Monday, April 27, 2015

How We Should See Money

Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
Psalm 119:133

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 6:22-23
"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!"

Lord, these verses have always confused me. Would you please help me to understand them?
Why are they here between verses about money?

After looking up the cross-references provided by my Bible: Matthew 20 and Mark 7:22, this seems to be a warning against becoming too focused on money. If we think too much about money, then it will cloud our spiritual vision. Depending on how we see and use money, it will either bring us spiritual sight and health or spiritual blindness and death. You want us to use money to help bring others to you.

1 Timothy 6:17-19
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

God's Intentions

Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
Psalm 119:133

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 5:43-44
"You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Most of us assume that this is a contradiction of the old testament law found in Leviticus 19:18. But if you read it you will find nothing about hating your enemy.

Leviticus 19:18
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the LORD.

Many of these old testament laws, which were intended to extend mercy, were twisted by human reasoning and tradition. They became instruments of revenge instead. Jesus was bringing us back to the mercy that was intended by the law and at the same time blasting the mindset that would misinterpret these laws for their own purposes.

Lord, help me to discern your true intentions in your word and not rely on the human reasoning and traditions that are so often attached to it, even my own. Your intentions tend toward mercy and grace leading to repentance. Please help mine to be the same. In Jesus Name, amen.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Accurately Handling the Word of Truth

Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
Psalm 119:133

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 4:5-7
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, "If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, 'He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.' " Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the Lord your God.' "

There's that TONE. Satan tends to use a hateful, accusing tone. Jesus NEVER uses that kind of tone. Satan also likes to twist Scripture and use it out of context which is exactly what he did here. That is why it is so important to know the Bible and to look for the whole counsel of God. We can't take isolated verses and apply them without knowing and understanding their context.

The verses satan tried to trick Jesus with are a perfect example:
Psalm 91
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation."

If you were to read just verses 11 & 12 it sounds like a cart blanche to do whatever we want and God will protect us. But reading the whole psalm reveals that it is actually a call to trust God and to rely on him alone as our refuge. Very different from what satan was implying.

Digging even deeper, we realize that this psalm, which could be taken as a promise that Christians will never suffer from disease or trouble, is not such. Verses like 2 Timothy 2:3, 2 Timothy 4:5, Hebrews 2:10, Hebrews 2:18, 1 Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 4:13 and many, many others show use that Christians are called to suffer and even our Savior had to suffer.

Lord, help me to never take your words out of context or misapply them. In Jesus' Name, amen 

2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hell Is a Real Place

Psalm 119:133
Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.
Psalm 119:133

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 3:11-12
I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am--so much greater that I'm not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never ending fire.

John the Baptist was the original fire and brimstone preacher. He warned people to repent or face an eternity of never ending fire. Hell is a very real place.

Revelation 20:14-15
Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

Anyone who hasn't had their name recorded in the Book of Life or accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior will  be thrown into the lake of fire at the last Judgement. God doesn't want any humans to suffer this fate.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

You entrusted the gospel to us to share with others. This is a grave responsibility which we all too often neglect. People all around us are headed to a Christless eternity in a place of never ending torment. We have the only message that can prevent them from going there. Yet, we are too afraid to open our mouths and tell them. If we could really get a handle on the reality of hell, then we would feel an urgency to share the gospel with everyone.


Lord, please brand an image of hell into my mind and give me an urgency to share the gospel. Please give me opportunities to share and courage to speak. Put your words into my mind as I share. Remind me of all the verses that I am working so hard to memorize, because it's only your words that can draw people to you and guide them to salvation. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You Speak Through Even the Stars

Psalm 44:5
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
Psalm 44:5

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 2:1-2
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him."

Lord, you use even the stars to proclaim your message. The magi recognized the message proclaimed there and it caused them to seek out the newborn king of the Jews. It even caused them to want to worship him. It had to be a powerful message to cause magi to want to travel so far to worship a child!

Lord, your message is still powerful! It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16) May people see you in me and hear your message from me so that they will desire to worship the same person the wise men traveled to worship: Jesus Christ!

Psalm 19:1
The Heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.


(If you would like to know more about the message of the Star of Bethlehem go to:  www.bethlehemstar.net)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Your Plans Cannot be Ruined

Psalm 44:5
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
Psalm 44:5

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Matthew 1:1 & 3
This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham...Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar).

This morning Tamar's name jumped out at me from this list. For some reason, I never recognized her here before. She is the one who was given to Judah's son as a wife. He died so she was given to his brother to continue his family line. He didn't want to make children for his brother so God killed him too. Then Judah was afraid to give her to his youngest son. When she realized this, she pretended to be a prostitute and Judah slept with her. Perez was one of the twins who resulted from this one illicit act and became part of Jesus family line.

There are others like Manasseh and Abijah who were were downright evil. Lord, you use all kinds of people to accomplish your purposes. It is comforting to know that even though by human standards it may look like all is lost and we have befuddled your plans beyond repair, your purposes can never be thwarted.

Isaiah 14:27
The LORD of Heaven's Armies has spoken - who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Healing Power

Psalm 44:5
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
Psalm 44:5

Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Luke 6:19
Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

Lord, you showed me a new perspective on this today that I've never really thought of. You are the one who created the heavens and the earth. You created the human race and you uniquely designed each one of our bodies. So you are the Great Physician. This I knew.

But what hadn't occurred to me is that Jesus had all that same power and as your child I also have access to it. Not that I can make commands and have you heal everyone and anyone. It's still up to your discretion. But I can make requests, knowing that the power who created the universe is able to do what I ask if it is your will to do it.

This just adds yet another layer to my faith. Please keep adding layer after layer until I'm so wrapped in faith that no doubt can get through. In Jesus' Name, amen.