



For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14

Most Christians are familiar with the glorious truth that Jesus died for our sins. Because He died in our place, the price has been paid for all past, present and future sins!

Many fewer are aware of what the second part of that verse teaches:

…if One died for all, then all died
2 Corinthians 5:14b

Who wouldn’t want to accept a deal which gives us total forgiveness and a place in heaven for all eternity?

But there is a catch! This is not a one-way contract which requires nothing from us. If we are to be genuinely born again, we must first die!

No this is not a program of discipline in which we try to contain our natural tendencies to sin until we are ready for Christ to live with in us. It is an act of God which follows repentance - a change of heart!

When we truly accept Christ, we are signing a contract with Him, not only to be partakers of all the benefits of His death on the cross, but also our own death warrant!

As with any contract, something is required of both parties. The fact that salvation is accomplished solely God’s power alone is often misinterpreted to mean that there are no terms on our side of the contract!

It does not take any of our own power to die - God will do it all but we must agree to it by faith!

Many want to skip this step and receive a “get out of jail free” card from God. They want to continue living their lives on their own terms and even expect God to help them with their own plans, desires and dreams! 

Paul continues on, making it clear that that is not how entering into the salvation contract works:

…and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
2 Corinthians 5:15

What could be clearer? We are no longer to live for ourselves but for Him!

NOT living for ourselves and asking Him to be a part of our lives! NOT making our own plans and asking Him for His blessings! 

Seeking His plans and following them! Searching out His commands and obeying
them - 100%. You might say “But no one can say they have achieved that but Jesus!” True - but that is still the goal and the standard for every Christian’s life!

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 
James 4:13-15

Have we laid down all of our own plans, hopes, dreams and desires on the altar in favor of God's?

The great news is that we never suffer loss by following God's plans! His plans are ALWAYS superior to our own and those who follow Him will learn that wonderful truth! 

There is a also a great sense of freedom and peace that will come when we let go of our ways and let God have His!

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Most of us are probably familiar with REM sleep. REM is a stage of sleep that many scientists believe is the most crucial part of sleep. Yet it is only present for about 20-25% of our sleep cycles.

The most commonly recommended time required for adult sleep is 8 hours. In other words, we require 8 hours of time to reach 1½-2 hours of REM. So a normal sleep cycle includes 6-6½ hours of "non-REM" sleep!

What in the world does this have to do with time spent with God?

In America we are often oblivious to how hectic our lives are. Those from previous generations are more acutely aware of how different the world is today. Those who grew up with cell phones, computers, cable and satellite TV, etc. are so accustomed to their use that there is no conscious awareness of the pace they are living, having no former life to compare it to.

A National Geographic documentary called "Stress a Portrait of a Killer" is the story of how a scientist named Robert Sapolsky studied the effects of stress on baboons in Kenya.

After many years of study, many of the most aggressive baboons in the tribe died from TB. The more docile males who remained established a new order of much more "civilized" behavior. (Can any baboon really be called "civilized!") This new order helped their tribe to continue to survive!

After a lifetime of study, Dr. Sapolsky concluded that the stress of our culture, such as our multi-tasking lifestyles and the aggressive ethos of the business world, is literally killing us!

May I propose that spending time with God is a lot like REM sleep!

Living at the pace described above, we must ask how hard it is to have "quiet time" with God? I will be the first to confess that it is very difficult. Sure I can shut off my devices and set a time and place for an atmosphere of quiet. But how long will it take to really get quiet enough to hear from God?

I believe that, like REM sleep, the most crucial part of experiencing God requires only a fraction of the actual time it takes to get to that level.

We may need 1½-2 hours of sleep but it takes the other 6-6½ hours to reach the deeper levels of REM sleep.

Isn't it the same with God. It doesn't take that much time for God to experience a quality level of intimacy with God. It takes a lot more time to quiet ourselves enough to reach those levels!

The answer so often provided for us is to spiritually adjust to the pace. Quick pre-fabricated devotions, Bible studies and church services, watered down, adjusted and abbreviated to fit our fast-paced and lives, can never consistently bring us any quality level of intimacy with God.

Only personal, extended, quality time with God will work!

I'm like you. I just want to insert an interface into the back of my skull that will impart the Spirit of God and all that I need from Him into my mind, heart and soul - while I am simultaneously driving, drinking a coffee and eating a breakfast sandwich! But I have found it just doesn't work!

We all have work, appointments and other responsibilities. We can't study the Bible eight hours every day and do fulfill our genuine responsibilities.

How can we resolve this conflict without moving to a monastery or joining a commune?


1. Take some time every day! Sometimes, the only sleep we can get is a "power nap." It isn't nearly as effective as a full night's sleep but it can definitely help! There is no excuse for consistently not getting at least some time with God every day!

We may have times of grief, crisis or temporary days where we must attend to activities or business but if it is a constant, regular practice, it is too high a price to pay!

2. Set aside longer periods of time! We set aside times and days off for vacations and "Star Wars" marathons.

Why not set aside several hours or even sometimes days,  for quality time with God!

3. Turn off everything! It is really hard to get close to God when you are watching TV, answering emails and texting - all at the same time!

A quiet place does not equal quiet time. However, it does set up an atmosphere to speak to God and listen for His answers!

How can we have quality communication and intimacy in any relationship if our thoughts are drowned out by other voices or noises?

To read other recent articles... CLICK HERE!

Saturday, April 19, 2014


The church today so often presents the gospel as a means to blessing. From the extreme "prosperity gospel" to the more moderate "God wants to make us happy" version, salvation is presented as a way to make our lives better according to the values of the world.

Actually, this contradicts much of the New Testament in which the theme of "suffering" appears far more often than the theme of "happiness!" In fact, the word "happy" or "blessed" is often used in connection with suffering, reproach or enduring for the sake of Christ! (See James 5:10-11; 1 Peter 3:14 and 1 Peter 4:14 as examples.)

The Bible does speak a great deal about trials and tribulations:

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
1 Peter 4:12-14

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
James 1:2-3

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

As we read these verses, we cannot help but notice that God clearly tells us that we will have trials - but also encourages us to BE JOYFUL during these times!

Joyful - when I am going through a hard time - really?

Yes - and the reason is not that we are supposed to "keep a stiff upper lip" or "toughen up" during these times. Why then should we be joyful in these times?

▶︎ Peter tells us to "REJOICE." Why?

"that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."
God is not absent, nor does He forget how much we suffer or are mocked for His name sake!

"the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you."
It is because we do belong to Christ that we are suffering - not because we are not highly regarded  
by God or are being punished for being out of God's will!

▶︎ James writes to "COUNT IT ALL JOY." Why?

"KNOWING that the testing of your faith produces patience."
James 1:3
It is because we KNOW something that we should "count it all joy." 

▶︎ Jesus tells us to "BE OF GOOD CHEER." Why?

" of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33
We can "be of good cheer" because Jesus has overcome the world! 

We are commanded to be joyful in trials and tribulations based on faith in certain facts!
1) God is in control. He is acutely aware of our troubles and will reward us now and in the life to
2) We often suffer because we have God Spirit! The enemy most attacks those whom God loves or
    are a danger to him!
3) We know that the testing of our faith is producing patience! God is not allowing us to be tested    
    for no reason! The knowledge that the test will produce godly character in us can inspire us to   
    press on!
4) Jesus has overcome the world! Whatever you are going through right now - God is in control and 
   already has a solution for it! He will take up your cause even when you can't or don't know what to 

These commands to be joyful are not encouragements to be in denial. God never tells us to be emotionally detached or to be calm, cool and strong all the time. There are seasons which we may have good reason to cry or grieve. Sometimes those emotions can be very strong and seem overwhelming! God is not telling us to pretend they do not exist!

He is, however, communicating reasons to rejoice. He knows full well it is an act of faith and does not expect us to walk around with a pretentious "Christian smile" saying "Praise the Lord" all the time! There are times to cry and laugh and to share our pain and pray with others that we can trust!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:1and 4

The Christian life is not a life free from suffering, pain or trials and tribulations but I do know that God delivers us through each one and will will continue to deliver us!

Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19

Just know today that God is aware of your pain and is close to you in your trials!

1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob and He who formed you, O Israel:
  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name;
   You are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
   When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
   Nor shall the flame scorch you.
3 For I am the Lord your God."
Isaiah 43:1-3

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


How in the world is drunk driving related to the armor of God?

It has to do with the principle behind the laws created against driving under the influence of alcohol. If a person is driving while intoxicated, he creates a potential danger to himself and others. If caught, he will be arrested and fined and may lose his driving privileges. Repeated offenders may even be sentenced to prison time!

He will be also be held responsible for any actual damage he has done. The worst outcome of course is that he accidentally kills someone. If that happens, he may be charged with manslaughter!

What's his defense? "I was drunk!" he tells the judge. "It was an accident!" True! The drunk driver may not be a murderer by nature. He would have been more careful if he had been sober.

The principle then, is that he is held responsible. It is not because he intentionally killed someone. He is responsible for his actions beforehand which ultimately led to this tragedy!

As Christians, we often try to justify our sin by using the same defense!

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13

"Lord, I sinned because I had been neglecting reading my Bible, praying and spending time with You!" It's not really my fault. It just came over me. It just happened!"

Men who are caught cheating on their wives often claim, "It just happened!"

When the children of Israel molded a golden calf to worship in the place of God, Aaron told Moses, "We threw the gold into the fire and this is what came out!"

Like the drunk driver, we may not intend to sin but nevertheless we are responsible for the actions which led to our sins!

There is a cause and effect which leads to sin.

What actions led to a husband cheating on his wife? Did he meet someone and they accidentally "fell" into bed in the correct anatomical position?

Was he spending inappropriate time alone with her? What was his thought life like? Did the music he listens to or the shows he watches encourage his behavior?

We are responsible for guarding our hearts from being "intoxicated" with the things of this world!

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Matthew 15:19

God holds us responsible for sins that we commit (sins of commission) and actions we omit (sins of omission)!

We are not to merely to avoid outwardly committing sins. We must also be PROACTIVE toward sin by preparing ourselves ahead of time to choose that which pleases God rather than ourselves!

PROACTIVE is defined as: (of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

The armor of God is like the armor a soldier puts on before he goes to battle. If he neglects to put it on, it doesn't matter if he had no intention of being wounded. The enemy will target us whether we are prepared or not!

The armor is provided by the military. It is the soldier's responsibility to put it on!

God has provided armor for the Christian. It is our responsibility to put it on!

If we are negligent the things of God now, we may find ourselves unprepared when "the evil day" comes!

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