Wednesday, March 31, 2010



John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Until this time, a complicated system of sacrifices had atoned for sins. Sin separates people from God, and only through the sacrifice of an animal, a substitute, could people be forgiven and become clean before God. But people sin continually, so frequent sacrifices were required. Jesus, however, became the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin. The word finished is the same as "paid in full." Jesus came to finish God's work of salvation (John 4:34; John 17:4), to pay the full penalty for our sins. With his death, the complex sacrificial system ended because Jesus took all sin upon himself. Now we can freely approach God because of what Jesus did for us. Those who believe in Jesus' death and resurrection can live eternally with God and escape the penalty that comes from sin.


George MacLeod said, "Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; at a crossroads so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew (the language of the religious), Latin (the language of the barbarian) and Greek (the language of the cultured). It was the kind of place where cynics talked smut, thieves cursed and soldiers gambled. But it's where He died, and it's what He died about."

Are any words more victorious? Jesus draws a deep breath, pushes His feet down on those Roman nails and cries, "It is finished!"

What was finished? The history-long plan of redeeming you and I was finished. The work done by Jesus as a man on earth was finished. The task of selecting and training ambassadors was finished. The song had been sung. The blood had been shed. The sacrifice made. The curse of sin broken. The sting of death removed. It was over.

The words, "It is finished" were the same words they wrote across a receipt when a debt had been paid in full. Was any less acceptable? No! Would any more be required? No! 'It is finished!' The cross is a trading post. At the point of believing faith, God takes all your sin and lays it on the shoulders of Jesus, while at the same time taking all of Christ's righteousness and wrapping you up in it. What a transfer! And how do you get it? By working for it? No! You receive it by trusting in Christ alone!


"Lord, I thank you so much for paying the debt for my sins. I am afraid that I take Your sacrifice for granted at times. Today, my heart is full of thanksgiving and gratitude for Amazing Grace! Thank you for being the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world…and that includes mine! In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Little Farther


Mark 14:33-35 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. (34) And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." (35) And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.


Jesus asked the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation because he knew that he would soon be leaving them. Jesus also knew that they would need extra strength to face the temptations ahead-temptations to run away or to deny their relationship with him. They were about to see Jesus die. Would they still think he was the Messiah? The disciples' strongest temptation would undoubtedly be to think they had been deceived.


Dutch Sheets says: "Through intercessory prayer we meet the powers of darkness, enforcing the victory Christ accomplished when He met them in His work of intercession." Intercession means 'mediating between parties with a view to reconciling those who differ or contend'. It happens every day in the court system when lawyers intervene on behalf of their clients. Throughout history God has looked for men and women to pray and intercede on behalf of a lost world. More often than not, He's been disappointed. "I sought for a man… who would… stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30). That Scripture is God's 'help wanted' ad.

The disciples were willing to go with Jesus into the garden of Gethsemane. Yet in spite of knowing the urgency of the hour they still fell asleep. Even Peter, James and John, the men in the inner circle, didn't 'get it', so in the end Jesus prayed alone (Matthew 26:36-46). Interceding is a lonely business. It demands open-ended commitment. You can go for months and years before seeing the fruits of your labour. On the other hand, when you go deeper with God, you get to share things that the angels alone were privy to that night in the garden.

When Pastor Jim Cymbala took over a broken-down church in a bad neighborhood, there were fewer than 25 members. Now, 25 years later, over 6,000 people attend Brooklyn Tabernacle. He says, "It didn't happen because of programs, it happened because of intercessory prayer." How about it, is God calling you to go "a little farther?"


"Lord, thank you for being my example in intercession. You are calling me to go a "little farther" than I have been. May I respond today. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Show your “but” to the devil!


2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.


The supremely valuable message of salvation in Jesus Christ has been entrusted by God to frail and fallible human beings. Paul's focus, however, was not on the perishable container but on its priceless contents-God's power dwelling in us. Though we are "fragile, clay jars," God uses us to spread his Good News, and he gives us power to do his work. Knowing that the power is his, not ours, should keep us from pride and motivate us to keep daily contact with God, our power source. Our responsibility is to let people see God through us.

Paul reminds us that though we may think we are at the end of our rope, we are never at the end of our hope. Our perishable bodies are subject to sin and suffering, but God never abandons us. Because Christ has won the victory over death, we have eternal life. All our risks, humiliations, and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence in and through us. We must ask ourselves, "Could I handle the suffering and opposition that Paul did?" The success syndrome is a great enemy of effective ministry. From an earthly perspective, Paul was not very successful. Like Paul, we must carry out our ministry, looking to God for strength. When opposition, slander, or disappointment threaten to rob you of the victory, remember that no one can destroy what God has accomplished through you.


As a child of God, we will have some struggles and battles. It is through the trials that our faith is either validated and strengthened or destroyed. In our text, Paul admits that at times we face difficult situations. In fact he said that we would be:

Hard pressed on every side. This means stressed out, distressed, and experience great pressure.

Perplexed, which means without resources, doubt, not know which way to turn, and not know how to decide what to do.

Persecuted, which means to make run or flee, to drive away. To be filled with fear, harassed, troubled, molested by the enemy.

Struck down, which means to be thrown to the ground, knocked over, taken to a lower place, brought down. Made to feel like a failure.

My friend, that is a pretty devastating list of troubles and struggles. If that were all that was written in our text, I would probably just quit. BUT...that's not all the Word says. For each of these difficult times, God has given us a BUT!

I have come to you today with a Word from the Spirit of God. It is time to remind the devil of your BUT. It is past time to show your BUT to the devil. He is defeated, he is NOT more than a conqueror. He is NOT all knowing. He is NOT all powerful. He is a fallen angel, and his best weapon is deception and lies. He will try to deceive you into believing that when you are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down that there is no hope. But let's look at the rest of the story.

Yes, I may be hard pressed on every side today...BUT I am not CRUSHED! Remind your enemy of your BUT right now!

I am absolutely perplexed right now...BUT I am NOT in DESPAIR!

It is a fact that I am persecuted right now...BUT I am NOT ABANDONED!

I may be struck down and discouraged...BUT I am NOT DESTROYED!

I am a child of the King, and He is fighting for me! My friend, show your BUT to the devil right now as you read this! This is YOUR DAY of victory!


"Lord, I am facing some difficult situations today. The devil has been speaking to me, trying to convince me that I am defeated. Yes I am facing pressure, yes I am perplexed about a few things, yes I feel like running away, and yes I have been struck down at times. I was warned by you Jesus, that this would happen. You told me that in this world I would face tribulations and trials. Thank you Holy Spirit for reminding me that I need to show my BUT to the devil. I may be hard pressed, but thank God I am not crushed. I may be perplexed, but I am not in despair. I may be tempted to run away and hide, BUT I am not abandoned. I may be down, BUT I am not destroyed. Thank you Jesus for your Word, Your Spirit, and the "but"s" in Your Word. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Training for godliness


1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (8) For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.


Are you in shape both physically and spiritually? In our society, much emphasis is placed on physical fitness, but spiritual health is even more important. Our physical health is susceptible to disease and injury, but faith can sustain us through any tragedy. To train ourselves to be godly, we must develop our faith by daily spending time in the Word of God and by using our God-given abilities in the service of the local church. Are you developing your spiritual muscles?


There is a natural tendency to be drawn towards "myths" and other things that "tickle our ears and fancy" instead of depending upon the Word of God. Paul tells the young pastor Timothy to "train yourself to be godly."

Two years ago I began to jog with a friend of mine from the church. It took a lot of time, discipline and going through much pain, but it was well worth it. I was able to run four miles at a pretty good pace. However, I hurt my knee playing football in my mom and dad's back yard, and haven't been able to run since then. Now, I am out of breath when I walk around the block. What happened? I stopped "training" and because I did there are several consequences I have had to deal with: gained weight, out of shape, not able to play sports with my kids like I would like, not feeling good about myself, just to name a few. This happened because I lost my commitment to "training."

This same thing can happen in the spiritual realm. That is why Paul told Timothy to "train yourself to be godly." It is difficult at times to make "godly" decisions, to talk "godly", to make sure our actions are "godly" and to live a godly live. That is why we must die to our flesh. We must die to the things the devil tries to bring into our lives to enslave us to sin. Training is uncomfortable, time consuming, painful, and it takes discipline. In our walk with God, we must become determined to train for godliness!

How do you train yourself for godliness?

Time daily spent in God's presence (Prayer and worship)

Read and mediate on the Word of God. (Journal)

Accept responsibility for your mistakes (Admit and repent)

Instigate accountability partners (Transparent and Church attendance)

Necessitate the influence of the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Holiness)

It takes great effort to live godly:

2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

But is is well worth the effort!


"Lord, my desire today is to live godly. That will not JUST happen. I must make every effort to live as You would have me to. I must train myself for godliness. That is painful at times. It is uncomfortable at times. But is always worth the effort. I need you Holy Spirit to lead me today in every decision that I make. Lead me in my speech, my conduct, my actions, my friendships, my walk with You. In Jesus name, amen!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010



1 Timothy 4:12-16 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (13) Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (14) Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (15) Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (16) Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.


Timothy was a young pastor. It would have been easy for older Christians to look down on him because of his youth. He had to earn the respect of his elders by setting an example in his speech, life, love, faith, and purity. Regardless of your age, God can use you. Whether you are young or old, don't think of your age as a handicap. Live so others can see Christ in you.

Apparently Timothy needed some encouragement. Most likely, so do many people around you. Each day we have many opportunities to support and inspire family members, fellow workers, and even total strangers. People need help and affirmation all along the way. Paul modeled six important principles to help us encourage others: (1) Begin with encouragement. People who know we will encourage them will be happy to work with us. (2) Expect of others only what you expect of yourself. People will resist being held to unfair standards. (3) Develop expectations of others with consideration for their skills, maturity, and experience. People will reject or fail to meet expectations that do not fit them. Be patient with distracted or slow learners. (4) Monitor your expectations of others. Changing circumstances sometimes require revised or reduced expectations. (5) Clarify your expectations with others. People are not likely to hit a target that no one has identified. (6) End with encouragement. People love to be thanked for a job well done.


One day a guy vacationing in the Bahamas noticed a big crowd gathered at the end of the pier. As he got closer he observed someone preparing for a solo journey around the world in a tiny homemade boat. Without exception everybody was telling him all the things that could go wrong. Suddenly the guy felt an irresistible urge to offer some encouragement. So as the little boat drifted toward the horizon he began jumping up and down shouting, 'Go for it! You can make it! We're proud of you!'"

This man had what we need more of - the gift of encouragement. We need fewer critics and more cheerleaders: those who see over the heads of the nay-sayers and shout to someone launching out in faith "Go for it! You can make it! We're proud of you!"

Aren't you glad certain visionaries refused to listen to the crowd on the pier? That: (a) Luther refused to back down; (b) Michelangelo kept painting; (c) Lindbergh kept flying; (d) Papa Ten Boom said "Yes" to frightened Jews.

Next time you see somebody responding to the call of Christ, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets" (Luke 5:4), don't join the fear-spreaders and tell them about the great storms, join the faith-spreaders and tell them about the great catches. Shout, "Go for it," then commit yourself to pray for their success. When you do, you're exercising the gift of encouragement. Listen: "We all have different gifts… Whoever has the gift of encouraging others should encourage" (Romans 12:6-8).

After 30 years of marriage his wife was ready to throw in the towel. "I have had it, living with you. You never tell me you love me anymore." The husband replied, "I told you I loved you when we got married - if I change my mind I'll let you know." Too many leaders expect their followers to run on autopilot, like the hard-hearted husband. They don't understand that people thrive on appreciation. They need it. Sometimes Christian organizations are the worst: "You're working for the Lord and He'll reward you." Yes, we're all working for that final pat on the back in the sky, but God expects us to pat others on the back along the way. Paul writes: "Encourage one another and build each other up."

Some people don't need encouragement. They're so strong and so busy that attempts at praising them would be nothing more to them than a pesky insect flying around their face. They'd brush it off with a look of confusion. There are also people who view praise with suspicion because others have taken advantage of them. With them, all you need to do is cultivate kindness. But most of us need encouragement - and lots of it. Phillis Theroux writes, "One of the commodities in life that most people can't get enough of is compliments. The ego is never so intact that one can't find a hole in which to plug a little praise. Compliments by their very nature are highly bio-degradable and tend to dissolve hours or days after we receive them - which is why we can always use another."


"Lord, there are many times that I need encouragement. I am thankful that at the right moment, you always send someone my way to encourage me. Either through a phone call, a text message, an email, a card, or in person. The words are so uplifting and refreshing. Help me to encourage someone today. Please speak to my heart someone who needs a little nudge of appreciation. In Jesus name, amen!"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Deceiving spirits


1 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV) The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (2) Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (3) They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. (4) For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, (5) because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.


The "last times" began with Christ's resurrection and will continue until his return when he will set up his Kingdom and judge all humanity.

False teachers were and still are a threat to the church. Jesus and the apostles repeatedly warned against them (Mark 13:21-23; 2 Peter 3:3-7). It is not enough that a teacher appears to know what he/she is talking about, is disciplined and moral, or says that he is speaking for God. If his words contradict the Bible,
his teaching is false. Like Timothy, we must guard against any teaching that causes believers to dilute or reject any aspect of their faith. Such false teaching can be very direct or extremely subtle. Believers ought to respond quickly when they sense false teaching being promoted. The truth does not mind honest questions. Sometimes the source may prove to be ignorant of the error and appreciate the correction. But a firm warning may at least keep potential victims from the disastrous results of apostasy that Paul described.

Satan deceives people by offering a clever imitation of the real thing. The false teachers gave stringent rules (forbidding people to marry or to eat certain foods). This made them appear self-disciplined and righteous. Their strict disciplines for the body, however, could not remove sin. We must not be unduly impressed by a teacher's style or credentials; we must look to his teaching about Jesus Christ. His conclusions about Christ show the source of his message.

Many leaders and authorities today demand allegiance, some of whom would even have us turn from Christ to follow them. When they seem to know the Bible, their influence can be dangerously subtle. They are modern-day false teachers. How can you recognize false teachers? (1) They teach what is contrary to the truth found in Scripture (1 Tim 1:3; 1 Tim 1:6-8; 1 Tim 4:1-3). (2) They promote trivial and divisive controversies instead of helping people come to Jesus (1 Tim 1:4). (3) They aren't concerned about personal evidence of God's presence in their lives, spending their time on "meaningless discussions" instead (1 Tim 1:6). (4) Their motivation is to make a name for themselves (1 Tim 1:7). To protect yourself from the deception of false teachers, learn what the Bible teaches and remain steadfast in your faith in Christ alone.


The Word of God makes it very clear that there are "deceiving spirits" at work all around us. At work, school, entertainment, in our families, in the ministry, and even in the church. We must be aware of the deception of the devil. He is sly, subtle, deceptive and a liar. The truth is not in him. He is the father of lies, and we must always remember this. He has crept into the teachings of the church world down through the years. How?

Matthew 7:15-16
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (16) By their fruit you will recognize them..."

With the increase of deceiving spirits, we need Spirit-led, spirit-fed, discernment. Where we KNOW what is of the Spirit of God, and what isn't!

The first deception ever recorded was the one where Satan, disguised as a serpent, convinced Eve that God didn't really mean what He said. And he's still using the same tactic. You hear it in comments like:

(a) "If you're sincere, it doesn't matter what you believe." What if you're sincerely wrong? If your car brakes don't work your sincerity won't stop you - telephone poles and buildings will.

(b) "We must be careful not to offend anyone." What if people don't want to hear the truth or live according to it? Should we soften or edit the Scriptures based on what we think they can handle? If you love someone, wouldn't you interrupt their sleep to keep them from burning up with the house?

(c) "There is truth in the Bible, but not all the Bible is true." Paul writes that "All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). And Isaiah says, "If they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). One hundred centremetres make one metre, otherwise we're all open to each other's interpretations and subject to each other's value judgments - and somebody's going to get the short end of the stick.

Now, when we become arrogant in presenting the truth, then Christ's cause suffers and Spiritually hungry people are turned off. We, who have received grace and mercy, must show it. But let's not compromise what God's Word says. Interestingly, when polled recently, the majority of today's young people (aged 16 - 29) said, "Give it to me straight. And if you don't live it, don't give it!"

Bottom line: God's Word is wholly, fully, completely and altogether true. So be faithful to the Scriptures!


"Lord, I know that there is so much deception in our world. Everywhere you turn. Deception is on the increase, so I need to walk in the Spirit more than ever. Holy Spirit lead me, direct my steps. Just like someone points, tunes their satellite in to get a clearer picture, I tune my ears to Your Spirit this morning. I stand still...and listen as you speak and guide. Help me to do this daily. May I spend DAILY time in Your Word, reading, meditating, memorizing and praying Your Word. In Jesus name, amen!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Washed, Salted, and Swaddled


Ezekiel 16:4 And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.


Ezekiel 16:4-6 Portrays Jerusalem as an abandoned baby girl, denied the cutting of the umbilical cord as well as the washing, salting, and swaddling that were all part of loving baby care in ancient Palestine. (The salting was a carry-over from the practice of preserving meat. Since salt kills bacteria, it was a fairly effective, though primitive, kind of hygiene.) But the Lord loved this "baby," Jerusalem, and by His all-powerful Word decreed that she should live. This part of the allegory points to Jerusalem's early years, as in Abraham's day when the city was an independent city-state, as is confirmed by the fourteenth-century B.C. Amarna Letters, a major Egyptian archaeological find.


I would like to share with you what Author Bob Gass says about this verse:

It has been said, "only one in ten people who make a commitment to Christ, are still serving Him five years later." How come? Ezekiel gives us some answers:

(1) You must be washed! Your spiritual protection against dirt, disease and death is "the washing of water by the Word" (Ephesians 5:26). It's not enough to step into the shower every morning - you've also got to step into the Scriptures. Jesus said, "Now are ye clean through the Word" (John 15:3). Sin will keep you from your Bible, and your Bible will keep you from sin.

(2) You must be salted! In Hebrew culture, they rubbed salt on newborn babies to toughen their skins, so they could be handled without bruising. Too many of us need 'special handling'. We're touchy. If we're corrected, we get defensive. Only when you've been 'salted' by mature love and non-legalistic acceptance, can you be really open and honest.

(3) You must be swaddled! When we're first born into God's family, we're vulnerable. We need to be covered and protected. That's the value of Christian fellowship; it wraps us up in the arms of love and says, "You don't ever have to go back to the old life again! You can begin afresh. You can be healed of your painful past. You can have good times and good relationships instead of bad ones." Have you been washed, salted and swaddled?


"Lord, I am so thankful that I have been washed, salted and swaddled. Please forgive me for the times I have been a little touchy and easily offended. That does not bring glory and honor to you. Help me to bring all of my cares, hurts and offenses to you and not to others who will side with me. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Avoid Sexual immorality


1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (TM) God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. (4) Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, (5) not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God. (6) Don't run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God's concerns, and he will take care of them. We've warned you about this before. (7) God hasn't invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful--as beautiful on the inside as the outside.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV) It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;


Sexual standards were very low in the Roman Empire, and in many societies today, they are not any higher. The temptation to engage in sexual intercourse outside the marriage relationship has always been powerful. Giving in to that temptation can have disastrous results. Sexual sins always hurt someone: individuals, families, businesses, churches. Sexual desires and activities must be placed under Christ's control. God created sex for procreation and pleasure and as an expression of love between a husband and wife. Therefore, the sexual experience must be limited to the marriage. Besides the physical consequences of sexual sin, there are also spiritual consequences.

Christians are free to be all they can be for God, but they are not free from God. God created sex to be a beautiful and essential ingredient of marriage, but sexual sin-sex outside the marriage relationship-always hurts someone. It hurts God because it shows that we prefer following our own desires instead of the leading of the Holy Spirit. It hurts others because it violates the commitment so necessary to a relationship. It often brings disease to our bodies. And it deeply affects our personality, which responds in anguish when we harm ourselves physically and spiritually.

It is God's will for you to be holy, but how can you go about doing that? The Bible teaches that holiness is not a state of being that you must manufacture on your own with hard work and good deeds and constant fear of failure. Instead, being made holy occurs in the process of living the Christian life. If you have accepted Christ's sacrifice on your behalf, then you are considered holy and complete in God's eyes. Yet you must continue to learn and grow during your time on earth. The Holy Spirit works in you, conforming you to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).


Be grateful that God made you a sexual being. Sex wasn't a mistake He made when He ran out of ideas. When Adam first saw Eve he didn't say "I'll bet she's got a wonderful personality!" No, he said, "This is… flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23). But when we don't understand God's original intent for sex, bad stuff happens. God doesn't want to destroy our ability to experience our sexuality. No, He wants to teach us how to enjoy it.

Saying "I'm reserving sex for marriage" may raise eyebrows and may get you excluded from the guest list of some parties. So be it! When there's physical intimacy without true commitment, count on it; somebody's going to get hurt. You need to resolve in your heart to read God's Word and follow His directives on the subject. And you need to do it now, before you get into situations where you're tempted to compromise your character, because then you've waited too late.

We all struggle at times with our sexuality, particularly in today's culture. Sex is such a deep part of us. And guilt about sex has a way of making us feel separated from God like nothing else. So in order to determine your values and set some ground rules, you need to vow before God, "I'm not going to allow my impulses to dictate to me, or sin to separate me from You. I choose to keep Your standards, to rely on Your Spirit to give me strength day by day. And if I do sin, to seek Your forgiveness, get back up and move closer to You." Count on it - that's a prayer God will answer!


"Lord, I thank you for Your Word that stands the criticism and test of time and an ungodly culture. I am so thankful that Your Word will always help us, not hurt us. Help me to always strive to live a pure, godly life, keeping myself free from sexual promiscuity even though we live in such an ungodly world. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Monday, March 15, 2010



1 Thessalonians 2:7 We weren't aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children.


In trying to persuade people, we may be tempted to alter our position just enough to make our message more palatable or to use flattery or praise. Paul never changed his message to make it more acceptable, but he did tailor his methods to each audience. Although our presentation must be altered to be appropriate to the situation, the truth of the Good News must never be compromised.

When Paul was with the Thessalonians, he didn't flatter them, seek their praise, or become a burden to them. He and Silas completely focused their efforts on presenting God's message of salvation to the Thessalonians. This was important! The Thessalonian believers had their lives changed by God, not Paul; it was Christ's message they believed, not Paul's. When we witness for Christ, our focus should not be on the impression we make. As true ministers of Christ, we should point to him, not to ourselves.

That Paul and his companions "were like children" among the Thessalonians does not mean they were immature or untrained. Rather, Paul was making the point that, like children, they were honest, straightforward, and without guile in their presentation of the gospel and of their lives.


The Scripture for today describes true Christ like love. Paul shows us the best way to reach people for Jesus: Be kind, gentle, and loving. How did Paul do that?

He wasn't "aloof" but took each person as they were. God created each individual with individuality. Each person is unique, and special to God. So, we should NEVER be patronizing or condescending to anyone. But we should truly care for everyone.

Our culture tries to get everyone to "fit in" instead of embracing individuality. Thank God for different personalities, talents, abilities, passions, and loves. Those differences are what we should embrace, not be afraid of.

I spent many years attempting to be "like someone else" because I didn't feel like I was good enough. I was liberated whenever I just accepted who God made me to be. Today...I am very thankful for my personality, calling, abilities, talents and passions. I do not WISH I was someone else, I am very thankful for who I am and who God is still making me to be.

Now, I want to live that out in my life. I don't want to be "aloof" with anyone who is different from me. I don't want to "patronizing" or "condescending" to anyone that is different from me, even if they make me uncomfortable. To be honest, I need some people that make me feel uncomfortable. It is when I move out of my "comfort zone" that I truly begin to grow in my walk with Christ. So, today I am thankful for each person that challenges my Christ like love, and my comfort zone!


"Lord, thank you for each 'different' person and personality that you have brought into my life. You are using them to move me to places I have never been. Please forgive me for the times I have been aloof, condescending, or patronizing to them. I will move beyond that today. I embrace the differences and am thankful for them. In Jesus name, amen!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two-Edged Sword


Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us. With the incisiveness of a surgeon's knife, God's Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God's Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives.


The devil isn't going to send you a congratulatory telegram because you've decided to live for Jesus. No, every chance he gets he's going to attack you. "Attack me where?" In your areas of vulnerability! "But I don't believe in the devil" you say. He'll be glad to hear that - he does his best work under the cloak of anonymity.

Paul writes, "Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6:11). Notice the words, "so that you can take your stand." The armour is God's; the stand is yours! God's armour is for those who are willing to stand for what's important: like the salvation of your family, the success of your marriage, your walk with God, or anything else that's of value to you. The message is clear: suit up, stand up and hold your ground! Pay particular attention to Paul's words in Ephesians 6:17: "Take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." The sword referred to here is a large dagger used for fighting at close range.

Understand this: some days you'll have to go toe-to-toe with the devil. To defeat him you'll need to know how to use God's Word, which is described as "living… sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). Your Bible can determine with pinpoint accuracy what's going on in your life. When you come face-to-face with the devil it's the only weapon capable of rendering him powerless. So, prepare for attack by living in God's Word!


"Lord, help me to daily understand the power of Your Word. I need to read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it and speak it. In Jesus name, amen!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Strength to ENDURE


Colossians 1:11-14 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Paul was exposing a heresy in the Colossian church that was similar to Gnosticism. Gnostics valued the accumulation of knowledge, but Paul pointed out that knowledge in itself is empty. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and right living. His prayer for the Colossians has two dimensions: (1) that they might have complete knowledge of God's will and have spiritual wisdom and understanding; (2) that their lives would produce every kind of good fruit, even as they learned to know God better and better. Knowledge is not merely to be accumulated; it should give us direction for living. Paul wanted the Colossians to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. Knowledge of God is not a secret that only a few can discover; it is open to everyone. God wants us to learn more about him, and also to put belief into practice by helping others.

Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not. We can request that they (1) understand what God wants them to do, (2) gain spiritual wisdom, (3) honor and please God, (4) produce every kind of good fruit, (5) learn to know God better and better, (6) be strengthened with God's glorious power, (7) have great endurance and patience, (8) be filled with joy, and (9) give thanks always. All believers have these same basic needs. When you don't know how to pray for someone, use Paul's prayer pattern for the Colossians.


Paul lists five benefits God gives all believers through Christ: (1) He has enabled us to share in his inheritance; (2) he has rescued us from Satan's kingdom of darkness and made us his children; (3) he has brought us into his eternal Kingdom; (4) he has purchased our freedom from sin and judgment with his blood; and (5) he has forgiven all our sins. Thank God for what you have received in Christ.

At 67, Thomas Edison watched as most of his life's work went up in flames. Standing in the ashes, he turned to a friend and said, "Thank goodness all our mistakes are burned up. Now we can start again fresh!" And you can too!

Every time you risk, fail, re-evaluate, and learn from it, you have another opportunity to begin again, only better than the last time. But be warned - giving up will always look easier than standing up, and giving in will always seem more attractive than digging in.

Championship-winning NBA coach, Pat Riley, said, "There comes a moment that defines winning from losing. The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intuitive that it could only be called - one from the heart."

Listen to Paul, "We pray that you'll have the strength… that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy" (Colossians 1:11 TM). That strength comes from God, and can be found daily in His Word. Have you been reading it lately?

John Maxwell writes: "After you've been knocked down and had the will to get back up, the wisdom to plan your comeback, and the courage to take action, know this: You'll experience one of those defining moments - and it will define you as either an achiever or a quitter." Prepare for that moment, because it's coming. If you do, not only will you survive it, you'll go on to greater things. Why? Because God has greater things in store for you.


"Lord, thank you for the strength to endure any difficult situation. That strength comes from You. As I walk through this struggle, Your power becomes more evident in my life. I honor you today with my praise, thanksgiving and attitude. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

“The devil said…”


Luke 4:3-4 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." (4) And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"


Satan may tempt us to doubt Christ's true identity. He knows that once we begin to question whether or not Jesus is God, it's far easier to get us to do what he wants. Times of questioning can help us sort out our beliefs and strengthen our faith, but those times can also be dangerous. If you are dealing with doubt, be aware that you are especially vulnerable to temptation. Even as you search for answers, protect yourself by meditating on the unshakable truths of God's Word.

Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn't wrong in itself. Turning a stone into bread wasn't necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve Jesus' immediate problem at the expense of his long-range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way-persuading us to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at a given time. Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God's will or ahead of his timetable. First ask: Is the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is Satan trying to get me off the track?

Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where he was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted him to use that power without regard for his mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God's gifts to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to his service.


As I read this verse yesterday, then again this morning the phrase, "the devil said to Him" jumped off of the page at me. I am very much aware that the Holy Spirit is talking:

Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'

I know that Jesus is talking:

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

But sometimes I forget that the devil is talking as well. The obvious question is "who am I listening and responding to?" Jesus responded with the Word of God, "It is written"

In our verse for today, the devil spoke to Jesus and tried to raise questions as to who Jesus really was. "If you are the really the Son of God..."

There are some today that the enemy whispers into their ears: if God loved you, you wouldn't be going through this battle; if you were special to God, things would be better in your life; if God cared, you would have already been through this storm in your life; if there really IS a God, He is too busy to worry Himself with someone like YOU.

And the lies and whispers of the devil go on and on. IF, IF, IF...

My friend, we need today to fine tune who we are listening to. We need to memorize God's Word, hide it in our heart and speak it forth when the enemy begins his speaking. I promise you he is speaking to you know. He will speak throughout today...but so will the Holy Spirit of God. Why not memorize Revelation 2:7 and John 10:27 then declare it out "it is written..." when the devil speaks into your life.

You ARE more than a conqueror. You ARE the apple of His eye. You WERE chosen by Him. You ARE His possession. You ARE declared righteous, sanctified and justified if you have accepted the blood of Jesus to cover your sins and past. You WILL make it through this valley victoriously. You CAN know the voice of Jesus. You WILL know the voice of the Holy Spirit as you develop and fine tune your ear towards Him. You ARE dead unto sin. Your life IS hidden with Christ. You ARE a new creation in Christ. You are the Sheep of HIS pasture. He WILL walk with you through whatever deep, dark valley you are in. You ARE NEVER alone, for Jesus promised to never leave you nor forsake you. You ARE NOT forgotten by the Lord. You ARE inscribed on the palms of His hands. You ARE protected against any weapon that is formed against you. You ARE more than a conqueror. God IS FOR YOU! And since God is for you, who or what can be against you?

I could go on and, but suffice it to say, the devil is talking...but so is the Spirit of God. Remember the devil always gets you to question God and His goodness and leads you FROM worship of God. The Spirit of God always reminds you of God's goodness and leads you TOWARDS worship of Him.


"Lord, thank you for reminding me that You are speaking to me. But so is the devil. I must make up my mind to hear the voice of the Spirit and rebuke and fight off the voice of the enemy. He is a liar and the father of lies. Help me to distinguish between truth and deception today. In Jesus name, amen!"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Led by the Spirit into…the Wilderness??


Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness


Sometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will always be "beside peaceful streams" (Psalm 23:2). But that is not necessarily true. He led Jesus into the wilderness for a long and difficult time of testing, and he may also lead us into difficult situations. When facing trials, first make sure you haven't brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices. If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test. Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads.

The devil, who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden, also tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Satan is a real being, a created but rebellious fallen angel, and not a symbol or an idea. He constantly fights against God and those who follow and obey God. Jesus was a prime target for the devil's temptations. Satan had succeeded with Adam and Eve, and he hoped to succeed with Jesus as well.

Knowing and obeying God's Word is an effective weapon against temptation, the only offensive weapon provided in the Christian's "armor" (Eph_6:17). Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan's attacks, and so should we. But to use it effectively, we must have faith in God's promises because Satan also knows Scripture and is adept at twisting it to suit his purposes. Obeying the Scriptures is more important than simply having a verse to quote, so read them daily and apply them to your life. Then your "sword" will always be sharp.


Are you in a wilderness today? A dry season in your life? Have about a storm that is brewing? Then read these words from Mark 6:46-51: "the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out… But immediately He talked with them and said to them… 'It is I; do not be afraid.' Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased".

There are four lessons here for us:

1) It's when we feel most separated from God, that He's teaching us the most.

Dave Dravecky said, "Looking back… I have learned that the wilderness is part of the landscape of faith, and every bit as essential as the mountaintop. On the mountaintop we are overwhelmed by God's presence. In the wilderness we are overwhelmed by His absence. Both places should bring us to our knees; the one, in utter awe; the other, in utter dependence."

2) God doesn't show up early. Usually He comes in the worst part of the storm when you think you can't take any more - but He will always be on time.

3) God takes us through different storms, revealing more of Himself to us in each one. Otherwise there are aspects of His character, and divine strategies we'd never understand.

4) God's presence alone should be enough for us in any storm. The moment He shows up and says, 'It is I,' our every fear should be calmed.


"Lord, it's difficult to believe and understand that I am often in a wilderness experience because the "Spirit led me" there. I have been reminded today that the wilderness brings me face to face with Your Word and Your sovereignty. I reaffirm my trust in you. Even though there are things I don't understand, when I can't trace Your hand, I will trust Your heart. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Friday, March 5, 2010



Romans 12:2 (TM) Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for his children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honor and obey him. Because he wants only what is best for us, and because he gave his Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for his service.

Paul warned Christians: "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world" that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Wise Christians decide that much worldly behavior is off-limits for them. Our refusal to conform to this world's values, however, must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind: "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects our mind are we truly transformed.


The Greek word for transformed - metamorphosis - is used today to describe the amazing change a caterpillar goes through in becoming a butterfly. And it's a beautiful picture of what happens to us when we allow God to direct our thoughts. As we take on the beauty of Christ's character, we're set free to soar to new heights.

Are you wrestling with a certain problem thinking, "If I could just get beyond this, everything would be okay." Sorry to disappoint you, but when you've conquered this particular problem, God will reveal something else that needs to be dealt with. Relax, you're always going to be working on something!

Change doesn't come through human effort without God, frustration, self-rejection, guilt or the white knuckling works of the flesh. No, change comes as a result of having your mind renewed daily by the Word of God. As you agree with God, believing that what He says is true, change automatically begins. You start to think differently, then talk differently and finally act differently. Be patient with yourself: it's a process that develops in stages.

Would you think there was something wrong with your child because they couldn't walk perfectly the first few tries? No, you're delighted each time they take another step. When they fall you pick them up, comfort them, bandage them if necessary, encourage them to try again, and keep working with them. Do you think God does less for His children?

God's not angry with you because you haven't 'arrived', He's pleased that you're pressing on, trying to stay on the path. It's God's job to "cause [you] to… be governed by the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:8 AMP). If you could do it by yourself you wouldn't need God! So instead of driving yourself harder and harder, start leaning on God more and more!


"Lord, thank you that you are changing me through Your Word. I am be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Thank you for that change. It isn't always comfortable, but it is always beneficial. I yield to Your Holy Spirit today, in Jesus' name, amen"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don’t be a PORCUPINE


James 3:18 (TM) You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.

James 3:18 (NIV) Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.


Have you ever known anyone who claimed to be wise but who acted foolishly? True wisdom can be measured by a person's character. Just as you can identify a tree by the type of fruit it produces, you can evaluate your wisdom by the way you act. Foolishness leads to disorder, but wisdom leads to peace and goodness. Are you tempted to escalate the conflict, pass on the gossip, or fan the fire of discord? Careful, winsome speech and wise, loving words are the seeds of peace. God loves peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).


Unlike creatures who travel in packs, porcupines travel solo. When they encounter other animals they respond by withdrawing, or using their quills to attack. Once their deadly quills become embedded the wounds fester, causing suffering, even death. Now porcupines don't necessarily want to be alone, they just don't know how to get close without hurting others or themselves.

Sound familiar? If so it's not surprising, because as human beings we employ attack and withdrawal strategies every day. We each have our own set of quills; things like: gossip, anger, pride, competitiveness, insensitivity, greed and control, to name just a few. By aiming them at others, we damage relationships, hurt people and end up lonely. Now, while it's not always easy, porcupines want to be able to get along together if only to ensure future generations. Their only other option is extinction. The same goes for us too!

Dr Robert Oppenheimer, the noted physicist who masterminded the first atomic bomb, was asked by a Congressional committee if there was any defence against it. Addressing a hushed audience, Oppenheimer replied, "Yes. Peace!" Now think, if peace can diffuse an atomic bomb, what can it do in the lives of the people you come in contact with? The Bible says, "Peacemakers… plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness" (James 3:18). All around you are frightened, despairing, lonely people, desperately needing 'a word of peace'. Do you have one?

If you want to experience your own miracle today, try planting a seed of encouragement in the heart of somebody who's ready to throw in the towel. Speak a word of peace to that person whose life is in turmoil because of family problems, health issues or financial hardship. Anytime you 'plant seeds of peace', you schedule a harvest of hope, love and joy in the life of that person - and your own life too!

Paul writes: "Live in harmony with each other. Don't try to act important … enjoy the company of ordinary people" (Romans 12:16). It matters to God how you get along with your family, your neighbours and your co-workers. The Bible says: "Give more honour to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others" (Philippians 2:3-4). And James writes: "Do the hard work of getting along." Come on, you've got to work at it! Pull in your quills today and ask God to help you build loving relationships with the other porcupines that share your space!


"Lord, I realize that I can act like a porcupine at times. Please help me today to be aware when my "quills" are out and keeping me from getting close to anyone. I want to be clothed in kindness and humility. I want to be a peace maker. To do this, I need your help. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Umbilical Cord of Unforgiveness


Colossians 3:12-13 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. (13) Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.


What does it mean to put on your new nature? It means that your conduct should match your faith. If you are a Christian, you should act like it. To be a Christian means more than just making good resolutions and having good intentions; it means taking the right actions. This is a straightforward step that is as simple as putting on your clothes. You must rid yourself of all evil practices and immorality. Then you can commit yourself to what Christ teaches. If you have made such a commitment to Christ, are you remaining true to it? What old clothes do you need to strip off?

Every Christian is in a continuing education program. The more we know of Christ and his work, the more we are being changed to be like him. Because this process is lifelong, we must never stop learning and obeying. There is no justification for drifting along, but there is an incentive to find the rich treasures of growing in him. It takes practice, ongoing review, patience, and concentration to keep in line with his will.


Are you refusing to forgive your child for something that isn't half as bad as some of the stuff you've done? Forgive them, or you'll never be free to enjoy the relationship God wants you to have with them. Are you struggling with a parent who abandoned or abused you? Forgive them and release them; otherwise you'll spend all your emotional energy keeping them in the prison of your resentment. Think what that will do to you! Whatever you don't forgive, you're destined to repeat! When you harbour bitterness, it causes you to keep striking out at others, and in the process, robs you of the joy of loving and being loved. What a loss!

You're tied to the past through the umbilical cord of unforgiveness. When you forgive, you cut that cord. When you refuse to, you remain tied to a memory that can hurt you for the rest of your life. That's how issues pass from generation to generation. Rise up today and say, "It ends now, and it ends with me!"

Learn how to receive forgiveness from God and also from those you have hurt. Then, offer that same forgiveness to those who have hurt you. When you can do that, your heart will be tender, your spirit light, your mind free, your vision clear and your speech filled with kindness. What a way to live!

A group of doctors was asked which emotions cause the most physical illness. Their answer was "anger and unforgiveness," because over time they release deadly toxins into your body. That's why Paul says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26). So, when you've been treated unfairly what should you do? Take these 4 steps:

Confront. There's a right time, place and way to do this. Before you do, pray and ask God to guide your thoughts and your words. Then say what's in your heart in a low-key, non-judgmental way. After that, leave the rest to God; He'll do a better job of changing things than you will.

Release it. Not only does God require us to forgive each other, He gives us the grace to do it. You may let someone off your hook but that doesn't mean they're off God's! He'll deal with them the right way and bring about the right result - something you can't do.

Remember how often God forgives you. Paul says, "Forgive… as the Lord forgave you." When you're tempted to lick your wounds or lash out, recall the price Jesus paid to take away your sins. Looking through those eyeglasses will help you to forgive anybody.

Pray for the offender. Forgiveness means refusing to let the wrongdoer keep on hurting you. God said, "Pray for those who hurt you" (Matthew 5:44). Without showing mercy, life becomes an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. But as you walk in love, you experience freedom.


"Lord, thank you for reminding me of the importance of forgiveness. When I choose to forgive, I am making a decision to stop poisoning my spirit man. There are those who have wronged me, but I am so tired of being tied to my past through the "umbilical cord of unforgiveness." My prayer today is that I will 'dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. (13) Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.' I will live this way today. In Jesus' name, amen!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010



Ephesians 4:26-31 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold. (28) He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (29) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.


The Bible doesn't tell us that we shouldn't feel angry, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger properly. If vented thoughtlessly, anger can hurt others and destroy relationships. If bottled up inside, it can cause us to become bitter and destroy us from within. Paul tells us to deal with our anger immediately in a way that builds relationships rather than destroys them. If we nurse our anger, we will give the devil an opportunity to divide us. Are you angry with someone right now? What can you do to resolve your differences? Don't let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship.

We can bring sorrow to the Holy Spirit by the way we live. Paul warns us against unwholesome language, bitterness, improper use of anger, harsh words, slander, and bad attitudes toward others. Instead of acting that way, we should be forgiving, just as God has forgiven us. Are you bringing sorrow or pleasing God with your attitudes and actions? Act in love toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, just as God acted in love by sending his Son to die for your sins.


This passage has always been very challenging to me. It deals with the three "Do Not's" of anger: Do not SIN in your anger; Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry with a person; do not give the devil a foothold. Then it goes on to talk about the change that MUST come when you give your life to Jesus. When you become a new creature in Christ. You don't just "dress up" your old life, or put "lipstick on a caterpillar" (See yesterday's blog). You die to your old life and way of doing things. I act different, I talk different, the purpose of my words are different. I have a deep awareness that I can grieve the precious Holy Spirit of God.

Verse 31 spoke deeply in to my heart this morning. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." There are some things in my life that I need to GET RID OF.

I need to get rid of anger. It will only make me a bitter, revengeful, fruitless person. Listen, "Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). The first territory the enemy wants to take is your home, because that's the seat of your power. Don't let him! "But I've reason to be angry," you say. So did Joseph. Yet he fed those who imprisoned him and blessed those who betrayed him. In so doing, he was set free from his anger. Later when he had two sons, he called the first Manasseh, meaning, "God has made me forget all my troubles." (Genesis 41:51). Would Joseph have become great if he'd gone back to seek revenge? No! He fulfilled his destiny and enjoyed God's favour, because he controlled his emotions. He called his second son Ephraim, meaning "God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering" (Genesis 41:52). Your anger will subside when you start to see, that in spite of all you've been through, God has continued to bless you.

I need to get rid of unforgiveness and bitterness. If I do not forgive, I will become bitter. You see without forgiveness, bitterness is all that's left! There comes a point at which anger is no longer just an emotion - it's a driving force. Like cocaine, you need larger and more frequent doses. Once that happens, you move even further from forgiveness, because without your anger you've no source of energy at all. It's what drives hate groups like the KKK and the Skinheads. Without bitterness they've no reason to exist! If you take bigotry from the racist, revenge from the zealot and chauvinism from the sexist, what's left?

God says, "Forgive anyone who does you wrong… as Christ has forgiven you," because bitterness is fatal. It kills your soul. So how do you stop yourself from becoming bitter when you've been hurt? By looking into the face of the one who hurt you, and instead seeing the face of the One who showed you mercy when nobody else would've given you another chance!

I need to get rid of becoming easily offended. You can change the course of a day Satan has negative plans for, by spending time with the Lord, especially when you sense any attitude or behaviour in yourself that's not Christ-like. Jesus said, 'without Me you can do nothing.' (John 15:5). On the other hand, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13). Negative feelings are like unwelcome house guests: the worst thing you can do is to invite them in. You may not be able to override them in your own strength, but if you seek God's help He will enable you to walk according to His ways, not by your negative emotions and perspective. 'But what if someone offends me?' The Bible says we're not to be oversensitive or easily offended. Actually we are commanded to forgive those who hurt us, not letting things fester. Sometimes we want to forgive and do what's right, but we find doing it difficult. More often than not, the right thing is the hard thing to do, not the easy thing. That's when you need to pray and allow God to talk to you through His Word. Only then will you find the strength to do the right thing.

Why don't you take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit, "What do I need to get rid of today?" When you ask Him, take a moment to listen. He will let you know, then ask the Lord to help you get rid of that thing(s) that comes to your mind.


"Lord, search my heart today. See if there be any wicked way within me. Help me to see things that I need to get rid of. As You bring them to my mind, I will repent of it and put it under the blood. Thank you Lord, for what you are doing within me. In Jesus name, amen!"