Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Thank FULL heart

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 34. David just pours his heart before God in this song. You can sense his love and passion for the Lord. Please read the entire chapter below from the Message version of the Bible:

Psalm 34:1-22 I bless GOD every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. (2) I live and breathe GOD; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: (3) Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. (4) GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. (5) Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. (6) When I was desperate, I called out, and GOD got me out of a tight spot. (7) GOD's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. (8) Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see-- how good GOD is. Blessed are you who run to him. (9) Worship GOD if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. (10) Young lions on the prowl get hungry, but GOD-seekers are full of God. (11) Come, children, listen closely; I'll give you a lesson in GOD worship. (12) Who out there has a lust for life? Can't wait each day to come upon beauty? (13) Guard your tongue from profanity, and no more lying through your teeth. (14) Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace--don't let it get away! (15) GOD keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan. (16) GOD won't put up with rebels; he'll cull them from the pack. (17) Is anyone crying for help? GOD is listening, ready to rescue you. (18) If your heart is broken, you'll find GOD right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath. (19) Disciples so often get into trouble; still, GOD is there every time. (20) He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. (21) The wicked commit slow suicide; they waste their lives hating the good. (22) GOD pays for each slave's freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.

In the KJV, David said, "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." I want to have a thank FULL heart. Being thankful is just having a heart FULL of thanks. A thankful heart should be a way of life for us. But did you know that it can save your life?

When Jonah disobeyed God and ended up inside the whale, he told the Lord, "I will sacrifice to You with… thanksgiving" (Jonah 2:9 NKJV). When he did, God made the fish spit him up on dry land. When you are in a difficult situation and everything seems to be falling apart all around you, that's when you need to raise your voice in praise. Nothing demonstrates trust like thanking God when you're in the middle of a crisis. When you don't understand where God is, and why heaven seems silent is when you need to really offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

A thankful heart does two things:

(a) It builds your faith. The reason "we [can] walk by faith [and] not by sight (Colossians 5:7 NAS), is because we know that regardless of the circumstances, God's working on our behalf (Romans 8:28). David said, "Magnify the Lord with me" (Psalm 34:3 NKJV).

To magnify something is to enlarge it. When you focus on God instead of the problem, your perception and understanding of God becomes bigger and the problem becomes smaller. Plus, "Faith comes by hearing… the Word of God" (Romans 10:17 NKJV). Hearing God's promises coming from your own lips causes faith to rise in your heart. So start talking!

(b) It restores life. Before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus looked up to Heaven and said, "Father… thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me" (John 11:41-42 NKJV). Something wonderful happens when you start thanking God for saving, protecting and providing for you. Your faith soars. You gain the confidence to declare that those things in your life that you thought were dead will live again. So, cultivate a thankful heart. God really does deserve it! Blessings.

Pastor Rusty

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday I posted a blog entitled "The Spirit of Caleb." In the blog I mentioned that Caleb is my favorite Old Testament character. I love his spirit and his integrity. He REFUSED to allow a spirit of criticism to enter his life and future. Even when everyone around him was mouthing, whispering, gossiping, hating, trying to cause problems for the leadership, he maintained his integrity with his words and spirit. In fact the word of God talks about how Caleb had a "different spirit."

As I was studying a little more about Caleb, I ran across a blog by David Wilkerson that I wanted to share with you. It is entitled, "Caleb":

Caleb, whose name means "forcible, fortitude," is a type of Christian who goes all the way! He was inseparable from Joshua, a type of Christ, and represented one who continually walks with the Lord.

Caleb had been over Jordan with the spies. While there, he was drawn by the Holy Spirit to Hebron—"the place of death." With awe he climbed that hallowed mountain and faith flooded his soul. Abraham and Sarah were buried here, as were Isaac and Jacob. Years later, David's kingdom would begin there. Caleb prized that hallowed place! From that time on he wanted Hebron for his possession.

It was said of Caleb that he "followed me [the Lord] wholly" (Numbers 14:24). He never wavered to the very end. Solomon wavered in his later years and "he went not fully after the Lord." But at 85 years of age, Caleb could testify: "As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me; as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in" (Joshua 14:11).

At 85 Caleb waged his greatest battle! "Now therefore give me this mountain (Hebron)…" (Joshua 14:12). "And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb…Hebron for an inheritance…" (Joshua 14:13). "Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb…because that he wholly followed the Lord" (Joshua 14:14).

The message is glorious! It is this: It is not enough to have died to sin—to have entered fullness sometime in the past. The need is to grow in the Lord to the end! To keep your spiritual power and strength—to not waver, to "wholly follow the Lord"—even in old age! It should be an ever-increasing faith.

Hebron, Caleb's inheritance, means "a company associated." Associated with what? The answer is, "with death." Not only with the death in Jordan to sin but also to live with a company of people, a community of fellow believers who are associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was on Hebron that Abraham had built an altar to sacrifice his son and it was here that Caleb and his family would live. They would live constantly associated with that altar of living sacrifice.

Caleb's wholeheartedness for the Lord produced a holy fire for God in his children. While the children of the two and a half tribes living in the middle ground turned away and embraced the world and its idolatry, Caleb's family grew stronger in the Lord!

What a powerful word! God indeed is looking for men and women who like Caleb, have "a different spirit." For that to happen, some of us may have to pray like King David did in Psalm 51, "create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me." It is easy to develop a wrong spirit, but it takes integrity and character to maintain a right spirit like Caleb. My prayer is, "Lord, may you be able to say about me…I am a man with a different spirit, because I follow wholeheartedly after you!" Amen? Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Spirit of Caleb

Dr. John Maxwell writes: "When I began my career I was very ineffective as a leader. My problem was that I wanted to please everybody. Making people happy was the most important thing to me. The bottom line was, I lacked the courage to make right but unpopular decisions. How did I turn things around? By making small decisions that were difficult. With each one I gained more confidence and more courage, and I began to change. The process took me four years. At the end of that time I felt I had learned many valuable lessons, and I wrote the following to help me cement what I had learned:

"Courageous leadership simply means I've developed:
(1) Convictions that are stronger than my fears.
(2) Vision that is clearer than my doubts.
(3) Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion.
(4) Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection.
(5) Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure.
(6) Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo.
(7) Poise that is more unshakeable than panic.
(8) Risk-taking that is stronger than safety-keeping.
(9) Actions that are more robust than rationalization. (10) A desire to see potential reached more than to see people pleased."

If people-pleasing is your problem, you might want to go back and re-read those ten things. You don't have to be great to become a person of courage. You just have to want to fulfill God's plan and purpose for your life - and be willing to trade what seems good in the moment for what's best for your future! And that's something you can do this year, regardless of your level of natural talent. There is a very good example of this in the Bible, in fact it is my favorite person in the Old Testament…Caleb.

He was a leader that faced his fears with courage. Listen to what God said about him:

Numbers 14:24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

Caleb wasn't into "safe living". As a young man he came back from the Promised Land, stood with the minority and announced, "With God on our side we'll take it!" At 85, he was still slaying giants and claiming mountains. That's because he had "a different spirit". He wasn't a "go with the flow and expect the status quo" guy.

Richard Edler writes: "Safe living generally makes for regrets later on. We are all given talents and dreams. Sometimes the two don't seem to match. But usually we compromise both before ever finding out. Later on, we find ourselves looking back longingly to that time when we should have chased our true dreams and our true talents for all they were worth. Don't let yourself be pressured into thinking that your dreams or your talents aren't prudent. They were never meant to be prudent. They were meant to bring joy and fulfilment into your life." If a caterpillar refuses to get into its cocoon it'll never transform and will be forever relegated to crawling on the ground, even though it had the potential to fly.

What do you believe God's called you to do? Do it! God's not limited by your IQ, He's limited by your "I will".

The poet said: "If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don't. If you'd like to win but you think you can't, it's almost certain you won't. Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who believes he can."

The spirit of Caleb is the "can do" spirit! Have you got it? Blessings!

Pastor Rusty L. Blann

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who’s in charge?

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well.

This week the Lord has really been using some writings of Max Lucado to pour into my Spirit man. I love to use my blog to share some of the things that have been a blessing to me in my personal devotion life at times. As I did yesterday, I would like to share a thought from Max.

When the restaurant waiter brings you a cold hamburger and a hot soda, you want to know who is in charge. When a young fellow wants to impress his girlfriend, he takes her down to the convenience store where he works and boasts, "Every night from five to ten o'clock, I'm in charge." We know what it means to be in charge of a restaurant or a store, but to be in charge of the universe? This is the claim of Jesus.

There are many examples of Jesus' authority, but I'll just mention one of my favorites. Jesus and the disciples are in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. A storm arises suddenly, and what was placid becomes violent—monstrous waves rise out of the sea and slap the boat. Mark describes it clearly: "A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped" (Mark 4:37 NIV).

It's very important that you get an accurate picture, so I'm going to ask you to imagine yourself in the boat. It's a sturdy vessel but no match for these ten-foot waves. It plunges nose first into the wall of water. The force of the waves dangerously tips the boat until the bow seems to be pointing straight at the sky, and just when you fear flipping over backward, the vessel pitches forward into the valley of another wave. A dozen sets of hands join yours in clutching the mast. All your shipmates have wet heads and wide eyes. You tune your ear for a calming voice, but all you hear are screams and prayers. All of a sudden it hits you—someone is missing. Where is Jesus? He's not at the mast. He's not grabbing the edge. Where is he? Then you hear something—a noise … a displaced sound … as if someone is snoring. You turn and look, and there curled in the stern of the boat is Jesus, sleeping!

You don't know whether to be amazed or angry, so you're both. How can he sleep at a time like this? Or as the disciples asked, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38 NIV).

The very storm that made the disciples panic made him drowsy. What put fear in their eyes put him to sleep. The boat was a tomb to the followers and a cradle to Christ. How could he sleep through the storm? Simple—he was in charge of it.

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:39–40 NIV)

Incredible…Is it any wonder the disciples were willing to die for Jesus? Never had they seen such power; never had they seen such glory. It was like, well, like the whole universe was his kingdom.

It's only right that they declare his authority. It's only right that we do the same. And when we do, we state without question: The ruler of the universe rules our hearts.

My prayer is that Jesus will rule in my heart and in my decisions today. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lesson from a Rottweiler

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well. As many of you know, I love Max Lucado's writings. I don't believe I have ever read anything from him that DID NOT challenge me in my walk with Christ. What I would like to share with today is certainly no different. This is a devotion that I read last night from Max, and wanted to share it on my blog. I believe that it will speak deeply in to your heart.

Some years ago a Rottweiler attacked our golden retriever puppy at a kennel. The worthless animal climbed out of its run and into Molly's and nearly killed her. He left her with dozens of gashes and a dangling ear. I wrote a letter to the dog's owner, urging him to put the dog to sleep.

But when I showed the letter to the kennel owner, she begged me to reconsider. "What that dog did was horrible, but I'm still training him. I'm not finished with him yet."

God would say the same about the Rottweiler who attacked you. "What he did was unthinkable, unacceptable, inexcusable, but I'm not finished yet."

Your enemies still figure into God's plan. Their pulse is proof: God hasn't given up on them. They may be out of God's will, but not out of his reach. You honor God when you see them, not as his failures, but as his projects.

God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven. He wears the robe and refuses to share the gavel. For this reason Paul wrote, "Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. 'I'll do the judging,' says God. 'I'll take care of it' " (Romans 12:19 MSG).

Revenge removes God from the equation. Vigilantes displace and replace God. "I'm not sure you can handle this one, Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I'll take this matter into my hands, thank you."

Is this what you want to say? Jesus didn't. No one had a clearer sense of right and wrong than the perfect Son of God. Yet, "when he suffered, he didn't make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly" (1 Pet. 2:23 GOD'S WORD).

Only God assesses accurate judgments. We impose punishments too slight or severe. God dispenses perfect justice. Vengeance is his job. Leave your enemies in God's hands. You're not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing.

Nor is forgiveness pretending. David didn't gloss over or sidestep Saul's sin. He addressed it directly. He didn't avoid the issue, but he did avoid Saul.

Do the same. Give grace, but, if need be, keep your distance. You can forgive the abusive husband without living with him. Be quick to give mercy to the immoral pastor, but be slow to give him a pulpit. Society can dispense grace and prison terms at the same time. Offer the child molester a second chance, but keep him off the playgrounds.

Forgiveness is not foolishness.

Forgiveness is, at its core, choosing to see your offender with different eyes. You don't excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemy as God's child and revenge as God's job.

By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? This is a huge issue in Scripture. Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners. In the final sum, we give grace because we've been given grace.

The part that jumps off of the page at me is, "Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it?" What a question that we all need to consider today. Amen? Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. That is so easy to say, but at times, difficult to do. Why is that?

Because some days are easier to rejoice in than others. There are some days that it is just difficult to focus on the good, because there is just so much bad staring you in the face. There are days it is so tough to walk in God's peace, because there is so much storm surrounding you. There are days that it is hard to not focus on the GIANT in your path, because he is so LOUD and intimidating. There are days that it is difficult to not focus on the WALLS that are trying to keep you from God's promises, because the task seems so large.

There are some today that are in the middle of a challenging, tough, seemingly hopeless situation. What do you do?

My son-in-law, Brad McMath, wrote one of the most powerful blogs that I have read in a while. It is simply called "TRUST." I hope you will check it out. I truly believe it will minister to you today.



Pastor Rusty

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Laws of the Lighthouse

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well. The past three days I have spent time praying, planning and preparing for 2009. As I have done so, I felt the Lord leading our church to another 21 day Daniels Fast. This corporate fast will run from February 1 – 22. I will post more information in the days to come, and also will share in this Sunday's services more details. I am excited about this opportunity to die to my flesh and press on towards God has for us in 2009! Please make plans now to participate with us.

As I began thinking what to blog on this morning, I had plans to go a different direction until I opened my email messages and received a devotion from Max Lucado entitled, "Laws of the Lighthouse." As soon as I read it, I knew I had to share it on my blog today. Please read the following words and determine to make some positive and needed changes in 2009:

The first of the year is known for three things: black-eyed peas, bowl games, and lists. Some don't eat black-eyed peas. Others hate football. But everybody likes lists.

The Bible certainly has its share of lists. Moses brought one down from the mountain.

There are lists of the gifts of the Spirit. Lists of good fruit and bad. Lists of salutations and greetings. Even the disciples' boat got into the action as it listed in the stormy Sea of Galilee. (If you smiled at that, then I've got a list of puns you'd enjoy.)

But the greatest day of lists is still New Year's Day. And the number one list is the list I call the Laws of the Lighthouse.

The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths that define the way you should navigate your life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality.

Smart move. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.

Herewith, then, are the lights I look for and the signals I heed:

– Love God more than you fear hell.
– Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.
– Make major decisions in a cemetery.
– When no one is watching, live as if someone is.
– Succeed at home first.
– Don't spend tomorrow's money today.
– Pray twice as much as you fret.
– Listen twice as much as you speak.
– Only harbor a grudge when God does.
– Never outgrow your love of sunsets.
– Treat people like angels; you will meet some and help make some.
– 'Tis wiser to err on the side of generosity than on the side of scrutiny.
– God has forgiven you; you'd be wise to do the same.
– When you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart.
– Toot your own horn and the notes will be flat.
– Don't feel guilty for God's goodness.
– The book of life is lived in chapters, so know your page number.
– Never let the important be the victim of the trivial.
– Live your liturgy.

To sum it all up:
Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.

Some great, anointed and wise words. I plan to meditate on it today. I hope you will join me. Blessings.

Pastor Rusty

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Four things King David did to ENCOURAGE himself

The past four months of my life, I have battled unexplained discouragement. I have an awesome family, a marriage made in heaven of 25 years, I pastor one of the greatest churches in the world, but yet…I have been discouraged. Over the past few days and weeks I have reassessed some things in my life. Many that read my blog, know that I have had some health problems the past three months. I am sure that has contributed somewhat to my battle, but I believe it goes deeper than that.

I believe it is spiritual warfare. The enemy wants to do everything he can to keep God's children beat down and feeling defeated. Sometimes we just have to keep going by faith and determine that we are going to believe Romans 8:37 that says, "we are more than conquerors through Him (Jesus) that loved us." Regardless how you feel, what you feel, if you are a child of God you are victorious, and God will bring you through the tough times. In HIS TIME!

When I feel discouraged or down, many times I open up the Psalms and read the words of King David. His thoughts and expressions are so real, so honest. It's as if he tape-recorded his deepest thoughts, concerns, and feelings. When life gets heavy, go to Psalm 43. Here you see a man, hurting, somewhat afraid and aloof to the presence of God. Feeling alone, tied-up with emotions and troubling circumstances, David seems to burst from the inside out. His heart is heavy. His life feels uncertain.

David, who is running for his life, determines to trust God. He pleads. He prays. He petitions. Everything in his soul pours out, better yet, spills out. Ever felt that way? Ever felt like you were running from something frightening or painful? I think we all do. We all face situations that blanket our hearts with fear and uncertainty. Sometimes we feel it's the enemy attacking us. Other times, its just life.

Are you feeling like you need God to sustain you? Do you feel you need a warm cup of comfort? I was reading some articles on discouragement today and ran across an article by Jacob Rodriquez. It was a rhema Word from God for me. I want to share some of it with you. There are four things that David did, and that you and I can do, to make it through a season of discouragement (Psalm 43):

1. Position yourself in His Strength - Firstly, David said, "For You are the God of my strength." Sure, he followed that very statement with worries and doubts. However, before merely complaining or whining to God, he recognized that he needed His divine strength. Often times we grumble without seeing the power God has already given us. To David, he could have already been dead and gone. He could have already been killed. But God's strength had preserved him.

Sometimes we need do to what 2 Chronicles 20:17 says, "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." What a life-changing scripture! It's all about how you position yourself in God's hand. Position yourself; be patient and watchful of the Holy Spirit's influence. Cast all your cares upon Christ!

2. Pursue His Word - David went on to say, "Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!"
David yearned for God's word. I have found, that when you're in a desperate place, you get hungrier for God's word. It almost seems like no matter what the preacher is saying, your heart melts in your chest and you feel encouraged.
When we're in trouble, we tend to be less analytical of the preacher's delivery, the choir's tune, and all the other details that can easily distract us.

Being in a place of brokenness unties the often-petty issues around your heart, and allows you to receive God's word openly.
Turning to the Word of God is the most powerful thing you can do when in a tough situation. Simply reading or hearing the word empowers and enlightens us.

David also said, "send out your light", which harmonizes with Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path." Like a lighthouse's beam cuts through the fog and guides vessels towards the shore, so God's word sheds light in dark places-guiding us through the dense fog of discouragement.

3. Persist in Worship - As synonymous with David's entire life, he can't help but worship God in his time of need. He said, "I will go to the altar of God And on the harp I will praise You". This part is so powerful. In the midst of calamity and despair, with nowhere to turn, no one to talk to, David musters up a heart of worship. When it appeared that all hades was breaking loose, and the end was near, all he could do was worship and praise God. He craved the altar. He hungered for the presence of God.

I believe this was a defining moment in David's life. And the same can be true for you. Worship changes you; especially when it seems inappropriate, based on your current circumstances. The best worship is not what you offer when standing on the mountaintop, above all your obstacles, but the heartfelt worship that echoes in a lonely cave, where problems seem to be mounting. There is where God gets the most glory. This is where you can exchange your spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.

4. Possess your Hope - Finally, David hopes again. He said, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? Hope in God." Pay special attention to this progression: after that David was positioned in God's strength, pursued God's word, and persisted in worship...he possesses his hope. Plus, he is able to praise God even more. David got his hope back, because he got his faith back. As Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

So how do we get faith? Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." God's word was in David, and that produced his faith.

Maybe you're wondering, "What does all this mean?" It's actually pretty simple. Life takes us all to caves of pain and distress. Life gets heavy at times. But if you can cry out to God, like David did, God is able to come to your rescue. Does it mean your situation won't hurt anymore? Does it mean that all your problems will be wiped away? Possibly not. But what will be evident is the hand of God, pulling you through each step and changing the lenses on your life-so that you can see him more clearly. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Monday, January 5, 2009

In the Beginning God CREATED…

As we begin 2009, a NEW YEAR, what does God want to do in you and through you? Have you asked Him? And if you asked Him, have you listened to what He is speaking to you?

This past Thursday, January 1st, as I was reading Genesis 1:1, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about that verse. I have read it for years, and I have been thankful that "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." But something was different as I read it this time. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to linger on that verse for a little while. I read it again, and again, and again. I got still and mediated on it…then, the message came to me loud and clear. In the beginning God created…at the BEGINNING of this New Year, what is God wanting to CREATE in me? You see, God's very nature is creator. He is the creator, always has been and always will be. However, we get locked into "status quo" and see very little creation or change in our lives, families or churches for years and years. That goes against who God is. I am so thankful that He is the Creator, and He is still creating.

The question for each of us is, "God, what do you want to CREATE in me at the beginning of this year?" That is what I asked Him the evening of January 1st, and I would like to share with you, in the form of an acrostic, what I felt Him speak to me:

Caution in my daily decisions

I need to guard my daily decisions for many reasons. One of them being, people are watching my life and my character. After Jesus died from being crucified, and actually had already risen from the dead, Simon Peter got so troubled by everything that was going on, he decided to go back to his old way of life…fishing:

John 21:3 "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

The problem was this. He didn't go back alone. Other's followed him. My friend, when you begin to drift from Jesus in your heart and commitments, you do not drift alone. You take someone with you. God wants to CREATE caution in our daily decisions so that we will not live carelessly.

Recommitment to the basics

Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

The late Adrian Rogers said, "Friend, a sermon on Sunday is designed to whet your appetite, not to feed you for a solid week."

There are too many people who are running around trying to figure out when the end of the world is going to happen. Trying to find something NEW and DIFFERENT from the Word of God, when what God wants us to do is to LIVE what we already know. If we would just return to the basics: reading God's Word daily; be faithful in attendance and giving to the local church; loving people as we love ourselves, then we would make a major difference in our families, church, community and world.

Excitement about the imminent return of Jesus

As Christians, we should be talking daily about Jesus' return. The Word of God tells us that when we have this hope, it causes holiness and purity to take place our lives (I John 3:3). We live daily with the goal of pleasing Jesus through our daily decisions and we have more of an urgency to share the fact of Jesus' love with those who have yet to experience the awesomeness of His salvation. My friends, Jesus is truly coming back soon, and we need to be talking about that fact with our neighbors, co-workers, and families.

Aggressive attack against discouragement

"And it came to pass, when David and his men returned, they found that the Amalekites had invaded Ziklag and burned it with fire; and they took the women captives and carried them away. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they could weep no more. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, for the people were grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters … but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God" (1 Sam. 30:1-6).

David needed encouragement in the midst of his battle. However, there was no one able or willing to encourage him, so he encouraged himself in the Lord. I shared yesterday that I have battled discouragement in the past three months or so in my life. I have asked the Lord to CREATE in my life an AGGRESSIVE attack against discouragement.

Take responsibility to a higher level

1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Esther 4:12-16 When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, (13) he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. (14) For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (15) Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: (16) "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

I am amazed at how careless people are in their church attendance and in their giving. There are some people who will make every excuse in the world to not go to church, yet they can't stay away from Wal-Mart, the grocery store, camping, fishing, etc. Nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves, I am just attempting to show how easily we can be swayed to not be faithful to God's house. The Word of God tells us this in Hebrews 10:25:

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anotherand all the more as you see the Day approaching.

God tells us that we should fight the bad habit of unfaithfulness. It is an encouragement for you to go to church, and you need it more and more in these last days. As good as Christian television CAN be, it was never meant to take the place of the local church. You need that fellowship. As a pastor, some of the discouragement that I have battled has been people that I love and respect disregarding the importance of church attendance. It is amazing how we cry and whine to God about our problems, but we don't want to sacrifice anything for Him. Some stay home on Sunday night to watch a favorite show, or go to a movie, etc. My friend, I want God to create in me a greater sense of responsibility and faithfulness to His Church.

Exemplary Christ like living

I want my life to be an example of Jesus' grace and mercy. I have asked God to create this within me this year.

How about you? I have listed an acrostic for you below. Would you take a moment to ask God, "what do you want to create in me this year?" Blessings and I love you guys.

Six things you want to see God CREATE in you this year: