This is stunning and over the top. I am not what I think I am some times. In fact, Paul reminds me that I am, in fact, the temple of God and God is present in me.
This is rather startling and amazing. God is present in me. Do I always act that way? Clearly not.
If I always believed that I wouldn’t vandalize what is His.
Simple. Straightforward. Clear.
You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple.
Source: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Jesus isn’t interested popular opinion or what others think about Him. Jesus isn’t running for political office.
Jesus’ only goal is to please His Father. That is His complete focus.
Crowds would show up on a regular basis but sometimes He would say things and they would leave in disgust.
You can count on Jesus to say what God wants to be said. That may not be popular but we need a God like that.
We can count on Jesus.
“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds.” ~~Jesus
How do I spend my time?
Who do I keep company with?
Is it Jesus? Am I sitting at his feet?
I know the way to God. I must get in on the best!
3-4 Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
get in on the best.
We pay people to be critics. They make a living doing it. They sometimes even get fancy titles like consultants and commentators.
It seems to me we live in a culture of criticism. And it is taking hold more and more. I get sucked in some days. It is so easy to join in and judge.
It is too easy to see what God is not doing in someone’s life and not what He is doing.
Now none of us appreciate it when the tables are turned and the criticism is directed at us. It hurts. It feels unfair. It is cruel we think.
Jesus is clear on all of this. He is very direct. “Do not judge”. That is it. Don’t do it.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:1-4 TNIV Bible
Today is a day to persevere and stay on track with God. Jesus challenges me to pick up my cross and don’t quit.
I have hope that I’ll see God’s goodness. That hope keeps me moving.
My job is to take heart and hang in there.
Psalm 27:14 The Message (MSG)
13-14 I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with God.
Jesus calls me to maturity and to be a friend. It is my obedience and worship of God that leads me there.
Do I want to to know God and hear his innermost thoughts? Do I want God to confide in me?
I yearn for that kind of relationship with God.
I must keep my eyes on God. The relationship is the goal. The relationship is all that matters.
God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in. If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.
There are all types of ways I miss God’s goal for my life (sin). Some are just plain stupid. As my dad would say, “Not right bright”.
The stupid ones are when I think I can take over from God. This may be subtle but it is stunningly dumb on my part. God is God. I can’t take over from him.
Jesus knows the way. Jesus challenges me to “let go and let God” be in control of my life. Jesus knows that God can do anything.
There is a hidden treasure. That treasure is letting God be in control. That is the smart way in God’s world.
There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God wants us to build up courage in others. We all get discouraged and we hear our friends express it as we talk.
What do we do about it? We can sit on our hands. We can nod in sympathy. We can offer advice.
What God wants us to do is build up the courage in others. That is the best blessing we can offer.
But I also got it. Because of you God’s anger spilled over onto me. He said, “You aren’t getting in either. Your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will go in. Build up his courage. He’s the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel. And your babies of whom you said, ‘They’ll be grabbed for plunder,’ and all these little kids who right now don’t even know right from wrong—they’ll get in. I’ll give it to them. Yes, they’ll be the new owners. But not you. Turn around and head back into the wilderness following the route to the Red Sea.
Source: Deuteronomy 1:37-40
There are some things to be careful about. I must take responsibility for building myself up. In fact, I can listen to my-self, others, and the enemy in ways that takes me out of God’s love.
Praying in the Holy Spirit connects me with God’s love. If I am not feeling His love, I am not hearing Him.
I need to be ready for mercy.
Or am I looking for judgement?
The real life is about mercy. God is in a good mood and he is loving. All the time. No doubt about it.
That is the real life.
But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy supernatural courage by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus the Messiah. This is the unending life, the real life! Jude 1:20-21
I can’t do anything on my own. I need Jesus. That is all there is to it. It is all about Jesus.
I don’t have a lot. What can I do to make a difference? I can make an offering of my everyday, boring life, to God.
Where does my power come from? I can embrace what Jesus does for me. That gives me the power of Jesus.
Being “well adjusted” to the culture of my world does no good. Fitting in is useless. There is no point to it.
I must pay attention to God. That is the only thing that matters. What is his goal for me? I must know the answer to that question.
I can be changed from the inside out. It isn’t something I can do on my own. It is something Jesus can do for me. He wants to.
I can recognize what Jesus wants from me. It takes some effort but I can do it.
This is huge. God brings out the best in me, not the worst. Others bring out the worst. I bring out the worst. Not Jesus. That isn’t how he does things.
Jesus makes me mature. That is the goal. That is the end game.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Worry is not faith. Faith is obedience. God says go. I must go. God has a goal in mind for me. My job is to obey. Jesus challenges me to move to a higher level of believe.
I mustn’t ask anything else. I must just do what God asks. Nothing more, nothing less.
Can I obey even though I don’t know where I am going? Of course I can. But will I? Yes I will.
Now think about. God asks you go on a trip. Great. Where to? Just go, I’ll show you.
God wants us to follow the example of faith seen in Abraham. He may call me to go. He may not tell me where. He will show me.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
I am interested in how much of my time is “mere busywork”. Now stuff has to get done; there is laundry, cleaning, dishes and meals.
I don’t think that is what the Apostle Paul means. There are times where I have “the chance” to do what “the Master wants” as opposed to the dark world where the enemy entices me to do what I want.
What choice do I make? Each day is made of these moments.
- Am I evaluating my time in the light of what the Master wants?
- Is this what God wants me to do right now?
- When I am not doing what God wants, do I see that as a fraud to the way He wants me live?
May I drink huge droughts of the Spirit of God. May I understand what the Master wants.
Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of the Messiah.
Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; the Messiah will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus the Messiah.
Source: Ephesians 5:15-20
Mary was paying attention to what Jesus was saying. Martha was busy serving Jesus. Martha got upset that Mary wasn’t “helping”.
Jesus wants me to listen to Him first.
There is plenty of time for serving. Jesus knows this. He wants the serving to come from listening.
Jesus wants me to have a heart for God and His word. Love of God comes first. Jesus wants me to have priorities.
Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.” ~~Jesus (Luke 10:41-42 The Message)
I need to go after God. I want to be rich in helping others. I want to be extravagantly generous, just like Jesus, the Messiah.
I want to focus on building up treasures in Heaven that will last forever. I want to gain life that is truly life.
Life that is focused on building wealth here is not life at all.
God’s generosity will take care of what I need.
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
I have been given a gift. I didn’t earn it at all. I can do nothing to deserve it.
I am guilty. I have missed God’s goal for my life. There is no doubt about that. It is clear. I know it about myself. Everyone else knows it about me as well.
There is good news. Jesus has paid the price for me. I am saved from that life.
It is a gift.
Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty. ~~Steve Lawson
Oh how we value the articulate and charismatic preachers. The powerful of this world. The smart ones. The bright ones. The good looking ones.
That is not God’s way. That doesn’t impress Jesus.
There is a simplicity in telling others the good news about Jesus.
God’s power and the Holy Spirit is in the simplicity of that message. When we step into His way we won’t struggle with how good we sound.
We don’t have to. Jesus will use our simple words to convict and bring others to Him.
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 2:1-2
Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus knows what God is talking about. Jesus is God and can do anything he wants to.
Here is the good news, Jesus wants to introduce me and you to His Father. That is what it is all about.
Jesus wants me to have a passionate relationship with His Father. Jesus is the way to that relationship in the new plan of God. It is a new day with God through Jesus.
The Son can introduce the Father to anyone he wants to.” ~~Jesus (Luke 10:22 The Message)
Jesus says, “Come out of the boat”. Walk on water.
Take the throne he challenges. You are a king he tells me.
Be what God meant me to be. And that feels risky . . . really risky.
And I need more courage to bold for Jesus.
But it is also exciting. It is coming fully alive. In Him and for Him.
God is God. God can’t betray who he is.
God is good. God is lavish. God forgives me. God forgives me day after day. Minute after minute. Second after second.
I can find Jesus and his mercy right now. God is close to me. Will that always be true?
Jesus challenges me to change my mind and change my behavior. They go hand in hand.
God is good for sure. Jesus is lavish with forgiveness.
Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.
There are many things I don’t know. There is much to learn.
There is one thing I absolutely don’t know and that is the first thing about tomorrow.
Jesus challenges me to trust God. God knows and God will take care of me. Now that is some good news for sure!
Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow;
you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
Jesus is perfect. There is no blemish in him at all.
Jesus brought us peace with God. His sacrifice for us made us whole with God. We are no longer separated from God, an enemy to his ways.
Thank God that Jesus lived as a man but lived perfectly every day. Thank God Jesus made the sacrifice for me. Thank God for that peace.
If your offering is a Peace-Offering and you present an animal from the herd, either male or female, it must be an animal without any defect.
There is a fear that paralyzes me. It is the concern about what you think of me.
Will I post this on Facebook and Twitter?
Will I speak out at work?
Why am I afraid?
The answer is staggering. I don’t trust God is why. If I did trust God, I wouldn’t care what others thought of me. The only opinion that would matter would be God’s.
God has promised to be with me. If God is with me, who can be against me?
The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.
God doesn’t do things half way or half hearted. God is all in. God is all in all the time.
God sent Jesus, the Messiah, to finish what had been started. Jesus completed God’s assignment. Nothing has been left undone.
God’s goal for me is to do the job and do it well. God wants me to be all in.
Look out! God’s hurricane is let loose,
his hurricane blast,
Spinning the heads of the wicked like dust devils!
God’s raging anger won’t let up
Until he’s made a clean sweep
completing the job he began.
When the job’s done
you’ll see it’s been well done.
God is God.
More importantly, God is my God.
I serve the one and only, true living God. There is no other.
It is one thing to know that God is God. It is everything to know that he is my God. That is the main thing.
Jesus came to show us God and to give us a relationship with God. Through Jesus, I get to know God and understand what he wants me to do.
This is to be your regular, daily Whole-Burnt-Offering before God, generation after generation, sacrificed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. That’s where I’ll meet you; that’s where I’ll speak with you; that’s where I’ll meet the Israelites, at the place made holy by my Glory. I’ll make the Tent of Meeting and the Altar holy. I’ll make Aaron and his sons holy in order to serve me as priests. I’ll move in and live with the Israelites. I’ll be their God. They’ll realize that I am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live with them. I am God, your God.
Jesus offers me life. And He offers it now.
I receive it by listening to His voice. Once I hear His voice I must not delay in responding. He expects me to obey.
Jesus can offer life because God has put him in charge of everything. God has given him the authority to act and to give life.
May we hear his voice and come alive.
“The time has arrived—I mean right now!—when dead men and women will hear the voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive.”
Jesus gives us power. I have power to bless and I have power to curse.
I must be careful. I must choose to bless. That is God’s goal for me.
There is a reward in blessing. There are not so great consequences in cursing.
There is a subtlety to it all. I am annoyed with a family member. I say something very negative about them. It is clear I am not wishing them well. It is a curse on them. I must be careful.
Today God has a goal for me. My job is to bless everyone I come in contact with.
Jacob came close and kissed him and Isaac smelled the smell of his clothes. Finally, he blessed him,
Ahhh. The smell of my son
is like the smell of the open country
blessed by God.
May God give you
of Heaven’s dew
and Earth’s bounty of grain and wine.
May peoples serve you
and nations honor you.
You will master your brothers,
and your mother’s sons will honor you.
Those who curse you will be cursed,
those who bless you will be blessed.
Am I sulking spiritually and feeling sorry for myself, just because I can’t see one inch in front of myself?
Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but it is learning to do what I am told.
Have I heard Him?
God is speaking. My goal is to hear him and act.
Jesus is challenging me to grow up. My goal is become mature like he is mature.
Then what am I waiting for?
Are you living for-Today or are you living in-Forever?
Is your life bringing Regret or Reward?
In this 5-Minute Message, author and pastor Francis Chan uses a rope as a visual illustration to discuss how to change our perspective about today so we can start living In-Forever.
There is always the question of why looming in front us.
Why did God allow that to happen?
The arrogance I have some days to question God is stunning. I am embarrassed by it.
God says so. God is God. God doesn’t answer to us.
That is all I need to know. God has issued the orders.
And why? Because God says so.
He’s issued the orders.
On days I am not working, sometimes I feel like taking a nap. So … I do.
It feels great. It is a treat to be able to do it.
I am reminded that God, however, is always working for us. He doesn’t take naps. He doesn’t even know how to snore.
And that is a good word to believe in for sure.
Jesus calls on me to be a person of hope.
God gives me the Holy Spirit so I can brim over with hope.
God is the God of hope. I am eager to receive the gifts of God. God will be faithful and they will all be mine.
With God’s hope in me, I am at peace. There is a calm that I have that energizes me.
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
There are some things that just aren’t possible with us. We can’t please God without faith.
With faith, nothing is impossible.
One aspect of faith that can be overlooked is that God cares enough to respond if we seek Him. If I believe that He cares, I know that God will respond.
It is interesting that it is not just believing God exists. God exists AND he cares. God is in a good mood. A critical part of faith is believing that fact.
May I know how much our heavenly Father cares for me.
May I focus on believing that in my heart and soul.
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 MSG (The Message)
I can count on God. God sees the whole picture and pulls it all together for me.
I rely on the direction that Jesus points me to. There is nothing complicated about it at all. Jesus is reliable. We all know it to be true.
Following Jesus gives me joy and pleasure. God’s way is like that.
The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
King David – Source: Psalm 19 MSG – A David Psalm God’s glory is on tour – Bible Gateway
Jesus demands that I get the point. I need to see Jesus. I need to have a passionate relationship with His Father.
Reading the Bible and missing Him is pointless. Being religious and not in a loving relationship with God is vast waste of time and energy.
I want to get it. I want to be in love with Him.
May I see the forest. The Bible doesn’t give me eternal life. Jesus does.
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me!” ~~Jesus (John 5:39-40 The Message)
Like a good parent, Our God knows how to keep it simple. Only 3 things on God’s list of “to dos” for me today.
I can remember that.
I can focus on that.
… And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
How amazing is it that God wants discretion to protect us and understanding to guard us? It is stunning. God is in a very good mood and is looking out for me.
Jesus is so good to show us what we need to know and how we need to act.
Jesus cares for us like no other. He is good and looking out for our best interest.
May wisdom enter my heart. May knowledge be pleasant to my soul.
For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease,
without fear of harm.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
~King Solomon – Source: Proverbs 1:32-33; 2:9-11
If I asked my family, friends and colleagues if it is clear that I am on their side, what would the answer be.
I am not sure and I am uncomfortable with that.
Jesus challenges me to love and be on the side of all I meet. That should be clear. Is it?
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
What does God want me to do today?
God has a goal in mind for me. Jesus challenges me to understand it and do it.
That is the focus. Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing. That was it.
May I focus on what God wants me to do and do it with all my strength.
Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do – then do it with all your strength.” ~George Washington
Creating a culture of the testimony has unlocked many dimensions of the power of the testimony that we believe are keys to transformation in our city.
For example, we regularly see the prophetic power of the testimony released as people encounter individuals who need miracles and minister to them by sharing how God has solved the same problem in the lives of others. Often no other kind of ministry is needed–the person simply hears the testimony and finds that God has just “done it again” for them in that very moment. But we are also learning how to do this same thing on a larger level.
When we hear statistics about the high divorce rate or poverty in our community, for example, we are intentionally starting to collect testimonies of healed marriages and financial breakthrough. In doing so, we arm ourselves so that when we inevitably encounter the “statistics” around us, we are ready with stories tailor-made for their situations.
But we also take time to declare these testimonies over our city. By releasing the prophetic anointing in this way, we sow into a shift in the atmosphere. We make the places of our greatest weakness and brokenness targets for the invasion of heaven, knowing that heaven’s way is to perfect strength in weakness.
There is a lot to know in life. Most of them aren’t critical.
Where does my strength come from? Now that is an important question. When I ignore the answer and pretend I can work it out myself, disaster is right around the corner.
My strength comes from God. Jesus is the source of all power and Jesus will provide me strength.
God is God and God is great. Nothing is ever, ever, ever impossible for God.
I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
Originally I was scheduled to fly on a flight out of Boston that morning. I had changed my plans to fly from Syracuse. We had a large meeting going on in our office. There was a TV in the meeting room. A colleague alerted me that I needed come in and see what was happening. We all gathered around the TV to see what was going on.
We saw the second plane hit. We saw both towers go down. We saw the devastation to the Pentagon. We heard of the flight going down in Pennsylvania. All in real time as it happened.
Each event was a blow to our gut.
Who could do this to us?
Why were we being attacked and Americans dying?
What was happening and what would be next?
It was horrible. We couldn’t make it stop. This was real and not a nightmare.
We had staff gathered from all over New York state. Some were from the NYC metro area. We sent everyone home to be with their families.
I just wanted to be close to my son and he came home from school early. I hugged him. We sat and watched TV for days until I just couldn’t stand it any more.
I will NEVER forget that day. It was September 11, 2001.
So … here we are on September 11, 2016 still fighting against the radical Islamist Jihad. Who would have thought.
When God brings about what is otherwise impossible, there can be no mistake that God did it. It is easy to say the words, “Nothing is impossible with God”, but to act on them and live by them is another.
May I take the limits off my thinking and have courage to speak and act like I really believe God can do anything.
Truly, nothing is impossible with God. Therefore, nothing Jesus the Messiah plans for me is impossible if I can believe it.
My prayer is “Do whatever You need to do in me, through me, for me, by me, and with me.”
The message is actually pretty simple. The message is Jesus, the anointed Messiah, King of God’s world.
It is only about Jesus. I can’t add to that and I can’t take away from that.
That focus will lead to maturity.
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: the Messiah is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach the Messiah, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. the Messiah! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.~Apostle Paul
There are a lot of things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. Who won the baseball game is interesting but not essential.
There are three things I know. Those haven’t changed and are more important now more than ever.
- God is God. He is in control, not our government or anyone in our government. We are citizens of His Kingdom. Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one of God. Jesus is in charge.
- God is great. Nothing is impossible with Him. God has it all planned out. God will make it happen.
- God is good. He has some really great stuff in store for us.
God is God.
God makes things right. God is the only one who can.
I clearly can’t. Justice isn’t within my grasp.
God is a God of justice. Jesus, the Messiah, has been given all authority and is committed to God like no other.
God will make things right. I can count on that.
I thank God for that. I am eternally grateful.
I’m thanking God, who makes things right.
I’m singing the fame of heaven-high God.
I am a very fortunate man. My father gave me excellent advice. I don’t know that he saw that was doing that but he was.
Or maybe he knew what he was doing. Maybe it wasn’t haphazard.
Regardless, his wisdom serves me well. When I heed it, I am successful.
Then, this is the very cool thing. I have a heavenly Father who is amazingly wise. He sent his son Jesus to show me wisdom and does so every day. My earthly father led me to my heavenly Father.
Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.
He challenges me that I can do better than how religious leaders approach God’s world (Kingdom). He wants me to start from the knowledge that this is God’s world. He is in charge. It is not a democracy.
Jesus wants me to love God more than anyone or anything. He wants me to love everyone I come in contact in a very real and concrete way.
Jesus knows I can do better and it doesn’t start by emulating religious leaders.Tough but true.
Unless you do far better than religious leaders in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering God’s world.” ~~Jesus (Matthew 5 The Message)
We are all on a mission given to us by the Messiah Jesus Himself. I am not exempt. God has a goal for me. I must focus on what it is today.
It has all been planned by God. The details are His and not mine.
Jesus has our steps lined out. We must be faithful to His way.
It is good news. No detail has been left out.
It is only through Jesus the Messiah that we have true equality. It isn’t achieved by any other means. It is not a political issue at its core.
Jesus, through his life, death and resurrection, guarantees we are all on equal footing. As children of God, we will receive our inheritance.
Imagine that. We are all equal heirs.
In the Messiah’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus the Messiah. Also, since you are the Messiah’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.
Jesus challenges to keep moving ahead. Don’t stop. Don’t give up.
We are a people of hope. We know how the story ends.
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” ~~Nelson Mandela
I have been thinking about this lately. I should prepare. That is a very good thing. But I have no victory without the LORD.
Do I see this as much as I should? No I don’t. I trust in my preparations and plans. I’ve got is all planned out. Or so I think.
It is so simple but so hard some days.
I want to run in and “fix” things. Holding back for the LORD’s will and wisdom is needed so very much. In His new plan, the victory is His always.
May the victory always rest with the LORD and not my preparation.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.
Proverbs 21:31 NIV
God knows exactly how much I can handle. God is God and God is Great. God will see me through to the end. There is no doubt about it. It is all about God and has nothing to do with me.
I need to trust my struggle. Jesus struggled. Jesus cried out to God. Jesus trusted God and trusted God would see him through to the end. Jesus promised us that in the world we would have trouble.
God is in a good mood. God is my heavenly Father and loves us. God has nothing but good in mind for me.
Jesus has given me His authority. I am His ambassador to His world (Kingdom) here on earth.
I fully represent Jesus. If this world rejects Jesus they reject God who sent Him.
Jesus calls on me, in fact demands of me, to get this deep in my soul. When I command things to happen, in the name of Jesus, they happen.
I represent Him. Lock, stock and barrel. No doubts about it. Jesus said so.
The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me. ~Jesus
Jesus was totally focused on the new plan and doing what God wanted all the time. Nothing we are going through is even close to what He went through.
Yet, I need to think like Him. I need to learn. God has me in the “right place”, no matter what I think.
And how did Jesus think? Jesus only did what he saw his father doing. Jesus focused on what God wanted. All the time.
May I learn to think like Jesus.
Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him.” ~~Apostle Peter (1 Peter 4:1-2 The Message)
Jesus challenges us to keep at it. The key to victory is to depend on God and keep at it.
Don’t give up. Don’t quit.
God is God. Jesus will sustain us. Our job is to not give up. God’s job is to sustain us. God is faithful. God will do his part. Will I do mine?
At that time, this song
will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
build their lives on the reclaimed land.
God is gracious. It is all God, through his son Jesus, and not anything I do.
God is in a good mood and compassionate. That is the way God is.
When I call out to God, he listens to me. Jesus is my advocate, sitting next to God, having defeated death. I have the Holy Spirit in me, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
God makes things right. That is just the way it is.
It is all about God and his graciousness. I has nothing to do with me.
I love God because he listened to me,
listened as I begged for mercy.
He listened so intently
as I laid out my case before him.
Death stared me in the face,
hell was hard on my heels.
Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn;
then I called out to God for help:
“Please, God!” I cried out.
“Save my life!”
God is gracious—it is he who makes things right,
our most compassionate God.
God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.
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.
I know that our heavenly Father
can be extravagant.
I know that He can be
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.
Bask in that.
Experience that over and over.
Our heavenly Father IS.
Is more than EXTRAVAGANT!!
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.