James 3:17-18 NKJV – Seeking the wisdom of God

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I can be scatter-brained every now and then. It’s true. My mind gets going in so many directions that it is hard to find my way out of a paper bag. I am not a person who operates very well by multi-tasking. I am the kind of person that has to keep my thoughts on a single point of interest. I find security in knowing if I keep my mind on the task at hand, I won’t get lost. When I try to do too much, I get frustrated and confused and don’t succeed very well. I wish I could be more multi-task oriented, but that is not how God created me.

So this brings me to our Scripture. The wisdom that God gives is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits and is without partiality and hypocrisy. That is what I desire. Because let me tell you, when I try to do things in my own wisdom, there isn’t much wisdom of what this Scripture promises. Just the opposite. And in all of this confusion, what do you suppose are the attitudes displayed for the world to see? Yeah. Not good.

Scripture illustrates a range of attitudes towards other people, some of which are commended, while others are condemned. Commended attitudes include love, forgiveness, helpfulness, kindness, hospitality, generosity, humility, patience, submission, gentleness, and unselfishness. Condemned attitudes include pride, jealousy, judgment, anger, hatred, and partiality. So you can see why pursuing the wisdom of God in all things is so important. I’ve been thinking a lot about living out my faith as Jesus did. What I mean to say is demonstrating “Christ Alive” in everything I do so that others may see the difference that is in me. Christ in me defines or should I say should dictate how I react, what choices I make, and how my attitude is displayed. It “should”. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I let things get to me? Yes. Do I let my guard down? Yes.

But Scripture says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8 NKJV) AND “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) Friend, I desire to live and demonstrate a peaceable life and manner, filled with the wisdom of God as I ask for it, always pursuing gentleness and a willingness to yield or submit to others. That is what we all should desire, but sometimes we will fail. How do we get back up when we realize the attitude we just displayed was not our best? We seek forgiveness; both from the affected people and from God. How do we seek the forgiveness of others and of God? First and foremost, humble submission. When we humble ourselves to those we may have offended or at least may have seen something in us that does not glorify God, we demonstrate an attitude that pleases and is commended by God. Secondly, spend some time in prayer seeking God to forgive your actions and to fill you with His wisdom in all things.

I spoke of being scatter-brained in the beginning. Maybe it’s not scatter-brained, but rather we sometimes get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world and we lose track of our identity. Let’s focus on living out the wisdom of God and demonstrate that Jesus is alive in us. Therein lies our true identity.

Dear God, we call upon Your Name and seek Your wisdom. Thank You God that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy when we fail and try to live out our life in our own wisdom. Help us Lord to live out our life in Christ Jesus. Guide and direct us to demonstrate Jesus is Alive in everything we do. For Your glory and honor. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me believe God!

James 4:10 NKJV – God blesses the humble

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

God exalts the humble. As believers we should humble ourselves before the Lord. It’s being aware of the majesty and glory of the Lord and the reverence needed before Him. I’ve heard some believers say that when they get to heaven and meet Jesus face to face, they will jump up and embrace Him and love on Him. I say, I will not, just yet. What I know is that I will be on my face in weeping humility and reverence before my glorious Lord. The sheer magnitude of the thought of being face to face with Jesus will drive me to lay prostrate before Him.

Humility is an attitude of lowliness and obedience, grounded in the recognition of your status before God as His creation. God commands humility. That is what our foundational verse is saying. When I was saved in 1999, I came from a life of pride, not humility. I thought I could do anything, live anyway, and I was totally responsible for the outcome of either. But humility is linked to repentance. “So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.” Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance.” (2 Chronicles 12:6-7 NJKV)

Humility is also linked with God’s favor. “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” (Psalm 25:9 NKJV). God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17 NKJV) God will restore those who humbly come before Him. Through Jesus Christ, God has made possible a new relationship between Himself and a sinful humanity. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born again. We become a new creation. The prideful way I lived my life was taken away and I was reborn and became as new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things be become new.” (2Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

In humility I came before the Lord on Sunday, July 18, 1999 and knelt and prayed. He gave me new life and lifted me up. And today, I find myself coming to the Lord in humility each and every time I pray; each and every time I have conversation with Him. I can’t say that I am completely free from my selfish pride. I continue to seek forgiveness with that. But I can say that each day I come to God in humble prayer, I find myself less and less prideful. And more and more blessed as a result. Isaiah 66:2 says it this way, “For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Let us worship and bow down to Him, our glorious Lord!

Dearest Lord, we exalt Your Name. We humbly come before You Lord and give You praise. You are our Almighty King and Glorious Lord. Teach us Lord to always approach You in humble reverence but in complete faith that You will hear us and answer us. May we live humbly before You always and repent of any prideful way in our life. May You be glorified in all we say and do. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 10:40-42 NKJV – Someone cares

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt you were so bogged down with giving, and serving, and providing, that if someone would just see or give notice to what you faced and helped or encouraged you….Oh the frustration. The enemy uses this against us all the time. He comes in to persuade us that we are the only one who gives anything to the Lord and that no one even cares. Well that’s not true. I don’t believe that at all.

The enemy is a liar and a deceiver. He wants to attack us exactly where we serve. He wants to make us ineffective as servants for the Lord. If the enemy can cause us to take our eyes away from Jesus, he can cause our pride to rise up and to make us believe his lies. That is what happened to Martha. She only saw what was before her, with a flawed viewpoint. Martha’s preparation became elaborate and maybe even burdensome. But Mary had a different viewpoint. She knew that being at the feet of Jesus was an incredible and wonderful opportunity that took precedence over every other thing.

Our eyes need to remain on Jesus. He is our Hope. He is where our strength comes from. The Psalmist said, “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3 KJV). We give, we serve, we provide as God directs because we love Him and “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 KJV)   The scripture passage ends with, “and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” You see, there is someone who notices and someone who cares.

Lord God, thank You for being our hope, our strength, our joy and the lifter of our heads. Give us strength when we feel burdened with serving you and protect us from the enemy when his lies try to defeat us. Help us, Lord, to lean on Your strength and to keep our eyes fixed on You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV – Find His rest

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

The yoke is a piece of rigging with which a team of oxen or horses are tied together and come under the control of the one driving them. It is a cross bar which rides on the shoulders and then is linked around the head of the animal with a ‘U’ shaped piece. For humans, there are two kinds of yokes in life. The yoke of the world is filled with things that create burdens and cause weariness in people. The other yoke of life is the spiritual yoke which Christ invites all of us to take upon ourselves. This yoke is a symbol of partnership. Partnership in Jesus Christ’s service. This yoke again binds us together with Christ, but we must give up the yoke of the world, in order to take on the yoke of Christ. Did you get that? First, we must give up, take off, throw down, the yoke of the world, in order for us to take on, put on, and wear with joy the yoke of Christ.

When we learn and experience Jesus, we find the very Lord of the universe to be humble. Yes, Jesus is humble. He also desires for us to be like Him. He desires for us to come to Him with a humble heart, promising then to lift us up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10 NKJV) In this humbleness, we will find rest for our souls. I remember times when in the quietness of prayer, in the stillness of the room, God manifested His rest upon me. There were times where I felt being lifted up and I hovered above where I was. This isn’t something mystical. This is the presence of God and His hands were lifting me. When we set aside all that engulfs us, all that the world throws at us, all that distracts us, and simply quiet ourselves before Him, I suspect or rather I believe that kind of humble submission beckons God to encounter us. He has with me. There we find God’s rest. His yoke is then easy because He bears the load. Hallelujah!!!

Dear Lord. Thank You for inviting us to take Your yoke upon us. Help us so that the heaviness of the world’s yoke doesn’t break us down. In Your lovingkindness, You bring us to the point of humbleness where we can encounter Your rest. Bind us together, Lord, and lift us up. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 18:15-17 NKJV – The Children

Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Jesus turns this event into a two-tier lesson; one about children and the other about disciples.

Let’s start with the lesson about children. They are welcome in God’s kingdom. God is available to them. God’s care for them shows that He cares for all. The kingdom is not only for adults. In the time of this Scripture, children were truly “to be seen and not heard”. The culture placed children on the fringe of importance until they could come of age to be useful to the society. Jesus demonstrated His love for them to a society that may not have.

Next is the lesson for disciples. Children are good role models for a disciple. To be a part of the kingdom, we must receive it in the way a child does. In the time my wife and I spent in Children’s Ministry studying and teaching God’s Word, there were so many times we finished a service and we both realized how much the children taught us. We saw growth in their faith that was astonishing. We watched the little ones bloom in the knowledge of Jesus each week because they simply believed. Yes, there were questions, but when they had been answered, they simply believed in Jesus and the truth of His Word. We witnessed children being called into Missionary service. We witnessed children being called to teach. We witnessed children on their face before the Lord in prayer almost every week. They were unashamed and unwilling to accept being normal before the Lord. Thank You Lord for the little ones. There is so much to learn from them.

Holy Lord. Thank You for the children. We know how You feel about children. That we must receive Your Kingdom as children. Unafraid, unashamed, and willing to simply believe. Help us get rid of the lies of the enemy who would tell us to be silent and unwilling before You. Teach us to become undone before You as David did. Lord, bless the children and bring every one of them into Your Kingdom, I pray. In Your Name Jesus. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 5:8 NKJV – He’s always known us

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This Scripture highlights the special purpose and effectiveness that the Apostle Paul ascribes to Christ’s death. That is, Jesus died specifically for us who now believe and are justified through our faith, and Jesus’ death actually achieved for us the reconciliation needed and that we now have received. “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” (John 10:15 NKJV) It is a beautiful and wondrous act of love. A love we cannot comprehend, but can accept through faith.

God’s grace and mercy are made known in Jesus Christ and are always unearned and unmerited. We deserve nothing, yet God gives us everything through faith in His Son, Jesus. Grace is God’s favor. We don’t deserve the favor of God. We deserve hell. But God so loved us—He placed such value on us—that while we were still His enemies, He sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have access to Him. With that access, we now can receive mercy for all our sins. It is this access that comes to us undeserved and unearned. It is this access that has allowed us to be forgiven, cleansed and made a new creation.

There is a reality that because of our sinful nature, we deserve death and the punishment of hell as a result. God gave us access to His Son, Jesus, and by believing in Him we can be forgiven. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 NKJV)

Jesus Christ came to this earth to reveal God, to announce the coming of God’s kingdom and to redeem sinful man through Jesus’ death on the cross. The scope of Jesus’ mission includes the whole human race. And that includes you and me. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NKJV) Jesus Christ is the Savior. There is nothing that you or I can do to earn eternal life. “But I’m a good person. I’m not like those criminals in prison. I give to charities all the time. I love my wife and kids. I never speak against anyone and I’d give my shirt off my back to anyone in need.” That’s great!!! But all of this won’t earn you eternal life in heaven with Jesus. There is only one way. The One way is Jesus. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus Christ alone is the way of salvation. To imagine or proclaim that there are other ways is to mislead people and forget the need of His coming and our redemption. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NKJV)

Jesus Christ died for you and for me. He died so that we did not have to die in our sinful nature and end up in eternal darkness (Hell). Yes, hell is real. While He hung on the cross, He thought of you. He knew the plan He had established for your life and in that plan included coming to Him and seeking Him as your Savior. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. We are all lost. We fall short of the glory of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 NKJV) Propitiation or Atonement is the satisfaction of the righteous demands of God in relation to human sin and its punishment through the sacrificial death of Jesus upon the cross, by which the penalty of sin is CANCELLED and the anger and wrath of God is averted. “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:9-10 NKJV)

Friend, do you want have assurance that your sins are forgiven. All of them. And that you will join Jesus in Heaven once you die from this earth and be with Him forever? You know, it’s a choice. I don’t know if you want to make that choice. I don’t know anything about you. But what I do know is that God loves you with an everlasting love and it has always been His desire to spend eternity with you in Heaven. You are His creation and He wants to live in and through you and wants to pour out His love and favor over you. Remember, there is nothing that you can do to entice God to do this. It’s a free gift. There’s nothing you can do that would cause God to not love you. His love is everlasting. God just wants you to call upon His name and receive His free gift of grace and mercy through faith in His Son, Jesus. Do you want to do that today? It’s easy. It begins with a prayer. A humble prayer. And prayer is just conversation with God. Prayer opens up your heart and allows God to enter in. Will you do that today? Remember, it’s not the words of the prayer that saves you. It’s faith in Jesus Christ and belief that He died for you so that you could have eternal life. Words don’t save, Jesus saves.

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I’ve lived a life without You. I want to have eternal life and be with You in Heaven. I’m messed up, angry, addicted, confused, and critical. I’m told you have forgiveness for all of this. Please forgive me and cleanse me from all my sin. I’m seeking You Lord today and ask You to come into my life and change me. I am in need of a Savior. I believe that You died for me, Jesus and rose from the grave to defeat sin and death for me. Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice on my behalf. I give You my life and call You Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

If you prayed this prayer humbly before God, congratulations. Welcome to God’s family! The next step is to tell someone at a local church about it. Talk to a Pastor and let him know you prayed for Jesus to be your Savior. Get plugged into a church that now will disciple you and teach you the truth in God’s Word. God bless you my friend. I hope to see you one day in Heaven.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Zechariah 1:3 NKJV – Return to me

Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.

Now here’s a promise that we need to hear and receive. The faithfulness of the Lord is proven in this promise. If we return to Him, He will return to us. Yes, there are times in our lives when we think we have it all together and we lose the understanding that we don’t have anything without the grace of God. Yes, we get the “spirit of stupid” in us. No condemnation to anyone in this because I have been in that place where I felt that I’d set God aside until I thought I needed Him. And you know what? God has allowed that to happen. Why? Because I needed to learn AGAIN that I don’t have any control over anything. God has allowed me to follow the steps I order so that I can see that I’m walking down a path that leads no good way. Once I realize I’m headed for trouble, I’m lead to repentance.

Repentance involves a total turning away from sin and a turning to God. God’s return then blesses us with His presence. Scripture declares that all humanity has turned away from God, and must return to him. The term “repentance” is often used to refer to this process of returning to God and the inward and outward changes that it demands of people. Scripture also indicates that believers can wander away from God; they too must return to him. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way”. (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV)

Under the old covenant, coming near to God was closely linked with the sacrificial system, but under the new covenant Jesus Christ’s sacrifice has given believers free access into God’s presence. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV) Having a relationship with Jesus Christ gives us access whereby we can come humbly before Him and repent. His mercy and grace hears our prayers and His faithfulness will forgive us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

Friend, simply put, there are times when we place God in a position that is not #1. Yes, sometimes we will walk away from Him. God loves us with an everlasting love and His desire is that we have an intimate relationship with Him. “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) And when we repent and call upon His Name, God will hear us and return to us. God is faithful. “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9 NKJV) Maybe today you’re thinking that you need to return to God. Maybe today you’re thinking that the road you are on is headed for trouble. Maybe today you’re thinking about making a change. Just humbly quiet your heart and mind and go to God in prayer. Let Him know EVERYTHING you are feeling. Repent before Him and ask Him to return to you. Then, remain still and be washed in His presence. How do I know this works? I’ve been there.

Dear God, I humbly come before You in repentance. I have walked away and pushed You aside. I have walked in my own way and in my own effort and I realize now I have been wrong. Forgive me God and return to me. Bring me Your presence and Your peace. I desire to have fellowship with You. Thank You God. I receive You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!