As we spend time in the Word of God, the Bible, we notice that God intends to bless those that are His. One definition of the word "blessed," is to be endowed with define favor and protection. This is the very expression of God's will toward the person that loves Him and gladly obeys Him. We see the exchange of blessing and obedience in the First chapter of Psalms: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit on the seat of scorners..." Three acts of obedience. Three lifestyle choices that please the Lord and opens the windows of blessings from His hand. To paraphrase these verses, we could say the blessings of God belong to the person that does not make decisions for his life based on unholy wisdom, does not hang-out with those opposed to God's plans and purposes and does not make a place to exchange conversation with mockers. Instead, this person "delights in the law of the Lord and meditates in it day and night," which brings it own reward: "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." God blesses, rewards this person with divine favor and protection. As we delight in His Word and keep it ever before us in mind and word, we enter into a blessed state like unto a tree that is abundantly watered. In the dry climates of the world, the only trees that prosper naturally are those planted by streams of water. Water is life giving. An abundant water supply to a tree is like a banqueting table for humans; satisfying in every way. The tree responds to the river of waters by producing fruit plentifully and resisting the damaging elements that would wither it's leaves. Similarly, the Word of God, the Living Water of God, effects the thirsty soul. When we plant ourselves in His Word, we are insured to bear fruit that is bountiful and beautiful to our Lord. The elements of the enemy designed to eliminate us will themselves be eradicated by His truth flowing through our being. We become blessed to be a blessing. Let us seek the blessings of the Lord through obedience. Amen.
Loneliness pervades our society like a dark specter haunting it's victims, relentlessly. Even in a crowd, congregation or small group loneliness stalks. The enemy is merciless in his scheme to bombard our hearts with feelings of isolation. The overwhelming emotions of insignificance and worthlessness team up with their cousin loneliness to deliver a triple whammy. No one is immune from their ever-present pressures to create despair and disillusionment. They are well versed in their incessant monologues: "No one cares about you." "You might as well be dead." "No one wants to be with you." ....it goes on and on...
But, for the believer, though we are not immune from the attack of the enemy, we do have a defense..."an ever present help in trouble."(Psalms 46:1-3) Jesus encourages us with this promise: "I will never leave you nor forsake you." We are not alone. And we are important to the Lord of Glory. So important that he would leave the riches of heaven and forever humble himself to take on the form of a man to serve mankind; a service of humility that included death, even the death of the cross.
Never alone and never without watch care over us. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Lord's permission, how much more valuable are you to Him? Specifically, the Lord instructs: "cast all your cares upon me for I care for you." He cares.
He purchased you with his very life blood. He died that we would not have to die or wish to die. He wants for us life and life abundantly. He is with us and we are not alone. Repeatedly, Jesus calls to us to come and be with him. "Come unto me all ye that are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest."..."Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with me." Rest and fellowship. When we understand that we have constant access to the Lord of Glory, loneliness silently slips out the side door of our souls. Jesus bids us come. Jesus the very Son of God desires to give rest and to receive from us our hearts fellowship in communion of soul. He will not disappoint. Let us look to Him the author and finisher of our faith...He alone is worthy of our passionate devotion and friendship. He is the antidote to loneliness, despair, depression, and death. He is life. Rest in Who He Is. Amen.
Serving the Lord is an expression of our love and devotion to him. We are ever mindful that He came to save all mankind and like the Apostle Paul we can each say that of all sinners we are the chief. Without His mercy and grace we are all lost and undone. The Lord knows all about our darkest secrets and loves us still. In fact it is written, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." His love for us is truly wider than the ocean. Many of us settle into our relationship with forgiveness and never realize that the "package" of salvation includes so much more. In fact, the Lord revealed to King David exactly what He has freely provided in the atonement.
Psalms 103 states : Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His Holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits. He forgives me of all my iniquities, He heals me of all my diseases, He saves my life from destruction and crowns me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He satisfies my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed as the eagle.
At a time when the whole nation has it's attention turned to "Affordable Insurance" plans and the benefits that are included or not included in the government package known as "Obamacare," we find the Psalmist clearly stating what God Almighty has done for all that call upon His name.
1) He forgives all our iniquities. There is absolutely no sin that the Lord decides is too horrible to be forgiven. The blood of Jesus is greater than all the sins of the world compacted into one place and piled up high into the heavens. I John 1:9 assures us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Only God Almighty is capable of dismissing our transgressions and creating in us a new heart.
2) He heals all our diseases. As you read the gospels in the New Testament, you are confronted with the compassion of Christ for all who are in need: spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. What ever the need, whenever he was asked, he met the need totally and completely. Everyone that came to Jesus was healed. He denied no one access to his healing virtues. We are reminded in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He freely gives to meet all our needs. Healing is one of the benefits of the total package we call "salvation."
3) He saves my life from destruction and crowns me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Many times in our lives we come face to face with destruction. It can be perpetrated upon us by others or it can be of our own misguided makings. Either way, in His great mercy,He intervenes to save us. Then after saving us from our own devices, he graciously crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies. In other words, He is not mad about it. His heart to rescue does so in order to keep us back from going down into the pit. He has no hidden agenda and I have never heard him say "I told you so." He saves and then he mercifully restores. He is awesome!
4)He satisfies my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed as the eagle. The Lord's benefit package includes caring for our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. He is the God that is always enough. He is the God that set a banqueting table in the wilderness and fed 5000 people from 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. He is GOD!!! We need not fear starvation or lack on any level. "Don't worry about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your request made known unto God." Phil. 4:6. His desire is that every need is met as only the Great God of the Universe is accustomed to meeting needs: extravagantly! He has promised that those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Remind yourself everyday of the great benefits of your salvation. Press into the Lord where every need is met in abundance. Do not settle for less than what Jesus died to provide. Amen.
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; His going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Hosea 6:3
Then we shall know the Lord, IF we follow on to know the Lord. It seems that our "knowing" the Lord is not a one time event. It is not a casual encounter that allows us to consider ourselves in covenant with the Lord of Glory. How many close friends do we have that we have not cultivated that relationship by spending time and sharing heart issues. Will our friendship with Jesus be any different?
Knowing God is a life-long pursuit that requires passion and purpose. Jesus made it crystal clear to His disciples: " He who has put his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of me." A half -hearted follower of Jesus is a follower in name only. Again, the Words of Jesus initial our hearts with passion for His Kingdom reign: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and with all your strength." Passion is the fire that burns in our hearts to KNOW HIM AND MAKE HIM KNOWN. What shall we then say about purpose? His purpose for our lives are made known to us as we know HIM...purpose apart from passionate relationship is only dead works. We pursue Jesus for who he is. We find purpose in pleasing Him and walking in them because "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
Jesus reminded His disciples that "apart from me you can do nothing." Truly it is IN HIM that we live and move and have our being. Let us KNOW the Lord by following on to KNOW the Lord! Amen!
I Thessalonians 4:13-1813 Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and came back to life. We also believe that, through Jesus, God will bring back those who have died. They will come back with Jesus.15 We are telling you what the Lord taught. We who are still alive when the Lord comes will not go into his kingdom ahead of those who have already died. 16 The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. 18 So then, comfort each other with these words! There are many false doctrines being embraced in the Body of Christ concerning the Second Coming of the Lord. One of those being put forth is that Jesus has already come back. However, according to the above verses from I Thessalonians, there are specific indicators of His coming that we can all observe. We do not have to guess or wonder if we have somehow missed His appearance. Verse 15 announces that the Apostle Paul is repeating verbatim what the Lord himself taught: 1) The Lord will come from heaven with a command 2) with the voice of the archangel and 3) with the trumpet call of God ...Thankfully, the Lord takes all the guess work out of the equation. We do not have to be anxious, wondering if we have missed His coming. At the command of God Almighty, with the voice of the archangel and the simultaneous blowing of the trumpet of God the Lord will descend!! The first chapter of the Book of Revelation, verse seven further explains: "Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him--even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!" We will all see Him descend from heaven and place His feet on the exact spot from which He ascended over 2000 years ago. ( Acts 1:11 and Zechariah 14:4) Do not be troubled about false doctrines that leave us abandoned to our own devices. God has promised and it shall be as He has written. "It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. " I Cor. 15 52
So then, my beloved brothers, let us all lay aside every weight and every sin that does so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. JESUS IS COMING SOON!!!
"For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the 'right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation.'" 2 Cor. 6:2
Procrastination is not necessarily evil. We all tend to put off today what we perceive as being easier to take care of tomorrow. Part of that mind -set is managing our energy and organizing our priorties. However, when it comes to our eternal destination we are better served to hear and obey the Lord as soon as we recognize His voice...
Some times, we put off making spiritual decisions because we are confused about God's will for us. What is it that He requires of me? If we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, as revealed through the Holy Scriptures we find this about the will of God: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9 The Father in His heart of love wants none to be seperated from Him for eternity. Therefore it is His desire that we all acknowledge His eternal sacrifice of the spotless lamb of God: Jesus Christ. Jesus is our salvation. Accepting Jesus is the Open Door into the spiritual dimension that brings meaning to our lives, cleansing of our sins, and the resurrection power of God to overcome the forces of evil that try to destroy us. Besides Him there is no other. If you have heard His voice calling, do not put it off another day. Pray now and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, fill you with His Spirit, and become Lord of your life....you have only today....Hebrews 3:15 admonishes us: "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." ....for, "...if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved....for all that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10: 9-13.....A word of wisdom from my old grandmother (may she rest in peace) "never put off till tomorrow what you can do today!" Amen.