Friday, July 29, 2011

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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Remarkable Leaders

1 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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

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)

Click to read: God's Commandments

Friday, July 22, 2011

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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!

Matthew 5:11-12

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

2 Timothy 3:12

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

1 John 3:13

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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.

Monday, July 18, 2011

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?

Friday, July 15, 2011

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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

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.

Lord, 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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Revelations 3:8-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 08, 2011

Revelation 3: 1-5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wake up and listen to Him. He is coming soon, out of the wild blue yonder. What do you need to do get the home of your heart in order for His holy arrival?

For your obedience you will walk with him, dressed in linen whiter than snow. He will never blot out your name from the Book of Life. And, He will acknowledge you before His Father. Glory Hallelujah! When the roll is called up yonder, you'll be there.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Revelation 2:19, 20, 24-26, 28

I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

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

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

Morning Star,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Revelation 2:13-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the Lord and be blessed!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Revelation 2:9-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 01, 2011

Revelation 2:2-4, 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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