Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Promises Precious Promises

Revelation 7:14-17
These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,
they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Promises, Precious promises, O how I delight in Your promises! O how I cherish the wonder working power of the blood of the Lamb.

You guarantee that in this world we’ll have all kinds of trials and tribulations. We’d be naïve to believe that we won’t be despised and disdained for faithfully following You. Afflictions, adversities and atrocities are bound to affect us. Yet, if we persist and don’t give up, You promise we’ll come through the tragedies with white-washed robes – bleached by the blood of the Lamb. Blessed assurance!

Dressed in white linen, we’ll be led into Glory. Enthralled by our beauty, You’ll endow us with the privilege of being priests in the Temple of Heaven. Delighting You day and night with songs of praise and the sweet scent of prayers will be enchanting. With my ear pressed close to my heart, I can almost hear the melodious music. With my nose in the air, I can almost smell the fragrance of prayer.

In the safe shelter of Your presence, we’ll have access to Your boundless buffet. Our starved souls that insistently sought satisfaction for years will be content at last. Under the shade of Your canopy, the scorching sun will no longer sear us. You’ll lead us to ceaseless streams of refreshing living water. With a soft stroke of Your hand, You’ll gently wipe every tear from our swollen eyes and we’ll never again have reason to cry.

O Lord, why do I dread dying when You promise me all this? Please dear Lord, permanently paint a pleasant picture of Paradise in my mind to prevent me from discouragement and despair while I wait for You to return and take me to live with You there. Amen.

Ponder the promises of heaven, and ask the Lord to permanently paint them on your mind.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Misguided Ambition

Revelation 4:10-11
The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

My Creator King,
You alone are the King who reigns in power over the entire universe, and You alone are worthy to receive glory and honor and power because You created all things.

Why then, if I believe this, am I so contradictory? If You alone are worthy of ALL praise – and You are – why then do I pursue pleasing people for their praise? Why do I relish rewards and recognition? Why do I long to stand in the spotlight? And, why am I offended when others don’t give me credit for the work I’ve done? My heart is deceived, and my thoughts are distorted.

Thank You for opening my eyes to see how subtly Satan seduces me and steals my glorious golden life. He’d love nothing more than for me to be focused on the attention, applause and accolades of people. Oh, that all sounds so wonderfully harmless. Yet, it is a lie, straight from the pit of Hell. If I cash in on it, I cheat You, the Lamb of God, of the glory and honor and praise that rightfully belongs to You, hampering Your work in the process. Apart from You, I would not even exist. In the Throne Room in Glory, I will be compelled to cast down my crowns, and give You all the credit for anything good I’ve ever done.

Please, dear Lord, give me power to abandon all my misguided ambitions, and faith to believe that You are in control, and have a plan and purpose for me that’s vastly beyond my dreams, for the glory and praise of YOUR name, both now and forevermore. Amen.

Are you cashing in on the attention, applause and accolades of people, cheating God of the glory, honor, and praise that rightfully belongs to Him? Apart from Him, you wouldn’t even exist. He deserves complete credit for every good thing you’ve ever done.

Unreservedly abandon your misguided ambitions Him. His Word says, “He stoops down to make me great.” Psalm 18:35

Monday, April 28, 2008

Practicing for a Priestly Performance

Revelation 5:6- 9
I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.

King of the Universe,
You are the Sacred Lamb of God, omnipotent, omniscience, and omnipresent. Perfect in power and knowledge, Your presence is everywhere. Because You were slaughtered, You and You alone, are worthy to step forward, take the secret scroll, sever its seals and open it. Your right to rule the world was and is and always will be undisputable, unquestionable, and undeniable.

With Your precious blood You purchased people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to build for Yourself a kingdom full of priests to rule and reign over all the earth. Instead of resisting Your will, disputing Your purpose, and complaining about Your ways, I must immediately start submitting to Your almighty authority. Falling in step with the rest of the universe, it is imperative that I recognize Who You are, change my haughty attitude, and fall down in reverent awe of You.

Taking up a harp, with my eyes focused on You standing on the throne of my heart, I’ll practice plucking a lovely cord for the King when I live harmoniously with others. Holding out my golden bowl full of passionate, persistent prayers, I’ll honor You, hasten Your coming, and attract the hopeless, helpless and heartless to the sweetness of Your splendor. By maintaining one accord within the multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial body of Christ, I’ll reproduce the crescendo of thunderous praise that will one day, possibly quite soon, resonate throughout all of creation:

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!

Thank You for giving me a guided tour through the gates of Glory, and allowing me a glimpse of the gala events at the throne of grace. To the Sacred Sacrificial Lamb who sits on the throne, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! Amen.

I can’t wait to get to heaven to see the magnificent Throne Room where the King of the Universe conducts His official business, and to find out for sure what’s on that secret scroll. Absolutely no one but Jesus, the Sacred Sacrificial Lamb who was slain, is worthy of taking it from the King, severing the seals, and opening it. According to God’s revealed Word, the Truth, our only response will be to reverently worship the Only One who has the right to rule and reign over all creation. We can practice for the priestly performance for which He purchased us by:

Taking up our harps, focusing on the King, and living harmoniously with others.

Holding out our golden bowls full of passionate, persistent prayers for the hastening of Christ’s coming, as well as, for the hordes of helpless, hopeless and heartless.

Singing a new song, in one accord, by accepting, and even joining with those whose worship style is different than our traditional preference.

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen of England, is open 8-weeks out of every year for public tours. The most popular room on the tour is the Throne Room, where the Queen receives visiting dignitaries and conducts her official business. I’m sure it pales in comparison to the Throne Room in the Paradise Palace where the King of the Universe conducts His official business and graciously visits with undignified people.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crescendo of Praise

Revelation 4:8-11
Day and night they never stop saying:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Eternal and Most Holy God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, You are the glorious One, seated on the throne conducting the official business of the universe. Holy, holy, holy, are You, Almighty Judge.

Thank You for opening the door to Your throne room and giving me a glimpse of Your glory. I can only imagine the contagious choir I will hear when I step into Your holy presence. Day and night, there will be a continuous crescendo of praise as all the redeemed ceaselessly sing harmonious, thankful choruses honoring You, the Conquering King who reigns victoriously. Humbly bowed at Your nail-pierced feet, worship will be uninterrupted and uninhibited, forever and ever. Positioned for service, I will reverently join the elders, unreservedly laying down the praise of my accomplishments, accolades, and awards. Apart from You, there are no rewards or recognition. All glory, honor, and power belong to You, the Host of Heaven.

Inscribe this magnificent vision on my heart today and help me to live a sincere life of serious worship so that when I enter the holy of holies I’ll be properly prepared to behold Your beauty. Following the example of the twenty-four elders, my praise will be constant, not sporadic; united, not divided; warm and genuine, instead of cold and calculated; highly charged with energy and activity, rather than smug and sleepy; humble, not haughty. O Jesus, with all my heart, I anticipate the day when I will join the crescendo of eternal praise. Hallelujah! You are worthy! Amen.

Practice continuous praise today!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Recognition and Rewards

Revelation 22:7, 12
Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

Host of Heavenly Honors,
Your Word is clear, You are coming soon and bringing the loot with You. There will be recognition and rewards for everyone according to what they’ve done. Glory! Hallelujah! I eagerly anticipate standing on the pedestal and receiving the bounty. O that my earthly performance will be triumphant and worthy of Your trophies.

If I return to You and rekindle the romance, You’ll endow me with the privilege of eating from the luscious tree of life in the Garden of Paradise.

For overcoming extreme obstacles, I will be blessed with the victorious golden crown of everlasting life.

Firmly believing the truth, I can expect to receive the Bread of Life and a brand new name.

If I wholeheartedly pursue purity and peace, I’ll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star.

For conquering death, and staying clean in the cemetery, You promise that I will be worthy to walk with You as a winner.

If I don’t cave into the pressure of popular opinion I will be a pillar of praise supporting Your glorious presence.

When I’m not preoccupied with the party, and I open the door and welcome You in, You will honor me with a seat next to You in the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, with all my heart, I want to believe and obey the Words of prophecy revealed in Your Holy Book. Please help me overcome the barriers that are blocking me from the fullness of Your blessing in the powerful name of Jesus who is coming soon and makes all of them possible. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Ponder the rewards and recognition you will receive for obeying the words of prophecy written in the Bible. What adjustments do you need to make in order to obtain them?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Forsaken Holy Spirit

Revelation 3:15-21

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Faithful and Accurate Witness,
From Your throne in heaven on high You view every move we make. Cutting right through our hard hearts, You tell it like it is: “You’re as bland as tepid tap water.” Stale and stagnant, we’re so disgusting and repugnant that we make You want to vomit.

Flaunting our wealth, our extravagance has exceeded our worth. Possessions are more valuable to us than the Possessor. Affluence, luxury, and ease have made us confident, content, and complacent. Self-absorbed, self-satisfied, and self-sufficient we’ve reduced Your church to an elite, independent social club. Yet, You see through our fake façade. From Your holy perspective, we are blind as bats and broke as beggars. Lord, have mercy on us! We have forsaken Your Holy Spirit for a false sense of security.

Instead of letting us stuck in this revolting place, You speak up with wise and wonderful counsel. If we want real riches, You advise us to buy precious gold that’s been through the flames of Your refinery. Rather than wasting cash on fancy fashions, You recommend we invest in heavenly garments that will actually cover all of our flaws. Finally, You prescribe sacred ointment for our sore eyes so that we can truly see.

Thank You for caring enough to nudge, correct and guide us to live at our best for Your glory. We need to seriously accept and urgently apply Your advice. You are firmly knocking on our door. It would be an atrocity if we were too busy partying to open it. It would be a critical mistake to miss the Divine Guest bearing a divine gift.

For those who aren’t preoccupied with the entertainment, those who open the door and welcome You in, You promise to sit at the head of their table and eat with them. O Lord, by Your grace, I will hear with my ear and be at that sacred supper because of Jesus. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Have you taken your spiritual temperature lately? What is it? Hot? Cold? Lukewarm?

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. Jesus clearly says He wishes you’d be either hot or cold, but not lukewarm. And, truth be told, He wishes that none would perish; therefore, He really desires we’d all be hot.

What do you need to do to stoke the fire, and rekindle the flame? Possessions will fade, but the Possessor will not.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forsaken Strength

Revelations 3:8-12
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

O Holy and Righteous Judge,
From Your throne in heaven You’re observing every move we make, tracing evidence of every impressive activity, as well as, every menial task. In the end, You alone will determine the significance of our performance.

As the Divine Doorman, You hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven, opening the door for whomever You please. Once it is open, no man can shut it. Everyone who walks through it has a guaranteed place in Paradise. Glory Hallelujah! My destiny is in Your holy hands, and man has no control over it.

You know that I’m steadily sowing the seed of Your Word in the hard soil of the souls surrounding me. My diminutive size and small visible impact seem insignificant and ineffective. Satan, determined to rob me of the victory crown, has precisely selected puppets to demoralize me. It’s tempting to quit, forsaking my strength.

Because I believe You, I will continue to patiently plant Your Word wherever I go using the resources You’ve given me. The very people who sneer at my dedication today, will one day wake up, realize their foolishness, and fall at my feet acknowledging the impact of my devotion. When You finally come, and all of heaven and earth is shaken, they will be reduced to rubble. In spite of popular opinion, those who don’t cave into the pressure will be the pillars supporting Your glorious presence. With a new name and new address they will be thankful and worship You with reverence and awe. I will be there! Blessed assurance! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He knows where you’re sowing the seed of His Word. He knows the tools you have to work with.

What ministry has God given you? What is your strength? Hold on tightly to it.

You may never see the harvest, but don’t give up! Satan will go to great lengths to discourage you. Don’t listen to him. He’s a liar, determined to steal your victory crown.

For patiently sticking with it and not caving into the pressure of popular opinion, God promises that one day those who sneer at you will fall at your feet acknowledging the impact of your devotion. When Jesus finally comes, they will be reduced to rubble, and you will be a pillar supporting God’s glorious presence. Isn’t that an awesome vision? Blessed assurance, He will be enthroned on the praises of His people, and I’ll be there. How about you?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forsaken Life

Revelation 3: 1-5
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

Recorder of the Deeds,
You keep track of everything we do. While our places in Paradise are secure without doing anything, our heavenly rewards are contingent on our lifestyle. You know that we have a reputation for being alive because we talk a good talk and walk a good walk. Yet we have forsaken life! We are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of brittle bones. We appear righteous, but are living a lie. Our deficient half-hearted works disappoint You. Our soiled garments are a sick sight to Your holy eyes. Have mercy on us, Lord!

Wake up the sleeping church. Remind us of the gospel. You came. You lived. You died. You know what it’s like to be DEAD! After three days in a dark grave, You rose to glorious new life. This is the good news we received, heard, and believed. It’s time to hear it again, turn around and obediently arise in strength and power.

You warn us that You will come like a thief in the night. No one can predict when You will break in. O Lord, don’t let me be caught dead and dormant when You re-enter this earthly realm. I want to be living a vibrant Christian life, brilliantly blazing with Your glory when You show up out of the blue. For triumphing over death, and staying clean in the cemetery, You promise that I will be worthy to walk with You. Dressed in snow white linen, You will recognize me by my purity. My name will never be blotted from the Book of Life, and You will acknowledge me before Your Father and His legion of angels. Blessed Assurance, when the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He can see beyond the whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside. He knows what’s rotting in your heart. He knows you’ve forsaken life.

Wake up and listen to Him. He is coming soon, out of the wild blue yonder. What do you need to do get the home of your heart in order for His holy arrival?
For your obedience you will walk with him, dressed in linen whiter than snow. He will never blot out your name from the Book of Life. And, He will acknowledge you before His Father. Glory Hallelujah! When the roll is called up yonder, you’ll be there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Forsaken Purity

Revelation 2:19, 20, 24-26, 28
I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants. Now I say to the rest of you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come.

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. I will also give him the morning star.

Morning Star,
Your holy eyes are like blazing fire that cut right through thick secretive walls. Nothing escapes Your sacred scrutiny. You see our love and loyalty. Watching our service and persistence, You’re impressed with our increasingly good works.

You also see that charismatic leaders with a world view are controlling and corrupting the church. Powerful, persuasive and prominent, they’ve been hired for a job rather called for a ministry. Motivated by prosperity and pleasure, their strategies are self-glorifying and self-indulging. Charmingly manipulative, they misrepresent Your Word and mislead Your people. Fiercely menacing, they’ll massacre anyone and everyone who attempts to thwart them. Holiness and peace have been forsaken for happiness. Have mercy on us, Lord!

Please give me holy eyes that blaze like fire to see through their so-called deep secrets. I want nothing to do with their game of liberal relevance. While they’re pursuing programs and performances, I want to be seeking holiness and peace. Help me, by Your Spirit, to hold on tightly to the truth that’s been given to me until You come. For firmly following You, I’ll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star. Blessed Assurance! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. His fiery eyes cut through everything. He knows the personal agendas of powerful, persuasive, prominent people, and He will not tolerate them much longer. He’s aware of the manipulative games they play to increase their prosperity and pleasure. Because they refuse to change their ways, their punishment is coming.

Jesus warns us to steer clear of them and not to compromise holiness and peace for momentary happiness. For firmly following Him, we’ll be given the gift of divine authority, along with the bright Morning Star, Jesus.

Who is leading you? Where are they leading you? How are they leading you? Why are you following them?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Forsaken Truth

Revelation 2:13-17
I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Mighty One with the sharp double-edged sword,
You are armed and dangerous, and know exactly where to find me – at Satan’s throne, in Sin City where a slew of spiritually sick people have been successfully seduced by his sly schemes. Starving for a cure, the Master of Shams has gladly supplied us with some sweet sounding solutions to assuage the cravings of our hearts.

In an era of empowerment, he has us believing that we are in control of our destiny, and able to overcome any and all obstacles to achieve success. Surreptitiously he suggests if we’d just work harder we’d feel less guilty and be more prosperous. Desperately looking for quick answers to complex problems, he’s effectively enticed us to spend billions of dollars on shallow self-help programs that are simply clever semantics that redefine ancient ails. On every corner there is a fabricated substitute for genuine love and compassion. Keeping us pre-occupied and self-centered is his grand plan.

You know it’s a daily battle to remain strong and healthy in a world where spiritual sickness is epidemic. The pressure to compromise our faith is paramount and often leads us to unwittingly make concessions. In the church Your Word has been distorted, diluted, and denied. The truth has been forsaken for a pack of sweet sounding lies. O Mighty One, You are the only helper and healer of this strain of heart disease. Help me develop a strong sense of discernment so that I will follow the inerrant remedy prescribed in the Book of Life for healthy living in a sin sick society.

When You come, and it could be soon, the war will be won with the words from Your mouth. Inflicting vengeance on the swindlers, You’ll swiftly divide the healthy from the dying. Those who are strong can expect to receive the Bread of Life and a brand new name because of Jesus. Blessed assurance! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He knows you live in Sin City where a slew of spiritually sick people are being successfully seduced by Satan’s smooth sounding lies. He knows how hard it is to survive and remain strong in faith when the truth has been distorted, diluted, and denied. Yet if you follow His prescription for living in a sin sick society, He promises you hidden manna, the Bread of Life, and a brand new name in heaven.

What will your name be? I hope mine is Merry Joy.

Are you looking for a shortcut or solution that’s easier than surrendering to Jesus? Most people are, but He is the only One who can help and heal ailing hearts. His way is never easy and never short, but it’s always right and always leads to a rich reward.

Listen to the Lord and be blessed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Forsaken Confidence

Revelation 2:9-11
I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Judge of the Living and the Dead,
You are the first and the last who died and came to life again. Just as You spoke and everything came into existence, You will have the final word. Thank You for pouring out commendation, comfort and confidence.

You commend me for the way I’ve handled hardships. You’ve seen my problems and my poverty – yet because of Your grace I am rich. An enormous inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade is waiting for me in heaven. Glory, hallelujah!

Comforting me, You tell me to not be afraid of impending trials and tribulations. Against a sparkling backdrop of opulence and affluence, arrogant people from the synagogue of Satan bash me for my beliefs. The devil will test my faith by tempting, accusing, and deceiving me. For a while, I will be his prisoner of war – isolated, despised, and tortured.

Finally, You tell me to remain confident, even to the point of death. For deliberately giving up my rights, killing my selfish desires, and focusing on the future I will walk through the fire and not be burned. Instead of being destroyed by the flames, I will be purified in the furnace proving that my faith is genuine when I walk out on the other side glowing with Your glory.

Please help me to inhale the sweet fragrance of grace like fresh spring air as I walk through seasons of suffering. For overcoming extreme obstacles, I will be blessed with the victorious golden crown of everlasting life. Blessed assurance! Amen.

If you have an ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. Life is full of suffering and sadness. Satan will tempt, accuse and deceive you. Jesus knows. Hang in there. Inhale grace like the fresh spring air and walk with confident assurance through the flames. When destruction comes, and it will, you will not be hurt. He promises those who don’t give up the victorious crown of life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forsaken Love

Revelation 2:2-4, 7
I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Lover of My Bleeding Soul,
You sure do know me intimately! You’ve recorded every good thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been busy and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. You acknowledge that I plugged away without giving up when the going got tough. It pleases You that I took a stand against immorality. You’re well aware of the fact that I know my Bible and can accurately discern truth from fiction.

Yet, you also notice my shortcomings. While I’ve done great and glorious works, I’ve walked away from my love relationship with You. I know You. We’ve been married for years. We live together, but the honeymoon is over, and we barely communicate. I come and go, while You wait at home for me, never grumbling or complaining.

O my God! How far have I fallen? Show me. Help me rekindle our sacred romance and start doing the things I did for You when we first met. Back then, I couldn’t wait to be with You. The love letters You wrote me every day in red ink made my heart flutter. I longed to talk to You for hours. What’s happened to us?

Spiritual busyness and stalwart religiosity have displaced my first love. I’ve abandoned our sacred romance for a cheap one-night stand. Prostituting You for less intimate lovers who promised me pleasure: prosperity, possessions, and prominence. My light has diminished.

O Lover of My Bleeding Soul, forgive me for walking away from You. Help me to be a faithful bride who adores her bridegroom. Light up my life again with Your love that never burns out and I will stay with You forever in our secret garden where You promise I will eat from the tree of life. Blessed assurance. Hallelujah! Amen.

Has work replaced your worship? If you have one ear on the side of your head bend it toward your heart and listen to Jesus. He longs for His bride to come home. Return to your first love and He promises to give you the right to eat from the tree of life in Paradise.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Remarkable Return

Revelation 1:3,7
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
So shall it be! Amen.

Living One, who was dead but now lives and reigns forever and ever. Please give me ears to hear and a heart to believe the sobering Words written by Your holy hand. Though many generations have anticipated Your return, and never actually witnessed it, let me not lose faith. Your Words are always true and always right.

You are coming and You say the time is near. To You a thousand years are like a single day. It’s ridiculous for us to try to figure out Your schedule. However, we can be sure that one day the sun will stop shining, the light of the moon will be dispelled, the stars will fall from the sky, heaven will breathe and You will blow into town on a chariot of clouds. Your astonishing arrival will be highly visible and blatantly obvious. Even those who killed You will stop, drop and look up in wonder.

Before the media can inform us or warn us of this monumental event, there will be such a colossal catastrophe that everyone everywhere will know beyond a shadow of doubt that something extraordinary has happened. There will no escaping it. Those who know You will realize what’s going on and will not be surprised. Those who’ve ignored You will panic in the pandemonium. According to Your Word these things will happen.

O Lord, thank You for telling us everything we need to know ahead of time. We have been warned. Let us not be ignorant, but wisely watch and wait for the great day when You will triumphantly come on a cloud revealing Your glory, honor and power finally and forever. Amen.

Christ’s return will be noticeable by everyone. He tells us everything we need to know to recognize it. Don’t be ignorant. Prepare yourself by reading Matthew 24, Mark 13, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

God promises you will be blessed when read your Bible, hear His Words, and take them to heart.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fire from Glory

Malachi 4:1-2
"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Commander of Heaven’s Armies,
You paint a frighteningly vivid picture of the day of judgment that’s coming. Repeatedly, You warn us in Your Word that You are coming – soon, and like a thief in the night. We will not know when, but we will know how.

At the sound of a trumpet You will heave a ball of fire from the Golden Altar in Glory. Pealing off with thunder, lightning and trembling, unbelievable doomsday disaster will come upon our land. Grasping for straws, we’ll desperately cry out for our political and spiritual leaders to save us. Because they are the kindling that ignited the flame, they will be fully engaged and powerless to contain the blaze. Since we allowed them to build our nation and churches with highly combustible materials like the cheapness of charm and charisma, the degradation of deceit and debt, and the crudeness of egotism and liberalism we should not be surprised when it’s all gone in a flash. The losses will be catastrophic as all those who snubbed You for personal pleasure are completely devoured in the inferno.

But for all those who respectfully acknowledge You as their Righteous Ruler, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. They will walk through the scorching heat and not be burned; the smoldering smog will not smother them. Like silver, gold and costly gems that are refined and purified when they pass through a furnace, they will come out on the other side bursting with brilliance and a vibrant new life. Glowing with Glory, they will be of great value in the vault of heaven.

Please dear Lord, do whatever it takes to wake me up to the harsh reality that You are coming and You will test the condition of my heart. O that You would find that I’ve been a faithful, fearful follower who built with eternal treasures on the bedrock of Jesus Christ. Amen.

How will you fair on Judgment Day? Will you be devoured by the inferno, or will you come through the fire unscathed? Consider the consequences of your choices today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Special Treasure

Malachi 3:16-18
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him. "They will be my people," says the LORD Almighty. "On the day when I act, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

Listening Lord,
You are sovereign, and the Words You speak are dear to my heart. O how I’m blessed when I stop, sit and listen to You. It tickles me to hear You say that I’m Your special treasure. My worth doesn’t come from accomplishments or accumulated wealth; it comes from belonging to You. I’m a special jewel in Your treasury because Jesus paid for me with His life. I’m valuable because of Your love and mercy, not because of my personal successes or failures.

Lord, You know we’re living in a time of rampant ungodliness just like the prophet Malachi when he penned these words. All around me people are proud of their achievements, flaunting their possessions, and seemingly enjoying a rich luxurious lifestyle. Those of us who are dedicated to You are growing weary waiting and wondering if walking with You is worth it.

Thank You for telling us how to persevere through troubling times of temptation. We need to hang out with other believers, openly talk about our struggles, and encourage one another. Rather than fussing and fretting about what we don’t have, we need to give thanks and praise You for what we do have – a rich inheritance and a guaranteed place in Your palace in Paradise where we’ll live happily ever after with You and each other.

It’s frightening to think that you listen to every conversation we hold and notice the way we treat each other. Admittedly, I don’t always sparkle with kindness or goodness. Because You write down and remember every kind word spoken, every pleasant phone call made, every cheerful letter written, every effort to gently console the downcast, we ought to generously and intentionally spread more love, mercy, and peace. Then, we will twinkle like diamonds in the darkness.

Please dear Lord, show me someone who’s at their end of their rope and ready to give up on You. I’ll joyfully refresh their spirit with an extra dose of encouragement for the honor of Your worthy name. Amen.

Are you complaining that you don’t have a calling or ministry? Stop fretting and find someone who’s hurting. Refresh them with a kind word, a phone call, a letter or email. There are many discouraged and disheartened people in your church family who are longing to have their spirits lifted. Brighten someone’s life today with a kind word. God is listening and you will be blessed!

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve but your grief will turn to joy.”

Do you believe the truth?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pursue Peace

1 Peter 3: 10-12
Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer.

Guide to the Good Life,
Thank You for clearly pointing me in the right direction. If I want to enjoy a good life and see many happy days, here’s what I need to do:

I must refrain from evil or hurtful language, and intentionally be agreeable, sympathetic, and loving. You want me to be perceptive, peaceful and polite, thinking of others more than myself. In Your realm, revenge and sharp-tongued sarcasm are never acceptable. You expect the ambassadors of Your kingdom to rise above the stabbing pain of criticism and cynicism, and bless those who inflict it by praying for them.

I must also turn my back on immorality and cultivate healthy, honest relationships. The Righteous Book of Rules, my Bible, will help me set good moral standards, and identify dangerous situations before I stumble into them. I will overcome obstacles by earnestly looking for them, immediately exposing them, and dealing with them in the light of Your love. Instead of grumbling about them, I will fervently pray for a peaceful resolution; then stand up, and sincerely speak the truth sensitively.

Please give me the tenacity to continually search for and maintain peaceful resolutions. For doing what’s right, You will reward me by turning Your ear toward me, listening and responding to my requests. I will be blessed with a life I love and many good days because I’ve carefully followed the Guide to the Good Life. Amen.

God promises you a life you’ll love and many good days, if you control your tongue, turn from immorality, do good deeds, and seek peace. For doing what’s right even when it feels wrong, He promises to reward you by listening and responding to your prayer requests.

On the other hand, if you choose not follow His Guide to the Good Life, and pursue selfish solutions, He will turn his face from you.

Would you rather that God turn His face toward you or away from you?

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews12:14

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Avoid Danger

Proverbs 16:6
Through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

Reigning Ruler of the Universe,
As the Creator of everything, You and You alone have the exclusive right to rule the world. Your rules are always right because You are infallible. If only I’d listen to You, I’d avoid danger. Help me develop a deeper respect for Your almighty authority. The more I know You, the more I’ll revere You. Awaken my senses to Your unsurpassable power and justice. No wonder people throughout history fell on their faces when they encountered You. If I were wise I’d bow down in utter awe of You too.

With an authoritative voice that roars like thunder from the throne of heaven, You snap a finger and tell the lightning exactly where to strike. When You open Your mouth the mountains tremble. At Your command the clouds dance over the earth. The storehouses of hail and snow are under Your control. You appoint the sun to shine by day and tell the stars and moon to light up the night sky. Stirring the sea, You whip up the waves. Because everything under heaven obeys Your orders, I ought to too.

Since one day, possibly quite soon, I’ll appear before Your sacred throne and answer to You for the things I’ve done, arouse my heart with holy fear. Inspired by Your supreme sovereignty, I’ll turn from my selfish desires and seek to satisfy You. Your righteous rules, will show me truth, expose my rebellion, correct my mistakes and prompt me to live in reverent fear of the Only One who has the right to reign and rule over the Universe. Amen.

Is your heart aroused with a holy fear of God? Ponder the righteous rules inscribed by His holy hand in the sacred Scriptures. They will show you truth, expose your rebellion, correct your mistakes and prompt you to live reverently before the Reigning Ruler of the Universe.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Trusting the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

All-Knowing One,
You are my Leader and Guide on this journey through life. When I try to figure out where You’re taking me, I only end up lost and confused. Who can understand You? My thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are my ways Your ways. Just as the heavens are far above the earth, so are Your ideas far superior and brighter than mine. You are always right, always good and always loving.

You, O God, are perfect in knowledge. Exalted in power, who has taught You? No one! Who can teach You? No one! You are the Master Mind of the universe. No mind on earth is equal to You. No one can begin to grasp Your greatness. Yet, we feebly try to.

Who am I to question You? Surely, I have foolishly spoken things I don’t fully understand. A haughty know-it-all, I despise myself for my own ignorance and arrogance. Discrediting Your holy justice, I’ve condemned You to justify myself. Who in the world do I think I am?

Please humble me Lord Jesus and teach me Your ways. Give me a fresh revelation of Who You are and I will acknowledge You in all my ways. With a proper perspective of You, I’ll trust You with all my heart and not rely on my own foolish wisdom. When I read my Bible You will light my way, make my path straight and lead me on the highway to happiness and holiness. Thank You for this guarantee if I obey. Amen.

God promises to make your paths straight if: You trust Him with all your heart, stop relying on yourself, and acknowledge Him in all your ways.

The way to trust Him and acknowledge Him is to know Him. The only way to know Him is through His Word, the Bible.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Redeemer Lives

Job 19:25-27
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me!

Jesus, My Redeemer,
How can I ever thank You for buying me, not with corruptible coins made of silver and gold, but with Your incorruptible flesh and blood? Willingly enduring a violent execution, You descended into Hell to rescue me. After three days in a dark tomb, You defeated death and bounced back to glorious life – not as a stiff cold corpse, but as a able-bodied man who could walk and talk. Hallelujah!

My Redeemer lives!
Your empty grave guarantees it!
Your faithful followers witnessed it!
I believe it!

And, I know with full assurance that one day, possibly quite soon, the heavens will split open and You will appear on a great white stallion. Standing upon this earth with fire in Your eyes and a sword in Your hand, You will be endowed with integrity, nobility and strength. At Your appearance, every man, woman, and child will be knocked off their feet and acknowledge that You are Lord of lords, and King of kings. Undoubtedly, I will see my Faithful Knight, the Prince of Peace crowned with beauty and majesty.

Though disease and death may destroy my body, and darkness may obstruct my view, I believe with all my heart that one day I will personally stand with heaving lungs and a throbbing heart, gazing on Your glory with my own two eyes. In Your power I will have a mountaintop view of the Triumphant One who bought me and set me forever free to live eternally. O how my heart dances with desire! Hallelujah! Amen.

How confident are you that one day soon the heavens will burst open and Jesus, your Redeemer, will to stand upon the earth? Do you believe that after this time of extreme darkness, disease, and even death that you will see Him in all His splendor with your own two eyes?

Does the very thought of seeing the Risen Redeemer set your heart dancing with desire?

O how my heart yearns within me! Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Law of Love

1 John 4:21
He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Lord of Love,
The only way I can begin to pay You back for Your infinite love is to love others. In love You came down from heaven to bless, redeem, and forgive me while I was unattractive, unworthy, and unlovable. The least I can do is obey You.

  • I won’t let myself starve; therefore, I need to feed the hungry.
  • I make sure that I’m properly clothed before leaving the house; therefore, I’m expected to dress the destitute.
  • I put a warm and cozy roof over my head; therefore, I’m required to find shelter for the homeless.
  • I don’t want to be cheated or deceived; therefore, it’s necessary for me to be honest and fair to others.
  • I despise being stabbed with hateful, hurtful words; therefore, I can’t kill the spirits of others with my own unkind works.
  • I’d be angry if someone tried to interfere with my marriage; therefore, I’m obligated to stay out of someone else’s marriage.
  • I don’t want anyone to covet my possessions; therefore, I can’t be jealous when someone has something bigger or better than me.

The only way I can properly respond to Your immeasurable, inexhaustible love is to behave decently as a child of Yours by fully obeying Your law of love. Please dear Lord, clothe me with power and compassion to make a difference where it matters today because tomorrow may be too late. Open my eyes to see someone who needs love today and I will obey no matter the cost because I appreciate the high price of the love You lavished on me. To You who rules on the throne of my heart forever and ever be the glory. Amen.

In light of God’s incredible gift of love given to you, what will you do today to obey His command to love your brothers and sisters in His family? Admit your own selfishness. Repent and reach out in love to someone difficult. Do it today because tomorrow may be too late.

Today I will reach out in love by _________________________________ as a token of appreciation for the high price Jesus paid for my pardon. I will do it today because tomorrow may be too late.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Relying on Love

1 John 4:16-18
We know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

Lord of Love,
I come to You seeking mercy and grace. Forgive me for fearing man. Please drive out my fears in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Every day I worry about what others will think of me, say about me, and do to me. I'm concerned that they will kill my ambitions, hopes, and dreams. Frightened of man's condemnation, I live in constant apprehension of being reprimanded and rejected. Paralyzed by fear, I'm tentative to open my mouth and speak for You. I'm sorry, Jesus.

Today, I'm claiming the truth! Only Your perfect love drives out fear. You didn't give me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of love, power and sound mind. With Your Spirit living in me, I have no reason to worry about what man may think, say or do to me. With You I am always safe. You and You alone are the Ultimate Judge. In Your Supreme Court, I’ve been declared innocent and spared eternal punishment. Thank You, Jesus.

Nothing anyone thinks, says or does can separate me from You. From this day forward, I'm choosing to focus on Your perfect love living in me. Relying on it, I will conquer my fear of man and recognize that the deepest longings of my heart – peace and contentment – are only found in You. Please dear Lord, quiet my soul and give me sheer confidence to trust in Your perfect love for the glory of Your name. Amen.

Do you worry about what others will think of you, say about you, or do to you? Are you like me, apprehensively living as a people-pleaser? Resolve your fears by focusing on God's endless love. He loves you with an everlasting love, and in the end, the only thing that truly matters is that we are like Him in this world. What can you do to be more like Him today? Do others see Him in you?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lord of Love

1 John 4:9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Sweet Father in Heaven,
How can I ever thank You for Your revolutionary love? Even though I’ve experienced it, I can’t describe it - it’s unspeakable. It’s unending and unselfish. I can’t do a thing to earn it and I certainly do not deserve it. It’s unmerited and unconditional. I ought to be struck dead at Your feet. Instead, by Your supernatural, sacrificial, satisfying love, the blood of Your Son has completely cleared away the damage and destruction from my past. You miraculously put a spring in my step, a song in my heart, a smile on my face and gave me an abundant new life.

Because of Your radical, amazing love intentionally exhibited on the Cross at Calvary, I can enjoy an intimate experiential relationship with You. I can live like You and love like You, confidently expecting to receive the rich, divine, imperishable, eternal inheritance You promise. Living in Your presence, I’m full of praise, power and perfect love. Enamored by You, there’s no room in my heart for fear or failure, criticism or complaints, pain or problems.God of Love, I just want to live in blessed adoration of You every day of my life demonstrating unwavering, irrepressible, triumphant faith in Your promises so that I can trust Your extraordinary love to make me at-one with Jesus through whom I live and breath and have my being. Hallelujah! Amen.

Look at the Cross. Consider Jesus hanging there in pain and agony. Consider the crown of thorns pressed down on His brow. Consider the stakes driven through His hands and feet. Consider the beating He had already endured, ripping flesh from bone, so much so that He was virtually unrecognizable. Consider what He suffered. He did it all for love. He did it for us – to prove His love. Do you believe Him? How will your respond to His remarkable love?