Tuesday, July 31, 2012


2 Cor 5:17 (AMPLIFIED)  “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.  Behold, the fresh and new has come!”

So often our practice doesn’t line up with our beliefs – and this affects every area of our lives.  We speak of “the new man in Christ Jesus” but yet live like the old man used to live.  A review of the Bible’s teaching about the old man may be of help in bringing our living in line with our believing.  After all, if we're going to talk the talk we should walk the walk.

The above verse is a statement of fact.  It’s an action viewed as accomplished – old things are already passed away.  What are the old things that have passed away?  We’re not talking about the physical or material sense (arthritis, a leaky roof, etc).  Obviously the spiritual is what is spoken of here.  This includes sinful habits, lusts, patterns of life, spiritually related personality problems, internal spiritual disorders (such as pride, hate, stubbornness), etc. 

We’re talking about an action reversedall things are become new .  This is also viewed as having already taken place.  An excitement engendered“Behold” is an attention getter.

This is an argument from experience.  This is contrary to much common experience in which one is saved, freed from old habits and then doomed to the return of many of those same habits.  We tend to live the opposite way – old things are not only alive but actually dominant keeping us from fleshing out our Christianity.  This raises serious questions – are the Scriptures wrong or should they be somehow re-translated?  Why are the Scriptures and experience so often so far apart?

Let’s look at a Scriptural answer.  God has made a provision – sin was covered on Calvary.  As far as God is concerned, sin is cared for.  This sin issue is resolved.  So the answer must lie elsewhereWe are the problem.  We fail to appropriate what God has done for us.  Actually we, rather than the Scriptures, need the new translation

God has even provided the answer to this problem.

Galatians 5:16  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”

Ephesians 4:17-24 (The Message)  “And so I insist – and God backs me up on this – that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty headed, mindless crowd.  They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.  They can’t think straight anymore.  Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.  But that’s no life for you.  You learned Christ!  My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to Him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus.  Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything – and I do mean everything – connected with that old way of life has to go.  It’s rotten through and through.  Get rid of it!  And then take on an entirely new way of life – a God fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you”

Colossians 3:5-15 (The Message)  “Meanwhile be content with obscurity, like Christ.  And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death:  sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy.  That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.  It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger.  It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better.  But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good:  bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.  Don’t lie to one another.  You’re done with that old life.  It’s like a filthy set of ill fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire.  Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe.  Every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator, with His label on it.  All the old fashions are now obsolete.  Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing.  From now on everything is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.  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.  Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.  And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all purpose garment.  Never be without it.  Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing.  And cultivate thankfulness.

God has accomplished certain things for us – things which can set us free.  The question rests with what we are willing to do with what He has accomplished.  Let's not live beneath our privileges as children of God.  Rather, let's walk in newness of life that's found only in Jesus.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Ephesians 3:20-21 (Amplified) - “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams] – To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).”
Wherever He went, Jesus exceeded people's expectations.  Every where Jesus went, He had an Impact.  We see how God exceeded people's expectations throughout Scripture...from the Old Testament through the New Testament.

The Hebrew writer said, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  Because God is unchanging, we can have confidence in Him.
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”

Do you sometimes feel as though you'll never make progress in your spiritual life?  When God starts a project He finishes it!  When you are discouraged, remember that God won't give up on you!  He promises to finish the work He has begun in you.  When you feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by your shortcomings, remember God's promise and provision.  When we learn to have confidence in God we can then have great expectations of Him.

Israel delivered out of Egyptian bondage.

Not only did God deliver Israel out of Egyptian bondage through a series of plagues, but He made a way of escape for them, as well.  When they came to the Red Sea, with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit, God made a way for them!  God not only parted the Red Sea, but they then went across on dry (not muddy) ground!  After they were safely across, God allowed the walls of the Red Sea to collapse onto the army who was closing the gap.  God exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

The three Hebrew boys.
They refused to bow to the image.  Because of their refusal, they were thrown into a fiery furnace that was heated up seven times hotter than normal.  They had confidence that God would take care of them.  Not only did God spare their lives, He freed them of their bonds and protected them in such a way that not even their hair was singed nor did their clothes smell of smoke!  God was with them in the fire!!!  He exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

The man who was sick of the palsy (paralyzed). (Mark 2:1-12).

His friends brought him to Jesus.  Not being able to get close to where Jesus was, they went to the roof and broke up a portion of it and lowered the paralyzed man down to where Jesus was so he could be healed.  The man was looking for healing  Jesus not only healed him, but forgave him his sins also.  Jesus exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

The fishermen (Luke 5:1-11).

Jesus used their ship to preach to the crowd.  As they were cleaning their nets after having fished all night and catching nothing, Jesus instructed them to launch out into the deep and let down their nets.  They got so many fish they had to have the second boat come and take some of the load and even at that the boat was so heavy it was beginning to sink.  They were expecting an ordinary day of fishing  But they found the Savior.  Jesus exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

Widow whose son died (Luke 7:11-17).

Jesus had compassion on her.  The funeral procession had started.  The widow was resigned to bury her dead son.  Jesus restored her son to life.  He exceeded her expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

The religious leaders (Matthew 12:38-45).

The scribes and Pharisees wanted a miracle.  Jesus offered them the Creator of miracles.  He exceeded their expectations.\  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

Woman with an issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34).

She had constant bleeding which according to Jewish law made her unclean.  Because she was unclean, she was not permitted to have any social contact.  This woman who wanted to be healed touched Jesus.  Jesus helped her to see it was her faith that had healed her.  He exceeded her expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

Five thousand fed with five barley loaves and two fish (John 6:1-15).

Jesus prayed over the food and distributed it with the help of His disciples.  Everyone had as much as they wanted and were all filled!  They even had leftovers – enough to fill twelve baskets!!  The disciples thought the crowd should be sent home because there was no food.  Jesus used a small meal to feed thousands – and there were leftovers!  He exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

The death and resurrection of Jesus (John 11:53; 19:30; 20:1-29).

The religious leaders wanted Jesus killed, and got their wish.  But Jesus rose from the dead!  He showed Himself to many of His followers.  He exceeded their expectations.  AND WE SERVE THE SAME GOD TODAY!!!!

Jesus STILL exceeds our expectations!  Remember, Jesus is the same “yesterday, today and for ever”.  What He did then, He still does today.  He is still in the life changing business.  He is still in the soul saving business.  He knows how to save us and keep us.

Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)  I believe if we stand together in unity, we will see God do marvelous works.  Let's have confidence in God.  Let's be willing to think outside the box of organized religion.  Let's watch Him exceed our expectations!

Until next time…enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


One of the great tragedies of our time is that there are so few genuinely kind people around. There are plenty of mean-spirited, hateful people, but there are very few who just take the time to be kind as a lifestyle.  Yet, I believe that every child of God ought to be kind.
Consider what the Scriptures have to say about it:

Eph. 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Eph. 4:2 “...forbearing one another in love.”

1 Cor. 16:14 “...let all things be done in charity.”

Let’s be honest, many people are opinionated, self-centered, rude and sometimes, just plain mean in their dealings with others.  This ought not to be, especially among saved people!
I believe God wants us to practice a ministry of encouragement as we pass through this world.

When Barnabas appeared on the scene in the early days of the church, he stepped out of obscurity doing good, and when he stepped off the stage a few years later; he exited doing good as well.

Today, I would like to take a quick look at the life of Barnabas, and share with you why he earned the name “Son of Consolation” (Acts 4:36-37).

By the way, this name is very special. The word for “consolation” comes from the same word that is translated “Comforter”, and which refers to the Holy Ghost (John 14:26).  It refers to one who comes alongside of another to offer help and encouragement.  Apparently, Barnabas had earned the reputation among the Disciples of Jesus, as one who was a helper and encourager of others..

Let’s take some time to examine the life of Barnabas and see why he was called “the Son of Consolation.”  As we do, I want us to examine ourselves and see whether or not we, too, might be classified as encouragers.


Encourage The Desperate (Acts 9:26-27).  After Saul was converted, he tried to unite himself with the other disciples who were in Jerusalem, but out of fear and prejudice about his past, they were afraid to allow him into their group.  However, Barnabas came to Saul’s side and stood up for Him and told the others about this man’s amazing conversion.  He stood up for one who desperately needed a friend.

There is still a need for this kind of ministry today!  We need to make the effort and take the time to reach out to those around us who seem to be lonely or who have been rejected by others.  This is especially true at church.   We should do our best to make everyone who comes to this place feel as if they belong here and are accepted just as they are.  Every person who darkens these doors should feel like they have returned home after a long absence!  We need to love them, welcome them and accept them into our services!
Does this describe your life and practice?  We ought to find ourselves actively engaged in this kind of activity.  Look around you!  There are plenty of lonely, outcast people.  Find them and be a friend to someone who needs a friend.  That is what Jesus did!  It is what He expects of us.

Encourage The Disciples (Acts 11:22-23).  When the church in Jerusalem heard that there was a new group of believers in Antioch, they sent Barnabas to them to help them along.  The Bible tells us that when he arrived, he “exhorted” them. This means that he “offered them encouragement!”  He was excited about what God was doing and how these new converts were serving the Lord and he did his best to encourage them to carry on with God.

Again, there is a lesson here for us today.  We ought to do everything in our power to encourage other believers in their walk with the Lord.  We need to praise others when they labor for Jesus and gently rebuke our brothers when they stray.  Our duty to our fellow believer is to help them to grow in the Lord and to be an encouragement to them.

Rom. 14:19 “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
1 Thes. 5:11 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”

There are basically 2 types of people in every church.  One type seeks to find all the fault with others and the work of the church they can and then they do their best to tear others down.  The other type seeks to build up their church and fellow believers and they seek to help them to grow in the Lord.  Which description best fits your life and your dealings with others?
Encourage The Discouraged (Acts 15:36-40).  Apparently, Paul, Barnabas and John Mark were together on a missionary journey.  For some reason, John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13).  Now, Paul and Barnabas are ready to go out again and Barnabas wants to take John Mark along to give him a second chance.  Paul disagrees and he and Barnabas part company.  Paul takes Silas and goes out with him, while Barnabas takes John Mark and disappears from the biblical account.

While Barnabas is never heard from again, his ministry to John Mark had far reaching consequences!  Because Barnabas gave this discouraged and defeated young man a second chance, his life as a servant of God was salvaged.  In fact, before Paul died in Rome, he requested that Mark be sent to him (2 Tim. 4:11).  Even more important is the fact that because Barnabas took the time to encourage a discouraged brother, Mark was used of the Lord to pen the Gospel of Mark which gives us an exciting account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How many times have we seen fellow believers fall by the wayside?  Our natural tendency is to wash our hands of them and go on.  God’s plan, however, is far different! We are not to kick our brother when he is down, but we are to reach out to him in a spirit of love and humility and help him be restored to the place of fellowship and service.  We are to display the grace of the Good Samaritan by stopping, binding up their wounds and by helping them to recover.  
Yet, we find it so much easier to gossip about them, to find fault with them and to hold their shortcomings against them for as long as we can.  Aren’t you glad that the Lord isn’t that way?   Aren’t you glad that He is the God of second chances (Jonah 3:1)?  Why can’t we do the same for those around us?   We can if we will be an encourager!


The encourager has an upward ministry.  His work doesn’t merely reach out to those around him, but it also reaches up as he carries out the work God has given him to do in this life. 
The Encourager Furthers The Work Of God.  The encourager uses his spiritual gifts and love for the Lord and the Lord’s people to see that the work of God is carried out in this world.

He Promotes The Work Of God (Acts 4:36-37).  The first impression we are given of Barnabas is that he is a man who gave of himself freely. He gave of his goods to see that the church and its work went on. He used the things at his disposal to enhance the work of the Lord.
This describes how we ought to be as well. We ought to all strive to give of our time, our tithes and our talents so that the church can prosper and that the burden of ministry doesn’t rest upon the shoulders of just one or two.

When we give of ourselves and our stuff as we should, others are then encouraged to do the same.
He Praises The Work Of God (Acts 11:23-26).  When Barnabas had seen all that the Lord was doing in Antioch, he set out to find Paul and to share the news with him.  Barnabas refused to keep the good blessings of God quiet!  There is a need for this kind of attitude in the church today.  There are far too many who want to bad mouth the church and church folks. When things don’t go as someone thinks they should, they will get mad and run the church down.  They will threaten to withhold “their” giving.  God give us some people who will go out into the world and brag on what Jesus is doing!  God give us some who will tell others about the testimony service, of that good prayer meeting, of that soul being saved, of that backslider getting things right with God, etc.

There are enough whiners and bellyachers; we need some who will exalt the work of God!  Beware that you are never guilty of badmouthing the church or the people of God.   If all others hear from you is how bad things are down at the House of God, then why should they want to go and be part of that mess?   

 On the other hand, when we tell the lost how great things are.  When we tell them that we have been meeting with the Lord, they will be curious and they will come to see what is going on at church.  Determine in your heart that you will be an encourager, one who exalts the work of God.

He Participates In The Work Of God (Acts 13:1-3).   Barnabas was chosen by the Holy Ghost to be actively involved in the Lord’s work.  This decision changed the course of his life forever.  From that moment on, every where Barnabas went, he was a servant of the Lord.

The lesson for us is obvious!  No matter where we go in this world, we are the servants of the Lord. Whether we are at home, at work, in town, on vacation, etc, we are God’s servants and we are to live and act accordingly.  When we do, we serve as an encouragement to others to do the same.  When we serve the Lord with enthusiasm and zeal, we stand as an encouragement to others.  

Therefore, when it comes time to go to church and do your job for God, arrive early, arrive alert, arrive prepared and arrive excited and ready to serve God.  Show people how much you enjoy what you are doing and if you don’t enjoy it, ask the Lord to restore your joy.

An Encourager Finishes The Work Of God (Acts 12:25).  This verse tells us that Paul and Barnabas fulfilled their ministry.  That is, they stayed with the work until the work was finished.  In doing so, they stood as an encouragement to those around them!

If you want your life to be an encouragement to those who watch you serving the Lord, then never leave a job unfinished.  Be faithful to the task God has called you to and stick by God until He calls you to a new job, or until He calls you home!  There is no room for quitting in the work of the Lord.

The encourager possesses an internal ministry, a ministry to self.  It is from this ministry to his own spiritual needs that the encourager is able to demonstrate the reality of Jesus Christ to those around him.  While one’s personal ministry cannot be seen by others, the evidence is plain for all to behold.  This was true in the life of Barnabas and it will be true in your life and mine as well.

An Encourager Demonstrates Christ By His Life (Acts 11:24).  This verse indicates that Barnabas was a genuine man of God.  He possessed all the characteristics that marked him as being sold out and on fire for the Lord.  His life served as an encouragement to holiness by being holy and blameless.

Our lives should stand as an encouragement to lead others deeper into their walk with God.  We do this by getting ourselves as close to God as can.  When others see the Lord working in and through our lives, they will be challenged and encouraged to seek the Lord for themselves and to become more like Him.

How does one go about getting close to the Lord?   Only through very hard work!  The only way this is possible is for the believer to immerse himself in the Word, spend time in prayer and to turn his back on the world.  Is it possible? Yes!  It is easy? No!  Is it worth it? Yes! God’s promise to us is that when we strive to get closer to Him, He will come closer to us (James 4:8).

An Encourager Displays Contentment In His Life (Acts 13:49-52).  Barnabas, along with Paul, was preaching the Word of God and as a result, persecution arose against them and they were forced to leave town.  Instead of being discouraged and quitting as many others would have done, they shook the dust from their feet and went on their way rejoicing.

That stands as an encouragement to others who are going through battles in life!  We show the true depth of our faith when we are in the valley!  We show how real our faith in God is by how we react to difficulty and hardship.  We should always seek to react to adversity by expressing joy and faith in the Lord  When we do, we will tend to be an encouragement to those around us.  Our faith and joy will help them when they, too, face their dark day.

However, many of us like to wallow in self-pity and in the pity of others.  We like it when people are sad that we are sad.  We like it when we hurt if others can hurt too.  This is a wrong spirit and does not encourage others in the Lord.  Let us learn to exhibit joy in trials and thereby be an encourager to those around us!
I look at Barnabas and realize just how far I have to go to reach his level.  How about you?   If I know my heart today, I know that I really want to be an encourager!  Wouldn’t you like for your life to be remembered as that of an encourager?  If so, then it will require that you learn to rethink the priorities of your life.  God is going to have to come first.  Others will have to come second and you will have to come last.
Where is the benefit in that, you may ask?  The benefit lies in the truth that when we make the changes necessary to become an encourager, God will be glorified, others will be edified and we will be rewarded when we arrive home in glory. 

Are you an encourager?

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


John 8:36  “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Isaiah 10:27 “...and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.”

2 Cor 3:17 “...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:13 “For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty...”

It is God's intention for us, as believers, to enjoy true freedom in God.  Now we are not free to sin.  There’s no true freedom in sin.  Not freedom to sin, but freedom from sin.  If we continue in the practice of sin we are no longer free, but slaves to sin.  People who are slaves to sin are not free to live righteous lives.  As believers, we should not be slaves to sin because we are free to do right and glorify God through our actions and lifestyle

This freedom/liberty should be the norm for every believer.  Too many Christians, today, are walking around all bound up.  Some from sin.  Some from Satan's devices.  Some due to lack of knowledge and understanding.  Some due to wrong teaching from dictatorial preachers.  Jesus has made provision for us to be “free indeed”!  We should walk in this freedom

There are chains that bind us in our spiritual journey.  Chains are used to confine – to restrict movement.  Satan will do his best to bind us thereby limiting our ability to be what God would have us be.  How does he do that to the believer?  There are several ways.  Among them Satan will use our past to bind our present.  He will remind us of our past sin.  He will throw it our face at the least opportune time.  He does so to still victory as well as joy from our lives.  We mustn’t allow Satan to get as foothold in our lives.  We are victorious through Jesus!

Fear is another chain of bondage.  So many lives are bound up with fear today. There are those who are fearful of the unknown.  Solomon wisely said, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).  It’s the wicked who ought to be fearful!  The righteous are to be bold.

Paul, the apostle, wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  Sometimes we are fearful of what others say or think.  When we allow people to intimidate us, we neutralize our effectiveness of God.  The power of the Holy Spirit can help us overcome our fear of what some might say or do to us so we can continue to do God's work.  God has given us a spirit of powerUnlimited strength is at our disposal.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the believer can serve valiantly, endure patiently, suffer triumphantly and, if need be, die gloriously.  God has given us a spirit of love – It is our love for God and His love for us that casts out fear.  God has given us a spirit of a sound mind – A spirit of self control or self mastery

We are to use discretion and not act rashly, hastily, or foolishly.  No matter how adverse our circumstances, we should maintain balanced judgment and act soberly.  What a promise to stand on!
Doubt is another chain that will bind us.  Remember when Peter walked on the water  to Jesus?  He began to sink only after taking his eyes off of Jesus and putting them on the circumstances.   Jesus said, “...wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-26)Matthew 28:17 “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him: but some doubted.”  Some today continue to doubt their faith.  Many years ago I heard a preacher share some good words of wisdom.  He said, “Don't doubt your faith, doubt you doubt!”
Worry is another chain that will bind you.  Satan wins when the Christian worries!  You see worry and faith do not co-exist.  Let’s look at the words of Jesus, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:25, 34).

Planning for tomorrow is time well spent; worrying about tomorrow is time wasted.  Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference.  Don't let worries about tomorrow affect your relationship with God today
A workless faith is another chain that will bind you.  James said in  James 2:17, 20, 26 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  If we’re saved we’ll be serving God.  Our works don’t save us and we don’t work to be saved.  Rather our works confirm we are saved.

We have this all wrong.  It’s not believers who are to be bound up.  Satan is the one who will be bound! (Rev. 20:1-3).  That day is coming!  Praise God.
Let’s live a life of freedom and liberty in Jesus.  Let’s be the Christians God called us to be.  In doing so, we’ll have the impact Jesus meant for us to have.

Be encouraged in Jesus!
Until next time…enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Let me ask you a question about your convictions as a Christian.  If Christianity were illegal in the United States and you was arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  The underlying question here is, “How does anyone know you are a Christian?”

The usual answer to this question are things such as:  I go to church on Sunday.  I sing in the choir.  I practice personal separation.  I talk about my church all the time (uhhhhh....how do your talk about your church?)  I even stay awake for the service...most of the time.  I have some of the charismatic gifts.  I dress a certain way.  I don't go to certain places.
Now let's look at some biblical answers to this question.  The Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) in demonstration.  Note the word “fruit” is singular.  All nine of these things are the one fruit of the Spirit.  What are they?  Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.  All of these are one fruit and should be displayed in the life of each Christian.  It’s important to note these things to spout up over night.  However, if you continue to serve God this fruit will be developed in your life. The Fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us – this includes these character traits that are found in Jesus.

The fruit of good works (Eph 2:10) – the purpose of salvation.    Eph 2:10  “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service – we are saved to serve

The fruit of the Christian life (John 15:16)   The Message “You didn’t choose Me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.  As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me, He gives you."

The key to this question is for us, as believers, to abide in Jesus (John 15:7).  “Abide in Him…”  That word “abide” means to continue, endure, dwell, remain..  Find the ultimate source, rest, satisfaction, etc in Jesus
“Let His Word abide in you…”  The idea here is that God’s Word  takes up residence in you.  It becomes the dominant factor in your lifeWe need to communicate with HimPrayer is part of abiding in HimWe sometimes overlook the fact that fruit is borne as a result of abiding in Him, His Word abiding in us, and prayer.
How you respond to this question has great significance in your life.  There is danger in not bearing fruit.  This is shown in John 15:2-6.  If a professing Christian is not being fruitful in their walk with God, God will remove them and throw them aside – its called purging.  Christians who are being productive and are producing fruit God will cut back – or prune – so that they can be even more productive and fruitful.

The subject here is abiding and fruit-bearing not salvation.  It is through prayerlessness and carelessness the believer gets out of fellowship with Jesus.  Through failure to abide in Christ and be fruitful he is thrown out as a branch .  The branches are gathered by men and are thrown in to the fire and burned - its not God who does it, but people.  God’s other work.

 Everyone experiences problems - including Christians.  Christians who are having problems can be divided into two groups:  (1) Those whose problems are to prune them - preparing them for more growth; (2) Those whose problems are to purge them - remove them.  The danger of not bearing fruit is to experience God’s purging

So I ask again, “If Christianity were a crime would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  How does anyone know you are a Christian?  If it were only by fruit-bearing, would they know you are a Christian?
Why are you not bearing fruit?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that trials were the result of God’s pruning rather than His purging?

Something to ponder. 

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

God is FOR you!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (The Message)  “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.  God’s decree.”

We are all encouraged by a leader who stirs us to move ahead, someone who believes we can do the task he has given and who will be with us all the way.  This kind of leader believes in us and makes us believe in ourselves.  This kind of leader motivates us to follow him.

God is that kind of Leader!  He knows the future, and His plans for us are good and full of hope.  As long as God ,who knows the future, provides our agenda and goes with us as we fulfill His mission, we can have boundless hope.

This does not mean we will be spared pain, suffering or hardship, but rather that God will see us through to a glorious conclusion.  You see, God is FOR us!

God did not forget His people, even though they were captive in Babylon.  He planned to give them a new beginning with a new purpose – to turn them into new people.

In times of deep trouble, it may seem that God has forgotten you.  But God may be preparing you, as He did the people of Judah, for a new beginning with Him at the center.

According to God's wise plan His people were to have hope and a future, so they could call upon Him in confidence.  Though we may find ourselves in a difficult place and time, we should not despair for we have God's presence, the privilege of prayer, and God's grace.

God can be sought and found when we seek Him urgently and wholeheartedly.  Neither strange lands, sorrows, frustrations nor physical problems can break our communion with Him!

Remember...God is FOR you!

Romans 8:31 “...if God be for us, who can be against us?”

Be encouraged that God is FOR you!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!

Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Matthew 11:28-30  "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

THE MESSAGE  "Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to Me.  Get away with Me and you'll recover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with Me - watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Do you ever feel wiped out physically?  Do you ever feel emotionally drained?  Is your spiritual life as vibrant and fresh as it once was, or is it lacking?  Do you sense you need a refreshing?

God created us as three dimensional beings.  Body, soul and spirit.  We are spirit beings who live in a body and have a soul (mind, will, intellect, emotions).  It's important that we tend to all three of these dimensions in our lives.  Everyone needs a place to rest, a time to rejuvenate, a restoration.  Without rest we are vulnerable to doubt, disease, and dread.

There are times we need physical rejuvenation. The body gets tired.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41).  Do you ever feel like your body can't keep up with your spirit?  When you are excessively tired physically, sin can creep in.  Sin is usually preceded by temptation. 

The way to overcome temptation is to be alert to it and pray.  Being alert means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, being sensitive and aware of its subtlety, being spiritually equipped to fight it.  When one is physically exhausted it's hard to be alert to anything.  If you are working through exhaustion, you may be missing God.

It's important to get the necessary rest your body needs.  Sometimes this will involve down time where you do nothingYour resting place may be the quiet screened porch, where you relax with a cup of coffee and a good book.  For someone else, a resting place may be a comfortable couch, a walk in a park or a peaceful drive.  No matter where your resting place is take time to engage it!  God often speaks to us in our place of rest 

Satan desires to sift you as wheat – to put you through the sifter! (Luke 22:31).  He wants your walk with God to amount to little.  He wants your life to have little affect on those you come in contact with.
There are those Satan will use to bring you down (Joy suckers/Victory Zappers).  Satan will scheme against you and try to convince you that you are of little value to God.  He will talk you out of doing things for God.  He will do his best to discourage you in your walk with God.  He'll try to make you believe things that just aren’t true.

Stop right now and take an audit of your soul.  Is it strung out and anxious?  If so, rearrange your schedule for rest before it rearranges you.

Jesus, Himself, made it a point to have time away (Matt 14:13, 23, 15:29).  Seeking solitude was an important priority for Jesus.  He made room in His busy schedule to be alone with the Father.
Spending time with God in prayer nurtures a vital relationship and equips us to meet life's challenges and struggles.  It's imperative to have one-on-one quality time with God.  Develop the discipline of spending time alone with God – it will help you grow spiritually and it will help you become more and more like Jesus.
A depleted spirit is not primed for discernment, and decision-making.  A depleted spirit can be dreadful during times of duress.  A resting place is your protection from yourself, from evil influences, and from lost perspective.  Above all else, your resting place reveals God in a refreshing way.  His program takes on a new priority in His place of rest.  Your confidence is resurrected.  Your trust takes on a new level of intensity.  Your patience leads to a deeper understanding of what it means to wait on the Lord.
Scripture tells us “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb 4:9).  We need to make certain we maintain our whole personbody, soul and spirit.  If we are to have the impact for God that He desires us to have, then we must be rejuvenated in body, soul and spirit.  A non-restful pace is unsustainable, and a restful place is necessary to persevere.  A resting place is necessary to experience God’s very best for you and your family.

Discover your resting place in prayer, and go there often.  Your best and most creative ideas emerge from relaxed meditation on Jesus.

I encourage you to take time to find the rest you need.  I know Cindy and I will be doing so.  It’s time for a complete rejuvenation!

Until next time…enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We tend to put too much emphasis on those who appear to be successful.  We sometimes look at someone and say “I'm sure God is using that person in a great way.”  We put too much emphasis on appearance rather than substance (I Samuel 16:7 Samuel and Eliab). God sees things we don't see in people.

Throughout Scripture we see that God used those who were the most unlikely.  These were individuals who were not stuck on themselves, but rather, these were individuals who knew they couldn't do what God had called them or led them to do.  When one realizes that he/she can't and acknowledges God can, they become usable and moldable for the tasks God has laid before them.

Once we get through with ourselves and surrender to God, we become fit for His purpose (II Tim. 2:21). It's at this time God begins to shape and mold us.

There was a group of unliklies that gathered around David (I Samuel 22:1-2).  This was the beginning of a group of select and courageous fighting men that became an elite army.  Outlaws, malcontents and troublemakers joined David who, himself was an outlaw at the time.

These people were outcasts themselves and could only improve their situations by helping David become King.  David's control over this band of men again shows his resourcefulness and ability to lead and motivate others.  It is difficult enough to build an army out of good men, but it takes even greater leadership to build one out of the kind of men that followed David.   This group eventually formed the core of his military leadership and produced several mighty men (II Sam 23:8).  They are listed by name and by their amazing exploits in II Samuel 23:8-39 and I Chron. 11-12.

What great accomplishments these men, the unliklies, had.  Why did they accomplish such great feats?  I think Paul, the apostle, hit the nail on the head in 1 Corinthians 1:25-29 (AMPLIFIED), “Because the foolish thing [that has it's source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that he might depose and bring to nothing the things that are. So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.”

What is the difference?  I believe God desires to still do great things with those who are unlikely.  Daniel wrote in Daniel 11:32: “...but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”  That word “know” means to have a passionate, intense and intimate love and relationship with God.  You tend to voluntarily submit to God because of this relationship.  His will and plan for your life becomes your will and plan because of your desire to follow him and to please him.

God is looking for some unlikelies today. He is looking for those who acknowledge they can't because of their inadequacies, but who also acknowledge He can. When we get done with ourselves, surrender and yield to Him, you can expect to be used in a great way.

I challenge you today to be an “UNLIKELY” !

I'm reminded of the old chorus that goes like this:

Little is much if God is in it, labor not for wealth or fame,
There's a crown and you can win it, if you'll go in Jesus name

Be encouraged in Jesus!

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Malichi 3:6-10  "…prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

THE MESSAGE "...Test Me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams."

God is saying “Put Me to the test!”  Though this Scripture speaks of the Old Testament tithe (tithing is an OLD Testament law), the principle applies to other areas of our spiritual lives, as well.  God’s blessing is one of the benefits of walking in obedience to God. 

1 John 3:21-22  “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

God is saying “Prove Me – put Me to the test!”  You've tried it your way, now try it God's way.   There is nothing too big or too hard for God.   God is up to the challenge.  God specializes in things which seem impossible.  I recall God telling Abraham & Sarah they were going to have a baby in their old age.  Abraham was nearing 100 and Sarah, 90.  That seem like a comical thought.  But Gen. 18:14 asks the question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Too often we want to trust only in ourselves - in our own abilities.  Solomon wrote in Prov 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”  Our abilities at their best are limited - God's aren't  We think we need to help God out.  All we end up doing sometimes is making a mess of things.
God is saying, “Prove me – see what I will do in your life.”  God desires to work in your life   He desires to meet every need you have.  The Bibles says in Mark 11:22-23  “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

 He may even give you some of your wants, as well.  Psalm 37:4 tells us  “Delight thyself in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

God's supply is inexhaustibleYou can't burden God downHis provision is sure Surrender yourself to Him.  "Make your requests known to God" (Phil 4:6)

God is saying, “Prove Me – let me be God!  Let God be God in your life  He's a faithful God.  He's met your needs before.  He hasn't changed   Let Him be God.  Let Him be real to you.  He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed.  As I like to say, “He wants to bless your socks off!”  Let Him do it!

If you haven't allowed God to be God, what are you waiting for?  "Well we've always done things a certain way and I'm just not comfortable with change."Puh-lease!  Get over it already!  Do you want God to work or don't you?  God's working in your life is only limited by YOU.  If you'll prove Him and let Him be God, He'll do great things in your life.

You think you're tough?  You think you're man or woman enough?  I dare you to prove Him.  I dare you to put Him to the test.  Not tomorrow.  Not next week.  TODAY!  Will you do it?  Will you put Him to the test?  I challenge you to do so.  Consider the possibilities!

Until next time…enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


The last mile in a journey is the most important.  You could travel for hours, days, weeks and years and have something happen over the course of the last mile of the journey that would keep you from reaching your destination.  The entire journey is important – but it all comes down to the last mile – and finishing well!
Living for God is not a flowery bed of ease.  It takes someone with character, integrity and guts to live for Jesus!  It take a “stick-to-it-tiveness” that is missing today.  Many have started out in a blaze of glory and fire with great vision and ideas only to fade when the battle got too rough.

The most important mile, as well as the most dangerous, is the last mile
·  Ship – things in the water that could damage the ship
·  Race -  one little stumble and you lose
·  Boxing -  let down your guard for one second and you could be knocked out
·  Basketball – many games come down to seconds

It doesn’t matter…
…how many storms we’ve made it through
…how many miles we’ve come
…how many battles we have fought
…how many sacrifices we have made
…how much effort we have put forth
…unless we complete the last mile!

In the Bible there are many examples of those who didn’t complete the last mile:
Lot’s wife – just had to take one last look at what she was leaving
Phil 3:12  “Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended:  but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those thing which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Moses – failed the final test thereby keeping him from inheriting the Promised Land
Judas - a preacher of the gospel, sat and walked with Jesus, witnessed miracles
Demas – forsook Paul “…having loved this present world.”

It has been said, “Where our love is, there we finally are”.  Where is your love today?  Is it in Jesus?  Or is it in the things of this world?  This will determine how you run this race.  Remember, we’re nearing the shore!
The most important mile in a race is the last mileLook out for the good times!  They may be followed by tough timesThey may be followed by turbulent timesWe’re nearing the shore!  This brings to mind the chorus of a song I remember from when I was much younger.  Look at these words.  They will excite you!

We’re nearing the shore, we’re nearing the shore
Troubles soon will be over, we’ll suffer no more
Trials all passed, victory at last
Oh it is wonderful to be nearing the shore

Many dangers confront us as we near the shore.  This is our most important hour – also our most dangerous.  Be on guard!  Satan is roaming to and fro seeking whom he may devour.  He will attempt to deceive even the very elect of God if it were possible

We can’t afford to look back now!  I’ve come too far to turn back!  Our ship may be battle-scarred and we may be weary, but we can’t afford to stop now!  We must keep on going – even if we’re weary!  We must keep being faithful!  We must keep loving one another!  We must keep our focus on Jesus!

I like these encouraging words from the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:28-31  “Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  There is no searching of His understanding.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint”

Praise God our strength is renewed in Him!  If we wait on God and His timing we will receive strength beyond whatever we thought we could ever have!

Be encouraged on your journey with Jesus, today.  Great things await the child of God!

Until next time…enjoy the journey!


Thanks for taking your time to read and share this blog. If you know of someone who would be encouraged by this blog, please feel free to forward a link or use the icons below to repost this blog.