Friday, July 30, 2010

Magnify The Lord

Psalm 34:3
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. KJV

Sovereign God,
Hear the cry of my heart and expand my view of You today so that I can join with the heavenly hosts extolling You. O Lord, come nearer to me so that I can see You greater in size, status, and significance. I want to see you MAGNIFIED.

M - Mighty to save! Your strong hand shimmering with power, will guide my eyes to Your holy dwelling.

A - Arrayed in awesome, holy, majestic power, I will find peace and protection in Your presence.

G - Great is Your love, higher than the heavens, reaching out to show me the expanse of Your grace and compassion.

N - Name above all names, I will notice all created beings in heaven and earth lifting You high and honoring You, calling out in adoring praise that You are the Master of all the universe.

I - Incomparable wisdom, more solid than silver, more costly than gold, and more precious than rubies, I will see at once Your vast knowledge when my mind is open to the Truth found in Your Word, my Bible.

F - Faithfulness that reaches to the sky will irresistibly beckon me to come further in and climb higher up even when I'm afraid of new heights. With my eyes fixed on You, I will not falter or fall.

Y - Your strong hands and inconceivable mind that made the whole world formed me too! You, the Mastermind and Majestic King made me a masterpiece for the praise of Your glory!

Help me dear Lord, to look up at You, grasp Your unparalleled splendor, and declare Your matchless glory. When I see Your size, status, and significance I will humbly fall to my knees in reverential worship exalting Your name among the army of angels. To You be the majesty, the glory, and the power forever and ever. Amen.

To magnify means to see something greater in size, status, or significance. When we recognize God's size, status and significance, we suddenly see ourselves and our problems as very small.

What will you do today to magnify the Lord with me? Let us exalt His name together.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Discerning the Times

Luke 12:54-56
Jesus said to the crowd: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?

God of the Times,
You are the Beginning and End; the First and the Last. Thank You for Your timeless Word that's still alive, active and accurate after thousands of years. You are absolutely right. When we see clouds forming in the west, we say, "A shower's coming." And, it does. When the south wind blows, we say, "Today's going to be a scorcher." And, it is. When the humidity is 100% we know a thunderstorm is on the horizon. And, it comes. When the days get longer we can be sure summer is right around the corner; and when the light gets lesser we're aware that winter isn't far off. We can interpret the weather by the appearance of the earth and the sky, but we are clueless about the crisis ahead.

A confluence of conditions is combining to form the storm of the millennia, but because we've neglected Your Word we don't recognize Your activity in the world. These are crucial days! All biblical indicators point to phenomenal conditions mounting in the eastern sky. Enormous pressure is forming on all sides of Israel as evidenced in the daily news. With each passing day it appears we are getting closer to the ultimate Perfect Storm - the day when heaven and earth collide, You roar in on the rogue cloud, time is wiped out, and we are swept into eternity.

How predictable You are! We are indeed ignorant of the present times. Lord, now more than ever I need to carefully study and KNOW Your Word. By Your Holy Spirit and according to Your promise, make all the scriptural predictors plain to me, and enable me to remember them. Then, with my eyes peeled to the news, I will be able to see the incredible converging conditions and confirm my belief that You are coming back again soon. Blessed assurance. Amen.

A storm of biblical proportions is rising in the eastern skies. Do you understand the time in which we're living? I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to make the scriptural predictors plain to you. Then open your Bible and study Ezekiel 38 and 39, and Matthew 24. Compare God's Word to the daily news and you will see with your own eyes God's terrific and terrifying activity in the world.

Jesus says in John 14:29, "I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe."

Henry Blackaby, recently published an excellent article in Herald of His Coming entitled; Do You Understand the Time In Which You Live? Click here to read and select "Articles From Our Current Issue."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remarkable Advice

2 Thessalonians 3:10b-12
We gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

Master, Jesus,
Sometimes Your Word stings! Admittedly, I have a somewhat skewed view of work. I'd rather be painting, singing, writing, playing, vacationing, golfing, camping, sailing, skiing, horseback riding, biking, hiking ... anything but working! I can be a "busy body" - busy fooling around and not accomplishing anything. In view of Your imminent return, work seems tragically meaningless because I must leave everything I've earned with my knowledge and skill for the heathens who will be left behind. Anxious, and disillusioned, it's tempting to throw up my hands and quit in despair, questioning the intrinsic value of hard work in this world. My over emotional attitude is wrong!

Change my mind and outlook, Lord! I want nothing more than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in my work. These providential pleasures are gifts from Your good and generous hand. Enlighten me to see my occupation as an opportunity to develop my talents and use my treasures to fulfill my God-given purpose, bringing praise, exaltation and honor to Your magnificent name.

Empower me to be diligent, dedicated, and devoted to my employer. Out of deep respect and awe for You, I will work enthusiastically, not by way of eye-service, as a man-pleaser, but as Your humble, faithful servant, doing Your will with gladness of heart and eternal values in view. Amen.

With all the chaos and confusion in the world, and in light of Christ's imminent return, its easy to feel like work is pointless. But God's Word is clear: if you don't work, you won't eat. Not only does He want to find us watching and waiting for Him, but He also wants to find us working, using the talents and treasures He's given us to fulfill His purpose in our lives.

Be a good example in the work place. Be diligent, dedicated, and devoted to your employer out of respect for God.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remarkable Truth

2 Thessalonians 2:10b, 12a
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. All will be condemned who have not believed the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13b
From the beginning God chose youto be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

You are the Son of Glory and Living Truth. When I stop, sit and soak in the Son, my heart is warmed with wonder that You loved me and picked me from the very start to be saved. Convicted of breaking Your moral law, I was locked in the dungeon of darkness and condemned to death when you called me to come out, not because of my character, but because of Your incredible kindness. Having heard the Good News that You paid the penalty for my transgressions and pardoned me, I gratefully accepted it and wholeheartedly embraced it. Forgiven and free from the domination, deception and delusion of the licentious liar, the Devil himself, Your Spirit instantly set me apart, cleansed my heart and preserved my life.

Lord, with the increase in lewdness, immorality and corruption shamelessly surrounding and seducing me, help me to focus on the privileged life of purity I have in You. Give me love for Your laws rather than love for loot. Turn my eyes from worthless toys and trinkets, and invigorate me through Your Word. Obediently, I'll lay down the temporary allures of this world for the imperishable reward of being with You. Firmly perched on the pinnacle of Your immovable, unchangeable promises, I'll faithfully keep Your teachings to the end, and live. As I grasp the truth with all my might in the midst of all the clamor and confusion, please dear Lord, guard my precious faith so that I will hear You, believe You, and adore You, sharing in Your incorruptible glory both now and forever more. Amen.

Jesus makes it clear; the way to eternal life is to hear His Words and believe what He says is true.

Believe the Truth and live.

You are guilty before God, the only Righteous Judge, of breaking His moral law.

The penalty for breaking the moral law is death.

Jesus paid the penalty for your transgressions by dying on the cross for you.

Live for Him, by listening to Him! His Word, no matter how difficult or painful, is Trustworthy and True.

John 5:24Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 8:51
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

He speaks through the Holy Bible. Read, receive, and obey.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Remarkable Deception

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way.

King of Prophecy,
You alone are God! There is none like You. You are incomparable and irreplaceable. From the very beginning You have been telling Your people what's going to happen in the end. According to Your Word, everything You plan will come to pass, for You do whatever You wish. (Isa 46:9-10)

Thank You for preserving Your long and rich history through the ancient words penned by inspired men personally picked by You, and printed on the pages of my Holy Bible. Help me to remember the things You have done in the past, and not react recklessly to rumors of Your return. According to Your Word, every eye will see You on that earth-shattering day. (Rev 1:7)

Your Words to the Thessalonians comfort me, and challenge my conduct. There are lessons to be learned from these remarkable people who were fervent for You to come and carry them away from their problems, pressure, and pain caused by intense persecution. Though Paul had clearly taught them to stand on the truth, in their hopeless despair, they had quickly forgotten and fell for a lie finding themselves in a frenzy of fear.

Today, all the events in the Middle East where Israel is concerned - the constant wars, and rumor of wars coupled with terroristic threats - causes our minds to question if the day of the Lord has already come. Reports of mad cow disease, swine flu, and avian flu tend to propel us into pandemonium. Wicked weather and increased natural disasters make it difficult to avoid the whirlwind of worldwide chaos and confusion. In the midst of all the current commotion it's easy to lose heart and hope, and wonder if we missed the great gathering, and are going through the great tribulation - Your remarkable retribution reserved for those who refused to believe.

Lord, help us to remember who you are: the Master of Time and Space - not even Your own Son, or right hand angels know the day or hour set for Your return. Remind us of who You say we are: dearly loved by You, washed by the blood of Jesus, purified by the Holy Spirit, and chosen to be saved from destruction because we believe the Truth of the gospel. Because we will one day share in Your glory, give us the power to calmly stand with Jesus, on Jesus, and in Jesus, quietly focusing on Him, so that we will not fall for the flagrant lies that lead to a fury of fear and confusion. By Your amazing grace, eternally encourage us, renew our blessed hope, and strengthen us for every good deed and word so that we will always be ready to bring glory, honor, and blessing to Your Name above all names. Amen.

In troubling times it is so easy to take our eyes off Jesus, the Word of God, and fall for the father of lies who wants nothing more than to rob us of God's promised rest. Turn your eyes upon Jesus today, and see Him standing with you.

David Wilkerson writes, "All around us the world is breaking down. But we see Jesus! We see him in our present trials. We him standing with us in our pain, our suffering, our crises, all things. Most of all, we see Jesus getting all things ready for his coming. Hallelujah!" World Challenge Pulpit Series, April 5, 2010.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Remarkable Retribution

2 Thessalonians 1:6-7

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

Just Judge,
You hold the keys of death and Hades. No matter what, You are the Author and Finisher of life.

Struggling to find meaning and hope amid a sea of hostility, Your Words comfort and commend me, giving me courage to continue on this hard road that ultimately leads to heaven. Along the way my faith is growing, along with my love for others. You're not surprised by the slander that comes from Satan's scoffers because I submit wholeheartedly to You. My afflictions and poverty don't alarm You. According to Your Word, these trials that test my faith are to be expected, and prove that I am worthy of Your kingdom. You promise if I am faithful, even to the point of death, I will receive the incorruptible crown of life. (Rev 2:8-10)

According to Your Word I will one day stand victoriously on the banks of the glassy sea with my heavenly harp singing:

Great and marvelous are Your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.
Who will not fear You, O Lord,
And bring glory to Your name?
For You alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed.

Then I will gaze in wonder, through Your blaze of glory, and witness seven stunning angels deliver seven horrific plagues from the golden bowls filled with Your holy wrath on those who caused me trouble. Blessed assurance, I will watch from the sidelines as they are punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from Your presence, power, and majesty forever and ever. (Rev 15)

According to Your Word, You promise to keep me from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world to test those who did not believe in You. Because I believe You are coming soon, I will cling tightly to my faith so that no one will steal my crown. If I stand firm, I will be given the right to sit with You on Your throne. (Rev 3:10-11, 21)

With my eyes focused on my fabulous future, I will walk through tough times in Your strength, with joy and thanksgiving in my heart so that You will be increasingly glorified in me, and I in You, according to Your grace and the Lord Jesus Christ, my Triumphant King for Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

If you are in the thick of the battle, severely suffering, ponder these true promises of the One who calls you by name. Read what is to come for those who are troubling you.

Read Revelation 14:14 - 16, 19-20
No wonder God tells us to pray for those who persecute us!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Remarkable Instructions

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-22
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

Faithful and True,
What You say You will do! I'm eternally grateful for Your remarkable Instruction Book, my Bible. In it You give me everything I need to live a life of godliness and holiness. Help me by Your Spirit to read, hear and obey You.

Guide me along the path of Your commands because that's where true happiness is found. Walking with You, I will always be joyful because I know You're leading me heavenward. Aware that You are constantly with me like a devoted friend, I'll communicate with You throughout the day even if my comments are brief.

In life's painful circumstances, when I can see little or no good, I'll look beyond them to Your tender heart and strength, giving thanks that Your goodness is never-changing, Your love is unbudging, and Your plans for my life and the lives of my loved ones are far greater than my highest thoughts can reach.

When I feel that little nudge of Your Spirit in my heart and hear that small whisper of Your voice in my ear pointing me in a specific direction, instead of dousing the flames of Your Spirit with doubt, I'll quickly say, "Yes Lord, I'll do what you say. I'll go where You send me. I'll obey what You tell me to do!" and, then step out in faith and watch as Your power is demonstrated to me and through me.

Because the time is near, and according to Your Word, You are coming soon, I will seriously read, hear and take the prophecy in Your Word to heart, even when others make fun of me, so that I won't be caught off guard and unprepared on that Day. I believe You are Faithful and True and will do exactly what You say.

Eager to see Your pure and perfect face, I will abandon my shameful ways, and attempt to catch my wandering thoughts and bring them to the obedience of Christ so that the devil will not get a foothold on my mind and humiliate me in Your presence.

Because Your instructions are good, I long to habitually obey them! Purify and perfect me - mind, body and soul - so that I will be found fit for the coming of my long expected King. I believe You are completely honest and according to Your own Word, You will come - please come quickly I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Set your heart of seeking the Lord. He is completely Faithful and True, and He is coming back for His children. Since we don't know when, we better have our lives and relationship in order so that we're ready on that remarkable Day. Study God's Instruction Book, your Bible, for yourself. Obey His commands, and He will purify and perfect you. God is not a liar!

He did evil because he did not set his heart on seeking the Lord. 2 Chronicles 12:14

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. Revelation 1:3

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Remarkable Instructions, 1 Thessalonians 5:13b-15

Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Blessed Word of God,
There's nothing like the Sacred Scriptures for training us to live like children of the Light. Thank You for teaching me Your ways. In the remarkable light of Your impending arrival, help me to develop godly habits. Paying attention to Your instructions, I will put them to practice in my heart and do my best to keep them to the end. With Your help I will:

Warn those who rebel against Your rules and wreck havoc in their lives that spills over into the church.

Encourage those who are disheartened and doubting their decision to follow You by getting close to them and speaking tenderly to them about Your promises in order to teach them that trials will make them stronger in faith.

Hold onto the weak in faith and not let them fall as I show them with cords of kindness how to stand up and walk with You.

Be patient with everyone; today's scamps may be tomorrow's most solid leaders.

Do my best to love and forgive those who mistreat me and others, killing their malice with kindness.

By habitually following Your remarkable instructions, I will be a blessing to the pastors and elders whom You've called to be my earthly keeper, proving that I love, honor, and respect not only them, but also You. Since unity is vital to the health and growth of the church family and Your kingdom, I will joyfully do my part to bear with the burdens of others so that together we will be found worthy of the Name above all names.

In my life O Lord, be magnified in majesty, grace and power. Amen.

What do your actions in the house of God say about your love, respect and honor for not only Him, but also your pastors and leaders? God's Word is clear: we are not to be a burden to them but a blessing.

Our Father in heaven cannot stand our bickering and backstabbing! The time to get right with God and each other is today. Tomorrow may be too late.

Personally, I want to be at the award ceremony in heaven cheering for my beloved pastors and elders when they receive the crown of everlasting glory for their works prompted by faith, labor motivated by love, and hope inspired by God's great and precious promises that are securely kept there for all believers. It is my pleasure to work cooperatively with them to keep peace in the house of God.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remarkable Leaders I Thessalonians 5:12, 13

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

You are Head of the Church, the High Priest, and Chief Shepherd. I will honor and respect You by valuing the pastors and elders You have appointed to shepherd my soul. I will love these dear men because they regularly lead us to streams of Living Water in our Bibles where we can refresh our thirsty spirits. Tirelessly, they feed us the Word of Life, Truth about You, nourishing both the newborn and mature followers. Patiently, they teach us what is right and help us see the errors of our ways. Gently they correct us and train us so that we will be prepared and properly equipped to do good work for Your Kingdom.

Because they are men of integrity who willingly keep watch over us like doting Dads, day in and day out, year after year, and are accountable to You, I will make every effort to live harmoniously with my church family so that their work will be a joy. Their battles and burdens are many; they don't need to be bogged down with a bunch of bickering and backstabbing.

In view of the fact that You've ordained them, I will readily accept them and the authority You've given them. Instead of criticizing them, I will be quick to compliment them for their works prompted by faith, labor motivated by love, and hope inspired by Your many great and precious promises. Since they are godly examples, it will be a pleasure to pray for them, work with them, and support them so that when the Chief Shepherd appears with all His precious sheep, they will be deemed worthy to receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. Lord, today I ask that You strengthen their hearts and encourage them so that they will be blameless and holy in Your presence on that Day. Amen.

Speak a word of appreciation to your pastors and elders today. Write a note. Send an email. Make a phone call. Leave a voice mail. Make them smile, and you will make your Father in Heaven smile.

Suggested prayer for our church leaders: That our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Monday, July 19, 2010

Remarkable Light 1 Thessalonians 5: 4-6

You, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

Pure Father of Light,
I stand in awe and amazement when I think of who You are, and who I am. That the God of the Galaxies would love and care about me enough to bring me out of the dreadful darkness into the remarkable light is incomprehensible. You are the Master of Time and Space. On that earth-shattering Day when Christ abruptly arrives on the clouds to carry away His Bride, the Church, You will be both the Superior Judge and the Righteous Criterion.

The wakeup call has been ringing continuously. Having waited for 20 centuries for Your promised appearance, and been aroused by many false alarms throughout the ages, it's easy to see why people have become cynical and apathetic. Admittedly, it's tempting to hit the snooze and fall back to sleep. By Your great Spirit, shake me and wake me up. Through Your Word, my Holy Bible, enlighten me with knowledge of end times so that I won't be caught dozing and doubting when Your Son, the Founder of my life and faith returns.

The very thought of standing face to face with You stirs me to clean up my act. Captivated and cleansed by the Cross of Christ, I'm forgiven and free from the dark and defiant life of indulgences, indecencies, and indifferences that one time incapacitated me. Instead of leisurely lying around in my silky soft pajamas, in Your strength I will get up and put on the mighty under armor of faith and love to guard my heart from the seductive arrows of Satan. Crowned with the blessed hope of my salvation, I will have peace of mind knowing that dead or alive, one day possibly quite soon, I am going to see the Christ the risen King. Until then, I long to be so in love with You that when You come You will find me willingly working, witnessing, worshipping, and worthy of Your high calling. Amen.

Consider yourself warned. Christ is coming. While we do not know the times and dates, we can know with confidence that His arrival will be sudden and surprising. If He were to return today or tomorrow, would you be ready or would you be ashamed to meet Him?

Don't be caught sleeping! Ask yourself, "Do I want to be caught doing this when Christ abruptly arrives on the clouds. Live expectantly!

Warren Wiersbe writes, in his book, Be Ready: Living in the Light of Christ's Return, "There is a difference between being ready to go to heaven and being ready to meet the Lord. Anyone who has sincerely trusted Christ for salvation is ready to go to heaven. Christ's sacrifice on the cross has taken care of that. But to be ready to meet the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ is quite another matter."

Jesus said, "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." Revelation 16:15

Friday, July 16, 2010

Remarkable Return

1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Blessed Father,
Thank You for recording these incredible revelations from the apostle Paul to give me remarkable hope! Because you could return any day, I am urged to be watchful, waiting and ready. Expectancy and holy fear of being left behind causes me to keep clean and put on the robe of righteousness daily so that I will be ready in a heartbeat. At the blink of an eye You could be on my doorstep to pick me up, give me an imperishable new body, and carry me home.

Your authoritative words give me extraordinary comfort and assurance. On that day, when I hear Your voice boom, the loud trumpet fanfare and the unmistakable cry from an angel, there will be a remarkable reunion in the sky when I meet You face to face, and see with my own eyes all my loved ones who fell asleep and died in Your strong arms remarkably resurrected. They will not be dead, but fully and physically alive, and You will bring them back with You. What a day of rejoicing that will be. I don't have to grieve as one who doesn't have hope! With a single triumphant breath of Life, I believe death will be vanished forever!

Expecting Your imminent return from Glory, live and in person, Blessed Father, permeate my heart with confidence and purity so that I can unashamedly stand before You when Your Son, Jesus my Lord, arrives in the air to pick up the Church and carry us to our high-flying home in heaven to live with You there forever and ever. Amen.

Who do you know who has fallen asleep in the arms of Jesus? As Christians we have wonderful assurance and hope because of Jesus' resurrection and promised return. Who do are you longing to meet in the sky? I can't wait to be reunited with my Dad who I miss tremendously.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Remarkable Lifestyle

1 Thessalonians 4:7
God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

Hebrews 12:14
Without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Holy Father,
You have chosen me out of all the billions of people on the planet to be Your beloved child. I didn't pick You; You picked me, and bought me with the priceless blood of Your Son. Seeing beyond my problems to my potential, You brought me into Your holy household, cleaned me up, clothed me in a costly robe of righteousness, and covered my imperfections and impurities. Purified and empowered, You commanded me to keep the laws of Your Kingdom, and stay away from the corrupt customs of my country.

With all my heart, I want to live a remarkable lifestyle like the Thessalonians who knew You and followed You. By Your power, I will stay far away from sexual immorality that will wreck and ruin my relationship with You. Create in me holy desires so that I will crave Your pure Word and not the filthy garbage of the flesh. Focusing on Your promises, when Satan hurls fireballs of lust through the windows of my eyes, shoots arrows of temptation through my heart, and sets snares to trap my feet You will be pleased when I bring my thoughts and body under the control of Your Spirit. Divinely empowered, You will smile when I walk in holiness undeterred by the allures of the world.

Teach me, Holy Father, who You are so that I will have the proper respect for Your authority. I desire nothing more than to keep the laws of Your Kingdom. With my own eyes I long to see You in all Your splendor and majesty, and not haphazardly run into the lake of burning sulfur. For Your namesake, according to Your Word make me holy. Amen.

Holiness is not only a command, it's demanded of God's people. We are called to live in this corrupt culture, but not comply with it. Keep God's commands, follow His instructions, and when you obey He will make you holy, according to His Holy Word. (Leviticus 20:7)

God's Commandments
Exodus 20:1-17 (New International Version)

The Ten Commandments 1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before [a] me.
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
13 "You shall not murder.
14 "You shall not commit adultery.
15 "You shall not steal.
16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remarkable Faith - 1 Thessalonians 3:8

For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

Your Eternal Word, O Lord, stands firm forever in heaven. The horizons can't contain Your commands. By them my life was saved.

All around me are fear and trembling in the midst of a global shakedown. The economy is humiliating lofty lifestyles. Strong earthquakes and violent volcanoes are crushing communities. An unstoppable oil gusher is killing the sea. There's no end in sight to the wars and conflicts around the world. Proud people are sarcastically saying, "Where is your God?" Some supposed believers, scared sick by the darkness, despair, and difficulties, are hopelessly throwing up their hands and walking away from You; while others are seeking to be soothed with smooth sounding words that are insecure and insincere.

Your instructions, O Lord, are my only hope. They promise to hold me up in bad times. When the rest of the world is quaking and quivering, I want to stand firm on them like the Thessalonians. As I reflect on them day and night, enlighten the eyes of my heart to see the Blessed Hope to which You have called me. With my eyes laser focused on You, I will never forget:

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, my Savior and Redeemer who joyfully endured the excruciating cross, scorning its shame, and ultimately sat down at the right hand of Your high and holy throne in heaven.

Because of Your rich mercy I am alive with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenly realms where I have unlimited access to Your mighty power 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Through Him, I can cheerfully handle any problem, pressure or pain that pierces my heart.

Lord, when You come on the clouds with the heavenly host, and it could be any day now, I want to be ready and waiting, standing obediently on the platform of Your promises. I can't wait for the Soul Train to come from Glory to carry me away to live with You forever in the unshakable Kingdom of Heaven. Yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

How is faith holding up these days? Are you laser focused on Jesus, God's Word? Will you be found waiting and ready like the Thessalonians, standing obediently on the platform of God's promises? Or will you be wondering around looking for an easier way out? God's Word is clear:

Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. 1 John 2:18

I challenge you to get in the Word and know Jesus intimately so that you won't be led astray by the masses of flattering teachers whose words sound good but in reality are insecure and insincere. No one is going to want to be messing around and missing the Soul Train. The whistle is blowing. It's approaching the station, many have a ticket but will miss their ride to Glory because they simply aren't ready and waiting, obediently standing on the platform of God's promises.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remarkable Tempter - 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18, 3:5

Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us.

That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless. NLT

God Almighty,

Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to You forever and ever! Amen!

I hate to think of that great dragon - the ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world. I'd much rather look upon You and Your Kingdom and salvation and power and the authority of Christ, but sometimes it's helpful to take a good hard look at the beast so that we won't be deceived by him. Thank You for causing me to do that today.

The ancient serpent, he is more crafty than any of the wild animals You made. From the beginning of time, he has been a twister of words, a deceiver, and Your accuser. He was a murderer from the get-go, killing Adam and Eve and all mankind. There is no truth in him. He is a liar and the father of lies.

From the Thessalonians, I learn that he is the one who interrupts my ministry. It is he who blocks us from being with other believers. And, he is the robber who steals our hope, joy and rewards. He doesn't want us to win the race; so, he sets up obstacles of oppression, opposition and affliction to try to trip us, trick us and take us off course. His goals is to render the efforts of the evangelist useless.

Lord, please give me the discernment of Paul to recognize who is behind the assaults and attacks on my faith. When I am tempted to shrink back in fear and walk away from You, help me to remember the one who introduced me to Christ, and those who nurtured me. My unfaithfulness would render their work useless and defame Your name. Thinking clearly, I will chose to run with all my might toward the prize of the high calling. The finish line is just ahead! You are coming and I can't wait to stand with them in Your presence in Glory where we will receive the Crown of Perseverance for overcoming that great ancient serpent. Deliver me from evil and temptation I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Run, Beloved, run! The finish line is just ahead! Jesus is coming!

What do you do when you are tempted to turn away, to give in, or to give up because of pressure, affliction, or the cost of obedience? Stop and think of those who introduced you to Christ, and those who nurtured you in Christ. How will your actions impact not only them, but the reputation of Christ, who suffered for you?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Remarkable Courage, 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4

But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come-and they did, as you well know. NLT

My Father in Heaven,

Mighty is Your name! Why am I so surprised by the pressure and pain that pursues me? Your enduring Word warns me repeatedly to expect problems. When I signed up to follow Your Son, Jesus Christ, I should have well known there would be a price to pay. Believers everywhere are tolerating terrible trials because of Him. In fact, in the view of the rest of the world, my troubles are tiny.

Many people are following in the footsteps of Your dear Son, Jesus, receiving the same harsh treatment from their countrymen that He received from the Jews. Just as prophets in the past braved abuse and whips, chains and dungeons, and were stoned and slaughtered, so are 21st century believers living under brutal regimes. Missionaries serving in cruel countries are being heckled and chased out of town by people who have made a career of opposing Christ.

Help me remember the exemplary conduct of those heroes of faith. When the heat is turned up, help me to behave in a manner worthy of Your call by standing up for what I believe in so that I will not discredit the Blessed Message of Christ. Convinced of what I believe, and confident in whom I believe, I will not shrink back or shy away from unfriendly fire. With my mind set on You, my courage will show them that they are full of hot air and up against a fearsome force. By Your strong hand, surely I will be victorious and they will be defeated.

Lord, train me in deep wisdom to understand these hard truths and harsh realities so that I will not falter or fail You when the fiery darts come my way. I long to make You a proud Papa and glorify our family name. Amen.

What trouble is chasing you? Don't let it alarm you, and don't give up on God. Set your mind on Christ. Look at the heroes of faith who endured extreme hardships. If they did it, you and I can too!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Remarkable Encouragement 1 Thessalonians 3:7

So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. (NLT)

God, my Father,
Turn my way and look kindly on me as You always do those You personally love. Your Word is wonderful to me! The teaching of it, empowered by Your Spirit, gives light so that even the simple-minded like me can understand it.

According to Your Word, I should not be surprised by the suffering of Your saints. It is a resounding theme in the Book of Life - part of the calling You consider me worthy of. Steady my steps by Your promises so that the Tempter will not tear down the faith that has been built up in me. Rescue me from the grip of the wicked world so that my faith will not falter.

I long to live life Your way, being like the Thessalonians who made their spiritual parents proud. Smile on me and show me how to make my spiritual parents beam with joy. They have and are continually enduring difficulties, dilemmas, and distress as they boldly deliver the Blessed Message of Hope in their communities. Knowing that I am standing firm with You will be a remarkable source of encouragement to them, refreshing their hearts, and inspiring them to live for Your unshakable Kingdom.

Clear the obstacles from our path. Pour on us Your love so it fills our lives and splashes over on everyone around us. Infuse us with strength and purity so that we will stand together confidently in Your presence on that glorious day when our Master Jesus arrives with all his faithful followers. Amen.

Faithful reader, who introduced you to Christ? Who nurtured you in faith? Have you been tempted to turn away and give up? What do you think your faithfulness means to the one(s) who brought you to Christ?

I encourage you to pick up the phone and call someone who has inspired you in faith, write them a letter or send them an email telling them how God is working in Your life. I can guarantee you it will bless their socks off, and encourage them to persevere.

A few years ago I was inspired to do this very thing. Not knowing where my spiritual Dad was after 25 years, I wrote a three page testimony of my walk with the Master. Concealing my identity, I mailed it to every man with his name in the local phone book. On the top I wrote, "This letter is intended for the former guidance counselor at my high school. If you are not that man and choose to read on, may you be richly blessed. If you are that person, you can contact me at (my email address)."

Little did I know that this precious saint was persecuted for sharing his faith in the public schools, and was fired from his job. Like Paul, that didn't stop him from continuing to preach to students that Jesus saves! I can only imagine how blessed he was the day he received that letter in the mail after 25 years.

A spiritual Dad and daughter were reunited, and I am sure he's beaming with joy as he reads this Prayer Pal. Had he not risked his life to rescue me from the flames of Hell, and revive my heart, I wouldn't be writing it. One day, infused with strength, we will stand together in Glory.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2: 19-20

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

Father in Heaven,
Thank you for calling me into Your unshakable kingdom and radiant glory. Pondering Paul and his relationship with the people of Thessalonica, I am impressed with his remarkable joy:

After being beaten bloody and put behind bars for spreading the Word that Jesus saves, he was empowered and delighted to continue to do it.

Deeply devoted to his spiritual children, he was thrilled to live with them and work with them.

An exemplary example, He received immense pleasure comforting, encouraging, and urging them to live lives worthy of You and Your kingdom.

Watching them live out their faith and work through their troubles brought him incredible bliss.

Being with them was an intense desire of his heart because they were his pride and joy!

According to Your Word, You are coming, and possibly quite soon. On that remarkable day, You will host a spectacular awards ceremony for those who persevered in the game of life. In Your presence, I want to hear You call my name, enthusiastically go forward, and proudly receive the revered Soul Winner's Crown that will be bestowed on those who sacrificed their lives to rescue people from the fiery flames of Hell, and revive their hearts.

Help me dear Lord, by the power of Your Word, to hold unswervingly to the Blessed Hope of Heaven and fearlessly and faithfully share it with others. While many will snicker at it and walk away, those who accept it will bring me the same remarkable joy that the Thessalonians brought to Paul. When my family and friends reject me for my faith, I will be securely knit forever with my dearly loved spiritual family and Christ. Living with them and working with them will be an incredible blessing. Comforting, encouraging, and urging them to live lives worthy of Your family name will be an enormous honor. Watching them live out their faith and work through their troubles will bring me remarkable joy. My pride and joy, it will be a privilege to stand with them in Your presence when Jesus our Master appears in all His glory, splendor and majesty. Amen.

The crowns we wear in heaven must be won on earth. Will you receive the Soul Winners Crown for sacrificing your life to rescue people from the fiery flames of Hell, and revive their hearts?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

O Lord, my God,
I am overwhelmed by the life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that came to me when I heard the good news about Jesus, the Christ, Your Son who died and rose to life for me. You have revealed to me through Your Spirit the price people paid to bring the unabashed truth to me. I forget about the harassment, hostility and hardship they put up with to bring me this Blessed Hope. Since I'd rather not risk shame and suffering I'm inclined to keep the secret to myself. Forgive me, O Lord, for being scared stiff of strong opposition! You did not give me a Spirit of timidity, but one of unstoppable power!

Today I ask that You give me the remarkable bravery and boldness of Paul and Silas who dared to deliver the good news that Jesus saves to the Thessalonians despite the fact that they were beaten, bloodied, bruised, and thrown behind bars in the next town over.

You know that I'm prone to please people. Forgive me, O God! You are the One who tests my heart, not mortal man. You know there is a world-wide trend to water-down the Blessed Message so that it won't be publicly offensive. Lord, let me never again discredit the penalty You paid for me, nor the price paid by Paul, Silas, Timothy, and my own spiritual parent by speaking smooth sounding words that mask the truth. Because of their fearlessness and faithfulness, I have received the Blessed Hope of Heaven.
By Your Spirit, give me a pure heart and right motives so that I will be ardent and authentic, willing to endure insults and indignity to take the gospel in the world for the glory of the Blessed Name of Jesus who suffered and bled and died for me. Amen.

According to God's own Words Christians are despised people, not popular. The trend today in the seeker-sensitive, culturally-relevant, emerging church is to mask the truth with smooth sounding words. God's promise for our faith isn't that we'll feel happy, healthy, and terrific. In fact, we'll likely feel like failures when we share the whole truth because it will not be popular, and people will reject us.

1 Thessalonians 3:4 When Paul, Silas, and Timothy were with the Thessalonians, they kept telling them that they would be persecuted. The gift of salvation is absolutely free, but it will cost you everything, and that is the point we usually leave out because it is offensive.

Be careful not to shame the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

You are the one and only true and living God! I believe!
Thank You for choosing me out of all the people on the face of the earth to hear the good news that Jesus, Your own dear Son, left the hallowed halls of heaven, came to earth, endured temptation, trials, and torture, and died a gruesome and grisly death so that I wouldn't have to endure the discipline and destruction I deserve for my disobedience and defiance. After He was buried for three days in the dark, damp tomb, He suddenly rose to glorious new life so that I could live harmoniously with You forever.

Thank You for the person who was ready to reason with me from the Scriptures, enthusiastically explained these fascinating facts, passionately proved the point, and persistently proclaimed the truth until I was fully persuaded. I'm extremely grateful for the harassment, humiliation and hardship that person bore to bring the gospel to me. The life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that came along with the whole story when I finally believed it are remarkable.

Help me O Lord, to remove the idols from my life, turn toward You, and serve You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I long to be an imitator of my spiritual parent and You. By Your Spirit, help me to study my Bible earnestly so that I will be ready, in season and out, to put in plain words the Scriptures, make the information interesting, eagerly explain the evidence, and patiently present the particulars even when it's not popular so that others may hear the good news, believe it, and receive the same incredible life-changing power, eye-opening Spirit, and deep conviction that were so graciously given to me.

In spite of all kinds of difficulties and dangers, help me continually do good deeds by faith, carefully labor in love, and consistently endure hardships so that others will know by my exemplary lifestyle that I serve the one and only living and true God while waiting with hopeful expectation for the Son whom You raised from the dead to return from heaven to rescue me from the dominion of darkness for the glory of Your good name. Amen.

Since you responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ, has your life changed so that you are an exemplary example to others? The Thessalonians were known for their boldness in sharing the gospel, their work produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. If others were to imitate your life, would the result be for their good and God's glory?
Read 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-10
Read Acts 17:1-9

Friday, July 02, 2010

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 at the sacred supper in the sky.

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?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

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 fa├žade. 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.