Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:43 AM
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:57 AM
Monday, June 27, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 6:56 AM
Friday, June 24, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:28 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:22 AM
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:28 AM
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
- With one stroke of the hand, God's mighty arm released so much creative power that the entire universe was flung into being.
- With one stroke of the hand, God's mighty arm discharged such incredible force that the civilized world of Noah's day was flooded and an entire period of civilization was wiped out.
- With one stroke of God's mighty arm, Egypt's rebellion against Him was crushed beyond recognition, and the children of Israel were set free.
- With one stroke of God's mighty arm, the wicked powers of the heavenlies were forcibly shoved aside, and although it was physically and medically impossible, Jesus was conceived and miraculously born from a virgin's womb.
- With one stroke of God's mighty arm, His power surged into the throes of hell itself, where it ripped Jesus out of the pangs of death, stripped demonic principalities and powers naked, and made a public display of their embarrassing defeat.
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 7:04 AM
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:24 AM
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Mark 11:20-25 (MSG) In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick. (21) Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, "Rabbi, look--the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!" (22) Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, (23) and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake'--no shuffling or shilly-shallying--and it's as good as done. (24) That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. (25) And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive--only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."
In this passage, two unusual incidents are related: the cursing of the fig tree and the clearing of the Temple. The cursing of the fig tree was an acted-out parable related to the clearing of the Temple. The Temple was supposed to be a place of worship, but true worship had disappeared. The fig tree showed promise of fruit, but it produced none. Jesus was showing his anger at religious life without substance. If you claim to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the barren fig tree. Genuine faith has great potential; ask God to help you bear fruit for his Kingdom.
Fig trees, a popular source of inexpensive food in Israel, require three years from the time they are planted until they can bear fruit. Each tree yields a great amount of fruit twice a year, in late spring and in early autumn. This incident occurred early in the spring when the leaves were beginning to bud. The figs normally grow as the leaves fill out, but this tree, though full of leaves, had no figs. The tree looked promising but offered no fruit. Jesus' harsh words to the fig tree could be applied to the nation of Israel. Fruitful in appearance only, Israel was spiritually barren.
Embracing this "God-life" means accepting and obeying God's Word and conditions. If we want to flow in the Spirit and have a right relationship with God our Father, then we MUST forgive, in WORD and ACTION. Then our prayers become very effective.
James 5:16 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
If you want your prayer to be something to be "reckoned with" then you MUST embrace this "God-life" God's way!
The kind of prayer that moves mountains is prayer for the fruitfulness of God's Kingdom. It would seem impossible to move a mountain into the sea, so Jesus used that illustration to show that God can do the impossible. God will answer your prayers but not as a result of your positive mental attitude. Other conditions must be met: (1) You must be a believer; (2) you must not hold a grudge against another person; (3) you must not pray with selfish motives; (4) your request must be for the good of God's Kingdom. To pray effectively, you need faith in God, not faith in the object of your request. If you focus only on your request, you will be left with nothing if your request is refused.
"Lord, I choose today to EMBRACE this "God-life." That means that I will forgive anyone that I hold a grudge against. Way too often, I nurse that grudge instead of killing it. Please forgive me for allowing bitterness, hurt, offense, and the lack of forgiveness to keep me from embracing the life You have for me. Today, I let go of the past. I let go of the hurt. I choose to forgive. I will not allow bitterness to rob me of the blessed life. I will not allow the flow of the Spirit to be hindered any longer because of my desire to please the whims of the flesh. I die to my flesh this morning and walk in, and embrace, the God-life! In Jesus name, amen!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:26 AM
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
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, planting seeds of discord 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!"
Posted by Rusty L. Blann at 9:03 AM