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Post  Admin on Thu 27 May 2010, 12:59 pm

"When We Are Lonely
Hebrews 13:1-5
God created humanity for companionship with Himself and each other. He doesn't want people to suffer the emotional turmoil of loneliness. That's why His Word contains pledges of His constant presence as well as instructions to prevent loneliness among church members.
The Lord stressed His constant presence because He knows our need for assurance, especially when we feel deserted or isolated. His vow never to forsake believers is found throughout the Bible: He spoke this comforting word to Joshua, the Israelites, and the disciples who were about to witness Jesus' ascension (Josh. 1:5; Matt. 28:20). Some biblical saints picked up the theme in their writing as well. David often sought God's solace (Ps. 25:16). And Paul preached that nothing compared to drawing close to Christ (Phil. 3:8). God wants every believer to implicitly trust that He is near.
The church is designed to meet our need for person-to-person intimacy. A spiritual body works much like a human body—parts are both independent and interdependent, each needing others in order to function well. We require support from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Knowing this, Paul admonished people to accept one another (Rom. 15:7), bear each other's burdens (Gal. 6:2), and avoid judging (Rom. 14:13).
Loneliness can cripple a person emotionally and spiritually. Human beings are not designed to walk through this world alone. We are made for relationship, which God gladly supplies. Lest we forget that the Lord is near, He gave the Bible this consistent theme: I love you and I am with you always."
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Post  Admin on Mon 24 May 2010, 12:05 pm

Subject: Unshakable Faith

"Unshakable Faith
Daniel 1:1-20
Daniel had unshakable faith. His belief in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under four different kings and faced many challenges.
Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith. Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that had been sacrificed to idols, he took a great risk by requesting other food. God caused the official to show favor to him (Dan. 1:5-9). Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10).
Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted God to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the Father. And his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—had unwavering belief as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they trusted that He would do what was right (Dan. 3:16-18).
Barriers to unshakable faith include pride (I won't admit I need God's help), arrogance (I know a better way—I don't have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord."
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Post  Admin on Fri 21 May 2010, 8:43 pm

"Troubled? Try Praise!
Deuteronomy 20:1-4
A lot of negative emotions accompany hardship: frustration, despair, fear, and doubt. People ruled by those feelings often make poor choices. This is why I recommend that you decide now to respond to troubled times the way the Israelites did: with praise. Even in the darkest hours, worshipping God fills the heart with joy and the mind with peace. A believer who is filled in this way can wisely keep a commitment to obey the Lord no matter what.
Worshipping the Lord enlarges our vision. By doing so, we begin to see how He is at work in the world, perhaps in ways and places we never noticed before. More particularly, we see what God is doing in our situation and notice areas where He requires our obedience.
Our human tendency is to plot a course through a situation toward the easiest solution. But believers who strike out on their own do not mature in faith. Moreover, they miss out on the blessings of following the Lord's plan. Stopping to praise can divert us from the easy way out and direct us to the right path—namely, the way of God's will. Taking a step forward in faith can be frightening. However, believers are completely safe risking their whole future on the Lord's faithfulness. He has never disappointed anyone!
It's hard to despair while honoring the Lord for His love and strength. We can dispel doubt by recalling His past faithfulness—and ease frustration by committing our future plans to Him. Praise is not the obvious reaction to hardship, but it is the wisest response."
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Post  Admin on Wed 12 May 2010, 11:39 am

"The Call for a Believer
2 Timothy 2:20-21

Years ago, God temporarily allowed me to have such physical ailments that I could do nothing but lie in bed. At first, this felt frustrating, but eventually I began to realize His plan for this trial. Life had become too busy for me to hear something the Lord needed to tell me. He certainly managed to get my attention by stilling my physical body!
After leading us to salvation, God still has work to do in our lives. If we listen carefully, we'll be able to hear our Father directing us in three ways.
First, the Lord calls us to sanctification, which means being set apart by Him and for Him. Through His Spirit, He continually reminds us to use His power and resources so we can obey and live righteously.
Second, He calls us to service. God has planned good works for us to accomplish (Eph. 2:10); He gives us abilities, time, and resources for that purpose.
Third, He calls us to accountability. Romans 14:12 teaches that one day we all will "give an account" of how we used the resources God placed at our disposal. This report will be based on two factors: the truth we've heard and the opportunities that were available. So we should be sure to listen daily as our heavenly Father reminds us to utilize everything we have for His glory.
Has life become so hectic that God's voice is inaudible? Foster your own ability to listen by spending time in the Word and by waiting for answers when you pray. And teach your children to tune in so they can hear Him too. What a waste it would be to tackle life without guidance from above."
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Post  Admin on Tue 11 May 2010, 10:10 am

"Fellowship with Jesus
Luke 10:38-42
Two sisters, Mary and Martha, were busy preparing for Jesus' visit. Upon His arrival, the first sister turned her attention to Him while the second was distracted by the preparations (v. 40). She became agitated that Mary was no longer helping. We may be thinking Martha is right—if there is still work to be done, her sister should not be sitting down. Then we hear Jesus' perspective. Observing that Martha was worried and upset about many things when only one thing was needed, He said Mary had chosen what was better (v. 42).
There are some important lessons to be learned from this story. First, to have fellowship with Jesus, we may have to leave some things undone. Jesus knew how hard the women had been working and how much Martha longed to finish the tasks. But their greatest need was to spend time with Him. Their focus was to be on listening, learning, and interacting with Him.
The second lesson is that our choice to forgo an activity may be misunderstood. Martha certainly didn't comprehend her sister's decision. What's more, if we fail to take time with Him, there may be unpleasant consequences. Martha's distraction led to worry and agitation. Jesus invited her to choose the better way—namely, to be with Him.
Establishing a habit of communing with the Lord is essential to our spiritual health. Connecting with Him regularly will sharpen our focus on what is most important and help us separate what is good from God's best. Even in our daily work, we can learn how to maintain an awareness of Him."
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Post  Admin on Mon 10 May 2010, 12:50 pm

"The Way of Faith
Hebrews 11:23-28

Many people consider Moses a biblical "pillar" of Old Testament days—a man without equal in godliness. Most likely, he'd have laughed at such a thought. Sure, He was called to do mighty things with the Lord's help. And he encountered the presence of the Almighty in a most unusual way. But like us, he was a normal, sinful human being. What the New Testament commends him for, though, was something we all can have: belief.
Today's verses comes from the passage known as the Bible's "Hall of Faith." Those honored with inclusion in this chapter were chosen because they acted obediently and God achieved great things through them.
We, too, can watch His hand in our lives as we act on faith. When we trust and obey, God demonstrates His power and shows that He truly is Lord. By operating out of His strength and through our weakness, He teaches us to rely upon Him.
That's not to say the path is easy; Jesus warned that the way of faith includes suffering. Indeed, many early Christians were beaten or killed for His sake, and faith is still met with harsh persecution in various places around the world. While that may not be our experience, each of us has encountered ridicule, misunderstanding, or lost friendships because we follow Christ.
Even mild persecution can cause us to question whether living out our faith is worth the sacrifice. Rest assured it is the best way to live. God responds to faith by enabling His children to endure difficulty, demonstrating His power in their circumstances, and providing contentment and joy."
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Post  Admin on Sun 09 May 2010, 9:37 am

"Our Greatest Treasure
Matthew 8:5-13
What do you consider your most prized possession? A house, car, boat, or cash would likely be high on most folks' list. But even treasures and luxuries won't bring lasting satisfaction—why else do so many men and women keep trading up and adding to their collection? Sadly, in the race to have "better" and "more," a lot of people overlook the most valuable asset of all: faith.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"—and this corresponds to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Faith isn't something we can work to obtain; rather, it is a gift from the Lord.
Consider the power that God makes available. Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed—one of the smallest seeds in existence—enables us to do miraculous deeds (Matt. 17:20). In the book of Acts, for example, we see that the apostles' belief led to numerous healings (3:1-8; 5:16). And Matthew's gospel tells us that through a Canaanite woman's faith, her daughter was freed from demonic possession (15:22-28).
Trust in Christ is even more than an avenue to miracles; it is the way to salvation. The Bible states that there is nothing we can do to achieve eternal security in God's kingdom; we are saved only by His grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).
The best way to move forward is by first receiving life's greatest gift—faith in the Savior. Romans 10:9 says to "confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, [and] you will be saved." Salvation and abundant life are found nowhere else."

"The Importance of Right Motives
1 Samuel 17:20-40
David found King Saul's hefty reward for Goliath's defeat interesting—in fact, he asked to have it repeated twice (vv. 26, 30). Money, freedom, and a pretty girl would make almost any teenage boy take notice! However, though David was young, he was not foolhardy. The reward was a nice perk, but it wasn't the young shepherd's motivation.
David's reason for standing against Goliath was to serve the Lord. The boy openly expressed his disdain for the giant: "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" (1 Sam. 17:26). Challenging the chosen nation, Israel, was the same as defying the Lord Himself. David was prepared to defend Yahweh's holy name and His people, even against this fearsome warrior. A right and holy motive gives a person confidence to obey God, even if doing so defies human wisdom.
It is possible for believers to seek victory over life's Goliaths with wrong motives. A lot of reasons that sound good are actually selfish. I'm tired of being in this mess. Or Lord, I can't run away, so You'll have to remove this problem. Some people try to bargain their way out of tight spots: If I had more money, then I'd give more to the church. Those promises are rarely fulfilled.
The right motive for facing a problem is a desire to follow, serve, and honor God, no matter what. Life's Goliaths do not just tax our comfort or wellbeing; these challenges can impede our obedient walk with the Lord. He will give victory to those who stand strong in His name."
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Post  Admin on Thu 06 May 2010, 8:50 pm

Communion with Our Lord
1 John 1:1-3
Genesis 1:27 teaches that God created us—male and female—in His image. As a result of Adam's rebellion, however, sin entered the hearts of his descendants and separated all of us from our Creator. With that act of disobedience, human nature became self-centered instead of focused on the Lord. The desire to spend time with God was replaced by a bent away from Him.
Knowing our dilemma—that we are enslaved by our "flesh" and unable to pay the penalty we owe—the heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus to stand in as our substitute. Because He is perfectly "holy, innocent, and undefiled" (Heb. 7:26), Christ alone qualified to carry our sins to the cross and pay our outstanding debt. When we receive Jesus' finished work on our behalf, we are acknowledging His Lordship over our lives. Then we are adopted into God's family and have fellowship with Him (1 Cor. 1:9).
Take a moment to reflect on Christ's "rescue mission." Jesus, the One without sin, chose to take on mankind's sins—past, present, and future—to save us from eternal separation from the Father. He willingly gave His life so we might be reconciled to God and live with Him forever. As we ponder this amazing demonstration of grace and love, our response should be a strong desire to fellowship with Him.
Child of God, you were designed to have sweet communion with your heavenly Father. Jesus died so that you and I might become part of His family. How strong is your need for fellowship with Him? Does it override the clamor of the day's events or get lost in the demands of daily living?"

"Draw Near to God
James 4:6-10
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." That is an amazing promise! As we open ourselves up to the Lord, He opens up to us. If we come to Him in submission, repentance, and brokenness, He rushes in with forgiveness, love, and faithfulness. There is no room for self-sufficiency or self-protection in this interaction. Only in the humility of helplessness will we discover the sufficiency of His presence.
At first glance, we may seem to be the ones who begin this open relationship, but in reality, it is God who has taken the initiative; we are merely responding to His overture (John 6:44). Many times He uses situations and difficulties to get our attention and stimulate our thirst for Him. What appears to us to be a painful or desperate situation is His invitation to draw near.
Even our greatest failures and sins can lead us to Christ, as we seek forgiveness from the Father. With an attitude of humble repentance, we can enter into a more intimate relationship with God. However, if you and I continue living in rebellion and are unwilling to confess and repent, He will not open up and reveal more of Himself to us. Sin always blocks our ability to know the Lord.
Have you let adversity or failure pull you away from God instead of toward Him? To put distance between you and Jesus, Satan will misuse the very situations that the Lord can utilize to draw you to Himself. Don't let the Enemy win the battle. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7)."
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Post  Admin on Wed 05 May 2010, 1:38 pm

"Special People
1 Peter 2:9-10

Whenever feelings of low self-worth threaten us with discouragement, we need to rely on the truth of God's Word rather than our emotions. Today we are going to examine four phrases that describe how the Lord sees every believer.

•A Chosen Race. God chose you and me to be part of His kingdom and family because He wanted us. No one who has been specially selected by almighty God is insignificant.
•A Royal Priesthood. As believers, we are children of God and, therefore, part of a royal family. In other words, we are "heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). Just as Jesus fulfilled the roles of both king and priest, so God has also entrusted us with priestly responsibilities of worship and intercession for others.
•A Holy Nation. The church—or body of Christ—is a group of people who are holy, which means "set apart" for the purposes of God. Our lives are never meaningless, because living for the Lord is the greatest purpose one can have.
•A People for God's Own Possession. You and I are the personal possessions of God (Deut. 14:2; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). He so values each of us that He sent His Son to die in our place in order that we could be His.
Each of these descriptions shows the high value God places on you. Satan may whisper lies of condemnation and criticism, but he can't change who you really are. Begin today to demonstrate the truth of Scripture by remembering your real identity and living out your high calling from the Lord."

"A Special Purpose
Psalm 150
The Lord has made us a special people in order that we may fulfill a special purpose. Isaiah 43:21 says, "The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise." An integral part of worshiping the Lord is proclaiming His greatness.
To praise our Father is to applaud Him for who He is and what He has done. This involves the release of our emotions, which frees us to express unrestrained adoration of the Lord. When someone loves another person, the most natural response is to speak highly about the cherished one. In the same way, those who love Christ find that praise comes easily to their lips.
Praising the Lord is good for us. In our self-centered society, people are primarily interested in getting their own needs met. Sadly, this same attitude has infiltrated some churches. But God doesn't want us to come to church concerned only about ourselves. Praise lifts our eyes to Christ and fills our hearts with the contentment that eludes us when we focus exclusively on personal needs and problems.
Although praise and worship are usually associated with church services, they ought to characterize us wherever we are. Some of the most intimate and precious experiences of worship can happen during times spent alone with God.
If you find that your praise lacks vitality, tell the Lord you want to learn to extol Him with your whole heart. The focus of worship is the key. Remember how God has cared for you, and look for daily evidence of His hand on your life. Then tell Him how great He is."
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Post  Admin on Mon 03 May 2010, 10:52 am

"God Has Time for You
Mark 10:46-52
Because time is such a precious commodity in our fast-paced culture, it is also a tremendously valuable gift we can give someone else. Jesus was the ultimate model of balanced time management. He demonstrated His love for mankind by being available.
Did you ever notice that there are no biblical accounts of our Lord hurrying? You will never come across a verse saying that He "ran to Bethany" or "rushed back to Galilee." Wherever the Savior went, He was sensitive to the needs of the people around Him and reached out in love to help. He wasn't so busy that He could not be interrupted.
Right before He went to the cross to accomplish the most important work of His life, Jesus stopped to help a poor blind beggar, who was a nobody in the eyes of society. Although the redemption of mankind was vitally important, the Lord cared enough about the suffering of one lowly individual to stop and do what He could to relieve the man's suffering.
If the Lord allowed Himself to be interrupted on the way to the cross, will He not also stop and listen when you call out to Him in your distress? He is never too busy governing the universe to hear His beloved child's cry for help.
In order to follow in Christ's footsteps, we have to ask ourselves, Am I willing to be interrupted? We are stewards of all God gives us, including our time. Consider this precious commodity a resource to be used when reaching out in love as Christ did. Give someone your time today."
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Post  Admin on Sun 02 May 2010, 5:09 pm

"A Time to Suffer
James 1:1-4
Yesterday's devotion noted that Joseph suffered 13 years before he was pulled from adversity. God could have fixed that mess more quickly or, better yet, prevented Joseph from enduring it at all. But can you imagine a 17-year-old boy skipping into Egypt and sitting down at Pharaoh's right hand? Certainly the Lord's power could make such an unlikely event happen. But would a slightly arrogant, ignorant Hebrew teenager make a good leader? Not until God made him into one.
Our suffering lasts only as long as necessary for God to accomplish His purpose. He is interested in equipping servants and molding followers rather than in providing carefree lives. Yet the Father deeply loves His children—that's why He shares in their hurts and limits the hardship so it doesn't extend one moment beyond its usefulness.
Adversity is God's sharpest and strongest tool for re-forming believers to Christ's image, but He will not force change. The Lord molds His children in proportion to their willingness to be shaped for divinely appointed work. We can refuse to submit to His craftsmanship, but rebellion only prolongs the pain. The wise approach is to say, "God, I do not understand why You have allowed this hardship, but I am willing to follow You through it."
The faithful child of God emerges from trials prepared and equipped to serve God. This is the believer who values obedience and prioritizes prayer and Bible study long before adversity comes. When the going gets tough, he knows that the Holy Spirit's power is sufficient to carry him through."
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Post  Admin on Fri 30 Apr 2010, 7:02 pm

"The Source of Our Strength
Ephesians 6:10-12
People can have very different reactions to similar circumstances. For instance, suppose two women from the same church are battling cancer—let's call them Jean and Barbara. Both are believers, but only Jean is living peacefully, even joyfully, through her ordeal—she long ago admitted her weakness and need for the Lord's intervention. While Barbara prays for God to "help me get through this," Jean says, "God, I cannot. Please carry me through."
Jean knows that Jesus Christ is the source of her strength, but Barbara is relying mostly upon herself. Everyone has a certain amount of fortitude, but that human capacity can carry a person only so far. Some situations will sap every drop of energy we have and still demand more. Through the Holy Spirit, believers can access an endless well of supernatural power to triumph in any trial.
However, the second woman is not receiving the same infusion of the Spirit's power as Jean. Barbara wants help—which is why she desperately calls out to the Lord—but refuses to admit that she cannot face cancer alone. In truth, we all dislike acknowledging that we are weak. Human pride is a potent force that must be uprooted before we can be filled with the Spirit's power.
Our weakness frees God to make His greatest triumphs. His power is loosed when His children admit they are not in control and can do nothing to help themselves. Only then do we find the energy, courage, and peace we need to go on living for His glory."
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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Apr 2010, 10:46 am

"The High Cost of Grace
2 Corinthians 8:9 Grace is God's undeserved goodness and kindness toward us without regard to our merit or worth. It is freely bestowed on all who believe the good news that Jesus is the the Son of God, and He died for their sins.
Although grace is free, it isn't cheap—the Lord paid a high price to obtain this blessing for us. He left the wealth of heaven to come to earth so that He could redeem us and give us the riches of His celestial home. Think of what that meant in terms of Jesus' earthly life:
The One who is Creator and Owner of all things lived on earth without possessions. He was born in a borrowed stable, had no place to lay His head during the years of His itinerant ministry, and borrowed not only a donkey for entering Jerusalem but also an upper room for the last supper. Even the tomb was not His own.
Christ also laid aside the glory He had with the Father. Although He never ceased being God while on the earth, His radiant divinity was veiled with human flesh. Being born as a helpless baby, Jesus gave up the use of His omniscience and went through all the stages of human growth and development. The Son of God descended from reigning on the Father's throne to washing the dirty feet of His disciples.
Christ became poor but lost nothing. Jesus regained the glory of heaven and brought us along. In following Him, believers likewise lose nothing and gain everything. We die to self and gain our souls; give away riches and receive heavenly treasures; and humble ourselves to be exalted in God's time."
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Apr 2010, 9:46 pm

"From Glory to Humility
Philippians 2:3-11
In order to save mankind and shower grace upon the undeserving, Christ had to make a voluntary choice to leave heaven and become a man. He took upon Himself the weakness of humanity while never losing His divinity. Though still fully divine, He did not cling to equality with God but limited the use of His supernatural powers and rights.
Having an incomplete understanding of all that Christ surrendered, we often lack an appreciation of the magnitude of His descent from the riches of glory to the poverty of humanity. He traded the praise and worship of the angelic host for the mockery and jeers of an angry mob. Laying aside His omnipotence, He experienced the weakness of fatigue and the need for sleep. Being immortal but wanting to pay our sin-debt, He had to take on human flesh in order to die for you and me.
The One who had authority over all creation (Col. 1:16-17) walked this earth in complete submission to the Father's will (John 5:19, 30), "becoming obedient to the point of death" (Phil. 2:8). Instead of relying on His own strength, He depended on the power of God (Acts 2:22). Jesus' manner of living not only accomplished our salvation but also gave us an example to follow.
Every believer has a choice to make: Will I live my way and demand my rights, or will I empty myself and submit to God? Only by humbling ourselves in submission and obedience to the Father will we experience the joy of the Lord and the glories of His eternal rewards in heaven."
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Apr 2010, 9:26 pm

"Learning to Know God
Jeremiah 9:23-24
Today's verses reveal that the Lord's top priority for us is to know and understand Him. This is a lifelong pursuit which extends all the way into eternity (John 17:3). If someone asked me, "Do you know God?," I'd have to say that I am learning about Him. My relationship with the Lord is becoming more exciting and satisfying as the years go by, but I realize that I have much more to discover about my Savior.
Since the Lord reveals Himself in His Word, that is where we need to start. Our understanding of who God is must match what Scripture says about Him; otherwise, we have deceived ourselves by trying to make the Lord into our own image. Descriptions of His characteristics and methods are scattered throughout the Bible. As you read, look for His attributes, desires, and ways. Consider how He responds in various circumstances.
Spend time interacting with the Lord in prayer and meditation. Discuss any insights you have received, ask Him about the concepts you don't understand, and consider how to apply what you have learned. Those who are willing to obey His commands and follow His guidance will discover how faithful He is. They'll also find that He is their most intimate friend.
Amazingly, the Creator and Ruler of the universe wants to spend time with you so that you can learn to know Him. It's as if He is saying, "I want you all to Myself for a little while." Take Him up on the invitation to come away to a quiet place and learn of Him."
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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Apr 2010, 1:33 pm

"Our Heavenly Place: New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:1-8
The apostle John heard Jesus promise to prepare a place for His followers (John 14:1-6). Many years later, he was given a vision of that place—and he watched the New Jerusalem come down out of heaven. The sight was beyond human description, but he did his best to put this heavenly vision into earthly language (Rev. 21:9-22:5).
John saw the brilliance of God's glory radiating from the structure, whose foundation gleamed with the dazzling colors of precious stones. The gates were made of pearls and the street of transparent gold. This 1500-mile cube-shaped city was designed by the Lord as a place for Himself and mankind to live in perfect intimacy for all eternity. In verses 3 and 4, he notes that "the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face."
Though we may have difficulty imagining the physical structure of this heavenly city, we have no trouble understanding the meanings of the things that are not in the New Jerusalem. There will be no pain, tears, mourning, or death. Sin and every one of its consequences will be removed. All frustration, boredom, and problems will cease. No one will have handicaps, and our bodies will never grow tired or sick.
When the difficulties of this life become burdensome, focus on your glorious heavenly future. The only trouble and pain you will ever experience is now. When your feet walk on the streets of New Jerusalem with the Savior, all the old ravages of sin will be gone, and your joy will be full."
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Apr 2010, 1:55 pm

God is always bringing us closer to Him.

"The Purpose of Life
2 Corinthians 3:15-18
Why am I here on earth? No doubt this question crosses everybody's mind at some point. Unscriptural theories of evolution suggest that we are merely taking up space and will return to nothingness when we die. Cultural propaganda says that we choose our own destiny—in other words, we can live for any cause we choose. But that is absolutely untrue! The Lord has placed you on earth to fulfill His purpose.
Our heavenly Father has a unique plan for every person's life, but He means for us all to share one goal: to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. The process of perfecting our moral, spiritual, and physical selves begins here on earth and is finished in heaven. Much of the work the Lord does in our earthly lives centers on our character. He shows us how to be as loving, kind, and peaceful as Jesus.
One would think that being like God's Son must require a lot of effort. But the truth is, we are not called to work at it. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer and then lives the life of Christ through him or her. Christians have the responsibility to be submissive to His guidance. That means we respond to every circumstance and event with this question: "How can You use this to make me more like Jesus?"
The sovereign Lord is behind everything that happens to you—either He directly instigates the situation or He allows it to take place. Both trials and triumphs are engineered to fulfill God's great purpose: crafting a life that reflects His love and glory to the world."
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Post  Admin on Fri 02 Apr 2010, 6:13 pm

> The Heart of the Cross
> 1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31
> Consider how illogical Jesus' crucifixion looked to first-century observers. The Romans, who were concerned with power, probably wondered how a mighty God could allow enemies to kill Him. The Greeks valued wisdom and no doubt thought, There must surely have been a better way than the cross! And the Jews, who longed for victory over oppressors, probably felt bewildered to see Jesus humbly let Himself be brutally killed.
> Yet, what seemed foolish was actually a brilliant plan. Through the cross, the Lord powerfully revealed His character. First, we see His unconditional love in dying for those who sinned against Him (John 3:16). Second, His righteousness is apparent—only the perfect sacrifice of His own blood could satisfy the penalty for sin. Third, He shows His faithfulness by redeeming us at so great a cost. And fourth, Jesus demonstrates power by conquering sin and death.
> In addition to all this, the cross exposed and disarmed Satan (Col. 2:15), who no longer has authority over Christians. Though he can tempt and try followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen and guide believers to victory.
> One last benefit of God's remarkable plan is that we are eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid. That gives us hope and confidence about our future.
> Though the cross seems absurd to those who don't understand, God's children know it is the Father's wise design. We have assurance for today and security for tomorrow only because of this amazing event that occurred over 2000 years ago. We have no need to fear, but every reason to hope.
"
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Post  Admin on Wed 31 Mar 2010, 3:35 pm

"The Heart of the Cross
1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-31
Consider how illogical Jesus' crucifixion looked to first-century observers. The Romans, who were concerned with power, probably wondered how a mighty God could allow enemies to kill Him. The Greeks valued wisdom and no doubt thought, There must surely have been a better way than the cross! And the Jews, who longed for victory over oppressors, probably felt bewildered to see Jesus humbly let Himself be brutally killed.
Yet, what seemed foolish was actually a brilliant plan. Through the cross, the Lord powerfully revealed His character. First, we see His unconditional love in dying for those who sinned against Him (John 3:16). Second, His righteousness is apparent—only the perfect sacrifice of His own blood could satisfy the penalty for sin. Third, He shows His faithfulness by redeeming us at so great a cost. And fourth, Jesus demonstrates power by conquering sin and death.
In addition to all this, the cross exposed and disarmed Satan (Col. 2:15), who no longer has authority over Christians. Though he can tempt and try followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit is there to strengthen and guide believers to victory.
One last benefit of God's remarkable plan is that we are eternally secure because of the price Jesus paid. That gives us hope and confidence about our future.
Though the cross seems absurd to those who don't understand, God's children know it is the Father's wise design. We have assurance for today and security for tomorrow only because of this amazing event that occurred over 2000 years ago. We have no need to fear, but every reason to hope."
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Pastor JOhn - Page 3 Empty "Eternal Life: You Can Be Sure

Post  Admin on Tue 30 Mar 2010, 10:45 am

"Eternal Life: You Can Be Sure

JOHN 3:16-17
I have heard many reasons why people are uncertain about their eternal future. "I sin too much," says one. "I don't feel saved, Pastor," says another. Someone else worries that she did not follow the "right procedure" to ask for forgiveness. Still others have erroneously learned from their families or churches that no one can be sure of salvation.
My response to all of these rationales is the same: If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that His death on the cross purchased God's forgiveness for your sins, then you are saved. And you can be sure.
God's promises never change. He said that those who trust in His Son would have eternal life (John 5:24). What's more, a believer cannot be snatched from God's hand (John 10:27-30).
The Lord loves us unconditionally. Nothing can separate a believer from God's love (Rom. 8:35-39). Satan's charges against us can never change how precious we are to our Father.
The Savior's work on the cross is finished. Jesus Christ made one perfect sacrifice—His own life. In this single act, He atoned for every sinful deed, word, and thought (Heb. 9:11-12, 26). When we receive His salvation, it is ours forever.
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins so we could live eternally in His presence. It really is that simple. Whatever your doubts, ask the Holy Spirit to confront them with biblical truth. He will quietly assure your heart that you are God's child forever (Rom. 8:16)."
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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Mar 2010, 11:09 am

"A Decision to Follow Jesus
LUKE 5:27-28
Yesterday, we saw how Scripture answers the question, Who is Jesus? Once we have that information, we must decide what to do with it. Some may desire to ignore the truth of what they have learned, but that's actually not an option. God calls us either to accept or reject Jesus as Savior; avoidance is actually a form of rejection.
How, exactly, can we accept Jesus in our life? We must believe in Him. This means placing confidence in the person of Christ, knowing that His death on Calvary's cross paid for all our sin. This is not merely an intellectual understanding; rather, it is a total surrender to Jesus as the only One who can forgive our sins, thereby bridging the gap between us and the Father. When we receive the Savior, we immediately become children of the King!
Believers must also follow Christ's ways. Allowing Jesus to live out His Lordship through our lives means yielding our will and desires to His. In addition, Christians are to worship Him. We ought to be so overwhelmed by His presence that our hearts and lips overflow with adoration.
One last thing, of course, is that we're to share the truth with others. Just before ascending into heaven, Jesus commanded His followers to spread the good news of salvation to the entire world (Matt. 28:19-20).
We are blessed to have God's Word readily available. And this benefit leaves no excuse for ignorance regarding the person of Jesus Christ. Once we know who He is, we must decide whether we will surrender our lives to Him. He longs for an intimate, personal relationship with you. Will you let Him?"
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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Mar 2010, 12:09 pm

"Jesus: To Believe or Not to Believe
MATTHEW 16:13-20
When Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:15-16). The Lord asks us the same question, though not with audible words. Let's check Scripture for answers.
First, Jesus is God the Son—a member of the Trinity. After Christ's baptism, the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and the Father Himself announced, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matt. 3:17).
Next, Christ is the Savior of mankind. When Adam and Eve chose to sin against Jehovah, there was a separation between God and man. In Old Testament times, an animal sacrifice was necessary to atone for the wrong in one's life. But that was a temporary solution, until Jesus—the perfect sacrifice—atoned once for all sin. He was the only One who could satisfy God's requirement for a Savior, because He had no sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
Finally, He is our High Priest (Heb. 4:15; 7:26). In Old Testament times, a mediator—often a temple priest—interceded between God and man, offering an animal's blood as atonement for sin. Jesus' death and resurrection took away the need for such sacrifice. Christ now stands as our intercessor, the bridge between Holy God and sinful man.
Who do you believe Jesus is? These characteristics of Christ are taken directly from the Bible. Do they align with your understanding? Check your view of Him against the standard of Scripture. Then ask the Lord to reveal Himself so that you can know Him accurately and personally."
"The Priority of Prayer
MARK 1:35-37
Our Father does not consider prayer an optional part of the Christian life. The Bible tells us that two-way communication with God is essential.
The discipline of prayer includes . . .
1. An expectant attitude. We must believe that God has something important to say to us. It could be a strengthening reminder of His love, insight into our situation, or the answer to a petition. With such an outlook, we'll be listening more than we are speaking.
2. A focus on our heavenly Father. When we praise the Lord, our minds will let go of worldly things and center on Him. Thinking of His perfect character and sacrifice at the cross readies us to hear from Him and obey.
3. A willingness to see ourselves the way that God does. The Holy Spirit works in us to produce Christlikeness. That means uncovering what is unholy and replacing it with righteousness. It also includes recognizing when we demonstrate godly character (Gal. 5:22-23).
4. A surrender to His leadership. When we submit to Him as Lord, our petitions will be more in line with His will.
5. A regular "appointment." Developing a strong faith-life takes commitment. Daily activities will crowd out time with the Lord unless we set a time and place to pray.
Everywhere Jesus traveled, the multitudes approached Him with their needs. Even though there were many people to help, our Savior regularly took time to pray. He'd step away from the demands of the crowd to interact with His Father (Mark 6:45-46). Won't you give prayer that same priority?"
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Mar 2010, 12:58 pm

"A God of Grace
JAMES 1:17-18
The Lord's character is often distorted by the world. To unbelieving eyes, God can appear as a harsh ruler who is quick to condemn any disobedience. Somehow that false view has infected our churches as well. There are believers who approach the Lord as if He were a stingy old man doling out shreds of love, grace, and forgiveness. But spiritual poverty is not the Father's plan for His children!
At salvation, we received every good gift that God intends to give us: forgiveness, redemption, righteousness, a place in His family, and much more. There is a misguided notion among some believers that the Lord's grace to us increases as our faith matures. If that were accurate, we would be earning His blessing though works. The truth is that spiritual growth broadens our capacity to recognize and enjoy His grace in our lives.
Sadly, plenty of people feel unworthy to enjoy the Lord's blessings. Thankfully, we do not have to merit His goodness, because none of us would be able to do so. In fact, Ephesians 2:8-9 underscores the fact that God operates on the basis of His grace rather than our works. Think of how big, wide, and deep His love is—He adores, blesses, and showers us with grace because He wants to and not because we earn it.
Our heavenly Father is not stingy. He opens His hand wide to pour out grace upon us. Instead of sampling meager bites of His Word and His presence on Sunday, we ought to devour whole "meals" every day. Follow the psalmist's advice to "taste and see that the LORD is good" (v. 34:8)."
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Mar 2010, 12:47 pm

"The Riches of God's Grace
EPHESIANS 1:3-9
Imagine an elderly couple living in a dilapidated farmhouse. They can barely afford a few groceries and the medicines they need. There isn't even enough money to keep the heat on all the time.
Then a short while after they both have died, a huge deposit of oil is discovered on the old homestead. All their years of poverty were lived out sitting on top of untapped wealth.
Sadly, many Christians go through life like that elderly couple. These believers have distilled Christianity down to its most basic parts: God saved me and someday I'll go to heaven. Jesus Christ offers an abundant life now (John 10:10), but they aren't living it. Spiritually poor Christians fail to tap into the reservoir of God's grace. Eternity begins the moment we are saved; there is no reason to wait until heaven to start enjoying the Lord's riches.
God has lavished His grace upon believers. We receive righteousness, freedom from legalism, and an unbreakable union with Him. In return, He desires that we invest time and energy in our relationship with Him. When believers open themselves to God, then everything He has to offer flows freely into their lives. Our connection to Him makes it possible for us to live joyful, contented lives rich with blessing.
True wealth isn't measured by your bank account or automobile. Believers, as joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), have access to God's riches, which include unspeakable joy, unconditional love, and peace beyond understanding. Invest in your spiritual life, and enjoy these blessings of grace."
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Post  Admin on Tue 23 Mar 2010, 11:31 am

"A God We Can Trust
PSALM 37:1-9
Throughout Scripture, we are admonished to trust in the Lord. When times are good, this doesn't seem like a difficult task. However, when trials arise, it is much more difficult to rely fully upon Him.
Yet it is always important for us to place our trust in the living God, especially when everything around us seems to be falling apart. That may well have been the situation that inspired the writing of Psalm 37.
Notice that in today's passage, the psalmist mentions several times that we should not fret (vv. 1, 7, 8). Distress over a situation is the opposite of trust, and fretting has ill effects. For one thing, it can take a toll on physical and emotional wellbeing. Another problem is that feeding worry can lead to evildoing: by attempting to manage the situation quickly in our human way, we may miss God's best solution. A third consequence is that others may not enjoy our company, so we could lose our effective witness for the kingdom.
What, then, is the antidote for worry and stress during a difficult time? Absolute trust in Christ. Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." This means we are to lay all our burdens at His feet, believing that He is good, loving, and in control.
When trials arise, do you run toward the Lord? Or do you try to handle things yourself? He who created you can handle any difficulty and pain, even when it seems overwhelming. What He desires is your surrender and trust. It is in His arms that you will find rest for your soul."
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