“If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it.” ~King David

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I get scared. I am upset. I get beside myself and loose it.

It happens. It is not pleasant.

I feel like I won’t make it. What has happened to me?

But wait. Hold it a minute.

God is on my side. God’s love takes hold of me. That is all I need.

In times of trouble, Jesus shows up and cheers me up. He has been through it all and shows me the way to victory. The peace of Jesus overwhelms me.

Now that is some good news.

Who stood up for me against the wicked?
    Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
    I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
    your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
    you calmed me down and cheered me up.

Source: Psalm 94:18-19 MSG – Who stood up for me against the wicked? – Bible Gateway

More than extravagant: A Poem

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I know that our heavenly Father
can be extravagant.
I know that He can be
VERY extravagant.
But more than extravagant? Yes, He is.
That is His nature. Who He is at His core.

I want to know more about that.
I want to experience that in our relationship.
I want to see what that looks like.
I want to taste that.
Smell that.
Bask in that.
Experience that over and over.

Our heavenly Father IS.

Is MORE.

Is more than EXTRAVAGANT!!

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and the Messiah’s love for us?” ~Apostle Paul

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Love of Jesus

Love of Jesus

God’s love for us is astounding. That is all there is to it.

He sent his son Jesus to redeem us and redeem us he did. I didn’t deserve it but he loves me none the less. Nothing can stop his love. His love is 24/7 and forever. It will never stop.

Jesus sits next to God in the place of power and authority sticking up for me. And he is sticking up for you as well.

God’s love for us is over the top.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and the Messiah’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: 

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.

We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

Source: Romans 8:32 MSG – So, what do you think? With God on our – Bible Gateway

"The prophet does not replace my hearing from God. My hearing from God does not replace the prophet." ~~Bill Johnson

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Someone speaks a word into my heart from God. That is an amazing thing.

It doesn’t replace what God says to me directly.

They are two different experiences though.

“The prophet does not replace my hearing from God. My hearing from God does not replace the prophet.” ~~Bill Johnson

“Yes, I am God. I’ve always been God and I always will be God.”

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God is God

God is God

God is God. There is no other. 

Jesus is the way to God. There is no other way.

Anyone who claims otherwise is lying.

It has always been this way and it always will be.

“In the beginning, God …”

Get the blind and deaf out here and ready—
    the blind (though there’s nothing wrong with their eyes)
    and the deaf (though there’s nothing wrong with their ears).
Then get the other nations out here and ready.
    Let’s see what they have to say about this,
    how they account for what’s happened.
Let them present their expert witnesses
    and make their case;
    let them try to convince us what they say is true.
“But you are my witnesses.” God’s Decree.
    “You’re my handpicked servant
So that you’ll come to know and trust me,
    understand both that I am and who I am.
Previous to me there was no such thing as a god,
    nor will there be after me.
I, yes I, am God.
    I’m the only Savior there is.
I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed
    long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene.
And you know it, you’re my witnesses,
    you’re the evidence.” God’s Decree.
“Yes, I am God.
    I’ve always been God
    and I always will be God.
No one can take anything from me.
    I make; who can unmake it?”

Source: Isaiah 43:11-12 MSG – Get the blind and deaf out here and – Bible Gateway

Is God our friend?

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Mature

Mature

We start out as slaves. Our path to maturity starts with servitude and obedience. I saw this in my relationship with my father. I had to learn obedience first. When I matured, we became the closest of friends. He treated me that way and I responded. That was so cool.


The same is true with our heavenly Father. We are his friends. He tells us His most innermost feelings and secrets. God wants us to have a heart after Him and wants us to live in intimacy with Him. He wants this far and away above obedience.

God wants us to mature. He wants us to move beyond servitude. He wants us to be His friend. He wants us to co-reign with the Messiah Jesus.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power." ~Abraham Lincoln

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Humility isn’t easy. Jesus challenges us to love and think of others first.

Jesus knows it is about who we are inside that counts. That inside character is what will come out in the long run.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. 

~Abraham Lincoln

 

“When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of God.” ~King David

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There are times I am in the dumps. It happens. It isn’t always pretty but it is true.

God gives me a way out. Jesus challenges me to go through everything God has done. In fact, I should rehearse your promises and the love you show to me.

God’s way isn’t my way. God loves me in ways I can’t imagine.

God has made promises. God will not break them.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
    everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
    including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
    to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
    crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
    sing songs all through the night!
    My life is God’s prayer.

Source: Psalm 42:8 MSG – When my soul is in the dumps, I – Bible Gateway

“I love God far more than the most affectionate lover among men loves his earthly attachment.” ~Madame Guyon

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Do I have a burning passion for Jesus?

Is He my all in All?

Do I love Him more than life?

I slept not all night, because Thy love, O my God, flowed in me like delicious oil, and burned as a fire . . . I love God far more than the most affectionate lover among men loves his earthly attachment.”

—–Madame Guyon, a French mystic (1648-1717)

“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” ~King Solomon

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God's new plan

God’s new plan

God has a goal in mind for me.

Am I ready?

Have I prepared?

Will I be up to the task?

Jesus challenges me to get ready and to be up to the task. I am God’s plan A. There is no plan B.

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run;
    hurry and scurry puts you further behind.

King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 21 MSG – God Examines Our Motives – Good – Bible Gateway

“Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.” ~King David

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God's Word

God’s Word

God’s good word to us is constant. There are no ups and downs with his love. The message of Jesus is clear and on target.

If I hear conflicting messages, it isn’t God. On that I can be sure.

I will stick with God’s good word. I can’t let go. I won’t let go.

The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake
    is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I’ll stick with God;
    I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.

Source: Psalm 16:8 MSG – The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m – Bible Gateway

“Whoever has Jesus, has life” ~Apostle John

New Life

New Life

I have Jesus in my life. I have life.

This is the essence of the “big thing”.

God wants me to live forever with him. To make that happen God sent his son Jesus to live, die and be raised to eternal life for me.

I have life!

This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has Jesus, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.

Source: 1 John 5:12 MSG – This is the testimony in essence: God – Bible Gateway

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” ~~Nelson Mandela

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Jesus challenges us to have no other in charge of our life than himself.

Jesus is in control of God’s world.

Jesus challenges us to choose whom we serve.

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.

~~Nelson Mandela

“I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out.” ~Apostle Paul

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Eternal Life

Eternal Life

I know the end of the story. I know that Jesus is the anointed one of God and is in charge. Victory is his and will be mine as well.

Life vs. Death?

It doesn’t matter. It is not even the question.

It is life vs. more life!

So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, the Messiah is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!

And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus the Messiah, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make the Messiah more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m the Messiah’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.

Source: Philippians 1:21 MSG – So how am I to respond? I’ve decided – Bible Gateway

“If you want to claim credit, claim it for God.” ~Apostle Paul

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This is subtle but significant.

Who gets the credit? Who made it happen?

There is only one answer. God gets the credit. I should always claim it for God.

God made it happen. That is clear but I need to be clear. God is God. God is in control.

 

God did it!

 

We’re not barging in on the rightful work of others, interfering with their ministries, demanding a place in the sun with them. What we’re hoping for is that as your lives grow in faith, you’ll play a part within our expanding work. And we’ll all still be within the limits God sets as we proclaim the Message in countries beyond Corinth. But we have no intention of moving in on what others have done and taking credit for it. “If you want to claim credit, claim it for God.” What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.

Source: 2 Corinthians 10:17-18 MSG – We’re not barging in on the rightful – Bible Gateway

“Let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without.” ~Apostle Paul

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Distraction

Distraction

I get distracted. It seems to happen way too easily. It must be the “shiny new object” syndrome.

Jesus challenges me to focus on what God wants. God’s goal for me is to love. That is a “right now” kind of thing.

Love is the true worship of God.

I have to break with the distractions. I must live for Jesus today.

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.

Source: 2 Corinthians 7:1 MSG – With promises like this to pull us on, – Bible Gateway

“It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other.” ~Apostle Paul

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Accountable

Accountable

Who do I answer to? Is it the minister, my wife, my boss or my children?

It is a simple answer. I will be held accountable to my Master Jesus. That is it. I am not accountable to others. I am accountable to Jesus.

And, his standard is all about love.

Will he find me faithful?

What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

Source: Romans 14:8 MSG – What’s important in all this is that – Bible Gateway

“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking.” ~Jesus

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Jesus challenges us

Jesus challenges us

Uh oh!

Dear Jesus, help me not to be lukewarm. Help me to be on fire for you.

I will be held to account for what I do knowing that Jesus is in control.

This isn’t some game. Jesus challenges me to be serious, to get on fire, to be passionate.

God knows me inside and out.

Dear Jesus, help me not to be lukewarm!

Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:

“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.

“Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see,really see.

“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!

“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

Source: Revelation 3 MSG – To Sardis – Write this to Sardis, to – Bible Gateway

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” ~God

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Past

How often do I dwell in the past? Remember the time …. Ah, the good old days!!

God is doing a new thing. He has a new plan. It is springing up like a fountain just turned on.

Where nothing existed in us, God is creating a new being in Jesus the Messiah. Where no love existed, God’s generosity creates life. Where no understanding was available, God’s wisdom pours forth.

May I forget the past. May I dwell in the way of Jesus today.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. Isaiah 43:18-21 TNIV Bible

“So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk.” ~Jesus

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Bully

The religious bullies want to intimidate us into silence. Nothing would please them more.

Jesus challenges us to speak up about who is in charge and what our mission is as a result of that.

God will take care of us. We don’t need to worry. I am very valuable to God. Jesus wants me to succeed.

Luke 12:6-7 The Message (MSG)

I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.

What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.

Source: Luke 12:6-7 MSG – “What’s the price of two or three – Bible Gateway

 

"You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." ~Yogi Berra

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Freedom

Freedom

Israel wandered around in the desert, not entering the promised land, for 40 years.

Is it they didn’t know where they were going?

Israel had spent 400 years as slaves. They didn’t know what it was like to be free.

If freedom is where we are headed, do we know that Jesus is the way to get there?

You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.

~Yogi Berra

“God delights in his people!” ~King David

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Good news of God

Good news of God

We have amazing news. This is not trivial. This is beyond good. This is great.

God is in a good mood. God delights in us.

God is not embarrassed by who we are. God doesn’t want to hide when he sees us coming.

God wants to dress us up and parade us around.

God delights in us.

Psalm 149:1-4 The Message (MSG)

Hallelujah!
Sing to God a brand-new song,
    praise him in the company of all who love him.
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
    Zion’s children exult in their King.
Let them praise his name in dance;
    strike up the band and make great music!
And why? Because God delights in his people,
    festoons plain folk with salvation garlands!

Source: Psalm 149:4 MSG – Hallelujah! Sing to GOD a brand-new – Bible Gateway

No problem ahead of you is more powerful than the God behind you.

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No problem ahead of you is more powerful than the God behind you. God is great. God is mighty. God created everything with a word. God is committed to us.

Jesus, the Messiah, has given us the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. This is the same Spirit that carried Jesus into heaven. God is God.

Be grateful so you won’t walk around being hateful.

Word Up!

“For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king. God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.” ~Isaiah

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The peace of Jesus

The peace of Jesus

What happens when God is charge?

We have peace and safety. God keeps us safe. We have nothing to fear.

How often does God remind us to fear not? How do we get to the place of no fear?

I must let God make all the decisions. God has put Jesus in charge. He is my Master.

Isaiah 33:20-22 The Message (MSG)

Just take a look at Zion, will you?
    Centering our worship in festival feasts!
Feast your eyes on Jerusalem,
    a quiet and permanent place to live.
No more pulling up stakes and moving on,
    no more patched-together lean-tos.
Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place
    in a country of broad rivers and streams,
But rivers blocked to invading ships,
    off-limits to predatory pirates.
For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king.
    God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.

Source: Isaiah 33:22 MSG – Just take a look at Zion, will you? – Bible Gateway

“I’m sticking with God” ~Jeremiah

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Love Tag CloudI am sticking with God!!

I could trust myself, my friends, my family. Nothing wrong with that. That is what we should do.

Beyond that though, I am sticking with God. That is the way of His world. And so, I say it over and over. Great is His faithfulness.

How wonderful is God’s love. He shows it over and over. He has promised to bring an answer. To show me the way. God sent Jesus. Jesus is the way to God. There is no other.

God’s love is new every morning.

But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. —Lamentations 3

"The opportunity is to actually create something that people choose to talk about, regardless of what the competition is doing." ~Seth Godin

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It is always interesting that we focus on others so much. What are they doing?

It doesn’t have to be that way. I can listen to God and do what he wants me to.

Now that might get people talking!

The opportunity is to actually create something that people choose to talk about, regardless of what the competition is doing.

~Seth Godin

“How can a Person named "The Word of God" not want to talk to people?” ~Kris Vallotton

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God's Word

God’s Word

God wants to speak to us more than we want to listen. He wants to talk with us. Jesus is the Word of God. 

This is just the nature of God. Knowing this about Him creates an expectation in our hearts to hear Him at any moment.

Our job is to listen. If we are constantly talking, we can’t hear Him.

And that would be a tragedy.

After all, how can a Person named “The Word of God” not want to talk to people?

–Kris Vallotton, “Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle

“Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” ~God

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God is God

God is God

God is God. God made everything, the whole universe. The universe of universes. God is a mighty God.

God cares deeply for us. When we call him, he listens and answers us. We are his children and he is in a good mood. He wants us to know amazing things.

Yes, God is God, great and good. All the time.

Jeremiah 33:2-3 The Message (MSG)

This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

Source: Jeremiah 33:2-3 MSG – “This is GOD’s Message, the God who – Bible Gateway

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but.” ~James

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Am I fooling myself? Possibly. Probably. This is a tough question.

I have heard a lot. God’s word has been with me since I was very young. I have heard it most every day.

Listening without acting on what I have heard is useless. I must act on what I hear.

Jesus challenges me. I must do what God wants me to today.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

Source: James 1:22 MSG – Don’t fool yourself into thinking – Bible Gateway

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” ~~Robert Milikan, Nobel Prize in physics, 1923

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Ask God

Ask God

We say lots of things.

Many times we don’t know what we are talking about even if it sounds good.

When it comes to what is going to happen in the future, it is best to leave that up to God. Jesus challenges us to focus today on what God wants. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

God knows. We don’t.

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.

~~Robert Milikan, Nobel Prize in physics, 1923

“I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.” ~Apostle Paul

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Trust

Trust

God has a goal for me. It is God’s plan not mine. He has set me apart to make sure it gets done.

It is not always easy. Doing what God wants can (may) get us in trouble. God is clear about what we should do.

Like Paul, can I say I have no regrets? I know some days I live in the land of regrets. It is the story I tell myself about why things are so bad. If only I had done something different. What I do doesn’t change God’s goal for me.

I can trust.

I can be sure of what I am doing.

God will take care of the details.

God will do it right up to the end.

This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.

Source: 2 Timothy 1:11-12 (The Message Bible)

What happens when we live God’s way and not ours?

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Courage

Courage

How often do we try to force our way in the processes that the world normally uses. Sheer determination. We’ll get it done.

Persistence is valued but where does it really get us? Planning can be useless if leads to a lack of supernatural courageousness.

God’s plans ROCK. That is all that matters.

What happens when we live God’s way? We stick with Jesus, not our own plans. We develop an incredible sense of compassion in our heart. We are convinced there is a basic holiness that is permeating everything and everyone.

We don’t judge. We love no matter what.

In Jesus, we can be involved in loyal commitments. We are able, in Jesus the Messiah, to marshal and direct God’s energy.

"This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy." ~~Jesus

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Jesus challenges us

Jesus challenges us

Jesus is clear and, for lack of a better word, radical. We are in a war. We must take sides.

I am on Jesus side. I don’t want to be His enemy.

If I am not on Jesus side, I am his enemy.

Clarity from Jesus the Messiah.

No neutral ground. Period. End of story.

This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 12:30 The Message)

What is happening with my friends who follow Jesus?

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I think of certain friends very often. Every time I think of them, I am so thankful to God for that they live freely in Jesus. What a blessing that is.

The chains that bound them are off. Amazing.

To see their open access to God is inspiring. What Jesus has given them freely blesses me just thinking of it. I will be glad with what is happening. It is good stuff for sure. I am not one to judge. I am one who has received great gifts. I am one who owes a lot. I can only answer for myself. That is what love means. I am called to love.

There is clearly no end to what is happening to my friends. It is hard to express in words. It is hard to know what it is all about some days. If anyone needs evidence of how good God is, you just have to know them. It is all the verification that is needed.

They are a blessing. That is that and that is all there is to it.

May I continue to blessed knowing such amazing people.

John 15:14-15 The Message (MSG)

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

I must move with Jesus. He ROCKS and is my rock. Are you with me?

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Jesus is my rock

I want more supernatural courage. That kind of faith is growing and I thirst for it. Do you?

I want more of His courage. That kind of commitment is moving in me. Is it in you?

Jesus can do it. Jesus will do it. He is LOVE and He is faithful.

I must move with Jesus. He ROCKS and is my rock.

I know you join with me. I know you have His courage. I know you believe.

I know.

Thanks for standing with me. I stand with you.

The problem with putting it all on the line for Jesus is …..

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The problem with putting it all on the line for Jesus…

is that it might not work out.

The problem with not putting it all on the line is that it will never (ever) change things for the better.

Not much of a choice, I think.

No risk, no change.

No change, no reward.

Jesus expects us to step out in faith. Jesus expects us to have courage.

May we put it all on the line for Jesus.

"When you enter a town, heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, ‘God’s kingdom is right on your doorstep!’" ~Jesus

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Kingdom of God

Kingdom of God

Jesus doesn’t make it complicated for us. He wants us to replicate what He is doing.

Jesus sends us out. We do the same things He is doing.

What is the the message to share? God’s government and complete rule is here.

Our prayer? Our Father’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

It’s all about God. He is in charge. Completely.

God is God, good and great!!

When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, ‘God’s kingdom is right on your doorstep!’~~Jesus (Luke 10:8-9)

I am eager: A Poem

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So I have to suffer a little.
Suffering comes and goes.
Suffering is a part of life.

I have lots of concerns
and yet do I hold on to them?
Way beyond their usefulness?
Does it stay with me?
Do I ask for more?

It is no big deal.
Some days are hard.
Some days are tough.
Some days I worry …
worry way to much.

Some days I don’t live
for the love of the moment.
Some days I miss the moment.
Some days aren’t what I want them to be.

But there is no comparison
between today’s challenges
and the good times that are coming.

Our Lord always look after us.
He gives me my daily bread.
He loves me each and every moment.
His love extends far beyond where I can see.

He is here.
He cares.
In fact, I should be anxious
for what is coming next.
I can hardly wait.

I am eager for what
is going to be revealed
in us who are His children.

He is revealing it.
What is He revealing?
Jesus is love.
That is who He is.
That is what He wants
me to experience now.

“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God.” ~Apostle John

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Continue to love

Interesting that John challenges us to continue to love.

Not start but continue.

Real love that comes from our Father requires a lot of “continuing”. It is easy to start but that is not the point.

The point is to continue.

Our relationship with God teaches how to continue to love each other. God is love. That is what it is all about; love.

And it always starts with Jesus. He leads the way.

May my love continue on as His love for me continues.

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! 1 John 4:7-12

"Son, I forgive your missing God’s goal for your life." ~~Jesus to the paraplegic he was about to heal

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Bold Faith

Bold Faith

Jesus is impressed by bold belief. Boldness, while it may seem outrageous to us, helps us stand out to Jesus.

Jesus is bold Himself. Rather than say “Be healed”, he says I forgive you.

That didn’t go over too well with the religious types of the day. Too bad, so sad.

Jesus said it and it was true. And with that, the man was healed.

Will I be bold? If so, that impresses Jesus.

And that is a very good thing.

After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said,  “Son, I forgive your missing God’s goal for your life (sins).” (Mark 2:1-5 The Message)

“Be cheerful, no matter what.” ~Apostle Paul

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I have been focusing more and more on simplicity. I have been trying to reduce many complex issues down to no more than three ideas. Simple, however, does not mean easy or easy to do. I am discovering in fact, many times even three things can be tough to execute.

So Paul had three things he suggested to do. Simple? Yes, but not easy. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18 he suggested them. This is the version from The Message translation.

  1. Be cheerful no matter what
  2. pray all the time
  3. thank God no matter what happens

 

This is the way God wants you who belong to the Messiah Jesus to live.

Starting in reverse makes a difference I have discovered. So how does God want me to live? To thank God no matter what happens.

Really? No matter what happens; thank God. Well, if I am doing that (not easy), I will be praying all the time. Non stop because in the course of the day a lot happens and thanking God for all that happens will have me praying tons.

So if I thank God no matter what happens which has me praying all the time, I will be cheerful no matter what.

When I do it, wow it is so very powerful. When I don’t I have come to discover I am not the same person.

So … the challenge is focus more and more.

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” ~King David

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A man after God's heart

A man after God’s heart

Now here is a good word.

What should I do? I should seek Jesus with my whole heart.

David knew this at his core. He was a man after God’s own heart. He knew about the connection emotionally.

Interesting thing it is about the heart. My connection to God is not primarily about thinking. I am a thinker so this is a challenge for me. God is doing great things.

May I long for a connection with God that brings me supernatural courage.

May my emotional connection to Him bring obedience.

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

~~King David — Psalm 119:10

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~~ Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

I have a choice. We live in a culture where we are all critics. It is an easy trap to fall into to judge people. My choice is to judge or to love. Jesus challenges me to love. God’s goal for me is to love. It all comes down to that.

We don’t like to use the word “judge” but that is what it is all about. Jesus is clear that we shouldn’t live that way.

The choice to make is to love. I must love and not judge. I have a lot to learn here.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

~~ Mother Teresa

“You’re more than happy when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.” ~~Jesus

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Jesus knows that following Him may not be a “bed of roses”.

Jesus tells us about it in advance.

We may get persecuted. We may even be martyred. It happens every day. Will you “sign up” to follow Jesus if you know that tomorrow someone may kill you for believing Him?

Of course, living in America makes if feel like being a martyr isn’t an issue; that it can’t happen to us. Because of that we are lulled into thinking it doesn’t happen to anyone any longer.

It’s not just about being a martyr though. 100 million Christians around the globe are currently suffering. They are real, and they are our brothers and sisters in the Messiah.

As followers of the Messiah, we are called to take a stand for our persecuted brothers and sisters.  Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Learn more at Open Doors on how you can help persecuted Christians.

Now here is the rub. Jesus also knows the benefit of being persecuted. Persecution drives (the deeply committed) deeper into His Father’s world.

You’re blessed (more than happy) when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

~Jesus (Matthew 5:10 The Message)

“Be God’s fool — that’s the path to true wisdom.” ~Apostle Paul

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Social Media

Social Media

I really enjoy my “news reader” on the internet. I keep up with 100′s of stuff (feeds) a day. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, LinkedIn, email, etc.

I am hyper-connected. Others follow the news on TV or radio all the time. We all have our versions of how we keep up.

We can be up to date in real time. “Breaking news”!!

We can know so much. If we think that makes us wise, we are in for a rude awakening. Such thinking is actually foolish. God’s ways are different.

How much time do we spend connected to Him and what He is thinking?

Really, compared to our connections to this world, how much time do we spend connected to His world?

Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool—that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It’s written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic.  The Master sees through the smoke screens of the know-it-alls.

Source: 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

May I connect with God and know what He is thinking.

"You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works." ~~Jesus

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Jesus is King

Jesus is King

God has a kingdom where he rules. It doesn’t work like any government we know in this world.

Jesus is in complete control. Jesus is the eternal King. Jesus is light. Jesus is love.

God cares about us so much that He has given us insight into how His government works. Our mission is to bring to bring to earth His kingdom.

May I have insight into how God’s kingdom works.

You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. 

~~Jesus (Luke 8:10)

“He could show up any minute!” ~~Apostle Paul

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Jesus Messiah

Jesus Messiah

Paul lived as if Jesus could show up any minute. He believed it in his core. His passion, every minute, was about Jesus.

Paul challenges us to live the same way. Do I believe Jesus, the Messiah, could show up any minute now? Will it make a difference in what I do today?

God is God. God knows the time when that will happen. We do not. In the meantime, I must love God today. I must love everyone else I encounter today.

May I have the passion for my Jesus that I live like today is the day He will physically come back to reign on earth.

He could show up any minute!

~Apostle Paul (Philippians 4:5 The Message)

“Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” ~~Apostle John

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Love of Jesus

Love of Jesus

The Apostle John is consumed with the purity of Jesus life. It came down to one thing in John’s mind.

It is all about love. Jesus is all about love. That is the essence of the commandments. That is how Jesus lived.

Do I live like Jesus? Do I love like Jesus?

May I live like Jesus. May I mature my love.

Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” ~~Apostle John  (1 John 2:6 The Message)

“Because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world more than those who know no other.” ~~C. S. Lewis

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C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis

Jesus challenges us to love everyone, all the time.

Jesus challenges us to love God, with a passion that can’t be replicated.

Jesus challenges us to love God more than the world or our family.

Jesus is clear about all of this.

Am I clear? Do I get it? Is that the path I am on today?

Because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world more than those who know no other.” ~~C. S. Lewis

"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant." ~~Jesus

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Get on your knees and pray

Get on your knees and pray

Jesus challenges me to change my mind about how to pray. We are steeped in the religious way to do it. That is not the God way.

Here’s what He wants me to do:

  • Find a quiet, secluded place so I won’t be tempted to role-play before God.
  • Just be there as simply and honestly as I can manage.
  • The focus will shift from myself to God, and I will begin to sense his grace.

May I accept the Jesus prayer challenge.

The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 6 The Message) 

What goal does God have in mind for us?

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Goals

Goals

God is getting us into shape for the goal He has for us. I need to desire reaching that goal like nothing else. I need to be obsessed with what God wants me to do. I cannot waiver. I have to be focused.

I need the discipline to stay the course. I know He has a goal for me. I know it is a grand and glorious plan.

That goal is simple to understand but not easy to do.

May I be ready.

“But you’ve seen and heard God’s wisdom because God, by his Spirit, has brought it all out into the open before you.” ~Apostle Paul

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God's Wisdom

God’s Wisdom

We have God’s wisdom in our life. The amazing Spirit of God leads us.

That is amazing. While we don’t always understand everything, we have a leg up on the average Joe in gaining insight into how God works. It isn’t because of anything we have done but it is a gift from God. It is for our benefit and for the benefit of God’s people.

It is interesting that the world we live in doesn’t see this.

But you’ve seen and heard God’s wisdom because God, by his Spirit, has brought it all out into the open before you.” ~ Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9 The Message)

“We don’t expect eloquence from fools, nor do we expect lies from our leaders.” ~King Solomon

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Truth - Can you handle it?

Truth – Can you handle it?

It is sad that we have probably come to expect lies from our leaders. It clearly shouldn’t be that way but it seems to happen time and time again now. While it is a political problem, it is also a religious, business and community problem.

God is the truth. God sent his son Jesus to us to represent his truth. God’s goal for us is to be truthful.

We need a moral revolution.

We need Jesus.

We don’t expect eloquence from fools, nor do we expect lies from our leaders. ~King Solomon Proverbs 17:7

"What you’re called does not matter and where you go to worship does not matter." ~~Jesus

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Religious Fraud

Religious Fraud

It is not about what religious group you are born into. It doesn’t matter what church you go to.

Jesus is challenging us. He is clear. There are a lot of things that don’t matter. At least, they don’t matter to him. And what matters to Jesus should matter to me. That should be my focus.

It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Our worship must engage our spirit in the pursuit of truth.That’s the kind of people that Jesus is out looking for. Those who are simply and honestly themselves before God in their worship. 
Jesus challenges us to know that God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. It is not what religious group you were born into. It is not what church you go to.

But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.” ~~Jesus (John 4:23 The Message)

“We keep getting reports on your steady faith in the Messiah Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.” ~Apostle Paul

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What is worth reporting on, in Paul’s opinion? It is all about the love we show to others. That is it. There is nothing else.

It isn’t the new church building. It is not how moving the Worship Team sang the new song. It isn’t new car we just bought. It isn’t the college our oldest just go into.

There are only two ways to get God’s attention. Love Him and love everyone we know and meet.

That is how our faith in Jesus is demonstrated. It is only about love. That is all that counts.

We keep getting reports on your steady faith in the Messiah Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians.

~Apostle Paul (Colossians 1:4 The Message)

“I can’t believe your fickleness.” ~Apostle Paul

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We don’t like to think about it but there are a number of messages delivered by men of God that aren’t good news. There are many that are at odds with the gift of grace that the Messiah Jesus has bestowed on us.

It happens easily.

It only shows our fickleness when we believe them.

We need to know what the message of good news is. We need to stick with it. We must reject anything else.

May we stand firm today.

I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of the Messiah by embracing a variant message!”

~~Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:6 The Message)

A tribute to my dad, a defender of freedom and independence. Born on the fourth of July 1919.

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My dad, Everett Wiley Wilson, was born on Independence Day (July 4) in 1919. This is a photo of him from WWII, defending our freedom.

God bless him, and men and women like him.

When dad was born on July 4, 1919, in Austell, Georgia, his father, Wiley, was 34 and his mother, Sarah, was 30. He married Dorothy Mae Frey, my mother,  on January 21, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia.

They had three children during their marriage.

He died on May 15, 2009, in Lilburn, Georgia, at the age of 89.

Many of us were fortunate to be raised by a responsible, moral, conservative father —  imperfect though he may have been.  He scoffed when his children cried, “that’s not fair.”  He taught us work before play, the value of money, self-respect, right and wrong, and the limits of government and the power of personal responsibility — if not in words, by his example.   I am grateful for many blessings, but a conservative father  is chief among them.

I use the word conservative with a small “c”. While he voted Republican most his life, politically he was probably a Libertarian. He listened to Neal Bortz everyday after he retired. His conservative world view did spill over into his politics. My own father never organized anyone.  He expected people to organize their own lives, and their own communities, free from the obstacle of tyrannical government preferably.

He never presumed to rule over another, nor did he expect anyone to tell him how to live his life.   He never lectured from stadiums grandiosely flanked by Greek columns, but his words resonated.  He never padded a resume, nor embellished, let alone created, his own history.

And yet, his history speaks volumes.

My father grew up with strong, Christian and Jewish, honorable men who served and defended this great nation, knew hard work (he was 10 when the Great Depression started in 1929), God-given liberty, and right and wrong.  My father grew up when Sunday was reserved for family and church; before helmets were required to walk to the mailbox; and before putting the playground bully in his place with a discreet right hook was criminal.

He knew how to change the oil in his own car, and how to farm and garden before leftists commandeered produce for social change.  He watched great men land on the moon, and even greater men returning from war.  He understood why soldiers fought those wars, and he was grateful and humbled. He would never brag about anything.

When I asked my dad how he was doing he would say “I got up this morning”. For him, hat was a good day.

He fought in World War II and didn’t like to talk about it. He grew up before MTV was around to bash Christians, and glamorize teen pregnancy, victim-hood, bad behavior, and hedonistic drunkards from the Jersey Shore.   To my knowledge, my father never dealt drugs, ate dog, nor perfectly recited the Islamic call to prayer.

He was a great man of GOD. I honor him and miss him. 

Happy anniversary to my wife Dawn!

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I am a very fortunate man. 7 years ago today I was married to Dawn.

It was a beautiful day in paradise. It still is.

Here is an “open letter” to you on this special day of ours.

Our marriage has always been my greatest source of peace and happiness. Spending time with you is all that I want, because that’s when I feel the most contented. I love you, and I want to thank you for the many wonderful years we’ve spent together.

You are an amazing woman. You are always giving to others, thinking of them first. You are the definition of “selflessness”.

You are the one that I have always counted on and needed through the joy and sorrow, laughter and some tears. You have kept me grounded, you are indeed my rock. You have been there for me through the days, months and years and your devotion has never faltered. No matter what I have said or done you have been there.

I have grown because of you and I know that I will continue my path in life with you by my side. I used to wonder what I did to deserve you but then one day I realized that it is not a matter of deserving at all. You are a great gift and for that I am most thankful.

You care like no other person I have ever seen. Your goal in life is to serve and never to be served. You are a stupendous mother. Raising four children isn’t easy. You do it with style and grace.

You are a great friend to all. You friends are fiercely loyal. They will do anything for you because you will do anything for them.

No detail is to small for you. You always are thinking about how to make things better. And better is how they are always made. Your touch and sense of style are known far and wide.

Thanks for who you are and for what you mean to me. I love you. I will always love you.

“This signet (the Holy Spirit) from God is the first installment on what’s coming.” ~Apostle Paul

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Holy Spirit Signet

God has given us the Holy Spirit. That is a sign of His authority in our life.

Jesus has left us with power, His power. That is an amazing thing. What a great God we have.

And, that is not all.

The Holy Spirit in our life is only the beginning. God has so many wonderful things in store for us. And we will receive them all. Not a one will be withheld from us.

The Holy Spirit in our life is the sign of all the glory to come.

This signet (the Holy Spirit) from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. 

~Apostle Paul (Ephesians 1:14 The Message)

“Be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear.” ~Jesus

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Miser

Miser

I have heard a lot. God is good and tells me His secrets.

Are we keeping them to ourselves or giving them away? His generosity is well known. Are we sharing it?

We hear a lot about transparency. God is always transparent with us. God is clear. Jesus shows us the challenge.

The more of His goodness we give away the more we get. It just keeps coming back to us over and over again.

May we not shove the light under a bed. May we set it out so everyone can see.

No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.

Luke 8:16-18

“To the church that meets in your house.” ~Apostle Paul

Church Building

Church Building

We know this but forget it.

The church, that is a building, didn’t exist for Jesus and his followers.

What was the church? The Greek word is ekklesia. Essentially it means to be called out for an assembly. It does not refer to a building.

What does that mean to me all these years later? Don’t I go to church?

It means that my brothers and sisters and I are the church. We are called to be the body of Jesus to the people of this world.

I, Paul, am a prisoner for the sake of Christ, here with my brother Timothy. I write this letter to you, Philemon, my good friend and companion in this work—also to our sister Apphia, to Archippus, a real trooper, and to the church that meets in your house. God’s best to you! Christ’s blessings on you!

Source: Philemon 1:1-3 (The Message Bible)

“Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan?" ~~Jesus

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Love of Jesus

Love of Jesus

It is hard imaging this actually happened but then again sometimes we have a “fantasy image” of Jesus that is not anchored in reality.

When religious people don’t understand what is happening, it is easy to blame things on evil. And so, the religion scholars from Jerusalem came down spreading rumors that Jesus was working black magic, using devil tricks to impress them with spiritual power.

Jesus doesn’t ignore it. Jesus confronted their slander.

Jesus still does that today. We must face who Jesus is and not slander Him. This is very important. Jesus demands it.

If someone is doing good, in the name of God, can that be the devil?

Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan?” ~~Jesus (Mark 3 23 The Message)

"Why are you so skeptical?" ~~Jesus

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Forgive

Jesus had said to a paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”

This infuriated the Ministers. They whispered “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”

Catch that? Blasphemy. Who is Jesus to forgive sins?

Jesus asks them why they are so skeptical. There He is, the Son of God. He can forgive sins. God has given Him that authority.

He also knows that may be a tough pill to swallow. So, he says “Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’?

Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

They started out skeptical and ended up praising God.

That is Jesus and that is us some days. Starting out skeptical. Ending up praising God. It is our choice.

Why are you so skeptical?~~Jesus to Ministers (Mark 2:8-12 The Message)

"What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit." ~~Jesus

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Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

Jesus was about to ascend into heaven. The disciples were very concerned and wanted to know if Jesus was going to reign as King on earth.

Jesus not so politely let them know that they didn’t get to know that timing. That was God’s business and not theirs.

But … and this is a big one, what they do get is the Holy Spirit.

And that changed everything. For them and for us. All the power of God was about to be released on them and in them.

God is in a great mood and He has given us the Holy Spirit. Now that is good news.

What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.” ~~Jesus (Acts 1:7 The Message)

“That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming.” ~Apostle Paul

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Letter

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was very direct. He was concerned about what was hearing. Sometimes a clearly written message can be more effective than a visit. Plus, it can be reread many, many times when the spoken word cannot.

Are we concerned about something? Have we spent months writing a clear and compelling message? Even if it isn’t sent, do we care enough to get that clear?

That was my reason for writing a letter instead of coming—so I wouldn’t have to spend a miserable time disappointing the very friends I had looked forward to cheering me up. ” ~~Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:3 The Message)

Have I mastered the basics as a disciple of Jesus? Am I ready to move on?

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Basic

There are basics in being a disciple of Jesus. Are the following in place in my life?

    • Do I trust in God for everything and reject “self-help”?
    • Have I been properly baptized?
    • Have the leaders of the church layed hands on me and have I received the Holy Spirit?
    • Do I believe in the resurrection of the dead?
    • Do I live like there is an eternal judgement?

I can’t go on to maturity without having mastered the basics. If I haven’t mastered “Jesus 101”, I can’t take the advanced courses. God doesn’t work that way.

The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:2 The Message)

Smile even if you are hurting. Be happy even if you are unhappy. It’s called strength!

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Think Happy

Think Happy

Smile even if you are hurting. Be happy even if you are unhappy. It’s called strength!

Jesus didn’t call us to be Christians. He called us to be Disciples.

Jesus didn’t promise us a rose garden. He did guarantee that if we follow Him, we would have a joy no one can understand. Submission leads to happiness.

I can smile if I am hurting. I have Jesus, I have His strength and I can be happy in Him. I have Jesus and I have his courage.

“So what difference does it make who’s religious and who isn’t?” ~Apostle Paul

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God’s Goal

It isn’t about who was raised in the church and has a religious background. Paul is clear on that.

If the training leads to following our Master Jesus, the Messiah, that is great. It is not about the training. It is about doing what God wants. Every day!!

The mistake the religious make is to believe it is simply about showing up. God has a goal in mind for us. It is not about just showing up. It is about obedience. God wants us to love.

It is not about going to church. It is about having a passion for Jesus and doing what He wants us to.

It is about obedience.

It is about having a heart for God.

It is about living a free life basking in how good God is.

So what difference does it make who’s religious and who isn’t, who has been trained in God’s ways and who hasn’t? As it turns out, it makes a lot of difference—but not the difference so many have assumed.!” ~~Apostle Paul (Romans 3:1)

What is your desire from Jesus? What do you want from the Messiah?

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Passion

Passion

The Jews of Jesus day were practicing a very soul-killing spirituality, a lifeless religion of duty and obligation. Desire was out of the question. No wonder they feared Jesus.

Jesus, the Messiah, came along and started appealing to desire. Jesus, the Messiah, arouses passion in us. Jesus stirs our soul for longing.

To the weary, Jesus speaks of rest. To the lost, he speaks of finding your way.

Again and again and again, Jesus takes people back to their desires. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).

These are outrageous words, provocative words. Ask, seek, knock—these words invite and arouse desire.

What is it that you want? They fall on deaf ears if there is nothing you want, nothing you’re looking for, nothing you’re hungry enough to bang on a door over.

“When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” ~Apostle Paul

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Hope

Hope

It wasn’t that long ago that by missing God’s goal, I wasn’t living a very “smart” life. But God saved me from all of that. It was all His doing. He is God and in a very good mood.

It was not anything I could have figured out on my own. He gave me a very good bath. So I am all clean now by way of the Holy Spirit. He has been so generous to me.

Through Jesus, the Messiah, I am living a new life. What a gift to have my relationship restored with Him.

And there is more. I get to live this new life forever. No end to it at all. We are people of hope.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 TNIV

"Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how." ~~Jesus

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Suffering

I am mistaken to think that suffering is something to be avoided. Jesus challenges me to embrace it. That is what He did. That is how He lived.

Jesus, the Messiah, can show me how. He is my model for how to do it.

This is stunning as it requires that I change my mind about what is good for me and what isn’t.

It challenges me to depend on God completely for everything. Not just a few things but for every last thing.

God has a goal in mind for me. It includes suffering. I must embrace it. No running allowed.

Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” ~~Jesus (The Message John 9:25)

A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you won’t get very far unless you change it!

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A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you won’t get very far unless you change it!

My attitude about Jesus and who is in charge makes a huge difference. Jesus challenges me to change my mind (repent). It all starts there. It doesn’t end there though.

Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to love. May I change my attitude.

“Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.” ~~Apostle Paul

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Victory in Jesus

Victory in Jesus

Paul is clear. Jesus is about to arrive.

Jesus was also clear. No one knows the time that will happen. That is God’s business. God is God.

Is this a conflict?

I don’t think so. This is the way we should live. What if Jesus does come back soon? Are we living the way He wants us to?

Should we live like it won’t be soon? Not hardly.

Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.” ~~Apostle Paul  (Philippians 4:5 The Message) 

“But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love.” ~Apostle John

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Love One Another

Love One Another

How do we know we are keeping God’s word? Now that is a very reasonable question. God has said so much, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

The answer from the Apostle John (the one whom Jesus loved) is stunningly simple. Do we see God’s love in someone? Then they are keeping God’s word.

That is what it comes down to over and over again. Love god. Love everyone else. That is the summation of the word of God.

It is in fact the only way to be certain.

But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God.” ~~Apostle John  (1 John 2:5 The Message)

"Don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed with someone who is not your wife." ~~Jesus

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Jesus knows something and he wants religious people to understand it. Who we are is a result of what we think. If we think about committing adultery, we have done it. What makes us “UN-virtuous” is what we think, not what we do.

This is a huge thing to grasp. Jesus knows, for religious people, it is way to easy to “get around” moral rules and still violate the principle God has in mind every day. We need to change how we think (repent) about God’s word.

“Don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed with someone who is not your wife.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)

"You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day."~~Jesus

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Jesus challenges me to worship in a clear way. Sometimes I am just guessing. That is not the way of God’s chosen people.

God is light. He is so clear there is nothing but truth in Him. No guessing; just clarity.

Our worship needs to be the same way.

You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day.

~Jesus (John 4:22 The Message)

 

“First Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus on the cross

Jesus on the cross

It is so easy to get carried away. Paul had tried polished speeches before. Not much happened (this is detailed in the book of Acts). Am I depending on my cleverness or God’s power?

In God’s new plan, the order of the day is to depend on him. Plain and simple makes way for Him to do His work in people.

May I keep it plain. May I keep it simple. God will make it effective. That is His job.

You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2 

“If they had a clue about God’s eternal plan, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross.” ~ Apostle Paul

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Jesus challenges us

Jesus challenges us

We have lots of experts. And that is sometimes a good thing. The problem is that most experts don’t have a clue about what God’s eternal plan is.

And we shouldn’t expect them to but we do exalt their opinion beyond what we should. These experts existed when Jesus was here on earth. The didn’t have a clue then either.

It would have been impossible to kill Jesus if we understood what God intends. But we have all missed God’s goal for our life.

We would have killed him as well. No point blaming others. Jesus was the master of the life that God designed for us. And he was killed on a cross so that we could live that same way He did.

Imagine that.

“If they had a clue about God’s eternal plan, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross.” ~~ Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9 The Message)

“We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you!” ~Apostle Paul

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Be Thankful

Be Thankful

I have a job to do. I must continue and continue to thank God for those I have relationships with. I must not quit.

Being thankful forces me to see and love my friends and family in a different way. Thankfulness is at the heart of relationships.

And taking it further, have I told everyone why I am thankful for them? Do they know why?

We can’t quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you!” ~Apostle Paul (Colossians 1:3 The Message)

“Hold out your hand.” ~~Jesus

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Heartfelt experience with Jesus

Heartfelt experience with Jesus

One day Jesus went church where he found a man with a crippled hand. The religious leaders had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him go against the tradition of the church. As with most churches, they didn’t pray for people to be healed. Not in public and not in the church.

Jesus said to the man with the crippled hand, “Stand here where we can see you.” You can see it coming now. Jesus is going to openly challenge them all. He is going to do it publicly and clearly.

Jesus wants to know something. So He asked everyone in the church: “What kind of action suits Sunday the best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?”

What kind of answer did He get? No one said a word. Complete and utter silence. They didn’t have the capacity to advocate for doing good. They are uncomfortable to their core. We don’t have healing services in church. Not in this church and not during the Sunday service. Can’t we get the band to start playing again? Where is the praise leader? Isn’t the minister going to do something?

I don’t think I want to see this look Jesus gave them. When Jesus looked them in the eye, one after another, angry, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” I’m not sure he said this in the most loving way. A point was about to be made.

Here it is. Jesus was angry. He was furious. What happened to our kind and loving “Mr. Rogers like” savior? Jesus is not Mr. Rogers with a beard. Not hardly.

So the man held out his hand—it was as good as new!

The minister and deacons understood what was going on. They got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod’s followers and ruin him. That was their plan on how to deal with Jesus.

They could have accepted him but being the religious hypocrites that they were, they opposed and plotted against him. But the congregation didn’t do anything either.

And how does our religious leadership deal with Jesus today? Build a bigger building? Add more instruments to the band? Expand the children’s program?

What is Jesus’ plan? He is going to heal us.

Hold out your hand.

~~Jesus (Mark 3:5)

“His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.” ~John the Baptizer

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Good news of God

Good news of God

I love to hear God remind me that I have been changed from the inside out!! I am a new man. A new creation.

I have been baptized for the changing of my mind about my missing the mark of God’s goal for my life and raised to a new life with our Master. I have also been baptized in the Spirit of power and changed completely.

The enemy reminds me of the opposite, accusing and condemning me at every turn. His message whispers in my ear. Twisting reality and seeking to steal, kill and destroy me.

Our Master has good news for us all. Jesus reminds me of the message of love.

I must choose to believe the reality of our Master. May it be so every day!!!

The good news of Jesus the Messiah—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you; He’ll make the road smooth for you. Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!

John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.

Source: Mark 1:1-8

 

“God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus has rescued me from this evil world I’m in by offering himself as a sacrifice for my missing God’s goal for my life. That is good news. That is stunning in the scope of what that does in my life.

That is the kind of news that a loving Father can deliver. And that is the kind of Father we have. We have been rescued. Jesus did it for us.

God has a plan for us. It is a great plan. That plan starts with our rescue. That is not the end. That is the beginning.

We all need to have that experience. We need it every day.

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!

Source: Apostle Paul — Galatians 1:1-5

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” ~Isaiah

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The peace of Jesus

The peace of Jesus

There is peace and then there is a peace that is complete, nothing lacking at all. It envelopes us, wrapping us in His gifts.

I gain entrance to that peace with a mind that is focused on Him.

My trust in His direction keeps me safe and secure. No alarm system works like His love. Safe, secure, complete peace. That is the way of Jesus, the Messiah.

May I stay focused on Jesus.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

“It’s in the Messiah that you found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.” ~Apostle Paul

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Jesus is the Truth

Jesus is the Truth

Do I see that I have finished the most difficult part? In the salvation that Jesus offers me, I’m not quite there yet but I am home free.

The hard part is behind me. I have the Holy Spirit now and I am on my way to maturity in God.

What brings this about? We have heard the truth. That is the starting point.

And, having heard it, we believe the good news. We no longer listen to our enemy. We know that Jesus, the Messiah, has saved us from missing God’s goal for us.

We are home free.

It’s in the Messiah that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of  good news of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.

~Apostle Paul (Ephesians 1:13 The Message) 

"You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business."~~Jesus

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The time is right

The time is right

We always want to know when. Jesus followers wanted to know if Jesus was going to restore the Kingdom now. Would it be now? Will we get to reign now? Will we?

Jesus is always direct. There are things we don’t get to know. God is God. Timing is His business not ours.

That is all there is to it. We need to focus on what God wants us to do right not. That is all.

You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business.”~~Jesus (Acts 1:7 The Message)

“Summing up: …be sympathetic …. bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” ~Apostle Peter

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My job is to be sympathetic. No doubt about it. That leads to me being a blessing. It is way to easy to judge. That doesn’t help people at all. That is the way of the world.

God’s new plan is different. Be a blessing to others. That is my job to reach God’s goal.

May I be sympathetic. May I bless others.

Summing up: …be sympathetic …. bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Source: Apostle Peter – 1 Peter 3:8-12

“God has rolled up His sleeves” ~Isaiah

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Oh my goodness!! Our heavenly Father has rolled up His sleeves. He is at work. He is not sleeping.

Jesus isn’t tired. He is on the job. Everyone can see this. His muscles are bulging out, ready to help me.

What an image this creates for me. As I come into His presence, I can see God is ready. His sleeves are rolled up.

This creates the desire in me to “give thanks in all circumstances” because I see He is ready.

Woo Hoo!!! Our heavenly Father has rolled up His sleeves. God is God and God is great.

Boom it out, ruins of Jerusalem: “God has comforted his people! He’s redeemed Jerusalem!” God has rolled up his sleeves. All the nations can see his holy, muscled arm. Everyone, from one end of the earth to the other, sees him at work, doing his salvation work.

Source: Isaiah 52

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“We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.” ~~Apostle Paul

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Will I be proud when I stand before Jesus?

That is a stunning question. Think about it. Will I?

Do I live in His love or ashamed?

Do I live in condemnation, because of my enemy?

The answer is a resounding NO! Jesus has freed me from my life of missing God’s goal. I am living a new life.

May I live in His love. May I know how proud He is of me. May I know it in my soul.

We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.

Source: Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 1:14 The Message)
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