Friday, February 26, 2010

Six types of prayer


Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


How can anyone pray at all times? One way is to make quick, brief prayers your habitual response to every situation you meet throughout the day. Another way is to order your life around God's desires and teachings so that your very life becomes a prayer. You don't have to isolate yourself from other people and from daily work in order to pray constantly. You can make prayer your life and your life a prayer while living in a world that needs God's powerful influence. We also should pray for all believers in Christ; so pray for the Christians you know and for the church around the world.


Author Bob Gass lists six types of prayer. Let's examine them together:

(1) The prayer of agreement.
"If two of you… agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father" (Matthew 18:19 NIV). When you're up against something too big to handle alone, find a prayer partner and come into agreement with them. This isn't for people who generally live in strife then decide to agree because they're desperate. God honors the prayers of those who pay the price to live together in harmony.

(2) The prayer of petition. Be confident in asking God to meet your needs. Jesus said, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24 NIV). If we'd stop trying to impress God we'd be a lot better off. Length, loudness or eloquence isn't the issue; it's the sincerity of our heart, our confidence before God, and the knowledge that it's according to His will - that gets results!

(3) The prayer of thanksgiving. When our petitions outweigh our praises it says something about our character. Self-centered people ask but rarely appreciate. God won't release us into the fullness of all He's planned for us until we become thankful for what we've already received. Petition avails much, praise avails much more! "In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"
(Philippians 4:6
NIV). Powerful living comes through thanksgiving. We can "pray without ceasing" by being thankful all day long, praising God for His favour, mercy, loving kindness, grace, longsuffering and goodness.

(4) The prayer of intercession.
"I looked for a man… who would… stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land" (Ezekiel 22:30NIV). To intercede means: "to stand in the gap" for someone else. If there's a breach in that person's relationship with God due to a particular sin, you have the privilege of placing yourself in that breach and praying for them. "The gap" is the distance between what is - and what can be.

(5) The prayer of commitment.
"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him" (1 Peter 5:7 AMP). As long as you keep trying to control events your stress levels will just keep mounting. But when you learn to hand things over to God, you'll wonder why you spent even a single day worrying.

(6) The prayer of consecration. On the Damascus Road, Paul prayed: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). That's like signing your name to a blank check. It's saying, "Here I am, do with me as you please. I hope I like what You choose, but even if I don't I'll do it anyway; Your will be done, not mine." Now you're deciding to voluntarily follow God, rather than struggling to get Him to follow you. As a result, God will do the work that needs to be done in us, so that He can do the work that He desires to do through us.


"Lord, help me to pray without ceasing today. Help me to pray as Your Spirit leads me. Broaden my horizon in my prayer life. I will work today to implement each of these types of prayers into my daily prayer life. In Jesus name, amen!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beware of the foxes


Song of Solomon 2:15
(NIV) Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Song of Solomon 2:15 (TM) Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes on the prowl, Foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden.


The "little foxes" are an example of the kinds of problems that can disturb or destroy a relationship. The lovers wanted anything that could potentially cause problems between them to be removed. Often the "little foxes" cause the biggest problems in marriage. These irritations must not be minimized or ignored but identified so that, together, the couple can deal with them.


On Colorado's Long Peak, lies the remains of a giant 400-year-old tree. Age, storms and avalanches couldn't bring it down. What did? A tiny beetle you could crush under your foot. It ate right through the bark and devoured its heart.

Be careful, it's the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Little attitudes; but if you practice them often enough, they become fixed attitudes. Little indulgences; but if you give place to them long enough, they desensitise you to sin. Remember when certain things bothered you? Now you don't give them a second thought. You're being desensitised!

Alcoholic start by telling themselves, "I can handle it." Every victim of Internet pornography (and they're getting younger every day), started with a look, got hooked on a fantasy and ended up uncaging a tiger that: (a) can devour them; (b) will never willingly go back into its cage.

Before a moral problem got out of hand in the Corinthian church, Paul hit it head on:

"I also received a report… One of your men is sleeping with his step-mother. And you're so above it all that it doesn't even faze you… You pass it off as a small thing, but it's anything but that. Yeast, too, is a 'small thing,' but it works its way through a whole batch… get rid of this 'yeast'" (1 Corinthians 5:1-7 TM). Strong language!

Why does God make such a big deal out of this anyway? Because sin hurts us and anything that hurts one of His children, makes Him angry.

I read the following LOVE LETTER from a website entitled "Journals of the heart." I went so well with God was speaking into my heart today so I wanted to include it here:

My precious branch, subtle little foxes come into your life with the intent of robbing our abiding relationship. You must be on constant guard and the best way to do this is to abide in Me moment by moment. It isn't hard. Just to think on My name or speak it is enough. After all, My name is above all names. My name is above all things. Therefore, when you struggle with the necessities of life and long to be with Me, just cry out or even whisper My name and see what I will do.

Ultimately these little foxes destroy, or cut off fruit. The destruction doesn't always show right away. In time however, like a beautiful bouquet, wilting takes place. Being disconnected from the vine like a vase full of flowers will eventually produce a disheartened soul. Your soul needs your spirit to be connected to the vine in such a way to receive infusions of My life-giving nutrients. When separated from Me, little foxes have a way of plucking the life out of our relationship and produce outward manifestations of dryness which represent the inner workings of the heart.

Dehydration takes place when you don't abide in Me, and as a result, the soul feels free to express itself with unkind words and deeds. This robs the garden I called you to be and brings barrenness, guilt and shame to the core of your being (Isaiah: 58:11). This is where the enemy of your soul compounds the situation with guilt, causing you to flee, instead of hiding in Me. Let it never be. Instead you must run to Me, not from Me. Don't hide in unfruitful or barren places. There is no covering there. Confess, repent and draw near. It is the only way to re-hydrate and build up your spirit man. Attach yourself to the vine of My presence and be renewed.

An understanding and revelation of My nature and that of My Father will keep you attached. And you get this by being in the Word and by being with Us. We are your safe place.

You see, the very moment I observe an area of darkness, a hindrance, or weakness trying to separate us I am there with My pruning knife to cut it away. Have I not said, "Nothing can separate you from Me?" The whole time I am pruning, I am cleansing with great mercy and grace. Each time I prune, new tender shoots of fruit-producing growth sprout up in abundance, strengthening our relationship and your own perception of self.

Yes, each and every time I touch you, your revelation of Me grows and a deeper abiding is the result. This brings delight to your heart and gives you courage. I press you onward to your high calling in Me. It cuts off any harmful effects of the past and puts them where they belong; in the past. Remember; don't let the little foxes push you away. Defy them; defeat them by coming after Me in hot pursuit. Counteract the schemes of the enemy by running to the only safe place—Me.


"Lord, please help me to be aware of the "little foxes" that will slow, surely and effectively destroy the vine, which represents my connection with you, the Vine. When that relationship is effected, so is the fruit that comes from that connection and relationship. I want to see fruit in my life, fruit that comes from me "abiding in You and Your Word abiding in me." That is my choice and purpose for this day. Holy Spirit, please show me the foxes in my life so I can catch them and destroy them. In Jesus name, amen!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

His GREAT power


Ephesians 1:19-21 (TM)
oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him--endless energy, boundless strength! (20) All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, (21) in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever.

Ephesians 1:19-21 (NIV) and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, (20) which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (21) far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.


is a part of Paul's prayer for the Ephesian saints. It is not difficult to see that Paul's prayer begins at verse 15. It is not quite so easy to see precisely where it ends. His prayer is that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the minds of his readers, so that they will grasp in a greater way the unseen blessings which God has provided in Christ, and are revealed in the Scriptures.

Paul's prayer is that the Ephesian saints will be divinely enabled to grasp the infinite power of God in Christ. This text focuses on God's power in two major categories: (a) God's power over all other powers and authorities; and (b) God's power exercised on behalf of the church. Verses 21 and 22a deal with the former, while the rest of the verses pertain to the latter.

Our text paves the way for Paul's teaching in Ephesians chapter two. If, in chapter 1 Paul speaks of the Lord's resurrection and ascension, in chapter 2 he speaks of the believer's resurrection and ascension, in Christ (compare 1:20 with 2:6). Further, while in chapter 1 Paul speaks of Christ's ascension as resulting in His being given authority over all other powers (1:21-22a), in chapter 2 he speaks of these authorities as those which once held us captive (see 2:1-3).

Paul's words at the end of chapter 1 imply that the Christian's assurance of the certainty of purposes and promises of God which constitute the Christian's hope rests upon our recognition of His power to achieve them.


The world fears the power of the atom, yet we belong to the God of the universe, who not only created that atomic power but also raised Jesus Christ from the dead. God's incomparably great power is available to help you. There is nothing too difficult for him.

The Bible is a "David and Goliath Book." It teaches you that with God on your side, all you need is a sling and a rock, and you're bigger than any problem. The question is, do you really believe that?

When Moses first encountered God, a bush burned (Exodus 3:2). Years later when he came back to the same spot, an entire mountain burned (Deuteronomy 4:11). No matter how wonderful your past experiences with God have been, He'll always take you on to something greater. He'll always exceed your expectations.

But, if you're believing God for things that you can do yourself, you're limiting Him. Why? Because His Word says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).

If your vision for the future is truly from God, it'll always stretch you beyond your present resources. Actually, the difference between your vision and your resources, is your opportunity to experience "the exceeding greatness of his power."

Refuse to settle for what you can do, or you'll never get to see what God can do! Furthermore, if you think He won't ask you to do what you can't do, think again. Jesus told one man to walk on water, and another to come out of his grave - and they did!

It's when you experience things that are beyond your human ability, that you know God's at work demonstrating "the exceeding greatness of his power" in your life.

I am reminded today that since Jesus controls the universe and holds it all together, He can hold my life together and bring me through any situation that I may face. His exceeding great power is in me and available through me. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. He can resurrect hopes, dreams, visions, families, finances, churches, nations, health, hope, and whatever it may be that you are facing today. His power is available to you.


"Lord, I thank you for the exceeding greatness of your power. I have a hard time remembering at times that the same God that delivered the Israelites from the bondage of the Egyptians, miraculously brought them across the Red Sea, provided food for them for forty years, and kept their shoes from wearing out...lives in me. The same God that helped David defeat Goliath, that provided for Elijah, that healed Naaman, that raised Lazarus from the dead, that walked on water, lives in me. The same God that delivered Daniel from the lions den, and delivered the Three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, lives in me. The same God that took the impossible situation that Esther found herself in, and turned it around for His purposes, which was the deliverance of His people, lives in me. The same God that causes demons to tremble, lives in me. The same God that created this world, set it all in place and KEEPS it in place, lives in me. Help me to remember that today and every day. I commit my life and ways to you Lord. In Jesus name, amen!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

“Open my eyes, Lord”


Ephesians 1:17-18
(TM) But I do more than thank. I ask--ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory--to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, (18) your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians,

Ephesians 1:17-18
(NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (18) I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,


Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian believers and all other believers to give them in-depth teaching about how to nurture and maintain the unity of the church. He wanted to put this important information in written form because he was in prison for preaching the Good News and could not visit the churches himself. The words "in Ephesus" are not present in some early manuscripts. Therefore, this was very likely a circular letter. It was first sent to Ephesus and then circulated to neighboring local churches. Paul mentions no particular problems or local situations, and he offers no personal greetings.

Paul had been a Christian for nearly 30 years. He had taken three missionary trips and established churches all around the Mediterranean Sea. When he wrote Ephesians, Paul was under house arrest in Rome (see Acts 28:16). Though a prisoner, he was free to have visitors and write letters.

In our verse today, Paul prayed for the believers to know God better. How do you get to know someone? By reading biographical information or historical data about him? That will help you know a lot about that person, but it won't enable you to actually know him. If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with that person; there is no shortcut. The same holds true with God. Reading the Bible, great works of theology, and devotional material is wonderful, but there is no substitute for knowing God personally. What about you? Do you really know God, or do you just know about him? The difference is in spending time with him. Study Jesus' life in the Gospels to see what he was like on earth two thousand years ago, and get to know him in prayer now. Personal knowledge of Christ will change your life.


The most frequent miracle Jesus performed was opening blinded eyes.

In one case He touched a blind man who exclaimed, "I see men as trees, walking" (Mark 8:24). In other words, "I'm better than I was. I can see something, but I can't quite discern what it is." So Jesus touched him again, clearing his perceptions, removing his limitations, setting him free to become the man God called him to be.

There's a lesson here for each of us. Without a vision you'll stumble through life, blind to:

(a) who God is, and what He can do;

(b) who you are, and what you can accomplish in His strength.

Edison saw incandescent light before the first bulb ever glowed. Bill Gates saw a PC in every office and home even while experts were announcing, "Not in our lifetime." Forty years before the first Israelite ever set foot in it, Moses saw the Promised Land (Hebrews 11:27).

God can be doing all sorts of things around you, yet you don't see them because you're spiritually blind. Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? It was only after Jesus had walked with them for seven miles, explaining the Scriptures to them, that we read: "Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (Luke 24:31).

How does God reveal Himself to us? In cathedrals and conferences? Sometimes. But mostly He opens His word and our understanding, and we begin to see Him at work in a way we never have before.

So take a moment today and pray Psalm 119:18, "Lord, open my eyes that I may see."


"Lord, please open the eyes of my understanding. May I see You like I have never seen you before. May my eyes be focused and clear so I can see what you have for me today. I desire to see You at work in and through my life today, I acquiesce to Your Spirit, in Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lost in the presence of God


Acts 22:14-17 "Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors has handpicked you to be briefed on his plan of action. You've actually seen the Righteous Innocent and heard him speak. (15) You are to be a key witness to everyone you meet of what you've seen and heard. (16) So what are you waiting for?
Get up and get yourself baptized, scrubbed clean of those sins and personally acquainted with God.' (17) "Well, it happened just as Ananias said. After I was back in Jerusalem and praying one day in the Temple,
lost in the presence of God,


In this text, Paul is recounting how he was raised a strict Pharisee and discusses his "pedigree." He then shares with his audience how he hated Christianity and was used to torture Christians. One day he was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians when he had an encounter with Jesus. He was blinded and was changed by the power of Jesus. In fact, he was blinded and was instructed to find a man named Ananias to pray for him and disciple him. Paul told his story in a way that glorified Christ and dignified the Christian movement. Here is a dramatic "before-and-after" account of the transformation of a human being. It is witnessing at its very best. Paul described the man he was and the man Christ had enabled him to be. At each stage of his evolving witness he clarified that it was Christ who had changed him. The careful recounting of his conversations with the Lord established the truth. Jesus Christ was alive, and He was the guiding Lord of Paul's life. A man said to his pastor, "You've gone from preaching to meddling!" Preaching is meddling, sooner or later. We all have areas in our lives we want to reserve away from the searching eye and remedial penetration of the Savior. There are times that relationships, expenditures, and unhealed memories, as well as values, customs, and ways of reacting, are excluded from the Master's reformation.


How does this apply to me today? In this midst of his discourse Paul says, (16) "So what are you waiting for?
Get up and get yourself baptized, scrubbed clean of those sins and personally acquainted with God.' (17) "Well, it happened just as Ananias said. After I was back in Jerusalem and praying one day in the Temple,
lost in the presence of God".

Well, first of all God asks Paul, "what are you waiting for? Get up and get..." (baptized). This is realization. I must realize that I am have as much of God in my life right now as I want. For me, the Lord is asking today, "what are you waiting for" to grow in this day? Get up and get after it. This is about discipline. Too often I (we) complain about what we haven't been able to do or accomplish. Whose fault is it? Who or what am I going to blame? My lack of discipline in my daily choices is usually the culprit. Daily choices in: the food I eat, the lack of exercise, not REALLY spending time with the Lord, not REALLY allowing God's Word to breathe life into me, the lack of FRUIT of the Spirit in my life, etc.

Paul was then told by God to get up get himself baptized and "scrubbed clean of those sins" This is repentance. I need to live in a perpetual state of repentance. Not allowing sin to dominate my life or my MIND. "Forgive me Lord for my selfishness, foolishness, and carnality. I truly want to please you."

Thirdly, Paul was told to "personally get acquainted with God." This is relationship. It is easy to go through the motions in our walk with God. When we do this, we can begin to drift in our fervency, zeal and commitment to Jesus Christ, we lose the joy and excitement of our salvation, and we leave our first love. Forgive me Lord for emphasizing religion and not a personal relationship with Jesus.

Finally, Paul said that he was "lost in the presence of God." This is renewal (revival). When is the last time that I truly became lost in the presence of God in: my corporate worship at church? Whose fault is it? It isn't the worship leader or the song selection, it is about my heart. How about in my personal worship? Do I get away from everything that could hinder me? Do I turn off the TV and seclude myself from anything that will divide my heart and attention from God? I want to much, much more...I need to be... lost in your presence daily! At the very least, a lot more than I find the occasion to currently.


"Dear Jesus, I need you today, as I do everyday. However, I sense the need even greater right now. As I read in my text today, Paul was changed by an encounter with you. He found himself lost in your presence. The reason he was able to be lost in your presence is because he realized that he was wrong and a sinner. I know and realize this evening that I am a sinner. I need your grace, mercy and forgiveness. Outside of you, there is nothing good in me. But thank you for depositing good within me through your grace. After Paul realized his need of you, he repented of his sins, he developed and maintained a relationship with you, and then he was renewed. The key for Paul was recognizing that you are not looking for religion by personal relationship. Forgive me for not taking the time to get lost in your presence on a daily basis. I have no one to blame but me. I need greater discipline in my life. With your Holy Spirit energizing, nudging, and directing me, I will get back to that daily encounter with you where I become lost in you presence. That is what you desire, and that is what I want to desire. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and patience with me. I love you Lord, and look forward to more intimate times together with you as I re-examine my daily choices and disciplines. In Jesus name, amen!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don’t compare yourself to anyone


Galatians 6:4 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others.


When you do your very best, you feel good about the results. There is no need to compare yourself with others. People make comparisons for many reasons. Some point out others' flaws in order to feel better about themselves. Others simply want reassurance that they are doing well. When you are tempted to compare, look at Jesus Christ. His example will inspire you to do your very best, and his loving acceptance will comfort you when you fall short of your expectations.


You'll often discover your calling in your difference from others - not your similarity. Romans 12:6-7 in the Message says, "… let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without… comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't"

Here's the score: Those who deserve a place in your life will never be threatened by your strengths or your uniqueness. They'll have the maturity to understand that it takes many different players and many different sounds to make up an orchestra. On the other hand, those who don't belong in your life will always try to pour you into their mould; because that's the only way they can measure you or control you.

Not everybody will understand you - they're not supposed to. Don't waste the only life you'll ever have by trying to win the acceptance of people who don't appreciate your integrity, or discern your worth. Love them, pray for them, and move on. Jesus said, "A servant is not greater than his master. If people did wrong to Me they will do wrong to you too" (John 15:20 NCV).

Any time you have to give up being what God made you to be, in order to be accepted, the price is too high. Walk away. Why? Because, in the final analysis, you'll be judged by one standard only: what God called you to be, not what others want you to be!


"Lord, I thank you for who you created me to be. There are always temptations to covet someone else's personality, fame, or position in life. But godly contentment is accepting and excelling at who You made me to be. I thank you for the potential that you have placed within me. I choose to strive to fulfill that potential and become all you desire for me to be. I will not compare myself to anyone else, in Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Live Creatively


Galatians 6:1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. (2) Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. (3) If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.


No Christian should ever think that he or she is totally independent and doesn't need help from others, and no one should feel excused from the task of helping others. The body of Christ-the church-functions only when the members work together for the common good. Do you know someone who needs help? Is there a Christian brother or sister who needs correction or encouragement? Humbly and gently reach out to that person offering to lift his or her load

John 13:34-35 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. (35) This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other."

To love others was not a new commandment (see Leviticus 19:18) but to love others as much as Christ loved others was revolutionary. Now we are to love others based on Jesus' sacrificial love for us. Such love will not only bring unbelievers to Christ; it will also keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Jesus was a living example of God's love, as we are to be living examples of Jesus' love.


Our verse today challenges us to live creatively by doing the following things: when someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, and don't speak a critical word against him; Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed; share their burdens. Then God says, "If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived." We live creatively by reaching out to those who have failed, restore them, and forgive them.

Jimmy drank too much at the party and embarrassed his wife Lisa. Next morning he felt bad and asked her to forgive him. She said she would, yet she kept bringing it up. One day, in discouragement, he said, "I thought you were going to forgive and forget." She said, "I have, I just don't want you to forget that I have forgiven and forgotten." Do you forgive like that?

Keeping score only works in competitive sports; it's disastrous in relationships. There's so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that we'll spend much of our lives learning to forgive and forget. And forgetting is harder when the offence is great. Small offences can be forgiven quickly; big ones require a healing process. But until you make the decision to forgive, the process can't even begin. How can you "Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you"? Paul answers in Colossians 3:12-13, "Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others". To practice this kind of forgiveness you must focus on a person's worth, not their weaknesses. You must turn your heart away from what was, to what can be. And you must live creatively, looking for ways to forgive and to love.

You may say, "Why should I forgive?"
(1) Because God's Word tells you to.
(2) Because you yourself will continue to need forgiveness.
(3) Because you weren't built to carry the stress that goes with resentment.


"Lord, please help me to live creatively today. I refuse to nurse grudges, or to allow bitterness to simmer in my spirit man. I want to reach out, restore, and forgive and keep my mouth shut about those who have fallen. Use me today to show Your love to hurting people today. Holy Spirit, direct my steps, guide my heart, and lead my words. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

You are an ORIGINAL


Galatians 5:26 That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.


God is interested in every part of our life, not just the spiritual part. As we live by the Holy Spirit's power, we need to submit every aspect of our life to God: emotional, physical, social, intellectual, vocational. Paul says that because we're saved, we should live like it! The Holy Spirit is the source of your new life, so keep in step with his leading. Don't let anything or anyone else determine your values and standards in any area of your life.

Everyone needs a certain amount of approval from others. But those who go out of their way to secure honors or to win popularity become conceited and show they are not following the Holy Spirit's leading. Those who look to God for approval won't need to envy others. Because we are God's sons and daughters, we have his Holy Spirit as the loving guarantee of his approval. Seek to please God, and the approval of others won't seem so important.


Are you so busy analyzing your vices that you don't have time to appreciate your virtues? Are you so caught up in scrutinising others, that you don't value what God's given you? God never intended you to compare yourself with anybody. Listen to our verse for today: "We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original."

By making comparisons: (a) you imply that God made a mistake by making you as you are; (b) you allow others to define your idea of attractiveness; (c) you give them control of your self-esteem. That's too much power to give anybody! Paul says, "Since we find ourselves fashioned… excellently… and marvellously… let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be" (Romans 12:6 TM). Focus on the talents and abilities God's given you, and stop coveting what you don't have. Base your self-esteem on the fact that God made you exactly, precisely, intricately, wondrously and uniquely who you are. You're without comparison, a genuine 'one off!'

What you are is God's gift to you; what you do with yourself is your gift back to Him. Until you stop comparing yourself to others you'll never be able to give birth to the unique gifts He's placed within you. So, thank God today for making you who you are, and begin believing that He's transforming you day by day into who He wants you to become.

When you understand that God loves you unconditionally, two things will happen: First, you'll learn to accept yourself as you are, and second, you'll learn to accept others as they are too. Stop and ask yourself today, "How do I really feel about myself?" Before you answer, read the following ten things from Author Bob Gass… slowly and carefully: better yet, put them somewhere where you can read them daily.

(1) Never think or speak negatively about yourself, for that puts you in disagreement with God.
(2) Meditate on your strengths; learn to encourage yourself, for most of the time nobody else will.
(3) Never compare yourself with anyone else. You are unique, one-of-a-kind, an original. Don't settle for being a copy.
(4) Focus on your potential, not your limitations. Remember the "greater One" lives in you! (1 John 4:4)
(5) Find something you like to do, and are 'gifted' to do well, and do it over and over.
(6) Have the courage to be different; be a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser.
(7) Learn to handle criticism; let it develop you instead of discouraging you.
(8) Determine your own worth - before others do it for you.
(9) Keep your flaws in perspective; you're still a work in progress. (10) Focus daily on the one and only source of your confidence - God! Work on your relationship with Him.


"Lord, I thank you today for who I am. I have envied and coveted other personalities in the past, and you have shown me today that was wrong, in fact it was sin. I ask you to forgive me today. I accept who you are making me to be, and i will be the best ME that I can be. I am an original, and you have given me talents and abilities that I need to accomplish the potential that you have put within my life. You have an eternal purpose and destiny for my life and I will strive today to follow that plan. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The work of the Holy Spirit


Galatians 3:5 (MSG) Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?


The Galatians knew that they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed, not when they obeyed the law. People still feel insecure in their faith because faith alone seems too easy. People still try to get closer to God by following rules. While certain disciplines (Bible study, prayer) and service may help us grow, they must not take the place of the Holy Spirit in us or become ends in themselves. By asking these questions, Paul hoped to get the Galatians to focus again on Christ as the foundation of their faith.

The Holy Spirit gives Christians great power to live for God. Some Christians want more than this. They want to live in a state of perpetual excitement. The tedium of everyday living leads them to conclude that something is wrong spiritually. Often the Holy Spirit's greatest work is teaching us to persist, to keep on doing what is right even when it no longer seems interesting or exciting. The Galatians quickly turned from Paul's Good News to the teachings of the newest teachers in town; what they needed was the Holy Spirit's gift of persistence. If the Christian life seems ordinary, you may need the Spirit to stir you up. Every day offers a challenge to live for Christ.


Trying to be right with God by our own effort doesn't work. Good intentions such as "I'll do better next time" or "I'll never do that again" usually end in failure. Paul points to Habakkuk's declaration (Hab 2:4) that by trusting God-believing in his provision for our sins and living each day in his power-we can break this cycle of failure.

What we need is the person and power of the Holy Spirit to lead us, teach us, convict us and nudge us, as we live in close communion with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works things in our lives that we could never do for ourselves. Things like: helping us to forgive those who have hurt us, even when they haven't asked to be forgiven; changing our nature from one that lies to one who speaks truth; moving us from bitterness to kindness; replacing lust with holiness; taking us from fear to peace; helping us to die to our sinful, fallen nature and causing the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives.

I could go on and on, because there are so many examples of how the Spirit works things out in our lives as we allow Him to. We must, however, always remember that He doesn't do these things because of our strenuous moral living, but because we put our trust in Him to help us to "walk in the Spirit!"


"Thank you Lord for the precious Holy Spirit. I choose today to allow the Spirit to lead me, change me, challenge me, remind me, convict me and teach me in every detail of my life. I will become more like Christ in my choices this day. I am so thankful for the gift of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace, Love and Communion


2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14 (AMP) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).


In today's observation, I quote "Barnes" in his commentary on this verse:

In regard to this closing verse of the Epistle, we may make the following remarks:

(1) It is a prayer; and if it is a prayer addressed to God, it is no less so to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. If so, it is right to offer worship to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit.

(2) there is a distinction in the divine nature; or there is the existence of what is usually termed three persons in the Godhead. If not. why are they mentioned in this manner? If the Lord Jesus is not divine and equal with the Father, why is he mentioned in this connection? How strange it would be for Paul, an inspired man, to pray in the same breath, "the grace of a man or an angel" and "the love of God" be with you! And if the "Holy Spirit" be merely an influence of God or an attribute of God, how strange to pray that the "love of God" and the participation or fellowship of an "influence of God," or an "attribute of God" might be with them!

(3) the Holy Spirit is a person, or has a distinct personality. He is not an attribute of God, nor a mere divine influence. How could prayer be addressed to an attribute, or an influence? But here, nothing can be plainer than that there were favors which the Holy Spirit, as an intelligent and conscious agent, was expected to bestow. And nothing can be plainer than that they were favors in some sense distinct from those which were conferred by the Lord Jesus, and by the Father. Here is a distinction of some kind as real as that between the Lord Jesus and the Father; here are favors expected from him distinct from those conferred by the Father and the Son; and there is, therefore, here all the proof that there can be, that there is in some respects a distinction between the persons here referred to and that the Holy Spirit is an intelligent, conscious agent.

(4) the Lord Jesus is not inferior to the Father, that is, he has an equality with God. If he were not equal, how could he be mentioned, as he here is, as bestowing favors like God, and especially why is he mentioned first? Would Paul, in invoking blessings, mention the name of a mere man or an angel before that of the eternal God?

(5) the passage, therefore, furnishes a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity that has not yet been answered, and, it is believed, cannot be. On the supposition that there are three persons in the adorable Trinity, united in essence and yet distinct in some respects, all is plain and clear. But on the supposition that, the Lord Jesus is a mere man, an angel, or an archangel, and that the Holy Spirit is an attribute, or an influence from God, how unintelligible, confused, strange does all become! That Paul, in the solemn close of the Epistle, should at the same time invoke blessings from a mere creature, and from God, and from an attribute, surpasses belief. But that he should invoke blessings from him who was the equal with the Father, and from the Father himself, and from the Sacred Spirit sustaining the same rank, and in like manner imparting important blessings, is in accordance with all that we should expect, and makes all harmonious and appropriate.

(6) nothing could be a more proper close of the Epistle; nothing is a more appropriate close of public worship, than such an invocation. It is a prayer to the ever-blessed God, that all the rich influences which he gives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may be imparted; that all the benefits which God confers in the interesting relations in which he makes himself known to us may descend and bless us. What more appropriate prayer can be offered at the close of public worship?


As we take a closer look at this wonderful verse, I want us to begin to see that it is a picture, a snapshot if you will, of the spiritual development God desires for every Christian. The verse can be divided into three distinct parts:

1. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The first phrase is "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." Those who are sure of their salvation know that their spiritual journey began with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without this marvelous grace we could not be born again and know God. Hence, the first part of this verse should be a picture of our first experience with the Lord. Paul refers to this first experience with the grace of God in Ephesians 2-8 when he says, "For by grace are ye saved."

2. The love of God

Once this grace touches our lives, we are hurled forward to the second part of 2 Corinthians 13:14, which is indicative of our second phase of spiritual growth as a Christian -"the love of God." There is nothing with which to compare the love of God that a new believer experiences when he or she has just been saved.

At that glorious moment when the burden of sin rolls away, you really know you are loved by God. I have often heard new believers say that when they were born again they felt as if they had been baptized in divine love It seemed so real at the moment that they were nearly able to reach out into the air and scoop it up with their hands.

This is one reason why it is such a joy to lead people to Christ. When brand-new Christians lift their heads and open their eyes, the look on their faces is worth more than all the money the world has to offer. Their faces gleam with joy because they know they are forgiven, cleansed, and that they

are new creatures. Most of all, they know they are loved.

The problem is that this wonderful sense of love is so real and so life-changing that new and immature believers often try to reproduce that same feeling over and over again throughout the years to come. Rather than move forward in their spiritual growth, they get stuck on past emotions.

While we must never lose "the wonder of it all," neither must we seek to relive past experiences which were never intended to be relived over and over again. We must not stop our growth because we want to recapture the feelings we had when we were born again. God wants to move us from "feelings" to walking by FAITH.

If you find yourself in this rut, it is probably past time for you to press ahead into another realm of spiritual development - "the communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:14).

3. The communion of the Holy Spirit

In this third phase you will come to know new power, new strength, new ability, new discernment and, yes, new and more mature spiritual emotions.

This spiritual maturity is the very thing for which your heart is yearning. In this third realm, you learn how to walk in the Spirit, move in the power of God, know the voice of God, have the mind of Christ, pray effectively, receive direction, be sensitive to Him and much more.

This third realm is where spiritual maturity begins - and it is available to everyone. That is why Paul prayed for the communion of the Holy Spirit to "be with you all."

The grace of God is where all this begins, and the realization of God's love is the foundation for everything we do. But this communion with the Holy Spirit is a launching pad for a life of supernatural power and consistency of godly character. Without this daily communion with the Holy Spirit it is impossible to live a victorious Christian life.

If your heart is saying, "Surely there must be more to the Christian life than what I'm experiencing right now," welcome to the wonderful place of spiritual misery! God ordained misery brings you to this third phase of spiritual growth.


"Lord, I am so thankful for the Grace of Jesus, the Love of the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit. I want more in my walk with You. May I desire a deeper relationship with Your precious Holy Spirit today. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

“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! Do you have it? Blessings!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aaron and Hur


Exodus 17:10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. (11) It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. (12) But Moses' hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. (13) Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.


This story is a dramatic one. It was Israel's first battle. They met the Amalekites at Rephidim. Joshua commanded the forces of Israel, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up on the mountain to pray. Moses had the rod of God in his hands.

The encounter was a dramatic seesaw of prevailing power. At times Israel would appear to be winning, and then the Amalekites; then Israel, then the Amalekites. Finally the issue of battle was decided. When Moses lifted up his hands in prayer, Israel prevailed. When he lowered his hands, the Amalekites prevailed. The soldiers on the field of battle were not determining the issue of victory by themselves, but the intercessors on the mountain were playing an integral role. See that beautiful picture of those intercessors on the mountain in your imagination? Moses, an old man, held up his hands with the rod of God in them but he grew weary. His friends Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him so that he could sit down on it; then they stood on either side and held up Moses' hands so that they would be steady. They did that all day long, "until the going down of the sun." And Joshua prevailed in that battle.


Aaron and Hur stood by Moses' side and held up his arms to ensure victory against Amalek. We need to "hold up the hands" of our spiritual leaders as well. Shouldering some responsibility, lending a word of encouragement, or offering a prayer are ways of refreshing spiritual leaders in their work.

As I read this passage I felt the Holy Spirit's nudge. The question formed in my mind, "who are your Aaron and Hur's?" It is important to note that WITHOUT these two men holding up Moses' hands, the Israelites would have likely lost the battle. As great of a leader that Moses was, he couldn't do it alone. He needed help, encouragement, strength and concern from his "team" of friends and supporters.

I took a moment as I was writing this blog to thank the Lord for my "Moses and Hur's." Why don't you do the same today? Take a moment and identify who you are thankful for. Who is it that sends you texts to encourage you? Calls you on the phone and "spur's you on" in your walk with Christ? Sends you cards of appreciation? Knows exactly when you need some encouragement?

When those folk come into your mind, go ahead and thank the Lord for them. Then, why not go a step further? Send that person a text, card, email or call them on the phone to say "thank you" for their involvement in your life. I plan to do it right now!


"Lord, I am thankful today for the "Aaron and Hur's" in my life. Down through the years I have had several of them. There have been times when I almost left the full-time ministry because I was discouraged, but you sent someone along to help me, encourage me, walk with me. I thank you for them again this morning. Now Lord, may I be an Aaron in someone's life today. In Jesus name, amen!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“Manna, Manna, Manna!”


Exodus 16:14-16 When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flaky something, fine as frost on the ground. (15) The Israelites took one look and said to one another, man-hu (What is it?). They had no idea what it was. So Moses told them, "It's the bread GOD has given you to eat. (16) And these are GOD's instructions: 'Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.'"

Exodus 16:31 The Israelites named it manna (What is it?). It looked like coriander seed, whitish. And it tasted like a cracker with honey.


If you want a picture of the Israelites, you will find it in the Scripture's continuous reference to their murmurings. They were constantly complaining; their faith was shallow; their trust was superficial; they were selfish, their stomachs prevailing over their minds and hearts. What a token of the Lord's loving patience and long-suffering grace is provided in this picture. No doubt the hearts of the Hebrews would quake when they were summoned to hear the voice of God-and His voice would ring out, "I have heard your moaning, I know your affliction, and I hear your murmuring."

And how they must have trembled in their souls, how wide-eyed must have been their amazement when the glory of God flashed above them in a Shekinah cloud by day and a burning fire by night, guiding them on in their journey. But, here the message is different, for here the heart of God is clearly revealed. It comes in the sweet gentleness of the Lord as He promises manna because they have murmured about their hunger and have complained against Moses and God. So, in order that they may know He is the Lord, He performs the miracle of manna.

Manna appeared on the ground each day as thin flakes like frost. The people gathered it, ground it like grain, and made it into honey-tasting pancakes. For the Israelites the manna was a gift-it came every day and was just what they needed. It satisfied their temporary physical need...for a while, then they got tired of it.

Numbers 11:4-6 The riff-raff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining, "Why can't we have meat? (5) We ate fish in Egypt--and got it free!--to say nothing of the cucumbers and melons, the leeks and onions and garlic. (6) But nothing tastes good out here; all we get is manna, manna, manna."

Every morning the Israelites drew back their tent doors and witnessed a miracle. Covering the ground was pale yellow, fluffy manna-food from heaven. But soon that wasn't enough. Feeling it was their right to have more, they forgot what they already had. They didn't ask God to fill their need; instead, they demanded meat, and they stopped trusting God to care for them.


Dissatisfaction comes when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don't have. The people of Israel didn't seem to notice what God was doing for them-setting them free, making them a nation, giving them a new land-because they were so wrapped up in what God wasn't doing for them. They could think of nothing but the delicious Egyptian food they had left behind. Somehow they forgot that the brutal whip of Egyptian slavery was the cost of eating that food.

Before we judge the Israelites too harshly, it's helpful to think about what occupies our attention most of the time. Are we grateful for what God has given us, or are we always thinking about what we would like to have? We should not allow our unfulfilled desires to cause us to forget God's gifts of life, food, health, work, and friends. If we allow that to happen, then it won't be long before we are griping along with the Israelites, "Manna, Manna, Manna" as we overlook God's manifold blessings!


"Lord, forgive me for the 'manna, manna, manna' attitude. You have blessed me over and over much greater than what I deserve. I choose today for my heart to be filled with gratitude, and not dwell on what I do not have. I am truly too blessed to stay stressed. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What are you SPREADING now?


Exodus 15:1-3 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to GOD, giving voice together, I'm singing my heart out to GOD--what a victory! He pitched horse and rider into the sea. (2) GOD is my strength, GOD is my song, and, yes! GOD is my salvation. This is the kind of God I have and I'm telling the world! This is the God of my father-- I'm spreading the news far and wide! (3) GOD is a fighter, pure GOD, through and through.

Exodus 15:22-24 Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur. They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water. (23) They got to Marah, but they couldn't drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That's why they called the place Marah (Bitter). (24) And the people complained to Moses, "So what are we supposed to drink?"

Exodus 16:2-3 The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. (3) The Israelites said, "Why didn't GOD let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You've brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!"


Moses and the Children of Israel are excitedly worshipping the Lord for parting the Red Sea and delivering from their enemies, the Egyptians. I can just see them as they play music and sing praises loudly unto God. God has delivered them miraculously and they sing about His faithfulness, strength, salvation, and how He is a fighter! They "sang their hearts" out according to our text. They declared that they were SPREADING THE NEWS FAR AND WIDE.

Music played an important part in Israel's worship and celebration. Singing was an expression of love and thanks, and it was a creative way to pass down oral traditions. Some say this song of Moses is the oldest recorded song in the world. It was a festive epic poem celebrating God's victory, lifting the hearts and voices of the people outward and upward. After having been delivered from great danger, they sang with joy! Psalms and hymns can be great ways to express relief, praise, and thanks when you have been through trouble.

The Songs of Moses and Miriam are marvelous pictures of joy and praise, the celebration of God's mighty deeds, and the people's hallelujah to God's delivering mercy. Three days have passed now, THREE DAYS from singing their hearts out about God's faithfulness, and they have come to Marah. They are weary, despite the exhilaration they have so recently experienced. They are thirsty, but the water they have found is bitter.

The water in the oasis of Marah is contrasted with the springs in the oasis of Elim. Marah stands for the unbelieving, grumbling attitude of the people who would not trust God. Elim stands for God's bountiful provision. How easy it is to grumble and complain too quickly, only to be embarrassed by God's help! We must be patient for God's kindness and help. Don't let your negative attitude erode your trust in God.


I am always amazed as I read this encounter of how in three days the Israelites went from shouting, singing, declaring the goodness of God and spreading the news far and wide about the goodness of God to complaining against God and wondering if He had forgotten them. You see my friends, they are STILL declaring something about God far and wide but it isn't the goodness of God they are declaring, but they are now questioning God's goodness. Exodus 16:2-3 "The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness." How quickly we forget.

As the Israelites encountered danger, shortages, and inconvenience, they complained bitterly and longed to be back in Egypt. But as always, God provided for their needs. Difficult circumstances often lead to stress, and complaining is a natural response. The Israelites didn't really want to be back in Egypt; they just wanted life to get a little easier. In the pressure of the moment, they could not focus on the cause of their stress (in this case, lack of trust in God); they could only think about the quickest way of escape. When pressure comes your way, resist the temptation to make a quick escape. Instead, focus on God's power and wisdom to help you deal with the cause of your stress. Remember that, "I am too blessed to stay stressed!"

The question I felt the Holy Spirit as me today is, "What are you spreading NOW about God?" His goodness, faithfulness, strength and salvation? Or how mistreated you feel? People are watching and listening to what we are declaring. They are making up their minds about our God by watching and listening to us. I will think very carefully today with everything I say and do because I am spreading news about God far and way or the other. Which way will it be today?


"Lord, I am so thankful for your faithfulness, goodness, strength, salvation, and for being a fighter for me. It is easy to declare loudly and excitedly Your goodness when things are going well...when the Red Sea is parting and I am miraculously walking in Your victory. But when I go a couple of days with difficulty it is too easy to turn from blessing You to questioning You. For that I repent and am truly sorry. I will declare Your praise today because people You love dearly are watching and listening to me and making up their minds about You. I am will be one of Your Ambassadors today. In Jesus name, amen!"

Monday, February 1, 2010

“Does God’s Word feel AT HOME in my life?”


Colossians 3:16 (NIV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Colossians 3:16 (MSG) Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God!


Although the early Christians had access to the Old Testament and freely used it, they did not yet have the New Testament or any other Christian books to study. Their stories and teachings about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music, and so music became an important part of Christian worship and education.

Paul offers a strategy to help us live for God day by day: (1) Imitate Christ's compassionate, forgiving attitude (Col 3:12-13); (2) let love guide your life (Col 3:14); (3) let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Col 3:15); (4) always be thankful (Col 3:15); (5) keep God's Word in you at all times (Col 3:16); (6) live as Jesus Christ's representative (Col 3:17).


As I thought about the application of this verse, my mind went back to what author Rick Renner said while writing about Colossians 3:16:

Many years ago when I was speaking in a particular church, the pastor informed me that because the church couldn't afford a hotel for me, I'd be staying that week with a family from his church. When I arrived at this family's home, the host met me at the front door, showed me my bedroom, and pointed out the bathroom and kitchen. Then the entire family ignored me for the rest of the week!

If I asked the family members a question, they pretended not to hear me. When it was time to eat, they informed me that it wasn't their responsibility to feed me and that I could just take care of myself because they weren't there to nurse me.

Words cannot describe how uncomfortable I was in that home! Everything that family did let me know that they wished I wasn't there. When that week concluded, I was so happy to move out of that miserable predicament! I pledged that I would never let myself be put in that kind of situation again.

How about you? Have you ever stayed as a guest in a home where the people made you feel very unwelcome and unwanted?

I remember that when this happened, I was studying Colossians 3:16, where it says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." The chilly reception I felt in that home caused me to look at my own heart and ask, What kind of reception have I given the Word of God in my life? I wanted to know:

  • Have I given God's Word the kind of reception it deserves, or have I ignored it and given it the "cold shoulder"?
  • Does God's Word feel at home in my life, or does it feel unwanted?
  • Have I rolled out the red carpet and given God's Word a grand reception, making it clear that I love the Word and am privileged to have it dwelling in my heart?

In Colossians 3:16, Paul tells us that the word of Christ should "dwell" in us richly. I decided to go get my Greek New Testament and study the word "dwell" so I could determine what kind of reception I had given God's Word in my own life.

I found that the word "dwell" is taken from the word enoikeo. The word enoikeo is a compound of the words en and oikos. The word en means in, and the word oikos is the Greek word for a house. When the two words are compounded together, they form the word enoikeo, which means to dwell in a house. This is the same Greek word used in both New Testament literature and secular literature to signify someone who takes up permanent residency in a home. The person is so at home and contented in this new location that he has chosen to make it his permanent dwelling place for the rest of his life.

So when Paul tells us to let the word of Christ "dwell" in us, he is beseeching us to give God's Word such a grand, welcoming reception that it literally feels at home in us and therefore comes to take up permanent residency!

Does the Word have this kind of place in your life? Does it really "dwell" in you richly? Does it feel at home and comfortable in your life? Or is the Word of God treated like a stranger that is occasionally welcomed into your life as a visitor? Be honest!

Why not make today the day that the Word of God comes to take up permanent residency in your life? Throw the door open, roll out the red carpet, and welcome the Word of God as a new, permanent resident in your heart!


"Lord, how can I ever thank You enough for the power of Your Word? I am so honored that You would place such a gift in my life. Help me to appreciate it, value it, and give it the kind of reception it deserves. I want to make Your Word a top priority in my life; I want it to feel welcomed, wanted, and deeply loved. Starting today, I open my heart wider than ever before and ask that Your Word come to richly dwell inside me! I pray this in Jesus' name!"