Saturday, December 8, 2012

By Faith we shall stand!

By faith we will conquer and overcome many obstacles in our way.  By faith we will not lose hope for in us is something greater than us, greater than anything.  By faith we have received God's free gift of salvation, we have become God's children and we will see his glory.  By faith we can stand strong and we will not dare give up but by faith we will carry on and be part of his story.  However, none of this can be done without faith.  So therefore have faith! because it is through your faith you will be able to do amazing things even through your most difficult times.  Yes! especially in your most difficult times, for in your darkest hour your light will shine brighter than ever before.  Your faith in Christ will carry you through anything.  But if you have no faith, what will become of you? Jesus said "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."  (Matt. 7:24-27)
If you are weak, pray for strength!  If you are foolish, pray for wisdom!  If sin is creeping back into your life, repent and put on Jesus!  If you are confused, pray for clarity!  If you have been hurt, pray for healing and it will come.  Who other than God can heal a broken heart?  If envy and bitterness has found it's way in you, get rid of it and put on Jesus! Yes clothe yourselves in Christ and may his word serve as a shield against the enemy.  Remember, by faith you can do all things.  "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt. 19:26)  If you feel you lack anything in your spiritual walk with God, then "....he/she should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him/her."  (James 1:5)  Have Faith!!  Love and Peace to you all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Blessings Of Psalm 23

None can fathom the treasures of His word unless He chooses to reveal it, for in His word exists springs of living water.  His word is light and His word is life.  Let us read the blessings of Psalm 23.

1 “ The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  My Lord Jesus Christ is my shepherd.  I shall not want nothing more than to follow Him, for if He is my shepherd then I am His sheep.  I belong to Him and He belongs to me. 

2  “He makes me lie down in green pastures” He brings me to brighter places.  Even in my worse days, I am in a better place when I am with Him.

2-3  “he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”  He calms the storm in me and quiets my soul.  He heals the core of my heart and overwhelms me with His perfect peace.  His word always guides me in the right path and brings glory to His name.

4  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Although I live in the world in the midst of darkness, I will fear no one for His light is in me.  Father, you bring me comfort through your word and through your everlasting love.

5.  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”  You pour many blessings upon me for all to see the goodness of your name.  Furthermore, you generously pour your Holy Spirit upon your humble servant, so much so I can barely contain it!

6.  “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Now that I am one with my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, the Lord’s goodness and His love will also be with me for as long as I live.  I shall go to my Father’s house and He will make His home my home.  At last, I shall live with Him in peace covered in His love forever and ever.  Amen!

Author’s note: The Lord has given me a greater appreciation for this scripture.  He inspired me to write the blessings of Psalm 23.  As I read each verse, His word spoke to me.  May it be a blessing to you as it has been to me.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The gifts and the fruits of the Spirit

Let us first read about the gifts of the Spirit.   1 Corinthians 12:4-11 reads “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”  The nine spiritual gifts can be categorized under two major spiritual gifts.  The gift of truth, can also be referred to as the gift of knowing, given by the Spirit of truth (the Holy Spirit).  The other is the gift of faith which beautifully displays God’s power.  The gift of truth are the gift of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues for truth is revealed in every one of these gifts.  The gift of faith is first of all faith, then healing and miracles for faith is needed in every one of these gifts.  From these two major spiritual gifts, God gives them as He pleases, in the quantity He wants to give and in the area that He wants to give.   Let us not be foolish and think that these gifts come from anywhere else, James 1:17 reads “every good and perfect gift is from above…”  He gives them for the soul purpose of doing good in His name, for His glory, uplifting the body of Christ (the people) and a sign to believers and unbelievers.  However, receiving the gift of the Spirit is not a sure sign of our salvation for Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, ’Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’  (In other versions it might say ‘away from me you who break God’s laws.’)   Let us quickly examine this scripture.  Jesus is basically telling us it is great they have shared the gifts that were given to them, however  they have neglected what was more important “God’s will.”  So, what is God’s will?  Jesus says in John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”  The proper translation for this scripture according to the message of the gospel that is written in the New Testament is this;  Anyone who looks up to Jesus, surrendered their lives to him, believes in him and in his word, follows him and his word  in everything  (in every area of his/her life) with humility and understanding will be saved.  In addition, God’s laws are exactly what Jesus came to teach us; not rules but more so the matter of the heart.  God’s laws are His commandments, however His commandments are not a list of rules as some may think.  Although a list is given, it is for our own benefit so that we may not be lost in our own path.   His commandments points to our heart.  His commandments are God’s word speaking to our heart in order that we may examine our heart and see where sin has creeped in and be convicted by his word through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus answers a question in Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?  Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  If these two commandments are truly in your heart then your response will be undeniable and it will be evident in your life.   Again Jesus refers to the day that is coming in Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’  “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  So you see, as great as it may be to have received spiritual gifts, one must not forget what matters most.  We are told in 1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-3  “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.  And yet I will show you the most excellent way ( In other vesions it may say ‘But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all).  If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  Spiritual gifts are great gifts but one must first strive to receive the fruits of the Spirit.  The fruits of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-26  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.   In conclusion, blessed are all who share their spiritual gifts in the body of Christ for the glory of God and for the good of His people.  Many more blessings to those whose heart belongs to the Lord, and has allowed his/her heart to be circumcised (spiritually speaking), and transformed by the Holy Spirit, for such a heart is like a precious jewel in God’s eyes.  As you know, we were saved by faith to live in faith.  Similarly, we were called by love to live in love.  What is love?  Let us read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13  “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  Blessings to you all!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Desperately Seeking Jesus: He is willing

Surprisingly, many of us are too afraid to go to Jesus.  We may feel that we’re not good enough or we may be ashamed of the sins we’ve committed.  No matter how real those feelings may be, Jesus has proven time and time again that He is willing to forgive us and accept us, no matter who we are and no matter what we’ve done.  There are many scriptures in the bible that reflects His love for us, Luke 5:12-13 is one of many.  It reads “While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.  When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  “I am willing,” he said.  “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.  Let us review this scripture.  The man was covered with leprosy.  We are covered in sins.  Out of his shame, brokenness and hopelessness he fell with his face to the ground.  We too must humble ourselves before Him and go to Him with our face to the ground.  He begged him. He pleaded his case even out of his shameful and hopeless state.  We too must plead must plead our case to Him with a true and repentant heart.  He said, ‘Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.’  In other words, Lord, won’t you please have mercy on me.  Cleanse me.  Take away everything that is keeping me from you.  In the same way, we must say “Lord if you are willing, please forgive me of all my sins, cleanse me and make me a new creation in Christ.” Out of compassion for this poor man’s heartfelt plea, Jesus reached out, touched the man and cleaned him.  As we cry out to Him with a repentant heart we can be confident that He will have compassion on us.  Then Jesus said, ‘I am willing.’  Jesus is willing to save you from your sins.  He is willing to die for you so that whoever believes in Him may be saved,   (John 3:16) 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' He is willing to love you just as you are, (John 15:13) Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.'  He is willing to forgive you, (Matt. 26:28) 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.' He is willing to guide you in the right path, (John 14:6) 'I am the way and the truth and the life.'  He is willing to be your friend, (John 15:15) 'I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.'  Jesus is willing!  How about you?  Are you willing to meet Him halfway with your face to the ground, pleading for your case?  Are you covered with sins that have not been brought out to Him yet?  Are you ashamed of something you’ve done?  Do you feel broken and hopeless?  Be willing!  Go to Him and make your plea.  Say, “Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean.  Forgive me for I have sinned.”  Jesus will reach out, touch you and say "Child, I am willing.  Be clean!  You are forgiven.”  Remember the story about the lost (prodigal) son, Luke 15:11-32.  In the same way the father received the son he thought he had lost, He will receive you.  He will welcome you with open arms. He will say 'My beloved child, I have been waiting for you.'   On that day you will surely be like the psalmist who had said, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'--and you forgave my sin." (psalm 32:5).  Hallelujah, for we have a patient and merciful God.  He is willing.  How about you?  God bless you all.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Desperately Seeking Jesus: Calling out to Him

Do you call out to Jesus when things go wrong in your life, or do you pick up the phone and call as many people as you can to tell them about your problems?  Do you run to a friend right away or do you get down on your knees and call out to Jesus?  Yes it’s true, good friends are good to have, but do you turn to them before turning to Jesus?  Do you run to whatever will make you feel better?  For example, do you run to a box of chocolate, or ice cream?  Do you fill yourself with comfort food or reach out for a bottle of wine?  Perhaps you have tried drugs to numb the pain or have gone gambling hoping for a sum of money that may take your troubles away.  Maybe you have looked for someone other than your spouse to fade away your troubles.  When life gets tough, do you run to whatever will make you feel better?  Why do we run to things that will only offer us temporary relief when the Lord promises hope, joy, love and healing.  Why not call out to the one who calls us to Him?  Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt.11:28-30)  Jesus is waiting for your call.  Have you called Him lately?  Let us read about the blind man who called out to Jesus.  Mark 10:46-52 reads, “As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!”  Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”  So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up!  On your feet!  He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  His faith rescued him because he called out and did not stop calling until the Lord answered him.  Although the people around him told him to be quiet, he did not listen.  Do you have people like that in your life?  They tell you that God will not save you.  Perhaps they say ‘You make your own luck, or your own destiny.  Maybe they mock you and your God?  Maybe they have pulled you away from God by suggesting other things that may make you feel better?  Is the world pulling you away from God and discouraging you from calling out to Jesus?  Have they convinced you that the problems you are facing in your life are hopeless?  When the people around the blind man spoken in the bible told him to be quiet, HE SHOUTED ALL THE MORE!!  When Jesus heard and saw his faith, He stopped and called him.  There will always be something or someone trying to pull you away from God and discouraging you from calling out to Jesus.  Remember the blind man spoken in the bible.  Call out to Jesus ALL THE MORE.  Call out to Him until He hears you, stops for you, and answers you.  Like a phone ringing from one end to the other, you can call out to Him and He will answer.  Seek Him desperately without ever losing faith.  God bless you all. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Desperately Seeking Jesus: Making Him First

Do you value Jesus more than anything else in your life?  Do you make Him first?  Yes, it’s true that we all live busy lives, between work, school, projects, errands, family, basic daily activities, spouse/mate, etc.  We’ve become accustomed to our daily schedule.  We have somehow programmed ourselves to make certain things first in our daily lives.  It has been proven time and time again that your priorities say a lot about you.  Your priorities say a lot about what is most important to you and what you value most.  The bible points to a very good example of this in Mark: 10:17-22.  As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “Why do you call me good?”  Jesus answered.  “No one is good—except God alone.  You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ “  “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”  Jesus looked at him and loved him.  “One thing you lack,” he said.  “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  At this the man’s face fell.  He went away sad, because he had great wealth.  How very sad.  Sadly, this also rings true for many of us.  Although this young rich man did all he should do, Jesus spotted one thing he lacked.  That one thing was essential to his worship, because Jesus knew he worshipped that one thing more than Him.  It could have been anything, but in this case his wealth was more valuable to him than anything else.  With deep sorrow, the young man turned away from Jesus.  What about you?  Is Jesus more valuable to you than anything else?  If only we would seek Him desperately, we would make Him first in everything.  We would make Him Lord of our pockets and Lord of our lives.  He would be Lord of our marriage and Lord of our children.  He would be Lord of everything.  We would make Him first every morning through prayer and meditation of His word.  We would consult with Him in prayer and in everything we do.  We would give thanks and praise Him for all blessings.  We would put His word first before our own judgment.  We would live by His word and teach others to do the same.  We would follow Him without any hesitation.  Let us all seek Him desperately and make Him first.   For we know that our worship is not in vain but it is for our own good.  After the young rich man left (spoken in the bible) Jesus had more to say concerning this matter.  Mark 10:23-30 reads; Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”  Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.  Heaven awaits!  God is calling us home.  Are you making Him first in your life?  Let us learn this important lesson from the rich young man and let us make Jesus first.  God bless you all. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Desperately Seeking Jesus: Meeting Him

Are you willing to go the extreme to be with Jesus?  Going the extra mile is never easy, but are you willing to do just that for the One who gave up everything to save mankind.  He gave up Heaven to live on earth, life for death, and comfort for pain.  Are you seeking Him enough to go to the extreme?  What would that look like exactly?  Let's read about a man who went to the extreme for Jesus.  In Mark 2:3-5 reads, Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  This paralytic man truly went the extra mile to be with Jesus.  Such faith is commendable, wouldn't you say?  Without a doubt, Jesus was amazed at their faith.  He was so taken by their act of faith he said, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  As if to say "You believe in me that much!!  Child, I am yours and you are mine."  If you read further along you will see that not only did Jesus forgive his sins, He also healed him.  How joyful for the one who sought Him so desperately.  How much more joyful would it be if we sought Him so desperately.  If only we were to seek Him with all our heart, we would go the extra mile to be with Jesus.  We would repent from all of our sins, spend more time with Him through prayer, forgive others, receive His word fully, and we would follow Him all the way.  Go to the extremes!  Go the extral mile!  Be with Jesus!  May we all be like that paralytic man and seek Jesus desperately.  God bless you all.