Monday, November 30, 2009

A Psalm 118:24 Attitude


Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread. God really wants us to have a Psalm 118:24 attitude, live in THIS DAY. Trust for THIS DAY. Hope is strong in THIS DAY. Enjoy THIS DAY. Give us THIS DAY our daily bread.

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. (23) They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

THIS DAY, I will experience freshly created compassion that never fails. THIS DAY I will experience the faithfulness of God. I really want to live with "A Psalm 118:24 Attitude." One day at a time...savor, enjoy, endure THIS DAY.

There are days when the last thing we want to do is rejoice. Our mood is down, our situation is out of hand, and our sorrow or guilt is overwhelming. We can relate to the writers of the psalms who often felt this way. But no matter how low the writers felt, they were always honest with God. And as they talked to God, their prayers ended in praise. When you don't feel like rejoicing, tell God how you truly feel. You will find God will give you a reason to rejoice. God has given you this day to live and to serve him-be glad!


When we pray "Give us THIS DAY our daily bread," we are acknowledging that God is our sustainer and provider. It is a misconception to think that we provide for our needs ourselves. We must trust God daily to provide what he knows we need.

I need to wake up each morning with an excitement and anticipation for THIS DAY. Regardless what I go through today, God's grace, faithfulness, mercy, compassion, guidance, provision will see me through. Like the Psalmist I will declare daily, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." You REALLY IS my choice whether to rejoice or not. My rejoicing will come when I awaken with a Psalm 118:24 attitude. That is the way I want to live my life.

The enemy will attempt to make us live in regret, fear, and turmoil. How do we counteract that? Understand and live the Psalm 118:24 attitude.


"Lord, I am so thankful for THIS DAY. Forgive me for taking so many days for granted. Forgive me for allowing the enemy to turn THIS DAY into fear, turmoil or regret. THIS DAY I will intentionally look for your grace, mercy, and provision. I love you Lord, and choose to live THIS DAY with a Psalm 118:24 Attitude. In Jesus' name, amen."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Called from DARKNESS into His marvelous LIGHT


1 Peter 2:9 (amp) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased,
special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you--


Christians sometimes speak of "the priesthood of all believers." In Old Testament times, people did not approach God directly. A priest acted as intermediary between God and sinful human beings. With Christ's victory on the cross, that pattern changed. Now we can come directly into God's presence without fear (Heb 4:16), and we are given the responsibility of bringing others to him also (2 Co 5:18-21). When we are united with Christ as members of his body, we join in his priestly work of reconciling God and people.

People often base their self-concept on their accomplishments. But our relationship with Christ is far more important than our jobs, successes, wealth, or knowledge. We have been chosen by God as his very own, and we have been called to represent him to others. Remember that your value comes from being one of God's children, not from what you can achieve. You have worth because of what God does, not because of what you do.

In summary, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God's own special people who were once not a people but are now the people of God. That description should enhance the value of all of God's people. The key to a good self-image is found in the image of what we are in Jesus Christ. It is His image that is available to us as we trust in Christ Jesus. As the apostle Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20).


I am so thankful that God chose me to let those I come in contact with know the "night and day difference" He has made in my life. I am so thankful that He called me out of darkness into His marvelous light! Now, I need to daily, as the KJV says, "show forth the praises of Him who called me out..." I do this by walking, talking, living as a person of His light and not darkness. As professing Christians we do more harm than good to the kingdom of God when we live as if no change has taken place in our life through Christ. When your attitude stinks, when your language is crude, when you are rude...these are ways that we lived before God called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. That type of unchanged life, isn't "showing forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness."

Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
"Everything is permissible"-but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"-but not everything is constructive. (24) Nobody should seek his own good, but the
good of others."

So much truth in this verse. So talk about how THEY have freedom to do as they please. The problem is, what you want to do may be ok, or permissible, but that isn't the question. The question should be..."is it beneficial or constructive" for others who are not living for the Lord. Too many folk believe, and rightly may I add, that there are many hypocrites in the church. The problem is many do what they want because it is "permissible" and don't stop to ask the question, but is "constructive" to the body of Christ. Often it is not constructive, but very destructive.

We have been called out of darkness, into His marvelous light so we can show forth His praise by being "New creatures in Christ." If I still act, talk, live like I did before I claimed salvation, then I need to re-examine my experience and walk with Christ. "Help me Lord to show forth Your praises today!"


"Lord, please forgive me for living a selfish life where it is all about me and what is permissible. I need to ask myself in every decision I make...Is what I am about to do, say, wear, drink destructive to Your purpose of building Your Kingdom? Thank you for calling me from darkness into Your marvelous light. I am a blessed man. I choose today to live with intentional awareness that people are watching my life. I do this not to please man, but to please You. Please forgive me for the times that I have been destructive to your purposes instead of constructive. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

David's list of God's benefits


Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, (3) who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, (4) who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, (5) who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.


The call to bless God is repeated in verse Psalm 103:2 with the added thought: "And forget not all His benefits ['dealings']." Thus David gives all that is within himself to God and remembers all that God has done for him. Memory is always one of our best aids in worship

David's praise focused on the good things God was doing for him. It is easy to complain about life, but David's list gives us plenty for which to praise God: He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from death, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires, and gives righteousness and justice. We receive all of these without deserving any of them. No matter how difficult your life's journey, you can always count your blessings-past, present, and future. When you feel as though you have nothing for which to praise God, read David's list.


This has always been one of my favorite Psalms. I should start every day by "blessing" the Lord, that is "bowing my knee in praise and worship to Him." This should come from my innermost being. "And all that is within me" bless his holy name; meaning not only all within his body, his heart, reins, lungs, but all within his soul, all the powers and faculties of his soul; his understanding, will, affections, and judgment; and all the grace that was within him, faith, hope, love, joy, and the like; these he would have all concerned and employed in praising the name of the Lord. This is how I should start each day. My theme verse is Psalm 118:24, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

" you will rejoice in this day that the Lord has given you. And you will do it with all that is within you!" That is what David was declaring to his soul. He didn't matter how he felt, he was going to bless the name of the Lord. By blessing the Lord, DAILY, it kept him from forgetting all of God's benefits.

We have a tendency to forget God and His faithfulness. We have a tendency to moan, groan and complain. Instead we should praise, rejoice, and celebrate THIS DAY. Because THIS DAY God has blessed us with so many benefits and blessings. Why don't you stop for a moment and just begin to name the blessings of God. It may surprise you just what the Lord has done for you!

Someone has written in article simply entitled, "Blessed."

* If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed. One-third of the world does not have access to even one.

* If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

* If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony or torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.

* If you attend a church meeting without the fear of harassment, arrest or torture of death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

* If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

* If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

* If your parents are still married or alive, you are very rare.

*If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

Something to think about and thank God for, amen?

This week I plan to blog each day on the blessings of God. Thursday we as a nation celebrate "Thanksgiving Day." It isn't TURKEY day. It should be a day where we as a nation give thanks to God for all of His benefits. I am afraid that we as a nation have forgotten so much of what God has done for us. But...I can remember, and I will give thanks. Not only Thursday...but every day of my life!


"Wow, Lord! I am so blessed. You have blessed me with so many benefits. I take so much for granted. Please forgive me for "forgetting all of your benefits." You have truly redeemed me from so much. I bless Your name today, and thank you for Your faithfulness. Help me to start each day with praise and thanksgiving unto you. You truly deserve each thanks, praise and worship that I can give you. I choose today to remember. I will not forget today. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Value of Christ’s Crucifixion


Galatians 2:20-21 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Galatians 2:20-21 ((MSG) Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily


How have our old selves been crucified with Christ? Legally, God looks at us as if we had died with Christ. Because our sins died with him, we are no longer condemned (Col 2:13-15). Relationally, we have become one with Christ, and his experiences are ours. Our Christian life began when, in unity with him, we died to our old life. In our daily life, we must regularly crucify sinful desires that keep us from following Christ. This, too, is a kind of dying with him (Luke 9:23-25).

And yet the focus of Christianity is not on dying but on living. Because we have been crucified with Christ, we have also been raised with him (Rom_6:5). Legally, we have been reconciled with God (2Co 5:19) and are free to grow into Christ's likeness (Rom 8:29). And in our daily life, we have Christ's resurrection power as we continue to fight sin (Eph 1:19-20). We are no longer alone, for Christ lives in us-he is our power for living and our hope for the future (Col 1:27).

Believers today may still be in danger of acting as if there was no need for Christ to die. How? By replacing Jewish legalism with their own brand of Christian legalism, they are giving people extra laws to obey. By believing they can earn God's favor by what they do, they are not trusting completely in Christ's work on the cross. By struggling to appropriate God's power to change them (sanctification), they are not resting in God's power to save them (justification). If we could be saved by being good, then Christ would not have had to die. But the cross is the only way to salvation.


In order to accept Christ as Savior, and crucify my flesh daily, I need to turn from my sins and willingly nail my sinful nature to the cross. I do this my naming the weak areas of my flesh, confessing where I have failed and receiving God's strength and forgiveness. I must do this DAILY. Every single day, aligning myself with Christ's crucifixion by dying to my flesh. This doesn't mean, however, that I will never see traces of its evil desires again.

As Christians we still have the capacity to sin, but we have been set free from sin's power over us and no longer have to give in to it. We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God's control, daily crucify them, and moment by moment draw on the Spirit's power to overcome them. When we do this every day, we refuse to "set aside the grace of God." By crucifying my flesh, I am recognizing the value of Christ's crucifixion. I never want God to have to say that, when it comes to me, that "Jesus died for nothing."


"Lord, forgive me for the times that it seemed that Your death meant nothing to me. That grieves my heart and Spirit this morning. I am so thankful for your death and resurrection. Yet, still I lean on my "goodness" oftentimes instead of your grace. I repent of that today. I make up my mind to die to my flesh at this moment. I am sure there will be other moments throughout this day that I need to die to. Help me to turn from my sins and willingly nail my sinful nature to the cross. In Jesus name, amen!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“That is what some of you WERE”


1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.


Paul is describing characteristics of unbelievers. He doesn't mean that all those who have indulged in sexual sin or who have been idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers are automatically and irrevocably excluded from heaven. Christians come out of all kinds of different backgrounds, including these. They may still struggle with evil desires, but they should not continue in these practices. In v. 11, Paul clearly states that even those who sin in these ways can have their lives changed by Christ. However, those who say that they are Christians but persist in these practices with no sign of remorse will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Such people need to reevaluate their lives to see if they truly believe in Christ.

In a permissive society it is easy for Christians to overlook or tolerate some immoral behavior (greed, drunkenness, etc.) while remaining outraged at others (homosexuality, thievery). We must not participate in sin or condone it in any way; we cannot be selective about what we condemn or excuse. Staying away from more "acceptable" forms of sin is difficult, but it is no harder for us than it was for the Corinthians. God expects his followers in any age to have high standards.


Paul emphasizes God's action in making believers new people. The three aspects of God's work are all part of our salvation: Our sins were washed away, we were set apart for special use (sanctified), and we have been made right with God (justified).

I am so thankful that it can be said of me, "And that is what you WERE..." But, thank God, I have now been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now I need to live like it! I love verse 11 in the Message translation:

1 Corinthians 6:11 A number of you know from experience what I'm talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you've been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.

I am so thankful that I have been given a fresh start by Jesus! I am a new creature in Christ. I am not the same as I used to be. At one time I had a "potty" mouth. Now when I hear someone cursing, it makes me cringe. Why? Because I'm not that same person anymore. I want to please the Lord by every aspect of my life. I fall short often of that, but I keep on striving to become all that the Lord dreams and longs for me to become. Today, I want to meditate on the thought that "that is what some of you WERE" I need to remember today the change that Jesus has brought into my life. I need to make a commitment RIGHT NOW to act, live, talk like it is what I WAS and not what I am now. I am changed by the power of the Word, and the blood of Jesus. Praise be to the Lord!


"Lord, I am so thankful that you brought me out of bondage in my life. I am so thankful that I can relate to what our text says, "and that is what some of you WERE" What a powerful word. WERE...not anymore. I have been changed. I thank You, Lord for that change. I choose today to act, talk and live like a changed person. TODAY I am a new creature through you. I want all of my decisions to reflect that. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Formed, Known, Sanctified, and Ordained!


Jeremiah 1:4-7 (MSG) This is what GOD said: (5) "Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations-- that's what I had in mind for you." (6) But I said, "Hold it, Master GOD! Look at me. I don't know anything. I'm only a boy!" (7) GOD told me, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.' I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there. I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


1. "I formed you" (Jer 1:5). Our earthbound little minds imagine conception as only a biological event. Yet here we are forced to think again concerning the origins of human life. The psalmist cries out, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth" (Psa 139:14, Psa 139:15).

This ought to shock today's culture whose abortion clinics have taken the lives of millions of unborn children since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. If God is present in the process of conception, then the value of human life takes on the implications of eternity. The weight of our glory as humans comes through these words to Jeremiah. Just as they must have shocked him, so must they shock us. We are infinitely more than children of humankind. Our birth is not our real beginning nor will our death be the end. Yet how we live the span between the two will count forever.

2. "I knew you" (Jer 1:5). This second mind-boggling claim stretches the prophet's origins beyond the walls of Anathoth, beyond the day of his birth, even beyond the day of his conception. In all of those "beyonds" God had a plan for his life. His mother first cradled him proudly, innocently in her arms, never knowing that larger arms than hers were wrapped around her child and holding him fast in a relentless purpose that was destined to touch all the power structures of the world. God had a plan for his life.

3. "I sanctified you" (Jer 1:5). Because Jeremiah was first known and then, at a point in time, formed in his mother's womb, this third condition becomes possible. He was then set apart for something sacred. When we argue against the sanctity of human life we must come up against this passage. Jeremiah was about to be sent headlong into a culture that had lost all reverence for human life. They were debauching themselves in the most flagrant disregard for the dignity to which they had been called as the people of God. They had lost every trace of their ordination. Are we not a society very much like that one? All manner of obscenities have penetrated our culture-our airwaves, our telephones, our music, even our communities and families. The four realities of humanity as God sees it and as He uttered to the prophet should arouse us to action. It has been said that "all that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing."

4. "I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5).
The particular form our life is to take on earth is wrapped up in the purposes and foreknowledge of God. We cannot "find" ourselves until we first find Him. I cannot ultimately know who I am until I know whose I am.


God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought about you and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that he has a purpose in mind for you. Jeremiah was "appointed" by God as his "prophet to the nations." God has a purpose for each Christian, but some people are appointed by God for specific kinds of work. Samson (Jdg 13:3-5), David (1Sa 16:12-13) John the Baptist (Luk 1:13-17), and Paul (Gal 1:15-16) were also called to do particular jobs for God. Whatever work you do should be done for the glory of God (Php 1:11). If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerfully and do it with diligence. If God has not given you a specific call or assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers-to love, obey, and serve God-until his guidance becomes more clear.

Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence, feeling that they have inadequate ability, training, or experience. Jeremiah thought he was "too young" and inexperienced to be God's prophet to the nations. But God promised to be with him. We should not allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying God. He will always be with us. If God gives you a job to do, he will provide all you need to do it.

God promised to be with Jeremiah and take care of him, but not to keep trouble from coming. God did not insulate him from imprisonment, deportation, or insults. God does not keep us from encountering life's storms, but he will see us through them. In fact, God walks through these storms with us and rescues us. Remember that, like Jeremiah, God formed you, knows you, sanctified you, and ordained you for a purpose and a plan in this life. Your life really does have purpose, which is why the enemy is fighting you so hard today.


"Lord, I am overwhelmed today to think that you formed me, know me, sanctified me, and ordained me! That makes me feel pretty special. I realize today that you really do not make any "junk". I am valuable to you. I have purpose. Forgive me for the times I have allowed my world and culture to take that purpose and value away. I choose today to make life decisions based on that value and purpose. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

To please God, or Man…that is the question!


Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.


Paul would make no pretension at being religiously tolerant, if being tolerant means that it doesn't really matter what persons believe so long as they believe. How naive and glib we often are: "What persons believe is their business-a private matter. We don't need to be too concerned about theology or doctrine. Being brotherly is what matters, living by the Golden Rule, doing good, refraining from harmful activity-that's what counts. And if you are sincere, you'll be led to the right truth and in the right path."

"Hogwash!" Paul would say. "What you believe eventually determines how you live. You can't encrust the gospel of grace with a system of law. To do so diminishes the sovereignty of God and puts salvation back in the hands of humans to be earned by merit." Whatever the case, Paul warned against a gospel that was not centered in one gift-the grace of Christ-and in one event-the Christ event in which Crucifixion and Resurrection could not be separated. He could have pleased the Jews by preaching law observance, and the pagans by making the death of Christ a mere sacrificial transaction that placed no obligation upon the follower. But from the moment he became a Christian Paul knew nothing else but Jesus crucified. This freed him from the law, but it called him to be crucified with Christ. The only way to prove he was pleasing to God rather than men was to keep the scandal of the Cross at the heart of his preaching and take the consequences of the Cross to the heart of his living.


Do you spend your life trying to please everybody? Paul had to speak harshly to the Christians in Galatia because they were in serious danger. He did not apologize for his straightforward words, knowing that he could not serve Christ faithfully if he allowed the Galatian Christians to remain on the wrong track. Whose approval are you seeking-others' or God's? Pray for the courage to seek God's approval above anyone else's.


"Lord, please forgive me for the times that I have been more concerned at pleasing MAN than in pleasing YOU. There is a natural tendency and temptation in the world we live in to not "rock the boat" or to just keep our thoughts and opinions quiet. It does matter what I believe, it does matter what doctrine I believe. Help me to strive today to please you...and be salt and light to the world around me by living LIKE YOU, and not LIKE THEM...them being the ones that are not YET living for you. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Beginnings


Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel's hand." (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the LORD that search all around the world.)


Many of the older Jews were disheartened when they realized this new Temple would not match the size and splendor of the previous Temple built during King Solomon's reign. But bigger and more beautiful is not always better. What you do for God may seem small and insignificant at the time, but God rejoices in what is right, not necessarily in what is big. Be faithful in the small opportunities. Begin where you are and do what you can, and leave the results to God.


Yesterday I read something from Max Lucado about this verse that I would like to share here:

Begin. Just begin! What seems small to you might be huge to someone else. Just ask Bohn Fawkes. During World War II, he piloted a B-17. On one mission he sustained flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. Even though his gas tanks were hit, the plane did not explode, and Fawkes was able to land the plane.

On the morning following the raid, Fawkes asked his crew chief for the German shell. He wanted to keep a souvenir of his incredible good fortune. The crew chief explained that not just one but eleven shells had been found in the gas tanks, none of which had exploded.

Technicians opened the missiles and found them void of explosive charge. They were clean and harmless and with one exception, empty. The exception contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it a message had been scrawled in the Czech language. Translated, the note read: "This is all we can do for you now."

A courageous assembly-line worker was disarming bombs and scribbled the note. He couldn't end the war, but he could save one plane. He couldn't do everything, but he could do something. So he did it.

God does big things with small deeds.

Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile. But God used it to topple Goliath. Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow's coins seem puny. But Jesus used them to inspire us. And in contrast with sophisticated priests and powerful Roman rulers, a cross-suspended carpenter seemed nothing but a waste of life. Few Jewish leaders mourned his death. Only a handful of friends buried his body. The people turned their attention back to the temple. Why not?

What power does a buried rabbi have? We know the answer. Mustard-seed and leaven-lump power. Power to tear away death rags and push away death rocks. Power to change history. In the hands of God, small seeds grow into sheltering trees. Tiny leaven expands into nourishing loaves.

Small deeds can change the world. Sow the mustard seed. Bury the leaven lump. Make the call. Write the check. Organize the committee.

Moses had a staff.
David had a sling.
Samson had a jawbone.
Rahab had a string.
Mary had some ointment.
Aaron had a rod.
Dorcas had a needle.
All were used by God.
What do you have?

God inhabits the tiny seed, empowers the tiny deed. He cures the common life by giving no common life, by offering no common gifts. Don't discount the smallness of your deeds.


"Lord, forgive me for not understanding the importance of small beginnings. I know that you do big things with small deeds. You use the foolishness of this world to confound the wise. You used a staff, sling, jawbone, string, ointment, rod, needle, small lunch to do great miracles. I just need to make myself available. I choose today to rejoice in the small beginnings. I have been praying for some things for a long time. In stead of saying, 'I guess it isn't doing any good' I will thank you for the small beginnings whether I see anything or not. I choose to walk by faith and not by sight. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More than a Conqueror, THROUGH Him


Romans 8:35-39 (ESV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." (37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39 (Message) Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: (36) They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. (37) None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. (38) I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, (39) high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.


Verses 35-36 were written to a church that would soon undergo terrible persecution. In just a few years, Paul's hypothetical situations would turn into painful realities. This passage reaffirms God's profound love for his people. No matter what happens to us, no matter where we are, we can never be separated from his love. Suffering should not drive us away from God but help us to identify with him and allow his love to heal us.

These verses (v. 35-39) contain one of the most comforting promises in all Scripture. Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, and even death. These sometimes cause them to fear that they have been abandoned by Christ. But Paul exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can separate us from Christ's presence. God tells us how great his love is so that we will feel totally secure in him. If we believe these overwhelming assurances, we will not be afraid.


Nothing or no one shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, no homelessness, not bullying threats, not back stabbing, nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic,...not one thing you can thing of and add to this list. Today and tomorrow, you will not be separated by God's love! Jesus LOVES you. Isn't that wonderful to know? In EVERYTHING that you may be facing at this very moment God says, YOU "are more than a conqueror!" How? "Through HIM who loved us." I am more than a conqueror, not through anything that I have done, but through Jesus. I watched a video a few years ago that said, "That's my king." I would like to share some of those words with you, and remind you of WHY you are more than a conqueror!

My King is the key of knowledge, He's the wellspring of wisdom, He's the doorway of deliverance, He's the pathway of peace, He's the roadway of righteousness
He's the highway of holiness, He's the gateway of glory, and He's the master of the mighty. He's the captain of the conquerors. He's the head of the heroes. He's the leader of the legislators. He's the overseer of the overcomers. He's the governor of governors. He's the prince of princes. He's the King of Kings. And He's the Lord of Lords. That's my King

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough
His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy. And His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you, but He's indescribable, He's incomprehensible. He's invincible. He's irresistible. I'm trying to tell you, the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. Let alone a man explain Him
you can't get Him out of your mind. You can't get Him off of your hands. You can't outlive Him. And you can't live without Him.

The Pharisee's couldn't stand Him, but they found out they couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree, And Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him. And the grave couldn't hold Him. That's my King!

He always has been, and He always will be. He had no predecessor, and He'll have no successor. There was nobody before Him, and there'll be nobody after Him
you can't impeach Him. And He's not going to resign.

He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son. He's the sinner's Saviour. He's the centerpiece of civilization. He's unparalleled. He's unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He's the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour.

He supplies strength for the weak. He's available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek. That is MY KING!

Hallelujah! I got excited just typing that! My friend, that is why NOTHING you face today, tomorrow, in the coming days, weeks or years, that will separate you from the love Jesus Christ! Because you are more than a conqueror...THROUGH HIM, my King! Is He your King? If not, why not ask Him to be right now!


"Lord, I am so thankful today that you have made me more than a conqueror. I am victorious not because of anything that I have done, but victory is through You. I confess that I have been fearful and confused at times in the midst of difficult times, but I am reminded right now that You are my King, and I am MORE than a conqueror. Nothing...ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that I face today can separate me from your love, or your purpose for my life. I acquiesce to you today. I choose to walk and live by the nudge of the Spirit. I choose to allow you to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in my life today. I can face whatever today holds THROUGH you. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009



2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


In spite of the suffering that might have caused Paul to despair, he affirmed his confidence in God's protection. This was not a claim to strong faith; rather, it was a trust in one so powerful that even a weak faith was sufficient. Paul based his confidence in Christ on his intimate relationship with him. Paul knew the one in whom he trusted with personal knowledge; he knew Christ so well that no earthly experience could break the bond of love by which Christ held him. If your situation looks bleak, give your concerns to Christ because you know him and love him. Realize that he will guard all you have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

"For I know whom I have believed" - means, "trusted." The idea is, that he understood the character of that Redeemer to whom he had committed his eternal interests, and knew that he had no reason to be ashamed of confiding in him. He was able to keep all that he had intrusted to his care, and would not suffer him to be lost:

Isaiah 28:16 But the Master, GOD, has something to say to this: "Watch closely. I'm laying a foundation in Zion, a solid granite foundation, squared and true. And this is the meaning of the stone: A TRUSTING LIFE WON'T TOPPLE."

"He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." A literal translation of this statement could read, "Keep the good deposit," or "guard the faith." Here the idea shifts to that of the gospel as a rich treasure to be guarded. And that is our ministry, too. That's why Bible study is so important. I like to think of the Bible as a rich treasure-a veritable gold mine of history, poetry, literature, wisdom-all the Word of God to us. It is to be kept and guarded, not by putting it in a vault or under glass, but "by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us." That is, by ingesting it through reading and study, so that it guards us as we guard it. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody once said to a young person: "This Book will keep you from sin-or sin will keep you from this Book." While the power is not in the Book but in the Holy Spirit, the treasure is worth guarding.


With the phrase "keep that which I have committed unto Him" Paul is wanting each of us to be confidant in the keeping power of God. I believe with all of my heart that, (1) Paul knew that God would protect the souls of those converted through his preaching; (2) Paul trusted God to guard his own soul until Christ's second coming; also, I believe (3) Paul was confident that, though he was in prison and facing death, God would carry out the Good News ministry through others such as Timothy. Paul may have expressed his confidence to encourage Timothy, who was undoubtedly discouraged by the problems in Ephesus and fearful of persecution. Even in prison, Paul knew that God was still in control. No matter what setbacks or problems we face, we can trust fully in God.

This verse has always been such an encouragement to me. Because I KNOW who my Lord is, because I KNOW how loving and caring He is, because I have SEEN His goodness in my past, because I HAVE EXPERIENCED His forgiveness and restoration, because I have BENEFITED from His miraculous provision, because I have MADE IT through fiery trials...(and I could go on and on)...I am PERSUADED that He is able to do whatever His Word says He will, and that He is able to KEEP that which I give to Him. I am still tempted to take back what I give to Him, but I must remind myself everyday that God has never let me down, never forsaken me, never abandoned me, and He will not start today. He truly is in control of my life...even when I can't see Him. But when you become PERSUADED that He is won't need to feel or see Him. Again, that only comes through a personal relationship with Him...DAILY...and through that relationship you can know Him, and then you WILL be persuaded!


"Lord, today I truly KNOW whom I have put my belief and confidence in. And because I know you, I am persuaded that you are able! Even when the enemy of my soul attempts to bring fear, confusion, and turmoil, I choose to declare my faith and confidence in You. Because I KNOW...I truly am PERSUADED! I love you Lord, and thank you for our HIS-STORY together. Even if I don't feel or see you today, I know that I know that I know that You are caring for me and watching over me. I commit myself right now to that care...with CONFIDENCE. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Seeking the FACE of God


2 Chronicles 7:11-15 When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, (12) the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. (13) "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, (14) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (15) Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.


After Solomon had finished the temple and his own palace, the LORD appeared to him at night with promises and warnings. In the event that God sent drought, locusts, or pestilence on the people, they should humble themselves, . . . pray, . . . seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then He would forgive their sin and restore them.

Verse 14 may very well be the golden text of this entire book. Though originally addressed to the chosen nation of Israel, it has rightly been applied to those nations which have a biblical heritage. It is the sure road to restoration and revival for all times. If the conditions are met, the promises are sure of fulfillment.

J. Barton Payne comments: This great verse, the best known in all Chronicles, expresses as does no other in Scripture God's requirement for national blessing, whether in Solomon's land, in Ezra's, or in our own. Those who believe must forsake their sins, turn from the life that is centered in self, and yield to God's word and will. Then, and only then, will heaven send revival.


In chapter 6, Solomon asked God to make provisions for the people when they sinned. God answered with four conditions for forgiveness: (1) Humble yourself by admitting your sins, (2) pray to God, asking for forgiveness, (3) seek God continually, and (4) turn from sinful behavior. True repentance is more than talk-it is changed behavior. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, following these steps will lead to forgiveness. God will answer our earnest prayers.

The part of this verse that God has speaking to me about is "seek His face." It is obvious that we need a spiritual awakening in our nation, but it must start in the people of God first:

1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

God has been challenging me to stop seeking His HANDS and start seeking His FACE. When I seek His hands, I am seeking what He can do FOR me. When I seek His face I am seeking what He can do IN me. When I seek His hands, I am serving Him because of His blessings. When I seek His face, I am serving God because I love Him. Hands represent blessings. Face represents intimate relationship. Satan always questions the "why" or motivation of serving God. He went to God about Job and made the statement "you take away Your blessings and Job will curse you." What satan didn't understand was that Job daily sought God's FACE and had a very close relationship with God. The blessings were just extra, but not the motivation for serving God.

Every day I look forward to my daily FACE time with the Lord at 5:45 am. The house is still quiet, no one stirring...just me and God. It is in those precious moments that God shares dreams, vision, passion, direction with me. It is during this time that the Lord shapes my motives, develops character in my life, and gives me purpose for the coming day. Oh what joy it is to seek His FACE!

I am so thankful for the blessings that God has given me. But that is not, and must not ever be, the motivation for my relationship with my Lord. When it becomes my motivation, then I fall in to what I call "Crisis Christianity." That is where I just coast along in life, enjoying God's goodness, basically ignoring His promptings to fellowship. But when I face a trial that is bigger than I am, then I come running back to His HANDS. When I seek His HANDS and not His FACE, I will never develop the type of relationship with God that I was created to enjoy.


"Lord, forgive me for the times that I have sought Your hands instead of Your face. It is so easy in this world of ours to relegate you to a "vending machine" that I never pay attention to until I need something. I was created for so much MORE than that. I was created to walk with you, worship you, look into Your face seek your face. I choose today to seek Your face. I want to know you in a more intimate and personal way TODAY than I did yesterday. I choose to walk with You in fellowship today. I want to live my the nudge of the Spirit, so I will be today who you want me to be. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, November 6, 2009

The temptation of “Deism”



Psalm 42:2-5 I'm thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, "Will I ever make it-- arrive and drink in God's presence?" (3) I'm on a diet of tears-- tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, "Where is this God of yours?" (4) These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving-- celebrating, all of us, God's feast! (5) Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God-- soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.




Psalm 42-49 were written by the descendants of Korah. Korah was a Levite who led a rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16:1-35). He was killed, but his descendants remained faithful to God and continued to serve God in the Temple. David appointed men from the clan of Korah to serve as choir leaders (1 Chronicles 6:31-38), and they continued to be Temple musicians for hundreds of years (2 Chronicles 20:18-19).


As the life of a deer depends upon water, so our lives depend upon God. Those who seek him and long to understand him find eternal life. Feeling separated from God, this psalmist wouldn't rest until he restored his relationship with God because he knew that his very life depended on it. Do you thirst for God?


The writer of this psalm was discouraged because he was exiled to a place far from Jerusalem and could not worship in the Temple. During these God-given holidays, the nation was to remember all that God had done for them.


Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people. This will take your mind off the present situation as you focus your thoughts on God's ability to help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. When you feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm's antidepressant: Read the Bible's accounts of God's goodness, and meditate on them.




As I read the Psalmist's words "Where is this God of yours?" My mind went back to Genesis 3 where satan came to Eve and began to attack Eve's trust in God and His Word. Read once again what the enemy of our soul said to Eve:


Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (2) The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, (3) but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" (4) "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. (5) "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."


The enemy is so subtle with comments like, "Did God REALLY say...." and "For God knows..." and begins to make it seem like God was holding out on them and not wanting to bless them. The enemy has been tempting God's Children in the very same way ever since this moment in history. He tries to convince us that God isn't interested in us. That He doesn't care, that He is withholding good from us. That he has abandoned us, so we better take matters into our own hands.


What I just described is called deism. The actual definition of deism is: The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.


When we allow the enemy to subtly convince us that God isn't concerned about us, isn't listening, then the natural results is...we don't pray. There have been times in my life where I have allowed satan to convince me that praying about a certain situation would be a waste of time. Oh, I wouldn't say that out loud, but it was hidden away in my heart, and effecting my relationship with my loving Heavenly Father.


It took me a little while to rebuke that lie from the enemy, and understand that MY GOD said He would NEVER abandon me, and would ALWAYS hear my prayers. What a loving, awesome God we serve. Like the Psalmist in our text this morning, when tears begin to cry out in our heart, "where is your God" be ready to declare "right here with me!" as you stand on the following promise:


Hebrews 13:5 "... for God has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."




"Lord, please forgive me for allowing the subtle lie of DEISM to penetrate my spirit man. I know you will never leave me or forsake me. Even in the times where I don't understand why I'm going through a difficulty, I refuse to allow my emotions to override my faith in You. I rebuke the temptation of deism, and move forward with my every loving, faithful Heavenly Father directing my steps. In Jesus name, amen!"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beware of the “Slow Fade”



2 Samuel 12:7-9 (MSG) "You're the man!" said Nathan. "And here's what GOD, the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. (8) I gave you your master's daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn't been enough, I'd have gladly thrown in much more. (9) So why have you treated the word of GOD with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword!


2 Samuel 12:9 (ESV) Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.




As a prophet, Nathan was required to confront sin, even the sin of a king. It took great courage, skill, and tact to speak to David in a way that would make him aware of his wrong actions. When you have to confront someone with unpleasant news, pray for courage, skill, and tact. If you want that person to respond constructively, think through what you are going to say. How you present your message may be as important as what you say. Season your words with wisdom.

It was a year later, and by then David had become so insensitive to his own sins that he didn't realize he was the villain in Nathan's story. The qualities we condemn in others are often our own character flaws. Which friends, associates, or family members do you find easy to criticize and hard to accept? Instead of trying to change them, ask God to help you understand their feelings and see your own flaws more clearly. You may discover that in condemning others, you have been condemning yourself.



I read this passage last night during our Wednesday night Prayer meeting at church. I was walking around the sanctuary enjoying the presence of God. I opened my Bible to this passage. And the Holy Spirit began to challenge me. Nathan, the prophet, came to the anointed man of God, the king...and said, "You are the man" who has sinned against God. Then the Lord reminds David of all of the things that He had blessed him with. And says, "if this hadn't been enough, I would have gladly given you more."


I have been blessed immeasurably by the Hand of God. I have a beautiful, godly wife who loves me very much. I have the best kids in the world who have never given me even a moment of trouble. Our family is blessed with good health, we live in the greatest country on the face of this earth. I pastor an awesome church with some of the greatest folk in the world. I could go on and on...but suffice it to say I am blessed. The Word of God says:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.


What great gifts He has blessed my life with! God had also blessed King David with such great blessings, but yet he failed God miserably and had given an "occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme" the Lord. What happened to this dynamic, anointed man of God? The problem is found v. 9. David somehow had begun to despise the Word of God. Nathan asked him "why have you DESPISED the Word of the Lord?" "Why have you treated the Word of God with brazen contempt?"


The Hebrews word "despised" used here is ba?zah: A verb meaning to hold in contempt or to despise. The verb means to hold in disdain, to disrespect. It can mean to prefer something more than the thing despised, e.g., Esau's birthright (Gen_25:34), or not to treat something with proper respect.


David despised the Word of God by not respecting it like he should. He preferred the PLEASURE of his sin over PLEASING God. He decided to do what he wanted and not what God wanted. You can read many of the Psalms and see how much David loved God and His Word. But during this occasion he DESPISED God's Word and it cost him just about everything. This despising of God's Word didn't happen overnight. It was a "slow fade..." Please read slowly the words to the song by Casting Crowns, "It's a slow fade."


Be careful little eyes what you see, It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings, Be careful little feet where you go For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away. It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray. Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day. It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear. When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near. Be careful little lips what you say. For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away. It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray. Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid. When you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands. Is shorter than you're thinking. Be careful if you think you stand. You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away. It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray. Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid. When you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day. Daddies never crumble in a day. Families never crumble in a day


When you begin to DESPISE the Word of God, and you choose PLEASURE of sin over PLEASING God remember that didn't happen overnight. Somewhere, some how, you began to DESPISE the Word of God, and you didn't stop it when you could. Why don't you right now spend some time in God's presence and determine the stop the slow fade, and ask Him to forgive you for the slow fade that has been going on in your life for some time. You call out to Him...He will hear and respond! Go ahead...why don't you do it right now!




"Lord, like David, I have allowed a slow fade to take place in my life. There was a time in my life where I would be broken when I chose the PLEASURE of sin over PLEASING you. I'm not broken very often anymore. Please forgive me. I know that godly sorrow brings about true repentance. I choose today to stop DESPISING Your Word. I give Your Word top precedence in my life today. I choose to allow it to guide my paths and choices today. I love you Lord, and return to the Joy of Your salvation in my life. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

“Generational slide”


Ezekiel 2:6-8 But don't be afraid of them, son of man, and don't be afraid of anything they say. Don't be afraid when living among them is like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in your bed. Don't be afraid of their mean words or their hard looks. They're a bunch of rebels. (7) Your job is to speak to them. Whether they listen is not your concern. They're hardened rebels. (8) "Only take care, son of man, that you don't rebel like these rebels. Open your mouth and eat what I give you."


The business world defines success in terms of giving customers what they want. Ezekiel, however, was called to give God's message to the people, whether they would listen or not. The measure of Ezekiel's success would not be how well the people responded, but how well he obeyed God and thus fulfilled God's purpose for him. Isaiah and Jeremiah also prophesied with little positive response (Isaiah 6:9-12; Jeremiah 1:17-19). God's truth does not depend on how people respond. God will not judge us for how well others respond to our witness to our faith but for how faithful we have been. God always gives us the strength to accomplish what he asks us to do.

God gave Ezekiel the difficult responsibility of presenting his message to ungrateful and abusive people. Sometimes we must be an example to or share our faith with unkind people. The Lord told Ezekiel not to be afraid, but to speak his words, whether or not the people would listen. He also wants us to tell the Good News, whether it's convenient or not (2Timothy 4:2). Three times God told Ezekiel not to be afraid or dismayed. When God's Spirit is within us, we can lay aside our fears of rejection or ridicule. God's strength is powerful enough to help us live for him even under the heaviest criticism.


It is a very real temptation with Christians to allow the world to influence us, instead of us influencing them. There is a spirit of Rebellion permeating the Christian church. Being a "rebel" against the enemy, and the ways of the world is one thing. To stand up and say, "I will not be forced to accept something that goes against what God says or wants for my life" is one thing, but to allow "rebellion" to creep in is another. If we aren't careful we will find ourselves "sliding" away from where we were in our relationship with God. When we slide, often others slide with us.

Approaching the end of his life, Joshua calls the nation's leaders together and says: "You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done." (Joshua 23:3) Then he throws down the gauntlet; "Choose THIS DAY whom you will serve. As for me and my HOUSE we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15 NIV) What did they do? "Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua" (Joshua 24:31 NIV). So far, so good!

But take a closer look. They served Him partly, and only when it was to their advantage. The one military action remaining to be taken after Joshua's death was to clean out the last pockets of pagan worship. But Israel "did not drive out the inhabitants." (Judges 1:27)

While Joshua had been fully committed to God, the elders were only partly committed. And the result? Their sons and daughters began to intermarry with their neighbors and adopt their lifestyle. Hear God's Word "Another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord, nor the works of God and they provoked the Lord to anger…They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way" (Judges 2:10-12;19).

What had shaped their spiritual values? What shaped the Spiritual values of these children? The compromise of their parents! It's called the generational slide. It helps us to understand how our parents shaped us, and predicts how our commitments, or the lack of them, will shape our children. Parent, you get the first crack at it. Give your children deep Spiritual roots as early as possible. That way if they rebel, they'll have the memories and values to return to. Don't just tell them about God, model a Godly lifestyle before them every day! When I allow camping, hunting, fishing, Razorbacks, or anything else to become more importantly to me that my relationship with God, and being faithful to Him, I am setting a very dangerous precedent, and shouldn't be shocked when my kids drift even further from God in the coming years. I want to stand against this generational slide.

That is what Ezekiel was warning about in our text when he said, (8) "Only take care, son of man, that you don't rebel like these rebels. Open your mouth and eat what I give you."


"Lord, it is so easy to allow the ungodly ways of the world's system to permeate our thoughts and actions. We can find ourselves rebelling against God, instead of rebelling against evil that desperately wants to filter into Your way of life for Your people. I confess that I have rebelled against Your Word often, and I ask you to forgive me. I want to REBEL against the enemy who desperately wants to destroy my character, reputation, but more importantly…my testimony. I choose today to allow Your Holy Spirit to point out things in my life that I need to fight against, and die to. I don't want my children and grandchildren to slide away from God in years to come, but to be drawn closer because of my example and model. Forgive me for allowing anything to become more important to me than you. My children are watching…and learning. In Jesus name, amen!"