Monday, September 30, 2013


Scripture Reading - Philippians 4:10-14 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my afflictions.

I’ve got a secret." There is something fascinating about those words. Ears perk up, and people lean in as they whisper, “What is it? I won’t tell anyone.”

Religiously speaking, there are many who claim to have the “secrets” spiritual life – but they are frauds. In sharp contrast to these frauds, notice Philippians 4:12. Here Paul speaks of a genuine and important “secret”. One has called this “the only secret that we need”. Let’s look at the secret of contentment.

Paul found himself in a satisfying situation (Vs 10). What caused Paul to rejoice “greatly”? It was the Philippians’ expression of love toward him. We see, though, that Paul's happiness was not so much for the gift, but for the fact that it showed concern. Perhaps you've been taught that it's not the gift but the thought that counts. The emphasis in this section is not on things, but rather on people – not on the gift, but on the giver. The phrase your care of (for) me” [thought, concern] in the Greek indicates continuous action in the past. They had concern for Paul, the problem was they lacked opportunity to express their concern. Paul had not been out of their thoughts, but he was out of their reach. We're not sure why the Philippians lacked opportunity to help Paul, but what ever it was it was a circumstance beyond their control. They finally overcame the problem (what ever it was), and their concern for Paul “flourished again” (revived) – coming from a Greek word meaning to again flourish and blossom. Their concern was like a barren tree in winter reviving in the spring. Their concern appeared dead – but it wasn't

Paul now makes a startling statement (Va 11, 12, 14). Paul having just said that he rejoiced in the gift of the Philippians, you might expect him to say, “after all, I really needed what you sent!” Actually, there is little doubt that he needed help. He spoke of his “affliction” in verse 14. However Paul wanted his readers to know that his rejoicing was not so much for the gift as it was for the concern it expressed. Therefore, he quickly added, “Not that I speak in respect of want” - In other words, “I am not saying this as a hint to send another gift”. It is kind of like the gifts you get from your children when they are young – they are special, not because of the gift, but because of who they came from and the love behind them.

Paul now makes a Declaration I have learned, in whatsoever state [situation, circumstance ] I am”. These circumstances that Paul mentioned might be considered as the ups and downs of life – the good times and the bad times. There were times when Paul was in need, and times when he lived in plenty. Now here are the problems we have with the ups and downs of life: When we are down, the danger is despair – and when we are up the danger is pride. Paul didn't let the downs degrade him or the ups exalt him
Paul understood, as we should, that the circumstances of life change in a moment and that none of those circumstances define who we are. He believed that the Lord could handle anything that happened to him.

Exactly what did Paul mean when he spoke of being “content”? “Contentment” is sometimes misunderstood – it is not complacency or a false peace based on ignorance, and it is not pretending that a bad situation is a good one. To truly understand “contentment” we need to look at the Greek word. The word translated “content” in Philippians 4:11 could be more literally translated “self-sufficient”. The word was used to describe the person who, through discipline, had become independent of external circumstances, and who discovered within himself resources that were more than adequate for any situation that might arise. Paul’s satisfaction was not based on outward situations, but on inward sufficiency. This sufficiency was not based on personal resources but rather on divine resources. Notice, too, that Paul “learned” to be content. Paul is telling us that the Christian life is a learning experience. Contentment is not something that we are born with - its something we learn. How do we learn this? To start with we learn through painful experience (2 Cor 12:7-10) and earnest prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). If Paul could learn to be content, so can we.

This secret is a strengthening secret (Vs 12-13). Let's look at the “Secret”. The phrase “I learned the secret” is translated from a single Greek word meaning: “being initiated into the mysteries”. Paul’s entire life was an initiation process by which he learned the marvelous secret. What was the secret? No matter what happened, the Lord would stand by him. How awesome is that to know and have the assurance that no matter what we face, God is there? Philippians 4:13 is perhaps the most well know verse in the Bible. It's one of the first verses I learned when I got saved back in the 70's. Let's look at it more closely. I can do” comes from the Greek word meaning strong – thus, the idea is: “I have strength for every situation” “Strengtheneth” is from a compound word in the Greek – the heart of that word is dunamis (dynamite). This passage is also in the present tense (indicating continuous action) so the passage might better read I can continue to have strength in all things through Him who constantly gives me power

I can do all things” must be considered in light of its context. Not – leap tall buildings in a single bound. But, in good as well as bad situations. Our Source of strength and contentment is Jesus! Paul’s secret was Jesus! The world has not learned this. they think contentment comes from education, money, material goods. Nothing could be further from the truth. It has been my observation that the more you have, the more you want.

Are you content? If not, get into Jesus. Jesus, and He only, is our true Source of contentment.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, September 27, 2013


Scripture Reading - Psalm 94:17-19 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; they mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

THE MESSAGE “If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, 'I'm slipping, I'm falling,' Your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up.”

The psalmist found himself in deep trouble. Evil people rose up against him (Vs 16). He felt like he was on the edge of his very existence. He longed for help while living on the edge.

Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are living on the edge? Friends and even family turn against you? You feel like you are coming to the end of your rope. You are living on the edge. This man of God felt this way. He felt his life was even in danger. “...My soul had almost dwelt in silence” (Vs 17). “...My foot slippeth...” (Vs 18). Do you ever feel like you're slipping away? Let's look at how God rescued this slipping servant.

We must realize first and foremost that God did, indeed, help him. “Unless the Lord had been my help...” (Vs 17). Many troubled believers have found the Lord to be their help in difficult times. God's Word speaks of this numerous times. We can see this in Scriptures such as “God is...a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1); “My help cometh from the Lord...” (Psalm 121:1:2); “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

How many of us have found ourselves in need of help from the Lord from time to time in our lives? I know I certainly have. How many find ourselves in need of His help today?
Charles Spurgeon said, “Without the Lord's help the psalmist declares he would have died and gone into the silent land where no more testimonies for the living God can be given”
You've, no doubt, heard the expression “God helps those who help themselves.” The reality is God helps those who cannot help themselves.

The psalmist said God held him up. “...Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up” (Vs 18). “Mercy” is God not giving us what we do deserve. Mercy arrived when his foot was slipping! He was rescued by the everlasting arms of God! And those arms still rescue today! It has been said, “God is never in a hurry, but He's always right on time.” I've found this to be true in my life. God meets us where we are. He meets us when we're tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13). He meets us when we're being tested. He meets us when we're in the valley. He meets us when we feel like giving up. How long will God's mercy last? How long will God's mercy hold us up? God's mercy follows “ all the days of our lives” (Psalm 23:6). Praise God His mercy endures forever! “Praise ye the Lord, O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever” (Psalm 106:1)

Note also that that God comforted the psalmist. “...Thy comforts delight my soul” (Vs 19).
The comfort of the Lord delighted his soul. His fears fled as comfort relieved his anxiety. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter in times of need (John 14:16-18). Jesus comforts every troubled heart. He gives assurance of salvation to those who trust Him (John 6:37). He gives peace to troubled hearts (John 14:27). Bring your cares and anxieties to Jesus and find peace. Jesus said in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”

Jesus extends a compassionate call to those living on the edge. “Whosoever will may come.” Jesus stands ready to help, comfort and keep you. He waits on you to invite Him to help. Whatever your need, Jesus is here to meet it. Won't you let Him?

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I'm constantly amazed that people who are not living in relationship with God have expectations that God will answer their prayers.  It would seem to me that those who walked in realtionship with Jesus in the past would want to get back to that intimate relationship once again.  Look around at our society and you will see this is certainly a time you want to make certain your relationship with Jesus is intact.

In most cases, these individuals freely admit they are not living a life pleasing to God, yet they expect God to meet their needs and even their wants.  Does anyone else see the folly in this?  Our relationship with God should be of paramount importance to us.  If that relationship suffers, that has a domino affect in every area of our lives.

You see, God responds to our prayers according to biblical criteria.  We must ask according to His will for Him to hear us.  It's about a right relationship with Him.  Once that relationship is right His desires become our desires.  When we are out of fellowship with God, do our prayers go any higher than the ceiling of the room we are in?  Our direct line to God is severed in regards to our partitions. 

When we pray for other Christians we are making intercession for them.  We are agreeing and standing with them in prayer.  When we pray for those who are out of relationship with God we are making supplication for them.  We are going to God on their behalf because they are not in relationship with Him to do so themselves.  It is far better to be in right relationship with God and go to Him directly with your needs.

Too often we think the only answer to prayer is the answer we want.  We fail to recognize that God sees the whole picture while we only see the here and now.  We see one piece of the puzzle while God sees the puzzle in it's entirety.

If you find yourself out of relationship or out of fellowship with Jesus, I want to encourage you to take time to pray and make things right.  If there is sin in your life, confess it and turn your back on it.  If there are hard feelings toward your brothers and sisters, go to them and make it right.  Whatever might be hindering you from being in right relationship with Jesus needs to go.  Do it today. 

Jesus is going to return for His church.  We don't know when, but He has promised to return.  It's not time to get in right relationship with Jesus, it's time to be in right relationship with Jesus. 

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Thursday, September 12, 2013


As you have, no doubt, noticed, I end all my blog posts with "enjoy the journey".  This is important to me as a believer and I believe it should be important to other believers, as well. 

Once we receive Jesus as our Savior, heaven is our eternal destination.  It's the place Jesus has prepared for us (John 14:1-3).  It's the place where the streets are made of gold, the gates of peril.  It's a place where there will be no sin, sorrow or death.  It's a place where there will be no more pain.  It's a place where God, Himself, will wipe every tear from our eyes!  Read Revelation chapter 21 in the Bible to see what heaven will be like.  We truly have something to look forward to.

While our eye is on our eternal destination, there's the journey we must make in order to reach our destination.  Too often we find ourselves enduring the journey instead of enjoying it.  I can't help but believe with all that awaits us at our destination, God would have us enjoy the journey along the way.  Enjoy the blessings along the way.  Christians ought to be the happiest, most joyful people in the world!  Too often we walk around like we've been sucking on lemons all day.  We have a sour look on our face and even a sour disposition, at times. 

It's easy to spot those who are enduring the journey.  They are the ones who, in addition to having the sour look and disposition, whine and complain about nearly everything along the way.  They will complain about their lives, what they don't have, the things they are missing out on, other believers, etc.  They will whine about the sacrifices they make in following Jesus, about how others are far more blessed then they are, among other things.

Jesus stated in John 10:10, ",,,I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  Doesn't this indicate that it is His intent that we not only have life, but that the life we have is an abundant life - a blessed life?  This would be a joyful life. 

So while we are on our journey to our eternal destination let's enjoy the journey along the way.  Let's look for the blessings and cultivate the blessings God gives us.  Does this mean there will be no bumps on the road?  Not at all.  Rest assured, there will be difficult times we will encounter.  But Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to endwell us.  He will lead, guide, comfort and empower us for the journey!  What more could we possibly need?

Be encouraged!  Be joyful!  Cultivate the blessings God has for you.  And enjoy the journey!  It's a great one.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Monday, September 9, 2013


Scripture Reading Genesis 28:10-22, 31:13

Jacob had a varied career to say the least. His character was checkered by deceit through much of his life. This is shown by his relationship to Bethel, the house of God. He had been to Bethel and had seen the Lord in a way that had changed his life. When we have a genuine encounter with Jesus it will change our lives! However, in Jacob's case time and distance had taken its toll and there came a time when God ordered him back to Bethel.  We’ve all had Bethel experiences in our lives and then seen them lost through the pressures of life and the passing of time. Sometimes the journey is rough. I believe, today, God is calling us back to Bethel.

What was Bethel? It was a geographical location near Luz where Jacob had a night of unusual blessing. Beyond this, it was a place of great spiritual blessing. It had been a place of great victory. God had spoken to Jacob. Jacob had made a vow to God. God had confirmed His promises to Jacob.

How did Jacob leave Bethel? Jacob made two mistakes while in Bethel: first, he centered on the place rather than on God. I wonder just how often we do that today? We have become fixated on the “church building” instead of God. Secondly, He made vows in the strength of the flesh. Jacob then failed to cultivate the blessing God had for him. This was shown by his trickery with Laban. When they went their separate ways, Jacob saw to it that he got the best land for his herds. Jacob entered into a time of “coming and going” rather than a time of cultivation of the blessings of God. We sometimes get so busy with the coming and going of life that we fail to cultivate the blessings God has given to us. How can we cultivate them? We’re too busy!! If we are too busy to cultivate the blessings God has given us then we are simply too busy.

Jacob then hit the downward skid. This came following a great blessing (Gen 32:24-30). The downward spiral included several things. It involved a failure to keep the faith (Gen 33:12-17), a tendency to lean on the world (Gen 33:18-20) and a failure to reprove sin – he had a tolerance for sin. That’s precisely the way it works – a downward spiral leads us to accept things we would formerly have flatly rejected. We see this going on in the institutional church, today. Many pastors no longer preach against sin or they blur the lines so much that sin is no longer an issue. They do this to grow their churches. They are all wrapped up in numbers these days. If they call sin what it is – sin, they risk losing people from their kingdoms and, in many cases risk offending Bro. Big Bucks. My, my...we mustn't do that!

How do we get back to Bethel? First, we must see where we are and recognize how far we’ve drifted from the will of God. Secondly, we need to deal with the problems in our lives both in confession and forsaking. Thirdly, we must come back both to the place of blessing and the God of blessing.

If we have gotten away from our Bethel, God desires that we return. We must recognize where we are, deal with the state in which we are and then renew our dedication as at our previous Bethel experience.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Friday, September 6, 2013


I read a blog recently written by Alan Knox.  In this blog he made the following statement, "Today the church focuses so much on doing church stuff at church times in church places with church people...but there's so much more to following Jesus Christ."

I find this statement to be very true. Too often, we have an "us four and no more" attitude.  We want to close ourselves within the four walls of a building and do "religious things".  We tend to focus so much on doing that we actually neglect the Savior.  We even neglect one another.  We spend too much time emphasizing the need to go to church as opposed to being the church.  We get wrapped up in the religious snack instead of the Lord's Supper as a genuine meal.  People leave their morning church services unchanged and still with a hunger for God - that is, if they actually had a hunger for Him to begin with.

Again, we do all these religious things while neglecting the One it should be all about - Jesus!  What would happen if we quit doing all the things God never told us to do?  Our Christian lives are so full of these types of things.  I think sometimes we feel better if we are busy doing religious things.  But if that is the case, we are doing these things for us instead of for God.  What's wrong with this picture?

Perhaps we think it's a necessity to be busy doing religious things because that is what we have been taught over the years.  After all, that is what the typical institutional church tells us.  It's not what God tells us in His Word, but it is what man has taught.  I know of a so-called pastor who, several years ago, called a work day for the men in the church to move a fence that was around the building. They moved it out four or five feet.  They spent an entire Saturday doing this.  A short time later he called another work day to move the fence back to where it was.  Why did he do that?  He stated he wanted to keep his men busy.  How utterly ridiculous is that?  The attitude was this man was their pastor and they would do what he said.  Was God in this? 

Here's a thought, how about we focus on our relationship with Jesus?  How about we focus on our relationship with one another.  (I would encourage you to look up the "one another" Scriptures in the Bible).  How about we reach out to someone who doesn't know Jesus?  How about we reach out and touch someone who is struggling on their journey?  These things seem more in line with what we should be doing as Christians.  This should be a way of life for the Christian.

Let's be the church God desires us to be.  Let's show it by fleshing it out - by living it one day at a time.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Scripture reading - Phil 2:12-13

MESSAGE “What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God Himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure”

Is it a good thing to ask, “What is God doing in your life?” Is this a proper question or is it based on some subjective idea? Does God really work in our lives? If He does, what does He do there?

Paul issued quite the challenge in the aforementioned verse, “Work out your own salvation…” What did Paul mean by that? This does not refer to salvation from sin
The meaning is keep working out – developing to the fullest your own salvation – the implications of your salvation. We must be careful about how we believe and live. Our focus must be on Jesus

What attitude should accompany this challenge? “…with fear and trembling…” This means with awe and humility. Why should we have this attitude? The very fact that God has saved us should produce awe! The very fact that it is God who saved us should produce humility. The enormous implications of salvation should produce both awe and humility in us.

We have quite a reassuring reason to do this: “It is God that worketh in you…” Think about it...God does work in us! We are not required to “go it alone”. God wants to come along side us and be within us to help us. God works in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God uses various means in His work in us. For example He will use the Bible, our brothers and sisters even circumstances.

God doesn’t act instead of us – rather He works in us. God doesn’t compel or force us against our will. Our resistance slows or even suspends His work in us. Our resistance always costs us something

There's a powerful purpose involved: “…both to will and to do of His own good pleasure”. God always has a purpose for what He does in us. That purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son. To be more like Jesus we must condition ourselves to think Like Jesus.

What does God do in us? He brings conviction of sin. He helps us see our need of repentance. He enables us to overcome sin. He strengthens us to break with evil influences. He challenges us to give up our evil thoughts. He motivates us to live different lives. He enlightens our minds with truth. He builds our character. He strengthens our relationship with Him. He makes us like He would have us to be. God’s working in us is always in support of His purposes and in accord with His will as revealed in His Word. God’s purposes for us are always good. God takes a long-range view of good – He sees the big picture!

It is a valid question to ask What is God doing in your life? What’s God doing in your life right now? God is continually working in us so that the implications of salvation can be fully developed in us. Are you allowing Him to do His work in you or are you resisting His work in your life? The more you cooperate the less time it will take. We aught to approach God’s working in us with awe and humility.

Until next time...enjoy the journey!


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