Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reflecting Christmas

Luke 2:15-18
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

God of Glory,
May my response to the Good News that You have been born to bring peace on earth be like that of the shepherds who hastily left everything they were doing and sought the Christ child. They didn’t wait for a more convenient time, until their shift was over, or a replacement arrived; instead, they made it a priority and went immediately. In the midst of shopping, decorating, and entertaining help me to seek You first because Your Word says that those who seek You find You when they seek You with all their heart. You are the everlasting Gift of Christmas. When You trim the home of my heart with the twinkling lights of Your love, those I entertain this Christmas will notice my inward peace and genuine joy.

Like the shepherds, I want to see You lying in the manger. With my mind’s eye focused on You instead of the holiday hustle and bustle, I’ll notice the unending length of Your amazing grace streaming down from heaven into the hollow of my dark, damp, and dirty heart. Mesmerized by Your infinite mercy, I’ll bow down and adore You to light up my life so that it reflects the wonders of Your love.

After witnessing the wonderful new birth of Christ in the manger of my own heart, like the shepherds, I’ll eagerly spread the Good News wherever I go this Christmas, leading prickly people to the peace, joy, and hope of Christmas – Jesus, Your own dear Son – for the glory, honor and fame of Your name. Amen.

I want to challenge you to take time over the next three days to STOP, DROP everything and seek the Child of Christmas. Read and re-read the Christmas Story as told in Luke 1 and 2 until the Holy Spirit shows you a fresh revelation of God’s glory. Then worship and adore Him.

If you seek Him first, none of the other presents will matter. He is the only lasting Gift, and the only Gift people need this Christmas. Having spent time with Him, instead of noticing your neatly decorated home, people will notice your newly adorned heart. Then, when you entertain family and friends, and prickly people get under your skin (and someone will) you will be able to show them God’s infinite grace and love – the heart of Christmas, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas!

Go Tell It on the Mountain
John W. Work, Jr. (1872-1925)

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.


The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth.


Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That bless├Ęd Christmas morn.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace in the Night

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

God of Glory,
It is so like You to suddenly show up in the most unlikely places to the most unexpected people in a manner that is utterly unpredictable. Instead of showing up to the Pharisees or the pious, You appeared to a bunch of brawny, broad-shouldered shepherds who lived in the wild and battled the beasts. These rough and rugged men were petrified by the powerful light of Your presence. Sheer fear seized their troubled minds! But, in the light was good news! The promised, hoped-for Savior of the world, the Messiah, had arrived in the promised city. Out of the pitch black night came the paralyzing light from a choir of angels singing praises of Your promised peace on earth.

O Lord, what hope this gives me at Christmas time! You still make divine visits to the most improbable people camped out in the most unbelievable places in a manner that is totally unpredictable. When the terrifying light of Your glory surrounds our messy and mundane lives, we have no reason to be afraid because there is perfect peace in Your presence. With You, we can stand in the light and live free from shame, fear, ridicule, rejection, pain, suffering and sorrow. During the impenetrable nighttime of the soul, You leave us with the good and priceless gift of peace – peace of heart and mind. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

The psalmist says, “For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” NLT Psalm 34:7

There is an angel in God’ presence telling us to not be afraid, offering us the priceless peace of God – not the peace of the world, but God’s peace.

What is God’s peace? Jesus tells us in John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. NLT

If you are in a dark and frightening place this holiday, be still let the peace of God’s presence surround you.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Words: Na­hum Tate, 1700
Music: George F. Han­del, 1728

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!”

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hope of Restoration

Isaiah 35:1-4
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.” NLT

What precious hope You gave to Your captive people when they were wandering in the dead, dry desert of despair! Help was on the way! Suffering and sorrow would be swallowed up by a Savior! Joy was coming, and all of heaven and nature would sing! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

700 long years later, Jesus Christ, their Blessed Hope, was born to lead the world out of the wasteland and into the prosperity of Your everlasting presence. And, that Hope is alive for us today! Blessed assurance!

You’re well aware of the barren wasteland we’re living in. The global physical, mental and spiritual anguish of Your people is mind boggling to us, but it isn’t to You. Many of the problems we face don’t have a good prognosis. Indeed, the world is in an uproar and people are fainting from terror, apprehensive of what is coming, as You shake us with the power of heaven!

Feeble and fainthearted, we can be encouraged! Jesus Christ, Your own dear Son, that precious babe born 2000 years ago, who suffered, died, arose, and ascended into heaven is coming back, and possibly quite soon, in glory and splendor to finish the great work He began long ago. The wilderness and wastelands are eagerly awaiting His arrival! The badlands will burst into blossom and become a colorful choir of crocuses! Even the hills and the mountains will declare His majesty!

This is the reason we rejoice! Our strength will be renewed when Christ comes to rule the world in truth and grace! Joy to the world! The Savior reigns!

Show me a hopeless believer who is paralyzed with problems or frozen in fear. I will pick them up, and remind them of the wonders of Your love and Your never ending grace that was, and is, and is to come because of Jesus our Savior! Amen.

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue and restore it! That Hope came with the birth of Christ, and is alive today for those who believe. And, Hope is coming when Christ returns!

If you have Hope, you are blessed beyond belief! Give someone the Hope you have this holiday season.

Today, we got word that a 15-year classmate of my son, died unexpectedly as a result of complications from a routine medical procedure; that on top of the suicide of another classmate less than two weeks ago. Life is hard, and people need Hope!

Joy to the World
Words: Isaac Watts, 1719
Music: Lowell Mason, 1848

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Comforter Has Come

Isaiah 51:12, 21, 22
I, even I, am he who comforts you.
Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
made drunk, but not with wine.

This is what your Sovereign LORD says,
your God, who defends his people:
See, I have taken out of your hand
the cup that made you stagger;
from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
you will never drink again. NIV

John 14:16
Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” KJV

Not much has changed in the past 2700 years. Just as the hopeless Israelites, held in captivity forgot who You were, we tend to do the same today.

Like the Israelites we have overdosed on the paralyzing potion of fear, scrupulously blended and served to us by that smooth-talker Satan who is bent on slaying our sweet spirits. Under his influence, we live in constant terror of losing everything we have because of chaotic world conditions. With the good life crashing down, an impending international crisis, and concern that our children are desensitized to immorality and injustice, we’re in a stupor worried that no one will lead us out of the mess. Beaten down by dread and discouragement, we’ve willingly fainted in the streets of despair and allowed the Devil to rub our faces in the dirt and walk all over us. Forgive us, O Lord!

As You promise, look on us with compassion and awaken us from this awful nightmare! This is not the dream You had for us! By Your perfect love, take from our hand the dreadful cup of fear that’s making us stagger. It’s time for Your Church to get up, come clean, and wrap themselves in the unending Comfort of the Holy Spirit. United in love and dressed in the strong garments of splendor – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience - it’s time for us to stop worrying about the things we can’t control and start parading through town, picking up people, and joyfully proclaiming the Good News: The Comforter has come!

Show me a hopeless believer who has fainted under the influence of fear. I will immediately stoop down, pick them up, and offer them hope this holiday season to magnify Your Almighty name. Amen.

You won’t have to look far to see someone you can pick up! A kind word, a warm smile, and a gentle handshake or hug can easily comfort someone in captivity.

On Sunday, I went Christmas caroling in a retirement community. Like the rest of the world, my life is extra busy at this time of year, and I went begrudgingly. But, it didn’t take long for my demeanor to change. Just singing lifted up spirits. Before long, I found myself striking about a conversation with an elderly man. He was thrilled to show and tell me about all his beautiful music boxes while the rest of my group moved on.

Catching up with them a few minutes later, I found myself in front a precious old lady who couldn’t bend over. With a tear in her eye, she began mouthing the words. My eye drifted from her to the newspaper lying on the floor by her door. Walking over to her, my friend gave her a big hug while I stooped to pick up the paper. The dear lady sobbed in my friend’s arms. Her 90 year old aunt had just past away and she was overwhelmed with sorrow. We prayed with her while the rest of our group moved on.

On the next floor, we encountered a joyful old woman with a great big smile. I complimented her on her pretty smile. And she said, “My husband died 36 years ago and I am so lonely. I make myself get up every day, and I paste this smile on my face no matter how I feel.” Bless her heart! I stayed and chatted with her while the rest of the group moved on.

Finally, we stopped near the door of a disabled young man. In his wheelchair, he came to the door with one of the most beautiful birds I had ever seen. While the group sang, he was delighted to show the youngsters in our group the various tricks his pet parrot could perform.

It’s amazing that a group of 6 adults and a bunch of rambunctious, unruly kids, could entertain so many people in one hour, and that I could personally pick up four of them by smiling, asking a simple question, and taking time to listen.

O Spread the Tidings ‘Round
Words: Frank Bottome, 1890
Music: William J. Kirkpatrick

O spread the tidings ’round, wherever man is found,
Wherever human hearts and human woes abound;
Let ev’ry Christian tongue proclaim the joyful sound:
The Comforter has come!


The Comforter has come, the Comforter has come!
The Holy Ghost from Heav’n, the Father’s promise giv’n;
O spread the tidings ’round, wherever man is found—
The Comforter has come!

The long, long night is past, the morning breaks at last,
And hushed the dreadful wail and fury of the blast,
As o’er the golden hills the day advances fast!
The Comforter has come!


Lo, the great King of kings, with healing in His wings,
To ev’ry captive soul a full deliverance brings;
And through the vacant cells the song of triumph rings;
The Comforter has come!


O boundless love divine! How shall this tongue of mine
To wond’ring mortals tell the matchless grace divine—
That I, a child of hell, should in His image shine!
The Comforter has come!


Sing till the echoes fly above the vaulted sky,
And all the saints above to all below reply,
In strains of endless love, the song that ne’er will die:
The Comforter has come!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Abundant Life

John 10:10
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Your Word is the Way, the Truth and the Life I’ve always longed for. In this age of deception, the bright light of Your Word cuts through the solid shadow of darkness and shines the way to everlasting hope and happiness.

Just as Satan seduced Eve thousands of years ago in the Garden, and robbed her of the carefree life You intended for her, he’s still ferociously working to dupe and destroy your masterpieces today. The old charmer convinced us that we deserve all the pleasantries this world has to offer. He persuaded us that we could afford bigger homes and fill them with piles of possessions purchased on credit. Life is good. Live high. Buy now. Pay later. We’re entitled.

The Master of Lies, has set us in a fear-tinged frenzy, resulting in financial failure that’s slain our spirits and shattered our dreams. He’s the conjurer who’s twisted our perception and perverted Your plans for us. But, You O Lord, sent Your Son into this murky, mess 2000 years ago to rescue us from the spell of death, and give us a vibrant new life. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus.

Fully alive, we’re possessed with enigmatic energy and expected to pick up others who are dying a slow painful death in the Devil’s Dungeon of Despair. Please open my eyes to see someone who’s been ripped off of life, slain in their spirit, and devoured by the thief in the night. For the glory of Your name, I’ll lead them to Christ, the only way to everlasting life, hope and happiness this holiday season. Amen.

All around us sad souls have been spiritually slain by Satan. He wants nothing more to rip people off of the rich life God intended for them. Open your eyes and look around for someone you can offer the hope of life to this holiday season. Then, go lead them to Christ, the Giver of Life.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Guidance in the Night

Psalm 16:7-8
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Wise and Wonderful Counselor,
Thank You for graciously guiding me through these dark days. Your timeless Words are extremely wise. They are a lamp that lights my path to prevent me from stumbling. Your timely advice is always right. When I’m too exhausted to think clearly, in the silent night of my soul, speak to me. Tomorrow is sure to be another exhilarating day with more unexpected twists and turns.

Please go ahead of me. I’m utterly dependent on You to lead me through uncertainty and insecurity. It is vital that I remain in constant communication with Your Command Center by reading my Bible and praying. You know the way that will lead me to all the jewels of Jesus. Willingly, I’ll take Your strong right hand, and walk through briars, thorns, and thickets. Connected to You, they won’t hurt me.

Dear Lord, please give me the courage to hold on tightly, trusting that You know exactly where You’re taking me. Following Your reliable instructions, I’ll be secure and steadfast when the rest of the world is shaken. Looking forward to the hope of heaven, eternity with You and everlasting happiness, my heart and lips will cheerfully sing a sweet song to the glory of Your dependable name. Amen.

I need God’s counsel for __________________________________________. Pray, asking Him for wisdom. Open Your Bible and listen to His Voice. Obey His instruction and He will reward You with divine insight – the Truth! Then, you, too, will know that He is trustworthy and dependable. Praise Him!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hope for Light

Isaiah 9:1-2
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.

Matthew 4:12-14
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah.

Your Word is great! This Christmas as I study the prophecy, I’m awestruck anew by the wondrous way You work! Your thoughts surely are higher than my thoughts, and Your ways are far too superior for my simple understanding. Your infinite timeline is immeasurable and beyond my limited intellectual capacity.

700 years before the Word became flesh the holy prophet predicted precisely where You would go and what You would do. The days were utterly dark and the nation was wasting away from wickedness when he courageously offered these unpopular words of hope that rendered him a fool by public opinion.

Who would have guessed that hundreds of years later Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, would start his ministry in this very same dark district plagued by prostitution – people looking for cheap thrills and quick fixes to life’s perplexing problems? Blessed assurance, the promised Light had come to the promised land!

The radiance of Your glory makes my heart throb and swell with joy! Love’s Pure Light, in You there is no darkness at all. Locked in the deep dark dungeon on death row, haunted by the demons of his past, man desperately needed his dirty deeds exposed so that he could be restored and released to live differently. And, You, my Everlasting Light, came to do just that!

Thank You for shining the Light of Your love on me. Setting aside my fears and stepping out into it, my chains fell off and I was set free forever because of Your tender mercy. Because You died, went to Hell and came back for me, I never have to walk in darkness again. Blessed assurance!

The days may be dark, but I have the Inextinguishable Light. Thank You for the blessed hope I receive and the lessons I learn when I sit down, open my Bible, and study Holy History with You. Hallelujah! Amen.

Doesn’t it make your heart throb and swell with joy, when You consider how faithful God is to His promises?

My prayer is that the fulfilled prophecies that God’s showing me will bless you with hope this holiday season. I pray that you will see the Light of Jesus in these dark days. I’m amazed anew, as I carefully study God’s Word, that the entire Bible is essentially good vs. evil – light vs. darkness. The times we’re living in really aren’t that unusual.

In my little sphere of influence this week: a friend lost her job and is wondering if she’ll lose her home; a single-mom lost her benefits including health insurance, life insurance, and retirement – she’s not sure what she’ll do if she suddenly becomes sick or dies; a 14-year old classmate of my son could no longer take the pressure to conform and committed suicide; the dreams of five students from our high school varsity girl’s basketball team were shattered when they chose to drink alcohol and got caught. The list could go on. Every day, I hear from people who are hurting, hopeless, and just want help. I bet if you’d stop to listen, you’d hear it too.

We need to be the light in the world that leads lost souls to Jesus – the keeper of the key that will set them forever free. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we will have the courage of Isaiah to stand up and speak out so that others will be enlightened and encouraged in troubling times. Where will you carry your light?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Taught, Healed and Set Free

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Luke 4:21
Jesus said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Thank You for the timeless truths in Your Holy Word. 700 years before You were born, in the darkest, most dismal days in Israel’s history, the prophet Isaiah predicted that good news was coming for the destitute, destroyed, and detained. People could expect to receive a whole new life. Blessed hope!

Help was on the way! But, it took a long time coming – 700 years. Waiting sure does take a lot of fortitude in our frantic fast-paced, free-wheeling world ruled by instant results and immediate rewards. Blind to the fact that we’re spiritually bankrupt, we don’t recognize how badly we need an internal overhaul. No amount of money can bail us out of our pecuniary predicament, only the age-old blood of Jesus can. That’s the good news people need to hear this Christmas.

Buried beneath the rubble of wrecked relationships, crushed hopes, and shattered dreams our badly bleeding hearts are hidden behind thick-skinned walls of pride. While smugness may conceal the gashes inflicted by Satan, it won’t stop the gushing; only Your compression, compassion, and comfort will completely cover and cure the wounds. That’s the healing we really need this holiday season.

Controlled by commercialism and easy credit we are a nation held captive by covetousness which will only be compounded this Christmas as we strive to be more significant in our spheres of influence. We don’t realize that facades and fears restrain us. Constrained by compulsions, we need You to come set us free with the key to contentment, Jesus.

Imprisoned in the dark dungeons of our past, Satan has locked many of us up and thrown away the key! Good for nothing, we’re hopelessly terrified and urgently need You to show up with the key that unlocks the door to everlasting love, life and light. Confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believing in our heart that You raised Him from the dead, our past will be immediately forgiven and forgotten and we will be forever free!

Lord, thank You for the hope You’ve given me because of Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, who came to teach me, heal me and set me free forever. Hallelujah! Amen.

Hang on to the hope of heaven in these dark and dangerous days. God is true to His Word. We may have to wait a long time, but God will do what He says He will do. We must believe!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Light in the Darkness

Psalm 27:1-5
The LORD is my light and my salvation--
so why should I be afraid?
The LORD protects me from danger--
so why should I tremble?

When evil people come to destroy me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will know no fear.
Even if they attack me,
I remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the LORD--
the thing I seek most--
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
delighting in the LORD's perfections
and meditating in his Temple.

For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock. NLT

High King of Heaven,
Your Holy Word, the Bible, clearly illuminates the way for me. In the light of it, I never have to be afraid. In the dark, things appear distorted and misconstrued. I’m disillusioned, perceiving people and problems as bigger and more threatening than they really are.

Please dear Lord, may I live in the security of Your holy house every day of my life? Looking deep into Your blazing holy eyes, with my Bible open, I’ll contemplate Your powerful promises in the temple of my heart. Teach me in Your presence, to remain cool, calm and collect under pressure. At home with You, I’ll be safe from the vicious attacks of those seeking to destroy me.

O Lord, my God, I desire nothing more than to live happily in the peace of Your presence for the rest of my life. Please give me more faith to confidently and consistently rely on You, believing that as my beloved Father You will go the extra mile to protect and conceal me for the honor of Your high and holy name. Amen.

David encountered many frightening people and situations, but wasn't provoked by a sinful fear of man. When you're afraid, do as David did, turn to your King. Open your Bible and enter into the holy presence of our great, big God. Your perception will change when you seek His power, peace and protection. What scary person or situation do you need to trust in God for today?

If you can read this Psalm and say that it expresses the desire of your heart, then your fear is not a sinful fear of man.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Godly Instruction

Titus 2:12-13
For the grace of God teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God of Grace,
You are a most excellent Teacher. If only I’d stop, sit still and listen, You’d lead me by Your truth and teach me for You are the God who saved me! School me in Your ways so that I’ll turn my back on godless, indulgent living. Take my hand and show me how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life while I wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of the Immortal, Invincible, Incorruptible, Almighty King.

Surely You desire for me to be grounded in the truth of the Bible. Help me to carefully study, prayerfully consider, and aptly apply great wisdom so that I won’t be swayed by the smooth rhetoric of false teachers. Expand my knowledge so that I won’t be deceived by devastating circumstances. Show me how to think clearly when emotions are tugging on the strings of my heart.

In this heathen and hostile world, instruct me to do Your will. By Your good Spirit, lead me on level ground. Following You, I’ll exercise good judgment and carefully control my desires, tongue, and passions. Under Your divine discipline, I’ll shine brightly causing others to wonder why I seem so hopeful and happy.

God of Grace, You have been so kind and loving toward me. By Your matchless mercy, You generously gave me a rich new life along with a hefty inheritance. Because You are faithful and true, I eagerly expect that some day soon, You will appear in all Your glory, sweep me off my feet, and carry me away to live with You happily ever after because of Jesus. Amen

Are you struggling with saying “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions? If so, ask the God of grace to teach you. He desires nothing more than for you to be grounded in the truth. Then, open your Bible and carefully study it. Prayerfully consider the Scriptures you’ve read, and aptly apply them. Practice godly living while you wait for the glorious appearance of the King.

“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Truth is Hope

Numbers 24:17
Balaam, the sorcerer said, “I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel.” NLT

Matthew 2:1-2
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Your Word is my hope and my light in these dark and dreary days. 1400 years before You gloriously broke through the night sky, Balaam, a stingy sorcerer and soothsayer was well paid to convince Your people to compromise their moral standards. Despite the fact that he was a tool in Satan’s hand, You used him to mysteriously point the way to Bethlehem.

Today, the very large and rapidly growing Emerging Church is blindly leading multitudes of biblically illiterate people who claim to be Christians to Hell by the satanically inspired teachings of modern-day Balaams. Their watered-down, seeker-friendly, purpose-driven messages are designed to bring in warm bodies and cold cash. In this New Age era, truth is not only unclear and uncertain, but also is bad for business. No wonder the days are so hopeless and dark! The only true light has been all but extinguished.

Lord, protect me from the secretly destructive heresies and cleverly invented stories that are running rampant through the nation and Church today. At the Living Word Academy, held in the classroom of my heart, teach me by Your Spirit to diligently seek, genuinely love, and absolutely believe the Truth of Your Word. Full of knowledge, I will be like the Magi who recognized a nugget of truth in the middle of a whole lot of fiction, and willingly left their familiar surroundings to follow the Wondrous Star of Heaven.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Light, Star with royal beauty bright, westward leading still proceeding, guide me to Your Perfect Light. Amen.

John MacArthur writes in The Truth War:
Advocating ambiguity, exalting uncertainty, or otherwise deliberately clouding the truth is a sinful way of nurturing unbelief. Every true Christian should know and love the truth. Scripture says one of the key characteristics of “those who perish” is that “they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). The clear implication is that genuine love for truth is built into saving faith. It is therefore, one of the distinguishing qualities of every true believer. In Jesus’ words, they have known the truth and the truth has set them free (John 8:32). Nothing in all the world is more important or more valuable than truth.

God’s Word is absolute Truth. Abundantly clear, it will be your only hope and light in the blackest night. How well do you know it? Do you love it? Do you believe it?

It’s not too late to attend the Living Word Academy. The only textbook required is Your Bible, the Living Word of God. The only Teacher required is the Holy Spirit. Open The Book and start seeking Truth before it’s too late.

Peter says, “They (false teachers) have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam who loved the wages of wickedness.” 2 Peter 2:15

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tapestry in Time

2 Samuel 7:12-13
God promised David: “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Luke 1:32-33
The angel said to Mary: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Your Word is a timeless tapestry of rich and royal hues. Wondrously woven by a Master Artisan, it’s an everlasting vision of Your never changing view. Meticulously following the scarlet thread hidden within the completed work, I can see the beautiful plan You designed for man.

One thousand years before Christ was born, You promised David a never ending kingdom. You made the line of identification so clear no imposter might be mistaken for the Messiah. Like a tedious thread on a tapestry, Your Word was not broken over time. O how I marvel at the magnificence and intricacy of Your handiwork.

Upon careful study, the one thing I particularly notice is that good things take a long time, a lot of devotion, and an unwavering faith. Help me dear Lord, to be more like David. Though he committed grievous crimes, he was remorseful, repentant, and will always be remembered as a man who sought Your heart.

Lord, I don’t know when You’ll return, but my hope is in Your well-woven Word. While I wait, please give me patience to continually trace the scarlet thread on Your Tapestry, remain wholeheartedly devoted to studying it, and maintain unwavering faith for the glory of Your name. Amen.

I marvel at how intricately God has woven the scarlet thread of Jesus Christ through His Word. By carefully studying it, I am seeing His plan being fulfilled before my eyes. Blessed assurance, His Word is my only hope.

David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. A little shepherd boy with a humble heart and a whole lot of faith was anointed with power and called to be a great king. Mary, a little peasant girl with the heart of princess and a whole lot of faith, was blessed by God and called to deliver the Most High King.

After hearing the Word of the Lord, both immediately and unquestionably believed, and humbled themselves in heartfelt adoration for the blessed assurance they had received.

If you are feeling small and inadequate, observe how God works. He uses little, unlikely people who have a whole lot of faith, to accomplish His master plan. Humble yourself before Him, believe He can do great things, and watch with wonder at the way He weaves You into His work.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hope of a Child

Isaiah 9:6
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Your Words light up my life and give me bright hope! My Spirit leaps within me when I consider Your unfailing love and everlasting faithfulness! These verses teach me wonderful truth and firm-up the foundation of my faith.

700 years before Christ’s birth, during one of Israel’s deepest, darkest depressions, You passionately promised them that the gloom and doom wouldn’t go on forever. Their dreary, devastated land would one day burst forth with a dazzling light and they would see Your glory. A special little boy would be born. He would be their Savior and Sovereign Ruler. The weight of the whole world would rest on His shoulders. Blessed assurance!

This little boy would be called Wonderful Counselor because His godly wisdom would preserve their lives and prosper them. Known as Mighty God, His holy power would bind up broken hearts, shatter walls of shame, and pardon people imprisoned to their past. He would be their Everlasting Father. This Prince of Peace would show up to rescue them from the dominion of death and damnation. After saving the warring world, He would rule it forever with fairness and integrity. Blessed hope!

During this holiday season, help me to know You by these endearing names and better understand Your impeccable character. With a fresh revelation of Your faithfulness, I won’t falter and fumble through the fearsome fog, but will firmly stand on Your promises trusting that You are who You say You are and will do what You say You will do for the honor of Your name. Amen.

In gloominess God gives us glimpses of His glory. He shows us repeatedly that He is true to His Word and will do what He says He will do.

When was the last time you sought His wonderful counsel? Do you know Him as Mighty God? How have you witnessed His power? Do you believe He is Your Father forever – that He will never abandon you or give up on you? Has the Prince of Peace rescued you from the dominion of death and damnation? Do you believe He is coming to rule the world forever with fairness and integrity?

The more you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him! Blessed assurance! Let Him be your hope this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hope of the Virgin Birth

Isaiah 7:14
All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son. NLT

Luke 1:26-28, 31, 38
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! You will conceive and give birth to a son.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

God of Wonders-
Your Words never cease to amaze me. In the midst of political upheaval and unbelief You graciously blessed Israel with a vision of Your glory. While their backs were blatantly turned on You, and their disaffection was disguised by showy religious rituals and routines, You told them a spectacular secret. “Psst – Listen up! Look for this: A girl who is a virgin will miraculously get pregnant, and give birth to a son.” 700 years later, this Word became flesh when You revealed Yourself to a poor peasant girl with an extraordinary princess heart.

Lord, let these words console me during political unrest and unbelief. You know the grave state of affairs not only in this nation, but also in the Church. Proudly parading as pious people, we’re so desperate for change that we’ve voted for personal prosperity and pleasure separating ourselves from Your peace and protection. Like the Israelites 2700 years ago, we’re in the dark about Your riches and our poverty. Unable to perceive that we’re lost and perishing, we don’t trust You to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. We want a President to protect our future, and that’s exactly what You’ve given us.

In the midst of this mayhem, give me unwavering faith to believe that all earthly government is short-lived. One day, and possibly quite soon, You will come back and run the world with honesty and integrity that will never end. While I wait, give me childlike faith and humble adoration, expecting it to happen as You have said it would, without signs and wonders, simply because I believe that all things are possible for You in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Instead of trusting a President to protect your future, trust the only One who can guarantee you a future – Jesus Christ. Put your hope in heaven.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hope of Bethlehem

Micah 5:2
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
one whose origins are from the distant past. NLT

Luke 2:11
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! NLT

Thank You for publishing and preserving Your ancient Words. They give me hope and joy in these troubling times. During Israel’s darkest days, You announced something major through a minor prophet. Hidden within this tiny little book in the Bible, written by the humble little hand of a holy man is a great BIG treasure. The long awaited King would be born in the tiny little town of Bethlehem. The “house of bread” would cradle the “Bread of Life.” How amazing is that!? And, after 700 long years of waiting this prophesy was finally fulfilled.

Because of that experience please give me greater confidence in the divinely inspired messages penned by Your spirit-filled scribes. In this age of uncertainty and lawlessness, help me to pay close attention to what they’ve written. Similarly, more than 2000 years ago, these influential saints clearly expressed the reality of Your imminent return to rule and reign over the entire earth. Under Your godly guidance, they unmistakably proclaimed that one day death would lose its sting and darkness would lose its power.

Admittedly, I am worn out waiting! Through tear-stained eyes, I strain to see Your promises. Yet, Your Word is the only flickering light I have in this place. Help me to hold it up and put my hope in it until it diffuses itself in my mind like the dawning of a new day and shines like a bright morning star in the hollow of my heart. Then, I will carry it like a prophet into my own small town to give others the hope of heaven this holiday season for the glory of Your faithful name. Hallelujah. Amen.

God has given us a great book full of fulfilled prophecy, the Holy Bible, proving that He is faithful. We would be wise to pay attention to it. It may be the only light we have in the coming days, and a candle we can carry into our own crazy communities while we wait for the Lord’s impending return.

2 Peter 1:19-21
We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Light of the World

John 8:12
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Jesus, You are the Light of the World,
Your radiance fills the whole earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. Before You created life, You spoke and created light to separate the world from impenetrable darkness. Great are You Lord and mighty in power!

Thank You for leaving the hallowed halls of heaven and stepping out into the wreckage of this cold, dark, and wicked world so that I could see the light of Your love and live. In the light, You exposed the mess I made of my life. Lovingly picking me up, You cleaned me out, filled me with the oil of Your Spirit, and made me into a dazzling luminary to brighten the world. Following You, I can carry the light of life into the dense darkness of death, disease and despair; sickness, suffering and sorrow.

Lord, You know how dark these days are. With the Light of the World eclipsed by heathenism in the hearts of the benighted millions, guide me by the lamp of Your Word. Following You, I won’t fumble and stumble through frightening darkness, but will purely, patiently and peacefully illuminate Your love by helping and encouraging those who are lost and alone. Blazing with Your glory this holiday season, use me to lead hopeless, helpless, and hurting people into the light where they will find goodness, grace and an abundant new life. To God be the glory for radiant gift of Light! Amen.

I don’t have to tell you that we’re living in dark days of uncertainty. Hordes of people are hopeless, helpless and hurting this holiday season, horrified by the unknown. They’re stumbling through the darkness because they can’t see the Light. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, don’t hide your light. Follow Him. Open your Bible and do the things you see Him doing. His Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. Let the light of life shine brightly through you by helping or encouraging someone for Jesus today.

The Light of the World is Jesus
Philip P. Bliss, 1875


The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!


Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see:
The Light of the world is Jesus!

No darkness have we
Who in Jesus abide;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
We walk in the light
When we follow our Guide!
The Light of the world is Jesus!


Ye dwellers in darkness
With sin blinded eyes,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding,
And light will arise.
The Light of the world is Jesus!


No need of the sunlight
In Heaven we’re told;
The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light
In the city of gold,
The Light of the world is Jesus!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

1 Chronicles 29:35
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.

O Lord, It is a joy to give thanks and bless Your glorious name!

Truthful Teacher, I’m overwhelmed by the truths You teach with me when I open my Bible and my heart. Thank You for correcting my wayward thinking.

Healer of Hearts, there is no Doctor like You in heaven or on earth! Thank You for transplanting Your heart into mine, healing me and giving me a vivacious new life full of love and strength.

Almighty Attorney, You defend me from the allegations brought against me by proud people with personal agendas. Thank You for standing up for me.

Narrator of Life Changing Love Stories, You have written the brilliant biography of my life - a fantastic novel of drama, power, romance, and intrigue. Thank You for my life story.

King of Compassion, approaching Your divine throne, I’m overwhelmed by Your kindness. Your mercy and justice take my breath away. Thank You for your compassion.

Sufficient Supplier, You show me the secret to a satisfying life: Relying on your promises, looking for Your provision, and depending on Your power. Thank You for satisfying the desires of my heart.

Great God who governs from beyond the galaxies, You are the Mighty Magistrate righteously ruling and reigning over all the earth. Patiently, You pardon people who plea with You. Thank You for Your righteousness.

Irresistible Lover of My Soul, You light up my life, making my heart happy. You are absolutely precious to me! Thank You for loving me intimately.

Victorious Lord, You’re the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Blessed Angels. I celebrate the sweet victory You’ve given me through Jesus Christ. Thank you for the glorious conquest!

Indescribable Light, because You made Your home in my heart the Light is always on. Darkness has disappeared and I never have to stumble again. Thank You for releasing me from darkness.

Negotiator of Great Deals, the bargain You made for me is unbelievable! You’d serve my death sentence so that I could be free. Thank You for defending, saving, and freeing me.

Good and Gentle Shepherd, You are my powerful Protector and one and only Owner. O how Your sweet voice resonates deep within the inner ear of my soul. Thank You for taking care of me.

Prepare your heart for worship this Thanksgiving, by perusing your Bible and thinking about Who God is to you. Thank Him for Who He is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Psalm 107:22
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

Father in Heaven,
As a gesture of appreciation for Your matchless mercy toward me, I’ll joyfully show the world the wonder of Your amazing love by:

Self-expenditure – I’ll gladly abandon my own dreams for absolute loyalty to You, determinedly following You wherever You lead.

Attitude of gratitude – I’ll quickly and gratefully stamp out my personal agenda in order to enliven a broken heart.

Crucifixion of self – Deliberately, I’ll kill my spirit of intolerance and indifference in order to allow You to freely work through me to do anything You choose.

Radical love – Because of the extravagant love You’ve shown me, I’ll readily demonstrate extreme compassion to those outcast by society.

Immediate obedience – Out of fear and respect of Your almighty authority, I’ll willingly do any assignment You give me without hesitating or complaining.

Full devotion – Attached to no one but You, I’ll notice the people and situations that burden You.

Individuality broken – In order to effectively aid and assist You, I’ll allow You to crush me and shape me into Your perfect image.

Challenge – I’ll intentionally accept assignments that may be beyond my mental and physical abilities, fully trusting You to energize and equip me.

Endurance – The power of Your Word, coupled with praise and prayer will strengthen me.

Thank You, Lord for filling me with the sweet aroma of Your love. Let my life pleasantly emulate Your essence this holiday season, attracting others to Your fine fragrance because of Jesus. Amen.

God gave up His Son for Your benefit, ask Him what He wants You to give up for His benefit this holiday season. Then, obey immediately, without hesitating or complaining, cheerfully offering Him your sacrifice with a thankful heart.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost For His Highest: We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later – it must be done now … Always guard against self-chosen service for God … God chose the test for Abraham, and Abraham neither delayed nor protested, but steadily obeyed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Almighty, All-bountiful, All-gracious God,It’s sheer pleasure to worship You with heartfelt adoration and undivided attention. Your unfailing love has put a song in my heart, a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I believe that You are Lord, my God, Creator of everything. Thank You for making me intricately and uniquely with Your strong hands. I’m Your most valuable possession. O, how I praise You!

My Good and Gentle Shepherd, knowing You intimately is the greatest joy and blessing. Your voice is music to my ears. Willingly, I follow You. With steadfast devotion, You lead me to the lush, rolling meadows in my Bible where I can devour the rich delicacy of Your Word. Faithfully, You guide me through barren deserts to refreshing streams of Living Water that quench my thirsty soul. Along the way, You staunchly defend me from the wolves of sin and temptation that hound me. Thank You for protecting and providing for me.

With unbridled excitement, I enter the heavenly gate and come into the safety of Your beautiful sanctuary. My thankful heart, tells of Your tender kindness and continuous mercy. I sing of Your infinite goodness and everlasting compassion. Your enduring love has set my feet a dancing. O how I love and worship You for all You’ve done for me, Jesus, my Wonderful Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Amen

Prepare your heart for Thanksgiving, by pondering God’s goodness. Make a list of all the gifts He’s given you. Thank Him for each one, offering Him a sacrifice praise!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Persistent Prayer

Luke 18: 1-8
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Honorable Judge~
Your great compassion and mercy are unending. I am dreadfully needy like the widow, but have not been as persistent with my prayer life. Rather than constantly complaining to You about my on-going problems and pressures, I easily give up and give in. Forgive me for my lack of faith! Thank You for reminding me that I should always pray and not quit! If an unjust person buckles under my continuous badgering how much more will an honorable and patient Judge like You pity me when I keep pestering?

Please dear Lord, increase my faith so that I’ll persistently plead with You like the widow. I’m worn down by my physical and spiritual battles. I’ve been enduring a barrage of troubles and heartache. Tired of the stress and weary from the fight, I’m ready to give up! I long for an easier way! I’m tempted to slip away to a place far from people, away from my problems and struggles; to a place where things are quiet and peaceful. But, Lord, I don’t want to miss the blessings You have for those who stick with You through the hard times.

By faith, I’ll hang around and incessantly cry out to You day and night. As I persevere, please develop my character, faith, and hope. In time, when You are sick and tired of hearing me You’ll respond with the right answer to my situation. Please have mercy on me, Your chosen child. Hear my prayers and answer quickly! Give me faith to endure and believe that You won’t put me off permanently. I know that You love me
deeply because of Jesus. Amen.

Is there something you have given up praying for because you feel like God is not listening? Do not give up! Be persistent like the widow. God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reason. As you persist, He will develop your character, faith and hope.

If a corrupt judge caves in to constant pressure, how much more will a great and loving God answer to us? If you know He loves you, you must believe He will hear your cry for help.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tempted to Sleep

Matthew 26:38, 40-41, 43-45
Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near.”

Precious Jesus,
I am so sorry! You’ve invited me to join You in agonizing prayer, and I have failed you miserably! Surrounded by the sorrow of sin, overwhelmed by the misery of severe suffering, and swallowed up in the sheer terror of impending death, You’ve asked me to keep vigil, but like Peter, I’m drowsy and prone to dozing off. Forgive me, O Lord!

You know the brutal battle that lies ahead for me. Clearly, You warn me to pay attention and pray. Deep agonizing grief from the consequences of poor choices will besiege me. The intense suffering from sickness will be unbearable. The cruel killing of souls and maiming of minds will torment me to the point of overwhelming despair. With all my heart, I want to obey, but the nighttime of the soul seems eternally long and I’m worn out and restless.

I beg You to teach me to pray powerful prayers that will crush the adversary. The hour is near when You’ll come back, and I don’t want You to find me sleeping again. I want You to be pleasantly surprised when You find me in the garden wrestling over the burdens of Your heart for the glory of Your name. Amen.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, October 16: “The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work … the key is in following the Master’s orders – the key is prayer.

Jesus has invited us to watch and pray with Him. His intense agonizing prayer in the garden gave Him the strength to face the journey to the cross. If you don’t pay attention and wrestle with Him in prayer, you’ll snap when the stress and strain do come – and it will come. Ask Jesus to teach you to pray powerful prayers that will crush the enemy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pray Like Jesus

Matthew 26: 37-39, 42,
He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death … He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

So He went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. NKJV

O Lord Jesus,
Thank You for teaching me how to pray! Forgive me for my casual, careless prayers. My happy-go-lucky heart would rather be singing praises and dancing than falling on my face in deep sorrowful prayer. I’ve failed to follow Your example. My prayers have been hasty, shallow and sloppy. I wonder why they go unanswered.

Please lay Your heart over my heart and teach me to pray. O that my soul would be exceedingly anguished even to the point of death for the things that trouble You. Rather than praying as I drive down the road asking You to bless this person and that person, give me this and give them that, I want to go to the garden alone, far away from the hustle and bustle, where I can experience prayer with You.

In Your presence, I’ll fall on my face. Crying out to You in deep distress, You’ll tell me exactly what’s on Your heart. As I sit still, quietly listening to Your voice, my prayer life will change. I’ll be overcome with grief for the things that grieve You. The intense pain will be unbearable. It’ll be tempting to walk away from the severe problems and pressures you reveal to me, but Lord, with all my heart I want to follow You, even to death. I want to pray like You, Jesus, not my will but Yours be done. Amen.

Have you ever had this heart of God? Have you ever prayed like Jesus? Would you be willing to allow God to take You to a different kind of praying? Turn around and follow Jesus. He’ll teach you how to pray powerful prayers that will make a kingdom difference.

Imagine what would happen if the Church started praying like this for our nation!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Battle of the Mind

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

O God You are my Knight in Shining Armor! You rescue me and train me to fight fair and square. Your promises are the bedrock on which I firmly stand.

I’m fighting impurity and unrighteousness in a hateful, hostile world! Everywhere I turn, I’m bombarded with bullets of decadence and delusion. My mind is the battlefield where speculation, knowledge, and thoughts take place. Skirmishing with sin in a corrupt culture is a dangerous place to exist! I need You, God Almighty, to reach down from heaven and snatch me out Satan’s perilous grip.

By Your Spirit, I’ll claim the divinely powerful promises You’ve given me to destroy the barbarians who manipulate my mind with masterful marketing. Wielding the swift, sharp sword of Your Word, I’ll slash warped philosophies and cut through barriers erected against the Truth. You are my Commander-in-Chief. With my thoughts completely submitted to Your control, You’ll order every loose idea, emotion, and impulse to obedience.

As a loyal solider in the Army of Angels, please train and equip me with godly principles so that I’m adequately prepared to fight for what’s right in my uncivilized, unscrupulous surroundings. I want to know my Commander and recognize His thundering voice. I want to believe Him! I want to trust Him! Above all, I want to obey Him and live triumphantly in the blessing of His fortified castle forever and ever! Amen.

What do you need to do to prepare your mind for the immense spiritual battle with evil and temptation in the uncivilized and unscrupulous society where you live, work and play?

Spiritual warfare is a reality that must be faced! It won’t go away. It is time to prepare ourselves to wage war, not as the world does, but with the weapons provided by the Spirit of God. – Dave Butts, The Devil Goes to Church

Battle of the Mind

2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

O God You are my Knight in Shining Armor! You rescue me and train me to fight fair and square. Your promises are the bedrock on which I firmly stand.

I’m fighting impurity and unrighteousness in a hateful, hostile world! Everywhere I turn, I’m bombarded with bullets of decadence and delusion. My mind is the battlefield where speculation, knowledge, and thoughts take place. Skirmishing with sin in a corrupt culture is a dangerous place to exist! I need You, God Almighty, to reach down from heaven and snatch me out Satan’s perilous grip.

By Your Spirit, I’ll claim the divinely powerful promises You’ve given me to destroy the barbarians who manipulate my mind with masterful marketing. Wielding the swift, sharp sword of Your Word, I’ll slash warped philosophies and cut through barriers erected against the Truth. You are my Commander-in-Chief. With my thoughts completely submitted to Your control, You’ll order every loose idea, emotion, and impulse to obedience.

As a loyal solider in the Army of Angels, please train and equip me with godly principles so that I’m adequately prepared to fight for what’s right in my uncivilized, unscrupulous surroundings. I want to know my Commander and recognize His thundering voice. I want to believe Him! I want to trust Him! Above all, I want to obey Him and live triumphantly in the blessing of His fortified castle forever and ever! Amen.

What do you need to do to prepare your mind for the immense spiritual battle with evil and temptation in the uncivilized and unscrupulous society where you live, work and play?

Spiritual warfare is a reality that must be faced! It won’t go away. It is time to prepare ourselves to wage war, not as the world does, but with the weapons provided by the Spirit of God. – Dave Butts, The Devil Goes to Church

Monday, November 17, 2008

Single Minded Devotion

2 Corinthians 11: 3, 4
I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

Truthful Father-You are teaching me how important it is to carefully listen to Your instruction and know Your Voice. How can I detect false teachers if I don’t know the Truth myself? Because ignorance makes me vulnerable to deception, I need to urgently grow in the knowledge of Your Word so that I won’t make foolish mistakes and be misled.

From this day forward, I will be an honest seeker and biblical scholar by diligently studying the Holy Scriptures. As I do, fill me with divine knowledge and wisdom so that my devotion will remain pure, sincere and simple. Protect me from smooth-talkers who have a fascinating message that sound spiritual and makes sense. Hearts are full of deceit. I need to be on guard, always verifying the Truth by searching my Bible. Your Word alone will be my authoritative guide.There are so many confusing distractions around me, threatening to side track my faith. Just as Eve lost her focus in the Garden of Eden by the sly and slippery serpent who twisted the truth, things cleverly disguised as good and moral can fool me too. Satan and his servants are the master’s of disguise. Give me eyes to see through their charades in the Church, as they masquerade as godly ministers. Hide the Truth in my heart so that I will not fall for their schemes.

Lord, with all my heart I want to be single-mindedly devoted to You, believing the One and Only Truth, Jesus Christ who suffered, bled, died and rose to glorious new life once and for all. Amen.

What are you doing to ensure you know the Truth and are not led astray by false teachers? They really are quite clever and cunning, and they are everywhere. John the Beloved warns us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Don’t listen to any “authoritative preacher” who contradicts the Word of God.

Jesus’ warning is loud and clear, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people -” including the elect. (Matthew 24:4, 11, 24)

Bill Keller of LivePrayer.com writes in his November 14, 2008 devotional:
We have entire generations of people who identify themselves as Christians who may have never even given their lives to Christ by faith, and certainly have never been rooted and grounded in the absolute truth of God's Word. The byproduct is they are easy targets for the (Deepka) Chopra's of the world to lead them far away from the truth of the Bible and to eternal damnation!

Read A True Modern Day Tool of Satan Helping to Lead the Souls of Millions to Hell by Bill Keller of Liveprayer.com

Friday, November 14, 2008

Clean Heart Living

Psalm 119:9-11
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

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

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Blessed Writer of the Word,
O how I cherish the wisdom recorded in Your Holy Scriptures. It teaches me about Your holy character and divine nature. An amazing documentary on love, it tells the dramatic story of my rescue from death and destruction. It reveals that You chose and adopted me into Your holy family. I must; therefore, learn to love You and live like a divine child.

It is essential that I open the Book of Life, my Bible, and read it fervently. It will teach me precisely how to live with integrity in a relativistic society that doesn’t take You seriously. The more time I spend studying and applying Your rules for righteous living, the more I’ll become like You. Gradually, my heart will become more sincere and my mind unadulterated.

Out of deep heartfelt devotion, I’ll passionately pursue You. Spending intense time alone with You, my heart will synchronize with Yours. Pleasing You will be my only ambition. Rather than tirelessly trying to make people happy, I’ll spend my energy respecting and praising You in everything I say and do.

Daily digging into the sacred Treasure Chest of Your Word, I’ll uncover Your costly commands and precious promises. Gingerly picking each one up, I’ll methodically study them. Memorizing their fine details, I’ll recognize their great worth during conflict and crisis. Tucked securely in the pocket of my heart, they’ll prevent me from offending You.

O blessed Writer of the Word, thank You for imparting me with wisdom to do Your will, Your way for the glory and honor of Your holy name. Amen.

How can you practice clean-heart living? The Bible says it’s easy as 1-2-3 …
1) Live according to God’s Word.
2) Seek Him with all your heart and obey His commands.
3) Hide His Word in Your heart so that you won’t offend Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Renew Your Mind

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

O Great God,
You are the most famous artist of all time. I could search the whole wide world and find no one as creative or talented as You.

Unscrupulous con artists continually corrupt Your creation. The world presses people into cookie cutter patterns that perform for power, possessions and pleasure. It uses symbols of status to stamp us with success. When we conform to their hard pressed image we become heartless, mindless and lifeless like plastic toys and trinkets.

You however, have a unique technique for sculpting original works of art that are eternally beautiful, valuable and useful. All we have to do is stay soft and pliable in Your meticulous hands every day. Throughout the lifelong process, our eyes will turn toward You, our Designer, when we open our Bibles. Meditating on Your sacred Scriptures will form our true character. They’ll expose the rough spots of rebellion that need to be scraped away. They’ll correct our cracks, flaws, and blemishes. They’ll squeeze us and change us into Your perfect plan. Through the heat of life we’ll come out of the fiery furnace glazed with Your glory.

With Your Holy Word permanently etched on my heart, my mind will be altered to live Your way. Please don’t let con artists squeeze me into the rigid mold of the world. I want to remain soft and pliable in Your skillful hand where I can be shaped into a pleasantly perfect pot to pour out Your extraordinary love. Please dear Lord, transform my mind today, making me an eternally valuable vessel for the praise of Your most creative name. Amen.

What pattern of the world is pressing you today? What will you do differently to prevent con artists from corrupting you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Turn Around

Matthew 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

2 Timothy 4:3-4
The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth.

God of Wonders, I marvel at the power of Your Voice. Thank You for opening my spiritual ears to hear the very first word out of Your mouth to believers, “Repent!” I hear You commanding the Church, the nation, and me to turn around. We’re going in the wrong direction! We don’t listen or pay attention to You, but follow the stubborn inclination of our misguided hearts. Sadly, we’ve twisted Truth to be whatever works and gets good results.

We don’t want to admit the painful depth from which we’ve fallen. We no longer love You, or our brothers and sisters. We bicker, squabble and argue over insignificant matters when we should be falling on our knees in unity of mind and soul praying for radical change in our Church, in our nation, and in our own hearts. We use not only our hearts, but our sanctuaries as a front to worship our manmade gods.

Our leaders are feeding us a pack of sugar-coated lies and we swallow them because we don’t open our Bibles and seek the Truth. Afraid we won’t come back if we know the real cost of following You, we’re not taught to obey Your rules. We’d rather praise and perform than fall on our face in humiliation and acknowledge our brokenness before You. The Church You set apart for holy worship has become a place to carry out our outrageous sacrilege. Have mercy on us for desecrating Your Holy House!

Living Lord, I want to experience the fullness of Your presence and power. I admit that I often head in the wrong direction. Frustrated by lack of results, I gave up praying for change in my Church, in my country, and in my heart. But because of the power of Your Word spoken to me today, I just made a U-turn to follow You. Fuel my heart, O Lord, with renewed passion to radically pray for change that will bring You the honor and glory You’re worthy of. Amen.

Do you hear the first words from our Lord’s mouth when He began preaching to His followers? “Repent!” This word is for you and me, friends - not for the unbelievers. We’re going in the wrong direction and need to do an immediate U-turn. I urge you, turn around and follow Jesus before it’s too late – the kingdom of heaven is near.

For additional reading, I recommend Hosea 4-14. It’s a very clear illustration of the condition of the Church, our country, and our own hearts today, and the consequences for our disobedience.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

Hosea 4:6
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

Hosea 6:3
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear.

God of all Knowledge and Truth,
I cry out to You on behalf of our nation and the complacent Church. We do not know the Truth – Jesus Christ, Your Living Word, the Way to real Life. Failing to exercise discretion, our steady diet of secular humanism has caused us to cash in our conscience for comfort. Instead of seeking Your wise counsel, we’ve consulted a paper idol and have been answered back by the blank stare of a dead dignitary! Have mercy on us, O God, and do not destroy us for our ignorance!

Sure as the sun rises, Your Word clearly warns, You will appear to judge the land with righteousness and truth. Yet, the Church has abandoned both for the sake of relativism. Truth is whatever works and gets good results. Popularity has replaced morality. Prosperity has made us so proud that we’ve forgotten the principles on which our country was founded. Instead of boasting in the Giver of Gifts, we brag about our inflated financial statements. Pleased with our puffed-up performances we no longer seek direction from You. We’ve deliberately walked away from the Hand that paid our debt, set us free and faithfully fed us, to an unknown hand holding out perishable promises of a quick fix for short-term relief. Have mercy on us, O God, and do not annihilate us for rejecting You!

O merciful Lord, I cry out to You to come like a roaring lion – like the mighty Lion of Judah – and arouse the indifferent, impotent Church. Cause us to come trembling back to You, and stand up for what is right: the sanctity of life, the purity of marriage, and the unity of family. Heal our perverted hearts and bind up our warped minds. In these dark days, that are likely to get darker, give us courage to cash in our comfort for compassion. Impassion us with holy justice, and open our minds to the Truth: Sure as the sun rises You will appear, and if we aren’t careful we will be destroyed for our lack of knowledge. Spare us O Lord, in Jesus name. Amen.

Will you join me in crying out for a great awakening in the Church? God makes it clear that He will heal our land when we humble ourselves before Him, pray, seek His face with all our heart, and turn from our wicked ways.

A.W. Tozer defines revival as a move of God that “changes the moral climate of the community.” History shows that a true awakening leaps beyond the walls of any church and radically transforms society. If we want to be a church that really makes a difference in our community, we first need to submit to the painful revival fires – heartfelt humility, persistent prayer, wholeheartedly seek God’s face, and deliberately trust and obey.

Bill Bright writes in his book, The Coming Revival: America’s Call to Fast, Pray, and Seek God’s Face, “By nature every one of us is inclined to take the path of least resistance. But we Americans are especially notorious for avoiding pain at all cost. When it comes right down to it, most of us do not like hard work.”

Evangelist James Burns writes: Revival comes to scorch before it heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the cross, and to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty and to a deep and daily consecration. That is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers of churches. Because it says nothing to them of power (worldly ways) such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world and to follow Christ. –Winkie Pratney, Revival: Its Principles and Personalities

Once again, Dr. Henry Blackaby asks, “What kind of praying have we been doing to lead our nation to the mess we’re in?”

The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. James 5:16

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stiff-necked People

Deuteronomy 9: 13-14, 17
And the LORD said to me, "I have seen this people, and they are a stiff-necked people indeed! Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven.”

So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes.

O Sovereign Lord,
There’s a striking similarity between ancient Israel and the corrupt, rebellious and unruly world today. Our nation is in terrible shape! The Sacred Laws that You inscribed with Your fingers have been deliberately broken. Your Holy Name has been desecrated. With You out of sight and out of mind, we’ve become a country full of senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless fools who expect blessing despite our defiant disobedience.

O Lord, stir up in me a heart like Moses. He knew You intimately; therefore, he knew what was on Your heart and mind. He knew how angry You were over the blatant misconduct of his nation. Twice, he spent 40 days and 40 nights alone in Your holy presence, passionately interceding, fasting, and crying out for You to spare his people from annihilation. He believed with all his heart that You would answer him, and didn’t leave Your presence for any reason until You responded to his urgent appeal.

Lord, I can’t spend 40 minutes fasting and praying, let alone 40 days and 40 nights! Have mercy on me! Radically change my heart, O God. Draw me into the same kind of deep love relationship that Moses had with You. I want to be so enamored with You, that I’ll desire to spend endless hours in Your presence without thinking for one minute about food or drink. Fully possessed by You, I’ll fervently plea to You to spare this nation from complete obliteration. With One heart and One mind, I won’t give up until You answer me. Lord, teach me to diligently pray with enthusiasm and expectation so that Your name will be blessed in my homeland. Amen.

Will you acknowledge and cry out to God for the sin of our nation today? Will you pray for changed hearts and transformed minds? Will you admit and turn from your own sin?

Dr. Henry Blackaby asks, “What kind of praying have we been doing to lead our nation to the mess we’re in?” What changes need to be made in Your life so that God can work through you?

Friday, November 07, 2008

My Favorite Things

Psalm 105:4-5
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done.

Lord of Heaven and Earth,
Enthroned in Zion, You reign forever! Exalted above the nations, there is none like You! Robed in majesty and armed with strength, You are the Writer of wonderful words, and the Designer of magnificent marvels!

Bitten by distress, discouragement and disappointment; stung by sin, suffering and sorrow, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.

You are my Eternal Father. In love, You blessed, chose, adopted and accepted me into Your royal family forever. (1 John 3:1, Ephesians 1:3-8)

You take great delight in me, quiet me with Your love, and rejoice over me with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I am the apple of Your eye, and You cover me under Your soft feathers. Ah! Wrapped up in You, I am safe and warm in the cold, dark world. (Psalm 17:8, Psalm 91:4)

You send angels to watch over me and keep me from all harm. (Psalm 91:11)

I am an heir to the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:17, Ephesians 1:18)

I am forgiven of ALL my sins; healed of ALL my diseases, redeemed from the dark dungeon of despair, crowned with love and compassion, and treated to a myriad of great gifts. (Psalm 103:1-5)

My name is written in heaven and a room is reserved for me there, in Jesus name! (Luke 10:20)

You remember me, and will bless me. (Psalm 115:12)

You are faithful to all Your promises and loving toward all You have made. (Psalm 145:13)

You will fulfill Your purpose for me. (Psalm 138:8)

Focusing on who You are, and who I am in You, is my favorite thing. When I claim Your promises my sadness turns to singing. I praise and exalt You for the gifts You’ve so generously given me in Christ Jesus! There is none like You, my Father and King! Hallelujah! Amen.

This week, in the midst of disappointment and distress, I found myself singing “Favorite Things,” from “The Sound of Music.” I changed the words:

When distress bites,
When sin stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

My spirits were lifted when I began searching my Bible, looking up to the Lord and His strength, and thinking of the wonders of His love for me. These were a few of my favorite things. What are a few of your favorite things?

I encourage you to write them on a note card, carry them with you wherever you go, post them on the bathroom mirror and throughout your home and office. Then, when you’re bitten, stung, and sad remember them and you won’t feel so bad.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Commanded to Pray

1Timothy 2:1-2, 8
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

Eternal, Immortal, Invisible King, You are the only God! Blessing and honor and glory are Yours forever and ever! Amen!

Thank You for the life saving grace of Your Son, Jesus Christ. He is my blessed and only hope for the future. Even though I’ve made a million mistakes and have many faults, You’ve faithfully poured out Your endless love and mercy on me. If it weren’t for Your unlimited patience, I’d be eternally condemned for the countless ways I’ve offended You. But, because of Your tenderhearted compassion and ceaseless kindness, I’m guaranteed a home in heaven, signed and sealed in Jesus’ blood.

Therefore, out of deep heartfelt gratitude, I will obey Your orders for outstanding living in an outrageous society. Not only will I honor the position of the next President of the United States by accepting his authority, I will also do as You say and raise up holy hands to pray persistently and passionately for him to rule our country with justice and goodness for our good and Your glory. My heart’s desire is to live freely, simply, and quietly in this land blessing, honoring and glorifying Your kingdom forever and ever. Amen.

God’s Word tells us exactly what we should have been doing, and should do going forward: pray for everyone – especially our president so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

I urge you, put aside your anger and put on passionate and persistent PRAYER for President Barack Obama! The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Here are some more reasons to be thankful:
  • You have a roof over your head, and may even own your home
  • You have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • You have air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter
  • You live in a safe neighborhood protected by well-trained and dedicated emergency personnel
  • You have income
  • You have enough clothes in your closet to dress a community in Congo and enough stuff in your garage to furnish an entire village in Mozambique
  • You have the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in a moment than Darfur has seen in the last year
  • You have social, religious and political freedoms that are the envy of everyone in the world
  • You have a cell phone and computer

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Accepting Authority

1 Peter 2:13-17
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Great God who governs the globe, You are the highest, most supreme ruler in all the land. All other authority is established by You for our good and Your glory. While there are civil laws in the land, Your Word is our utmost command. No matter who reigns as President of the United States, You expect all Christians to accept his authority and act like citizens of Your kingdom.

By Your power, help me to leave the things of the world and return to You, my first love. For too long, I’ve pursued personal pleasure and prosperity instead of a personal relationship with You. Walking hand-in-hand with You, I’ll see every human as Your valuable creation. While they may be ignoring You, and You may not accept their actions, You never stop yearning for them. Instead of condemning the ungodly, I’ll freely serve them. My good deeds, done in the light of Your love, might cure their ignorance, draw them to You, and save them from eternal damnation.

By Your mercy, help me to love Your family. For too long, there has been division in the Church, across denominations over doctrine. Because of our bickering and brokenness, we’ve reflected a poor image of You to the watching world. The bottom line is that You suffered, died, were buried, and rose to glorious new life in order to save EVERYONE who believes. With that in mind, I’ll set aside my own preferences in order to be a better Body builder. My good deeds, done in compassion to other Christians, will silence the critical crowds, reflect Your radiant image, and attract people to the beautiful Body of Christ.

With all due respect, I’ll love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and obey Your orders for outstanding living in an outrageous society. Without compromising my conscience, I’ll honor the position of the next President of the United States by accepting his authority and living among the outlaws in such a superior way that even the pagans will praise Your glorious name. Amen.

Throughout the ages, Christians have lived under oppressive regimes. When Peter wrote this letter, believers were subject to the totalitarian government of Nero, a notoriously cruel tyrant. During Nero’s terrifying reign, Peter penned these words to encourage the persecuted Church, and God preserved them for us today.

Let them be an encouragement to you also. Regardless of whom the next president is, God sets the standard for His family. As believers we are compelled to treat everyone with dignity even those we disagree with; love the family of God despite our denominational and doctrinal differences; fear God; and respect government as God’s emissary.

Remember how much Jesus suffered for you. In the light of His love, live for Him, die for Him, and let your light shine for Him in the darkness so that all men will notice Him and praise Him.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Appointed Authority

Romans 13:1b
All authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

Daniel 4:17
The Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses—even to the lowliest of people.

Great King over all the earth!
How awesome are You, Lord Most High!
Your rule and Your reign are everlasting. There is no end to Your magnificent kingdom. The prime ministers, princes and presidents of the earth are powerless paupers compared to You. Sitting enthroned above the earth, You do as You wish among the angels of heaven and the people of earth. No one can stop You or question Your absolute authority. Ruling with a scepter of justice, all of Your acts are fair and true.

From Your holy throne in heaven, You appoint people to positions of power on earth for our good and Your glory. You had a purpose for the oppressor Pharaoh, the conqueror Nebuchadnezzar, the terminator Nero, and the people-pleaser Pilate. Although inherently wicked, their rule was required for Your ultimate work in the world. Likewise, You have a providential plan for the next President of the United States. Whether he’s godly or ungodly, give us the grace to understand that whoever governs this great land will submit to Your Most High command.

No matter who wins the election we will sing praises to You, our King because You are sovereign over everything. Regardless of whom sits enthroned with power on earth, Your kingdom will come and You will be exalted over every nation. Belonging to You, every world leader will bow down and serve You despite their power, position, and pride. To You to be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

As believers we must acknowledge that all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by Him for our good and His glory. He has a plan in place for our next President.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Divine Healing

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Jehovah-rapha, Healing Lord,
You say IF my people, who are called by my name – Christian – will humble themselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN You will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. You make the diagnosis for our nation painfully clear, yet millions of people who call themselves Christians are asleep and unconscious, unaware of the remedy for our ailing country.

Polluted with their worldly plans and possessions, most Christians know little about spiritual discipline and living a Spirit-filled life. They’re complacent, at ease, thinking they have it all and are in need of nothing but an inspiring word on Sunday morning. Our abundance has led to greed. Our freedom has become a license for lewdness. Our religious heritage has been deemed irrelevant. Haughty and independent, many in the Church have abandoned their first love and have no idea how far they’ve fallen. Self-absorbed, they’re clueless about the cancer that is consuming the entire Body and spewing into their beloved country.

Brought into this world with a strong heart by our Founding Fathers, we’ve failed to exercise discretion, and have eaten a steady diet of humanism resulting in deteriorating heart disease. O Lord, surely the Church needs a visit from the Great Physician! Come quickly and heal the sick souls who are called by Your name.

Following Your precise prescription, we will discover the cure for our critical condition. Wake us up from our sweet dreams! Compel us, by Your Spirit, to humbly admit that we have a serious sin problem, prayerfully bring our afflictions to You, and continually seek Your advice by spending time in Your Word, the Bible. Then, You will hear our cries and alleviate the ailing Body.

With a fully restored Body, Your heart, and one name - Christian, we will see the sad state of our country. In Your strength, we will stand up and lead the nation to turn around and follow You. Then, You will heal our land for the glory of Your name. Amen.

Many in the Church would agree that our nation is in grave condition and frantically needs the healing hand of Jesus. Will you obediently stand before God today and admit your own faults and failures? Will you then confess the complacency of the Church; acknowledging that we as a Body haven’t exercised discretion and have eaten a steady diet of humanism? Will you concede that our abundance has led to greed, our freedom has become a license for lewdness, and our religious heritage has been deemed irrelevant?

God is calling the Church - everyone who calls themselves by the Christian name - to stand up and lead the nation to turn around and follow Him. Our only hope is in a supernatural visit from the Great Physician, and He will only come when we, as a Body, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.

Deadly Diseases from A-Z
Abscess of Anger, Arrogance, Adultery, Alcoholism, Abortion
Blisters of Bitterness, Boasting, Brokenness – Broken Homes, Broken Relationships
Cut of Criticism, Complaining, Complacency, Carelessness
Disease of Death, Deceit, Divorce, Disrespect, Defiance
Epidemic of Envy, Evil Tongue
Fever of Fear, Fornication
Gash of Gossip, Greed, Gluttony, Gambling
Hemorrhage of Hate, Hypocrisy, Homosexuality, Humanism
Irritation of Immorality, Impatience, Idolatry, Impurity, Irreverence, Individualism, Independence, Insensitivity, Injustice
Joints that ache from Jealousy, Judging
Kink of Killjoy, Knavery
Lesion of Lying, Laziness, Lack of Love, Lust, Liberalism, Legalism
Malignancy of Murdering millions of unborn babies, Materialism
Nausea of Nagging, Nastiness
Oppression of Oblivion, Obnoxiousness, Obstinacy
Pain of Praylessness, Procrastination, Pride, Pornography, Personal Plans, Possessions
Queasiness of a Quick Temper
Rash of Rebellion, Retaliation, Rejection, Relativism
Sting of Sex, Sorrow, Sensationalism, Self-sufficiency, Self-absorption, Selfishiness
Toxin of Temptation
Ulcer of Unforgiveness, Ungratefulness, Unbelief
Virus of Vanity, Vengeance
Wounds of Worry, Wrong Friends, Worldly Entertainment
Yaws of Yelling
Zits of Zero Time With You