Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Blessings to you, may the Lord shine His light and love in you and through you.

This Christmas season brings with it a whole new barrage of political correctness from those who don't want religious messages. Many object to the word Christmas and want us to celebrate the "winter holiday." Well, this year I have now heard people who have issue with the word holiday. These are the very people who need the Christmas message, who need the gift of love that Jesus brought to us. Each and every day this month we have the opportunity to interact with those who dislike the Christmas message. God has opened the door for discussion on this subject and we have something to share.

These people who react against the message of Christmas are the ones the Bible refers to in Eph 2:12, it says they are without hope and without God in this world. We have the hope of Christ in us and we can always be ready to share this blessed hope. As believers, we have the opportunity to be the light of Christ in these peoples' lives. Instead of taking issue with them and reacting at what they are saying, let us join in prayer for them and share the very love of Christ that can set them free.

For many Christmas time is difficult, there are so many who get depressed because they don't have family and they are alone. On top of that people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their very dreams are crashing down around them. We can make a positive difference as we pray for them and as we share with them. Take time to reach out with love.

John 3:16 - God so loved that He gave.... Let us love others and give to them, give and share and reach out with kindness and reality. All we need to is let the Lord love on them through us.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Cor 9:15)

God bless you all

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is time to step up our prayers and declare the Victory in Christ!

There are multiple calls to prayer for what is going on in America with the upcoming elections and the current financial situation.

It is a good thing to pray, to join together and seek God for our Nation at this time. We know that God hears our prayers and moves when we as His people join together in His name. There is power in prayer and the more we rally together in the Spirit the more we are going to see the Lord move in America and throughout the world.

However, we need to come to Him in faith, knowing He is able, and not come in fear. Put away the fear that is gripping so many people and causing them to loss hope. We need to make sure we have not been sucked into the fear and the hysteria that is becoming so widespread. Our God is able, He is greater than the circumstances, and in Him we have hope and victory.

Remember, as Christians, we are not of this world, we are citizens of heaven, we are part of the Kingdom of God. This time is not just about the political situation or the financial situation. It is not about Obama or McCain, and it is not about the stock market. This is prime time for revelation and revival.

Lift your vision up, pray big prayers, and help usher in the Kingdom of God.

The Lord is calling us to stand in the gap, to take up the cause of Christ, and make a positive difference in the world today.

It is in times like this that the hope of the Gospel, the truth of the Cross, and the light of Christ can be clearly seen. Rise up and be positive, be bold, be full of faith and confidence in the Lord God Almighty. He is able, and He is victorious. Don't give into fear or be distracted by the petty things and the worldly things all around, instead lift up the battle cry and declare victory in Christ.

Today is a day for victory. As followers of Christ, as believers, as members of the Body of Christ we have the answer. Today is the day for us to be the infuencers and to stop letting all the things of the world influence us.

It is time to rise up, it is time to put away fear and doubt - it is a time to stand in and declare the victory of Christ!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Prayer - it flows out of our relationship with the Lord

To many prayer and relationship with the Lord is a complicated thing. To some prayer is very difficult because they don't think they pray right or pray enough. However, Jesus portrays a different message about prayer. He demonstrated that prayer is about relationship with God, it is about being with Him and communicating with Him. When we are close with another person, we want to spend time with them and be with them – and we don't need to come up with a reason to do this, we just do it.

Here is a scripture about Moses that helps illustrate a key about relationship with the Lord.

Ps 103:7
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

Moses was the one God appointed to lead the children of Israel from Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the land of Canaan. Through this journey of 40 years Moses closely followed the Lord, while many of the children of Israel complained and dragged their feet. This verse gives us insight into the differences in the relationship God had with Moses, and what He had with the children of Israel.

The word "acts" means exploits, performances, and deeds.

This is much different than the word "ways" which means a course of life, or a road that is followed.

For the children of Israel this communicates that they saw the things God did, the miracles, the acts that He performed. This really doesn't demonstrate much relationship, it was mostly about what God did for them.

For Moses the key was relationship, he walked with God. He was the one that prayed, that sought the face of God, and the one who spoke face to face with Him in the tent of meeting (Ex 33:11). Here we see depth of relationship and friendship.

Let's follow the example of Moses and walk with the Lord, instead of just looking for the things that He can do.

God bless you all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Peace of God

One of the exciting aspects about prayer is that as you pray God enriches your life. Praying is one of those actions that works both in you and through you. A life of prayer is so much more than just asking the Lord to move in people’s lives or situations; it is not limited to reading off a list. Prayer is a sacred opportunity, when you pray you are entering into something divine.

As you read about the life of Christ in the Gospels you will notice that His praying, that His prayer life, was extremely important to Him. There were times that Jesus prayed instead of sleeping, or eating. To Him prayer was a lifeline, a source of life; it was an opportunity to have communion and relationship with the Father. As Jesus prayed and walked in close relationship with the Father He was able to experience the heavenly here on the earth. Yes, He did miracles, but there was more, there was the ability to walk in the world without becoming a part of it.

One of my favorite acts of Christ was when He calmed the storm; He simply spoke and brought peace to the situation. I believe this natural act was a representation of His spiritual life, that His relationship with the Father was so close that the clamoring circumstances (the storms of pressure and stress in the world) were not able to impact His life. The communion with the Lord was so real and so powerful, that the things of the world could not displace it.

This scripture from Philippians is one that represents some of what I am presenting to you.

Phil 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

In these verses we are exhorted to rejoice, to be gentle, and not to be anxious - and to pray with thanksgiving. The result of doing this is that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds.

The peace of God being a guard for our minds, what a blessing; that itself is a great motivation to be praying with an attitude of thanksgiving. In this hectic world we live in having the people of God is a miracle in itself.

But this is not the end of the story.

This section on prayer continues with verses 8 and 9. These verses speak of going past thanksgiving, and into a mindset that focuses on the positives.

Phil 4:8-9

8Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. 9The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

This section of scripture is very popular with many, and rightly so. It encourages us to focus on the heavenly (Col 3:2, set your mind on things above), and let those things be what we fill our thoughts with. Take a few moments and look at these verses in some other Bible translations; it will help to show you the wonder that is being presented.

The first section of verses, addressed above, spoke of the peace of God. As stated this can be a rare commodity in the world today. Knowing the peace of God is fantastic, and something that all people should be able to experience. This is great, yet the second section of verses, 8 and 9, go beyond just knowing an attribute of God. For as we focus on Him and press in and know the God of peace.

This is experiencing communion with the Lord, this is knowing Him, it is not knowing about Him or just seeing the things He does. This is having a relationship with the God of peace.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Worship - It's not just for Sunday Morning

The exciting thing about life with the Lord and our relationship with Jesus is that it is real and it pleases Him. We know that prayer is more than just reading off a list of needs, it is about a two way communication, it is about communion with the Lord. When we are active and involved with our relationship, when we really “enter in” we can find that it is not just only about praying. There comes a point when we realize that we have entered into the heavenly realm, and we have begun to worship Him.

The word worship comes from "worth-ship" which speaks of His worth - it's all about Jesus, He is worthy. As we read in Revelation we see that heaven is filled with worship and the focus is on the lamb who is on the throne. As we enter into worship, we actually experience a little bit of heaven on earth.

When King David set up what is called the Tabernacle of David, 1 Chron 15 tells about bringing the ark back, 1 Chron 16 tells about setting up 24/7 worship. Many of the Psalms (written by David and by Asaph) were written at the Tabernacle of David. If you keep a journal and write our thought and prayers to the Lord, you have probably already found that there can be a “psalm type” quality to some of the writings.

Worship is more than singing, it is about lifestyle and it is about obedience - and is about devotion and delight. It is about presenting ourselves to God as living sacrifices, which is our spiritual worship (Rom 12:1-2).

He is worthy, and as we live our lives focused on Him we honor Him and we give Him glory. Worship is not limited to a church service or to what many see as something spiritual. As we are walking in the grace He has provided and as we are faithful to what He has called us to, we are able to be a worship to Him. It's about entering into and living more in the Spirit, in the heavenly realm; and that is what we are made for. Heb 11:13-16 tells us that we are not of this world, but that we are strangers and pilgrims here on this earth - for we are part of His heavenly country.

Worship is about the Lord, it's all about Jesus, and we have such a privilege to be a part of His Kingdom. Each and every day we have the opportunity to experience this heaven on earth and worship Him. We have the opportunity to join in with the heavenly hosts, to focus on Jesus and to join in with the acknowledgment that He is worthy.

God bless you all.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Oh Taste and See

Ps 34:8 Taste and See that the Lord is good

Taste, perceive, and experience the Lord, who He is and what He is all about. For He is good - He is pleasant, agreeable, excellent, valuable, appropriate, becoming, kind, and right.

David, as the writer of this psalm wants to describe the Lord and his experience of the Lord. David expresses what is to desire the Lord in Ps 42:1,2 where he writes, As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When we taste something that is good we remember it, and if it is really good, something that really "hits the spot" than we not only remember it, but we then use that taste, that experience as a measure to compare other things against. When we have a really good meal, when we taste something wonderfully delicious, the ordinary stuff pales in comparison.

I am one of those who loves chocolate, but not just any chocolate, I am talking about rich dark chocolate. Years ago I was exposed to the wonder of Belgium chocolate; with its rich, smooth, and strong chocolate flavor. What this experience did was spoil me for this type of chocolate. Now, when I taste other chocolate, such as basic milk chocolate, it just does not compare to the rich dark chocolate taste I have come to love (all of you chocolate lovers can relate to what I am describing). I have now had enough of this dark chocolate that I don't eat other "lesser" chocolates anymore. I am totally spoiled for this taste, and have become as some describe, a chocolate snob.

Most of you can relate this to some kind of favorite food or drink, and can identify with having developed a "taste" for only the best.

Well, this is just exactly what David is speaking about in this verse. He is sharing that he has developed such a taste for the Lord, that he has become spoiled for the best. He is saying that only the Lord will bring him satisfaction, nothing else compares.

The Lord wants to spoil us. He wants us to taste Him and experience Him in such a real way that nothing else will satisfy. He wants to have the preeminent place in our life so that we will be fully satisfied in Him.God has given us so much, and He wants each and every one of us to know His love and His goodness in such a way that the things of the world will just not compare. This is not talking about a kind of religious works or will power that we can practice and do well enough to avoid the temptation in the world around us. Rather, this is talking about the reality and the power of the love of Christ that can forever change us.

Let us taste and see that the Lord is good. Let us experience on a daily basis the richness and satisfaction of a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This will enrich your life, add vitality to your prayers, and make you an effective witness of His love – because you will be a testimony of the truth of His goodness.

God bless you all.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

They Had Been With Jesus

Prayer in its basic form is simply communication, or communion, with God. Another way to say this is talking with God or just spending time with Him. It is about relationship and letting Him share His love and heart with us. Prayer is so much more than working through a "shopping list" or "wish list" with the Lord; it is about being with Him. Rom 12;1-2 tells us that as we present ourselves to God He transforms us, or starts changing us to be more like Him.

In Acts 4 there is an account of one of Peter's sermons where he proclaimed the message of the resurrection. Verse 12 – "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Verse 13 provides a powerful insight from those who were listening to the preaching, it reads; "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus."

What a powerful observation, the people who were listening knew that Peter and John had been with Jesus. This realization got the crowd's attention and the result was more people coming to Jesus. Because Peter and John had spent time with Jesus, their lives had been changed, people saw it, and it helped to change them too.

This happens with us too! As we spend time with Jesus it makes a difference in our lives, and the result can be eternal changes in the lives of people we come in contact with. God moves in many ways and answers prayers differently – and one of those ways can be the change He brings about in our lives.

Take some time to apply this, present yourself to God, spend time with Jesus, and see what He will do. Think of the powerful testimony and the powerful working of the Holy Spirit that can come forth from the people of God. May people be able to look at us and see that we have been with Jesus.

Let's make a difference by letting Jesus change us and show forth His love through our lives.