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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Clean the windows

John 4:35  (ESV)
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Here’s an interesting fact about American church history that you may not know. Years ago, when the first New England churches were designed, they were built with clear windows rather than the stained glass ones we see so often today -- and the graveyard was usually built in the churchyard, which would normally be seen from the pulpit. Why?

It was so that the pastor could see the graveyard while he preached and be reminded of the urgency of his message! It was so he could be reminded that everyone who sat in the pews before him as he spoke, would eventually fill a place in that cemetery outside the window and ultimately have to stand before God to be judged. Can you imagine?

Back then, the first and foremost priority of the church was to bring men and women into a right relationship with the Lord. What’s happened to us that we’ve started building churches with windows you can’t see through!?

There is a harvest outside! Let’s clean our windows so we can see the work that needs to be done! Let’s make a commitment to share the good news with someone today!

Dear Lord, we pray that You would bring someone to us today that we can share Your Good News with. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The faith to leap

Luke 17:5-6 (ESV)
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The African Impala (an African antelope) are amazing creatures that can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance greater than 30 feet. Yet Impalas can be kept in a zoo inside an enclosure with a simple 3 foot wall. Why? Impalas will not jump if they can't see where their feet will land. Do we have something in common with these antelopes? Able to take great leaps of faith, but refusing to do it unless we can see where we'll land?

George Mueller said of faith, "Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends."

In Biblical terms: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

True faith cannot see how the landing will occur...it simply leaps under the conviction that it WILL occur. Remember, Biblical faith begins where our power ends!

Dear Lord, give us the courage to take the leap knowing that You are in control and when we leap in Your will all things will work out for the good. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, April 28, 2017


Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

I recently read a story about a rather pompous-looking deacon who was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. 'Why do you think people call me a Christian?' the man asked. After a moment's pause, one youngster said, 'Maybe it's because they don't know you.'

I hope this story is not true -- but I'm sure we've all experienced hypocrisy in our own lives. Mark Twain said "We're all like the moon, we have a dark side we don't want anyone to see".

Hypocrisy is a dangerous thing. It has turned a many a man away from the Lord to search elsewhere for answers. It can ruin an entire generation and more after them. But we have the opportunity to change those generations for the good of God's kingdom! Those of us who know and love God must never stop allowing Him to search our "dark sides" so that we can more effectively be used as vessels to lead the hungry multitudes to Him.

Let's come against the hypocrisy in our lives. Let's ask the Lord to search our hearts today and uproot the things that need uprooting. Let's give our all to God again.

Dear Lord, help us live our life in a way that is pleasing to You. Help us not be hypocrites in what we say and do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Press through

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In 490 B.C., the Athenians won a crucial and decisive battle over the forces of King Darius I of Persia, on a plain near the Greek coastal town of Marathon. Upon delivering the important message of their victory, the Greek soldier who came to tell the good news died -- he had completed the 26 mile course running and bearing good news, and did it totally unreserved until the moment he died. Today marathons are run all over the world, commemorating that very event 2500 years ago.

Anyone who has run a marathon can tell you how difficult the race is. No matter how good you are, how well trained, how prepared, there are times in the race you just want to quit. But those who persevere till the end receive a prize. Back in King Darius' day, one would win only a crown made of laurel leaves. Today, athletes compete for trophies and medals. But in God's race, we win something far more precious -- a crown that is incorruptible.

I find myself tired and weary today I bet you're tired also. You are overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed ... DONE! Be encouraged! Just when you think you can’t run any further, you can! C'mon! Press through and press on for the great prize! God is with us, strengthening our feeble knees and moving us in the right direction!!

Dear Lord, give us the strength that we need to run the race that is before us called life. Help us to endure even when it’s the toughest. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let's build on the rock

Proverbs 30:26 (KJV)
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.

Unless you're up on your biology, you're probably wondering, "What in the world is a coney?" I know was. After doing a little research online, I discovered that a coney is a rock badger.

These little critters make their homes in rocks and in sides of mountains -- only venturing away from their rocky homes in the quest for food. While the badger stays within his home of rocks, he is safe from his natural predators. He stays close to home because he realizes his limitations. Badgers recognize that they do not have strength within themselves --- their strength lies in the rocks they call home.

So it should be for us as believers. We, too, must recognize our limitations! We need to be aware that like the conies, we are feeble folk! If we venture too far away from our Rock, Jesus -- we will become vulnerable, easy prey! But if we stay within the shelter of our Rock, we can rest in the security He provides!

The winds and storms of this world can shake us up a bit -- but they don't sway the Rock! Let's make sure our homes are built in the safest place there is. Let's build on the Rock.

Dear Lord, thank You for being our rock. Help us always to rest in Your strength today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Feed the right wolf

Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[a] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I read the following story on line.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on in every person. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves'. One is evil -- it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good -- it is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grand son thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Need I say any more?

Let's start feeding the good wolf, that we might flourish for the Lord and do great things for Him! There's so much work to be done!!

Dear Lord, help us feed the good wolf in our life. Let us not give into temptation of the evil one. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Step out of the boat

Matthew 14:28-31 (ESV)
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water – he literally stepped out of the boat! Imagine that! But was Peter going overboard? No, I don't believe so -- he was literally taking a step of faith with his eyes fixed on the Lord!

Often, when we step out in faith – it may appear that we are going overboard, but are we really? Honestly, the question is -- "Can you really go overboard in your faith toward God?" I don't think so! When our passion is no longer on the Lord, then that's when we're going overboard.

When you love the Lord God with "all your heart, mind and soul"-- it's okay to step out and go all out for God -- because in God, the only way to go overboard is to not go overboard enough!

Dear Lord, we pray that we would take the step and go overboard for You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Isaiah 52:7-8  (ESV)
7 How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
    together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
    the return of the Lord to Zion.

In the 4th century lived a Christian named Telemachus, in a remote village, tending his garden, and spending much time in prayer. One day, he believed he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome, so he obeyed, setting out on foot. Some weeks later, weary from his journey, he arrived in Rome about the time of a great festival. The little man followed the crowd surging through the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators standing before the Emperor and proclaiming, "We who are about to die salute you." Then Telemachus realized that these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the cheering crowd. So he cried out in a loud voice, "In the name of Christ, Stop!" Yet the games began, so he pushed his way through the crowd, climbed over the wall and dropped onto the floor of the arena. The entire Colosseum watched this tiny figure rushing toward the gladiators, crying, "In the name of Christ, STOP !!!" The gladiators thought it was part of the show and began laughing. But in a few moments, they realized it was not part of the show, and then the crowd became angry. Telemachus stood his ground, insistently pleading with the gladiators to stop their bloody show, when one of them plunged a sword into the saint's body. He fell to the sand. As he was dying, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood there looking at the tiny Christian lying there dead. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others followed. In dead silence, one by one, everyone left the Colosseum. The year was 404; and that day saw the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Telemachus' martyrdom initiated an historic ban on gladiator fights by the Roman Emperor Honorius. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd. One tiny man's bold voice -- one voice -- reshaped Roman history, and saved thousands of lives, by fearlessly proclaiming the truth in God's name!

You may be a little man, or woman, spending time alone with Jesus. And He may be preparing you in the quiet place, for a moment when you will be called to raise your voice in some public square or stadium, to fearlessly stand for His truth, even if it might cost your life. Remember Telemachus, whose voice changed the world because God's word was behind it. Boldness is not bravado, but is rooted in deep conviction based on deep relationship and unswerving obedience. And it's effects resound through history. So cultivate that intimate relationship with Him, and be ready to be launched into the arena of death-dealing humanity. Your lack of fear and your love for others will reveal the Jesus whom you love, to many souls.

Dear Lord, help us not be silent but to speak out in Your name and power. We pray today that You will us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Be faithful where He puts us

Revelation 5:10 (ESV)
And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king." "I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you." "Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."

We are kings and priests! Furthermore, the Bible says that one day we will rule with Him! We need to get ourselves ready!

Are you weary of parenting, ministering, praying or whatever other assignments the Lord has given you for this season of your life? Be encouraged! God expects us to be faithful where he puts us, even in the small things. Stay strong in the Lord! God is preparing us for great things -- and our efforts for Him will not go unnoticed!

Dear Lord, we pray that we will be faithful in the positions that You have given to us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen

Friday, April 21, 2017


Proverbs 11:3 (ESV)
The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

An aging king woke up one day to the realization that should he drop dead, there would be no male in the royal family to take his place. He was the last male in the royal family in a culture where only a male could succeed to the throne - and he was aging. He decided that if he could not give birth to a male, he would adopt a son who then could take his place but he insisted that such an adopted son must be extraordinary in every sense of the word. So he launched a competition in his kingdom, open to all boys, no matter what their background. Ten boys made it to the very top.

There was little to separate these boys in terms of intelligence and physical attributes and capabilities. The king said to them, 'I have one last test and whoever comes top will become my adopted son and heir to my throne.'

Then he said, 'This kingdom depends solely on agriculture. So the king must know how to cultivate plants. So here is a seed of corn for each of you. Take it home and plant and nurture it for three weeks. At the end of three weeks, we shall see who has done the best job of cultivating the seed. That person will be my heir-apparent.' The boys took their seeds and hurried home. They each got a flower pot and planted the seed as soon as they got home. There was much excitement in the kingdom as the people waited with bated breath to see who was destined to be their next king.

In one home, the boy and his parents were almost heartbroken when after days of intense care, the seed failed to sprout. He did not know what had gone wrong with his. He had selected the soil carefully, he had applied the right quantity and type of fertilizer, he had been very dutiful in watering it at the right intervals, he had even prayed over it day and night and yet his seed had turned out to be unproductive.

Some of his friends advised him to go and buy a seed from the market and plant that. 'After all,' they said, 'how can anyone tell one seed of corn from another?' But his parents who had always taught him the value of integrity reminded him that if the king wanted them to plant any corn, he would have asked them to go for their own seed. 'If you take anything different from what the king gave you that would be dishonesty.'

'Maybe we are not destined for the throne. If so, let it be, but don't be found to have deceived the king,' they told him. The d-day came and the boys returned to the palace each of them proudly exhibiting a very fine corn seedling. It was obvious that the other nine boys had had great success with their seeds. The king began making his way down the line of eager boys and asked each of them, 'Is this what came out of the seed I gave you?'

And each boy responded, 'Yes, your majesty.' And the king would nod and move down the line.

The king finally got to the last boy in the line-up. The boy was shaking with fear. He knew that the king was going to have him thrown into prison for wasting his seed. 'What did you do with the seed I gave you?' the king asked. 'I planted it and cared for it diligently, your majesty, but alas it failed to sprout.' the boy said tearfully as the crowd booed him.

But the king raised his hands and signaled for silence. Then he said, 'My people behold your next king.' The people were confused. 'Why that one?' many asked. 'How can he be the right choice?' The king took his place on his throne with the boy by his side and said, 'I gave these boys boiled seeds. This test was not for cultivating corn. It was the test of character; a test of integrity. It was the ultimate test.'

If a king must have one quality, it must be that he should be above dishonesty. Only this boy passed the test. A boiled seed cannot sprout.' Never!!

We live in a society that has become obsessed with success and many show success at any cost. We say the end justifies the means. It is the tragedy of life. You see, failure often is an invitation to God to show that he is all powerful and does not need help to make us great or to bless us.

Dear Lord, help us to live our life with integrity. Help us learn from the failures we have and use them to make us great in Your eyes. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Let's be doers

James 1:25 (ESV)
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and respect in the face of opposition. During his last year in office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind him two gentlemen began whispering. "That's Winston Churchill." "They say he is getting senile." "They say he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more dynamic and capable men." When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to the men and said, "Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!"

Former U.S. Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said "The human race is divided into two classes -- those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, 'Why wasn't it done the other way?'"

How many times have we left a job, a project, a church, an important relationship because we just didn't find it good enough? Some of us make a lifestyle of it! But God wants us to be the kind of remarkable people who don't criticize, complain and go out looking for something better all the time. He wants us to be a people who determine to make a difference in the lives of the people and situations He allows us to face!

Your job is boring and you need a change? Ask the Lord how you might grow in your giftings there. Ask Him to help you come up with a creative solution and maybe even improve your workplace altogether! You want to leave your church because it doesn't have an exciting youth ministry? Perhaps the Lord is calling you to help start one up!

Let's be a doers! Let's be people of vision! There's much too much to be done for the Lord to be sitting around criticizing. Let's determine to stop being complainers and go forth and do great things for Him!

Dear Lord, help us be doers of the word. Help our eyes be open to the things that You want for us to do. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let us not place God in a box

James 1:17 (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

A few years ago, a rare archaeological discovery was made in Northern Israel. Archaeologists discovered a 1/2 meter statue of Hercules which they say was dated to the second century.

In Greek mythology, Hercules was the son of the Greek god Zeus, and the mortal mother Alcmene -- the wisest and most beautiful of all mortal women. Hercules was said to surpass all mortal men in strength, size and skill. How did Hercules become such a powerful mortal according to mythology? It was because his father was the Greek god, Zeus.

While this is a mythological story, we as saints of the most high have a real Heavenly Father who sits on His throne in heaven. While we live in these mortal bodies, we're called to do extraordinary things in this life! We have a Spiritual Father sitting on the throne who wants to give us wisdom from above. He wants to give us "peace that passes all understanding." And He's calling us to live a life outside this natural realm -- a life worthy of a "King and a Priest" of the Most High.

While Hercules was a myth -- our life is a reality -- the reality that God is our heavenly Father! Let us not place God in a box -- but recognize that God is calling us to live outside the box! Our life before we were born again was a "mortal" life, but having crossed over, we are now called to live a supernatural life! So live it -- because our life is an inheritance directly from our Heavenly Father!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the life You have given to us. Help us live that life in a manner that is pleasing to You. In the Name of Jesus Amen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A father's love

John 3:16 (ESV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Here is a great story I read the other day.
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak. "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in the story. The aged minister continued with his story. "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!', he threw out the life line to the son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister's mouth. "The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend. How great is the love of God that He could do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the life line."

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes after the service, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely said one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. Sorrow began to overtake the old man's smiling face as he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm here today to tell you that I understand more than most the pain God must have felt to give up His only Son. For you see, I'm the man who lost his son to the ocean that day, and my son's friend that I chose to save is your pastor."

Dear Lord, we thank You for the great sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Help us to share that great love with those we come into contact with today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Be free from the shackles of the past.

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I read a story about a man who was slowly losing his memory. After a lengthy examination, the doctor said that a risky operation on his brain might reverse his condition and restore his memory. However, the surgery would be so delicate that a nerve could be severed, causing total blindness.

The surgeon asked, "So, which would you rather have, your sight or your memory?" The man pondered the question for a while and replied, "My sight, because I would rather see where I am going than remember where I have been."

Satan is always trying to dig up the past and keep us all bound up in our failures. But be encouraged! Today is a new day! Today and every day we have a choice to make! Like Paul, we must choose to press forward and put aside our past. We must purpose to keep our eyes on the Lord, not on our successes or failures, but upon on what can we do for Him today!

Be free from the shackles of the past! Keep your eyes on the prize!

Dear Lord, help us to keep our eyes on the things that are before us and not dwell on the things that are in the past that will tear us down. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

For Easter empty is a good thing

Romans 6:9 (ESV)
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

When you think about Easter, what do you think about?
Easter bunny…
Family get togethers…
Pastel colors?

All of those things are good and cute, but when you think about the true meaning of Easter, those seem so empty. And when it comes to the true meaning of Easter, empty is a good thing!

Normally the concept of something being empty isn’t really a good thing is it?Empty…it brings about unneeded stress.
Empty gift cards…
Empty coffee cup…
Empty wallet!!
So, empty equals no good right?

You see everybody gets together for Easter to celebrate a holiday that is to them…empty

Lets look at some points about empty.

Point #1: Empty is a good thing.
When we look at Easter in the proper light, and we understand what really happened, and what was going on, and why we celebrate Easter…empty is a good thing.
When Jesus was crucified and nailed to a cross, they buried Him in a tomb and rolled a huge heavy stone in front of the tomb. Then three days later something unbelievable happened. The tomb was empty as we read in  Luke 24: 1-8

Point #2: Empty is proof.
Now let’s back up a minute. Let’s look earlier during Jesus’ ministry when he said had to go through this to his disciples. Mark 8: 31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.
Proof Jesus is who he says he is.

Point #3: Empty is powerful.
Jesus has power over death. Because Jesus died and rose again, because he Jesus is who he says he is, Jesus has power of sin’s greatest weapon…death.

You know for something to have life, something else has to die. Take for instance the piece of fruit you ate. It had to be disconnected from its tree, its life source; it had to die to give you life.

Jesus is the one who says I can give you life, I can make it so that you will never really die…that even after life on earth is done with, you will live with me forever….because that is how much I love you. The empty tomb shows us that Jesus has power over death, he looked death straight in the eyes, he took death’s best sting….and overcame it!! How amazing is that!!

Point #4: Empty is permanent.
Many people visit Jerusalem each year. Plenty of people walked down some of the same roads that Jesus may have walked down. One of the places people love to visit is the place where historians believe Jesus was buried…and guess what? Till this day the tomb is still empty!!!

Jesus wasn’t in the tomb 3 days after he died….he isn’t in the tomb today….and he never will be!! Jesus is God and is alive forever! His body wasn’t stolen, it wasn’t in the wrong tomb, it wasn’t some magic trick….

So, when we look at the true meaning of Easter and everything Jesus did for us on the cross…empty is a good thing!!

Empty means Jesus is who he says he is,

Empty means Jesus has power over death,

And empty is permanent…

Jesus is permanently alive and death will never overcome him again. When we decide to follow him instead of following our own selfish desires, we too can begin to really live!

Dear Lord, we thank You for what You did for each of us that Friday when You let Yourself become sin for each one of us. And thank You for conquering death and rising for the dead so that we someday may live with YOU forever in Heaven. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A true homecoming

Isaiah 40:10 (ESV)
 Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.

Isaiah tells us that the LORD'S Arm shall rule for Him and that He is coming with reward -- and a similar passage in Revelation declares that the Lord Jesus is coming to reward His saints.

We live this earthly life recognizing that we are “strangers and pilgrims” [Hebrews 11:13] in this world -- but are working now in full expectation of a heavenly future. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world!"

We know we were made for another world, where the treasure we have stored while working here will neither rust nor corrode, nor be stolen. If you're looking for a pat on the back now [not that praises shouldn't be given or received], you've missed the point of ministry.

This reminds me of a story I read once. There was a husband and wife who served many years in the ministry as missionaries in a faraway land. As they returned to the States, the arriving ship was greeted by a brass band. Their initial thought was that this was an arranged greeting to honor them -- but soon discovered that a dignitary was also on the ship. They collected their luggage and booked a cheap motel room. While sitting on the bed, the husband started to cry and said, "We've served God for many years. We've got no money, no house, and when we've returned home, there's not even anyone to meet us!" His wife looked at him and said, "Hon, we're not home yet!"

We're not home yet! Don't believe for a minute that your work in this world is going unseen in Heaven. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered unto the saints, and still do minister." [Hebrews 6:10] Let's be earnestly seeking His praise that when we see Him face to face, He may say to all of us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" A true homecoming...and a true reward!

Dear Lord, help us to continue to serve You knowing that we are not home. Thank You that You have a great reward for us someday in Heaven. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday 2017

Luke 9:23-24 (ESV)
23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

As creatures of comfort we try to avoid pain whenever possible—physically and emotionally. Even the most avid adrenaline junkie has soft spots. We cling to what’s secure, safe and feels good in our circumstances and relationships, naturally seeking to protect ourselves. A lot of times, that’s a good thing. We were designed to value life and preserve ourselves. On the other hand if we hold ourselves too tightly, we keep ourselves from following God with our whole hearts.

God often asks us to get out of our comfort spots and set ourselves aside for his glory. He wants us to trust him, but we can only do that when we let go and obey. More than likely, Simon had other things to do that day rather than get personally involved in Jesus’ scandalous crucifixion. His own plans and agenda where interrupted when he was given an order to carry the bloody cross for Jesus. It was hard work, bloody, and humiliating, but he carried the cross for Christ and walked with him in his most difficult hours. In doing so, he became part of the greatest story to go down in history.

What a powerful example of what Jesus had taught not long before. Even more significant is that what Simon was forced to do, Jesus did willingly. He subjected himself to public mockery, severe beatings, and one of the most horrific deaths the world has ever come up with. As the Son of God, he didn’t have to endure anything; he wasn’t a prisoner of the Roman soldiers any more than he allowed himself to be. Even in those last excruciating hours nailed to the cross, he could have opted out. But Jesus understood his suffering was not about him; it was the only way to restore sinners like you and me to our loving heavenly Father.

God doesn’t force us to follow him either. He doesn’t put the cross on us, but asks us to pick it up willingly. Our decision will cost us something; there’s heavy lifting, rejection, and personal interruptions. Actually, it will cost us everything. The only way to get the life we work so hard to protect is to give it back to God and trust him to take care of it.

Do we have it in us to carry the cross with Jesus like Simon did? Do we have it in us to follow Jesus’ example and submit ourselves to God even when it gets tough?

Dear Lord, we thank You for paying the debt of sin for us. Help us be strong enough to carry the cross that is before us each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Let the flame reach the finish line

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

In the Greek Olympic games of old, a unique race was run. The winner was not the runner who finished first --- it was the runner who finished with his torch still lit!

There are times in our lives when we feel like we just can't continue in the race. These are precisely the times when the enemy loves to assault us to the point of breaking and torment us saying "You'll never make it to the finish line, you may as well just quit now". This is the time we need to cling on to God's promises! The Lord will soon reward our diligence for all our toiling here in this world. Paul said, "Let us not grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we do not faint".

Let's allow God's wonderful promises to strengthen and comfort us in each circumstance so that we can run the race --- not to finish first, but to run together, side by side --- the flame of our torch reaching the finish line blazing brightly with fire for Him!

Dear Lord, we pray that as we run this race of life that our torch of Your love would continue to burn no matter the circumstances we find our self. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

God does have a sense of humor.

Psalm 143:8-9 (ESV)
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific Island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades. Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction. Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves.

Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed. As he waited, he prayed, "Lord, if it be your will, please protect me. Whatever your will though, I love you and trust you. Amen."

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, "Well, I guess the Lord isn't going to help me out of this one.."

Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave. As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave. "Ha," he thought. "What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor."

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on.

Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while. "Lord, forgive me," prayed the young man. "I had forgotten that in you a spider's web are stronger than a brick wall."

God's resources to protect you are vast. When you pray for protection, believe that He hears you and is able to manage it with great skill, and even perhaps a stroke of humor.

Dear Lord, help us when we pray to trust You with the answer.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pray for the spiritual blacksmiths

1 Samuel 13:19-22 (ESV)
19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” 20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, 21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them.

As we look at this passage we see that it speaks of a time when Israel had no blacksmiths to make weapons and was without any armament to defend themselves. The enemy had succeeded to disarm Israel by removing their weapons, and those who forged them! He's attempting the same tactic today.

A blacksmith is someone who works with raw material and fire, and who knows how to form and shape liquid metal into powerful weapons. Anyone who works skillfully and accurately with the word of God is a spiritual "blacksmith". The enemy, who is constantly attacking the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, also seeks to silence or remove the spiritual blacksmiths of this world. If he can get rid of them – the battle is over.

We need to pray for God’s blacksmiths because the enemy is after them. Together with the fire of the Holy Spirit they forge the raw material of His word into powerful weapons which shape and mold God's people into His image and equip them for spiritual warfare and fruitfulness. But we are all called to be strong in the word, and to take it up as our primary weapon. Every spiritual blacksmith, himself started out as raw material which was shaped and formed by the fire of God to fight in this battle with Satan.

So, as the battle rages, pray for the protection of God's "blacksmiths", even as you submit to His process of shaping you into one, yourself.

Dear Lord, we pray for the blacksmiths in our life. We pray for Your protection over them as the work to mold others into the people You would have them to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, April 10, 2017


2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)
So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used to tell of a time when there was a wave of petty theft in the Soviet Union. To curtail this, the authorities put guards up around the factories.

At a timber-works in Leningrad, one guard knew the workers in the factory very well. The first evening, out came Pyotr Petrovich with a wheelbarrow containing a great bulky sack with a suspicious-looking object inside. "All right, Petrovich," said the guard, "What have you got there?" "Oh, just sawdust and shavings," Petrovich replied. "Come on," the guard said, "I wasn’t born yesterday. Tip it out."

The worker tipped and nothing came out but sawdust and shavings. So he was allowed to put it all back again and go home. When the same thing happened every night of the week the guard became frustrated. Finally, his curiosity overcame his frustration. "Petrovich," he said, "I know you. Tell me what you’re smuggling out of here, and I’ll let you go."

"Wheelbarrows, my friend, " said Petrovich, "wheelbarrows."

Is your attention being diverted? Think about it. Are you allowing yourself to be preoccupied with something that seems innocent, while the real, significant, substantial matter is slipping by every day, unnoticed? The strategies of Satan to divert our eyes onto “sawdust” and miss "wheelbarrows" are many. What is the "sawdust" in your life, in mine? For some of us, it might even be a fascinated preoccupation with Last Days events, which diverts us from the mandate to make disciples...for others it might be neglecting our children for the sake of "ministry". If we take the time to look, each of us really knows how we miss the "wheelbarrows" for the "sawdust". But just like that savvy guard, we ought to wise up quickly and identify the problem. Right?

Dear Lord, help us be wise to the things that are happening around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Family lesson from elphants

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I came across a story that shows what happens when the family structure breaks down – the fun part of it is it’s about elephants.

In Kruger National Park in South Africa a group of adolescent bull elephants whose family members had been gunned down during a culling operation were transported to another wildlife reserve. While at the other reserve, the young elephants embarked on a killing spree that lasted several years leaving more than 100 animals dead, including 40 white rhinoceroses. To stop the killing, a strategy was implemented to ship in older male elephants from Kruger to establish a new male hierarchy which would keep the adolescent elephants in check. Thus the killing stopped.

Like human society, the elephant family defines established roles for training and discipline in family life. And like humans, young elephants require a prolonged period of nurture with family units to prepare them for adult life. Damage and loss in family life will produce painful and sometimes devastating results. In this situation the loss of the mature males was catastrophic.

Many of us in the body of Jesus have not had healthy parental role models, and some have had none at all; but our life as a believing family will generally begin to improve, correct, and heal the results of broken family life which many suffer from. Mature believers ought to be role models and examples, not only to our children, but also to younger believers.

Ideally, Christian leaders will be healthy role models, but many are themselves, deficient and unhealed in certain ways. We all ought to have grace when it comes to this area of body life. Our expectations will not always be met and may even be severely disappointed. Our saving grace -- and it is truly an amazing one-- is that we all have a Heavenly Father who is a perfect parent, and who can love and nurture us in both male and female ways, and who is also able to provide human role models and healers to help bring us to wholeness.

Be thankful for any good parenting you have received; forgive all that was negative or deficient. Then ask your Heavenly Father to parent you by His personal parental love and providence in your human relationships. This will free you from deep resentment and bitterness, and will begin to move you toward maturity and peace, and will prepare you to be a good parent and role model for others.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the good parenting that we have received.  Help us to be the parental influence that we should to those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.