Monday, September 30, 2013

Stress or success how does your day begin?

Two ways you will start the day, today, stressful or successful! Which do you think will help you accomplish more? Psalm 139:14

If we could just start our day focused on the One who created our day, how much differently would our day go? We may never know, if we never start. It's all in the kind of relationship we have with Jesus. We can get stuck on circumstances, what we can see, or our faith will grow, in the hope of what we cannot see. Just because a situation looks and even feels bad, does not make it so.

Most times it just comes back to us, how we are feeling, or how we are perceiving what a day may bring. The funny thing is, we do not have any control over what the day brings, but we do in how we perceive it! One thing we always have is ourselves, our perception of us can dictate how the day will go. It will either begin stressful or successful.

If we could stop for a moment, before we journey out the door, and thank God for who we are. Not already deem the day a failure because of what we think may happen or take place. We can let our feelings control the outcome of the day. Or we can enter it with victory, because of Who we have been created in the image of???

How about you? Are you joining the many people out there who hate Mondays, most are even not sure Why. Or, are you willing to stop take a look at you and set your sights back where they need to be. On the One who made you better than all that? Can we stop and just be grateful that God has given us a new day, instead of just another Monday?

Our day needs to begin as the Psalmist day began. With a heart of gratitude, a life with something to offer instead of a life with false expectations. Can we take our eyes off of us and put them back on God and just say thank You? I believe if we can come to this kind of relationship again, if we can ask God to change our thinking, we would have more stress to success stories.

How about you? What is your excuse today? Who are you in the stronger relationship with, the world and yourself, which can bring discouragement and disappointment, or are you willing to refocus your life and turn it back to the One who wants to lift your burdens and set you free? How do you feel about yourself right now, are you just existing, or have you been created for something more wonderful?

Psalm 139:14, "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows very well. ESV

How is your day beginning, same as everyone else? Or have you set your sights far beyond what you can only see? God has made you better than that. He has wonderfully made you, to rise above the stress and achieve that wonderful gift of success.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Stress or success, how will your day begin? It's all up to you!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Surrendered or needing too?

When you say to God, Thy will be done and not mine, what are you really saying? Matthew 26:39, 42

As Jesus was facing the cross, He was facing it with much anguish. Even knowing that was why He came, He was just showing His humanity! He portrayed a son going to have a discussion of the upcoming event, an event that would take His life! Who better to spend this time of decision with, than the Father? To share His heart and His feelings, yet knowing what the answer would be.

Jesus said, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Again Jesus said, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from me unless I drink it, Your will be done."

Twice Jesus said, no matter what Father Your will be done. When we come before the Father with our trials and tribulations, what do we truly mean when we say those words? Are we really giving all to the Father, knowing the answer already? Or are we just saying words because we still want to be in control? When we say Your will be done, are we saying? As long as it goes with what I want to do Father all will be fine?

Well that is not what Jesus was saying at all, what He said in essence was, I know what I am feeling Dad, but I know this is what You sent me for! I, as well as many Christians out their use the term Thy will be done, but do we really mean it? Are we willing to trust the Father? Are we truly trusting in His plan for us? We cannot use those words lightly and expect major results, if we are not completely surrendered!

When Jesus used the words, Your will be done, He was saying, Father I completely surrender! I am in no way turning back, I want to do it Your way because I know You are in control. When we can come to this point, not just saying words, but believing with our whole heart, without doubting. We have become truly surrendered. If we say the words and do not mean them, we are telling God we have a trust issue!

If you are struggling today, right now, or have been for a time. We need to ask ourselves, is this truly Gods will for me, or have I gotten in the way again? Can we come to the place in our walk with Him, that we can just say by faith, "not as I will, but as You will." Leave it at that and move on? It is only then, that we will feel the freedom of surrender overwhelm us, and the feeling finely, of His peace to sustain us!

Pray this prayer, Father I come before You humbled, I come before You confessing I have done it long enough by my will. Father forgive me for getting in the way, help me to be grateful for all I go through for it is a lesson of life refined by fire. And when I emerge from the flames I will be right where You wanted me all along, and feel the peace of being in Your will! Amen

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hope comes only through change!

If you are not willing to change, do not expect things around you to change! Acts 16:28-31

We walk through our everyday lives with some expectation of change, and wonder why we go through the things we do? Sometimes we need to stop and take a closer look at us, at our situation, and determine are we truly where we need to be in life? What is missing? Why this empty void I continually need to fill? Why do circumstances around me seem to close in and smother me?

The answer, change. Genuine change that can only take place with the help of a Savior and the gift of His Holy Spirit. Even then change continues, but in different ways. We may still go through some rough times, but never with the doubts we have now! But with hope in the fact God is with us always.

The Philippian jailer was just like us. He went to work everyday and even probably did a wonderful job. The worrisome part of his job though, if a prisoner escaped he had to answer for whatever the conviction was. Now that is stress and pressure to endure! If the prisoner had a death sentence, and escaped the jailer would have to answer. Pretty tough job!

Glad it is not like that today, aren't you? But with the stresses of today's society don't we face stresses? Stresses where we want to give up? We work for companies who really put no value in us but only in the profit margin. Like the jailer we see no hope of things getting better, we see no light at the end of the tunnel, only discouragement.

 We are not even facing the death penalty, yet still we struggle with no hope, no way out, no happiness or success! The jailer was desperate, he felt he had no place to turn. You see there was an earth quake and the jail cells were all opened. Before making an evaluation he determined all the prisoners had escaped. He never took time to see the whole picture. He just saw open cell doors and knew he would have to answer.

We get into those types of situations in our lives don't we? We have a job where we handle money, and the drawer comes up short. Someone has to answer, and generally it is you. It was your drawer, you are responsible. You may have been on break and someone else jumped on your registrar for a moment, and made a big error. Yet you did not see them, you were not there so you have no proof, now you are being held accountable.

Can and has happened. Now you are being forced to defend yourself, your integrity is being challenged. You have been faithful employee for years, now your job is on the line. A job you need, you cannot afford to be out of work, and to make matters worse you have been fired for stealing. What do you do? Where and who do you turn to?

  As the Philippian jailer had Paul and Silas, whom by the way had been falsely imprisoned and beaten, we have someone in our lives, we have heard talking and praising Jesus as their Lord. When the Jailer thought he had no hope, was discouraged, and ready to just give up, he heard the voice of Paul, and remembered the song on his lips, even in his dispare!

He ran and asked them, "what must I do to change my situation, my hopeless circumstances?" Paul's answer, "believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Not only would his life change and again experience hope, but it would flow to his family!

How about you? What is your hope in? A job, people, maybe even things? When you have no more hope, when your tired of being let down and discouraged, remember the voice you once heard. Remember when that one person shared Jesus with you, and you felt you had no need of Him at that time. Remember the one voice who declared Jesus can make a difference in your life.

Believe in the Lord Jesus, call upon Him as Lord of your life, believe that he died for your sins and on the third day rose from the grave. All that He did with you in mind always. Find hope in the midst of turmoil and confusion, find Jesus today!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Functioning in a dysfunctional world!

Show me a family that claims they are not dysfunctional, and I will show you a dysfunctional family! Genesis 37:1-4
No one, and I mean no one, can say they function correctly everyday. I once had a a lady in a church we attended, ask me, are you this happy all the time? I always went around hugging and had a smile for everyone. My answer, and I am being completely honest here, was a big NO! I told her if she wanted to know just ask my family.

We need to be that honest with people, there are no perfect families in the world. Everyone deals with something. Everyone has someone in the family that throws a kink into life, throws a little off balance into family, sometimes even more. Where the trouble really exists in our lives, when we can really see a dysfunctional situation, and we don't admit it!

The only reason people will not admit they have problems, they are trying to portray themselves as perfect. Having it all together, all life's problems and questions answered. They do not realize that in all reality folks have seen beyond what they portray. No one can really hide dysfunction, one way or another it just creeps out.

But what we all need to understand here is this, God uses dysfunction. He uses it and us for His good purposes. We read all through scripture about dysfunctional families and how God worked in them and through them to make a difference in others. I truly believe, if we are not dysfunctional we cannot be used of God! Think about that for a moment. If we are perfect we have no need of God!

God had a plan for Joseph, and if you read about his family and his life you will see a whole lot of dysfunction. His dad was a deceiver, his mom came from a selfish family, and his brothers were jealous and disliked him very much. Yet through all that, and following Joseph's life in Genesis, you will see, God had a plan and Joseph was part of that plan, dysfunction and all!

But what is truly being shown is not the dysfunction itself, but how a young man in the midst of all that chaos, was able to keep his integrity. He was able to stand in the face of adversity, handle life's problems because he lived them. He did not bemoan his situation, he used his situation to keep him strong. But most importantly as you read about his life, God was with him always, and Joseph knew that with his whole heart.

If you are embarrassed about your life and your family, don't be, read about Joseph, as God was with him, He is also with you! Yes, right in the very midst of dysfunction, God is there. When you see that and know that, it is right then, God can and will use you. He will take the dysfunctional and make it functional as only He can.

But first you have to be honest, and instead of hanging your head, lift you eyes to God and say, "Lord I know if you can use Joseph, You have a plan for me! In the midst of all this confusion keep me focused. Help me feel Your presence always even in the midst of the storm. Help me to be honest and not embarrassed, knowing that You love me no matter what and want to use me, dysfunction and all!      

Monday, September 23, 2013

Armored or unarmed?

I was reminded just how much of a spiritual battle we are under, and how we need to focus more on Jesus and His word! It is never, no matter what we feel or think, a flesh and blood thing! Pray, get in the word, come before Him with thanksgiving, and know He is God. Allow Him to do what He does best. Never forgetting we have an adversary, the devil a liar and the father of lies!

 Ephesians 6:10-18,10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, ESV

 John 8:44 b,When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ESV

It is only by God's power and might that we are able to conquer Satan and his fiery darts, his deceptions and lies! We need to truly learn what our dangers are. It is not in what we see, but in what we do not see. There is where danger lurks always. We need  be truly cautious in how we proceed, in how we view situations around us.

We need to be powered up daily. Asking God for spiritual discernment in our lives, that we do not misinterpret what is truly happening around us. That we do not step out to fast, and cause more harm, actually helping the devil, because we were unarmed! So be cautious in what and how we do things and approach life.

Pray daily, get in God's word our manual, for spiritual living, in a spiritually dark world. Ask for wisdom in all things, knowing the devil would love to keep us off balance in our walk. He does not need our help in anything, and sometimes we do just that when we fail to get armored up!!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do we have sharpeners in our life?

I have learned something that has been growthful. When someone criticizes and or corrects you, they may be just the one, who truly loves you!  Proverbs 27:17

No one is perfect, no one has it all together. Some may think they do, yet if they are truly honest with themselves, they would see truth. And if that was the case we would have no need of a Savior. I know of only one who was perfect, Jesus, only He could take care of what we could not! Yet people get caught up in themselves.

As a Pastor, I have been told, and heard many times, if your flock comes to you every Sunday and tells you how great your message was, well I think you get the picture here! We need people around us who will love us with truth, genuine honesty. Sometimes we need to be told, hey that was not your best message, or you could have handled that much differently!

When we are approached with those kinds of critics, it is not always bad. It may just be the very thing we need to hear, the thing that will help us grow. And keep your feet firmly planted and your spirit humbled. I always tell the congregation, never think or feel you have arrived, never feel you know too much. When that is done, you cannot be taught, or learn anymore, that is a dangerous place to be.

We need to the type of people around us that sharpen our skills, challenge us to reach a little further. People who are not attacking us, as we have those also, but bringing positive criticisms and corrections! Those who are hungry also, those who cannot get enough of God and just want more. When ever I hear someone tell me, no matter what and how they have done things, people always give them compliments. I get concerned!

For us to truly learn and grow, we cannot always be right! If we are told we are enough, that one time, someone tells us, hey you could have done that different. We get offended and hurt, why? Because people would not be completely honest with us. How do I know this? Been there, have done just that, it is a very dangerous place!

We need to be sharpened, even a knife gets dull when used enough, why wouldn't we? We need to be renewed, refreshed, and sharpened at times, we need those people around us. Not because they can do it better, no! It is because they know we can be better, and they are willing to come along side us to do just that.

Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How is your wow today?

Some days we wake up and say wow, and other days we wake up and say oh wow! This is not just another day, if you are reading this you are alive, and that is a great day! And God should get the glory!

 Psalm 117:1-2-Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples. For great is His steadfast love for us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

The sad part for most of us is, lack of relationship with our Creator. We forget that He sent His Son so we could have life, and have it more abundantly! We forget how grateful we should be that the very breath in our bodies is a gift from God! He loves us so much, He cares about everything we do, yet we forget Forget to spend time, to just fellowship with Him.

Take some time today, say thank you God for the time you always give me. Thank you for loving me so much, you sent Your Son to Calvary, for me! I ask your forgiveness that my time has been spent on things I have no control of! I want to just back up and give You praise, and say, WOW, I have an awesome God that loves me so much!

Wow! I am so blessed to have this gift of life one more day, and I will praise You, Lord, with my whole heart! I will remember the times before I met You. Just to have them remind me, that today with You, no matter how bad, is so much greater than my best days then! Wow, is what I want happening in my life today because it is a gift not just a happening, not just another day!

How is today going for you, is it a WOW kind of day, or is it just an oh wow kind of day? There is a difference if you truly think about it. What will you do with today? Will you waste it treating it as just another day? Or will you come before God, and give Him a big WOW of gratitude because you are alive, you are a gift?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Are we Pastor's or buddies?

The problem in the church today, is not much different than the church long ago, we have a few people doing a whole lot, and a lot of people doing very little! We need to get them on meat to get them on their feet! 
I Corinthians 3:1-3, Hebrews 5:12-13

The one thing I hear the most from Pastors, "you cannot force feed anyone." As I understand that, we cannot make excuses for them either! We need always to be encouraging growth. We need to be excited about being in the word in so many different ways. Sharing testimonies, sharing what God is doing. It is a living word, and if it is not living in us as Pastor's, we cannot expect it in others.

It should discourage us more that people are not hungry, are not seeking, are not desiring to grow and be stronger. I have always said, "I would rather run folks off with the word, letting the word do what is does, and not giving people excuses why they cannot be more involved." When folks come to us as Pastor's, and tell us what they cannot do, what do we do?

In some cases, so we will not chase people away, we certainly don't want the numbers and giving to drop! We tend to allow people to get by, we allow their excuses to control them instead of the word and the Holy Spirit! We allow words like I can't in the body. When we do this we are contradicting God's word! 

Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Not some things, not a few things, but all things! When we give in to peoples excuses for lack of growth and involvement, we are telling them is God is limited. He cannot do all things in them! One reason may be, do we as Pastor's really believe God can do all things through us? The Apostle Paul was discouraged with this kind of activity in the body and challenged them. He was not worried about feelings or friendships. He was concerned with their relationships with God!

What we have to ask ourselves, are we Pastor's or buddies? Are we more concerned with church growth, numbers, or spiritual growth, quality? We need to ask ourselves, are we preaching the whole counsel of God or are we watering it down so not to offend? Are we comfortable with people just sitting on the word or standing on the word?

I Corinthians 3:1-4,"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal?

When your congregation feels you are their buddy instead of their Pastor, these are the things that can happen in the body. We need to be pushing them to be in the word, to pray, to grow in their relationship with Jesus. That may mean we are not too popular. But we are being Pastor's, and at times we are not going to be the most popular person in church.

We are not God and we cannot force them to change, but we can challenge them with the word, in love, and let God's word do what He promised it would do! It will not return void! Pastor or buddy, numbers or quality, friendship or relationship? It is up to us as Pastor's, Sunday school teachers, group leaders, to preach the word, be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (II Tim. 4:2)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Your name will be written, but where?

Two books will be opened one day, one great, and one not good, yet both for eternity! Where will your name be written? Revelations 20:12

Jesus himself, after he had sent out the 72, upon their return were excited about all they had been able to do. The demons were subject to them, and they were so excited about that, yet Jesus pointed them to what they truly needed to remember. Where their names were written. The true gift and the source of their joy should be that before anything else. (Luke 10:1-20)

Jesus told them, "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20, NKJV

Why did he tell them that, why the importance on where their names were written? Because, that is what we are truly called to do, share what God has done for us through Jesus Christ! If we indeed express that same, or more joy over where our names are penned. What greater testimony could we be to a loss and dying world?  

Also it is a daily reminder to us, of how blessed were truly are, not only did Jesus die for our sins, yet when we received Him as Lord and Savior of our souls, He put our names in the book, the Lambs book of life. Why rejoice in that? Because there is another book spoken about, where no one should want their name written!

That is why Jesus said do not get caught up in all you can do in the Spirit, without first remembering where your name has been written for eternity! Rejoice first that your name is written in heaven, in the Book of Life, then rejoice in all the other. By this we can draw people to the kingdom, knowing where your name is written is so important. Many do not!

Where is your name written today? Do you know for sure, or have you been living by your feelings? One day the books will be open, both with names in them, both for eternity! Are you rejoicing in the things you can do more than rejoicing in your salvation? 

If you truly believe in what Jesus did on the cross, died was buried, and on the third day rose from the grave. And, as you received Him as Lord and Savior of your life, where your name is written, should cause you to shout daily! If not, your name will still be written in a book, but a book that will condemn you to an eternity of wailing and gnashing of teeth and yes there will be shouting, but not of joy!

Revelations 20:12-15, " And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things that were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

I rejoice that my name is written in the Lambs Book of Life, is yours? Or are you written in the other book? The choice is yours, rejoice in the things that really matter, where your name is written! Because one day! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Our thinking or God's thinking?

When you think you know something, there is a good chance you don't. Slow down, think it through, until you know for sure!

Romans 12:2-Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Sometimes in our walk with the Lord, we come to a place where we have much knowledge. It is at that point, we either use it for the good, or we abuse it to our detriment! Knowledge used correctly can take you  to a lot of places, especially with the people God puts in your life. Abuse that knowledge and watch them all run for the hills.

No one likes to be around someone who is a know it all. They love to be around someone who, with the knowledge they have gained, uses it to serve those around them. In the world knowledge is a tool that is self serving. To God knowledge is a tool to better serve Him and to know what His will is for your life, and the life of the church.

If the knowledge you have gained does not benefit the whole body, than it is self serving and selfish. In most cases that is what happens in the life of a student of the word, if not correctly guided, and encourage to seek all of God's counsel daily! We should never come to the point in our walk with the Lord, that we have arrived, we know all there is to know. When we do that it is a type of stagnation and a joyless Christian life.

To know God's will, we have to continually be in His word and prayer. Always remember that, and you will never stop growing. Forget that along the way and a battle will ensue in your life, you will begin to question everyone, your joy will slowly begin to leave. And you will slowly begin to feel you don't fit in, and you are not getting anything or learning anything.

How do I know that? Because I allowed myself to get caught in that trap some years ago. I memorized, I studied, I learned and gained a ton of knowledge, just to use it to my advantage. Sad to say the result of ill gotten knowledge would lead to a prideful downfall for a time! But God remained faithful in my life, brought me back to my senses.

I began to truly hear Him again, what a relief and a deliverance! To be a pastor and not hear God for a time is frightening and fearful to say the least!  To be humbled by God is uncomfortable yet refreshing, to regain true knowledge a blessing! I never want to know it all, and we as Pastor's should never either! We should hunger like we were just saved!

We need always to be renewing our minds as believers, that we can discern God's will and know what to do. How to move with the confidence that can only come through the knowledge that is true. Because we have humbled ourselves to know, that learning is continuous and true joy comes through true knowledge, and discerning God,s will, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Days like today are reminders to us. We are not invincible, we are down but not out. We are a people who, when pushed to the brink have come together and stood strong! We must never forget, when we do that we are defeated already! We must always remember how we turned to God in our time of despair and prayed, we must never forget!

In the good times or the bad times God has been there, we must never forget! We think, we must never turn our backs on the enemy, yet we turn our backs to God, we must never forget! The reminder here is, God was wonderful and we turned to Him in our most desperate times.  He was there, He brought together united, we must never forget!

God said "I will never leave you or forsake you." What about us will we forsake God, even when we have seen what He has done, gotten us through the storm? We must never forget, for when we do, we are defeated already!!

Come to Jesus if you have not, "Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is a favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. II Corinthians 6:1-2

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Freedom really?

God, will always let you do things your way for a while, waiting for you to come to your senses, turn to Him, and be set free! John 8:31-32

We do have freedom of choice. Yet is it truly freedom, or do our choices most times hold us captive? It's something to think about. When going through life making some choices we do and feeling stuck! We, at times feel like we are getting handed a bill of goods, life is going wrong in our businesses, our relationships, etc..

Sometimes, what we think sets us free is exactly what holds us captive, even to the point of feeling no way out. We feel strangled and begin the journey of questioning everything and not being able to choose at all. We have become slaves to what we thought was the best for us, now wondering when we will ever be set free.

Sin will do just that, it creeps in and the next thing you know we are being held captive, and yes this happens to Christians! We are in no way excluded from making mistakes or wrong decisions, the problem we run into is humility. The willingness to go to God and say I am wrong deliver me from this choice and set me free again!

Jesus, talking to some Jewish folks who believed in Him, did not get this concept, they were stuck in their legalism. They could not see that the choices they were making were sin and holding them hostage, even to the point when truth was right in front of them they could not see it. They could not see the slavery Jesus was talking about was spiritual, it was a sin problem and He was showing them a way out.

Yet denial, one of the greatest deceivers, had rooted in and they got hung up!

In John 8:31-36, So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you abide in My word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Listen to their answer and see if this has not been you at times?

 33- They answered Him, "We are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that You say, 'You will become free?"

Jesus response; 34-36, Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Jesus was simply saying to them and to us, at times, we choose to do things that cause us grief. That is sin, and it causes us to be held captive, with loss of the freedom we truly seek. Jesus reminded them, and us, where freedom truly come from, Himself and His word. Instead of us, using our freedoms to put us into captivity, we need to use that freedom to be set free.

If you are a Christian who is struggling, get back into the word and prayer, seek His face again, come before the throne of grace and find that mercy and that grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

If you do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior come to Him today, before it is forever to late! Pray and ask Him by faith to come into your life, to forgive you, believe that He died for your sins, died on the cross for you, was buried and on the third day rose from the dead, all for you! Believe by faith, confess with your mouth believe in you heart He did all this for you, and you will be set free! Romans 3:10, Romans 5:8-9, Romans 10:9-13

Friday, September 6, 2013

What brings us true gratitude?

Gratitude comes when you wake up, and the first thing out of your mouth is, thank you God!

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

I am told that when we sleep we are virtually close to death and it takes a boost to wake us in the morning. Looking at some research on this, some say it is a special gene that does it, some say it is a muscle jerk sensation. Either way, God has put in us the mechanism to wake, a jump start if you will, something has to kick up our breathing again, get those muscles awake.

Researchers are amazed and looking into sleep studies from various ways trying to come up with the answers. But we as believers know that God gives life. He breathes in us that very breathe we need to get started every morning. Yet, I still like looking up what the sleep experts come up with, and how amazed they are that no single thing can be attributed. You all can Google this also. Lol

That being said, everyday we get is a gift from our Father above, and we need to just be grateful each and every morning. We have been given the privilege to do it all again, and share with folks our gratitude for the life we have been given. This is a great opportunity to share the gospel with people, especially when they ask you how your day is going. You can just start out by saying, I am grateful to have another day, a gift from God.

Let God take it from there. He gives us each day as an opportunity, yet it is up to us to share our gratitude and be thankful for every moment we have been given. Others deserve to share in that also, give the gift that keeps on giving, Jesus!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Knowledge a tool most abused!

It's not about what you know, it's all in how you use what you know. Proverbs 10:14
There are many times we run into smart people. People who seem to know a lot about everything, but very little about the common sense things of life. They have  the smarts to do what they need to start most things, yet fall short when life hits them with complications.

The problem with this kind of knowledge is, people try to out smart even themselves. Falling short of the goals they could have achieved. They are generally to smart to ask for help because they know so much, yet do not realize everyone cannot do everything! Knowledge, when used wisely will get you so much further than knowledge just used!

If you do not know how to use a tool what is one of the first things you do? You either learn how to use it, or ask someone who has used it, for help and instruction. This should not make anyone feel less of themselves or stupid. On the contrary, this is knowledge used with wisdom. It will give you the confidence to move ahead and accomplish even more than you could have imagined.

Knowledge can either be hurtful or helpful depending on your pride level, or the level of humility you possess. It can take you where you need to go, or places you never wanted to. It is all up to how you use it and apply it to your life. If you see it as a way to be controlling, or better than others, it could make you a very lonely person. When you use it to be beneficial to yourself and others, watch what happens in your relationships.

Proverbs 10:14-"The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near."

When you are wise you use knowledge to see a whole picture. If you just have a lot of knowledge and leave wisdom out of the equation, you will certainly miss the point. And most times fall short of life's goals because you were to smart for your own good! You have been given the gift of knowledge, use it correctly and prayerfully. A tool that is abused, is a tool that can be very hurtful and dangerous!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Be sure what you do is thought through!

Once you do what you do, it is hard to undo what you have done! Luke 15:11-19
You know, sometimes we want something, or an idea comes into our head, and nothing or no one is going to change our minds. We want it, we are going to do it no matter what. And in our thinking at the time, whatever the cost it does not matter!

The problem is, if what you wanted was at a wrong time, or the idea we had was just not thought out, or planned a little better, we get ourselves into trouble. The problem with that is, we find it harder to undo!
We allow embarrassment, and feelings of failure, keeping us from making  right decisions now. We try and fix it all by ourselves, because we have let people down and surely, we believe, that is what they wanted to happen.

Well, that is not the case at all. In Luke, we see the parable, or illustration, of a young man who did just that. He wanted his inheritance now. He knew better, he had a plan, he was tired of being under his fathers thumb. He felt he was ready to face the world. Little did he know, he was not in as much control of his life as he thought.

He felt life was only fun and playing, and play he did until all he had was gone. Does this sound familiar at all? Sometimes we view life around us as a playground, or something we have worked hard for and we deserve to have all the fun we desire. Problem with that thinking alone, if we do not plan, not live for the future, we stand to be disappointed and suffer loss. Life is not that simple, life happens!

The son in Luke, found he did not have it so bad at home. Yet how can he go back making such a big mistake and making a fool of himself to boot! He did at the end, what he should have done at the beginning, he thought it through. He realized life was not about the things, the money, or being right and smarter than everyone else.

It was about waiting just a little longer and doing it right. Listening to those around him that have experienced life a bit more. He came to know and understand that no matter what he had done, he could go home. He had someone to turn to in his time of despair and humiliation. Though not knowing the total outcome, he felt if he humbled himself, went to his father as a servant, expecting no more or less, he could at the very least be able to eat.

He experienced a change of heart, he learned about gratitude, and it was not in the things, the money or what the world had to offer. It was knowing he could go to his father, and at the very least, work on the farm. He could not repay what he had taken, he would not receive another inheritance, but what he would receive was grace! He deserved what he got, but what he got he deserved.

When his father saw him at a distance he not only went out to greet him, he ran out to greet him. His father was so relieved that his son had returned home safe. That was more important than any mistakes he had made. His son was home and safe, was lost and now was found, no matter what he had done, he came to his senses and was home.

That is exactly how our heavenly Father, and heaven responds to us, when we come to our senses and turn to Him! Yes we have squandered our lives with wild living. We have wasted a lot of time. And right when we feel we have no where else to turn because we have acted so terribly, Jesus runs up the road to meet us. He takes us as we are, there is nothing we can do or repay. Jesus has taken care of the debt, He has paid the price!

He just wanted us home where we can be safe in His arms. God does allow us to make choices, He does allow us to live our lives as we choose. But He is always waiting for our return. For us to come to our senses and know He was right and had our best interest at heart all along. He sent His Son to pay the price He knew we would never be able to.

Have you made mistakes, have you lived and done some dreadful things that you feel no one would ever forgive you? Please get out of that thinking, there is One, no matter what you have done, you can turn to all you need to do is come to Him.

Luke 15:20-24 "And he rose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am not longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate."

Be part of the true celebration today, ask Jesus into your life He is waiting for your return! Romans 10:9-13