WHAT YOU TREASURE REVEALS YOUR HEART’S FOCUS

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.  “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. —Luke 12:22-34

            Here is what Jesus tells us about our lives:

  • Don’t be anxious about your life.
  • Don’t be anxious about what you will eat.
  •  Don’t be anxious about clothing.
  • God feeds the ravens and you are more valuable than they.  He will feed you.
  • A person cannot add time to the length of his life so don’t worry about the rest.
  • God clothes the flowers and you are more valuable than they.  He will clothe you.

Yes, God will take care of us and we need not get tied down with the temporal wealth of this world.  No, instead we are to focus on “moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”  Truly what we treasure is where our heart is.  So, what is it that you treasure?  Where is your heart focused?  Where your heart is focused will truly tell you what you really treasure.  So, what do you treasure?  Where is your heart’s focus?

Dear Father please help me to focus on that which is eternal and not the temporal.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

HEARING AND REJECTING

HEARING AND REJECTING

“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” —Luke 10:16

            All those people that you have talked to over the years about Jesus and are rejecting the gospel you have told them are not only rejecting you, but they are rejecting the Father and the Son.  On the other hand, all those who listen to what you have to say about Jesus are listening as though they are listening to Jesus Himself.

            Take heart!  Yes there are many who will not hear you because they will not want to hear Jesus.  You represent Him.  You are His ambassador.  But then there will be those who listen to you and receive the Lord Jesus and live for Him.  So “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).  Be faithful to what God has called you to.  Keep going, keep serving, keep trusting, keep expecting… again, “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Do not give up…

            The trouble is with many who follow Jesus is that they give up.  They give up on individuals who have yet to trust Jesus and receive Him.  They give up on a brother or sister they have a conflict with.  They give up on a local church they have been a part of.  Those who give up are looking for easier, more pleasant and “greener pastures” however they define it.  They do not appear to be serving Jesus otherwise they would be in the “trenches” and stay in the “trenches.”  Comfortable Christianity, consumer mentality is what many who profess Jesus look for.  It is truly sad when those who profess Jesus look to what is important only to them and not to others in the body of Christ.      

            Brother and sister… stick to your post.  Be faithful in the race marked out for you.  Don’t take a path only because it appears easier.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  He that began the good work in you will finish it (Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 1:6).  Don’t give up!

Dear Father please help me stick to the place of service You have called me to.  I trust You that in due season there will be a harvest for Your honor and glory.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son.  So be it!

FULFILL COMMITMENTS

FULFILL COMMITMENTS

I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. —Psalm 116:14, 18

As a leader in a local church for 25 years and a follower of Jesus for 40 years I have seen many who call on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ not fulfill their commitments they have made to the Lord and to His people.  Is it only in the church that people walk away and drop their commitments or do they do this at their work as well?  Do people often just tell their leader at work, “I am leaving for another job” and leave immediately with unfinished work left now for someone else to pick up and finish?

I know our local part of the body of Christ meets regularly for ministry prayer for guidance in ministry.  Once each year we commit finances, time and other resources to accomplish what the Lord would have us do for the year.  People agree with the focus our Lord would have for us… and then some walk away during the year leaving the rest of that local body to fulfill their portion of a commitment they are no longer fulfilling.  How sad this is?  Commitment is lacking in so many churches as a fellow pastor recently shared with me which came up at a seminar he attended.  Yes, how sad is that?

Dear Father regardless of how things go in my life may I fulfill the commitments I have made to You and to Your people.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  So be it!

UNDERSTANDING FORGIVENESS ENCOURAGES LOVE

UNDERSTANDING FORGIVENESS ENCOURAGES LOVE

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. —Luke 7:47

            Do we understand how much we have been forgiven?  Those who love much are those who have a greater understanding of how much they have been forgiven.  Those who love little do not see how much they have been forgiven.

            You might hear someone say, “I lived a pretty good life before I received Jesus into my life.  I did not get into any bad stuff.”  This person does not understand how their “good life” without Jesus was not good.  It may be good when compared to other people, but to compare their life before a righteous and Holy God would not be good at all.

            One wicked, evil and filthy sin would be enough to keep a person from being in relationship with God and out of heaven forever.  Do we understand this?  Before our righteous and holy God one sin is an eternal issue and would doom us forever.

            Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we have sinned more than one time… much more than one time.  Our sin is eternally much more filthy than the most filthy pig pen on the planet and so was the stench of our sin before our righteous and holy God.  Do we understand this?  Do we understand how much we have been forgiven?  The more we understand of what God has done for us who have “called on the Name of our Lord Jesus” the more love we have for Him, His ways and other people.  Your love for Him is directly related to how much your understanding us of your sin forgiven.

            The one who understands they have been forgiven much loves much.  The one who only understands they have been forgiven little loves little.  So, how much do you love?  Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me” (John 14:23-24).  Love for Him will be seen by obedience to His will.

            How will I show my loving obedience to Him today?  Will I spend time with Him— talking and listening to Him?  Will I share His gospel today?  Will I somehow be involved with discipleship today?  Will I fellowship with another believer or believers today?  Will I seek to live holy today?  Will I seek to serve today?  Will I be thankful today?  Will I ask for forgiveness and be forgiving today?  Will I keep away from temptation today?  Will I remember where real power comes from today?  Will I?

Dear Father out of my love for You may I seek to faithfully be and do what You desire today.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  So be it…

RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOICES UNDER THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD

RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOICES UNDER THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be registered, each to his own town.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. —Luke 2:1-5

The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. —Psalm 113:4

            “In those days” is a specific period of time that a certain “Caesar Augustus” was in power and he decreed a census.  It was our Sovereign Lord that decreed this ultimately in His plans and purposes.  How many purposes was He accomplishing through this we do not know, but we do know that He was moving Joseph and Mary to where He wanted them according to His timetable.

            “In those days” was going to be the time when Mary would be expecting a child.  “In those days” was going to be the time they needed to go to Bethlehem “because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed.”   “In those days” there was no room in the Inn.  “In those days” were the days when Mary would give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.  “In those days” were the days when the angel announced the good news to shepherds.  “In those days” were the days when the shepherds went to see the newborn Messiah.  “In those days” were the days that the shepherds bore witness to what they had been told and what they had seen. 

            Yes, “In those days” God worked through the government to put Mary and Joseph in the place He wanted them to accomplish His desires.  Don’t you think God can do that with you and me today?  Of course He can and He does.  Yet we are not without choices.  Within our Sovereign Lord’s will Caesar Augustus made decisions, Joseph and Mary made decisions, the Inn-keeper made decisions and the shepherds made decisions.  All were responsible for decision-making, but it was all under the Sovereign will of God.

            “In these days” it is the same.  God’s Sovereign will is being accomplished.  Still, we are responsible for our decisions.  One day we will give account to those decisions and be rewarded for faithfulness or experience loss of reward for unfaithfulness.

            So, “in these days” are we making faithful choices?  Are we seeking to make choices according to His will which comes from His Word or do we just tell God what we are going to do?  Hmmmmm…..

Dear Father as I walk through today and the rest of my life may I make decisions according to Your will and not mine.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  May it be so!

FEAR NOT BAD NEWS BUT TRUST THE LORD

FEAR NOT BAD NEWS BUT TRUST THE LORD

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  —Psalm 112:6-7

            Brother and sister we “will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.”  We are “not afraid of bad news” because our “heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.”  When we know He is the Sovereign over all of His creation then we know that He is totally in control.  When we know this we know that even “bad news” is being used in His purposes.  Oh, so many times we do not understand how He is working all these things out in His plan, but He is.

Today trust Him to work out in your life what He desires to work out.  Do not grate against it.  Instead, seek to be faithful through whatever the bad news is.  Keep your heart firm and keep trusting our Lord.  Look to Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.  He is always faithful… always.

Dear Father so much bad news comes our way and yet we can trust You fully when it comes.  Please help me to not be afraid of it when it comes.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus may my heart be firm as I trust in You.  Yes, may it be so!  I know that a time is coming when only good news will exist.  Even so come, Lord Jesus!

NO EXCUSE!

NO EXCUSE!

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. —John 19:30

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. —John 20:30-31

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. —John 21:26

Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.  He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. —Psalm 110:3-4

            Evidence!  You need evidence?  Well God’s Word is so readily available to so many that they are without excuse.  There is plenty of evidence written through His love letter to us.  God has given us His Word so that we can believe.  That is why it was “written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  So it is not a matter if there is enough evidence or not.  It is a matter of believing the written evidence or not believing it.

            To reject the evidence of creation, of His Son, of His Word, of His Church and of your own God-given conscience is to condemn yourself.  There is no excuse for not believing— “men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).  You can come up with all the excuses you want, but they all pale with the evidence that is around you.  You are denying the evidence so you can be the god of your own life.  You want to do what you want to do.  You do not want to bow the knee before the King of Creation, the very One who gave you life and keeps you alive.  How sad is that?

            Oh, may we encourage those around us that do not know Him to sincerely look at the evidence and may they call on His Name.  Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  Thank You for the many men who responded to the evidence presented at the NH State Prison.  Now Dear Father may they be disciple and make a huge impact there as You work in their lives.  May it be so!

BE WISE WITH THE WEARY

BE WISE WITH THE WEARY

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. —John 9:1-3

It is interesting because this thought is still among us today.  When someone has an ailment or a health issue there are those who think this is happened to them because of sin in that person’s life or in the case above, in a relative’s life.

            I know of a situation not too long ago where a person had a medical emergency and ended up in a hospital overnight.  One person actually told the one hospitalized that this happened to them because they had something in their life.  The accusation was that the person must have some sin in their life and God was punishing the person for it.

            Now, it is true that God does discipline His children.  But just because someone goes through something does not mean there is some sinful activity going on in their lives and God is disciplining them.  Our Lord also uses trials in our lives to mature us, or to put us in position to accomplish His will, or to test our faith.  For a person to make the statement that bad things happen to people because of sin is a disregard of God’s Word that bears witness that there are other reasons why trials come into a person’s life.  It is not always because of being discipline for sin.

            Such was the case above.  This man was born blind to show forth the glory of God as Jesus was going to heal the man.  So on one hand there are those who think it was because of sin that the man was born blind and the Lord says, “No, he was born blind to reveal the glory of God!”  Wow!

            Job is a prime example of this.  Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8).  Wow, what a testimony from God about the man Job!  Satan is allowed to tempt Job to curse God, but that does not happen even though he suffered the loss of his many animals, many of his servants, all of his children, the support of his wife and the support of his friends. 

           Here’s what one of his friends said, “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?  Where were the upright ever destroyed?  As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (Job 4:7-8).  He is accusing Job of doing evil and that is why his troubles have come upon him.  Surely Job was right when he said of his friends that “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you!” (Job 16:2).  Miserable comforters!  That is not what a person needs when he is going through difficulty!  They were totally wrong about Job and why he was suffering.  It was for the glory of God, not because of sin in his life!

Oh Lord God Almighty please help me to be a comforter to those who need comfort.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

I AM FREE!

I AM FREE!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. —John 8:36

            Death no longer has a hold on me.  Sin’s power has been broken and I am no longer a slave to it.  Satan has no power over me.  I am free to live for Jesus who loves me so.

            Freedom…. This is what the United States was originally built upon.  Freedom comes from knowing Jesus.  As this nation turns from the Lord, like any other nation, governmental freedom will fade.  But the freedom in Christ never fails.  It does not matter what regime we live under.  The follower of Jesus is free.

            The whole world is a prisoner of sin (Galatians 3:21-25).  Only Jesus sets us free and makes us alive who were once dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1-5).  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).  We are not to use that freedom to indulge the flesh.  Instead we are to use that freedom in Christ to serve (Galatians 5:13).  May we truly be servants of our Lord Jesus Christ!

            Brother and sister you are free!  Free to run the race marked out for us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Now out of gratitude to our Lord God Almighty let us faithful serve Him.  Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

ETERNAL LIFE ONLY IN JESUS

ETERNAL LIFE ONLY IN JESUS

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. —John 5:39-40

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” —John 6:40

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—  not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. —John 6:44-47

            How does one receive eternal life?  Actually it is rather simple to understand.  A person receives eternal life when they look on the Son and believe in Him.  The only reason a person can even look and believe is because the Father who sent Jesus draws that person.  Nobody comes to Jesus unless He is drawn.  When they are drawn then they call upon the Lord and are saved (Romans 10:13).

            Just because a person reads and searches God’s Word does not make them a believer.  They must believe on the One that Word speaks about.  I can hear a person speaking words, but that does not mean I have a relationship with them.  So too I can read or hear God’s Word, but that does not mean I have a relationship with Him.  No, I need to look to Him, believe in Him and call upon His Name.  That is when a person comes into relationship with Him and receives eternal life.  How does one know that a person has a relationship with Jesus and eternal life through Him?  Evidence will be seen in a person’s life that they have truly repented —“I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20).  Eternal life! Yes brother and sister, let us rejoice that we have eternal life in Jesus and the glory of heaven with Him is ahead of us and all who love Him.  Rejoice!

Dear Father thank You for drawing me to look to Jesus and believe.  Oh, that You might be please to draw many others to Jesus through me for Your honor and glory.  My desire is that many would come to You, live for You, bring honor and glory to You and be with You forever.  Please help me to live according to Your purposes in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.