Friday, June 29, 2012

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, June 28, 2012

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, June 27, 2012

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, June 26, 2012

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, June 25, 2012

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, June 22, 2012

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, June 21, 2012

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, June 20, 2012

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, June 19, 2012

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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 11, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 08, 2012

Psalm 67:5-6
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us. NKJV

O Glorious God, You are my God!
Thank You for Your Living Word that tells us exactly how to work the land to produce bountiful
blessings! We need to join together as believers and plow the field with praise even in the midst of our own problems and pain. Then the whole world will see how You work. The godless will see how You save.  We need to joyfully shout:

       Our God is a God who saves! (Ps. 68:20)

     Awesome are You, O God!
         You give power and strength to Your people. (Ps. 68:35)

L       Your love stands firm forever. (Ps. 89:2)
          You're eagerly waiting to give the gift of eternal life to everyone!
          (Rom. 5:17)

V        You will rescue the weak from violence. (Ps. 72:14)

A        Direct access to Your wide open spaces of grace and glory are available
           to all know Your Son.  (Rom. 5:2, Heb. 4:16)

T         You will take Your people into glory; (Ps. 73:24)
            And, free them from tyranny and torture. (Ps. 72:14)

I          Instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance;
            They will inherit unimaginable blessings and everlasting joy! (Isa. 61:7)

O       You will rescue the oppressed,
           because their lives are precious to You. (Ps 72:14)

N       There is no condemnation for those who belong to You! (Rom. 8:1)
O Lord, let us together be happy and shout for joy because You judge us fair and square. Even though You've seen the depth of our debt, You've graciously paid it in full with the blood of Your Son.

Display Your exuberance in us, O God! Let Your face shine on us. Mark us with grace and blessing
so that the whole world will witness that a wonderful Savior You are! Hallelujah! Amen! 

Jesus says you will be judged by the fruit you bear. (Matthew 7:17-19)

God's Word clearly tells us how to be blessed with everlasting fruit. We, the people of God, all of
us together, need to start singing His praises!

Instead of complaining we ought to be complimenting.
Instead of arguing we ought to be agreeing.
Instead of blaming we ought to be blessing.
Instead of grumbling we ought to be grateful.
Instead of accusing we ought to be interceding.

At all times we should praise Him with our words. Then, the whole world, not just our individual
communities, will see how He works. As we shout for joy during our difficulties people will hear and be saved!

Join me in plowing the fields with praise! Together we will be blessed with fruit that lasts forever.

When we intentionally turn our complaints to praise, God will surely smile on us and bless our hearts.

God's Smile - His affirmation comes in the form of grace and blessing. When God smiles on you, you
can feel it in every part of your life. - Henry Blackaby.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hosea 14
Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your petitions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, "Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our strength in battle. Never again will we call the idols we have made 'our gods.' No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy."

The Lord says, "Then I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever! I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. It will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like those of beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedar forests of Lebanon. My people will return again to the safety of their land. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines. They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

"O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who looks after you and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green, giving my fruit to you all through the year."

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right,
and righteous people live by walking in them. But sinners stumble and fall along the way.

God of Grace, have mercy on me! Admittedly, I'm conceited and controlling, insisting on having my own way. Thoughtless and inconsiderate, I'm absolutely self-absorbed, self-assured, self-righteous, self-reliant, self-seeking and just plain SELFISH. Demanding my own rights, I'm completely disrespectful and irreverent, denying Your supreme authority over my life. Vigilantly looking for virtues in others, I cease to be virtuous myself. O Lord, how I've disappointed You. Please be gracious, forgive me, and accept my sweet sacrifice of praise.

Heal me of my selfish idolatry and faithlessness. Let Your limitless love fall fresh on me like silver teardrops from heaven. Watered by them, I'll burst up from the dirt of despair like a lovely lily in springtime. My roots will go down deep and I'll stand firm, free and fragrant like a tall cedar in Lebanon. I'll produce many off-shoots and become a sheltering forest where others will find relief from the hellish heat. My beauty will be widespread like that of a hearty, ancient olive tree. I'll grow gracefully like a golden grain of wheat. My vine will be famous for producing fresh, flavorful fruit.

O Lord, my God, You are the everlasting Tree of Life. You protect me and provide for me. Everything I need is found in You. In the shelter of Your presence give me wisdom to fully understand Your generosity and goodness. Carefully listening to Your time-proven, trustworthy teaching, I'll stand firm on Your powerful promises. My heart's desire is to live well by You and grasp all the blessings You bestow on those who walk close beside You. Following You, I will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful and Your holy name will be glorified. Amen.

Confess your waywardness, asking the God of Grace to forgive and heal you. Then, claim all the powerful promises contained in these verses. Following Him, you will be faithful, fulfilled and fruitful.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Romans 11:17-18
If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for another wonderful word picture to teach me who You are, and who I am. You are the Divine Gardner. Jesus is the solid trunk with deep roots, wounded for me. I am nothing but a dead branch that's been gently and graciously grafted to Him. Completely connected to You, the sap of Your Spirit nourishes every part of my being - heart, mind, and soul. Drinking from the deep spring of Living Water, I'll grow in Your everlasting light and never die. Saturated with the fertilizer of Your Word, I will produce luscious fruit for You.

Though I stand tall, radiant and confident, I have no grounds for bragging. Apart from You I'm nothing but deadwood. I'm totally dependent on Your strong root system to give me abundant life. I know that You will ruthlessly cut off every unproductive limb and preserve it for future grafting.
O Holy Gardener, snip me and clip me, even though it hurts. Shape me into the fruitful branch You want me to be. Cultivate me to produce baskets full of sweet succulent fruit to adorn Your glorious temple. In Your hands, carefully and skillfully tend to my branch making me the shoot that displays changed lives for the glory and splendor of Your name. Amen.

The only reason you're on the Divine Tree is because your graft "took:" when you believed, and because you're connected to the belief-nurturing root. So, don't be cocky or arrogant. How can you be humbly mindful of the root that gives you life?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Matthew 13: 24-30
Jesus told them another parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

 "'An enemy did this,' he replied.
      "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

 "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

I love the stories You tell! You create a vibrant vision of Your glory. The pictures You paint with Words are crisp and clear. Perusing and pondering them, I will discover the Only Way to eternal life and happily-ever-after living.

Two kinds of people appear to be members of Your Kingdom. Those who BELIEVE You and those who believe IN You. Thank You for showing me the difference.

The good seed are those individuals who know You as their friend. You've sown the seed of Your Word in the soft soil of their soul. They believe what You say and grow as children of the kingdom. They're fertilized with the Holy Spirit and watered with the Truth. The Son shines on them. They grow and multiply, spreading the good seed of Your Word in the world where it produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. They are the rich golden grain of wheat that glistens and glows with Your glory.

The bad seed are the people who are familiar with You. The seed of Your Word falls on them but never takes root. They don't know You personally; therefore, they can't understand You. Sadly, they are children of the Devil. They are fed watered down truth and sugar coated lies by false teachers. They grow and multiply, spreading the shallow seed of deceptive philosophy that depends on human traditions and worldly principles. Outwardly, they look exactly like the wheat planted by You. However, upon careful examination after the harvest, You notice that their grain doesn't glisten or glow with Your glory. Instead, it is black as night and of no value to Your Kingdom. You separate and throw these weeds into the fiery furnace where they will burn with eternal weeping and everlasting misery.

Lord, since the wheat and the weeds are growing together in the same field and impossible to differentiate with the naked eye, please help me to be non-judgmental. Only You can verify the weeds, and only You have the right to pull them. Forgive me for all the times, I've tried to uproot unbelievers and ripped out Your tender plants instead! Lord, I want to love You and everyone You've planted in the field surrounding me. Then, You will recognize me during the harvest by my glistening glow of Your glory. Amen.

At the harvest on Judgment Day will God recognize you as a glistening golden wheat or a wild weed? How can you be sure?

His beloved friends will admit their sin, believe that He died and rose to save them from destruction, and commit to following Him. They'll trust and obey Him. Believing that He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, they'll live their lives to please Him. At the harvest, He will recognize them by their golden glow. If you are God's good seed, you will love Him and others unconditionally. You will set aside your selfish interests for the benefit of others. What will you do today to show Him how much you love Him?

Acquaintances are only familiar with Him. They believe in Him, but don't take Him at His Word. Denying the reality of sin, they twist the truth to make themselves and others feel good. Because they do not trust and obey Him, at the harvest, He will recognize them by the black grain they produce. If you're growing as a weed in the field, it is of utmost importance that you befriend Jesus quickly or you will be thrown into the fiery furnace, guaranteed! God says so! Surrender yourself to Him today by:

Admitting with your mouth that you're a sinner in need of His grace
Believing in your heart that He died and rose again to save you from destruction
Committing to follow Him from this day forward

Monday, June 04, 2012

Driving down through the beautiful, bucolic farmlands of south central Pennsylvania, I noticed the gloriously golden wheat fields and pondered these words spoken by Jesus.  

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But, if it dies, it produces many seeds.  John 12:24

Glorious Father-
Thank you for this beautiful word picture. Like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies to live anew, I lay down all my dreams and worldly desires to follow you. Plant me wherever you want to produce a harvest for your Kingdom. Press down on me, crush me, and break me. Soften me and release me to press upward to reproduce an enormous multiplication of blessings.

God please crucify me with Jesus - fully yielded, completely surrendered, totally submitted. Use the problems and challenges that are part of my every day life to put me to death. Then raise me, like a kernel of wheat to an abundant ... victorious ... blessed ... fruitful ... powerful ... Christ-like ... Spirit-filled life. I love you Lord and want to be more like you! In Jesus name, I surrender all. Amen.

What do you need to surrender in order to reproduce abundant blessings for the Kingdom of God?

Make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what interests God. Intentionally, remove everything from your life that keeps you from following God's dreams and plans. Concentrate on the Son who did not give up when He had to suffer shame and die on a cross. He knew of the joy that would be His later. This joy will be yours too, if only you will die to yourself and devote your life to Him.

O. Chambers writes (06/19) in My Utmost For His Highest, "The secret of a disciple's life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that "falls into the ground and dies" - it will spring up and change the entire landscape.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Psalm 126
When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
"What amazing things the LORD has done for them."
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us!
What joy!

Restore our fortunes, LORD,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest. NLT

How Great You are O Sovereign King! There is none like You! There is no God but You! I have heard You with my own ears.

Lord, overwhelming sorrow tries to take me away from You. Battered and bruised by the battle with the enemy, a fountain of tears flow from my eyes. Wounded and worn out, I weep. Gripped by grief, I'm a miserable mess. In anguish I cry out to You: "Here I am. Rescue me! Restore my fortune! Swing open the heavenly gates! Bring me back to Your pleasant palace."

Graciously, You answer me and restore me to the prosperity of Your presence. You tell me to sow the seed of Your Word in the ground around my grief. You promise a huge harvest!

Obediently, I plant kernels of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and discipline in the soil surrounding my sadness. I water them with the steady stream of tears that flow down my soft face. And, then I patiently wait through the season of sorrow for the promised heavenly harvest.

When I joyfully return with baskets full of bountiful blessings I will share a foretaste of glory divine with those around me. They will notice that You have done amazing things for me! Together, we will sing, laugh and celebrate a yield of sweet succulent spiritual fruit. I believe that You will turn my hard situation into an enormous reward for the praise of Your glory! Amen.

What has taken you away from your Sovereign King? It could be sin, addiction, false teaching, idolatry, ministering to someone needy, transition, a new job, busyness, or love to name a few. Identify the thing that holds you captive and break free! Plant the seed of His Word in the soil of your situation, water it with your tears and patiently endure while it grows. Then reap the bountiful blessed harvest and celebrate the amazing things the Lord has done!