Friday, May 30, 2008

Sufficient Grace

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Eternal, Invisible, Almighty God-
Thank You for the prickly thorns of trouble and temptation sent to me by Satan. I now know that You authorized him to deliver them to me to keep my heart humble. I’ve repeatedly asked You to remove the pain of my afflictions and addictions. Instead You empowered me with grace to endure them. Your magnificent grace is enough to enlighten and enliven me. It is sufficient to strengthen and soothe me. When I am worn-down, weak, and weary from sadness, sickness, and sin, please purify my heart and fill it with faith to believe in Your almighty power.

By faith, I believe You will turn my hurts to hope, my loss to life, and my difficulties to determination. In the turmoil twisting around me there is a purpose. During chaos and confusion, Your power is manifested and magnified in me. Rather than dreading trials and tests, I need to delight in them. Instead of focusing on my inadequacies and insecurities, I need to focus on Your unfailing, everlasting promises. You have pledged to keep me, protect me, and teach me. You’ve promised to abide in me and be my strength. Now, I need to walk in faith by acknowledging, accepting, and acting on Your holy name – El Shaddai. To Your all-sufficient, all-powerful, almighty name be the glory forever and ever. Amen

Identify the prickly thorns sent by Satan to torment You. Thank God that they were sent to keep you focused on Him. Instead of focusing on your difficulties and despair, focus on God’s unfailing, everlasting promises. Search the Scriptures. Acknowledge God’s faithfulness, accept His powerful promises, and act in faith. Then, you will discover extraordinary delight in the midst of your despondency.

Thursday, May 29, 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 temptation. 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 rumbling 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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weak Warriors

Psalm 78:9-11
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
turned back on the day of battle;
they did not keep God's covenant
and refused to live by his law.
They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.

O Great & Mighty God,
Your Word is a swift, sharp sword that cuts to the very core of my soul. We, as a church are big cowards like the Ephraimites. You’ve armed us to the hilt for the spiritual battle, yet we’ve fearfully run away. We don’t believe in Your powerful, protective promises. We’ve ditched the indispensable weapons You made just for us.

Even though the Truth is readily available, we refuse to open our Bibles and access it. Because we don’t open our Bibles outside of church, we’re ignorant about Your Sacred Laws. If we don’t know them, how can we obey them? We’re busy making believers and baptizing them, neglecting to teach them to obey Your commands. We can’t instruct what we do not know ourselves. We’re a battalion of reckless rebels marching down a dangerous road.

Forgetting the high price You paid to save us from death and destruction, we’ve conscientiously objected to following You into combat. It’s each man for himself in this skirmish with the wicked world. Prayerless, we’ve abandoned our brothers and sisters, leaving them alone to fight the vicious foe. Self-absorbed, we’ve forgotten to declare the great works You’ve done. Have mercy on us for our lack of faith!

I never again want to withdrawal from the life-or-death fight with the Devil. I don’t want You to associate me with the weak and spineless Ephraimites who lost favor in Your sight.

From this day forward, I’m surrendering my life and my agenda to enlist in Your massive Army of prayer warriors. Equipped with Your Word, I’ll confidently open my mouth and speak in Your almighty power, watching until the enemy retreats. Show me a comrade who needs support today, and I’ll join them in the battle at the altar for the glory of Your victorious name. Amen.

Do you know someone in the midst of a spiritual battle? The enemy is strategically attacking Christ-followers from every vantage point. Who can you join in combat? I urge you, turn around and fight for someone in the name of Jesus. If you have a Bible and a mouth, you’re fully armed and equipped for combat.

Our pastors and spiritual leaders are under siege. The enemy is torturing and punishing missionaries worldwide. Our nation is under fierce attack. Marriages are falling apart. Children are innocent victims. There’s a whole world full of sick and suffering souls standing alone in their struggles. Everywhere there are broken hearts and shattered lives. You don’t have to look far to find someone to stand in the gap and fight with.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eternally Secure

John 10:27-30
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

My Ever Loving Father and Almighty Shepherd, Jesus Christ,

You are my powerful Protector and one and only Owner. O how Your sweet voice resonates deep within the inner ear of my soul. The longer I walk with You the more definite and distinctive it becomes.

You are the Great Shepherd of my weak, vacillating, trembling soul. Bought with Your precious, priceless blood, my heart is permanently branded with the seal of Your Holy Spirit. You can easily identify that I belong to You. You know everything about me. You know when I sit or stand. When I’m far away, You know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me, and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment, You know where I am. This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to Your Spirit!

How precious it is to think that You give me eternal life – permanent life that never ceases; imperishable, immortal everlasting life that never ends. People and problems will persistently pull at me. Trouble and temptation will tirelessly tug at me. Sickness and suffering will steadily assail me. Through it all, I will not perish but prevail. No one or no thing can ever snatch me from the grip of Your almighty, tight-fisted, nail-pierced hand. You paid too high a price to ever let me go. As Your absolutely treasured possession, You firmly hold onto me even when I let go. Blessed assurance!

O Lord, I believe that You are faithful to all Your promises. Without reservation or hesitation, I’m choosing to believe that You’ll keep me eternally secure as I follow You. Keep my inner ears extremely sensitive to Your gentle whispers from heaven. Hearing You, I will immediately, resolutely and joyfully obey You bringing glory, honor and praise to Your powerful name. Amen.

If you are one of God’s chosen sheep, you are branded with the seal of the Holy Spirit. The seal guarantees that you are His possession, bought and paid for with the priceless blood of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:13) He paid too high a price to ever let you go.

His sheep listen to His voice and obediently follow Him, not making up their own whimsical rules as they roam to and fro. His sheep imitate Him. As you read the Word of God, what do you see Jesus doing? Are you following Him producing spiritual fruit that will bring glory, honor and praise to Him?

Jesus promises His sheep who listen to His voice and follow Him eternal security. You can choose to believe Him or argue with Him about this incredibly powerful promise. His Word says, according to Your faith it will be done to you (Matthew 9:29). Are you standing on the promises of Christ the Lord?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Life Update

Dear Readers,
Since May 2, the last time I posted, my life has been in turmoil. On May 4, I left for a sales meeting in California. Ever since then, my undefined job has become a major distraction to my ministry.

Please ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ to bless me with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know Him better. Pray also that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I might know the hope to which He has called me, the riches of my inheritance, and the incomparable great power available to me, if I just believe Him. (Eph 1:17-19) I need faith to believe that He will lead me to the path I should follow for my future. He has a plan for me, a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a bright future. I just need more faith to believe God's promises day by day, and grace to patiently wait for Him to reveal His plan to me.

The Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to humble." James 4:6

Pray that I will submit, then, to God, resist the devil, and come near to the Cross to cleanse my hands and purify my heart. (James 4:7, 8)

All things, including my job and management, are placed under God's blazing feet of bronze. No power or authority can touch me but that which has been approved and appointed by Him. (Eph 1:22)

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. (2 Chron 16:9)

Standing on the promises of God!
Prayer Pal

Friday, May 23, 2008

Praise the Lord

Psalm 92:1-5
It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O LORD,
how profound your thoughts!

O Lord Most High,
It’s a delight and honor to sing of Your wonderful works. In humble adoration, I gratefully thank You for Your ever loving kindness each morning. Your unbelievable mercy has kept me from complete obliteration. Each evening, I fondly remember Your incredible faithfulness. With a cheerful song in my heart, I love to tell of Your excellent greatness! My eyes have seen Your magnificent handiwork in the refuge of the mighty Cross!

Merrily, I sing the praises of my drastically changed life. Your marvelous, infinite, matchless grace has miraculously covered all my past, present and future stains. Clothed and unashamed, I’m free to come into Your holy presence and worship You. With sheer confidence, I can stand up and assuredly sing with all my heart, “How great is my God!”

Jesus, You mean the world to me! Your amazing grace and profound thoughtfulness have made me glad. I’ll sing of Your love forever because of the blessed promise I have in Your gloriously beautiful name. Amen.

It is good to praise the Lord! Bless Him for keeping you from complete obliteration. If you’re alive today, thank Him! It’s only by His amazing grace!

Grace Greater Than Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Thursday, May 22, 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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Giants and Grasshoppers

Numbers 13:28, 31, 33
But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large. …"We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are!" …We even saw giants there... We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that's what we looked like to them!"

Gigantic God,
You are compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, forgiving our wickedness, rebellion and sin. Your Words remind me repeatedly how much I’m like the Israelites. On this journey of a lifetime, You’ve promised me abundantly rich blessings and a full life. I’ve witnessed marvelous wonders – a drastically transformed life, miraculous healing, release from problems that have plagued me, freedom from addictions and much more. Yet, I still listen to and believe the naysayers. Forgive me O God, for not believing You.

Surrounded by powerful people, I sometimes feel like a helpless little “grasshopper.” These predators plan to devour me with doubt and discouragement. Attacking my abilities and adequacy, their criticism makes me feel unworthy and unacceptable. Preoccupied with their prevalence, I’m paralyzed with panic, and prevented from pressing on toward Paradise, the Promised Land.
Exaggerating the risk, these naysayers, who are sometimes those closest to me, insist the mission is too dangerous or too difficult. Attacked by anxiety and apprehension, and confused by negative opinions, they rob me of my rich reward: hope and joy. O God have mercy on me for forgetting who You are and allowing these “giants” to coerce me and control my life.

Please dear Lord, set me free from the devastating control of these dominant dictators. Fill me with more of Your mighty power so that in Your strength I’ll boldly stand up against their opposition. Help me to make right choices based on Your wisdom, not intimidation. When I face “big” people who belittle me, please turn my eyes toward You. Gazing at Your gargantuan size, I’ll march forward courageously, triumphantly claiming blessed new territory for Your kingdom, honor and glory because of Jesus. Amen.

Who must you break free from in order to move forward to the land of blessing? Who’s holding you back, casting doubts on your dreams? Will you believe them or turn to God, trusting Him and Him alone to prosper and protect you?

Did you know that the command, “Do not be afraid” appears 65 times in the NIV Bible?

Being afraid is not wrong in itself. As creatures living in a sinful world we should be afraid at times. The problem is when fear forgets God. – Ed Welch, When People are Big and God is Small.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

High Rock

Psalm 61:1-4
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Mighty God,
You are My Rock
My Strong Tower
My Most High Dwelling Place
My Refuge
My Shelter

I praise You for majestic mountains. In the breathtaking beauty of nature, I see pillars of glory and feel the extraordinary glow of Your existence. You are a perfect, powerful, and prominent pinnacle of unimpeded protection. I want to climb the spectacular summit and hide in Your sanctuary forever where:

Calamities cannot crush me
Death cannot devour me
Sadness cannot smother me
Pain cannot press me
Anxiety cannot attack me

Thank You for making the holy, high, unmovable, unshakable Rock accessible to me through Jesus Christ. My heart is weak. I am depending on You to be my strength and my shield. With Your help, Almighty God, I will climb Your pristine peak and find powerful protection. Peacefully, I’ll rest in the safety of Your presence because You alone are my Rock and my Salvation. Amen.

A mighty fortress is our God! If your heart is faint call out to Him. Follow His Voice to the high and holy Rock of Jesus Christ. Rest in the safety of His presence where He promises to hide and protect you. This is the only safe place to be during the storms of life.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Angels Watching Over Me

Psalm 91:9-16
If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands.

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Lord, Most High,
Thank You for making my heart Your home. You are my safe haven. I come in, shut the door, and rest in the shadow of Your almighty presence. From heaven on high, You order a battalion of angels to watch over me wherever I go. If I climb the highest, most majestic mountain, You are there. If I sink deep within the sea of sadness, You are there. In the darkness of distress and discouragement, You are there. In the light of love and laughter, even then, You are there. Thank You for the angels that surround the shelter of my heart, Your home.

Because I love You, I trust You to:

Rescue me from sin and suffering
Make me strong and mighty
Answer me when I call You
Be with me in times of trouble
Deliver me from evil and temptation
Honor me with the prosperity of Your presence
Satisfy me with a full life
Give me everlasting life and happiness

I know that problems will pursue me and danger will distract me, but with You living in my heart, I’ll survive. With the angels watching over me, I’ll bravely trample trouble beneath my feet and loudly proclaim “You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. You are my strength and my refuge.”

Please dear Lord, make my heart Your home today and send those beautiful, powerful angels to protect me as I come and go in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Imagine! If you are a child of God and have invited Him to live in your heart, He has sent His beautiful, powerful angels to protect you! Claim and believe His precious promises. Live in the fullness of His blessing. No matter your circumstances, He’s there, watching over You, protecting you within the walls of His Mighty Fortress. Praise Him!

I’m reminded of the childhood lullaby, Angels Watching Over Me:

All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.
Sun is a-setting in the West;
angels watching over me, my Lord.
Sleep my child, take your rest;
angels watching over me.

All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.
Copyright and Author unknown

Friday, May 16, 2008

Find Rest

Psalm 62:5-6
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

O my Strength! You, my God, are my Fortress, my Mighty Rock, My Refuge. Peacefully resting in the presence of Your upright, unmovable shelter, I will not be afraid or discouraged. Your divine providence will save me and Your powerful grace will support me. You’ll readily supply all my needs, and strengthen me for the impending battle. Surrounded by the thick walls of Your mighty bulwark, people can’t harm me and problems can’t destroy me.

You alone are my Rock and my Refuge. People are as unpredictable as the wind. When I put my hope in their power and promises, I’m bound to be disappointed, discouraged and discontent. People, no matter how influential, don’t have an ounce of strength to shield me from deadly peril.

You, on the other hand, are steady, solid, and secure. You never change Your mind or change the rules. With my heart cheerfully set on Your promises, I can expect to receive unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection. Daily pondering Your Word and communicating with You through prayer, my faith will increase to an unwavering steadfastness. My sheer joy in Your strength will swell into a holy triumph and I will sing of Your love for You alone are my hope, my Fortress, my loving God. Amen.

If you are pressed beneath problems, crushed under crisis, or pursued by people, run into the safety of Almighty God’s unfailing bulwark. A bulwark is a wall-like structure built to keep out attackers.

He’s expecting You. Open Your Bible and read His Word. Begin with this Psalm. Pray with expectancy. Resting on God’s holy, unchanging words, you’ll find unlimited power, unparalleled peace, and unrivaled protection.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God! A Bulwark never failing!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Power Pedicure

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
Isaiah 52:7

Your Majesty,
I want to ascend the Most High and Holy Mountain into your pristine presence. I want to worship You on the perfect pinnacle of peace. My feet are sore and swollen from sojourning through stress and strain. I don’t have strength to climb. If I have found favor with You, may I please have an appointment at Your Beauty Bar? I’m in dire need of a power pedicure!

Please pamper me with Your precious promises! Prepare me to scale the steep slopes of suffering. Soak my stinging feet in the fountain of forgiveness flowing with pure water from the wound in Your side. Scrub away the dead sin cells. Use the buffer of Your blood to buff away the burrs of bitterness. Cut away the calluses that clog my cold heart. Flush away the filthy odor from the fungus of unforgiveness.

Massage my aching feet with the sweet fragrant oil of the Holy Spirit. Stimulate them until they are soft and smooth. With a silky new layer of skin, alleviated of ailments, and improved circulation, my feet will be strong enough to safely and steadily climb to the pinnacle of Your presence.

From the Most High and Holy Mountain, I will shout the good news about how You found me and fixed me at the fountain of forgiveness. I will sing praise to the Prince of Peace. My glad greeting will lead others to You where they too will experience extravagant, exfoliating grace. With new heavenly souls, together, we will joyfully celebrate our healing.

Please dear Lord, bless my beautiful feet. Shape them for service and set them on a perfect path pleasing to You, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Proud Knowledge

Romans 2: 23-24
You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, "The world blasphemes the name of God because of you." NLT

Holy & Righteous God~
Thank you for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that opens the eyes of my heart! Lord have mercy on us! We are no different today than the legalist Jews of the early church. Forgive us, as a church, for calling ourselves Christians. We claim to trust Your law and brag about our relationship with You, as though we have a privileged position. We recite all the right words at the right times because we know the routine and the ritual.

We’ve become arrogant know-it-alls who’ve minimized Your sacred church to a social club. We encourage our friends to pay their dues and join our religious organization. We bring them in and clean them up so that we’re more comfortable being around them. We celebrate traditions and listen to watered down messages that make us feel good. Hanging out with others who share our smug thinking and elite lifestyle is enjoyable.

We’ve forgotten our foundation. Our mission is long lost. Rather than loving You, we desecrate Your Holy Name by leaving You outside. Instead of reaching out to our neighbors in love, we reject them and criticize their lifestyle. We serve ourselves rather than the poor, lame and weak who don’t measure up to our standards. Have mercy on us O God! Our behavior is deplorable! We’ve dishonored You in front of a whole watching world!

Lord, please turn Your sacred church back to the Truth and let it begin with me! I don’t want to know Your laws. I want to obey them. I want to seek You with all my heart and cheerfully follow You at any cost. Connecting people with church is meaningless. I want to connect them with Jesus. Please dear Lord, bless me with boldness to do what’s right in Your eyes today.

Write Your commands on my heart and do not let me stray from them. Make me, O God, Your guide for the blind and lamp in the darkness. Consecrate me and separate me from the club for Your glorious name sake. May Your kingdom come through me today because You alone are the Way, the Truth of the Life. Amen.

What does your lifestyle say about the church? If you truly believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, reach out and touch someone different from you for Him today.

Sadly, I grew up in a church club lead by false teachers. We worshipped, read the Bible, and celebrated communion and baptism. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of church fellowship. Unfortunately, I was led to believe that confirmation class and church membership were the way to salvation.

But Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you are relying on baptism, church attendance, membership, confirmation, communion, or any other symbol for your salvation, I urge you to stop right now, confess the error of your way, and acknowledge Jesus as the Only Way to eternal life. Then, go find a good Bible teaching church where you will learn the Truth. The symbols are important but they don’t reserve your room in heaven.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Extreme Faithfulness

As I contemplated current events in our country and world, the Lord took me to this perfect Word picture describing the world in which we live. The harsh realities are startling.

Zephaniah 3:1-5
How terrible it will be for rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime. It proudly refuses to listen even to the voice of the LORD. No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the LORD or draw near to its God.
Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims--out for everything they can get. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's laws. But the LORD is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day his justice is more evident, but no one takes notice--the wicked know no shame.

My Forever Faithful King,
You are an amazing word artist. Your illustration of ancient Israel is strikingly similar to our disgusting, corrupt and unruly world today. Violence and crime permeate the whole earth. No place is sacred, clean or safe. Rebellious self-righteous leaders refuse to acknowledge Your Highness. They won’t listen to Your wise counsel. Pompous and proud, they ignore You.

Like rapacious lions waiting to pounce the most vulnerable prey, leaders are using their influential positions to pad their pockets while plundering the poor. Judges behave like voracious wolves ready to rip apart Your Sacred Laws like a fresh carcass, leaving barely a trace of Your divinity. Everywhere false prophets are twisting the truth, attempting to capitalize on their sweet sounding lies. It’s difficult to know who to trust. Even our preachers desecrate Your Sanctuary by using Your Holy Word as a weapon to maim and kill souls.

Lord, I just want to cry when I think about the mess we’ve made of Your beautiful land! We accuse You of failing to protect us when bad things happen, but in reality we haven’t heeded Your warnings. Not much has changed since the ancient days.

O Sovereign God, the one thing that makes my soul leap for joy in the midst of the current chaos and confusion is that You’re smack-dab in the middle of it with us. Man hasn’t changed and neither have You. Immersed in modern culture, You’re just as holy, righteous and sovereign as You were in the Beginning. You’ve never made a mistake and You’ve never failed. Consistently, day after day, for thousands of Years, You’ve patiently and lovingly pardoned countless people, saving them from death and destruction. Yet, wicked men and women without conscience or shame persist in evil. O Lord, how much longer will You tolerate us?

Please give me a deeper desire to walk humbly with You. Quiet my raging soul so that I’ll hear Your sweet voice rejoicing when I choose to do what is right in this counter-Christian culture. Until You bring me home, Lord, make me an everlasting witness of Your amazing love and extravagant grace to a wicked watching world because of Jesus. Amen.

If the eyes of your heart have been opened to the harsh realities of the world in which we live through the prophet Zephaniah, I challenge you to live differently. How will you practice godly living in a counter-Christian culture?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Gaze of God

Proverbs 29:25
Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
but to trust the LORD means safety.

Psalm 33:18
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

Great God Almighty,
You are bigger than my feeble mind can imagine. From Your majestic throne in the lofty skies, You look around at all the people You’ve made, watching over everything we do. You know us personally, deeply and intimately because You shaped each one of us with Your hands. As Your treasured possessions, You’ve promised us a prominent place in Your kingdom where we’ll live safely and happily ever after.

With this heavenly hope, why, O God, am I so consumed with fear of what people will think of or do to me? Forgive me for seeing people as “bigger” than You. Have mercy on me for allowing people to rule over me, giving them the right to tell me what to think, feel and do. Afraid of their thoughts and opinions, fearful that they will see my flaws and failures; I hide behind thick walls built with money, accomplishments, and busyness. Deep within my heart, I want to be perceived as great at something!

I’m sorry Lord for fearing the eyes of other people when the gaze I ought to fear is Your holy gaze. O Lord, You know everything about me. You have searched my heart. There’s no hiding anything from You. You know when I stand up or sit, when I come in or go out. I’m never, ever out of the sight of Your penetrating holy gaze. Therefore, I should tremble in fear of You, and Your holy judgment. When Your Word convicts me of wrongdoing and I confess my mistakes, You’ll pardon me generously. Entering the safety of Your presence, You promise to make me holy and unashamed by covering me with the blood of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ.

Please help me stay away from the dangerous trap set by man. O Lord, will You kindly give me a fresh perspective of who You are and who I am in You so that I can confidently live my life authentically before You and others? Please let my heart brim over with contagious joy as I step out from behind the wall of shame to claim the beauty of Your own holy name. Amen.

How is your private life different from your public life? Are you hiding behind a wall of shame; afraid of what other people will see in you? I encourage you to come out in the open, talk to God in the light of His Word, and admit your weaknesses. Entering into the safety of His presence, He will cover all your past, present, and future flaws and failures with blood of His own dear Son.

A clear conscience is a great blessing and one way to begin to root out the fear of other people. – Ed Welch, When People Are Big and God Is Small

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Called to be Free

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

If you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5: 1-14 (select verses) NLT

Father of Freedom!
Today, I gratefully claim the generous gift of freedom You’ve given me in Jesus. With Your help, I will stand firm and never again be tied and bound to out-dated, man-made, rule-keeping religious systems. I am FOREVER FREE! Hallelujah!

Forgive me for all the times I have fallen away from Your amazing grace! Forgetting the exorbitant price You paid for my pardon, I accidentally allow my plans and projects to isolate me from Your love. Obligated to them, they control my time, talent and treasure. Before I know it, I’m buried beneath busyness, involuntarily imprisoned by persistent practices and polished performances. Suddenly and subtly, I find myself separated from You, caught up in the ridiculous rat race where the pace is set by the world, and the only reward is exhaustion and entrapment. Distracted and deceived, I’ve mistakenly taken a dangerous detour.

Please dear Lord, help me to get back on track! I want to chase after You with all my heart, running the race of my life. The course is clearly set in Your Word, the Holy Bible. Following it, I will voluntarily lay aside my preconceived plans and projects to radically love others, winning the promised grand prize of exhilarating life and amazing freedom.

Thank You for repeatedly showing me that outward appearances are inconsequential. The more important matter is the inward shape of my heart expressing itself externally in the form of love. Please show me who I can love today and I will obey for the glory of Your name that has set me forever free. Amen.

You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. Claim your promised freedom today! God is calling you to get free from the rat race once and for all. Run the race of your life, following the predetermined course set in God’s Word. Then, instead of bound by rules and regulations you will be truly free to love.

Wednesday, May 07, 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 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.

We don’t want to admit the 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. 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 reality of our depravity, we’re not taught to obey Your rules. We’d rather praise and dance than fall on our face in reverent fear of 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 was heading in the wrong direction. Frustrated by lack of results, I gave up praying for change in the Church, but because of the power of Your Word, 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.

Whew! God has just stirred up my heart! 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 Jeremiah 7. It’s a very clear illustration of the condition of the Church today and the results of disobedience.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Privileged Position

Ephesians 1:17-20, 2:6
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you: the riches of his glorious inheritance, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

O Glorious Father, how I love the words You speak to me. They are music to my ears. Buried beneath busyness and brokenness, I fail to remember my privileged and powerful position. Because You lovingly chose and adopted me, I am seated with You on the high throne of heaven where You rule over everything from galaxies to governments. No name and no power are exempt from Your almighty authority. You are in charge of it all, and have the final word on everything – always and forever. O Lord, give me deeper intelligence and insight into Who You are.

Flood my heart with light so that I can plainly see the rich and glorious treasures of heaven that belong to me, Your chosen child. Help me to understand and appropriate the greatness of Your mighty power at all times. The same force that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at Your right hand is available to me. Unleash it in me, O Lord, so that I can resist evil, overcome temptation, and continually live in the peaceful, pleasant prosperity of Your presence.

When everything around me seems to be falling apart, help me to remember my high position next to Your throne in heaven. By faith, I will access Your authority and appropriate Your power, trusting that the One who controls and commands the cosmos will work out the details for my good and Your glory. Hallelujah! Amen.

God has given you a heavenly position and you can live a throne-life. His Word says, that He has chosen and adopted You (Ephesians 1:4,5) and seated You with Jesus in the heavenly realms where You can live contentedly. He didn’t set you there to live a joyless, despairing life under the enemy’s foot, but to live freely, victoriously and happily no matter your circumstances.

Ask the Lord to give you a fresh revelation of Who He is. Ask Him to open the eyes of your heart and show you His treasures. He promises to give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that He is the Lord who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3). He longs to give you power to crush the enemy under YOUR foot. Ask Him for it and begin living a throne-life.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Beast of the Earth

Revelation 13:11, 13-17
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth.

And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Governing God,
There is no authority except that which You have established. All the rulers of this world, both good and evil, report to You. As instruments in Your holy hand, their primary purpose is to fulfill the prophesies written in Your Word, preparing the way for Christ’s remarkable return. Not only will the world be duped by a phony politician posing as the Prince of Peace, but also by a persuasive preacher who will profess to be filled with Your power.

Coming up from a hole in the ground, this beast will resemble a marionette. The political figure will pull his strings to manipulate his movements. As they mysteriously perform amazing acts, the majority will be mesmerized. Vibrantly animated, the ventriloquist will make his pastoral puppet tell amusing stories to captivate the minds of his listeners. Stoned on stimulation, the spectators will be giddy on this great god of entertainment, spending billions of dollars on his impressive show. With ever-increasing fame and fortune, his power will grow.

The strange thing is that his power will be inherently evil. In cahoots, the prominent politician and the popular preacher will establish a slick financial system forcing everyone to be stamped with a secret seal in order to survive. The sleeping church will be seduced by its promised success and subtly buy into Satan’s scheme.

Please dear Lord, give me wisdom to do what’s right while the rest of the world is falling for a fabulous false teacher. I want to know You, fear You, and worship You far above the great god of entertainment, the beast of the under ground, who threatens to lead me astray and kill my Spirit. This beast who is one dollar and eleven cents short of being complete is simply setting the stage for Your gallant grand entrance. Blessed Assurance! Amen.

Living in a society stoned on stimulation, it’s easy to fall for false teachers who are fabulously entertaining. Be careful to check everything you hear against God’s Word. The Bible makes it clear that as we getter closer to the visible return of Christ, there will be an increase in false teaching.

Revelation 1:3
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.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Separating Fact from Fiction

Romans 16:17-20
Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

O Wise and Knowledgeable God,
You are exalted in power and perfect in knowledge. There is no teacher like You. At the Living Word Academy held in the classroom of my heart, I begin to understand the mysteries of Your Will. I learn to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, fact and fiction. With the Holy Spirit as my teacher, and the Holy Bible as my textbook, I learn that You are altogether authentic, totally truthful, and really reliable.

Lord, I just need more knowledge of Your Holy Bible so that I can apply the Truth to all situations and circumstances in the laboratory of life. Proud people will try to disturb my peace by planting poisonous seeds in the soil of my soul. Subtly, they’ll distort the facts by telling cleverly invented stories. Cunningly, they’ll deflate one point while inflating another. Devious professionals will convincingly entrance me with demonic illusions. They’ll deceptively water down Your Word with smooth talk and flattery. If I feed the seeds they plant, division and dissension will sprout.

Your Word clearly and concisely counsels me to avoid them! By Your grace I will obey. If I pay attention in class and diligently study Your Word, it will leap to life preventing the seeds of deceit from sprouting in my soul. Please dear Lord, be gracious to me. Teach me good judgment to distinguish between truth and lies. With my heart set on You, the problems and pressures that are pounding me will soon be replaced with perfect peace. God of grace be with me today, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Do you know God’s Word well enough to separate fact from fiction? I encourage you to spend time in the classroom of your heart, learning all you can about the Truth, so that no one will disturb your peace of heart and mind.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Beast of the Sea

Revelation 13:1, 5-8
And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

Almighty Authority,
I am so thankful for the unlimited access You’ve given me to Your whole Word. Unlike people in repressed regions, I don’t have just a few well-worn pages, but the entire Book, divinely directed and dictated by You. Usually, I prefer to ponder the pleasantries rather than the penalties, but today You made me take a hard look at the frightening future.

Out of the “sea” a beast will come in the form of a phenomenal politician. Suddenly arriving on the scene after a colossal catastrophe, he will carefully craft a story that sounds religiously soothing. Cool, calm and collect under extreme pressure, he will seemingly have all the right answers at exactly the right time. The world will be wooed by his astonishing intelligence and supernatural abilities. Dynamic and good-looking, he will undoubtedly be a dominating charismatic capable of banding together people from diverse backgrounds and unlikely places for a common purpose.

With astute managerial abilities, he will not only command a mighty military, but also be in charge of the worldwide economy. Fascinated by his forceful display of power, plenty of people will pursue him for their own profit. A highly popular, praised and promoted individual with strong personal influence; he will be morally proud and profane, misleading, manipulating, and motivating the majority to accomplish his well-devised and devious plan.

Please enlighten me with Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may really know You and not be duped by an imposter. Claiming Your incomparably great power, I will bravely stand up for my beliefs, and patiently endure dissension, discrimination and difficulty because my name has been written in the Lamb’s book of life since the beginning. Blessed assurance! Amen.

Could the Antichrist already be in the world today just waiting to be appointed to power?

It is inevitable that he is coming. He must in order to fulfill the words of prophesy, and prepare the way for Christ’s visible return to earth.