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Ephesians 4: 29-30

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

What does it mean to cuss like a sailor? It means to sling around profanity and swear words as a normal way of speaking. 

So what is profanity, cussing and swearing anyways?

I know a few words that could be consider cuss words or profanity. Using the word God or Jesus in a casual or flippant maner is profanity. Using the word damn in a casual or flippant way is profanity. Using the word hell in a way which minimizes it's eternal meaning is not good.  Lessing the value of  the one flesh relationship between a man and a woman by slinging around f this or f that is wrong. Using language that is coarse in a way that offends others is wrong. 

When Jesus came into my heart, the Holy Spirit cleaned up my language. I am not saying I am always gracious, kind and wholesome with my speech. I am not. Sometimes I fly off the handle and in anger or because I have not spent the time I should in God's word and prayer, I think and say things I ought not. 

But you know what? When I talk wrong, Jesus convicts my heart of the sin of my lips. It grieves the Lord and it grieves me too.

I pray 2016 will be a better year for my tongue and manner of speaking.  I want to my speech to be gracious, helpful, truth filled, loving, and right!

How about you? Do you need to ask the Lord to help you to quit cussing, swearing and using profanity? 

Let's use our words for Jesus to share his love and good news!

 

Acts 26:14

"We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me..."

 

Have you ever heard the voice of God? I have!  I was a young soldier in Germany. For two straight nights as I was in the barracks trying to sleep on my bunk, I heard a voice saying : 'Larry, I want you; Larry, I want you."

I told a friend named Gary about this and asked him if he thought it was God speaking to me. He said 'God doesn't speak like that anymore.' Now Gary and I were drinking and carousing buddies. Gary was the song director for his little church back in Oklahoma. So, I did not put much stock in what Gary said because I knew he and I were not living right. 

On the second night, the voice was so convicting that I arose and went out back behind the barracks. It was a clear starry night. The stars were shiney and bright and seemed to be dancing in the sky. As I gazed into that cold frigid night sky, I said: "Lord, if that was you speaking to me, I will do what whatever you want. Please show me what you want me to do and I will do it.'

It seemed a great weight was totally removed from my shoulders. I went back into the barracks and there was Denny, another army friend. Denny said: 'you look very relieved and happy, what is going on?' I said: 'I have been talking to the man.' Denny said: 'What man?'  I said: 'The man upstairs." Denny said that was great and asked me to to church with him tomorrow.  I said ok.

The next day as I sat in a German Guest House, a man showed me from the Bible about what Jesus did for me through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave. I invited Jesus into my heart, waved the white flag of surrender and trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior that day. 

Things have never been the same since that day.

That is my story and I am sticking to it. 

 

Psalm 65:11

"You crown the year with your goodness; your ways overflow with plenty."

 

God is in control of this next year. God has this next year 'totally' under his control! God has all the resources I need to be fully supplied physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually in 2016.

So all I got to do is to surrender myself to God's control and get in step with his good and perfect will for my life.

God's will for me is that I be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  What Jesus is doing, I want to do.  Where Jesus is going, I want to go.  What is Jesus is thinking, I want to think.   And what Jesus is feeling, I want to feel.

Jesus is all about what is in the Bible.  Jesus is all what about prayer.  Jesus is all about serving others in love.  Jesus is all about the truth.  I believe in Jesus and I want to be all about what Jesus is about.

I can't say it any more plainer or any more simpler. I  want to be plain and simple.

I want my year crowned with God's goodness. I want my year to be all about God's plenteous supply.

How about you?

Let's seek God, his way and his will this year.  Ok? 

God bless. 

 

Revelation 20:12

"And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened, and another book was opened which was the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."

 

Our life is indeed an open book in heaven. All the bad is in that book. All the ugly is in that book. All the wicked thoughts we have had are in that book. All the hidden acts we have done are in the that book. Sad, but true.

There is another book in heaven: the book of life. In the book of life is written the names of those who have repented of their sin and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. 

A song that I tear up when I hear it goes like this:

      'Yes your honor,

        I'm at  your mercy,

        You can do with just as you please.

        Please remember my testimony,

        The blood of Jesus covers me.'

That's it. Is your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life? Is it there? Mine is because I have given my life to Jesus Christ!

Your name can be found in the book of life too.  Just give your life to Jesus through repentance and faith and you are in. 

Praise God! 

 

I Samuel 12:24

"But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you."

 

I heard a story about a slave on the auction block.  The slave was a great  human specimine of strength and so a bidding war ensued and the price went high. A very rich man made the highest bid. When he approached and took ownership of his new property, a human life in slavery, the rich man told the slave he was granting him his freedom. The slave then voluntairly asked permission of the rich man to continue as his slave and so served the rich man for the rest of his life.

That is how I feel about my relationship with the Lord. Jesus paid the price to set me free from the slavery of sin, pride and self. Now, with a grateful heart, I want to serve Jesus all the days of my life. 

I ask today that today, next  year and every day of my life might indeed be a living sacrifice of service and devotion to my Lord Jesus Christ. 

God,  this is my prayer. May it become so!

 

Romans 6:1-2

'Shall we sin, therefore, that grace may abound? God forbid. How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein."

 

When a person believes on Jesus and becomes a Christan, a new spiritual nature is born inside a person. The old sin nature that one is born physically with, however, is not eradicated. 

So a Christian has two natures. The new spiritual nature and the old sin nature. 

An old Indian explained it like this. He said he had a white dog and a black dog living in him that fought all the time. He said the one he fed the most won the the fight.

We feed the new spiritual nature with prayer, with Scripture, with Christian fellowship, with both public and personal worship,  with Christian service,  with telling others what Jesus has done for us (witnessing)  and with telling others how they might be saved and receive a new spiritual nature and eternal life (evangelism).

I don't  know if I have ever gone 5 minutes without committing a sin. That is the truth. 

I do know, however,  that when I fill my my mind and heart with the means of grace mentioned above on a regular and continuing basis that I can withstand temptat- tions and the urge to sin as in spouting off in anger or giving into the world, the flesh or the devil by embracing a sinful attitude or action. 

I have also found that when a temptation comes around that urges me to embrace a sinful attitude or action that I can fall on the knees of my heart and in total humiity and need cry out to King Jesus for help and the Holy Spirit will at that moment give me the desire and the strength to stand against that temptation and not to sin. 

It's an ongoing thing, this battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. But through Jesus, I can, indeeed, do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

 

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto you a child is born..."

 

The year was 1982. It was Christmas time. I was a poor Seminary Student. My wife, Darline, and I had two wonderful young children. Darline was with child. She was expecting just two months ahead. I was doing an internship and a class called Clinical Pastoral Education at a Kansas City Hospital. The head Chaplain, a Southern Baptist, told me there were other alternatives to giving birth to a child we obviously could not afford. I am so thankful I believed Laura was a living human child safe in her mother's womb: created by God at conception with all her DNA in tact. Now Laura, a worship and praise leader at her local church, along with her Christian husband Robert, has given Darline and I three 'wonderful' GrandChildren: Clifton, Joseph, and Hannah Claire! What a happy, thankful and blessed Father and Papa I am! Praise the Lord!

 

Micah 4:5

"All the nations may walk in the name of their gods,  but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever."

 

Recently the question has been posed: do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

The answer must be a resounding no!

Jesus, in the New Testament, is called 'our God and Savior' (Titus 2:13). The Bible says that 'every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord." (Philippians 2:10)

Muslims do NOT believe Jesus is God and do not bow their knee to Jesus or confess Jesus is Lord, therefore they do NOT worship the same God as Christians worship. 

Muslims worship their god (Allah who has Mohammed as his prophet) who is NOT the God of the Bible.

I am told by Scripture to pray for those who do not know God (Jesus).  I am told by Scripture to love those who do not know God (Jesus).  

I am told by Scripture to share the good of salvation only in Jesus Christ with those who do not know God (Jesus).  This gospel is: Jesus died for our sins,  Jesus was buried and Jesus rose again for our justification.  And all those who believe this gospel  by turning from their false religious ideas and sin and by trusting only in Jesus as their Lord, God and Savior shall receive forgiveness, redemption,  eternal life  and spiritual life.  'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.' (Romans 10:13)

So that is what I am going to do: practice the purpose and mission of the Apostle Paul: 

"Jesus is the one I proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that I might present everyone fully mature in Christ.  To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me."                     (Colossians 1: 28-29)

 

Proverbs 5:18

"Let your fountain be blessed and take pleasure in the wife of your youth."

 

44 years ago today,  my wife and I were married. I was 22 and she was 18. Kids!

So today, I am writing about:

"Steps to Staying  Married."

#1,)  Put Jesus First

#2.)  Be serious about those vows of navigating through illness, money problems            and until death do you part.

#3,)  Never be alone with another person of the opposite sex

#4.)  Forgive each other and your self.

#5.)  Don't go to bed mad

#6.)  Be Friends

#6.)  Give each other space

#7.)  Pray with each other (and with the kids)

#8.)  Go to Church

#9.)  Read the Bible yourself, with each other and with the family

#10.) Don't spend more than you bring in

Have a blessed day!

 

 

 

I decided a couple of weeks back, I wanted to go to church on Sunday night. Used to, we had church on Sunday night but now it is difficult in my area to find a church that still has Sunday night services. 

Anyways, I found a Baptist church close by after researching on the internet (Modern marvels!). The group in there (about 40 or so) mostly looked retirement home age or older. A few brave souls came by my seat and said hi or welcome but mostly I felt ignored and not quite welcome.

The young preacher (looked to be about 30 or so) came by and wanted to know who I was and how I came to be there. As we talked, I mentioned I had hope of eternal life. He said he advanced past hope to knowing he had eternal life. Instead of correcting him and lecturing him on the blessed hope of the resurrection and the coming of Jesus Christ, I just let it go.

The Bible does, indeed, give the Christian hope. Now this hope is not just a weak bleak thing but a glorious assurance of the future. 

I heard recently about a 50 year old socialite lady in England who survived cancer and kidney disease. She was recovering and the Doctors fully expected her to regain full health. Because she did not want to live in a flat, be poor and get fat, she decided to refuse medical treatment and end her life prematurely which the courts allowed her to do so. 

And then I read about a man in his late eighties who shot his 93 year old wife in the back of the head because she had dementia. They were living in a retirement home. The man was arrested for murder and is sitting in jail awaiting trail. 

What is wrong with our society is that there is no blessed hope in Christ.  I have hope.

Yes, I am growing older and have more aches than I have ever had. But you know what?  I have peace and hope.  I have a joyful expectation of full assurance that one day I will receive a new glorious body and spend eternity with Jesus and my saved relatives and friends.

I  just feel like lettting out a big ole hallelujah!

 

Hosea 1:1

"The word of the Lord that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam, son of Jehoash king of Israel."

Who or what do you get your clues of life from? (I know it is not proper to end a sentence with a preposition but really what I am looking to do is to communicate).

We have teachers, politicans, news people, entertainers, sports figures, employeers, relatives, neighbors and everyone else we know or look up to as an expert or information station. Do we just get our clues from them only? 

I hope not! Because if we only depend upon people on this earth, we are missing the boat which is sailing into eternity. 

Hosea was a prophet of the Lord. He had his problems. His wife, Gomer, was unfaithful to him in committing adultery. Hosea said God's people were like half baked pancakes and were perishing because of the lack of spiritual knowledge.

We all got problems. Some have family problems. Others have money problems. Others have personal problems. While others are bound up with serious addictions. Problems, problems, problems. My kids used to watch the movie Pollyanna. There was a lady on there who whined all the time: pills and bills, pills and bills! 

So who are you and I getting our clues from? Hosea got his clues of life  from the word of the Lord. Hosea had all the kings metioned by name in our text but his clues came not from those power brokers but from God and his word!

Jesus defeated the devil by saying 'it is written' three times. Peter said we have a more sure word of prophecy in the written Scriptures. The 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament are the most important clues to life we can ever get. 

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Receive the Bible by humbling bowing to Jesus through repentance and faith. Listen to Jesus through the Bible.  

Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Hear the Bible. Learn the Bible. Meditate on the Bible. Memorize the Bible. Internalize the Bible. Apply the Bible. Live the Bible. 

That's it. Have a good one and more importantly a good life!

 

Psalm 34:14

"Turn away from evil and do good; search for peace and work to maintain it."

 

When I took high school typing, I did so because it was easy and there were so many girls in the class. I learned how to type 65 words per minute by typing things like this phrase over and over again: 'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."  Learning to type allowed the U. S. Army to make me into a supply clerk after I was drafted during the the Viet Nam War. 

Well, it is time for all good men (and women) to come to aid of our Country, the United States of America!

I do not believe all Muslims are murderous terrorists but I know of at least four times that Muslims have killed law abiding peaceful Americans: 911, the Boston Marathon, Fort Hood, Texas & San Bernardino, California (there may be more). I am calling on all peaceful Muslims who claim to be patriotic American citizens to stand up with all American patriots and condemn this senseless barbaric archaic radical Muslim ideology! Enough is enough! Stand up, America!!!

I am praying for the U S of A!  I am asking God to send a revival of love, righteousness, truth and grace through the power of Jesus Christ! Please Lord, save our nation!

I believe the grace of God has indeed appeared unto all people teaching us that we should live soberly and righteously in love and peace as we look for the return of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I am determined by the grace of God to stand for trutth and right and to proudly fight for our country in these periolous days. 

The best way to fight is on our knees as we cry out to God for his help and grace!

 

 

2 Corinthians 3:17

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is,  there is Liberty."

 

Jesus sets the captives free and Jesus says when you know the truth, the truth will set you free.

Are you caught in a trap and can you not get out?

There are many addictions that can take over a person in life like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, prejudice, greed, lust,  homosexuality,  adultery, fornicaton, foul language, gossip, anger, rage and all sorts of other vile and wicked attitudes and actions. 

But I want you to know today that Jesus shed his precious blood, died and rose again so you and I can be set free from these and all other self destructive attitudes, actions and lifestyles!

There is nothing better than knowing Jesus. To be made clean by Jesus and then to be indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit and to have direct access by faith and prayer to the Father in heaven in order to receive power from on high that sets us free-----there is nothing better in this life!

Jesus says 'I am come that you might have life and life more abundantly.'  Jesus can and will replace your sorrow and sin with forgiveness, joy, peace, power and grace. 

Just open your heart to Jesus. Turn from the sin that binds and blinds you  and call upon Jesus in faith  who will set you free!  Nothing better!

 

Ezekiel 47: 9b, 
“So where the river flows everything will live.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

 

Suff happens. Sometimes our life has pleasure. Sometimes our life has pain. The danger of pleasure to a Christian is not  to depend on the Lord. The danger of pain to a Christian is to get bitter or desolate. 

The Holy Spirit is like a river of flowing water. When the the water of the Holy Spirit flows in a Christian's life, life is fraught with fruit and is marked by love, patience, faith, gentleness, humility, and the ability to sufffer gracefully. 

I grew up in Memphis, Tn along side of the mighty  Mississippi River.

One one side of the River was the city of Memphis. I remember cruising down Riverside Drive in the days of my youth to go downtown and hang out. 

On the other side of the river was trees and barren land. 

Our life has pleasure. Our life has pain. 

God's will is for us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to bear fruit during the good and fun times and to bear fruit in the tough and hard times.

My prayer today is that I might bow my knee and heart to Jesus and cry out for the Holy Spirit to manifest  Jesus in my life today and tomorrow in whatever comes my way whether it be sunshine, rain, wind or gentle rain. 

Have a great day. God bless you!

 

Psalm 51:12

 

"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation."

Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is the Lord's. It is his salvation. One thing that accompanies the Lord's Salvation is joy. 

The presence of  joy in my life reveals that I am functioning moment by moment in the Lord's Salvation.

The absence of joy in my life reveals that I am not functioning moment by moment in the Lord's Salvation.

So the question comes. Am I functioning in joy or am I not functioning in joy. 

So what is joy anyways?

Joy is described by Rick and Kay Warren as 

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.

Joy implies that we are under the moment by moment control of God. Joy implies that we have confidence ahd hope in the direction and circumstances of our life. We have a quiet peace and inner calmness of strength.

When we are funcitoning in joy, we have the continuous praise of God flowing out of our mind and out of our mouth.

So then, the question is are you and I functioning in the joy of the Lord?

I am so happy that we are able from time to time to pray with King David 'Restore unto me the joy of your salvation.' 

I want the joy of the Lord today and every minute of every day. 

God is good. 

 

Thursday, 11/26/2015   II Thessalonians 4: 16-18 

'Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'

I was reminded of the story of Squanto earlier this week by my son. Squanto was a native Indian in America when he was abducted as a teenager and taken to England in 1605 to be taught English with the plan to utilize Squanto as a guide and interpreter in America later.

Upon returning to America, Squanto was kidnapped, chained in a bottom of a ship and taken to Magala, Spain where he was sold into slavery being purchased by a monk. The monk allowed Squanto to return to England where Squanto learned shipbuilding. Upon returning to America, Squanto, sorrowfully, found that his native tribe had been infected by a disease and wipped out.

Circumstances led Squanto to help the pilgrims at Plymouth after they barely survived a harsh winter. The pilgrims were kind to Squanto and Squanto was a present from God to them in that he interpreted for them, was a guide for them and more importantly taught them how to plant, fertilize and harvest corn. William Bradford decreed Squanto to have been a 'special instrument sent by God for their good' and decided they would have a three day celebration which is recognized as the beginning of our Thanksgiving holiday.

In 1623, Squanto contacted a serious fever and with William Bradford at his dying bedside, Squanto told Bradford that he wanted to go to the Englishmen's heaven and died.

Perhaps you or some of your family or friends have had a rough go of it this past year or even for several years similar to what Squanto went through which included his slavery and the demise of his tribe by a plague.

Don't you love the phrase, however, that 'there is a light at the end of the tunnel.'  As a Christian, I know from the scripture and by experience that God works all things according to my good. Even the bad stuff like sickness, financial setbacks, family disruptions, betrayals, false accusations, job losses, and a multitude of other problems and plagues that are used by God for good in the Christian's life.

And so, I am thankful today. I rejoice today. I pray to give thanks today.

I even look forward to seeing Squanto and William Bradford in heaven one day. I want to hear from their own lips that story of how God used Squanto to help those pilgrims surive in America. I think I shall eat some corn casserole in honor of them today.
PreacherLarry wishes you and your family and friends the Happiest Thanksgiving ever today! God bless you

Matthew 1:21

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall his people from their sins."

 

I don't like the word sin. When I hear the word sin, I think about  disgrace, darkness, alienation, separation, being dirty and not being able to find the way.

I love the word Jesus. when I hear the word Jesus, I think about acceptance, forgivness, light, warmth, being clean, hope, joy, and being able to find the way. 

One day, I turned from my sin. I knew I was on the wrong path in life. I invited Jesus into my heart and life in a simple prayer of faith. I gave Jesus the title deed of my life: lock, stock and barrel. 

Since that day, my life has never been the same. Jesus has never left me or forsaken me. Jesus has never turned his back on me. Jesus has never stopped telling me I am God's child. Jesus has never stopped caring for me.

Sure, I have, from time to time, gone astray. I have thought the wrong stuff. I have done the wrong things. 

But Jesus is always there to pick me up, clean me up and put me back on the right path for my life. 

O how I love Jesus. O how I love Jesus. O how I love Jesus. Because he first loved me. To me, he is so wonderful. To me, he is so wonderful. To me, he is so wonderful. He is so wonderful to me. 

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus'  blood and righteousness. All other ground is sinking sand. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. 

 

Ezekiel 23: 27-30

“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself.  They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare.  The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry.  I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.'

Sometimes we try to stop thinking a certain thought or we try to stop doing a certain thing. We try hard to change but we slip back into destructive thoughts and actions. In our own strength, it is impossible to really implement change in our lifestyle. 

We know that from thinking about the many New Year's resolutions that have been broken and tossed aside. 

A person may be given to gossip and wants to stop talking about others behind their backs. Gossip is a sin. The book of James tells us the tongue is like a fire. So that person determines to quit gossipping. Soon, though, that person is right back tearing people to shreds behind their backs. Why? Because we as sinful human beings have no power to deal with sin and to stop sinning in our own strength.

Some sins, it seems are more deeply entrenched than others. 

The Bible tells us that sexual sin is a sin against one's own body. That is why it is so hard for a person addicted to porn to stop the porn stuff. 

Good news: Jesus came to set free the captives from the grip of  sin and to loose those locked up in the prison house of sin.

Through a humble and contrite repenting heart and faith in the risen Lord Jesus, we are able to overcome sin and not become the thing we hate. The blood of Jesus washes us from all sin and cleanses our conscience to serve the true and living God.

I have been saved many years. I still need the blood of Jesus applied to my life. And through faith,  I must yeild to the Holy Spirit who can apply the blood of Jesus to my mind, desires, goals and life each and every minute of every day!  Through Christ,  I am able to overcome sin and walk in victory!

When my heart breaks over sin and I recognize my feable attempts to improve myself will always fail and then when I throw myself down with a humble and contrite repenting heart before the Lord Jesus,  then and only then do I find deliverance from the sins that beset me, affect me and mess me up from time to time. 

Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh! 

Amen and Amen! Praise the Lord! God is good! Thank you Jesus!

 

Psalm 96: 2-3

Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people."

Today, preacherlarry.com is one year old.  I thank for the Lord for allowing me to declare his name, glory, wonder and word on this site over the past year!

Only God knows what has transpired in the hearts and souls of people through the truth proclaimed at preacherlarry.com. I do know, however, that over 43,000 times some one has viewed this site. (My people counter tells me so!)

My hope and prayer is that God will continue to use preacherlarry.com as he seems fit. Eventually, it is my dream to take preacherlarry.com to pubilic places through out the world as an evangelist. 

George Mueller wanted to be a traveling evangelst. God, however, had him start orphanges for children in England. When Mueller hit his eighties, God opened the door for him to travel the world and preach. Mueller circled the globe several times to publically declare the word of God thus to proclaim Jesus to the nations.

I am not eighty yet. So I am not too antsy. What ever God wants is what I want. What ever doors God opens up are the doors I will go through. 

Praise the Lord!

 

 

John  14:6

"I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except by me."

There a few Scriptures I have memorized and can quote at will. John 14:6 is one of them.

One day, I met Jesus and turned (repented) from my way of doing things (sin)  and surrendered my heart and life to Jesus as Savior and Lord (believed on Jesus). That day Jesus became my way, my truth and my life.

One day, I will go to heaven and see my Savior, Jesus face to face. A song that tears me up talks about a guy going to heaven and seeing Abraham, Paul and Timothy but he cried out that he wanted to see Jesus and then he bowed down on his kness and cried Holy! That is what I want! I promise, I am tearing up right now just  thinking about this!

Is Jesus your way, your truth and your life?  He needs to be!  Because that is the only way you are ever going to be forgiven, cleansed, made new, saved, and gain entrance to heaven. 

I invite you to turn from your ways of doing things and to then surrender your heart and life to Jesus by inviting him to be the Lord, Master, Savior and Ruler of your life.  Praise the Lord!

 

 

Mark 4:39

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still, and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm ."

Jesus told the disciples they were going to the other side. Sometimes Jesus leads us into a new place or situation. We are not sure we are capable or even  able to handle what is going on there. 

A great storm came while Jesus and the disciples were in the boat. Jesus was sleeping calmly and the disciples were stressing greatly. Then the disicples woke Jesus up and angrily said he must not have cared about their safety. 

Jesus got up and told them they had little faith and told the storm to get out of Dodge and told the sea to setlle down. The wind and the sea obeyed the command of Jesus. 

The disciples were amazed that the wind and the sea would obey the words of Jesus.

Are you in a fix right now? Are you short on answers and tall on fear or confusion?Get Jesus involved.  Jesus is able to take care of our situation according to what he tells it to do. 

We need the Lord Jesus more than we need food, water and air. When you and I realize that, we are on the way to having our difficulty solved.

Have a great day!

 

 

Ephesians 2:14

"For He is our peace."

Only one time in Scripture is Jesus called the Prince of Peace and that is in Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is also called wonderful counselor, mighty God and everlasting Father. 

I heard that in France that less than 5% of the population goes to church much. Once I went to Paris as a GI.  My buddies and I checked into a hotel there and in less than 5 minutes there were street walking prostitutes parading outside our window on the sidewalk.  Paris was a dark place. I hope and believe there are some folks there who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  I just don't know who they are.

I am praying for the families who lost loved ones in Paris this morning to find peace in Jesus.  And I am praying for peace in our world.

I found peace for my troubled soul many years ago when as a young Army GI, I bowed my head while sitting in a German guest house and surrendered my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I have not always lived up to that committment but Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has never left me nor forsaken me. And Jesus is still working on me and giving me peace when my life is surrendered to him. 

I just ask for his peace this morning to be in my life, the life of my loved ones and friends. And I pray that troubled, fearful and restless folks in Paris and in this cold dark world might come to Jesus today in faith and obedience  and so experience his everlasting peace flooding into their souls. 

 

 

Hebrews 7: 27

"Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself."

Jesus died for our sins one time. When we turn from our sin, admit we are without resources to do anything to obtain pardon and forgiveness and then accept the risen living Jesus as our sin bearer and substitute, our sins are canceled out one time. 

That one time is enough. Those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are signed, sealed and delivered. Saved!

The Holy Spirit gives us new life, lives in us, teaches us, empowers us, cofmorts us, makes Jesus real to us and stays with us always. 

He (Jesus) who has begun a work in us at salvation will complete it until we are raptured or resurrected when he comes again.

Now, if we stray, God will chatise us. The other night, one of our grandchildren was restlessly kicking around at bed time. Finally, a little pop on that posterior happened and that kid settled down and went to sleep real quick. 

It is like that with us too. Nothing can ever keep my grandchild from being my grandchild. Nothing can ever keep me from being a child of God. But I might get a pop from my heavenly Father once in a while too. If and when that pop happens, I, too, will settle down real quick. 

 

I Thessalonians 5:24

"Faithful is he who calls you who is also faithful to make it happen."

Every Christian is called. 

Everyone has three S's in their call: 1.) Salvation, 2.) Sanctification, 3.) Service.

Called to be saved:

Jesus calls our name and bids us to repent of our sin and to receive and follow him as Lord and Savior.

Called to be holy.

Jesus calls us to yeild ourselves to him to be purified.

Called to be a servant.

Jesus calls us to use the abilities he gives us in service to others.

Can' make it any more simpled than that. 

Salvation, Sanctification, Service.

Is God doing the three S's in your life. Keep it simple. 

God bless you today. 

 

 

 

Proverbs 21:31

"The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory is of the Lord."

 

I bowl in a league. I enjoy the competition, the challenge and the camaraderie. There a lot of things that can affect a good bowling score like the type of ball, ball release, ball speed, hitting your mark, ball revoulutions, and so much more. A scratch bowler is one who averages 220 or higher. There are not very many scratch bowlers in a bowling center, however. 

My average depending on the league I am in is around 160 to 170. When  I roll a 500 (the total of three games) on league night, I feel I have done my part. Occasionaly, I roll a 200 game and I really enjoy that!

The other night I had a dream that I kept doing things right while I was bowling but the pens were just not falling. That happened over and over and my dream was very frustrating. 

Life can be like that. You can do everything seemingly right but just not get over the hump. That extra special umph for the Christian is the touch and blessing of the Lord in, on and through what we are doing. 

When  we seek the Lord first and bring our best effort to the table, then and only then is victory sweet and is from the Lord. 

I want that extra umph in my life. I know that apart from Jesus, I can really accomplish nothing of eternal significance. Things will not last without the touch of God and his blessing.

And so in bowling and also in life, I desire the touch and blessing of the Lord Jesus, the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. That is what I hunger, search and ask for! For then, truly, the Victory is from the Lord and is mine!

 

Revelation 22:12

"Behold, I come quickly."

 

Jesus is coming again. His coming is called our blessed hope in Scripture. We are to be looking for his return and motivated by his return to be ready for his return.

When we have invited a guest to our home, we do a deep cleaning inside and out. We sweep and wash the porch. We cut the grass and pull the weeds. We edge the lawn. We clean the floors and dust the tables. The bathroom is sparkling clean. All the clutter is neatly arranged. We get ready for our guest.

Are you and I ready for the return of Jesus? When we keep his return on our minds and in our hearts, we will be busy preparing by walking with him and sharing his love and message with others. 

Here are some Scriptures to help keep us focused on the return of Jesus:

Bible Verses About Jesus Second Coming

 

 

Revelation 1:7 - Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Hebrews 9:28 - So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 - For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

Titus 2:13 - Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Revelation 19:11-16 - And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.   (Read More...)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 - For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:   (Read More...)

Matthew 25:31-46 - When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:   (Read More...)

Revelation 3:7-11 - And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  (Read More...)

Matthew 24:1-51 - And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to [him] for to shew him the buildings of the temple.   (Read More...)

Matthew 16:27 - For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 24:36 - But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Revelation 1:1-6 - The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:

 

 

I Thessalonians 4:11 

"And make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands just as told you.

 

So after just over two years of retired life at home, I am rejoining the work force. And I have been asking God about how to witness and to evangelize at work. Here is how the Lord is leading me:

 

1.)   Be yielded to the Lord and filled with the Spirit

2.)   Ask God for a burden for your co workers

3.)   Pray for your co workers.

4.)   Be truthful, fruitful, peaceful, and joyful

5.)   Do your job well: work hard

6.)   Genuinely care and love

7.)   Be ready to give an answer when they ask you about what makes you tick.

 

Let's be in prayer on how to utilize these principles based on Scripture on how to witness at home, work and among people we know. 

 

Psalm 92: 1-2

"It is good.......to declare your lovingkindness in the morning and your faithfulness in the evening."

I know a guy who went to the gym twice a day. He did what he called 'two a days.'

When I was a direct in home salesman,  I made two sales presentations a day 5 days a week. That equaled 10 presentations a week, 500 presentations a year and 10,000 presentations over 20 years.  Wow!

So If I give out two gospel tracts each day or speak to two people a day about Jesus,  I will have witnessed to 10,000 people one on one in 20 years. 

That also means if I pray for the same person twice a day,  I will pray for them 10,000 times in 20 years. 

Two a days can apply to a bunch of good spiritual stuff.  Like thanking or praising God for stuff twice a day or giving away two bucks day or even two quarters a day. 

Two a days add up.  It may seem like a little when we first do it but repeatedly doing stuff really adds up. 

Let's be a two a day believer.  And some of you may even be a three or four a day believer.  My mind is getting into this!  The sky is the limit!

 

  Isaiah 41:10

"Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

I have not had it as tough as some people, but let me tell you, I have been through some storms of life. There have been hospitializations of myself and of love ones, the cancer of my wife, the deaths of my parents and two brothers, financial setbacks and lean times and betrayals in the church. 

But you know what? I am smiling right now, have peace in my soul, spirit, mind and heart. And I feel pretty good!

Through and in all the valleys of life, I have learned to trust in Jesus and to depend on his word! I must say, I have more wisdom, a stronger positive outlook and a song in my heart and a spring in my step. 

God is so good, so good to me! The best is yet to come. I am still dreaming and I feel like a kid riding a roller coaster and eating cotton candy.

Life is great with Jesus being my Captain and C E O! 

I recommend Jesus to you. Turn from what you think and trust only and rely only on Jesus. You will not be disappointed!

 

  John 16: 7-11

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged."

      After Jesus died on the cross to provide the possibility of forgivness of sin, he raised from the grave.  Then, after commissioning the Apostles, he ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father until he comes again in power and great glory. 

Jesus told his followers to gather in the upper room to pray and to wait for him to send the Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower them.

And come, the Holy Spirit did!

Today,  the Holy Spirit works to reveal the possibility of forgiveness and new life to the non believer. When an unbeliever recognizes his or sin and turns to God in repentance and faith, the Holy Spirit regenerates that lost person by entering their life to give them a new spiritual life that they did not have before repentance and faith. 

The three things the Holy Spirit reveals to a person before they are saved are:

     1.) The absence of faith

     2.) The absence of righteousness

     3.) The absence of victory over evil

Unbelievers do not in and of themselves have faith, righteousness or victory. The Holy Spirit will draw an unbeliver to come to Jesus for forgiveness, salvation, new life, cleansing and power. When the unbeliever recognizes and admits they are undone, sinful and without strength to effect forgiveness or real change, then they may repent and believe. 

Unbelivers must come to the realization they have no faith, no righteousness and no spiritual strength before they can be saved. 

This is what I am praying today for my lost family members and friends today. O Jesus, reveal to them through the Holy Spirit that they have no faith, no righteousness and no ability to effect real spiritual change and power in their life outside of you. And draw them to you that they may repent and believe in you thus being saved, born again, forgiven and changed.

In Jesus' Name, I pray, Amen. 

 

   Isaiah 30: 21

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying: ' this is the way; walk in it.'

 

    Romans 8: 14

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

 

The old hymn goes, 'he leadeth me, O blessed thought.' 

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead the child of God into all truth, would comfort and counsel the Christian and would testify of Jesus to the child of God.  That is a blessed thought, indeed!

Do you need to make a life decision soon concerning your work, your housing, your school or some other major life event?  Go to the word of God, the Bible in prayer. Follow it's instructions for your daily living.  Talk to the Lord about your situation and ask others for prayer as well. 

God will lead you through and by the Holy Spirit. There is the principle of the open door.  And sometimes, there is more than one door avialable for you.  In those cases, God will, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  lead you. God will confirm his will to you.  Continue in his word and God will show you the path you should take. 

Then there is the principle of peace.  Do you have peace concerning the direction you are taking?  The peace of God passes all understanding.  Trust in the Lord. He will show you the path to take, child of God. 

I have a major life decision to make in the next week or so.  Please pray with and and for me that I will sense the guidance ot the Holy Spirit and that I will follow Jesus and that I will do God's good and perfect will in this.  

He promises to lead you and me in life's major and life's minor decisions. I have confidence in that. God is good!

 

     Matthew 9

"As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting in the tax collectors booth, and He said to him 'Follow me!'

And he got up and followed him."

 

A lot of people have a lot of different ideas of what it means to follow Jesus. What I have found, however, is that to follow Jesus means exactly what it says. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus.

When you hear the voice of Jesus calling you to follow him, you can one of two things. You can either brush off Jesus calling you and do nothing or you can acknowledge Jesus calling you and then follow only him. 

Jesus will always lead you into obedience to the Father's will as revealed in the Bible. And you will always know you are following Jesus and not someone else. Jesus leads us into a life of self sacrifice and love for others. Jesus leads into a life of truth, righteousness and mercy. 

It is really not all that difficult or mind boggling. Just follow the simple carpenter who also is the Lord of lord's and the King of king's. 

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back. 

 

    Acts 5: 42

"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ."

 

The early Christians in the book of Acts did stuff together daily. They prayed with each other daily. They shared with each other and especially with those among them who were poor and had needs.  They enjoyed meals together daily.  They met in the temple with each other daily.  They met in their houses with each other daily. They taught and preached the good news with each other daily both publically and privately that Jesus is the promised Savior, Lord, Messiah and Deliverer. 

We modern Christians don't do that so much anymore. If we meet with others believers on one day a week for an hour, we get a golden star.

We could have more fellowship and spend time with other believers but we don't. We have so many means to communicate with each other like cell phones and computers. We also have mail and we have transportation that can take us places fairly quickly. But many of us are bound up with our own personal stuff and do not make time to fellowship to gain mutual edification and encouragement from other followers of Jesus: our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

We can be so bound up with work, bills, our personal families, household chores and recreation that we just don't make Christian fellowship a priority like the early Christians did. We could at the very least call each other on the phone, text each other or have social interaction via the internet but many of us don't even do that. 

I believe we are wrong about this. 

I, for one, want to get back where I have daily fellowship with other believers. I mean, why couldn't we meet like at a fast food restaurant daily every morning or several times a week and have a biscuit, a cup of java and a Bible study and prayer time? 

I do this Daily Light in a effort to inspire, comfort, teach and encourage you, my brother and sister in Christ. It would be great to hear from you more. 

We could do this and more. But we don't. God is laying on my heart to get back to having koinonea (fellowship, participation, partnership, prayer, care and share) with the family of God on a Daily Basis!

It's Time. Because Time is short and and Time is precious and and Time is God's. 

 

 I Corinthians 15:17

"If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;

 you are still in your sins."

 

I sat with a family member recently and asked the question: "Do you believe Jesus raised from the dead bodily and visibly?"  After several moments of gut wrenching silence,  that family member answered: "No, I don't."

My heart was broken. I cannot describe the ache I felt way down deep inside. 

No resurrection: No eternal life. 

Dante wrote in his 'Inferno' about an inscription over the gates of hell: 'Abandon hope all you who enter here.'  That was from Dante's imagaination but it is true. 

Hell is real. Hell is concious separation from God and from loved ones forever and ever. Hell has nothing good or loving. Hell is eternal torment. 

I believe there is an eternal place called hell. I also believe there is an eternal place called heaven. 

The good news is that Jesus died on a cross for my and your sins, Jesus was buried  and on the third day, Jesus raised from death and the grave to live forevermore. 

I have received by faith the once crucified but now risen Jesus Christ.  Jesus is my Lord and Savior! I believe that and I confess that publically. 

One day, I will take my last breath on this earth. Then I will go to spend eternity with Jesus and my saved loved ones in a place of eternal joy and peace called heaven. 

I will not go to eternal hell. I will go to spend eternity in heaven. I will be raised from the grave and death too. Just like Jesus was. That is the promise. That is my sure and steadfast hope.  

I stand on that. I am saved because of that. I hold fast to that. 

I am praying for my family member to gain that assurance as well.

Dear heavenly Father, please convict my family member of the greatest need ever: to accept the once crucifed but now risen forever Jesus Christ into their heart as their very own personal Lord and Savior. In Jesus' Name, I pray, amen. 

 

 

Sunday, 9/27/2015     3 John 13

"Greet the friends by name."

 

Jesus had 12 Apostles. We know their names. Three of them were Peter, John and James. They went with Jesus up on the mountain when the glory of God came down.

Jesus said Peter would be a leader in his church and Jesus told Peter if he loved the church to tend and to feed his sheep (church members).

This morning, I fed my dogs. I lovingly mixed them up a bowl of savory kibble's and bits' with a pack of juicy pet pride chcken dog food with a can of chicken meat. They loved it and  I loved watching them love it. They are both curled up right now in a food coma thanking their lucky stars that Papa loves them, pets them, calls them by name and feeds them.

What about our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Come on, people!  Do we love them?  Do we call them by name?  Do we feed them (encouragement, prayer, challenge, concern, kindness and if needed rebuke)?  Do we?  Is anyone from your church involved in your life and are you involved in the lives of others in your church?

Many times, the only time one hears from their church is when one gets an offering envelope sent to them in the mail. You know I am right on this.

 Jesus had 12 Apostles. Jesus knew their names. Jesus spent time with them. 

In the upper room between the time Jesus ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower, baptize and indwell believers, there were 120 people up there in that upper room.  Let's see, my math abilities tell me that there were 12 Apostles (Judas was replaced with Matthias in the while the 120 waited in prayer in the upper room) so that leaves 108 left. Now 12 divided into 108 is 9. So that means if all things were equal, then each Aposltle would be a care group leader of 9 people. That is manageable. 

The skinny of this matter is that a ratio of 1 to 9 is approximately where we need to be in our ability to relate to others often on a basis of prayer, care and share.  All I know is that people (you and I and everybody else) need to be prayed for, cared for and touched by those filled with the love and power of Jesus!

Let me break it down for us: (A song goes like this)

 

Take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement
To someone who’s lost the way
(Just try)
Or would I be talking to a stone
If I asked you
To share a problem that’s not your own
We can change things if we start giving
Why don’t you

Reach out and touch
Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(I'm done!)

 

Saturday, 9/26/2915   Romans 15:1 

"We then who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, not to please ourselves."

 

Everybody is stronger than someone else and everybody is weaker than someone else. 

Trust me, God doesn't allow you get strong so you can show off your abs on the beach or flex that muscle to show it off. 

So then, this is the way it is: when we are stronger than someone else who is obviously weaker, we should help them. Plain, pure and simple.

Our society is build on getting money, getting stuff and pleasing ourself. But that is not God's way. God's way is to reach out and to love and to help others. That is God's way. 

So let me ask you. Are you plugged into God's way or are you doing it your way? God's way is the way of the cross. 

The word bear is in our text today. Now this is not like a black bear or Smokey the Bear but this means to carry something. This word is used in Scripture in these ways: to carry a pitcher, to carry a load, Jesus carrying our sins on the cross, the Christian carrying the cross of Jesus or carrying the burdens of another. 

A song with a strong message about this says:

 

Don't walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

 

Several times recently, I actually carried a cross I made and a big Bible for several hours down at a busy intersection where there is a grocery store, a Wal Mart, a bank, a mini mart, a dry cleaners, a pizza hut and so forth. I got the following responses: honks and thumbs ups, people shouting praise Jesus, thumbs downs, one lady took my picutre and then gave me an obscene hand signal and one lady waved me over to her car and gave me 5 bucks (I taped the 5 bucks on the wall right beside the desktop computer I am typing this preacherlarry Daily Light on to remind me that God has people who pray for me and stand with me).  

I got some prophet in me and the prophets did stuff as symbols sometimes. So me, an ole guy, carrying a cross and a Bible at a busy intersection is a visual to remind people that Jesus carried our sins and we should carry the weaknesses of others who God places in our life.

Who has God placed in your life who is without strength in certain areas that God wants you to hold up, to bear there weaknesses, to help and to love? 

A great joy is to be used of God to bear the weaknesses of another. What a blessing. What an honor. What a joy!

 

 

Friday, 9/25/2015  II Corinthians 3:18

"We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image.

Jesus has burning piercing eyes. The face of Jesus is brighter than the sun and the greatest fire that has ever burned. 

Do people see Jesus in you and I? They do when we spend time with Jesus. 

I so want to  be a  faithful and true witness of and for Jesus. But in and of my own strength, I cannot.  Do you feel insufficent to speak of and to show Jesus to others? I do!

It is only when I spend time with Jesus, quality time,  can I take Jesus to this world. Spending real time with Jesus results in a burning away the dross and residue of this sin tainted existence and an explosion of the life and power of Jesus in me!  

Moses went up on the mount for 40 days to spend time with God to receive the 10 commandments. When Moses came down from the mount he did not know his face was radiant with the burning glory God!  Moses did not know that the burning fire of God was all over his face. But Aaron and the people knew becaused they saw Jesus in Moses.  To them, Moses' faith was radiant with the glorious holiness and love  of  the one true Almighty God.

O that our very appearance might be transformed by the Spirit of the living God!  The promise is that we will be a true and faithful witness for Jesus after that the Holy Spirit comes upon us. 

It's no longer that I that live but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me----that is the result of being crucified with Christ.  When I die to myself:  what I want  and  what is important to me and I just 100% key into what Jesus wants and what is important to Jesus, then I will be useful for Jesus.  Then and only then, will I be empowered to be a mighty witness of Jesus.

Then the dross and residue of this sin tainted existence will be burnt off me. And only Jesus in all his power, holiness, love and glory will be left. Nothing on this earth can compare to that!

O God, may it be true in me.

Here I am Lord, send me. 

 

 

Thursday, 9/24/2015   Galatians 1:9

"As we have said before, so now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed."

 

(Please don't get me wrong, Jesus loves everyone and so do I!  God is willing that none should perish but that all should repent and by faith surrender their life and heart to Jesus in order to be saved.)

The Pope (the head of the Roman Catholic's) is in Washington D.C.

In the first century, certain teachers said you had to be circumcised to be saved. Paul implied that teaching was right out of the pit of hell and Paul said those who taught such things were lost.  Official Roman Catholic doctrine states that water baptism is essential to salvation and that is identical to stating that circumcision is essential to salvation.  And preachers or teachers that say either water baptism or circumcision are essential to salvation are just wrong and in error. 

Don't get mad at me, but official Roman Catholic doctrine teaches a salvation of works instead of grace in the vein that you must be circumcised to be saved. The Bible, however, teaches salvation by grace alone through faith:  "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Among other beliefs, offical Roman Catholic doctrine states Mary was born without sin and that Mary never sinned and that prayers are to be offered to Mary.  Offical Roman Catholic doctrine states that Christians after death go to a place of fire called purgatory to pay for their sins on earth (those who believe offical Roman Catholic doctrine do not believe that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ when received through faith is sufficient alone for salvation.)

Consider the following official Roman Catholic teachings:

*** "The church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude."    (New Roman Catholic Catechism)

*** "From the first moment of her conception, She (Mary) was preserved free from all stain of orginial sin."   (Pope Pius IX, 1854)

*** "There is a purgatory and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful."  (Council of Trent, 1563)

There are many more heretical teachings with no Scriptural basis that those who follow offical Roman Catholic doctrine teach, believe and observe. 

These Roman Catholic teachings are right out of the pit of hell and if the Apostle Paul was still alive and on this earth day, he would say:                                   Those Roman Catholics that teach another gospel are accursed.

Like I said, don't get mad at me!  I am just preacher enough to say these things: 'There is no other name (than Jesus) given among man whereby you must be saved' (Acts 4:12).  'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved' (Acts 16:31). 'I (Jesus) give unto them (Jesus' sheep who follow him) eternal life and they shall never perish and no one shall snatch them out of my hand' (John 10: 28). 

Believe what God says in the Bible instead of what some catechism, Pope, or Council says and you will be safe and sound in the arms of Jesus!

 

 

 

Wednesday, 9/23/2015    I Thessalonians 1: 1

"Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace." 

 

What is a church to accomplish and to do according to the New Testament? The priorites of a church as taught in the Bible are:

 

A church is to preach the good news of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.

A church is to teach doctrinal truth (the Bible).

A church is to pray.

A church is to worship and sing. 

A church is to take the Lord's Supper (to remember what Jesus did for them and to examine themselves) and to Baptize new converts.

Individual members of a church are to utilize spiritual gifts of service to serve and to build each other up. 

Individual members are to witness to unbelievers, to evangelize unbelievers and to make them into disciples of Jesus Christ. 

A church is to give offerings to:

     ***support those who give themselves to preach the gospel and to teach 

         doctrinal truth.

     ***care for Christians who are poor

     ***support evangelists and church planters

 

Having said all this, there may be other things a church may do which are implied in scripture but not directly commanded as to be the primary purpose of the church such as relief efforts (food, clothing, housing, utilities, medicial needs, educational needs, etc.) 

No where does the New Testament instruct churches to purchase property, construct buildings, build colleges, universities or theological seminaries, or even to build and provide medical services through hospitals.

These things may be helpful and beneficial but they are not the primary mission of a local church. 

I hope and pray that churches will get back to fulfilling the initial purpose for which God designed and called his people on earth to be. 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 9/22/2015   Matthew 16: 18

"I say unto you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

 

I visited a church Sunday. The speaker had a degree in communications but it was evident he had not studied New Testament Greek. He defined the Greek word for church as people being called out which was correct.  The Greek word for church comes from two Greek words: Ek (out of) Laleo (I call).

The speaker did misprounce the Greek word: ekklesia (the Greek word used in the New Testament for church).  That was not a big deal even though since I studed Greek in both college and seminary, it kind of stuck in my mind for a few minutes. The speaker did get the meaning right, though,  and he applied and illustrated the truth aptly and correctly in his message. 

The word ekklesia was used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the whole assembly of the Jewish people.

In the New Testament, ekklesia is used for the community of believers who met and are to meet in a particular place for worship and instruciton and also was used for the whole compostite group of all those in all places who have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord.  

In Greek culture, the word ekklesia designated a group of citizens who met as an assembly for the purpose to make civic decisions and to implement law.

Words used to describe the church in the New Testament are house, building, body and temple. 

It was not a big thing that the speaker did Sunday. He only misprounced the Greek word for Church: ekklesia. He pronouced it **ah clese iea** when it should have been pronunced **ek kla see ah.**

He got the teaching right, though. Christians are called by God. We are called out of the world to righteousness, love and holiness. And we are called to particular acts and places of service to the church and to the world. 

If you have trusted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, then you are a called out one too!  What has Jesus called you out of? And what has places and acts of service to others has Jesus called you to? Because you and I are called, you know. 

 

 

 

Monday, 9/21/2015   Acts 2:4
"And as they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave enabled them."

 

When I was a young Christian in my early twenties, I sought the gift of tongues. God did not give it to me and showed me one night that gift was not for me. 

Through the years I have studied tongues in the Bible and here is what God has taught me:

***Unknown tongues never appears in the Bible. It is always tongues. (language)

***The early believers spoke in know languages to foreign Jews on Pentecost.

***This gift of tongues was duplicated in the Book of Acts to show Jewish Christians 

    God was saving Gentiles too.

***Tongues were never to be spoken in a public assembly unless there was one

    there who was enabled by God to interpret that foreign language to those present

    who were not fluent in that language.

***Those who speak in tongues are encouraged to do that privately in their

    prayer closet with just themselves and God.

***Not every Spirit filled believer receives a gift from God of speaking in tongues.

I fall into the group of being Spirit filled but not ever speaking in tongues and not ever receiving the gift of speaking in tongues.

I have no problem with Christians speaking in tongues in their prayer closet while they are alone with God. I do have a problem with the thinking that tongues are for every Christian and if one does not speak in tongues they are a lesser Christian and do not have all that God wants for them. 

I believe that if I was at church one Sunday and a person came in from a foreign country, say Russia perhaps, God could give some one a gift to speak in Russian to share the gospel publically with that foreign person. God would also give someone else a gift to interpret the Russian to the rest of congegation. That is the way the gift of tongues is to be done in a public setting according to the Scriptures. 

 

 

Sunday, 9/20/2015  Galatians 6: 1-2

Brothers, even if anyone is caught in any trespess, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 

 

Too often, Christians kick people including other Christians to the curb. And that is not right!

We are always to pray for those whom God has placed in our life. We are always to seek to show acts of kindess and love to those whom God has placed in our life. We are always to be ready and even to start a conversation about Jesus and the Bible to those whom God has placed in our life. 

I have been talking about church discipline. It is like a mother and father disciplining an unruly or disobedient child.  Acts of parental discipline (and church discipline) should never be done impulsively and in anger. Discipline is to be thought out, planned out and then done gently in love. That is not to say that discipline is not painless to the one being disciplined. It is not. But discipline is always done in love to restore in order to effect changed behavior. 

So we are always pray for each other, encourage each other and be involved with each other.

Jesus spent his time with 12 other people. And especially with 3 of them (Peter, James and John). Who are you and I spending our time with (I mean outside of our actual physical family)? 

We got to get back to koinonea (fellowship). 

God help us to love each other and to help each other if we fall off the cabbage or turnip truck. And not to kick each other to the curb!

 

 

Saturday, 9/19/2015   I Corinthians 5: 13

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?"

 

I was a Pastor of four different churches in four different states. None of my churches practiced church discipline. WA Criswell said and implied once that a church becomes like her pastor or a pastor becomes like his church after the pastor has been there for five years. 

In the denomination I pastored in, the average stay of a pastor at church was less then two years. I was right on average.  And I regret that. 

So I was not really able at any church long enough to lead them to practice the church discipline of it's membership.

Church discipline should occur when a member participates in gross sin or drifts into non participation, non support and non attendance (unless providentially hindered). 

What a member is disciplined, that member cannot take the Lord's Supper without open repentance, is prohibited from voting on items within the church and is prohibited from excercising spiritual gifts of service within the church.  

The goal and reason for church discipline is to restore the wayward, unrepentant, unruly and non participating church member.

Most churches (to my knowledge), however, do not practice church discipline as the New Testament teaches. 

Seven churches are addressed in the book of Revelation. They were praised and they were corrected. Some of them 'allowed' certain ungodly things to go on with certain members and even allowed some of those ungodly members to function in areas of leadership. That is wrong and should be corrected. 

Does this mean, we should quit going to church if our church does not practice church discipine? No. No. No. There is no perfect church. 

As long as your church is true to Jesus, peaches and teaches Biblical truth and doctrine, and is active in evangelism and service, I say it is fine to be a member of that church and to worship, learn, serve and go to that church. 

But does that mean we should not be concerned because our church does not practice church discipline? Again, no, no, no. We should pray for our church leaders to enact what God says. And we should never publically run down or gossip about our church.

If we do that, then we are a canditate for church discipline ourselves!

Now when a church member is disciplined, we are to treat them as a pagan. And how are we to treat pagans? Respectfully and lovingly. We are to pray for them and to share Jesus' love and offer of grace and forgiveness with them. We are also gently to warn them of the judgment of God upon them if they continue in a wayward walk of ungodliness. 

Well, this was some of my responses to the what the Bible says about church discipline. Have a great day!

 

Friday, 9/18/2015   Matthew 18: 17

"If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan and a tax collector."

 

The first church of which I was Pastor had their 100th anniversary while I was there. For a history class at my University, I wrote the history of that church. For my sources, I interviewed people who had family members there through out the years, read old church minutes of business meetings, studied associational records and county records. 

One interesting thing I found was how the church practiced church discipline. Church discipline was when a church member was unrepentant about sinning and so the church disfellowshipped them and so did not allow them to serve in the church, vote at business meetings or take the Lord's Supper. Some things that people were disciplined for was swearing, dancing and drinking alcohol. 

Now, church discipline is Biblical but most churches don't do that anymore.

I had a friend who was Pastor of a church for 10 years. One Wednesday night, he showed up at the monthly business meeting and the parking lot was filled with cars. Normally at business meeting there was about 50 to 60 people there but on that night, there was nearly 200. He saw people in the building that he had never seen before. Church members who had not darkened the door of that church for 5 years came that night and voted that brother out as Pastor. 

Now, that is just one example of how not disciplining unruly or unattending church members had gone wrong. 

I once was Pastor of a church where I was not told about a budget meeting. There were church members on the finance committee that I had never seen or met in church. I mean, you had non participating and non attending church members deciding how to spend God's money.! No wonder I, as Pastor, was not invited to that 'midnight' meeting. 

I worked in sales for a company that had a thing called 'MAP.'   MAP stood for 'Minimal Acceptable Performance.'  The company had standards for sales people that included following company guidelines and performance standards. 

Maybe our churches should have MAP too for it's members. That way renegade members would not vote out preachers or backsliding members would not have input on how to spend God's tithes and offerings.

I'm just saying. 

 

 

Thursday, 9/17/2015   I Peter 1: 23

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but be incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever."

 

Jesus defined sexual intimacy and marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. So Jesus addressed homosexuality, polygamy, bigamy indirectly because of the follow Scriptures: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) 

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:18) 
“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” (I Corinthians 7:2)
The real problem with sexual and gender confusion is truth confusion. 
Two things about truth: Jesus is the truth (John 14:6) and the Bible is truth because Jesus said ‘I am the truth’ (John 14:6).  Jesus said ‘Your word is truth’ (John 17:17).
The only way to settle truth confusion is to accept Jesus as the truth for your salvation and to accept the Bible as truth for your sanctification. 
Only Jesus can save you. Only the Bible can give you strength and wisdom to live holy, loving and right. 
What a person turns from his or her sin and accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord, one is instantly eternally saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. 
The Holy Spirit makes Jesus real to the believer, guides the believer and teaches the believer Bible truth. It takes time to get straightened out by the Holy Spirit. For some because of the nature of their sin and past life, it can take longer. 
The Apostle Paul, for instance, was primarily private and obscure for approximately 14 years after his conversion before he started his first missionary journey. It can take a while for things to get sorted out after receiving Christ as your Savior. 
A great resource for those coming to or back to Christ as an adult is a small group study called ‘Making Peace With Your Past.’  Many churches have this as an ongoing study group and one normally does not have be a member of the church that has this.  A book that I gained much from was 'The Bondage Breaker' by Neil Anderson. 
God bless you as you come to Jesus for salvation and then begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can truly help us. Only the Bible is the instruction manual for the spiritual things of our life.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 9/16/2015  I Corinthians 12:13

"For by one Spirit have we all been baptized into one body whether you be Jews or Gentiles or whether we be bond or free

and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."

 

So the question arises how does one actually get saved and how does one actually become a member of the Church? 

The answer is by being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Has Jesus baptized you with the Holy Spirit?  You may perhaps say, well Brother so and so or Pastor so and so baptized me.

Well, if Jesus has not baptized you with the Holy Spirit, then you are not saved and you are not a Christian. Now, that is the truth!

There are two errors floating around concerning baptism today.

First is that one must be baptized with water either as an infant or as a believer in order to be saved. The idea is no water equals no salvation. That is a false teaching and right out of the pit of hell. 

Second, is that one must be baptized with or in or by the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues subsequent and after one's  initial salvation experience in order to be fully empowered or to be able to fully access the ability to be of service to God. The idea is no tongues equals no power and no sanctification. That teaching is not as bad as the one that says that water baptism is essential to salvation but it is also a false teaching, none the less. 

I Corinthians was written to 'all in every place that call upon the name of the Lord.'  (I Corinthians 1:2).

So guess what?  People who call upon the name of the Lord are also baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit of God and are made to drink into one Spirit!  How do we know that?  Because the Bible tells us so!

Romans 10:13 tells us: 'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'  When we call upon the name of the Lord, God saves us and Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ!  No doubt about it!

That means the day I bowed my head and called on the Lord as my Lord and Savior on February 2, 1971 while sitting in a German guest house as a twenty one year old GI in West Germany, I was instantly saved and forgiven and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, the church.

 At the instant I called upon Jesus, he entered my heart and life and saved me and at that instant I was placed into the body of Christ and I became related to, bonded to and a member of the church, the body of Jesus, with  every other person past, present and future who has called or who will call upon the name of the Lord!

Rejoice, my brother or sister who has called on the Lord. You are saved and you are a member of the body (the church) of Jesus Christ! 

Now that is some good stuff!

 

 

Tuesday, 9/15/2015    Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life 
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”

 

You are wonderfully and perfectfully made to know, enjoy, praise and serve God. But you and I inherited a flawed gene called sin.

Sin corrupts us and renders unable to please God, stand against evil such as hatred, greed and sexual sins and we are without strength to do anything about sin. 
Only God came to earth and became a man in Jesus Christ.

Jesus lived a life without sin on this earth, then gave his life blood on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin and to provide forgiveness and redemption, then was buried and on the third day rose up from death.

Because of that,  only Jesus can save you, forgive you your sins, give you the desire and the power to stand against sin and give you love,  joy,  peace,  patience, spiritual resources and eternal life. 

Turn, then, from your sin and trust Christ by surrendering your heart and life to Jesus: 
The thief comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy but I (Jesus) am come that you might have life (eternal) and life more abundantly!’ John 10:10

 

 

Monday, John 13:34-35

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

 

 

A Christian is to follow the example of Jesus. That is what a Christian is to do.

Jesus defined what it means to truly follow him. Loving others as Jesus loves us is what is to truly define what it means to truly follow Jesus and to be a Christian.

Jesus healed others. Jesus fed others. Jesus taught others. Jesus died for others. Jesus rose again for others. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit for others. Jesus prays for others. Jesus is coming again for others.

We cannot claim to love others if we do not love others.

Someone said that love is spelled with four letters: T. I. M. E. (time).

A professor of mine defined God’s kind of love as ‘meeting another persons need in the power of Christ.’

For a Father or Mother to love a child, that Father or Mother must spend time with a child and meet that child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs.

We have been talking about the definition and the mission of the church.

Love is to be modeled from the Pastor to the Worship Leader to the Deacon to the Teacher. If we at church are more interested in what the offering is or how smooth the service looks over actually getting into the trenches and loving others,

then we have missed the boat.

Most people are never checked on and most people never check on others. That is too sad. But that is the way it is in many churches.

I mean the only way to get checked on in most churches is when you go into the hospital, go into the funeral home or have your house burn down or something obvious like that.

An old Deacon at my first church where I was Pastor told me that when they got a new member, the church would ‘drip ‘em and drop ‘em.’

Most churches never even see over half of the members on their role and most of these churches never pray for those that are absent or go and check on them.

I am glad Jesus checks on us.

It would be so nice if we Christians would be like Jesus and love and check on each other too.

 

 

Sunday, 9/13/2015      Acts 2: 47

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

 

Are people being saved and being added to your church daily? I am convinced that is God’s pattern for the church and that it can happen at your and my church!

What are our priorities at church? We do a lot of good things at church.

We have buildings, carpet, seats, podiums, microphones, instruments, class rooms, fellowship halls, gyms, heating and A/C, pulpits, choir lofts, praise teams, worship leaders, preachers, pastors, greeters, parking lot attendants, bulletins, Bible study literature, offering plates, ushers and more.

But do we have people being added daily to the church whom the Lord is saving?

There is a progression of events for that:

***The Filling of the Holy Spirit

***Testifying of the Wonderful Works of God

***Declaring the gospel : the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ

***The conviction of those who hear the gospel

***The repentance of those who hear the gospel

***The glad receiving of the gospel by those who hear the gospel

***The Baptism of those repenting and receiving the gospel

***The Instruction of Doctrine to those New Believers

***The New Believers entering into fellowship and sharing with each other

***Public and Private Daily Worship and Praise

***God Daily Saving people and adding them to the church

Is that happening at your and my church? If not, maybe our priorities are out of place. It all starts with the Spirit of God doing a work in you and me.

God, let it begin with me.

 

 

Saturday, 9/12/2015    I John 1: 9

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 

I use I John 1: 9 all the time. Every day. More than once through out the day.

I wish I would never sin again. But I still have a sin nature even though I am a born again child of God.

So I confess (say the same thing as God) about my sins. Notice sin is plural. I might lose my temper. I might say a mean thing. I might have a lustful thought. I might get jealous. I might get envious. I might utter a false hood. I might treat someone as an object.

So when I sin (and I do and will---and so do you), we must agree with God we have sinned. To agree with God about sin means we hate sin and want to stop sin. And we name that particular sin to God.

Everytime, God forgives us. He is faithful and just to do this. Everytime. To forgive means God sends our sins away. He cancels our sins and forgets about them.

God not only forgives us but he makes us clean.

I remember as a kid, we would take a bath on Saturday night to get ready to go to Sunday School the next day. After the bath, I would be clean and there was ring of dirt left around that tub. God leaves our sins around the bathtub of his forgiveness when he cleanses us.

From ALL unrighteousness. Praise God! Learn how to forgive yourself and to forget about your particular acts of sins after you take these to God for forgiveness.

I thank God for I John 1: 9. I use it every day and through out each day of my life. God is good!

 

 

Friday, 9/11/2015    Joel 2:25

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten."

 

Today, I am thankful that there is life after failure or tragedy. 14 years ago, America was attacked by terrorists and the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell.

Today, America is still here but I am burdened for America today.

Many people today are wishy washy in their faith. The traditional family is under attack as never before.

A few years back, I took employment in the produce department of a major retailer. The deli manager was a young lady in her mid to late 20's. She and her man with whom she lived had a little girl with each other. Now they were getting married and going on a honeymoon.

I asked her why they were getting married now. She said their daughter was in school and the kids were asking her why her Momma and Daddy had different last names. So Momma and Daddy decided to marry to stop that question.

I am old fashioned, so it seems. I was raised to believe that:

1.) First comes love

2.) Then comes marriage

3.) Then comes Larry with the baby Carriage.

There is a radio program called 'Back to the Bible.'  I tell you that is what America needs to do.  America needs to get back to the Bible, God and Jesus!

Listen, I am 66 years old. I was raised as a child in what I call a nominal Christian family. We went to church some and we said grace before supper. But there was no family altar in our home.

It has taken me many years to get balanced in my Christian life and to truly have Jesus as the Lord of my life. By God's grace, that has happened in my heart and life.  God has restored to me the years the locust have eaten!

Praise His Holy Name!!!

We have got to teach our children and youth the Bible, God's Holy Word.  And we have got to teach them how to pray and to pray with them and for them.  And we have got to get our families back in church.

Then and only then will our families be restored and then and only then will America be restored as God wants us to be and intends for us to be.

I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, I still will follow.  No turning back, no turning back.

 

Thursday, 9/10/2015     Ephesians 5: 25

"Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"

 

I once put the words of Ephesians 5:25 on a church sign : "Christ also loved the church, gave himself for it." I received an angry phone call from a person who resented that because he said Jesus loved everyone. That reaction was partly true. Yes, Jesus loves everyone, sinners and saints included. But Jesus has a special love for his bride, the church just as a loving husband has a special love

for his wife!

One note, 'it' in the KJV is translated 'her' in many other versions.

The original greek word used which is translated into our English word church is the word ekklesia. Ekklesia (pronounced ek-klay-see'-ah) is The Greek word used in the Bible for church, which actually means “assembly” or literally “called out ones.” It is made up of the two Greek words, EK—“out of,” and KALEO—“shall be called.” So the church is God's special redeemed by the blood of Jesus people, the bride of Christ, which is 'called out' to be different from the world and to be a light and salt to the world to share the good news of Jesus with the world and to be his ambassador and witness to the world.

The two aspects of the church are defined by the words universal and local.

The universal aspect of the church is for all the people of all times who have became born again children of God through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.

The local aspect of the church is an assembly of people who have joined together for worship, instruction and service with the officers of overseers (pastor, teacher, elder, bishop, evangelist) and deacons (those men appointed to serve and minister in tangible ways to the congregation.) Every Christian is part of the universal church and every Christian is to be a member of a local congregation.

Are you a Christian? If so, you are part of the bride of Christ (the church) that He gave himself for and that He has a special love for. Other Christians in various parts of our world both past and present are along with you part of the church.

Christian, you are also to be a part of a local assembly of Christians that gather to worship, be instructed, observe baptism and the Lord's Supper, serve each other and then depart to be through Jesus' power the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Brothers and Sisters, let's be the church. We are the especially loved by Jesus 'called out ones'  to be nurtured and taught by Jesus and then to be a beacon of light to a lost and dying world in order that we might carry the love and message of Jesus everywhere and to everyone!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 9/9/2015    Philippians 1:1

"Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.'

 

Here are some facts about the church. 

**The church is full of people with names.  We should greet one another by name when we 'go to church.'                              

**The people in the church are all servants. Even the leaders are servants. Everybody in the church serves each other in love.

**The people in the church are all saints. That's right, no one has to wait until someone makes them a saint because when a person belives on Jesus through repentance and faith thus being born again into the family of God, God makes them a saint. Literally, the word saint means 'to set apart.' Christians are set apart by God for his purpose and will.

**The two types of leaders in the church are overseer and deacon.

Overseers are also called elders, pastors, teachers and evangelists. Apostles are not in existence today because one of the qualifications to be an Aposlte is that you had to see Jesus.

Deacons are servants. The word deacon literally means to minister or to serve. Deacons make sure everyone has their needs met and actually serve to meet the needs of the members of the church.

Are you part of the church? You are if you have believed on Jesus. So, are you participating and partnering with a local group of believers that are comprised of servants, saints, overseers and deacons? That is a good question.

Do you know the names of your fellow church members, of your overseers and of your deacons? If not, that is an indication that you need to be more involved in the church.

We should pray for and serve the servants, the saints, the overseers and the deacons in our church by name.

Let's all participate and partner with the church!

 

 

Tuesday, 9/08/2015    Exodus 14:21

"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided."

 

I have never stretched out my hand over a body of water and split anything. I do believe Moses did it, though.

I also believe God is bigger than any problem we have and is able to give us deliverance over that problem.

Once I sat in a double wide mobile home with a fellow named Duck. This was down in Arkansas a few miles from Lousiana. Hunting and fishing were big things down there. There was squirrel, deer and duck hunting. There was fishing, seine fishing and frog gigging. I mean this place was an outdoor man's paradise!

Duck and I were talking about how hard it was to quit smoking. Duck said he did not know if he was able to break his addiction to tobacco.

Duck and I were sitting at a table and on that table was a ceramic ashstray with four little ceramic legs about an inch high on each corner of that ashtray. I began to talk about the the power of God which can break addictions and give deliverance.

Just then, right before our eyes, that ashtray split in two with each side tilting back. It was very obvious and a very powerful visual of what God can do. I mean, think about it: the ashtray split and was divided just like the red sea!

I did not stretch my hand over that ashtray like Moses stretched his hand over the Red Sea but I did and do believe in the power of God to save, to deliver and to break the power of cancelled sin! And I saw God split that ashtray!

I know God is able to deliver us and able to change us. Whatever problem or addiction you or I may have today is able to be overcome through the power of God. Nothing is too hard for the Lord!

I praise the name of Jesus today!

 

Monday, 9/07/2015     Ecclesiastes 5: 19

"Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God."

 

Let us thank god today for our money, for the things we own and for the ability to enjoy these things. Let us accept the station that God has appointed us unto. Let us be joyful in what God allows to work at or to do. And let us recognize all of this as the gift of God.

Today we celebrate the gift of work and what it accomplishes. Work allows us to fulfill our God appointed destinies of caring for this world, our families and for others. Work is a noble task and is to be accomplished for the glory of God.

A portion of the fruits of our labor are to go for the support of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to aid those in need and to provide food, housing, clothing, medical attention and transportation for ourselves and for the families God has given us. Our ability to provide these things through our labor is a gift of God.

The support of missionaries depends upon our work. The support of the disavantaged and the disabled depends upon our work. The support of children and youth depend upon our work. God has given us the talents, abilities and opportunities to earn an income at various endeavors and so we thank Almighty God for his blessings.

I thank God today for the public servants that labor today in the military, in police work, as firemen, as educators and in government. I pray God will bless them and keep them safe. I also thank those medical professionals who serve to keep us well and in good health.

Jesus worked as a carpenter as his work from a child until he was about 30 years of age. Then Jesus was in full time public ministry for three years. The support of Jesus' ministry came from those who worked and gave money for that and also supernaturally as in when Jesus fed the 5000 with a few loaves and fish and when a coin was found in a fish to pay taxes.

Finally, the greatest work of Jesus Christ was his atoning sacrifice on the cross that provided pardon and forgiveness for all who believe on him through repentance and faith.

So let us work and let us depend upon the supernatural power of our God to meet our needs. "God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us." (Ephesians 3:20)

So work and rest in the fact that God is also at work in you with his supernatural power as you work.

Celebrate work today and those who labor with God's power in various areas of service and work today!  And let us remember to recognize this as the gift of God!

 

 

Sunday, 9/06/2015     Psalm 119:160

"The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting"

 

When I hold the Bible in my hand, I am holding the eternal truth of God. Nothing but the Bible is that.

Because the Bible is God's eternal truth, I desire to study it, to read it, to learn about it, to saturate my mind with it, to memorize it and to share it with others.

Thank you Lord, for my Bible, your word which is the only written eternal truth in or on this world.

 

Saturday, 9/05/2015   Isaiah 5:20

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."

 

We live in a crazy upside down world. When Bruce Jenner can appear on Ellen's TV show and get praised and applauded, I know things are messed up.

Listen, it's like this:

   'Deeds and titles you might bear,

   You might be a millionaire,

   But without Jesus

   You won't make heaven.'

One thing I know, once I was blind to who God is and what God wanted in my life, but now I have received spiritual sight and I have been made free!  Once, I was a lost GI serving my country in West Germany.  I lived a live of darkness and sin.  Had it not been for Jesus opening my eyes, I would have adopted the values of this crazy upside down world too.

But Jesus entered into my life one day while I was sitting in a German cafe. A man told me about Jesus and I turned from what Larry wanted and accepted Jesus into my life to rule over my life.  Jesus entered my life and changed my understanding of what is right and wrong and changed my value system. I began to see and understand life differently and from God's perspective.

A few months later, I was reacquainted with my future wife.  You see, I knew her when she was 15 but now she was 18 and I was a whopping old man of 22. She told me she was going to Bible College.  I told her I had turned my life over to Jesus a fews months previous in West Germany but since then I got side tracked.

She read to me her favorite chapter in the Bible, John chapter 17 and placed her Bible between us as we sat in my brother's van at the airport where kids went to hug and make out.  She let me know right then and there that Jesus was #1 in her life and I might could be a #2 if I acted right.  I acted right and 6 months later, we were married.

People are substituting wrong for right in this ole world today.  For instance greed is taught over giving. Drinking beer to excess is taught over being sober.  Overeating is taught over a healthy diet.  Sexual immorality is taught over God's only purpose of sexual intimacy between one man and one woman only in marriage.  Abortion is taught over taking responsibility for one's action and then nurturing and loving that human life which is valued by God. And being true to what one wants is taught over to being true to what God wants.

I can only say if it had not been for Jesus entering my life and then sending me my future wife who helped to show me in the Bible how to follow Jesus, I would be in darkness and without spiritual understanding and light today.

Jesus died on the cross so that we can be pardoned and forgiven by turning from doing things our way and trusting him to work out God's way in our heart and life. Then he rose from the grave so we can have eternal and abundant life.  Shortly after that he ascended into heaven to sit at the right of Father God.  Now Jesus sends his Holy Spirit to give people new spiritual life and to guide them into the truth of the Bible when they believe on him through repentance and faith.

The last thing Jesus told his disciples (I am a disciple so this includes me) was for them to tell others about how he died for them and rose again so that through believing on him they can be forgiven and have eternal and abundant life. 

Jesus also told his disciples (this also includes me) for them to share with others what great things he does for them (being a witness for Jesus). 

And then Jesus told his disciples (again me and everyone else who has ever received new life from Jesus) to show others what they know about the Bible and so how to follow Jesus' new way of living.

That is the only way that individuals can figure out what God wants and get off the train wreck ride of this crazy mixed up world.

 

 

 

Friday, 9/04/15     Acts 5:18

"So they arrested the apostles and put them in the city jail."

 

What does Kim Davis have in common with Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, Martin Luther King and Dederick Bonhoffer? She is jailed because of her obedience to her convictions which are formed by her faith in the Lord.

The jailing of Kim Davis did not happen in Iran, Saudi Arabia or even France but it happened in America, the home of the free and the brave.

Kim Davis is an American. Kim Davis is brave. But Kim Davis is not free, at least, not physcially free.

Kim Davis is spiritually free because four years back, Kim was saved after her mother, while on her death bed, begged Kim to go to church. Kim fulfilled her mother's wish and when she went to church, Kim heard that true freedom, salvation and deliverance comes only from Jesus Christ. Kim called upon the name of the Lord and Kim said she was born again into the kingdom of God.

What we have going on in America right now is political and judicial tyranny. Five Supreme Court judges decided for whatever reason to change the definition of traditional marriage. These judges overstepped their boundaries and created law from the bench.

Last time I checked, laws were to be made by congress and congress is voted into office by law abiding tax paying citizens. At least that is the way laws were made before the Supreme Court overstepped their boundaries.

Many of the pages of the New Testament were written by the Apostles while they were in jail or in exile. So God's people going to jail for standing up for their faith and standing against unjust laws is not something new.

We are living in a strange time in America. It is time to pray. It is time to weep. It is time to work for freedom. It is time to stand. It is time to cry out. It is time to live one's faith at home, in the work place, in the school house, in court houses, in the halls of congress and, yes, even in the White House.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 9/03/2015   Hosea 7: 8

"Ephraim mixes himself with the nations;

Ephraim has become a cake not turned."

 

Recently I went to a breakfast cafe with my Son. My diet is limited as to my intake of various meats and foods fried with oil, so I had a belgian waffel with fruit topping. It was delicious. I could only eat a little of it so I had it boxed up and it lasted me the rest of the day and on into the night at home. I had the last bite of it about 3 a.m. as I woke up in the middle of the night.

Waffels are cooked on both sides at the same time in a waffel iron but pancakes are fried in a skillet one side at time. I got the waffel because it was not fried in oil but I would never want to even try a pancake that was only cooked on one side and not turned. I mean that would taste pretty bad, wouldn't it?

God describes his people at times like that pancake that is not turned. God's people lose their reason for being and their purpose as salt and light in this world when they become more like the ways, fashions and culture of this world over being a reflection of Jesus' glory, grace and truth.

We can become a cake not turned when  the influence of hollywood, the news paper, secular entertainment and the cultural trends of the world around us affect us more than the Bible, prayer, public worship, spiritual songs  and good preaching and teaching.

The Psalmist cried out to God:

"I have strayed like a lost sheep, seek your servant, for I have not forgot your commands."

When we feel spiritually weak and like a half turned pancake because of being bombarded with the false messages of the world, then we need to turn to God and cry out for help. When we truly cry out to God to be made whole and purposeful, God will answer and make us what we need to be for his glory. God's word says in Psalm 138:3:

"In the day that I cried unto you, you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul."

So, I'm crying out to the Lord right now to be made whole, to be made strong and to be made fit to be all that he wants me to be as his ambassador and servant to all that cross my path today.

 

Wednesday, 9/02/2015     Proverbs 11: 12

"Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,

but the one who has understanding holds their tongue."
 
The Christian should not be continually running people down or gossipping about people in a negative way.
A better way is to pray for those who are sinning and for those with whom you disagree.
There is a lot of stuff going in American right now. The main thing Christians should do in response to all of this stuff is to live uprightly, love supremely and pray passionately.
Christian families must worship together, serve together and pray together more than they every have before. We must teach our children, grandchildren the Bible truth about living for Christ in a twisted and messed up culture.
We must witness to the lost in the power of the Holy Spirit of the forgiving and delivering power of Jesus Christ that he provides through the blood of his cross by his death, burial and resurrection. Then we must make disciples by leading the new believer to get with a good Bible believing New Testament Church, follow the Lord in believer's baptism and then learn how to observe the things Jesus has commanded us.
Whew! We got a big job to do!  For we are living in periolous times.
I submit we should hold our tongues just like the Bible says. God will sort things out in the end. Now, we should just follow Jesus and share his love and truth with the lost. The main message the lost should hear from the Christian is repentance and faith. Repentance means to turn from running your own life. Faith means to trust God to run your own life based on Jesus' death on the cross, his burial in a grave and his resurrection from the dead.
But do not expect the lost or the unsaved to want to follow or to do what God says while they still in their and unbelieving state. Those in substance abuse will continue in substance abuse until they get saved, forgiven, delivered and taught. The same is true for those living in sexual sin. Even when a person get saved, then they must be taught the whole counsel of God.
Patience and prayer is the key here.
Choose your battles very carefully. Remember we are in a war against evil. And remember that our most important weapons are only through prayer and faith.

 

 

Tuesday, 9/01/2015       Deuteronomy 1: 31

"and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."

 

Sometimes we can feel displaced in life. We just feel as though we do not fit. This feeling of not fitting in can happen when a child goes to a new school, or when one begins a new job, when you move to a new city or state and even when you join a new church.

I heard a story about how a family felt when they were displaced by the hurricane Katrina:

A couple of years after Katrina, we were in the Smokey Mountains. At the Tanger Outlet Mall, we met a sales lady in one of the stores. After talking a little, she discovered two things about me: we were from south Louisiana and I was a pastor. She started crying. She told us the story of how they had left the Mississippi coast because they lost everything, it all was destroyed. They resettled on the... other side of the mountain from Gatlinburg because they could not afford to live in the Gatlinburg area. She enrolled her son in school there. The local students made his life miserable. They were told they were stupid for living on the Gulf Coast and because they were stupid they deserved to have lost everything. And they let it be known that they were not welcomed in their new home. No one should have to be treated like that, especially having lost everything and being uprooted. I heard that sentiment in several places.

I want you to know that Jesus knows how we feel when we feel displaced. Jesus was a stranger living in a strange land. Jesus left his mighty home in glory to bring us salavation story. He was despised and rejected among men, a man of sorrows. He came unto his own but his own received him not.

But the God who was rejected, who suffered, who bled and died, rose again and is coming again. He has all power. He will send the comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, to all who repent of their sin and receive him by faith.

I am thankful this morning that as I travel through this world of woe even as a wayfaring stranger that I have Jesus with me and in me through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. He truly will never leave me nor forsake me!

Do you have Jesus in your heart?  He will comfort you, strengthen you, give you peace, love, faith and hope when you surrender your heart and life to Him!

 

Monday, 8/31/2015       I Corinthians 10:31

"So whatever you eat or drink or what ever you do, do it for the glory of God."

 

Is it right for a Christian to drink a beer, smoke a cigar or go to the casino?

The better question would be if those things can be done for the glory of God?

Once I preached for a church in view of a call as Pastor. There was a question and answer period that afternoon for the members of the church to interview me before they voted on if they would issue me a call to become their Pastor.

One gentleman who had a very heavy full beard and wearing jeans with a western shirt asked me what I thought about shooting pool. I said if it was a simple game as basketball, I had no problem with that.

Now that was the wrong answer as far as he was concerned for he used to have a problem with drinking, smoking and pool hall gambling before he gave his life to Jesus. For him, shooting pool was not right under any circumstances.

I was called to be their Pastor but there were a few votes against me. I think he might have been one of those who voted against me. We did, however, build a good spiritual relationship and friendship while I was his Pastor.

My Grandma used to prohibit us kids from playing Monopoly because dice were associated with gambling. I personally, however,  have no problem with me as a Christian playing monoploy.

But some things are just not worth doing for a Christian.

Because  we never know who is watching us and whether or not our testimony for Christ could be comprimised.

For me, I have made a decision not to smoke or drink alcohol. (I have a tendency to do things in excess so to abstain is a safe and good choice for me.) So for me, when I bowl in my league, I don't have to worry about going into the lounge between games and have a smoke and a drink. I just don't do it. My health is better and I believe my testimony for the Lord is better too!

Christians, let us remember to live our life as if the Lord was in his human body walking beside us in our every step because Jesus is actually with us through the Holy Spirit whom he sent to comfort us, teach us, guide us, to be along side of us and to live within us to manifest the grace and truth of Jesus in and through us!

 

 

Sunday, 8/30/2014     I Timothy 4: 1-2

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.....

 

In the very beginning of time when God created man, God said the following things:

---man is created in God's image

---man is created male and female

---man is to be fruitful to multiply and fill the earth

---man is to subdue the earth and to have dominion over the creatures in the earth.

Today, many people leave God completely out of their life. Most people, even those who profess to believe in God, are devoid of a personal relationship with God. How many people study, read and hear God's word, the Bible preached and taught?  How many have a prayer life where they actually pray in Jesus' name to praise God for who He is, to thank God for what he is doing for them, to acknowledge and confess the sins and transgressions they do, and to pray specifically for others and for themselves?  How many people actively gather to worship, learn and fellowship with other believers on a weekly basis? How many people support the work of the church and missions with their offerings and tithes?

For the first time in my lifetime, gender confusion is all over the map.  The US military now accepts homosexuals and will soon accept transgendered people and even provide to them hormone or surgery to transverse from male to female.  A singer has delcared she is pan sexual meaning she is willing to have sex with whomever: male or female.  An male olympic athlete male now says he is a female and has a weekly TV show.  Robin Roberts, Ellen Degeneres, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Neil Patrick Harris and Elton John are some of the well known personalites who live as homosexuals.

But God says He created people male and female.  That's it.  To change and to reject that is to reject God and His word.

Having children in marriage is no longer the thing to do for many people. So many people are born our of wedlock today.  Singleness and a celibate lifestyle is a calling and is honored by God but that does negate the dismissal of marriage and procreation as being God's design to keep this world in sync.

People who get married break up now and divorce at the flip of a coin. Adultery and open marriage is as normal and accepted as eating a hamburger for so many people. And some choose to live a life of gain and pleasure and leave children out of the picture. The breakdown of the nuclear family unit of Dad, Mom, and the kids is a clear indication that people have rejected what God says.

God said for people to be fruitful, to multiply and to fill the earth. When people reject the family unit of Dad, Mom and the kids, they reject God. I am not saying there is not a place for singleness and an honorable celibate lifestyle but I am saying that God put the family unit as of extreme importance.

God told people at the beginning to subdue the earth and to use the earth to sustain them.  Today, we have things like earth day and the rights of animals are often put above human babies in the womb. The body parts of little babies are ripped out of their mother's wombs today and sold for gain but there is a great penalty including perhaps prison time for harming the egg of an eagle. So many have turned things upside down and put the creation over the worship and an obedient life towards the commands and design that God set in place at the beginning.

I do not know actually when Jesus is returning to this earth to take God's children home to heaven and no one else does either.   But the Bible does talk about the last days and it seems to me, we are there.  I am ready to meet the Lord.  I have repented of sin and have accepted and trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Have you?

You can be sure today that you have accepted Jesus and been saved because Romans 10:13 says 'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' and Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 'Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and he with me.'  Call on Jesus now and He will enter your life to save you, forgive you, change you, set up on the design and path He set forth at the beginning of creation and give you eternal and abundant life!

 

 

 

Saturday, 8/28/2014          I Corinthinans 2: 1-4

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,  and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,…

 

The greatest missionary of all time has to be Paul, the Apostle. He traveled over his known world to win souls to Jesus and to plant churches.

Paul did not have a jet airplane or a rock band with giant sound systems and a laser light show. Paul did not have Fox News or CNN setting up to film him or interview him. The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune or the New York Times did not report on what Paul did.

(all the above is ok, but Paul did his work without that extra stuff.)

All Paul had was Jesus, the message of the cross and the Holy Spirit. And that was enough.  God blessed what Paul did and Jesus converted many through the power of the Holy Spirit!  Paul heard God’s call and was obedient to God’s call!  That was enough.

People today still need to hear the message of the cross and God wants you and I to tell them. We like Paul just need Jesus, the message of the cross and the Holy Spirit.

You may say but I am afraid and feel so unworthy and scared!  Well, Paul felt afraid and unworthy too!  Paul said he was weak, he was fearful and he trembled at the thought of doing what God called him to do:  tell others about Jesus, mighty to save!

Well guess what?  Paul just humbled himself,  did what God said to do and then the Holy Sprit shook things up and gave results.

Here is a physical description of the Apostle Paul from an early 1st Century writing (not the Bible). There is no way to actually know if Paul looked like this but it seems to be in tune with what are the New Testament inferences as to the appearance of Paul as not being nice to look at:

"He was a man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting, and he had large eyes, and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long."

You and I may not look like much and we may not have been on the debate team. We may not have the self confidence of the world's strongest man or the great looks of an actor or actress. But we have Jesus, his message of the old rugged cross and we have the Holy Spirit!  And that is enough! 

God will bless his mission and message!  He just wants us to be available and to be obedient. When we go in Jesus' Name, tell people what Jesus did for them on the cross, then the resurrection power of Jesus will show up.  And then the Holy Spirit will shake things up again just like He did when the Apostle Paul heard God's Call, obeyed even though he was fearful, afraid and trembling and just simply held up the cross of Jesus and told others of Jesus, might to save!

Go tell it on the mountain. That Jesus Christ has come!

 

 

Friday, 8/27/2015    Philippians 4:16

"For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need."

 

In the early days of the Apostle Paul's missionary efforts, only the Christians at Phillipi gave him monetary support in order that Paul might take the gospel to lost souls.

"preacherlarry.com" is in it's beginning stages. Although, only 9 months old, there has been over 35,000 visits to this site. It is my pleasure and joy to give out the word of God in an effort to win folks over to Jesus and to instruct and to comfort Christians!

My burden is to increase this ministry. I want more people to hear about Jesus and I want to minister to many more people in both word and deed! It is my desire to spread the material on this website to all the world. I would that everybody who gets blessed by preacherlarry.com would share this site with friends, family, their local church and their neighbors. I would also like to be able to advertise this site through various means on the internet.

It is also my desire to publically share the good news of Jesus in public places such as events, fairs, craft shows, busy street corners, churches, venues and whenever and wherever God leads!

I just know God has placed upon my heart to touch others in anyway I can with the love and truth of the Lord Jesus!

As the Lord burdens you to get involved with preacherlarry.com,

please click on the 'Ministry Needs' tab on the left upper side of this page

(right beneath the Daily Light Tab which is beneath the picture)

and ask the Lord how he would like you to help and get involved.

I am doing this now through prayer, through the material on this web site and through engaging people in conversations in public about how Jesus loves them so much He died, was buried and rose again in order that they might repent of their sins and by trusting in Him to come to know, follow and serve Him as their Lord and Savior!  (I also give out gospel and Bible literature to people.)

Someone today started a monthly contribution to preacherlarry.com. (as the Philippians did to the Apostle Paul so many years ago). This will help me to keep on keeping on!  I am grateful to the Lord for you!  Your gift will help keep the website going, buy gospel literature and enable me to get out in public places to share the good news that Jesus saves!
(Amount received: $20.00 USD--For: preacherlarry.com--Amount paid each time: $20.00 USD--Maximum amount you can bill: $20.00 USD--Billing cycle: Monthly--Next payment due: Sep 27, 2015.)

 

 

Thursday, 8/26/2015    Psalm 119:16

"I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."

 

How often do you eat food? Do you enjoy breakfast, lunch and supper? Do you have a snack perhaps at mid morning, mid afternoon and in the evening as well?

I have heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

The Bible compares itself to bread, milk, meat and honey. The psalmist mediated on God's word day and night. He hid God's word in his heart: 'thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.' (Psalm 119:11)

Here is what I suggest we do as regarding God's word:

---Read it daily. Three chapters a day and you read it through in a year.

---Memorize promises. There are 1000's of promises in it just for you and I.

---Hear the Bible preached and taught. Get in a good church that teaches and preaches the Bible.

As a Father and a Grandfather, I believe III John 4: "I have no greater joy than my children walk in truth." After I had some turburlent and unfruitful years in my spiritual growth, I spent much time with my younger son when he was in middle and high school. We studied and memorized I John 2:14: 'I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one." You see I was the father teaching his son to get the Bible in him in order to know God, be strong in God and overcome the devil.

Let's get in the word for ourselves. Then let's influence, teach and help others to get in the Bible as well. For then, we shall be strong. For then, we shall know God. For then, we shall overcome the devil.

God bless you today as you study, mediate, memorize, hear and ingest the words of the Bible into your life! God's Holy Word!

 

 

 

Wednesday, 8/25/2015   Psalm 12:6-7 

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”

 

Here are some things concerning the Bible of which I am convinced:

--The 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 Books of the New Testament is the complete only written word of God and is not be added to or taken away from.

--The KJV is based on the 'Received Text' and is the plumb line for other versions.

--The message of the Bible is that God has come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to give his life as a sacrifice for our sins: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the good news that God wll save all who believe on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

--When a person is saved by repenting of sin and trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, God sends the Holy Spirit into their heart and it is only by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit that one can be guided and directed into the truth of the Bible.

--Either the Bible will keep me from sin or sin will keep me from the Bible.

--It is through assimilating the Bible into my life that I overcome and defeat the world, the flesh and devil.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 8/24/2015    Psalm 78:58

"They angered him with their high places;

they aroused his jealousy with their idols."

 

I pray I don't become like the children of Israel when they continously presumed upon the grace of God while dishonoring God with their day to day actions.

Do we really walk with the Lord? Are we really depending upon his strength, his guidance, his peace and his word? Do we really?

Sometimes our heavenly Father comes to the end of his rope.

Paul said he did not want to become a castaway. A castaway is one one who through continual disobedience was no longer useful in the Lord's service and work.

We used to call that being put up on a shelf.

Tools are not to be put on a shelf for display. Tools are to be used to complete tasks.  A hammer or a screw driver is no good if they are not used in according with their purpose.

What are our priorties? HMS means His Majesty's Service. Is that your purpose and my purpose? Are we given to serve the Lord for his glory and his purposes?  If we truly are, that means that everything we think or do will be ultimately for God's glory and work.

I wanted to share a testimony today of a recent way God used me. I can't, however, because there are too many things in my thoughts and actions that need correction. I truly know what John 15:5 means to me: 'Without me, ye can do not nothing."

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Without Jesus, I can do nothing!!!

Why then do I depend upon myself? Why do I have high places that I place importance on over the way and will of my heavenly Father? Why do I place certain thoughts, desires and even actions over the chief purpose of bringing glory to Jesus?

My heart is burdened today. I want to walk with Jesus. I want to be a man of God. I want to obey his word. I want to be filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit!

God, change me. Purify me. Fill me. Use me for your holy purposes on this earth. Truly, Lord, I want to do your will on earth as it is being done in heaven.

 

 

 

Monday, 8/23/2015   Galatians 2:11

"Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face because he was to be blamed."

 

Paul and Peter were eating a meal with some gentile believers in Jesus (non Jews). When some other Jews came in, Peter got up and left because obviously he did not want to be seen mingling with non Jews. Paul rebuked Peter because Peter was being two faced.

I have a four month old Boxer puppy named Bosco. At home Bosco is always nipping and barking at me and my older Boxer dog Abby. When I take Bosco out like to the pet store, the Vet, or the dog park, Bosco is a perfect little gentleman with other humans and dogs. Bosco is two faced. Bosco acts one way at home and another way in public.

Are we two faced like Bosco and Peter?

Are you or I grumpy and short at home but nice and respectful in public?

Let's ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives where ever we are. Let's follow Jesus at home, at work, at recreation and in public places.

God help us to be Christians where ever we are.

I don't want to be two faced. I want to follow Jesus and to be like Jesus. I want love, truth, justice and mercy to mark my life at home and in public as well.

Sometimes, however, I need to be rebuked like Peter. And sometimes, I need to be trained like Bosco.

I want to walk in the Spirit and then I will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Take my heart, O Lord. Mold me, shape me, fill me and use me. Make the same man where ever I am.

 

 

Saturday, 8/22/2015   I Timothy 6:11-12

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

A young man was struggling with pornography. Through Bible study and prayer, God told him to have a friend set up passwords and the such on his computer, cell phone and cable TV. Now he is unable to access the pornography when the temptation comes to do so.

I knew a man who had drove his car under the influence of alcohol. A device was installed in his car that detected if he had been drinking and prohibited him from starting the car if he was.

Stern measures are needed sometimes for personal weaknesses.

When I was in US Army Basic training so many years back, I was separated from all outside influences in order to train with a group of men and to become the best soldier I could be. For eight weeks, we trained physically and mentally in many different difficult ways. My weight changed from 152 pounds to 176 pounds. At the end of basic training, I was rock hard, could do 200 push ups at a time, could do pull ups over and over again and could run six miles at a fast stride without stopping. I got in the best physcial shape of my life.

Today, Christian men need to get in shape spiritually and morally. Just recenly, I have been reminded by news reports of certain Christian men who have fallen into temptation and lust.

Christian men, we need to passionately pursue the things of God and fight, fight and fight against our sin nature, worldly influences and the devil and his slimy demon gang.  It is high time to take hold of holiness and love and to defeat sin, darkness and the devil. Our training is not just eight weeks but is continual ---on and on and on, we train to remain strong & in shape for our manager who is Coach Jesus!

Get the word of God in your heart and mind. Read it, study it, memorize it, mediatate on it and do it. Pray, pray, pray and pray some more. Enlist the help of other godly men and stand with them.

Men, let's do this thing. I'm all in. Are you?

Are you in?

 

Friday, 8/21/2015   Luke 19:10

"For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"

 

There are certain addresses of which I know the street, the number, and the zip code. The same is true about certain Scriptures. One of these is Luke 19:10.

This Scripture tells about the identity and purpose of Jesus.

Jesus is called different names among which are Savior, Lord, God, Lamb, Lion, Word of God and Son of Man. The name Son of Man reminds us that Jesus identifies with mere humans: you and me. A song says of Jesus:                            "He left His mighty throne in glory
To bring to us redemption story
And then He died but He rose again
Just for you and me
Oh, but I'm glad, I'm glad He did.
So glad He did."

The primary purpose Jesus came to this earth was to rescue you, I and every other human in this world from the penalty and ravages of sin. Jesus came so the abusive father could become a loving provider to his children. Jesus came so the drug and substance abuser could be delivered from a terrible enslaving addiction. Jesus came so the sexually immoral could become pure.  Jesus came so those filled with racial hatred could become lovers of all people everywhere.

Jesus provided the way for the lost to become found through his death on the cross, his burial in a borrowed tomb and his victorious bodily resurrection which gives victory over sin, the grave, death and hell.

Jesus sought us and bought us. Jesus is still seeking and buying lost family members, neighbors and every other human in this world. I am glad and thankful He is. I praise the Holy Name of Jesus today!
 

 

 

Thursday, 8/20/2015        Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

 

Sometimes depression can cause a Christian to feel alone, powerless and hopeless. God loves you is working on your behalf, however. Always take your feelings and thoughts to the Lord in prayer. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Depression can be caused by lack of sleep, feeling betrayed, personal disobedience, bodily illness, severe personal problems, fatigue or chemical imbalances (and other reasons).

It is not a sin to be depressed. If you are feeling depressed today, then pray (it is helpful to pray the promises in the Bible--there are 7000 of them!) , talk with a trusted Christian pastor or friend and if it is so severe that it affects your activities of daily living (bathing, eating, working, social interacting, etc.),  then seek professional and medical help.

Christian counseling can be helpful when dealing with depression. Just talking it out with a trusted mentor or friend can be helpful.

If you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or hurting someone else, get professional medical help immediately!

Sometimes a person has a chemical imbalance or a physical abnormality in one’s brain. In that case, there are certain medicines that can help. These medicines can only be prescribed by a Medical Doctor. If you feel this may be a cause of your depression, then see a Physician and tell him or her about your depression as soon as you can.

I once studied in a clinical setting of a Mental Health Hospital for a year during my Seminary studies. Some of these things I learned there and some of these things I learned through pastoral ministry.

I hope what I have shared about depression helps you, a family member or a friend today.

 

 

Wednesday, 8/19/2015    Romans 3:12

"They are gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

 

I am thinking about Jared, the Subway guy. He got arrested for child porn. It is reported that Jared has pleaded guilty to child porn and child sex charges.

God has a special hatred for the sin that abuses and hurts a child. But even though some sins have greater severeity, all sin (even the ones that we deem little sins) separates a person from God.

What I do know is 'there is none that does good.' All have sinned and come short of the glory of God' and 'the wages of sin is death.'

We are all born with a sin nature that is capable of everything in the book. We naturally have an unbelieving heart, that is, before we are become a born again Christian by trusting in Christ, we do not believe nor follow Jesus, God's only unique Son, as our Savior and Lord.

So it does not surprise me when a preacher is caught in adultery or a politican sends immoral pictures over his phone. I am not surprised at what people do and what they are capable of doing because they all have gone out of the way, they have all become unprofitable and they have all sinned.

I am happy today because the grace that brings pardon, forgivenes and new life is available through Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and became our substitute on the cross. Jesus paid our sin debt through the shedding of his precious blood and his death and then Jesus rose from the dead the third day. Jesus is alive forever and is sitting on the right of God, the Father, in heaven. Jesus will send his Holy Spirit to give anyone new life who repents and believes.

Even Jared. Even me. Even you. We may not have done what Jared has done but we have sinned. All of us. Our sins may include lying, cheating, gossip, slander, racial hatred, sexual immorality or pride. But we all have sinned. Every one of us. All of us. I have sinned. You have sinned. Jared has sinned.

Jesus died for me. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for Jared. And Jesus was buried and raised from the dead for all of us! The invitation to repent of our sin and to receive Jesus is offered to me, to you and to Jared.

'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' (John 3:16)

 

 

Tuesday, 8/18/2015       Acts 17:30

"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"

 

Every person every where is commanded by God to repent. That's right. People from every country, in every religion and every race are commanded to repent.

To repent means to make a U Turn. To repent means to change directions.

Every person before they repent are going in an opposite direction from God. People want to be the ruler of their life. People do not want God to be the ruler of their life. Repentance changes all that.

All of us are either going towards God or away from God. Without repentance, we are going away from God. With repentance, we are going towards God.

So many people claim to be a Christian,

yet they show no fruits of repentance.

Many claim, O yeah, I believe in God. I never pray, but I believe. I never read the Bible and hide it's words in my heart, but I beIieve. I never gather with other believers for worship and preaching on Sunday or any other day, but I believe. I never help some one who is hurting or down and out in the name of Jesus, but I believe. I never give a plugged nickel to further the preaching of the gospel or to help the hungry or hurting, but I believe. I never testify and witness to others what Jesus has done for me, but I believe.

Nah, it don't work like that!

John the Baptist told them to bring forth the fruits of repentance.

True repentance brings an evident change in a person's life that

everyone can recognize and see.

To say I have repented without a change in my life, without love for God and the things of God and without humility and prayer is a sham.

Lord, help me to repent in my heart. In Jesus' Name, I pray, amen.

 

 

Monday, 8/17/2015        Matthew 15:8 {taken from Isaiah 29:13}

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

 

The tongue is like a joy stick and controller in a video game with a 60 inch wide screen montior. When you look at that 60 inch image, you, for instance, can see football players running all over the screen if you are playing Madden NFL Football.

But what is moving those football players? The joy stick and the controller.

Words are strong. They are motivated and produced by the brain. The brain is motiviated and guided by the heart. The heart is that part of our makeup which controls the rightness or the wrongness of our attitudes, thoughts and actions.

A person in their natural born state has a heart which produces anger, meanness, gossip, lust, jealousy, envy, evil and sin.

A person who gets born again by the Spirit of God through repenting of their sin and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior based on what he did in his death, burial and resurrection gets a new heart from God.  

That new heart produces self control, kindness, encouragement, purity, love, contentment, goodness and righteousness.

Sometimes people deceive others with their lips. A person's words may appear to be coming out of a new heart but are really coming out of their old heart. The new heart wants to glorify, worship and obey God. The new heart wants to serve others in love. The old heart always has impure motives. The old heart may butter some one up just to get them to do a certain thing. The old heart does not have the best interests of others at heart.

You see this all the time in a political election. Some politicans will say one thing before they get elected only do an entirely opposite thing after they get in office. Actually, that seems to describe a majority of politicans at times.

We call that being a hypocrite.

Has Jesus given you a new and clean heart? Jesus says we must be born again to get a new and clean heart!  Jesus can and will make a person who trusts him into a new creation with a new heart that produces new motivations, new thoughts, new actions and new actions.

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new."  (II Corinthians 5:17)

 

 

Sunday, 8/16/2015   Psalm 68:11  

"The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host:"

 

My Grandma was called a cotton patch preacher. You see, when she picked cotton, as she crawled down the row to pick the cotton and then put what she picked into the burlap sack, she shared the good news that Jesus saves with the person picking cotton to the left of her and to the person picking cotton to the right of her. So Grandma was a cotton patch preacher.

I believe the office of Pastor or Bishop is reseved for a man only which models the relationship of Christ (male) and his church (female) and a husband (male) and his wife (female). I know that some disagree with me and have women pastors and that some of these woman pastors are godly in their attitudes and actions.

So, although we land at different places on the issue of women Pastors, we can still fellowship and even serve together in certain ways.

There is no hint of women Pastor's in the pages of the New Testament but there are many women mentioned who served the Lord in their attitudes, words and actions like Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe.

I must confess that in the four churches in where I was Pastor, that the godly women did most of the actual serving, teaching and much of the actual proclaiming of Jesus to those without Jesus.

I just want to thank God today for godly women who proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus to their family, their neighbors, their friends, their communities and their world.

 

 

Saturday, 8/15/2015       Acts 10:42-43

"He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

 

Christians are to declare and to testify that Jesus is the judge of all the people of all times. Jesus is the creator. Jesus is the sustainer. Jesus is the redeemer. And Jesus is the judge.

There used to be a song that said 'here comes the judge!'  Well, Jesus is coming and He is the judge. Everyone at the end of time will stand before Judge Jesus and be inspected by Jesus to see if they have believed on him and to see if they have received forgiveness of sins from Jesus.

The ones who have received Jesus and have been forgiven by Jesus go to heaven. The ones who haved rejected Jesus and have not been forgiven by Jesus go to hell.

The Bible can't make it any more clear than that.

The good news is that the offer of forgiveness through believing in Jesus and receiving forgiveness from Jesus is for 'everyone.' A Christian song I sang in the 70's said ' I'm so glad that whosoever included me.' Whosoever will may come!  The key is that you gotta believe. To believe in Jesus means you turn from your sin and self to Jesus in total faith and trust. You have to admit you have sinned and you have to give Jesus the keys of your life.

I saw a guy named Deepak Chopra say that in our day there is a new model for God and a new model for prayer. In the movie Waterboy, Adam Sandler played Bobby Boushe and Kathy Bates played his momma. A College Professor said momma was wrong about alligators but Bobby said 'No, you wrong Colonel Sanders (the professor looked like the KFC dude)!'   I say: "You wrong, Depak Chopra!:"

There is no new model for God and there is no new model for prayer!

Through out the Bible, Jesus is declared to be the coming judge who one day will decide who is really a believer and who is really not a believer.

I am a believer in Jesus! Are you? You can be!  'For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Romans 10:13). Just call out to Jesus right now and tell Jesus that you have sinned and tell Jesus that you want to believe in him by turning your life over to his love, care, guidance and direction. Jesus will then give you his forgiveness and you will be a real believer!

 

 

Friday, 8/14/2015     Isaiah 43:25

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

 

Forgiveness is not earned. We think forgiveness is earned but it is not.

Forgiveness is given freely by God to those who recognize they need forgiveness, come to realize they in and of themselves can do nothing to get forgiveness and then throwing themselves upon the just God who offers mercy.  They then turn from that which caused them to need forgiveness and then ask God sincerely for forgiveness and the power to stop doing that which created the need for forgiveness in the first place.

God is the forgiver.

When God forgives, God blots out the the disobedience that caused the need for forgiveness.

God forgives because he is the forgiving God.

When God forgives, God forgets for forever the attitude or the action that caused the need for the forgiveness

Forgiveness is provided for all who repent and believe through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus shed his sinless blood on the cross in order to provide forgiveness for the ones repenting and believing.

When a person turns from sin and trusts in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, then and only then is one forgiven. After that inital salvation experience, one may from time to time, however,  sin and cause a fracture in their fellowship with the Savior. Their relationship, however, can never be forfeited or lost after that relatonship is established through their initial repentance and faith.

Fellowship and usefulness is restored and forgiveness is bestowed by God upon the repentant and believing child of God when he or she agrees with God he or she has  sinned,  has sorrow and a desire to overcome that sin which caused the breach in fellowship in the first place.

The word used for forgiveness in I John 1: 9 literally means 'to send away.' God separates ones sins as far as the east is from the west when he forgives the repenting and believing person.

So since God forgives us, we can and must forgive ourselves and move on without guilt and remorse. To harbor guilt and remorse after God forgives one renders that one unable to walk in victory over the world, flesh and the devil. To wallow in guilt and shame after God has forgiven one's infractions is to insinuate that God is unable and unwilling tp forgive and forget sins.  And that is a slight on God's character by the one being forgiven and something no child of God has any business doing.

What a wonderful, loving, mighty and gracious God we know and serve. He provides forgivess. He grants forgiveness. He blots out our transgressions and remembers our sins no more.

I will love and serve him because I am thankful he has and is forgiving me!             

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You may click on the Ministry Needs tab on the upper left side of this page if you feel led to get  involved with preacherlarry.com in reaching people for Christ.)

  

 

 

Thursday, 8/13/2015    Deuteronomy 33:27

"The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, "Destroy!"

 

I want you to know today that nothing can separate a child of God from the love of God. The past can't. The present can't. The future can't.

Sometimes it seems that all hell has broken loose. Things can happen suddenly  like an accident, an illness, a conflict, a financial reversal or a job situation. God knows what is going on. He will lead you. He will guide you. He will support you. Just look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith and run the race with patience that he has set before you.  Everything ultimately will be all right.

It has been said that the Christian is either in a storm, going into a storm or coming out of a storm. Most of life is fraught with problems and difficulties.  You may feel that no one cares today.  The Psalmist felt like that. He once said: "I looked on my right hand and on my left hand and refuge failed me, no man cared for my soul." Please know however that Jesus never fails.  God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in time of trouble!

The longer I know Jesus, the sweeter he grows. My life has been an up and down thing but today I am stronger, wiser & more balanced than I have ever been and as a result I am more happier, more peaceful and very hopeful.

Is everything hunky dory in my life?  Nope!  There are problems within and without. My wife is a cancer survior.  Some of my kids lives are not perfect. I have bodily aches and people my age I have known or know of are dropping life flies. But you know what? I have hope. I am leaning on Jesus' everlasting arms.

One problem I have been having is being grumpy and loose with my tongue. That is one of my enemies. I am asking Jesus to drive that enemy out.  I want all sin and evil destroyed in me.  I want to sin less and less and follow Jesus wholly

more and more. I want to be a sterling example of the love, truth

and peace of Jesus!

Come what may, I am leaning on the everlasting arms. Come what may, I hear the voice of Jesus telling me he will help me with any situation that may come into my life and is able to destroy the sins and weights that so easily beset me.

Are you leaning on the everalasting arms of King Jesus today? Jesus loves you with an everlasting love!  He will hold you up.  He will strengthen you.  He will give you life, joy, peace and hope. Trust in Jesus, dear Christian friend.  He is for you. He will never leave you. He is still working in you and me!

(Your prayers and support are appreciated by preacherlarry.com!

You may click on the Ministry Needs tab on the upper left side of this page to get involved with preacherlarry.com in reaching people for Christ.)

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 8/12/2015     Mark 9:29

"And He told them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

 

I have a 10 year Boxer dog named Abby. When Abby was about 4 months old, she entered into a dog eat dog fight with her mother, Daisy and her sister, Sugar. I was gone from home and my wife called for our next door neighbor for help exclaiming 'there is blood everywhere.' Our neighbor thought perhaps my wife was being attacked by an intruder or something as he rushed over to our house. No intruder, but Daisy and Sugar were slashing Abby very deeply on her thigh and leg with their sharp teeth.

A trip to the Vet with a large bill ensued. Abby would wear a Victorian Collar for a couple of weeks while she healed. Abby still bears the scars of this vicious fight. To this day, 10 years after the fact, Abby is still very distrustful of other dogs and acts very vicious and willing to fight when she sees another dog, especially if it is a female. I do not think Abby will ever overcome the emotional scars of being attacked by her mother and sister so many years past.

Adult Christians may carry emotional baggage from childhood and adolesent experiences that impede them from fully functioning as a Spirit filled and Spirit controlled child of God.

Anger, lust, distrust, fear and insecurity may be so entrenched in a Christian's life from past experiences that their present life is affected in a very negative way. One may experience outbursts of anger, extreme fear, distrust, a serious problem with pornography, terrible social anxiety or other hurtful actions and attitudes which are seemingly rooted in emotional concrete.

Confession and sorrow may follow disobedient actions, but it seems that a breakthrough of victory is impossible.

Take heart, Christian friend! Jesus says through dedicated heartfelt prayer and fasting, one may experience day to day deliverance from the sins and the emotional weights that so easily beset us. The past experiences that control us are serious business and this takes serious action.

Notice, I said day to day. This is often not a one time championship fight but a continual fighting against the world, the flesh and devil through continual prayer and even fasting.

I am thankful that there is possible victory in Jesus over those areas of our life that are patterened and deeply entrenched through the bad experiences of our past. Praise the Lord!

 

 

Tuesday, 8/11/2015   Colossians 3: 8-15

 

"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

 

When a person becomes a Christian, Jesus comes to live in their heart through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  The old way of living still resides in the Christian, however, refuses to go quitely into the night and wants to hide out and crop up from time to time or even all the time.

Only through accessing the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit can the Christian overcome the old stuff.  Prayer, study and meditation on the Bible, private and public worship, and through fellowship and partnership with other believers in Christ are the tools of the trade for the Christian to put off the old and put on the new.

The Christian life is a putting off the old stuff and putting on the new stuff.

The old stuff is marked by anger, extreme and explosive losing it, conspiring with wrong motives, talking about God in a flippant way, cussing/cursing, being quarrelsome, and manipulation/lies.

The new stuff is marked by looking for ways to be nice and to help others, not holding grudges, looking over and forgiving the transgressions of others, being courteous, cheerful and kind and a humbleness of mind and heart.

The old stuff is what we was born with physically. 

The New stuff is what we get born with spiritually when we get saved through repentance of sin and trusting implictly and totally in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

The Christian life after we are born again spiritually is a continual taking off the old and putting on the new.

It is as if we are to taking old the filthy ratty torn dirty old clothes and to put on the sparkling brand new fresh and clean colorful new clothes.

When we put off the old man (Adam) and put on the new man (Jesus), our lives will be marked by real love, real peace, real unity and real gratefulness.

What is your life: your attitudes, words and actions marked by? Is the old life of meanness, pettitness and self centeredness or is it the new life of kindness, servanthood, and cheerful love?

Everyday we have to consciously take off the old continually and put on the new continually to be effective in our Christian life. This is not just a one time thing. It is a every day, every hour, ever minute, every second thing.

 

 

Monday, 8/10/2015    Acts 4:12

"There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved."

 

My two daughters adored the movie Titanic but I am so glad they are living Christian lives and following the only Savior who can save us in every way we can be saved. I am very thankful they did not adopt the philosophy of Old Rose in the movie Titanic who I quote now:

"A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets But now you all know there was a man named Jack Dawson and that he saved me in every way that a person can be saved"

I am so glad my two daughters and I know Jesus as our Lord and Savior because God says: ‘There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

There are a lot of messages out there but the most important one is that Jesus Saves!

Only one person verified his authenticity with miracles. Only one person healed a man born blind from birth. Only one man raised a man from the grave who had been dead four days. Only one man walked on the water. Only one man turned the water into wine.

His name is Jesus.

Only one man lived a sinless life for 33 years. Only one man was qualified to offer his life as a sin sacrifice. Only one man through his blood procurred redemption unto all who turn from sin and trust him as their only Lord and Savior.

His name is Jesus.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes unto the Father except by him.

Jesus!

 

Sunday, 8/09/15    I Corinthians 7:2

"But because sexual immorality is so common, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband."

 

Some places I am not going into: a dog fight, a strip club, a house of prostitution, a crack house or the Ellen Degeneres show. (God loves everybody and sent His Son to die for their sins and to rise again and God calls all to receive salvation and deliverance from Him by repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior).

Most of the people who write the text books for children in public schools approve of the Ellen Dengeneres Show. They are all for the normalacy of gay rights including same sex marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples. They firmly believe that if you are not for the free expression of human sexuality in (as in open marriage) and outside (as in same sex marriage or domestic partnerships) of traditional heterosexual marriage, then you are a bigot, ignorant and sort of like a member of the KKK.

Many of these text book writers also firmy believe that evolution is a fact, that is all of life evolved from a glob that received the spark of life from a big bang. They do not believe in the historical account of:

the creation account in the Bible,  Noah's Ark and the world wide flood,  Jonah and the whale or Jesus and the resurrection.

These same textbook writers also accept gender fluidity. That is, they believe a person can be a female trapped in a male body, a male trapped in a female body or a person can even be bi sexual to varying degrees.

They want children exposed to and to be taught these ideas very early in life and then bombarded with these ideas througout life.

Open marriage to many of them is ok, that is, a married couple may have some sexual experiences outside of their marriage as long as the married couple mututally agrees that extra hanky panky is ok.

Because sexual immorality is so common,  the Bible tells us and teachers us that men and women should only have each other in heterosexual monogamous marriage.

Most of Hollywood, the news media and public schools and universtities do not accept the teaching of the Bible on marriage.

Many major corporations also accept homosexuality and gender fluidity. They do not rest unless the children and young people of America accept their guidelines in this.

The goal and hope of those who do not believe in Jesus and the Bible is to influence the hearts and minds of our children and youth to accept their philosphy and way of life. Even the Boy Scouts have now jumped on this band wagon.

The devil wants our children and grandchildren.

Years ago when the Big Three Auto makers began to offer health benefits to same sex partners and to those who live together without being married, I typed and sent them a letter expressing my disapproval of this (this was twenty or so years ago before the days of email). One of them wrote me back in a letter and said they believe that "Diversity and Tolerance" was the right way to go. I still have that letter they sent me back.

Here's what I say: Diversity does not mean Perversity.

Excuse me, while I go spend some time in prayer for my children and grandchildren.

 

Saturday, 8/08/2015    I Thessalonians 5:16-18

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.…"

 

Sometimes life can seem unenjoyable. You might be tired, sick, stressed or whatever. But something is bringing you down. It might even be rooted in a petty jealousy or something like that.

During these times, just refocus on the Lord and his blessings. Jesus never fails to be for us. Even when we get down on ourselves, he still loves us in spite of us and it all.

Rejoice, pray, give thanks. This is the recipe for getting your mind and heart right. Everything is going to be all right. If God be for us, then who can be against us.

 

 

Friday, 8/07/2015     I Samuel 12:24-25

"Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

 

God's ancient people wanted to be like the surrounding nations in that they wanted a king just like them. The problem with this was that God's ancient people already had a king who was God himself.

Believing that the solution to a people's problems are purely human and political is to deny the rulership of God as the ultimate source of protection and peace.

No person can of and in him or herself lead a country to a blessing from Almighty God.

The only real way to get the blessing of God upon an individual, a family, a community or a country is to:

fear God

Serve God wholeheartedly in truth.

That's it.

God sent his only begotten Son Jesus to die for our sins and to rise again in order that we might receive forgiveness and new life.

It is only through Jesus that we might know, fear and serve God.

Washington DC or the United Nations is not the answer. Jesus is the answer.

 

 

 

Thursday, 8/06/2015    II Corinthians 2:15

"For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing."

 

How I wish for people to see and sense Christ in me! But do my attitudes, words and actions speak of Christ or speak of my self interests, indulgences or even indignation?

Do I express the love, gentleness, kindness, courtesy, cheerfulness, joy, peace and helpfulness that I ought? I do if I am filled with the Spirit of God thus walking, moving, breathing and living in the the Spirit's power and plan.

I am 66 years old and have been a Christian over 45 years. It would seem I should be emitting the fragrance of Jesus to not only people at Church but also to my family, my neighbors, the people who I know and even total strangers.

I know I have a ways to go in this. How about you? Do your attitudes, words and actions show the power, truth and peace of Jesus or do they show other stuff like I do? Things like grumpiness, a know it all attitude, and self interests above all else?

I pray I will become more like Jesus!

Lord, today I turn from what I want and what I am to you alone. I ask for your forgiveness for the many, many times I don't emit your wonderful fragrance to others. I ask for your grace to flow in my life that I might be gracious and truthful in all my relationships, both with your people and with those who have yet to trust you as Lord and Savior. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

 

Wednesday, 8/05/2015  

“Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.” – (1 Samuel 2:17)

“For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” – (1 Samuel 3:13)

 

Eli, the prophet, did not teach his sons and did not discipline his sons. Because of this, the two sons of Eli adopted wicked and destebable lifestyles that was prevalent in their society and world. Samuel said God was going to judge the house of Eli because of this.

This morning, children are returning to school after summer vacation. I learned how to do a lot of things in school when I was a kid. I learned reading, science, math and history.

But I also learned (from some of the other kids) how to cuss, smoke, gamble, drink beer and about pre marital sex. If you are a parent with school aged children or even a grandparent, it is up to you (and I)  to teach your kids the right way and also to discipline them if they out of line.

That can be very hard for two income earning parents, but if you don't teach them, no one will!

By the time I was 15 years old, my parents were busy earning a good income. We had quit going to church. I was on my own and out of Sunday School and Church. There was no family altar in our home. The influence of hollywood and rock and roll was unceasing and I heard it's siren call.  My life was filled with cussing, smoking, drinking booze and chasing girls. Yeah, I know, boys will be boys. But how about a boy being a Christian boy? A Godly boy? A boy who stands for God, Jesus and the Bible?

Parent, teach your kids. Grandparent, model Godliness for your kids. Turn the TV off and turn on Bible reading and prayer in your home. Carry your kids to church even kicking and screaming if you have to. Their future life depends on you and if you fail in this task, your household will be judged just like Eli's was.

I know, I am preaching this morning. But that is what preacherlarry.com does sometimes. After all, I am a preacher.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 8/4/2015   Psalm 77:11

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes,

I will remember your miracles of long ago."

 

Those who have been a born again Christian for a while have some dry and dusty times.

I took my 4 month Boxer puppy to a fenced in dog park. There were a lot of dogs running around and the dust was swirling. My throat got dry and my breathing got difficult.

Sometimes our life gets dry and parched. Problems, distresses, difficultities are on the left, the right, behind and in front of us. And during those times the peace, joy and power of God can seem a long way off.

I have had some wonderful times in the Lord. I have many good Christian friends from times past. I literally have seen God heal sicknesses and meet financial needs. Over and over again, God heard my cry and answered my prayer in meeting my needs in a multitude of ways. Those who walk with the Lord have the same experience.

In our dry and parched times when God seems far away, the remembrance of what God did in our past can be a key to holding on and trusting him to come through again.

As the great song says: 'It is no secret what God can do, what he's done for others, he'll do for you, with arms wide open, he'll welcome you, it is no secret what God can do."

 

 

Monday, 8/3/2015   John 8:12

"Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more."

 

Forgiveness is total. When God forgives a repentant and believing sinner, all sins are forgiven: past, present and future.

The forgiveness of future sins is not a ticket to do what ever one wants, however. The answer to the question is if we should go ahead and sin that grace may abound is 'God forbid' (Romans 6:1-2).

A professor told me once that grace brings demand. The thief, profane person, drunk, abuser, sexual immoral person, covetous person and the proud one is to quit that kind of stuff after they get saved.

That is the teaching of the Bible.

Some churches today are touting the fact that unrepentant sinners sing in their choir. When the Bible talks about singing for the Lord in the public assembly, it talks about singing with grace in your hearts and through your singing to admonish and to teach those listening and participating in the singing. So, it seems to me, that a proud covetous adulterer would be disqualifed from being in and participating in the church choir because they have yet to experience grace in their heart.

Some things are fine lines, I understand. But places of leadership in the public assembly ought not to be occupied by unrepentant sinners.

The word sanctification describes one's life about after they become a born again Christian. Sanctification is the process of the cleansing of sin and the impartation of the new life in one's heart and behavior.

Just because Jesus does not condemn the repentant believing forgiven sinner does not mean we continue in sin. We are to adopt the mantra of going and sinning no more knowing that is actually  impossible to toally do until we get to heaven. But even so, we press on and realize the Christian life is a process of coming again and again to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness and the power to live a holy life in the sight of the Lord.

 

 

Sunday, 8/2/2015   Luke 9:23

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

 

The Christian life is a daily life.

We are to maintain good works.  When I was in the Army, the motor pool had a maintenance schedule to keep the trucks up and running. I was a repair parts clerk and had to have their necessary parts on hand such as oil, filters, spark plugs, points, brake pads and shoes, hoses, anti freeze, belts, and etc. At a moments notice, I had to issue the mechanics the necessary parts to keep the Army's vehicles up and running.

So it is with our Christian life. We are to be careful and meticulous in maintaining our spiritual life.

Is our Bible reading up to date? Are we making notations of answered prayers and adding new prayer requests and concerns to our prayer list?

Let us maintain our spiritual life and we will not stumble so easily as the enemy comes against us with doubts and temptations.

We are to be a disiciple, that is a dedicated learner of the things of Christ.

We are to deny ourselves, that is to  make the cause of Jesus the priority of our life.

We are take up our cross daily, that is to be a real Christian who stands for what the Bible teaches and of to be ambassadors of Jesus in our dark and sinful world.

We are to follow Jesus, that is to not get sidetracked into following the form and fashion of this present age.

Excuse me, now. I have to go to heaven's repair part clerk and get some spiritual parts to maintain and keep my spiritual life humming and running for Jesus!

 

 

Saturday, 8/1/2015   Isaiah 53:5

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And

by His stripes we are healed."

 

Is healing in the atonement? Yes it is. Does God promise to heal us from every sickness. Yes, he does.

Wait a minute, though.

I know some dedicated holy Christians who are sick. Some of them have long term illnesses, disabilites and some even terminal diseases. What about them? Why are sick? Why aren't they healed?

I sure don't know the answer to every question but I know that Jesus said in this world we shall have tribulation and Paul said through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God.

Sometimes, healing comes in heaven.

Jesus gave a man sight who was blind from birth. We praise God for physical healings. There is a greater healing we all need, however: Spiritual healing. Salvation from sin through faith based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Believe is like a two sided coin. One side is repentance. The other side is faith. That is what believing on the Lord is: turning from sin and self and trusting in faith and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Paul had a thorn in his flesh. He said he was afflicted (sick). Some think he had an eye disease but we really don't know what affliction Paul had. He never tells us. He does tell us that he asked God three times to remove his affliction and thorn. But God said no and God also said that his grace was sufficient for Paul.

I have been thus far healed from every sickness I have ever had. I may get sick tomorrow (I don't know what is in my future). God may use a sickness to mold me into Christ likeness or to teach me to comfort others in like circumstances.

I know that whatever comes, I want to praise the Lord, talk to the Lord and walk with the Lord.

Come what may, I want to follow Jesus and be filled with his holy grace and love. Even if I get sick and do not get healed right away.

Praise God from all blessings flow. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen.

 

Friday, 7/31/2015   John 10:10

"I am come that you might have life

and that you might have life more abundantly."

 

Eternal life and Abundant Life. I know I am saved. I have trusted Jesus based on his death, burial and resurrection for my eternal salvation. But the Bible talks about the 'much more' aspect of my salvation too.

I want more. I want to be like Jesus. I want to shine for Jesus. I want more of Jesus. I want my life to count for Jesus. I want to smile because of Jesus. I want to skip because of Jesus.

A song said 'I can't get no satisfaction.' Well, that is what the world, the flesh and devil gives: no satisfaction. Look at some of the movie stars and entertainers: serial marriages and messed up lifes (not all of them but some of them). Success and money does not satisfy Only Jesus satisfies eternally and day to day.

I want his peace, love and joy. Sometimes, when I depend on myself and when I do not refuel with prayer and the Bible, I get dried up and malcontent. I don't want that to rule in my life. Here are some scriptures that help me to live above the fray:

"SATISFACTION". . .

1. "I CAN’T GET NO SATISFACTION. . . Cause I try and I try and I try and I try" – The Rolling Stones

2. "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity." (Eccl 5:10)

...

3. "All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied." (Eccl 6:7)

But then. . .

1. "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance." (Isa 55:1-2)

2. "They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures." (Ps 36:8)

3. "For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness." (Ps 107:9)

4. "Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple." (Ps 65:4)

5. "The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction" (Prov. 19:23)

6. "I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord." (Jer 31:14)

*******And the one that really causes me to think . . . .

7. "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." (Ps 17:15)

 

 

Thursday, 7/30/2015    Romans 8:36

"For your sake we are killed all the day long, we are counted as sleep for the slaughter."

 

What is  my committment to the message, ministry and person of Jesus Christ costing me?  Do I really feel any discomfort or experience any suffering because of what I do in Christ?

When I pray, does satan attack and distract me?

When I witness, am I spit upon or slapped in the face?

Do I face job loss, family misunderstanding or financial setback for my faith?

Do I face prison, bodily attacks or even death for expressing openly my faith in Jesus?

Probably not. Not yet. Not in my town.

But some Christians do face hardship for their service to Jesus. Some go to jail. Others lose their homes. Still others even face bodily danger and death.

I must admit that because of my stand for the truth of the Bible, there are strained relationships in my immediate family. But I still do not face prison or death.

The first century Apostles did. History records the following about them:

HOW THE APOSTLES DIED.~~~

1. Matthew

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.

2. Mark (not an apostle,but one of the first missionaries)

Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.

3. Luke ( not an apostle, but was Paul’s doctor)

Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.

4. John

Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death.

John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully

5. Peter

He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.

According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6. James

The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his

enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.

* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

7. James the Son of Zebedee,

was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

8. Bartholomew

Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9. Andrew

Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired.

10. Thomas

Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.

11. Jude

Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

12. Matthias

The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

13. Paul

Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many

epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

14. Simon the Zealot

Simon was traditionally martyred by being sawn in half.

15. Philip

Philip evangelized in Phrygia where hostile Jews had him tortured and then crucified upside down. Some sources have him being stoned

Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times For the sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Pass on to encourage other Christians.

What do you suffer because of your service for Jesus? Look deep into your life and committment to Jesus and please answer this question. Our service for the Lord should cost us time wise, financially, giving up certain lifestyles,  family or relationship tensions and may cost us business loss, loss of freedom or even loss of life.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 7/29/2015    Matthew 4:4

"Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."

 

The Bible is food for our soul.

It has been my practice for many, many years to read, study, memorize and meditate upon Scripture. Either the Bible will keep me from sin or sin will keep me from the Bible. When I choose the former, I am happier, healthier, peaceful and joyful.

I recommend the Bible to you today and every day of your life. Jesus defeated the devil's temptations by rightly quoting the Bible to him. The devil knows every verse of the Bible but he quotes the Bible out of context and wrongly.

Study God's word. Understand God's word. Rightly divide God's Word. Internalize God's Word. Obey God's word. Live God's word. You will be a better person for it and be used of God in a mighty way.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 7/28/2015     Mark 1:17

"And Jesus said to them, come after me and

I will you to become fishers of men."

 

Yesterday afternoon, my Son and I took my Grandson fishing. My Grandson caught his first fish and we have the picture to prove it.

This caused me to ponder Jesus' invitation unto us to become fishers of men.

Yes, we are to catch precious souls for the kingdom of God. Jesus said unless a man be born again, he can in no way enter the kingdom of God. 'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  "How can hear without a proclaimer and how shall they proclaim unless they are sent?"

Fishing is fun and fishing is work.

You need the following to catch fish:

a desire to catch fish

fish catching instruction

the right working equipment to catch fish

bait

go where the fish are

the right technique

patience

We had too big a hook at first yesterday. As soon as we used a smaller hook, we  started catching fish. We rejoiced when my Grandson caught his first fish!

Here are three ways we can catch souls for Jesus:

1.) pray

2.) give financially to those in the soul catching business

3.) actually go and catch souls

Are you a fisher of men?

Souls are perishing all around of us. But the fish (souls) are still out there to be caught and the fish (souls) are still biting.

Lord Jesus, I want to be a fisher of men.  Please Lord, make me to become a fisher of men!

 

 

Monday, 7/27/2015     Galatians 6:9

"Do not be weary in well doing, for in due season, you shall reap,

if you faint not."

 

When I was a kid, we would sing to each other 'how tired I am, how tired I am, how tired I am, how tired I am.'  Sometimes you just get wore out.

The best thing to do when you are wore out is to get some rest. If you are burnt out, then try to get some rest and recreation. Sometimes, however, it is very difficult to get rest or recreation.

Once Jesus tried to get away from the crowds and went to the other side. The crowds followed him and Jesus, even though he must have be physically and emotionally tired, continued to minister to the crowds.

Just keep on. Pray for patience and love. Just keep on. God will give you rest. Get spiritual strength from God's word, the Bible. The Bible says he gives his beloved sleep. Rest will come.

Keep on serving and giving. God will give back to you. Cast your bread upon the waters and it will return to you not many days hence. What you give out you will get back. Give out love, receive love. Give out grace, receive grace. Give out forgiveness, receive forgiveness. Give out niceness, receive niceness.

Smile and give. Get some rest and recreation if you can but keep on keeping on and keep on giving out. That is the key. Do it with God's strength and help. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

Sunday, 7/26/2015    Proverbs 17:6

"Children’s children are a crown to the aged."

 

Our home is half way (2 hours or so)  between our two daughter's and their husband's homes. One of our daughters has three children (2 boys and one girl),while the other daughter is expecting her first child (a boy) in October of this year.

So we don't get see the Grandkids every day. But when we do and when they stay in our home for a couple of days, it is a real blessing and also a little stressful. You know, three children, ages 2, 4 and 8 can be a real handful.

We have enjoyed swimming, cartoons, feeding the fish,  pizza and doughnuts. You know, Grandparent stuff.

I enjoyed praying with the children last night at bed time. I hope when I am long gone that they remember Papa was lot's of fun but most importantly that Papa knew and followed Jesus.

I love my Grandkids. They are my crown.

 

 

Saturday, 7/25/2015    Psalm 73: 16-17

"When I tried to understand this, it was too painful, until I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood."

 

Things can tear our heart out sometimes.  Sudden difficultites can happen. Good people suffer. A song I used to like was called 'When answers aren't enough.'  Jesus was called a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Jesus understands. Jesus is enough.

Problems drive us to our knees. Once, I was pressed down to pray. A problem had gone on for months. There seemed no reprieve. On my knees, in my secret prayer chamber, God heard my cry. God answered.

God does not always take our situation away. Sometimes we are changed and strengthened to deal with our situation. But always, God gets glory in and through our difficult times. And always, we are changed into being more like Jesus in and through our suffering.

Get alone with God. Carry it to the one who suffered, bled, died and was buried. Jesus understands. The risen Lord Jesus Christ will minister to you in your great need. He has a plan. He has peace. He has power.

Look unto Jesus alone. For Jesus alone is the answer to your plight.

 

 

Friday, 7/24/2015   Proverbs 4:23

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

 

A song by Mr. Johnny Cash starts out with these lyrics:

 

"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line"

 

We are only a thought and one action from totally messing things up.  Sin does crouch at the door.  Paul said he knew that in him lived no good thing.  What Paul means is that given the opportunity, we are all capable of devious things and hurtful things.  Hurtful to ourself and hurtful to others and hurtful to God.

Keep a close account with God. Turn to Him.  Trust in Him.  Feed your soul with the Bible and prayer.  Obey God.

Yes, when we mess up, forgiveness is available.  But remember, consequences can be severe even when forgiveness is gained.

The other day, I saw a car swerve on the interstate.  As I pulled beside the car, the driver was busily look at his cell phone.  Don't let something that is wrong put your entire life and entire future in peril.

David thought everything was ok when the Kings went to war but he stayed home and saw Bathsheba on the roof top.  His entire legacy and his family was hurt by his actions.  Yes, God forgave David.  Yes, David was a man after God's own heart. Yes, David was in the line of Jesus.  But David is remembered more sometimes for his failure than for slaying Goliath.

Keep a close watch on that heart of yours.  For out it flows the issues of life!

 

 

 

Thursday, 7/23/2015    Ephesians 6:12

"For  we wrestle not against flesh and blood..."

 

In the ancient world of Greece and Rome, wrestling was a big thing. They would have loved Mixed Martial Arts with the cage, the fighters and all the hitting, kicking, grappling and blood!

The Christian is in a spiritual wrestling match. To wrestle implies to throw down and to pin down. We are in it to win it!

Our opponent is not physical rather it is spiritual. If you sometimes feel your back is up against the wall, it is because this verse uses against four times: against, against, against and against!

The devil don't (I know it's bad grammer) let up! He is fighting against us 24/7. The devil is orgainized and mobilized. If we are not, then I wonder why we feel like we are losing the battle. Right?

We are to wage this battle using resources from on high. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven right now. Heaven is not stressing, trust me. James 4:7 says: 'submit therefore yourselves unto God, reisit the devil, and he will flee from you.' Fight the devil on your knees. That is the key. We can't but God can!

Turn to God. Trust God. Submit to God. Humble yourself before God. Cry out to God. Go with God and He will go with you.

Let's do this!

 

 

Wednesday, 7/22/2015     Psalm 36:2

"In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much

to detect or hate their sin."

 

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental. It is good to have self confidence and self love but too much of that leads to a false assumption of one's importance and leads to conceit and the inability to detect character flaws.

Too much of self love leads to pride. Too much can be bad.

We have a small pond in our back yard replete with a cascading waterfall. It is beautiful. Water lilies appear to gently lie on our pond's surface. They are beautiful and produce blooms that are fragrant. The lilies provide the right amount of oxygen and nutrition in our pond. Alage is controlled by these lotus plants. Our wonderful water lilies provide shade, protection and food for the gold fish and frogs that live in our pond.

But they produce like crazy and have to be controllled because, if not, they will literally take over the pond. Experts say the pond only needs to be covered by water lilies by 30% to 50%. Anymore than that actually hurts the ecosystem of the pond.

Now Monet had 250 paintings of water lililes but sometimes there can be too many water liles.

Too much of a good thing can be bad.

The book of Proverbs talks about when too much of a good thing can be bad. Too many possessions can cause one not to depend upon the Lord. You can eat too much, drink too much, talk too much and even visit your neighbor too much.

I have to keep my water lily population pared down by periodically removing water lilies. Too many water lilies hurts my pond.

What in your life do you have too much of? Make sure nothing that is good in your life becomes too much because that can reduce your dependence and trust in and on the Lord.

And that is when too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

 

Tuesday, 7/21/2015      Zechariah 4:6

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.'

 

7 days ago during the night, we had a severe thunderstorm. Our garage door opener was fried along with our computer modem. It took another 7 days for our internet service provider to get to our home and to replace the modem yesterday afternoon.

The power was unable to work our computer because the modem was flawed.

Sometimes, our receiving apparatus is flawed too thus the power of God ceases to flow in and through our lives.

How do we know the power of God is flowing through our lives?  I believe we know the power of God is flowing through our lives when we hunger and thrist after righteousness,  when we choose not to participate in our pet sins like gossip, anger or lust, when we want to read and to study the Bible,  when we have an effective prayer life,  when going to Church, Bible Study and public worship is more of a delight than a duty,  when it is our joy to support the work of our local church and other deserving ministries with our tithes and offerings, when we are committed to have personal and family devotional times,  when we have sweet peace & unspeakable joy,  when we sense the comfort, counsel, guidance and witnessing  power of the Holy Spirit,  when we are quick to remember and to be kind unto the broken, the downcast, the infirmed, imprisoned and hungry, when we are quick to confess and to forsake our sins of commission and ommission,  and when we choose to obey God rather than to give into sin and temptation.

Is the power of God flowing through your life or are you just going through the motions?  Or have you neglected your great salvation?

Just like the internet service provider that replaced my flawed modem to get my computer up and running, God can and will repair or replace anything in us that is keeping his power from flowing in and through our life. All we have to do to get heaven's fix and repair work in our life is to humbly come to God in prayerful repentance and faith. Put your call into God for help. And God will do it instantly; He won't wait 7 days.

 

Tuesday, 7/14/2015     John 14:3

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also."

 

(borrowed from Franklin Graham)

Recently an elderly gentleman asked me when I thought Jesus Christ would return. I told this man the truth—nobody knows. But the Bible is clear—He is returning, He said so Himself. If you read God’s Word, I believe that we are in the last minutes of the last hours on God’s clock. Christ could return at any moment. The point is, all of us need to be ready to stand before God and give to Him an account for our lives. For those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ..., we know that our sins have been forgiven and we will not stand in the judgement of Almighty God for our sins. The Bible says, "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:44). Are you ready? If you’re not sure that you are, right now sincerely pray a prayer like this: "Dear God, I am a sinner. I’m sorry for my sin; please forgive me. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son and that He died for my sins and You raised Him to life. I want to invite Him into my heart to take control of my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen."

 

 

Monday, 7/13/2015   2 Corinthians 13:1

"EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES."

 

A song asks 'Can I get a witness?'  Here are 7 witnesses to the truth of Jesus and the Bible:

1.) John the Baptist

"The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe" (John 1:7).

2.) The Scriptures

"You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me" (John 5:39).

3.) The Father

"And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me." (John 5:7_

4.) The Works of Jesus

"the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear witness that the Father has sent me." (John 5:36)

5.) The witness of Jesus

"I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me." (john 8:13)

6.) The Holy Spirit

"But when the Comforter comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, He will bear witness of me." (John 15:26)

7.) Christians

"But you shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

Jesus is real. Jesus is God who came to earth to die, to be buried and to rise again. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes unto the Father except by him.

The Bible is the only book and writings on earth that is God's Word. God's love letter and instruction manual to humans on this earth is the Bible.

I am glad this morning I can depend on Jesus and the Bible!

 

 

Sunday, 7/12/15   Psalm 119:11

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee."

 

Something I need to still do is to hide God's word in my heart. But the thing is, rote memorization is not enough. The devil quoted scripture wrongly to Jesus and out of context in the wilderness temptation.

So what is needed?

The need is for us to love God's word, to read God's word, to treasure God's word, to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us God's word, to meditate on God's word, to hide God's word in our heart and to obey and to do God's word.

Let's not just be hearers of God's word only. If we hear and do not obey God's word, the Bible, we are deceived. Let's hear, learn, treasure, hide, obey and do God's word.

Excuse me while I find my 3" x 5" index cards.

 

 

Saturday, 7/11/15   Proverbs 5:18

"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth."

 

My wife and I married in 1971. I was 22; she was 18. Through the years.

I always had a jumping bean in me. We have lived in 6 different states. I always turned on a dime. She deserved better but she got me. I deserved worse and I got her.

Proverbs 18:22 says: " Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord."

I found a good thing.

Guys, I hope you have found or will find a wife like mine: kind, loving, sweet, hard working, loyal, honest, beautiful and good. 'Cause if you do, you will be a blessed man.

 

Friday, 7/10/15          Habakkuk 2:4

"The just shall live by faith."

 

(borrowed from Buddy Abbott)

GOD, WHY?

Why are You doing this? Why are You allowing this? . . . . . . .

In The BOOK OF HABAKKUK, . . . . . God answers the prophet’s question, "Why?".

...

The prophet Habakkuk calls his portion of the Old Testament his "burden" (Hab. 1:1).

What tormented him was the question "Why, God?". Why would God use wicked Babylon to destroy Jerusalem.

God answers Habakkuk in chapter 2, verse 4 when He says,

"Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith."

The author of Hebrews cites Hab. 2:4 when addressing the Jewish Christians who had been enduring persecution for their Christian beliefs in the first century (see Heb. 10:38). He goes on to explain that, "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Heb. 11:6).

Based upon Hababakkuk 2:4 and Hebrews 10:38 through11:6, my conclusion to the question of "Why are You allowing this, God?" is that I am to have faith that God 1) really is GOD . . . all powerful, all wise, 2) that He is good and just, and 3) based upon Romans 8:28, that He is working all to my good, whether I understand the why or not.

If I am unwilling to trust God’s wisdom, power, and love in these difficulties, then, based upon Hab. 2:4 I should question whether I am "proud" and my "soul is not upright."

It is reassuring for me to see that in the closing verses of Habakkuk, his prophesy which began as his "burden" ends in a song of praise and faith that God is indeed good!

 

 

Thursday, 7/9/2015     Ecclesiastes 8:11                                                          "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil."

 

A theme of a well know sermon, Payday Someday, by RG Lee is that coming judgment may seem slow but it always comes.

Sin has pleasure for a season. Recently, my brother and a friend went into eternity after being diagonosed with lung disease. Both were long time smokers.

I worked with a man who was under house arrest and had to be home every night by 7 pm. He was convicted for rape the third time. He is now serving a life sentence in an Alabama prison. Three strikes, you're out.

Billy Graham used to quote Proverbs 29:1 often: 'He that being often reproved and hardens his heart shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy.'

The fact is no one can do wrong and get away with it.

The good news is that forgiveness, cleansing and restoration is possible. But  there may be consequences for wrong doing even if one repents and by faith receives the forgiveness of Jesus provided through his shed blood on the cross.

But God will also carry us through and give us strength through any consequences that are a natural result of our wrong doing.

God is the God of 2nd chances. I know that. I am a living testimony of that. I praise him for that!

I have learned through experience that it is better to do right than to do wrong.

Once when I was a child, I placed my fingers on a hot burner of an electric stove. The burner showed no outward sign of being hot but once my little fingers touched it, large blisters arose on my fingers that were accompanied by pain.  I remember my Momma giving me a glass of ice water to place with burnt fingers in to try to ease the pain. Eventually, in a few days, the fingers healed, the pain subsided and the blisters went away. I never purposely touched an electric burner again.

Acts 16:31 says 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.' Salvation includes forgiveness, restoration, cleansing and deliverance. To believe is to rely on, trust in and commit to Jesus. I believe in Jesus! I am saved!

I encourage you to believe on Jesus today and receive his saving grace! He will forgive you, restore you, bless you and deliver you!

 

Wednesday, 7/8/2015     Hebrews 10:36

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

 

I looked up several definitions of patience and put together patience is the ability to be peaceful and nice while problems and stress rage in one's life.

The greek word for patience is prounounced hupo meno. Literally it means to remain under.

We have a new boxer puppy named Bosco. We have had Bosco for a month and he is now three months old. Bosco is going to be a big boxer for he has real big bones and legs and already weighs 27 pounds.

One thing Bosco does not have at this point is patience. Bosco wants to eat when he wants to eat and Bosco wants to drink when he wants to drink. On walks with his big sister Abby, our 10 year old boxer, Bosco spends more time attacking her leash and rolling over on the asphalt road than he does walking. And when Bosco wants something, he barks repeatedly until your ears hurt. O yeah, and when Bosco is ready to use the bathroom, you better open up the door to the back yard when he gets to to the door because, if not, well, you know!

Bosco is learning patience but he has not arrived yet. I, also, am still learning patience, and, well, I can testify I have not arrived yet, either!

My son, John, says our spiritual life can be like a water hose (hose pipe if you are from Alabama). The source of our love, joy, peace and patience (the Holy Spirit) is turned on. But sometimes we get a kink in the hose. And then the flow (including patience) is cut off. To keep a kink out of the hose, you have to have the hose properly laid out, you have to keep checking for possible kinks,  and you have to forsee and navigate any turns you will make while watering the lawn or your plants.

Let's keep praying, having daily devotions in the word of God, the Bible, and keep in touch with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Keep the faith (and patience).

 

 

Tuesday, 7/7/2015      John 14:26
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."

 

When a person receives Christ as Savior and Lord by turning from sin and placing their trust and faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit enters one's life.

Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Advocate which is from a greek word meaning one called along side of. This is also translated comforter or helper.

The Holy Spirit teaches the child of God the things of God and the teachings of Jesus. He is the one who opens up one's understanding and comprehension of the Bible.

For instance, II Corinthians 16:19 instructs one to greet their brothers and sisters in Christ with a Holy Kiss. The Holy Spirit teaches us from this verse to be cordial and to recognize one another warmly and lovingly. Shaking their hand or patting them on the back is the same as a Holy Kiss.

Another example is when the people of God were commanded in the Old Testament to rid a city of all people. The Holy Spirit tells us that simply means we are not to allow the influences or habits of those not following Jesus to corrupt our godly lifestyle that Jesus wants us to live. We are to stay true to the Lord and not to sin just because those around us are sinning.

Depend upon the Holy Spirit to teach you the obvious truths of the Bible and the not so obvious truths of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the teacher. Compare scripture with scripture, read and study scripture in it's context and rightly divide the word of God through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus has given to us, whom is walking along beside us and whom resides within us. 

 

 

Monday, 7/6/2015     Ephesians 5:25

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it."

 

 

I am not a Roman Catholic but I like what is going in their church bulletins today: “What is Marriage?”

“Marriage is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman, for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. One man, one woman, for life,” say the bishops.

It tells Catholics: “Don’t be afraid to talk about it.” But then it warns that when Catholics give witness to the true meaning of marriage they should expect to be falsely charged with discrimination.

“Be a witness for the truth of marriage,” the bishops say. “Take advantage of opportunities to speak about it kindly with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers. Be prepared for false charges of discrimination and to respond with the following truths in charity.”

“The difference is the difference,” they say. “Men and women are equal and different. Sexual difference is essential to marriage and raising children. Ignoring or removing ‘the difference is… the problem, not the solution’ (Pope Francis).”

“Mothers and fathers matter,” the bishops say. “They aren’t interchangeable. While single parents and others raising children often make heroic sacrifices and deserve support, society should also affirm every child’s basic, natural right to come from and be raised in the loving marital union of his or her own father and mother.”

 

Sunday, 7/5/2015    Romans 7:19

"For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing."

 

I admit it. I have a problem with repeatedly doing bad stuff. I mean, I spout off sometimes in anger. Sometimes I act rashly. Other times, I have thoughts I coddle and do not turn from.

Are you like that? Or have you reached perfection?  (You have not reached perfection. No one does on this earth.)  But are you like that some of the old saints I have known who are patient, loving, wise and kind? 

I want to be like that.

I am a senior citizen. My body betrays my age. I am not like those movie stars who always stay looking so young---like they hit thirty and then never age anymore. So I should be better a Christian. Should be.

There are reasons why plants don't grow and thrive. Reasons like too little sunlight, or not enough water, or weeds and insects attack them. In my yard, we have a new puppy. Some of our plants are not thriving because he rolls in them and even pulls them out.

Our spiritual life is like a plant. To grow and to thrive, we need the sunlight of the Son of God, the water of the Holy Spirit and the care of the Father. The only way I know how to get these is through the word of God, the Bible, prayer, worship and fellowship and service with other Christians.

There is some stuff in my life going on that I want to stop. How about you?  Let's get under and stay under the Lordship and care of Jesus and we will we see things get better and change. We can grow and thrive through faith in Jesus!

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 7/4/2015    John 8:36

"If the son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

 

Jesus frees from sin. All little sins come from the only sin that keeps one out of heaven: not believing in Jesus.

Deep from the recesses of our heart comes meanness, unkind words, disrespect, lying, cheating, sexual sin, prejudice, greed, alcohol and drug abuse. And many, many other distructive thoughts and behaviors. All these as a result of sin.

Those who have fully trusted and followed Jesus have found deliverance from sin. Those made free by Jesus are free indeed.

Are you free indeed? You can be.

Just turn from your ways and ideas to Jesus and trust him as your Master, Lord and Savior. Jesus will make you free from sin.

What a freedom it is to be freed from evil and sin. It is freedom, indeed!

 

 

Friday, 7/3/2015    Matthew 15:25

"Then she came and worshiped him saying, Lord help me."

 

Short heartfelt humble prayers are powerful prayers.

At daybreak this morning, I was praying two words prayers to the Lord: help me, touch me, revive me, empower me, bless me, use me, guide me, cleanse me, change me.

When we cry unto the Lord, the Lord hears us and answers our cry.

Cry put to the Lord today. Your prayer does not have to be flowery or long. Just a humble cry. Even two little words.

"In the day that I cried, you answered me and strengthened me with strength in my soul."  (Psalm 138:3)

 

 

Thursday, 7/2/2015    James 4:14

"For what is your life?  It is even a vapour,  that appears for a little time,  and then vanishes away."

 

Once in the middle of the night, a bridge on Highway 51 between Memphis and Dyersburg collasped. Vehicle after Vechicle unknowingly began to drive over that bridgeless highway into a watery grave.

A trucker was able to stop and jumped off his truck and stood in the middle of the road trying to warn on coming traffic. Some cars did not heed his warning and still plunged into a watery grave.

Today, there is a warning for all of us. Our life on this earth is at best 70 plus years. In the last two weeks,  my brother and a good friend died and went into eternity. One was 65 and was 70. But everyday, disease or accident claims the lives of those much younger.

Hebrews 9:27 states:  'It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.'  One day, we will all stand at the judgment and give an account to God for the thoughts and actions of our life.

I shed tears once at the lyrics of a song that described this standing at the judgment:  'Yes, your honor,  I'm at your mercy,  you can do with me just as you please.  Please remember,  my testimony,  the blood of Jesus covers me.'

In that day, the only thing that will matter is if we have been washed in the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

But what Jesus accomplished for human kind in his death and shedding of his blood must be received by faith. 'He came unto his own, but his own received him not, but to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God even to as many as believed on his name.'

Through repenting of our sin and placing our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be declared holy and clean at the coming judgment. Have you received Jesus? Do so and you will be able to face the coming judgment after your death on this earth.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 7/1/2015     Mark 10:9

"What God has joined together, Let no man put asunder."

 

(The following is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent):

I was in my twenties and I was a young pastor of a New Testament Church.  We were having our fall revival (except it was in August) and the evangelist preached on the wages of sin and the gift of eternal life.

Late after the service around 11 pm, I heard a knock on the parsonage door. My wife said 'who would that be at this time of night?'

It was Bob.  Bob said he had to talk to me because he was about to go kill Tom. Bob was a farmer who lived next door.  Bob and I sat in his bean truck as he told me how Tom (a leader in our in our church) was out with his wife Sue (a Sunday School teacher of chidren in our church).

We sat in the bed of that bean truck as Bob poured out his heart and feelings to me. At about 2 a.m., we saw lights coming down the road.  Here came a wrecker that was Tom's work truck.  Tom and Sue saw Bob and I sitting in the back of that bean truck and droved by.  I waved at them as if to say  'I see you and God sees you.'

Lust and sin had blinded Tom and Sue.  Two familes which contained school aged children were torn apart, hurt and maimed.  Divorce ensued.

Marriage is not to be entered into lightly.  Marriage is ordained by God and is a one flesh union which symbolizes the union of Jesus and his bride, the church.  Marriage is to be a lifetime union and committment of love of one man and one woman before God.  Marriage is not to be torn apart by sinful actions.

I want to thank God today for my marriage to my wonderful, lovely and sweet wife. We were married in 1971. We made a lifetime committment to each other. We have been through times of prosperity, times of leanness, times of sickness, times of happiness and times of heartache (times of headache too).  We made a committment to love each other and to be faithful to each other

until death due us part.

God saw us through and is still seeing us through. God is good.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 6/30/2015  John 8:32

"And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

 

I am retired. I have more time on my hands than I used to. One thing I do now that I did not do before retirement is to make mason jars of candy and give out to my neighbors on different holidays. I made several of these for Independence day.

I got some candy wrapped in red, white and blue wrappers at Walgreens (Baby Ruth, Crunch Bars, 3 Musketeers and Trident Gum). Then I went to Big Lots and got some Mason Jars with handles and screw tops on them. Finally off to Wal Mart to get some red, white and blue ribbon.

Then I made some ribbons the best I could (not too good of a job on that) and tied and taped it to the handles on the jar. Then I filled the jars with the goodies (of course, I kept a few out in case of an emergency). Then I typed out some 3 small messages to cut out and tape on the jars: part of the Declaration of Independence, and two scriptures on being free from John 8:32 & 36. I also put Happy Independence Day on the top with our names and address.

I plan to give one each to our Pastor and Worship and Praise Director tomorrow and then the other five to our close neighbors.

Jesus has set me free from the ravages, penalty and terrible results of sins. For instance, I no longer practice sexual immorality. I am delivered from tobacco addiction (recently my brother died from lung cancer and a friend died from Emphysema complications). I no longer abuse or drink alcohol. I have lost a bunch of weight and am working out. Little by little, I am getting control of my tongue and hurtful words.  

Yes, Praise God, Jesus has set me free! I am heaven bound and I am a new creation (all because Jesus has set me free)  ! I thank God for freedom today!

 

 

Monday, 6/29/2015    I Corinthians 15:33

"Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

 

The Apostle Paul is quoting a greek poet in the context of the teaching of the absoulute necessity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death and the grave for the salvation of the Christian.

What Paul is saying is if any friendship, relationship or companionship causes a Christian to doubt necessary teachings for salvation, then that is not something good for the Christian to involve him or her self in.

A Christian is to be salt, light and a witness to non Christians.  A Christian's lifestyle, conversation, attitude and demeanor should be Christ like. The Christ likeness of the Christian should influence the non believer and not the other way around. When and if a Christian is corrupted by the lifestyle of a non Christian, then that Christian has become a mission field rather than a missionary.

And that is not right or good.

So be an influencer for Jesus and do not be influenced by a non believer or false teachings to have a non Christian world view or lifestyle. That, I believe, is what Paul is teaching in this verse of scripture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 6/28/2015     Proverbs 29:2

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn."

 

When Jesus was a baby, King Herod of Israel sent a bunch of soldiers to Bethelehm and the area surrounding and and had them kill all babies up to two years old. There was great weeping and mourning in the land resulting from this terrible act of a political leader.

Joseph had been warned from the Lord in a dream to take Jesus to Egypt before this act happened. This shows the foreknowledge of God and the protection of God for his people.

God always knows before hand what is going to happen in Washington DC. Nothing takes God by surprised. God allowed King Herod to do a terrible thing. God allows leders in America to do terrble things as well.

Why?

God has a plan. God's plan supercedes man's evil. Joseph was sold into slavery by an evil act of his brothers. Years later when Joseph was elevated as Prime Minister of Egypt, the same brothers came to Egypt to beg food. God's plan supercedes man's evil.

James, the brother of John and an Apostle chosen by Jesus was killed by Herod the King. The physical life of James was not protected by God. That was in God's plan for James and the early church. Could God have prevented Herod from taking James' life? Yes. Was it in God's plan to prevent Herod from taking the life of James? No. God has a plan.

A result of the death of James was a prayer meeting of the church for Peter's release and Peter was released from prison by a miracle of God. Herod would be struck down and die. And the word of God and the number of the disciples multiplied. God has a plan.

Our response to the evil of man should be prayer. Action should follow prayer when possible. But faith and belief in God to do the impossible and to intervene should remain constant.

Our refuge and strength is in God alone. In the end, we will win and evil will lose. I will continue to pray, to work, to influence, to teach and to try with God's stength and guidance to bring about his will and way on this earth: in my personal life, in my family, in my church, in my community, in my state, in America and in the world. Come what may, I will trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
 

 

 

Saturday, 6/27/2015     Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up by training them and instructing them about the Lord."

 

Talking to your children about sex, marriage and same-sex marriage:

Roundtable contributors: Jani Ortlund, Stephanie Goeke, Krissie Inserra, Trillia Newbell and Jena Starke.

What age do you think is appropriate for addressing issues related to marriage, sex and same-sex marriage with your children?

JO: You can begin talking about marriage and proper expressions of intimacy with your child from infancy on—by showing them pictures of your wedding day and other important weddings of family and friends; telling them how marriage began in Gen. 1-2 and how good it is; displaying how much Dad and Mom love, admire and support in each other in their various roles; and making clear that God says marriage is between one man and one woman for as long as they both live.

KI: I think the issue is more about maturity and exposure. My oldest son is eight years old and in second grade at our neighborhood public school.  He has classmates with lesbian parents, and he has seen men out in public holding hands. This has raised a number of questions from him, so we have already had discussions about marriage and sexuality. These issues might come up earlier with my four-year-old because of exposure. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open. This is not a one-time "talk." It is an ongoing, honest conversation.

TN:  I have young children (five and eight), so we have not jumped into the deep end of the pool on these topics. Thus far, we make sure to name body parts by their proper name so it’s not strange or awkward (as if God did not design our bodies). The kids understand that boys and girls are created by God with unique differences.

SG: This really depends on your child and your child’s environment. While you want to guard against introducing sexuality and related issues to your children before they are emotionally and developmentally ready, it is an even greater risk in our culture and tech-driven world that your children will learn about sexuality from someone else. The goal should be that your kids’ first exposure to sexual information is from you, and that when questions and issues surface later down the road, they will be comfortable coming to you for counsel.  

JS: As parents, we know our kids best, and we should use wisdom as we consider when to have these discussions. Ask yourself: What is their social environment (friends, teachers, neighbors, advertising) teaching them? Have they begun asking questions? Am I reluctant to talk with my child just because it feels uncomfortable?

How would you go about explaining same-sex marriage to your children? How would you distinguish what God’s design is?

JO: You can help children understand same-sex marriage by studying God’s design for marriage. Give them lots of stories about marriage from the Bible—from Creation to Revelation. I would tell them that same-sex marriage is not marriage as God defines it. Make sure your child knows that this is not your idea that you are teaching but God’s idea from the beginning of the world until now.

You can say something like, "Many people don’t know and believe the Bible, but in our family we want to study the Bible so we can know what God is saying to us about how life works best and how to honor him. In the Bible, God says that same-sex marriage is wrong, just like having sex outside of marriage, lying, stealing and worshipping other gods is wrong.  Even if we don’t understand everything God is telling us in the Bible, we know that he is kind, wise and wants what is best for his children. So we will trust and obey his ways."

KI: We have simply explained that there are some men who choose to be with and marry other men and some women who do the same with women. This is not the way that God has created us to be. We assure our son that God has stated very clearly in the Bible that he made marriage to be between a man and a woman, so this relationship is against God’s design.

SG: Explaining same-sex marriage and homosexuality to your children is easier if, and should be done after, you have taken the time to explain traditional marriage and biblical sexuality to your children. This will aid greatly in helping explain why homosexual expression and same-sex marriage are outside of God’s design, no matter what our culture or our laws may say. And, again, this is much easier if it is addressed by the parent, on the parents’ initiative, rather than something learned via media, teachers or peers.  

JS: I would say something like, "In Genesis, God created men and women to complement one another. In his perfect plan, he made us different and proclaims it a good thing because it follows his design for all of creation. But because mankind is sinful and runs away from God, we want to make our own rules and not follow God’s design for us. The Bible tells us that ‘people loved the darkness rather than the light.’ In other words, we don’t want to be obedient to God’s commands, and sometimes this shows up in who people want to marry."

How would you help your children know the truth and yet not ostracize their neighbor or classmate with whom they disagree?

JO: Do not let them hear you ostracize others for their beliefs. Let there be sympathy, grace and longing for those who don’t know the truth of the Bible yet. We don’t want to raise finger-pointing Pharisees or become people who point out or talk about other’s sins—we have enough of our own sin to deal with. Let’s love our friends with whom we disagree and emphasize that Jesus died for the sins of the world, ours included.  

If a someone asks, you can tell your child to share what he/she believes, and why: "Because the Bible is God’s Word to us, and in our family, we believe the Bible and want to obey it."  Remind your children that what God looks at is the heart; people who are living in a same-sex relationship need a new heart, just as people who are having sex before marriage need one.  Also, teach your children to pray for them.

KI: Children see things in black and white. They understand that some things are right and others are wrong and may have a hard time with those who want to blur the lines or completely disagree with them. It is important to show them how Jesus related to those who were in sin. He felt compassion for them (Matt. 9:36) and loved them in word and deed.

In our home, we are honest about these issues (in an age-appropriate way), but we stress that someone who is living this lifestyle needs to know and understand the love of Jesus. Trying to show them the reasons their choices are wrong is not going to convey that love. We must remember that our kids are taking their cues from us. If we are unloving toward those with sexual sin, we can expect our children to act the same way no matter how much we remind them to love others.

SG: Teaching through Jesus’ interaction with sinners is a great way to show how Jesus was always full of mercy yet never wavered on the truth. Additionally, a great way to instill compassion toward those with whom we disagree is to listen to and understand more of their stories and how they ended up where they are, while helping our kids to understand how to allow Scripture to shine light on those experiences.

JS: Sometimes our kids hear other kids using bad language, and they naturally want to label them "bad kids." We remind them that our sins—lying, bad attitudes, laziness, hatefulness—are just as "bad," and we need forgiveness just as much as they do. Jesus spent time with people who did a lot of bad things and loved them. When we separate ourselves from other people, we are saying we don’t need as much forgiveness as they do. So, when our kids see two women walking down the street holding hands, we should help them remember that Jesus came to set people free from their sin, including us.

How would you train your child to talk about these things with friends who have same-sex parents?

KI: Our son does have at least a couple of classmates who have same-sex parents, and this is a tough one. If the child wants to know what the Bible says about homosexuality, I would teach my child to point him or her to Scripture and explain it. But generally, that’s not the question that kids are asking.

Children should never be ostracized or punished for the lifestyle choices their parents have made. They want to know that they are loved and accepted even though their family is different. They want to know that God has a plan for their life. They need to know that God must punish sin because he is a holy God, but his mercy and forgiveness extend from the east to the west. They simply need a friend.

TN: I’d want my kids to be honest. I don’t want them to feel they need to hide their Christianity. With that said, I would want them to be wise and discerning. I want them to learn to share an opinion, concern or conviction when asked rather than voluntarily. For example, if a classmate is sharing, I might teach my children to start responding by asking their classmate questions instead of throwing out accusations. It’s the child’s parents who are same-sex partners. The child shouldn’t be shunned because of the choice of the parents. Ultimately, I want my kids to be gospel-minded. I pray they would remember the truth of the gospel as they learn to relate to others and would have boldness to lovingly share when and where possible.

SG: Kids should first learn how to share their faith and to share the essence of the gospel in the middle of their relationships before they are taught, or even encouraged, to address sin or differences of beliefs. Addressing sin without first introducing Jesus never goes well!

For many kids, the "experience" of their friends can cause them to question what they have been taught about biblical sexuality and traditional marriage, so it is important that parents walk with their kids through the Word and allow it to illuminate the situation.  Make sure your kids know that it is okay to be friends with these kids and that the same-sex parents may well be very nice, caring and capable parents.  If the issue arises specifically in conversation, teach your children how to state their beliefs carefully and with sensitivity, and teach them how to affirm their friendship and sincerely love their friends.

JS: Our kids aren’t always going to say the right things, and we need to be patient with them. Most importantly, it’s crucial for them to understand that behavior is the fruit of what’s in our hearts. It should surprise them less and less that people disobey God’s commands if they don’t have Jesus in their heart. Our neighbors need to know Jesus before they’ll want to obey his commands. As kids grow in their knowledge of the gospel and how God changes hearts, they’ll better relate to their friends, family and neighbors.  

 

 

Friday, 6/26/2015    Galatians 3:17

"Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh."

 

Do I make excuses for my sins? Do I just say I was born that way or that is just the way that I am? Am I ever to old to overcome my bad habits or to intrenched in a pattern of thought speech or action to ever adopt new ways of thinking and doing?  Am I unable to change?  No, I think not!

It is never right to be sharp with my tongue. It is never right to cut someone apart behind their back with my words. It is never right to continue to struggle with the same temptations and then to give into them over and over again.

It is time to change. It is time to humbly seek God. It is time to ask for forgiveness. It is time to cry out to the Lord for his cleansing, purging, love, holiness and strength.

It is time to begin a new way of thinking. It is time to stop reacting and to start responding. It is time to trust Jesus minute by minute and even moment by moment. It is time walk the walk and talk the talk.

Walking with Jesus means I have a new way of thinking, a new way of responding, a new way of acting and a new way of doing.

I like this new way. It is the Jesus way!

 

 

Thursday, 6/25/2015     I Peter 3:21

" Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

 

I was 22 years old and had been a Christian for a little over a year. While working in a factory, I was assigned to help two differerent men, going back and forth, on two different  metal planers. One of the men kept telling me if I had not been baptized with water to be saved, then I was not saved. The other man kept telling me if I had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, then I was not saved.

One thing I new, however, was that I had turned from my own devices and received Jesus as my Lord, Master and Savior. I was saved. I was born again.  Jesus was changing my life from the inside out.

So what then is baptism and what does baptism do?

There are two kinds of baptism in the Bible: water baptism and Spirit baptism.

After you get saved (you are bapitzed by the Spirit the moment you get saved), you are supposed to be baptized in water.  Literally the word baptism means to dip. The word was used in ancient times to describe washing dishes or clothers. Therefore, the mode of water baptism is through going into and under water.

It takes two people for a baptism in water: the person doing the baptism and the person being baptized.  Water baptism is a ceremony that indentifies the one being baptized as being saved by Jesus and  associated and in sync with the church.  Water Baptism is a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The one being baptized is declaring his faith in Jesus in public to the local church.

Spirit Baptism takes place at salvation when the Holy Spirit regenerates the one being saved by faith. The evidence of Spirit Baptism is the forgiveness of sins and a changed life of peace, joy, love, patience, self control and gentleness.

If you have been saved by turning from your sins and trusting Jesus to save you, then you have baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.

Now it is time after you have been Spirit Baptized to be Baptized in water. Have you done that? If not, contact a pastor of a Bible believing and preaching local church and request to be baptized. Water baptism is the next step after you believe in Jesus to save you.

May God bless you today. I hope this discussion has helped you to understand baptism today.

 

 

Wednesday, 6/24/2015     Proverbs 14:34

"Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people."

 

This principle operates in any unit: the individual, the family, the community,  the church and the nation.

Jesus said we are either for him or against him. He wishes we were hot or cold because if we are lukewarm, he will spew us out of his mouth.

Take the individual. If a person neglects spiritual things and lives a life of pride, self fulfillment and away from God and his ways, his life spirals downward in decay and destruction.

When a family decides that is better to live it up, party down, recreate all the time and buy this and that instead of serving the true and living God, that family spirals downward in decay and destruction.

The same is true for a church, a community and a nation.

Put God first and the blessings of peace and provision flow. Put God down on the list and all hell breaks loose and things totally fall apart and disentegrate.

I pray for the people, the familes, the communities, the churches and the nation of America.  Spare us O God.

May we fall on our collective knees and repent as we confess our sins and seek our Lord and Savior Jesus' grace, mercy, forgiveness, cleansing and power to live uprightly, lovingly, and honorably! For then and only then can we expect the power, peace, provision and presences of Almighty God to be upon us.

 

 

Tuesday, 6/23/2015    Psalm 32:5

"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
    the guilt of my sin"

 

The fact is is that a person still sins after that person becomes a Christian. Sinless perfection will only take place when a Christian is glorified in heaven.

So on this earth we still mess up and sin from time to time.

The good news is that the Heavenly Father has made provision for our sin through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

I wish I would never say a mean word again. I wish I would never have an evil thought again. I wish I could just quit the sin thing altogether. The truth is is that I can sin less and less often but I cannot quit sinning until I leave this earth.

Why?

Because I still have a sin nature. I have to deal with this sin nature through faith upheld by prayer and assimlating and meditating upon the Bible. Those are my weapons to overcome sin.

My son hung a new picture he got on his bedroom wall yesterday. It contains a sword and a suit of armour and words about the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit. The weapons of our faith to overcome the practice of sin in this world.

Let's sin less. But let's also take our sins to the Heavenly Father and confess them to receive forgiveness, cleansing and the power to stop sinning! The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. Praise his holy name!

 

 

Monday, 6/22/2015    Acts 10:34

"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, In truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."

 

I grew up in Memphis. In 1969, I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and the love of God filled my heart and soul. I no longer classified people by the color of their skin and began to love all people equally. I once took a black man from work to a prayer breakfast at my church.

The head deacon, who was named Ellis, told me he owned a gas station and when he bought everyone lunch, the blacks ate in the mechanic bays while the whites ate in the air conditioned office.

I told that deacon named Ellis that if Louis (the black man’s name was Louis) could not eat and pray with me in the church fellowship hall, then I could not eat and pray and in that fellowship either.

The pastor of our Church, Brother Wayne, intervened and spoke some sense to that deacon.

Louis and I enjoyed breakfast and prayer in that church fellowship hall that morning in 1975 at East Park Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee!

 

 

Sunday, 6/21/2015    Ephesians 6:4

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

 

My wife and I, together, produced four children. That makes me a father.

I love all my children.

But, would I have done anything differently if I could go back and raise those children again?

Yes, I would. I am not saying I totally messed up because I did not. But here is what I would do:

**I would have hugged on those kids more.

**I would have spoke to them in a more gentle and loving way.

**I would not have worked so many hours.

**I would have lived a more simple life (without the trappings of materialism).

**I would have read them the Bible every day and had a prayer time with them

   everyday.

**I would have spent more quality time with them individually.

**I would have lived a more committed Christian life before them.

Three of my four kids are living a Christian life. I have one prodigal, in my opinion. I am praying and waiting for my prodigal to come to his spiritual senses. I trust God that he will.

God bless fathers today. Fathers, you got one chance. Don't mess it up.

 

 

Friday, 6/19/2015    Joshua 24:15

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
 
While sitting in the Red Velvet Lounge on Hwy 61 in Memphis, in my mind's eye, I saw Jesus sitting at the bar looking at me with hurt and sorrowful eyes.
I got up from my seat without saying a word to my brother Mike. I went out the door and walked the 4 miles home to Whitehaven Park Circle.
I went in and sat down at the kitchen table. My parents were in the den watching the late show. I set a half empty bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey to the left of me and I set a Bible to the right of me. I began to stare at the Bible and the bottle.
I must of sat there for an hour before the late show finished and my parents came by that kitchen table to see their 21 year old son who was staring silently and solemnly at a 1/2 empty bottle of Jack Daniels on one side of the table and a King James Bible on the other side of the table.
They asked me what was going on. I shared with them how I had given the control of my life to Jesus a few months back while I was a soldier in Germany   I told them my life was out of control and that I had disappointed the Lord.  I said I had to make a decision that night.
I made that decision on that fateful night so many years ago. I wholly surrendered my all to Jesus in dedication.
A few days later, God led me to my future wife, Darline. Darline had received Christ as her Lord and Savior one month before my conversion in Germany. She was attending Mid South Bible College in preparation for youth ministry through Campus Life. That was 43 years ago.
My life has been bumpy sometimes since those days. But here I am, stronger than ever both physcially, emotionally and most important spiritually. I give all the praise, honor, glory and thanksgiving to my Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The best is yet to come.

 

Thursday, 6/18/2014   Luke 23: 43

"And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in pardise.'

 

My brother Mike died yesterday. Mike was 70 years old. Mike served his country as a Captain in the Army and did his time in Viet Nam.

Mike came to the Lord, I believe, late in life. Jesus accepted my brother as Mike said he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

Mike is with Jesus now. He follows our oldest brother, Shelton, in death. One day, perhaps soon,  I shall also see Jesus and my brothers again. Mom and Dad are in heaven as well. It will be a great homecoming one day.

 

 

Wednesday, 6/17/2015    Psalm 9:10

"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."

 

I was pastor of four churches in four different states. When I was young, I wanted to be a pastor of a large church but God always had me in smaller congregations. Because the churches were small, I was able to visit all the shut in's and widows in their homes on a regular basis.

I would always ask people what was their favorite verse of scripture. Once, I visited with a lady named Mozelle.  Mozelle was a cancer survivor and a widow.  She told me her favorite verse was Psalm 9: 10:  "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, has not forsaken them that seek thee."  Her life was a testament to that verse.  Mozelle knew the Lord, trusted the Lord and was not forsaken by the Lord.

That small church had a drive to build a fellowship hall.  Mozelle made the first donation (around 1979) of $1000.00.   The fellowship hall was built and is still there. Mozelle is gone now and resides in heaven.

I thank God for Christians like Mozelle who know the Lord, trust the Lord and are never forsaken by the Lord.  Faithful men and women of God who know the Lord. They walk with Jesus, weather life's storms through trusting in the Lord who never forsakes them, and make their lives count for Christ.

I want to be remembered as that type of Christian.

 

 

Tuesday, 6/16/2015     Hebrews 2: 3 

"How shall we escape if we negelect so great a salvation?"

 

God has provided the means necessary for a Christian to access the current benefits of our salvation.  We who have born again through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ are saved, delivered and redeemed.  We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake this.

The Christian has the possiblity  to experience the current benefits of spiritual strength to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, self control, longsuffering),  and the power to be a faithful witness and servant for the Lord.

Through faith we may access the power necessary to know and serve the Lord. Faith is nurtured and made manifest in us through the internalization of the Holy Bible, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other belivers in Christ. The results of faith are fellowship with the Lord, a walk empowered by the Holy Spirit, sensitivity towards the the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, power to witness for the Lord and the love of God resulting in service to our familes, other believers and the suffering and needy in the world.

Why then do we neglect the means to nuture and activate the faith life? It is nothing more than having wrong priorites and spiritual laziness.

May God help us to repent and to access by faith the power, peace, joy, and love of God. May our life then become a blessing to the Lord and to others.

 

 

Monday, 6/15/2015   I John 6:21 

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols, amen."

 

The Christian life is choosing to worship God instead of any other person, place or thing. To worship God means we love God, praise God and serve God.

The first commandment of the 10 is to have no other God's before God. It is a command to not be an idol worshipper.

In olden times, an idol would be fashioned out of wood, stone or metal and was an image of a false God. It was thought that magical powers and blessing would come to the person bowing to that idol in homage.

Today, we may not have such an idol but there are still idols such as money, property, people, possession, success or recreation.

I have found that if I have something and then it is taken away and if I become embittered, than that something was an idol.

For me, years ago, I had an idol of success in the ministry. I thought I was worshipping, loving and serving God but I was not. I found that out when certain things happened that smashed my dreams and aspirations of succeeding in the ministry. I became bitter. I had an idol.

Some people make their spouse or their child an idol. I once knew a lady whose son took his own life on Christmas day. That lady made a shrine out of his room. 20 years later, nothing had been moved in that child's bedroom. I have seen this more than once. The lady was caught in grief. Pathological grief for many years. Her child was an idol to her.

We are to keep ourselves from idols. We are to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with and with all strength. Then and only then are we to love our neighbor as ourself. People, places, possesions and things on this earth are temporary. Only God is eternal.

Only God gives true peace, love and joy. Our God came to earth and became a man to die for us and to rise gain. Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  is the only person (or any thing else) worthy to be praised, honored and worshipped.

 

 

Sunday, 6/14/2015     Proverbs 3: 5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

 

During my early twenties as a young Christian, I memorized and hid in my heart many scriptures. I did this in order that I might internalize God's word, grow in the Lord and walk with the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible and I am pondering it's meaning as to preacherlarry.com this morning.

There are many web sites that offer daily devotions. Does the Lord want to continue preacherlarry.com?  What about expanding preacherlarry.com to the highway and hedges  (city streets, county fairs, outside gatherings, etc.)  as I dreamed of last year?  What about taking my preaching and teaching into local churches?

Or is it time to wind preacherlarry.com down?

I have the Lord but if preacherlarry.com is to survive and thrive, some of God's people must step up and get involved with prayer, encouragement and support. I need to hear from you if God is laying preacherlarry.com on your heart. I am not a lone ranger Christian or preacher.

Please ask God about his will for your participation in preacherlarry.com. Let me know what the Lord lays on your heart.

 

 

Friday, 5/29/2015      I John 5: 16-17

"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death."

 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ may sin. What happens to that Christian when he or she sins?

There is a disruption in the usefulness to God when a Christian sins. The power of the Holy Spirit is sacrificed when a Christian sins. The testimony of the Christian is sacrificed when a Christian sins. The sweet fellowship with God and fellow believers is wilted when a Christian sins.

What is sin, anyways? Sin is the missing of God’s mark.  Sin is the transgression of the law of God.  Sin is failure to do good.  Sin is not acting in faith.  Sin is contrary to the mind and ways of God.  When self interests are put before the Lord’s purposes, that is sin.  All Christians sin from time to time.  That is just the way it is.

God disciplines a child of God when that child of God sins and is thus disobedient. Sometimes God puts his child on the shelf or in time out.  At other times, a pop on the the child of God’s spiritual rear end may be in order.  Blessings and good things may be beheld when a Christian sins.  The spiritual sensitivity towards God is taken away when a Christian sins.  And at other times, God may take a Christian home.

I have often wondered if the Lord took Elvis home early because of his sin.  I grew up just a few blocks from Graceland.  I have Elvis sightings stories and have been just a few feet from him in the past at the gate of Graceland.  Elvis loved gospel music and many times sing it after concerts late into the evening as he gathered around the piano with his friends.  Then, one day, when Elvis was only 40 years old, it was all over.  Did God take Elvis?  Did Elvis sin unto death?  There is no way I can answer that but I wonder.

When God gets ready to take a child of God home to heaven, that is it.

Not all sin leads to physical death.  I know that because I sin all the time.  I sin more than I want to.  I would be very happy to never sin again.  It grieves my heart, the hearts of my brothers and sisters in Christ and most importantly the heart of the Lord when I sin.  O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from my sinful ways?  God can and  God will when I feed my faith with the word of God and prayerfully walk with him!

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

I am thankful to God for the forgiving power of God, for the restoring power of God and for the delivering power of God.  I just want to walk with Jesus today and every day in the power of the Holy Spirit!

How can a man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereunto according to God’s Word.  With my whole heart have I sought the Lord. O Lord, do not let me wander from you!

 

Thursday, 5/28/2015    I John 5: 14-15

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

 

When we have confidence in God to ask in prayer the things we know that are in his will, we know God hears us and gives us the things pertaining to his will.

For instance, God wants us to have power from the Holy Spirit to witness for Jesus (We know this because Acts 1:8 tells us that). Therefore because it is God’s will for us to have the power of the Holy Spirit to witness for Jesus, when we ask for the power of the Holy Spirit, God will give it to us.

God wants our lives to exhibit and to manifest the fruit of the Spirit which is  love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness and self control (We know this because Galatians 5: 20 tell us that). Therefore because it is God’s  will for us to exhibit and to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, when we ask for the fruit of the Spirit to operate in our lives, God will give the fruit of the Spirit to us.

Wait a minute, we say----but I want to go to a certain place on a certain day and get a certain thing. Well, we don’t know if that is God’s will for us so it would be right to pray ‘if it by thy will’ to the Lord, in that situation and then to trust God for the outcome. (James 4: 15)

Listen, it is God’s will for his child to abstain from all sex outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage. We know that because the New Testament teaches that. Therefore, when a born again child of God asks for power to abstain from fornication, adultery or homosexuality, God will give will that born again child of God the power to do that. We know God will grant that petition because it is in the teaching of the Bible found in the New Testament.

Search the scriptures. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate and to teach the Bible to you. Interpret the Old Testament in the light of Jesus and the teaching of the New Testament and you will be all right.

Base your prayers on what the Bible teaches and you will get what you pray for. God is good. I just want to praise the Lord today and to thank the Lord today for answered prayer.

Thank you, Jesus!

 

Wednesday, 5/27/2015     I John 5:12

He that hath the Son hath life and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

 

I got saved in my early twenties. For the first year I was saved, I visited many different churches of various denominations. Sometimes I would hear things that the Holy Spirit would affirm to me and sometimes I would hear things that did not bear witness with the Holy Spirit who was with in me.

I would go home and sit in my back yard and just pray and read the Bible to check out the things I had heard at these churches and the Lord would teach me right from His book.

I still had some old attitudes and actions that troubled me because they were not in line with the word of God. God began to change me little by little. I have stumbled at times  and I even have backslid but God has been faithful to bring me along and to work in me. He is conforming me to the image of Jesus Christ,

my Lord and Savior.

One thing that troubled me much in the early days was my assurrance of salvation. Finally, I got assurance by just believing God's word. I John 5:12 says I have Jesus and Hebrews 13:5 says Jesus will never leave me or forsake me and Ephesians 4:30 says I am sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (the day I go to heaven). That settled it for me. I have Jesus. Jesus will not forsake me. The Holy Spirit has sealed me until I get to heaven.

I started believing what God says and not what some little guy said. Now some little guys say the right things but some of them do not. I just check it out with God's word. If God says it, I go with it. If God does not say it, I do not go with it.

I am saved and I know that. I know that because God says I am saved in his word. I have trusted Jesus to save me and he promised to do that. I have assurance of salvation. That is a good feeling.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 5/26/2015        I John 5: 6

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

 

Jesus came by water and blood. What does this mean?   Water denotes what he did in his physical life.  Blood denotes what he did in his giving up his life on the cross as a sacrifice and payment for the sins of all.

Jesus came by water. Jesus spoke as no man ever spoke. Jesus taught as no man ever taught. Jesus walked as no man ever walked. Jesus touched as man ever touched. Jesus healed as no man ever healed. Jesus did miracles as no man ever did miracles. Jesus listened as no man ever listened. Jesus eyes pierced hearts as no man’s eyes ever pierced hearts. The must sublime teaching on morality and  ethics is found in Matthew chapters 5 through 8 in the sermon on the mount.  The greatest analogies of faith and life ever taught are found in the parables of Jesus. The greatest summation of man’s duty is found in the new command of Jesus to love God and neighbor. The greatest examples of love and greatest words of truth are from Jesus' life on this earth. We have the record of Jesus’ three year public ministry on this earth contained in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for our edification, instruction and example. We should read, study, meditate and even memorize some of this every day of our lives.

Jesus came by blood. The primary reason Jesus came to this earth was to die on the cross, be buried and to rise again the third day. This is the gospel. Our sin is so depraved, so evil, so damning, so terrible, so infectious, so despicable and so eternally damaging in that it's consequences result in everlasting death that it took the sinless Son of God, Jesus’ receiving and carrying the punishment of our sins on and in his body on the cross. His shed blood can and will redeem, provide pardon and forgiveness, and cleanse for all who believe on him through repentance and faith.  "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" and ‘For Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" describe what Jesus did for us on the cross (II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 3:18).

The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus life and death. This is truth. Gospel truth. Receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus’ death and live by faith through his life.

I am still growing in Jesus. I still fight battles against the world, the flesh and the devil. The old sin nature still crops up in me in my attitudes and actions. But when I humble myself and cry out to Jesus based on his death (blood)  I live abundantly, peaceably, joyfully, patiently, faithfully and loving and am able to follow his living example through his resurrection power (water).

I hope my feable attempt to define and to describe Jesus' coming by water and blood will help you in your spiritual life. God bless you as you through the Holy Spirit apply this teaching to your life.

 

 

Monday, 5/25/2015        Leviticus 26:45

But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen.

 

One good thing about aging is that you remember more. You learn from the bad stuff and you are thankful for the good stuff (I know, you are to be thankful for all of it, but let’s face it, the bad stuff is not pleasant to remember). I am thankful today for those in our armed forces who gave their lives to defend, provide and preserve our freedoms in America!

We are to teach our children and grandchildren about the successes of the past and about the failures of the past. We rejoice in the successes and

we learn from the past.

Aren’t you glad that the Lord remembers his covenant with us? God never breaks a promise!

The greatest promise to me is when Jesus saved me through his shed blood. Yes, it took Jesus shedding his precious blood and dying in order to provide pardon and forgiveness for my sin. Then Jesus rose from the dead bodily, visibly and victoriously so that I could have spiritual power and life everlasting.

Jesus says he knows my name and I shall never perish (John Chapter 10).

Jesus remembers me. I want to learn from my sinful mistakes and I rejoice at all that Jesus has done for me in the past, is doing for me in the present and will do for me in the glorious future!

 

 

Sunday, 5/24/2015         I John 5:4

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

 

This ole world can bog the Christian down. When someone was feeling sorry for themselves, we used to take our finger and thumb and rub them together and say ‘you know what this is? The answer was: ‘the smallest record player in the world playing 96 tears.’  Why then do we sometimes feel sorry for ourselves?

Jesus said that in the world we would have tribulation (John 16:33) and the Apostle Paul said ‘through much tribulation, we enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). This means that in this life we have continual stuff the deal with. It may be financial problems, or personal sickness, or family hardship or conflict on the job, We may be misunderstood, be mad at, have a headache, backache or knee ache but there will be difficulty and stuff in life to deal with.

The real problem is when our stuff (trouble or disobedience) stops us from and causes us to stop trusting Jesus and keeps us from living the love life that God calls us to. You see, we are to love God and spread God’s love to others. When our stuff stops or prohibits us from doing that, the world wins and the cause of Jesus in our lives loses.

The answer to stopping the world from stopping us from loving and living for Jesus is faith. I love the little acrostic for faith:

F orsaking

A ll

I

T rust

H im

That is good. I don’t have to invent everything I use. Someone else invented that little acrostic. But when I forsake all and trust Jesus, I win and (God’s love is made real and flowing in my life) and the world, flesh and devil loses.

Long live faith!

 

 

Saturday,       I John 4:9

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

 

It’s really simple. God loves us. When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, God fills us with his love. When his love fills us, it spills out on other people.

A book was written by Francis Schaeffer entitled ‘How shall we then live.’ A premise in the book was that western culture (us) is marked by two things: isolation and affluence. That means get everything you can and keep it for yourself.

That is not the mark of the Christian life, however. The mark of the Christian life is since we have experienced God’s love, share that love with others in deed and word.

Little things can mean something. A new young couple has moved into our neighborhood. They just had their first baby this week. While at the grocery store earlier this week, I got them a box of newborn pampers and took them over to their house. Why did I do that? Well, God has put his love in my heart and he wants me to reach out. I can’t do much but I can do something.

Love means we see a need and then we fill that need. Love is a mark of being saved and belonging to Jesus. God help us to love. It should be the normal course of events but often times, it is not.

Let’s love today. Love God. Love ourselves. Love our family. Love our neighbor. Love that person who we don’t even know when we have that opportunity.

 

 

Friday, 5/22/2015          I John 4:4

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

 

The child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the comforter. Literally that means the one called along side of. It means an advocate and a counselor. Instantly, at the initial moment of getting saved, the Holy Spirit enters the the new believer.

In the life of the unbeliever, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment, draws the unbeliever to Jesus and then regenerates the unbeliever when the unbeliever repents of his or her’s sin and places his or her’s faith only in and on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The Holy Spirit magnifies Jesus to the believer, teaches the things of Jesus to the believer, gives the believer understanding of the spiritual truth in the Bible, enables the believer to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, faith, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, meekness, self control), empowers the believer to live victoriously through the truth of God, bestows a gift or gifts on every believer for service and ministry,  gives the believer the desire and power to witness for Jesus and places in the heart of the believer an expectancy for the return and coming of Jesus Christ.

The believer in Jesus is baptized (immersed and placed into) the body of church, the church at the instant of getting saved (regeneration/conversion). There is one baptism of the Holy Spirit but many fillings of the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit takes place when a believer totally surrenders their intellect, emotions and will to the Holy Spirit for him to rule and to reign in one’s life.

The number one thing the Holy Spirit does in the life of the child of God is to make Jesus real to the child of God. Jesus Christ is number one. There is no number two.

Any other person, place or thing that is looked up or placed over Jesus Christ is in error and is wrong on the eyes of God. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is God who came to this earth to die on the old rugged cross, to rise again, to ascend into heaven, to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers and to one day come again.  Jesus is the creator, sustainer and redeemer.

The Holy Spirit always says, follow Jesus, isn’t Jesus wonderful, Jesus is the way the truth and the life, Jesus is Lord over all, live for Jesus and Jesus is coming again!  The Holy Spirit magnifies Jesus in the life of the child of God.  The Holy Spirit will not talk about himself.  He only talks about Jesus!

That is how you know if it is the Holy Spirit talking. For the Holy Spirit always talks about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

 

 

 

Thursday, 5/21/2015      I John 3: 22-24

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

 

Answered prayer is contingent upon doing things that are pleasing in the sight of God. The commands of God are really simple to the Christian. There is no list of do’s and don’ts for the Christian but a personal relationship with Jesus so what we do does proceeds out of on whom we believe.

The Christian believes on Jesus.

Believe means faith. To believe on Jesus, then, means to rely on Jesus, to trust in Jesus and to surrender to Jesus.

Have you believed on Jesus? Believing on Jesus implies more than just an intellectual or head knowledge. You may believe that Bill Gates exists but are you trusting Bill Gates to do anything for you right now?  You may believe that George Washington existed but are you trusting in George Washington right now?  To believe on Jesus means to trust in him and follow him as your Savior and Lord.  It means to have a heartfelt talk with Jesus and commit your life to him.

When you believe on Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives you a spiritual rebirth. You are made into a new creation by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enters your life and envelopes and fills all that you are. The Holy Spirit manifests the love of Jesus in you.

Therefore, when you really believe on Jesus with saving faith, your life and perspective changes. You see things, circumstances and people differently. The Bible becomes a new life giving book to the believer in Jesus.  The Bible now becomes spiritual food to nourish the Christian.  The Holy Spirit is spiritual liquid refreshment to the believer on Jesus. The Holy Spirit manifests the presence and teaching of Jesus to you when you are a believer on Jesus. Therefore, it is impossible to believe on Jesus and not to experience a change in your inner most being.

When I got saved, I quit being mad at people, quit being resentful and quit holding grudges. I loved my neighbor and wanted to love my neighbor in Jesus name and to tell my neighbor about Jesus! I still do!

Yesterday, God led me to give out some gospel literature to some people. I gave a tract to a convenience store attendant. I always ask permission to give someone a tract before I actually give them the tract. He readily received the gospel message and told me he gets them all the time. Then while I was getting my wife’s van emission’s inspection, I carried on a conversation with the young person doing it. He told he was a basketball fan and a student at the local University. I asked him if he believed in God or spiritual things. He told me his parents never took him to church but he did have a believe in God. I shared with him that Jesus is my Savior and asked permission to give him a tract. He readily took that written presentation of the gospel. What a joy it is to share with people that God loves them so much he sent his Son Jesus to die for their sins and to raise again!

Believing on Jesus results in the Holy Spirit entering your life and the love of Jesus spread all over you and in you. And that is a good thing and actually the best thing!

 

 

Wednesday, 5/20/2015       I John 3: 21

"Beloved, if our condemn us not, then we confidence toward God."

 

I had a lack of confidence problem as a child and a young person. I stuttered, I was slow and I was not very agile in athletics. So to counter that, I withdrew and played a 'James Dean' kind of tough guy. I would sit in the back of the class and try to act real cool. I joined the smoking club in High School. That’s right, the school had a smoking club where students with their parent’s permission could smoke before, during lunch and after school. I smoked Winton’s because that is what my Dad smoked and I would borrow a pack of his quite often. I got a job and bought a nice convertible car and chased after the girls. Then I morphed into drinking to get drunk and rampant immorality. All to be cool and to fake confidence. Boy, was I messed up and going down the wrong path!

I received Christ as my savior at the ripe old age of 21 while a soldier in Germany a few weeks before my discharge and return to the States. After a six month time of backsliding, God revived my heart and led me to my wife who was 18. I began reading the Bible everyday for hours at a time and started visiting churches to find out what God wanted me to do and where God wanted me to go.

I quit the smoking and the drinking and took a job as a pizza parlor manager where I had to speak with the public. My stuttering problem still bothered me a lot but when I could, I would substitute a different word or phrase for the one that would give me a problem. I still lacked confidence, though.

God led my wife and I to a spirit filled and Jesus filled church that was reaching many young people for Christ. I began to really grow in my faith.

I found out through Bible study, prayer and good preaching that Jesus loved me and had a plan for my life. I discovered that the Holy Spirit would guide me, teach me the Bible and give me joy, peace, love and inner strength.

I learned and experienced that: ‘In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and His children have a place of refuge.’ (Proverbs 14:26).

I truly found love and acceptance in the arms of my blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Through Jesus, I could do all things (even speak to the public). My athletic ability never changed but I became a huge sports fan and today I am an avid league bowler with an average around 160.

I just want to praise the Lord today. God is so good to me. I can hold my head up high because I am a child of the King of kings! I have the confidence and the strength of the Lord in my life. Jesus has given me hope, joy and faith!

I wish for you today the confidence that comes from knowing and walking with Jesus! What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms! I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene! Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,  just to take Him at his word!

What a Savior! What an abundant life! What a confidence, peace and power! I feel like shouting! Shout with me: Thank you Jesus!!!

 

 

Tuesday, 5/19/2015     I John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

A Christian is to be known by the love of Jesus.

Too often, non believers in Jesus see believers in Jesus as people who believe certain things and do certain things. While it is important what we believe and what we do, the most important trait of a believer in Jesus is love.

In fact, without love, God says we are murderers.

Cain was without love. Cain had jealousy. Cain killed Abel, his brother. Our words and actions mean nothing if love is not the motive behind them.

Jesus died for our sins because he loves us.  He shed his precious blood on Calvary's cross because he loves us. We did not deserve what Jesus did for us. Jesus bought our pardon and our forgiveness because he loves us.  Because Jesus loves us, Jesus died and rose again. Because of the love of Jesus, we live and love.

Therefore, love is to be the main motive for our life.  Yes, doctrinal beliefs are important. Yes, stands for righteousness are important. But if love is dormant, cold, and lifeless, then they mean nothing.

Who is God calling you and I to love today? What acts of love will we show today? Jesus in us will love others. Let's do this.

 

Monday, 5/18/2015       I John 3: 4-9

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 

The only one without sin is Jesus.

Every other person in this world has a sin nature and has sinned (for all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God--Romans 3:23).

Sin is breaking the law of God. In the teaching of Jesus and his Apostles in the New Testament, we find what God still prohibits that was originally written in the Old Testament. Nine of the 10 commandments were reaffirmed in the Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. The only commandment from the original 10 commandments from Exodus 20 that was not reaffirmed in the Sermon on the Mount is the one tied to keeping the Sabbath Day (from Friday at 6 pm to Saturday at 6 pm) (The New Testament Christian is, however,  to assemble with other Christians for public worship, the preaching and teaching of the Bible, to give financial offerings, and to mutally serve each other through spiritual gifts--this is just not necessairly tied to Old Testament Jewish requirements as in tied to a certain day and so forth).

The dietary laws were also superceded in the New Testament. While the Old Testament Jew was not allowed to eat catfish or pork, the New Testament Christian may eat anything (in moderation, of course, with no adverse effects to one's health and physical well being)  that is set apart by the word of God and prayer.

Some attitudes and actions that are called sin in the New Testament (which the breaking of are sins for the New Testament Christian) are: hate, greed, lying, murder, racial prejudice, unbelief, not participating in public worship and teaching with other believers if able, drunkenness, homosexuality, pre marital sex, adultery, child abuse, stealing, prayerlessness, failure to do good when the opportunity arises, neglecting the Bible and others.

Jesus came to take away sin. There is no sin in Jesus. Therefore, the one who claims to believe in, to follow and to know Jesus lives a life dedicated to holiness (not sinning or being ruled by sin).

To walk with Jesus results in doing righteousness (not sinning).

All sin is attributed to the devil. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Therfore, a born again Christian cannot be devoted to sin. That does not mean that a born again Christian can never sin. We know this from Scriptures such as I John 1:7: "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ (If and when a Christian sins, that Christian is to confess sin, receive cleansing and forgiveness from the Lord, and be restored to fellowship, holiness and usefulness by the Lord.)

But a sign that a person is a child of God is that a child of God cannot continually love and live a life of sin and disobedience. The reason this is so is because Jesus Christ is in the born again child of God and Jesus will not allow a Christian to continually sin.

Some Remedies of Jesus to ensure that a Christian will not and cannot live a life of continual sin are chastisement (discipline), sanctification (Christ working in the believer through and by the power of the Holy Spirit to create holiness) and even taking a believer home to heaven prematurely in death.

Jesus was manifested to take away sin and Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus is taking away sin in the life of the born again believer and Jesus is destroying the works of the devil in the life of the born again believer.

This is my experience and my joy. I hope it is yours as well! God bless you and have a great day in Jesus!

 

 

Sunday, 5/17/2015       I John 3:1

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

Jesus is coming again. Jesus lives in the heart, soul and life of the born again believer in Jesus. Jesus in the believer tells the believer Jesus is coming again. The believer is part of the bride of Christ, the church. The bride of Christ is readying herself for the marriage supper of the bride groom, Jesus.

I performed many weddings as a pastor. I never met or saw a bride that did not ready herself for her husband. That is what followers of Jesus do. The follower of Jesus is getting ready to meet Jesus face to face.

How does a follower of Christ get ready to meet Jesus face to face?  Purification. Righteous, holy sanctified living, that’s how.  The follower of Jesus receives the engrafted word of God into his or her life in order to purify oneself.  No sinful stuff. No lust. No wickedness. No unrighteousness.

Of course, we stumble. Our feet get dirty in this world. We get weak. We stray. But we keep a close accounting. We grow in grace. We learn more of his Holy Word and ways. We spend time talking to and listening to our Lord.  We serve Jesus. We make Jesus known to others in word and in deed. We are getting ready to meet Jesus face to face.

We feed on the word of God, the Holy Bible. We pray. We associate and serve with other Christians. We tell others about Jesus. We are getting ready for our Lord.

I fall short. But I want to take care of business for the Lord.  

I am purifying myself. I am yeilding my life and my all to Jesus!  I so want the Holy Spirit to work the righteous and purifying grace of God in me.  By God's grace, I am getting ready to meet Jesus face to face!

I cry out to Jesus for holiness and cleansing. My heart's cry is to be right, to be clean, to be strong and so to be ready. Time is short. It is time to make ready for the soon return of Jesus. Perhaps he shall come today. I want to be ready!

 

 

Saturday, 5/16/2015       I John 3: 2-3

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

 

A born again believer in Jesus has a resounding and resonating hope of eternity in his heart. He knows from Scripture that one day he is going to see Jesus.

This is called the blessed hope. Associated with this hope is recognition, resurrection, reward, rest, rejoicing and reunion.

 

Recognition. The believer knows in his or her heart of hearts that this present world is not all there is. The child of God knows that one day either he or she will meet Jesus in the air at the rapture of the church or in death which the New Testament calls sleep.

 

Resurrection. One day every believer in Jesus will receive a new body from the Lord. This new body will not age, feel pain, get tired, ache or get sick. Now we are aging, perishing, and decreasing in stamina and physical life. Our new body will be limitless and imperishable. We will be like Jesus. What a day and time that will be. There will be no aging, no more pain, no more tears and no more sickness. What a day and what an eternity that will be!

 

Reward. There is an accounting day at the judgment seat of Christ for every believer. Our sins have already been judged at the cross but our actions and service for the Lord after the initial born again salvation experience will be evaluated in that day. We will receive rewards according to our service for the Lord.

 

Rest. Even though I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior now, I still fight and have some fear, anxiety, nervousness, tiredness, weariness and frustration. All that will be gone when I go to be with Jesus in heaven! Total and sublime inner rest and peace will be mine forever and ever in that day in heaven!

 

Rejoicing. I fight against things like temptation, lust, and sin now. I think things I should not think. I want things I should not want. I say things I should not say. I feel things I should not feel. I don’t do things I should and I do things I should not. I break the commandments of God.  Even though I am a born again child of God, I still fight against the world, the flesh and devil and sometimes I fail and sin. I hate that. It is alien and adverse to my new nature given to me by the Holy Spirit through my regeneration and salvation. One day, though, all sin and all evil will eradicated and done away with. All unrepentant and unsaved sinners, all demons and the devil, himself will be judged and cast into the lake of fire which burns forever and ever. That means I will have no more sin. That is a cause for personal rejoicing because the believer in Jesus will not struggle against sin anymore or give into sin anymore. Total Joy will be ours in that day and for all eternity.

It is sad that some people today do not have this hope of being changed and being with Jesus in heaven for ever and ever. While you are physically alive if you can but recognize the fact that you need a savior from the ravages of your sin and self, you can repent and trust Jesus who died for your sins, rose from the grave and one day is coming again. This is the blessed hope. It beats in my breast, heart and life. Does it beat in your breast, heart and life? Are you looking forward and readying yourself for the soon return of Jesus? I am and I sincerely hope you are as well.

 

Reunion. Yes, I shall see my departed relatives and friends who know Jesus. I will see my Mother and my Father who were both born again Christians, who participated and fellowshipped with the bride of Christ, the church. They both knew and know Jesus. They are with Jesus now awaiting the resurrection of their mortal bodies. I will see Jesus, the most important and the most worthy one in my life! I will see Jesus in all his glorious power, love and majesty!

I hope I will see you, my reader, too. I will if you have turned from your sin in repentance and you have trusted by faith in Jesus to save you. What a glorious day that will be!

 

 

Friday, 5/15/2015    I John 3:1

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

 

 

Those called the  world are not among the sons of God. The sons of God are not among the world. Those who have had the Father’s love bestowed upon them are the sons of God and are not of the world. Those who have not had the Father’s love bestowed upon them are not the sons of God and are of the world.

Are you a son (or daughter) of God? Are you? I hope so or I think so is not good enough.

I was raised in family by my mother and father. I know who my parents are. I know who my brothers are. I know that by experience and by circumstance.

Those who have been born into God’s forever family by admitting they are a sinner unable to obtain their own forgiveness and right standing with God and then placing all their hope, trust and faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ know they are part of the family of God!

Are you part of the family of God? Have you repented of your sin? Have you placed all (100% with nothing held back) of your hopes, dreams, aspirations, yesterday’s, today’s, tomorrow’s goals and hopes upon God by faith in Jesus alone? Have you followed Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Has the Holy Spirit entered your life and made you a new creation? Is your life all about Jesus?

If so, you are a child of God and you are not part of the world. If not, you are not a child of God and you are a part of the world.

Make sure. Nothing is more important than making sure that you are part of the children of God thus having left the world, the flesh and devil.

The world knows they are distinctly different than the sons and daughters of God! The world is not in the family of God. There is coming a day when the righteous will be one one side and the wicked on the other side. There will be a gathering and a separation of the sheep and the goats, the believers and the unbelievers, the children of God and the children of the devil, and the saved and unsaved.

I am not ashamed of Jesus!  He is my Savior. He is my deliverer. He is my redeemer. He is my King. He is my Lord

What about you? What about you? Make sure. Be very sure. Follow Jesus and be numbered in the family of God. Get with Jesus and His family. It will be be the best thing you ever do and the most important thing you ever do!

 

 

Thursday, 5/14/2015         Matthew 16:18

Upon this rock I Will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

(Borrowed from Russell Moore)

 

Christianity is dying. At least, that’s what major newspapers are telling us today, culling research from a new Pew Center study on what almost all sociologists are observing these days—the number of Americans who identify as Christians has reached an all-time low, and is falling. I think this is perhaps bad news for America, but it is good news for the church.

The lead editor of the report tells The New York Times that secularization—mainly in terms of those who identify as "nones" or with no specific religious affiliation—isn’t isolated to the progressive Northeast and Pacific Northwest. He notes, "The change is taking place all over, including the Bible Belt."

This is precisely what several of us have been saying for years. Bible Belt near-Christianity is teetering. I say let it fall. For much of the twentieth century, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, one had to at least claim to be a Christian to be "normal." During the Cold War, that meant distinguishing oneself from atheistic Communism. At other times, it has meant seeing churchgoing as a way to be seen as a good parent, a good neighbor, and a regular person. It took courage to be an atheist, because explicit unbelief meant social marginalization. Rising rates of secularization, along with individualism, means that those days are over—and good riddance to them.

Again, this means some bad things for the American social compact. In the Bible Belt of, say, the 1940s, there were people who didn’t, for example, divorce, even though they wanted out of their marriages. In many of these cases, the motive wasn’t obedience to Jesus’ command on marriage but instead because they knew that a divorce would marginalize them from their communities. In that sense, their "traditional family values" were motivated by the same thing that motivated the religious leaders who rejected Jesus—fear of being "put out of the synagogue." Now, to be sure, that kept some children in intact families. But that’s hardly revival.

Secularization in America means that we have fewer incognito atheists. Those who don’t believe can say so—and still find spouses, get jobs, volunteer with the PTA, and even run for office. This is good news because the kind of "Christianity" that is a means to an end—even if that end is "traditional family values"—is what J. Gresham Machen rightly called "liberalism," and it is an entirely different religion from the apostolic faith handed down by Jesus Christ.

Now, what some will say is that the decline in self-identified Christians is a sign that the church should jettison its more unpopular teachings. And in our day, these teachings are almost always those dealing with pelvic autonomy. First of all, even if this were the key to success, we couldn’t—and wouldn’t—do it. Christianity isn’t a political party, dependent on crafting ideologies to suit the masses. We received this gospel (Gal. 1:11-12); we didn’t invent it. But, that said, such is not the means to "success"—even the way the sociologists define it.

The Pew report holds that mainline denominations—those who have made their peace with the Sexual Revolution—continue to report heavy losses, while evangelical churches remain remarkably steady—even against some heavy headwinds coming from the other direction. Why?

We learned this answer 100 years ago, and it reminds us of what we learned 2,000 years ago. Two or three generations ago, Christians who held to the Virgin birth of Christ were warned that their children would flee the faith unless the parents redefined Christianity. "If you want to win the next generation," they were told, "you have to make Christianity relevant, and that means dispending with miracles in favor of modern science." The churches that followed that path aren’t just dying; they are dead, sustained by endowments and dwindling gatherings of nostalgic senior adults with a smattering of community organizers here and there.

People who don’t want Christianity, don’t want almost-Christianity. Almost-Christianity looks in the mainline like something from Nelson Rockefeller to Che Guevara at prayer. Almost Christianity, in the Bible Belt, looks like a God-and-Country civil religion that prizes cultural conservatism more than theological fidelity. Either way, a Christianity that reflects its culture, whether that culture is Smith College or NASCAR, only lasts as long as it is useful to its host. That’s because it’s, at root, idolatry, and people turn from their idols when they stop sending rain.

Christianity isn’t normal anymore, and that’s good news. The Book of Acts, like the Gospels before it, shows us that the Christianity thrives when it is, as Kierkegaard put it, a sign of contradiction. Only a strange gospel can differentiate itself from the worlds we construct. But the strange, freakish, foolish old gospel is what God uses to save people and to resurrect churches (1 Cor. 1:20-22).

We do not have more atheists in America. We have more honest atheists in America. Again, that’s good news. The gospel comes to sinners, not to the righteous. It is easier to speak a gospel to the lost than it is to speak a gospel to the kind-of-saved. And what those honest atheists grapple with, is what every sinner grapples with, burdened consciences that point to judgment. Our calling is to bear witness.

We don’t have Mayberry anymore, if we ever did. Good. Mayberry leads to hell just as surely as Gomorrah does. But Christianity didn’t come from Mayberry in the first place, but from a Roman Empire hostile to the core to the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah. We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down.

The future of Christianity is bright. I don’t know that from surveys and polls, but from a word Someone spoke one day back at Caesarea Philippi. The gates of hell haven’t gotten any stronger, and the Light that drives out the darkness is enough to counter every rival gospel, even those gospels that describe themselves as "none."

 

Wednesday, 5/13/2015      John 6:66

 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

 

A recent poll reveals that those who identify as a Christian has decreased in America by about 7 % or so. It also reveals that Churches who identify themselves as evangelical have only decreased less than 1%. So why are these things so?

Used to, society as a whole called certain things sin. Today, many don’t even acknowledge the word sin. So many people who were Christian in name only (they did not have a personal relationship with Jesus) no longer see the need to associate with a church or to even to call themself a Christian.

Used to, society took at face value that God created the heavens and the earth. When I was in college in the 1970’s I was taught evolution and the big bang creation (there is no creator just a cosmic bang that started life).  And when I was in college, I was taught socialism was good and capitalism was bad.  I was also taught that the philosophies and teachings of Plato, Socrates, Voltaire, Bentham, Islam and Buddhism were equal and as good as Jesus and the Bible.

The 1960’s were all about doing drugs and having free sexual expression. Situational Ethics burst on the scene. The mantra was if it feels good, do it. On and on it went and now on and on it goes. The motto and lifestyle of many was sex, drugs and rock and roll!

I was brought up to believe that first you got married and second you had sexual 

intercourse. A couple years ago, I worked for a major retailer in the produce department for a while. I can’t tell you how many of the young people co habitated(shacked up) with their partners without the benefit of marriage.

So here is why I think the numbers of those who affiliate with a church went down.  Society just no longer believes what the Bible teaches. That is ok as far as the media is concerned, as far as Hollywood is concerned, as far as schools and colleges are concerned and as far as political leaders are concerned! Our country has lost the Bible and Jesus as our moral compass and so many see no need to pubically called themself a Christian or to attend church.

One thing I know, however. When a person truly turns from their sinful ways (repents) and trusts Jesus by faith as their Lord and Savior, then the Holy Spirit washes, cleanses, baptizes, indwells, empowers and stays with that person throughout their life on this earth. The Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit in their heart and life He convicts them of their sin, draws them to Jesus’ side and ways, teaches them the Bible and so works in their life to honor and serve Jesus!

I also know that I, as a Christian, have been called by Jesus to be his witness and ambassador to those who have not yet truly repented of their sin and have yet to really follow Jesus in faith and obedience. 

I am called to pray for, serve in Jesus’ love and name and to tell others the good news that Jesus died for them, rose again and is coming again. I am to declare the gospel to every person in word and deed and to assist them in becoming devoted disciples and followers of Jesus!  With God's power and leading, I do this prayerfully through preacherlarry.com and through telling others about who Jesus is and what Jesus did for them on the cross.

By God’s grace and with his power and help, I want to know Jesus and to make Jesus known to others. That is what Preacher Larry is all about!

 

 

Tuesday, 5/12/2015            I John 2:29

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

 

A born again person is a changed person.

Before a person is born again through Jesus Christ, that person’s life is marked by selfishness and self centeredness. It’s all about them.

After a person is born again through Jesus Christ, that person’s life is marked by service and righteousness. It’s all about Jesus.

Are you born again? If so, your life is all about loving Jesus, serving Jesus, following Jesus and living for Jesus. If your life is not about those things, you need a spiritual check up!

I in and of myself am not perfect. But what is different about me now after being born again, is what I am conscious of all the time. I am conscious of the Holy Spirit of God who resides in my inner most being and core. The Holy Spirit enables me to know, love, honor and live for Jesus. The Holy Spirit prompts me to pray, to read and study the Bible, God’s Holy Word, to spend time in public worship and instruction with other Christians and to just live righteously each and every minute of every day through the power and grace of Jesus.

That is what being born again is all about!

Jesus is righteous. Jesus is 'in' me through me being born again. So I am righteous through Jesus living in me.  I am all about living a life of truth, grace, mercy, service, love and all about the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

To be born again, you must repent (make a conscious decision to totally turn from selfishness and not believing or following Jesus) and place your faith (trust, reliance, surrender, acceptance, following) in and only on Jesus Christ who died to pay your sin debt and rose again on the third day.

Then after you are really born again, the righteousness of Jesus will be applied to your inner most being and core. You will be cleansed and washed by his blood from your sin and you will have new motivations and a new operating influence in your life.

After you are born again, the Holy Spirit will enter your life to teach you, to tell you about, to lead you and to fill you with supernatural power to operate in the righteousness of Jesus Christ which results in truth, love, mercy and grace.

 

 

Monday, 5/11/2015       Matthew 4:4

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

 

The Bible presents itself as spiritual food for God's people. The Bible is defined in the pages of Scripture as bread, milk, meat and honey .

Why is it that some people have an appetite for the Bible?  They wish to study the Bible, hear the Bible preached and taught, learn the Bible and even memorize and meditate upon the Bible while other people rarely even pick up a Bible?

It is because first of all some people are born again of the Spirit of God and are going to heaven after this earthly life is over while others are not born again of the Spirit of God and are not going to heaven after this life is over.

After a person gets saved, their appetite for spiritual food in the Bible increases. But if a born again Christian does not grow spiritually and then reverts back to the old way of living, their appetite for the spiritual food can decrease and even dissipate.

Do you and I have a healthy appetite for God's spiritual food that is only found in the pages of the word of God, the Holy Bible? If so, that is great. If not, either we have not been born again or we are spiritually sick and weak.

Let's dine on some good spiritual food from the word of God, the Holy Bible everyday of our life and also have a banquet meal at chuch at least weekly where annointed preachers and teachers will serve us a sumptious and nutritious meal from the Bible! Then we will grow spiritually and have a healthy spiritual life!

 

 

Sunday, 5/10/2015      Psalm 138:3

In the day when I cried, thou answerest me and strengthenedst with strength in my soul.

 

Parents purchase intercom systems in order that from their master bedroom, they can hear the faint or loud cry of their baby so that they might check on that child and meet that child's needs.

The same is so with our Lord.

God hears our cry and also checks on us and meets our needs.

Are you sick today? Cry unto the Lord. Are you burdened today? Cry unto the Lord. God comes through for his children. It is not always the way we might expect him to come through, but God comes through, nonetheless.

One time, I got real sick and was in the hospital. A line was sewed into me to feed me and another line was inserted in my lungs so that I might breath. Several months later, I needed $2200.00 dollars for bills. I got down on my knees and literally cried out unto the Lord for that $2200.00. That day, God gave me $2205.00. I asked God why he gave me $2205.00 rather than the $2200.00 that I had cried unto him for. I heard him tell to go enjoy a cheeseburger and some fries. God is Good!

God is not a vending machine, though. Once, I cried out to the Lord for a certain ministery opening in Bartlett, Tennessee. I remember sitting in a movie with some friends. Instead of watching the movie, I was deep in prayer. I cried out to the Lord for him to send me to Bartlett. He did but not in the way I wanted. I did not get that ministry opening but I did end up living in Bartlett, Tennessee all the way from southwest Arkansas.

Cry out unto the Lord. He will check on you. God will give you what you need. It may not always be what you want but it will always be what you need. And he will strengthen your soul.

God is good. God is good all the time!

 

 

Saturday, 5/9/2015     Luke 13:3

Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

 

Repentance is a necessary action if ones wishes to possess eternal life. Yet most people do not like the word repent.

Many people believe that the one who calls them to repent is a cranky old wacked out religious nut. Why is that so?

That is so because many people love their sin and their darkness. They are runnning from and think they are hiding from God. They are like Adam when he hid himself from God after he sinned.

Two things must precede repentance in order for repentance to become a reality. People must be convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit and people must be drawn to Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

Why is it that some are convicted, drawn and then repent but others are not convcited, not drawn or do not repent? One thing we know, whosoever will may come and everyone has a choice to either repent or not repent.

I for sure do not have all the answers but God does!  I do know that years ago when I was a soldier in Germany, a fellow in the barracks who had a change in his life impacted me for Jesus. This fellow was once egotistical, proud and all about himself had now become humble, gentle and serving. I saw him read his Bible at night in his bunk with a flashlight after lights out.

God used this man to convict me that I lacked the Holy Spirit and eternal life. God used this man's life, witness and testimony to inspect my own spiritual life,  to find I was devoid of a real desire to serve and know God and the light, grace, truth and life of Jesus in him was used by God to convict me, draw me to Jesus and repentance and to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

When we that know the Lord live for Jesus and show his love, grace and truth to those who have yet to repent, God uses the life of Jesus in us to shine a light upon the darkness and sin of the lost and the wayward and we are utilized of God to convict and draw others to Jesus so that they might repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. What a blessing is it to be used of God in this way!

 

 

Friday, 5/8/2015       I John 2:29

If you know that is he righteous, you know that everyone who does righteousness if born of Him.

 

Jesus is 100% righteous. That means there is no sin, no evil, no darkness in Jesus. Every thought, motive and action of Jesus is 100% righteous.

When a person repents of his or her sin and trusts Jesus as their sin bearer, Savior and Lord, that person is imputed the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

When the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to a person by faith, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of that person's life. New life is imparted to that person through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The new born again child of God has the Lord Jesus living in him or her through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

I have zosia grass in my back yard. I am told that zosia overtakes other grasses and weeds. Even though this is true, I still deal with the other grasses and weeds in my yard to make it even easier for the zosia grass to overtake it. I deal with the other weeds and grasses in my yard by spraying on a product called weed killer and also by actually pulling up the weeds by hand and then discarding the weeds.

Jesus is in the new Christian. Jesus has begun a work of righteousness in the new Christian and will perform and actualize this righteousness in the new Christian. The new Christian, however, is to work with Jesus in this process.

Confession of sin, prayer, Bible reading, public worship, fellowship and participation in the body of Christ, the Lord's Supper and sitting under good Bible preaching and teaching are some of the means of internalizing and then manifesting the righteous character of Jesus in and through the Christian life.

These means stimulate and actualize faith by which the Holy Spirit enables and empowers the Christian to live a righteous life. The inward character, attitudes, thoughts and motives of the Christian, when affected and internalized by the righteousness of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, manifests itself in a life of truth, love, light, understanding, wisdom, gentleness, faith, patience, long suffering, meekness, joy, praise, balance, and the real life and righteousness of Jesus!

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 5/7/2015      I John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have

confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

 

Jesus is coming again. A song I sang in the 1970's said it might be morning, night or noon. We don't know when Jesus is coming but we know Scripture says Jesus is coming!

I have the blessed hope of his glorious appearing deep down in my soul.

Sometimes, we don't live up that knowledge of the return of Jesus. Sometimes I am wayward and give into certain temptations of sin. That grieves me.

I want to be ready for the return of Jesus. I want to have my lamp trimmed and my oil burning when Jesus returns.

Every Christian, likewise, wants to be ready for the return of Jesus.

Let us press on, pray on, believe on, hope go and keep on.

Jesus is coming!

 

 

Wednesday, 5/6/2015      I John 2: 24-27

Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning abide in you, you shall continue in the Son and in the Father.

And this is the promise he has promised us, even eternal life.

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you and you have no need that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth,and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.

 

This text speaks of the ministry of the Holy Sprit. The Holy Spirit enters the new born again Christian at conversion and remains in the Christian unto the point of the resurrection and the entrance into heaven.

The Christian is tp cooperate with the Holy Spirit who anoints the Christian and teaches the Christian.

There are false spirits in this world who are demons and false human teachers in this world who are led and prompted by demons. These false spirits and false human teachers work overtime to seduce and mess up the mind and life of Christians. They do not sleep unless and until they knock Christians off balance and into a tail spin.

The Christian is warned of these false spirits and false human teachers and are told that ultimately, spiritual truth comes only from the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the Holy Spirit uses human preachers, pastors, evangelists and teachers as a tool to impart the truth of God to Christians. But Christians are to be like the Bereans who checked Paul out and searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

We Holy Spirit remains and abides in the Christian while the Christian is on this earth. Just as breath and blood remains in a persons physical life on this earth, the Holy Spirit remains in the Christian’s spiritual life on this earth. Jesus said he will never leave or forsake a Christian. (Hebrews 13:5) The Christian is sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30)

So I choose, as a Christian, to cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is in me. I choose to immerse myself in the word of God, the Bible, and in private personal prayer. I choose to assemble and to associate with other Christians on a periodic basis (weekly, if possible). I choose to support my local church with my tithes and offerings and other para church ministries that preach the word and lovingly serve others in the name of Jesus and for His glory. That is ‘letting that’ anointing, teaching and abiding of the Holy Spirit to fully operate and minister in my life and heart. God is good! His presence continues in me until the day of redemption. I praise Him!

 

 

Tuesday,  5/5/2015      Acts 20: 29-30

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

 

Today there are many false teachers and teachings floating around representing themselves as solid spiritual truth.

In our text, the Apostle Paul is speaking with the leaders of the church in Ephesus to give them instructions what to do in Paul’s absence. You see, Paul had a special place in his heart for the church in Ephesus. Paul spent a longer time with them than with anyone.

Paul had spent three weeks with the church at Thessalonica, eighteen months with the church at Corinth and three years with the church at Ephesus. So Paul had special bonds with the Christians in the church of Ephesus. Paul had founded that church and led many of them to their initial born again faith in Jesus.

So now it was time to for Paul to go and Paul is concerned that false teachers will come into them and arise out of them to speak perverse things in order to draw disciples after them.

We see this today, as well. There are many false teachings floating around. I don’t have space in this devotion to mention all of them or to define them. But, as I see it, from my perspective, here are some I will warn you about.

The personality cult. Beware of groups or ministries that want to be like Hollywood mega stars or professional sports figures. Jesus said the main mark of his servants is that they serve. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and fixed them a fish dinner after the resurrection. Any leader that separates themselves from the people such as a champion prize fighter with an entourage is suspect in my book.

The works cult. Beware of groups that teach you have to earn your salvation by works or do works after you get born again to keep your salvation. That is false teaching.

The prosperity cult. Beware of groups or leaders that teach if you follow Jesus you will be rich and healthy all the time. Read the New Testament and you will learn Paul had a thorn in his flesh defined as an affliction (and the word affliction is properly defined as illness or sickness). Many scholars believe Paul had an eye disease which he alludes to when he talks about grossing people out and having to dictate his epistles to someone who actually did the writing.

The jesus cult (Notice I did not capitalize Jesus). Yes, there are groups who do not teach that Jesus is God. God came to earth in the form of man named Jesus. Beware of groups who teach Jesus is a created being, for Jesus created all things and he holds all things together (Colossians 1: 15-16)

The adding to the Bible cult. There are groups today who add to the sixty six books that we have in our Bible (39 Old Testament books; 27 New Testament books). Some groups send people to knock on your door to tell you there was a prophet in last 200 years who wrote additional books in the Bible. No. No. No. Beware.

The many ways to heaven cult. There are so called super star television personalities who teach that Jesus is not the only way to God. They teach you meditate your way to God, yoga your way to God, nirvana your way to God, not eat meat your way to God, burn incense your way to God, climb a mountain and talk to a holy man your way to God, chant your way to God, walk on hot coals your way to God, improve your mind your way to God and so on and so on.

Listen, only Jesus was God come to earth. Only Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. Only Jesus bore our sins on the cross so we can be saved. Only Jesus raised from the dead. Only Jesus is coming again to straighten this mess out. Beware of the Jesus is not the only way to God cult.

The I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian cult. I call this a cult because this person either does not read the Bible or does not believe the Bible. We read the following words in Hebrews 10:25:

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I invite my readers who are not sure if you died today that you would go to heaven to turn from every false way to and turn to Jesus and trust him to save you. Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father except by me (John 14:6)’

I invite all readers who are Christians to ‘Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II timothy 2:15)’ Every born again Christian needs to be a prayer warrior and be on he battle field fighting for the truth of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit against the evil and dark forces of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

 

Monday, 5/4/2015     I John 2: 18-23

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

 

There are two types of people in this world: those who know Jesus and those who do not know Jesus. These two types of people are called sheep and goats, wheat and tares, saved and lost, children of God and children of the devil.

Sometimes the later group acts like they know Jesus. People make a profession of faith, get baptized, join the church, go to church and then suddenly fall away never to return. That is a mark of of someone who only went through the motions and was not really saved in the first place.

Truly saved  people are known by Jesus, indwelt by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and the life Jesus began in them, Jesus will complete and form them into his image. That is the mark of a true Christian.

Are you a sheep or are you goat? Are you a wheat or are you a tare? Are you saved or are you lost? Are you a child of God or are you a child of the devil?

If you have truly repented of your sin and placed all your hope and faith in Jesus through faith, than you are known by Jesus, with Jesus, Jesus is in you and the work that Jesus has begun in you, Jesus will complete in you until he comes again.

A true Christian may at times think things and do these things that are unChristian. But a true Christian can never totally reject Jesus and fall away. Because a true Christian has acknowledged Jesus and Jesus is in the true Christian and Jesus will never leave or forsake the true Christian.

Jesus is still working on me.

 

 

Sunday, 5/3/2015     I John 2: 15-17

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The one who knows, is saved by and follows Jesus is marked not by the characteristics of worldliness but rather by the characteristics of the will of God and the love of God.

A worldly person is driven by their physical appetites, what they see, and status symbols.

For instance, America is the land of food, food and more food. We have more grocery stores and eating places that you can chase a stick at. Just entering a super market brings over 5000 decisions on what to buy and what to eat. Driving down a main city street can give one 20 different establishments that serve ready to eat food from steak to sushi.

Advertising is driven by what we see. We see a new car. We want a new car. We see new designer clothing, we want new new designer clothing. We  are tempted sexually by models and false promises. What is the result?  We can be driven by the worldly things that we see with our eyes. More children to day are born out of wedlock than are born in is one result. People are in debt up their ears. Families split apart because of being driven by the world, the flesh and the devil.

We are driven toward success, success and more success!  More titles, more money, more savings, bigger houses, expensive vacations, and on and on it goes.

Food, sex, cars, clothing, titles, money, savings, houses, vactions and all the rest are fine when they are in their proper place.

The proper place for all these things in the Christian's life is in the boundary of the will of God and the love of God.

The things of this world will pass away and will not last through out eternity. Doing the will of God to be filled with and operating in  the love of God will last forever through out eternity.

The love of God is marked by concern for others, gentleness, patience, service, helpfulness, cheerfulness, giving, loving words and communication, interest in the needs of others, and looking for ways to meet and then actually and tangibly meeting the needs of others.

Are we marked by the things of this world or are we marked by the will of God and the love of God?  A crucial and most important daily question for all of us!  Only doing the will of God that is marked by the love of God will last forever.

 

 

Saturday, 5/2/2015    I John 2: 12-14

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

 

Three levels of Christian maturity are seen in the child, the young person, and the parent.

When a person is newly saved, that person is now a child of God. A child knows they are loved, accepted and care for. A new child of God knows they are forgiven by Jesus.

As that child grows, two things are needed: food and exercise. The food for the Christian is the Bible. The exercise for the Christian is prayer and faith. Through a knowledge of the Bible, personal prayer and the walk of faith, the young Christian is able to combat evil and to win over the devil!

Later in one's Christian life, one takes on the status of the parent. The parent has an intimate relationship with their spouse. After 43 years of marriage to my dear wife, we now know each other now better than we ever have. It is if we can read each other's minds and feelings. It is that way with the mature Christian. The mature Christian has an intimate knowledge of Jesus. The intimate Christian is content in knowing and following Jesus.

Are you a child of God? Thank God for the forgiveness you have in Jesus!

Are you progressing in your Christian life? Feast on the Bible, pray and walk by faith. Defeat through the power of Jesus evil and the works of the devil!

Are you a mature Christian? Enjoy your intimate relationship with Jesus and continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ! Share your wisdom and understanding of the things of the Lord with the young Christians and the new children of God!

We are all needed in God's forever family, whether we are a child of God, a young Christian or a mature believer! God bless you!

 

Friday, 5/01/2015       I John 2: 7-11

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

 

A Church I was pastor of in Missouri used to sing a song that had the lyrics: 'It's love, it's love that makes the world go round.'  I really did not like that song. I thought it sounded like it should be played in a circus. But the words of that little song have never left my mind in over 30 years.

The life of a true Christian is a life of seeing needs and filling needs through the power of Christ. That is love. The pop song's words: 'What  the world needs now is love, sweet love,' is so true today.

The Bible speaks of three kinds of love: Family and friendship, romanctic, and agape love. Agape was a new word invented by Christians to describe God's kind of love.

God's kind of love is supremely demonstrated in Jesus death for sinners. When Jesus looked, from the cross,  at those who crucified him and prayed 'Father forgive them for they know what they do,' that was a result of supreme love. Christ gave everything to sinners who do not deserve anything. That is God's kind of love.

Let us live the real Christian life. That is a life of walking in the light, of seeing gaps and needs that need to be filled and then because of the fact that we know Jesus's love, of meeting someone's else's need in the power of Christ.

When we live like that, we will have true peace, true joy, true confidence and true love.

 

 

Thursday, 4/30/2015         I John 2: 3-6

3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

 

A changed life is the result of knowing Jesus. Jesus is the eternal Son of the living God who created and sustains this earth and then in the incarnation left heaven and became a human being. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin, to provided forgiveness and cleansing from sin and to overcome the power of sin and rose again the third day in resurrection power! Jesus ascended into heaven and one day will return in glory to resurrect all those he has redeemed and rule in power on this present earth. Jesus has all power in heaven and in earth.

So let me ask you a question. If a person invites this Jesus into their life as their very own personal Savior and Lord, do you think that person’s inward life of Jesus will impact and change their outward day to day life? Yes, yes, yes, resounding yes!!!

Some have a false profession of faith. That is, they say one thing but entirely live another. A man who steals after he gets saves does not want to steal anymore and now has the desire and the power not to steal! A man who cusses like a sailor after he gets saved does not want to cuss like a sailor anymore and now has the desire and the power not to cuss like a sailor! A man who harbors racial prejudice and resentment does not want to harbor racial prejudice and resentment anymore after he gets saved and now has the desire and the power not to harbor racial prejudice and resentment anymore! That is the way it is in a person’s life after they accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord!

Now, the old sin nature remains in a Christian after they get saved. That is why the love of God must be perfected in him. So from time time, a new Christian will have a bad thought or do a bad thing. What happens then? The new Christian is convicted they have sinned and feels remorse and sorrow that they have offended Jesus, their blessed Savior. That is what happens. That new Christian is driven to his or her knees by the Holy Spirit to confess their sinful thought and action to Jesus. Confession means that new Christian goes directly to the throne of grace and has a talk with Jesus about it. They ask for forgiveness, cleansing and the power to not sin again. Then they feast on the word of God, the Bible and pray that the Holy Spirit will control their life with Jesus’ power, presence and love! That is the way it is a with a new Christian and an old Christian as well for that manner.

Our walk is to match our talk and our talk is to match our walk. To profess and to say we are a Christian means we have decided to follow Jesus. We now want to walk as Jesus walked. Jesus walked truthfully, lovingly and always cognizant of doing his Father’s will and glorifying his Father who is in heaven.

That is how I want to walk too!  I can walk with Jesus because he has sent his Holy Spirit, the comforter, the counselor, the teacher and the power giver to dwell in my inner most being. And out of my mouth now flows rivers of living water.

Wow! Jesus lives in me. Wow! The Bible is the life changing, life enhancing, live sustaining bread, meat and milk of life to me now! Wow, through prayer I can talk to Jesus and receive the power of his Holy Spirit so I can live and walk by faith! Wow! Wow! Wow! What a Savior! What a Lord!

 

 

Wednesday, 4/29/2015       John 10:10

"I am come that you might have life and that you might have life more abundantly."

 

What is life all about? Do we live 70 or 80 years if we are lucky and then die? Is that all that there is? For many, as long as they pack some money, fun, vacations, sports, cars, motorcycles, boats, good food, a nice home and family in there, they think they have made it.

What about after death? Is there life after death?

The Bible talks about eternal life. Life with out end. There are two destinations after this life is over: heaven or hell.

To go to hell, just do nothing about eternal life. That’s all you have to do. There will be levels of punishment in hell but let me tell you, the least punished area is still eternal hell and is a terrible place of torment, fire, darkness and isolation.

Jesus came that we might have life. Eternal life and abundant life. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we receive the gift of eternal life. To accept Jesus means to admit you are a lost sinner unable to do anything about your sin and ask Jesus to save you and change you. Have you done that? I hope so. When you accept Jesus, you will be saved and have eternal life.

Then there is abundant life. The 70 or 80 years or however many you have down here on earth can be abundant when you walk with Jesus by faith. The fruit of the Spirit who works in the Christian heart and soul is love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, self control and all the good vibe stuff. That is the abundant life. You will also be guided by God, protected by God, touched by God and blessed by God.

I am so glad I possess right now eternal life and abundant life through Jesus, my Lord!

 

 

Tuesday, 4/28/2015         I Corinthians 6: 9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."  

 

Today, I am praying for the Supreme Court of the United States of America. The court is deciding whether or not to impose gay marriage as a constitutional right in all the 50 states of America.    

Some things in America are legal even though they are designated wrong in the Bible. Sex before marriage is legal. Sex outside of marriage is legal. Getting intoxicated with alcoholic beverages is legal. No fault divorce is legal. Abortion is legal. All these legal acts are unlawful and all these acts are

sin in the eyes of God.

Some have equated homosexuality as a civil right. They say people are born that that way just like they are born white, black or oriental. They say if a person thinks they are male or female, that trumps physical anatomy. But God says people are born either male or female and that all sex outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage (including homosexual acts) is a sin.

The Bible says God created mankind male and female. The Bible says it was that way from the beginning (Genesis 1:27).  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, sin has messed things up. People steal. People murder. People get drunk. People abort babies. People lie. People have sex outside of male/female marriage. People do homosexual acts. People sin. In Nevada, prostitution is legal under certain conditions and in certain places. Just because something is legal, however, does not make it right in the eyes of God.  

Every person has a sin nature and so has a bent to give in to certain sins and lusts.

The good news is that God came to earth as a man, Jesus, and He died on the cross to make possible through faith the forgiveness of sin and the deliverance from sin.  John 8:32 says ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free"

Just because something is legal or declared legal by the Supreme Court does not make it a righteous thing.  

Homosexual acts in both the Old and New Testaments are called sinful and wrong by God.  A person who lives a homosexual lifestyle according to the Bible will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Those who will not inherit the kingdom of God also include liars, thieves, and idolaters as well.

My ultimate concern as a Christian is that Jesus be glorified. Of course, I want the laws in America to be in line with the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles as recorded in the pages of the Bible. That may or not happen as it pertains to gay marriage.

I also have a concern that if gay marriage becomes legal, then those who oppose gay marriage will be castigated and be punished as in a baker not wanting to bake a cake for a gay wedding or a printer not wanting to print gay wedding invitations. I believe people should be able to make business decisions based on and informed by their Christian convictions.

It is never right for a Christian to be mean and unloving but there can be conflict when a Christian stands for the gospel and the truth of the Bible. Jesus was crucified and the Apostles were imprisoned and killed for their stands for the gospel and the truth of the Bible.

So I am praying for America and the Supreme Court today. I hope the right decision will be made. Marriage according to the Bible is only the union of one man to one woman for one lifetime.

God bless America

 

 

 

 

Monday, 4/27/2015        I John 2:2

"And he is the propitiation  for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whold world"

 

Jesus is the only solution to our sin. It does not take einstein to figure out there is evil our world. we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Our sin results in eternal death and separation from God unless we turn from our sin in repentance and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior through faith.

Jesus paid for our sins on the old rugged cross. The blood that he shed is the only antidote that will cleanse us from our sins and make us white as snow in his sight.

I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior on February 2, 1971 when I was a G I in the Army in West Germany. My life was marked by profanity, immorality, alcohol and I had even started doing illegal drugs. I turned from my sin and asked Jesus into my heart by faith and Jesus came into my life on that day to save me, forgive me, give me new spiritual life, the desire and the power to change my lifestyle and the gift ofeternal life. Jesus has never left me and is still working in my life.

Now you may say that you don't cuss, you are not sexually immoral, you do not get drunk or you do not do drugs. Well guess what, the sin that results in disobedience is not believing in Jesus. The Bible says all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. You and I can not do enough good deeds to get into heaven! Only by getting saved and forgiven will you or I ever get to heaven!

Do you or do you not believe in Jesus? Has your belief in Jesus changed your life and given you a love for Jesus, a desire for the word of God, and a desire to live a holy and pleasing life dedicated only to God's glory? When you get saved, Jesus changes everything.

I invite you to turn from your sin and give your life by faith to Jesus today. He will save you. He will forgive you. He will give you new spiritual life. He will give you eternal life. He will enter your life. He will never leave you or forsake you.

 

 

 

Sunday, 4/26/2015        I John 2:1

"My Little Children, these things write I unto you that you sin not, but if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

 

A very disconcerting thing in my life is when I sin. Sin is contrary to the Christian.

When a person becomes a Christian, Jesus Christ comes to live within that person’s heart and life through the person of the Holy Spirit. A new spiritual life that changes everything comes to be in a person when they become a Christian.

The Bible becomes a new book to the new Christian. Before salvation, the Bible was just a book about people in ancient times. Now, after spiritual regeneration, the Bible is the actual word of of God and it’s message and words enriches and affects the Christian’s life.

Years ago, we started a church in our home and walked the neighborhood to invite neighbors to our home. A protest was started by one our neighbors, a deacon in the local church because our home was not zoned by the city for a church. I was called to city hall and told we could not have a church at our address. I know, I know. The early church in the Book of Acts had home churches but our City Hall did not honor the the Book of Acts.

During this time, a neighborhood lady and her two small sons visited our home for a worship service of song, prayer and preaching. She received Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior in our home. We gave her a Bible and the next week she remarked that she never had understood the Bible before she received Jesus but now it was as if God was speaking directly to her. That is what happens when at salvation, the Holy Spirit enters into a person. The Bible becomes a new book and Jesus becomes the most precious person in the world to that new believer.

To sin is to go against Jesus and the Bible. Sin may be a direct disobedient act to a command in the Bible or sin may be omitting to do good. Sin may be a lack of faith or sin may be an evil thought. Sin is contrary to the Christian. One sinner destroys much good. Sin is like an evil sickness that spreads to and on others. It might be gossip, anger, lust, hate, laziness, or pride but sin is sin.

I do not like to sin but sin I do sin.  Recently I have been thinking of why I sin. I know I have a sin nature that has remained in me after I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I also know that through Jesus I may access the power of God to defeat my inward sinful impulses.

We sin because we neglect the means to not sin. The means to not sin is prayer, the word of God faith and obedience to the Lord.

The Apostle John wrote his letter to us in order that we not sin. But he says if and when we do sin, we have a person standing along side of us to represent us to the Father in heaven. That person standing along side of the Christian is the same one who resides in the Christian’s heart and life, Jesus Christ, the righteous.

I would not make it without Jesus. I am glad he loves me and stands with me.

 

 

Saturday, 4/25/2015        Deuteronomy 22:5

"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God."

This whole unisex thing is a messed up thing. God does not intend for men to act like women or women to act like men. There is to a distinction between the sexes of male and female. Many in our culture, however, believe and act contrary to God's revealed will as recorded in the Bible.

Recently, an Olympic athlete was interviewed on a prime television program about his sex change from a man to woman. The athlete had been married to three different women and said in essence that he had done enough apologizing for a lifetime.

That is interesting because I find I have to confess sins I commit every day and to continually apologize for my sinful behavior to others (I have never, however, felt the temptation to become a woman or to be feminine in any way--I got a whole lot of other stuff that I humbly ask God to forgive me of and to help deal with and to overcome  like pride, angry outbursts and impure thoughts, though).

Many family members, peers and hollywood/media types applauded this athlete’s behavior and congratulated him for living his truth, being brave and courageous and helping to rewrite history.

God, however, has a different appraisal of sex change behavior. In Genesis 1: 27, the Bible says that man was created in God’s own image and created as male and female.

God intends for men to be men and women to be women.

The first temptation of the devil was for Eve to doubt the word of God and the truth of God. Satan asked Eve: ‘Has God said?" and then the devil said that God lied when he said that spiritual and physical death would ensue from disobedience to his command.

People who have not trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior have no power over their sinful impulses and desires.

Without Jesus we can no nothing of eternal value (John 15:5). Proverbs 14:12 says ‘There is a way which seems right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death" but Jesus says in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father except by me."

Everyone in this world needs to be washed up, cleaned up, and fixed up by the blood of Jesus that he shed on Calvary’s cross. Jesus is the only solution to this crazy mixed up world in which we live.

Jesus said he would come again when things got like Noah’s day (violence and great wickedness) and in Lot’s day (rampant sexual immorality). It seems to me we are close to the return of Jesus. I am ready. Are you?

 

 

Friday,      4/24/2015       Psalm 27:8

"When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek."

 

Today, I am seeking the Lord. That means through prayer, Bible study, mediatation of the Bible and reflection, I am listening to the Lord.

Yes, God speaks to me in a still and quiet voice in the depths of my heart and spirit during these times.

It is good to draw away some times in order to refuel, refresh and gain renewal. Please pray with and for me that I will sense the Lord's leading and then hear and respond to his voice and leading.

 

 

 

Thursday, 4/23/2015     Titus 3:5 

"Not by works of righteousness but according to his mercy he saved us."

 

If our salvation depends on ourselves and our good works—then no, we’ll never have any assurance that God will welcome us into heaven. We’ll always be uncertain, because (as you’ve said) we’ll never know if we’ve been good enough.

But listen: Our salvation doesn’t depend on us and our good works! If it did, no one would ever go to heaven because God’s standard is nothing less than perfection. God is holy, and even one sin—just one—would be enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (James 2:10).

This is why we need Christ, for only He can take away our sins—all of them—and make us acceptable in God’s sight. Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, and as such He was without sin. But when He went to the cross all our sins were placed on Him, and He died in our place. When we come by faith to Him God forgives our sins, and now we can come before Him without fear. The Bible says, "The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Don’t trust yourself and your goodness for your salvation. Instead, trust Christ and His goodness—for He alone is God’s way of salvation. When our faith and trust is in Him, we know we’ll be with Him in heaven forever.

Billy Graham

 

 

Wednesday, 4/22/2015         (Borrowed)

 

At 101, Jim Downing is believed to be the oldest living survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He is also known as "Navigator #6," since he was part of the first group of sailors to come to faith under the ministry of Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators. Here, Jim tells the story of how his friends led him to Christ, and how that experience demonstrates the way God is reaching people today.

As a high school student, I had my life goals figured out. I wanted to come to the end of each day and say, "I’ve lived for today. If tomorrow is as good as today, I have no complaints." After high school I went into the Navy, not because I wanted to fight anybody, but because during the Great Depression, the only way to get out of a small town on our own was in the military. I thought that if God had any designs on my life He would have to wait four years until I was out of the Navy.

My first assignment was on the USS West Virginia. A few months after I was aboard we were joined by a sailor named Lester Spencer. I had a minor supervisory position over him that put us in contact three times a day. One day, he told me he was a Christian. It was the first time anyone had ever witnessed to me. I thought that anybody who went to church was a Christian, and if he was excited about it, he was a fanatic.

My mother had given me a Bible at Christmas when I was at home. I found a use for it - something to keep my money in. I figured that would be the last place anybody would look for it. Then one day someone wanted to borrow some money. I opened the Bible and got some out. Spencer saw me and said, "The Bible is good for something besides keeping your money in."

From that time on, he began to witness to me and took me ashore to get me acquainted with Dawson Trotman. Now, instead of being able to say, "I’ve lived today," the verse that described what was going on in my heart was Proverbs 14:12-14:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself (KJV).

I was happy if I was in the midst of pleasant circumstances. But, if I was in the midst of adverse circumstances I was unhappy. I was a victim of my circumstances.

One morning I was on a work detail with a Christian sailor named Virgil Hook. We were heaving around 600-pound hunks of frozen beef. I was very unhappy. But Virgil, he was smiling and humming a tune. I thought, Here’s a man that has a resource that circumstances can’t touch.

Dawson and the Christian sailors taught me Bible truth. But they also lived it. I came to Christ not because I knew "the plan of salvation," but because I wanted the quality of life that Virgil and other the Christians had.

Jesus told His followers to make disciples in all the nations of the earth. That’s what we call the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19,20). There is only one promise in Scripture as to "what and "how" the Great Commission will be accomplished. This is in Ezekiel 36:23: "Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes" (NIV).

I’ve studied that verse in 14 translations and basically it says, "The nations will know Me when they see Me in you." Your part in fulfilling the Great Commission is to let people see God in you.

The Bible tells about three times the world was evangelized between 580 and 510 B.C. Once with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, once with Daniel, and once with Esther and Mordecai. I have tried to figure out the value system of these people. I think it was, "I’ll die before I will compromise my testimony or disobey God."

When the nations saw God in these people, people who were unwilling to compromise their beliefs, that was how the world was evangelized. And that’s what will evangelize the world today.

Teaching and preaching are important, necessary, and preparatory. But the catalyst in my case was when I saw God in men like Virgil Hook.

About the Author:

Jim Downing is one of the founding fathers of The Navigators worldwide ministry, having come to Christ in 1933 through the influence of his shipmates aboard the USS West Virginia. In December 1941, the West Virginia was struck during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Jim is believed to be the oldest living survivor of the attack, having celebrated his 101st birthday in August 2014.

 

 

Tuesday, 4/20/2015          I John 1: 8-9

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

 

As it has been said: ‘nobody’s perfect.’ Everybody has a bent towards evil. Everybody has a sin nature.

Secular humanists, liberal thinkers and atheists, however, deny the existence of evil. They think man is basically good or man is no different than a dog or a cat. They just think man has a higher intellect than monkeys or dolphins. They deny the existence of sin and the existence of satan.

The Bible, however, teaches that satan and sin are very real. Every human inherits a sin nature from Adam at birth. No one has teach a child to be self centered or to lie. Everyone knows that.

So we must admit we have sin. Sin is the inward inclination in every human being and a decision and an action to do something against God’s will and written law.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and to make possible through his death on the cross and his resurrection from his death salvation to all who admit they are a sinner, admit they are unable to do anything about their sin and then by faith trust Jesus to apply forgiveness, pardon, deliverance, new life and regeneration to them.

I have done that. I came to a place in my life in 1971 where I realized I had sinned against God. I admitted my sin separated me from the love and forgiveness of God. I realized I could not do anything in my own strength or intellect to solve my sin problem. I then believed that Jesus died for me and rose again in order that I could be saved, forgiven, become a reborn child of God and I received the gift of eternal life through Jesus!

I pray and hope you have done the same and so repented of your sin and received by faith Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you have, you are saved. If you have not, you are still lost in your sins with your sins separating  you from a relationship with God and your sin results eternal punishment after this life is over. So, Make sure. Make very sure you are saved. Salvation through Jesus Christ is your only hope.

After one gets saved, one has two natures: a new spiritual nature but the old sin nature, though eternally forgiven, still remains.

Then the new born child of God must by the power of God deal daily with that old sin nature through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through hiding God’s word, the Bible in one’s heart, through prayer, faith, worship and fellowship with other Christians, one must access by faith to realize the day to day and minute by minute power of Jesus to overcome sin and to live a victorious Christian life. The child of God is to die to sin daily and take up the cross and follow Jesus. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!

At times, though, one may succumb and give in to temptation to sin and actually commit an evil act or embrace an evil thought.

When a child of God gives into temptation and sins, that child of God is convicted, distraught and knows they have disappointed God by transgressing the law of God.

The Christian’s relationship with God,  being that God is their Father and they are God’s child,  can never be disrupted but the Christian’s fellowship with God may be disrupted by sin.

God invites his child to confess one’s sins directly to him during those times. The Christian does not need a human go between other than Jesus to confess sins. We can go directly to the throne of grace and receive forgiveness and cleansing for our sins that we commit after we become a Christian.

God is faithful and just to forgive the Christian when one's sins are confessed to God. Confession means to say the same thing God says about our sin. Call the sin by name. Admit that your sin is contrary to your new nature. Show contrition and ask for forgiveness from the Lord and the ability to forsake and to stop that particular sin. When we truly confess our sins, God will forgive us our sin, cleanse us from our sin, cover our sin, separate our sin as far as the east is from the west and cast our sin into the sea of us unforgetfulness!

Proverbs 28:13 says: ‘He that covers his sin shall not prosper but whoso confesses and forsakes it shall receive mercy."

Be a I John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13 Christian by and through the power, grace and mercy of Jesus and you will be blessed and be an overcomer!

 

 

Monday, 4/19/2015         I John 1: 6-7

 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

 

Sometimes we need to ‘fess up that we are just not right with God! I mean our prayer life is suffering, our Bible study is weak or non existent, and our appetite is more for the things of this world that the things of God! So we just need to tell the truth! Are we really walking with the Lord? Are we walking with the Lord in the light of his word? Does his glory shed on our way? Are we doing his good will? Does he abide with us still? Do we trust and obey?

Two things happen when we walk in the glorious light of Jesus:

1.) we have fellowship (participation and partnership) with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

2.) the blood of Jesus washes us clean and our conscience is clear.

To walk in the light means we ask the Lord to shine the search light of the Holy Spirit on our motives, thoughts, attitudes and inner workings. We live a life of repentance and crying out to the Lord for his continual cleansing from all our sins.

Then we praise and thank the Lord in the fellowship of believers. We are grateful to the Lord for who he is and what he is doing in our lives! The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.

We know that our motives, our eyes, our ears, our lips and our heart is clean and washed from the soil of the world, the flesh and the devil. Jesus is making a difference in our life. He gives us joy, boldness, peace, strength and life!

That is how I want to live! I pray my walk with the Lord will be real! I praise his name!

 

 

Sunday, 4/19/2015         Acts 4:31

"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."

 

I have been asking the Lord to give me boldness coupled with a sensitivity to his Holy Spirit so that I might verbally share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Those who have been bought out of darkness and sin by Jesus are encouraged and commanded to tell others about the one who paid for and delivered them from the ravages of sin and bondage: ‘Let the redeemed of the Lord says so whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.’(Psalm 107:2)

Why then does it seem that so many Christians are on a gag order from sharing the gospel? When was the last time you spoke of Jesus’ love and truth to another person? When was the last time in your day to day life that someone spoke of Jesus’ love and truth to you? When was the last time you handed out a gospel tract about Jesus to a person? When was the last time someone handed you a gospel tract? See what I mean?

I am not saying we should just let it rip, potato chip. What I am saying is that we should yearn for, desire for, pray about, and be empowerd to yeild  ourselves to the Lord in order that we might tell others about Jesus!

It all starts with a burden that leads to a prayer that leads to an opportunity that leads to an act. Do we have a burden to share Jesus with others? Are we praying that God might use us to share Jesus with others? Are we sensitive to the Holy Spirit in seeing the opportunities that he places in our life to share Jesus with others? Do we actually share Jesus with others?

Peter and John were seized and threatened because they dared to share Jesus in a verbal witness with others and to publicly demonstrate the love of Jesus by acts of kindness in the name of Jesus. Did they then get scared and shut up? No! They had a prayer meeting. God answered their prayer with a visible sign that shook the place they were in. They were then filled with the Holy Spirit. And they spoke the word of God with boldness.

So simple yet so profound! A burden, a prayer, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and a bold verbal witness!

That is what I am talking about!

 

 

Saturday, 4/18/2015       I John 1:5

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

 

The Bible often uses light and darkness as metaphors to describe evil and righteousness.

Unlike a Christian, God has no mixture of light and darkness. The character of God is 100% righteous, just, good and loving.

There are two types of grace: common grace and saving grace. Often times a movie or a story may have a person who exhibits a moral character without giving God the glory. This is common grace. All people are capable of certain behaviors that exhibit the character of God but not all people have experienced saving grace.

The character of a person who has not yet experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ is devoid of the light of God even though God allows that person to sense and to do certain behaviors that are attributed to God. For instance, a mother’s love for her child is directly attributed to the fact that God loves his children although not all mothers have experienced saving grace.

Saving grace is only made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Saving grace is only experienced when a person realizes they have sinned against the  God who is full of light, their sin results in separation from God now and results in future punishment in the life here after, and that Jesus has died for them and rose from the grave which is the only way to deal with their sin,  thus that one turns from their sin and turns their life over to the risen Lord through faith.

Have you experienced saving grace?  When you do, you will realize that God is 100% light and that there is no darkness in him. Then because Jesus lives in you, you will have the desire and ability to live in the light and you will give glory to God, who is the only one who is 100% light and makes that light available to you.

 

 

Friday, 4/16/2015       I John 1:3

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

 

John saw and heard Jesus on this earth. John defines Jesus as ‘the Word of life’ and ‘that eternal life.’ John says Jesus was from the beginning and was with the Father. John saw Jesus, heard Jesus, gazed upon Jesus and physically touched Jesus. John declares Jesus to us! John had fellowship with Jesus.

John invites us to have fellowship with him thus to also experience fellowship with the Father in heaven and with the Son of the Father, Jesus Christ.

So what is fellowship anyway? The original Greek word for fellowship is koinonia which means to share with or in and to participate with or in. It designates a Christian who is in sync with the Holy Spirit thus living a life of overcoming faith through being filled with a working knowledge of Holy Scripture, prayer and in a joint mission, partnership and participation with other Christians.

To be in fellowship means then to be attuned with the Father and the Son so much that one is walking in love, righteousness, faith and hope. Fellowship means also that one is participating with other Christians in worship, spiritual growth, loving service and evangelism.

Sometimes, our fellowship with the Lord and other believers  suffers because of our neglect of accessing the means of sanctification through Bible study, prayer, worship and service.

God always offers to restore us back to fellowship to him through confession of sin, cleansing from sin, and Holy Spirit power over sin. This restoration results in a renewed joy, renewed strength and a renewed vision and walk with the Lord.

A pastor of mine used to say that the most miserable person in the world is a Christian who is out of fellowship with God. I must agree with that.

God help us to walk with the Lord by continually looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. I just want to humbly seek the Lord and walk with him in fellowship. I encourage you to desire this as well.

 

 

Thursday, 4/16/2015        I John 1:4

"And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."

 

The result of knowing and doing what is written in the Bible is fullness of joy!

When we know and do the word of God, we are in sync with the Lord of the universe. We have forgiveness, power, direction, and good success. To know and to do the will of God as written and directed by the Bible means we are in the center of the will of God. And that means blessing!

Life, Light and fellowship is ours when we know and do the word of God. True life means we actually know and enjoy Jesus Christ. True light means we actually know and enjoy righteousness. True joy means we we actually know and enjoy a relationship with the Lord and with the Lord’s people, other Christians.

It is a blessedness and a joy divine to lean on everlasting arms. This is true: those who love, search, study, receive, and are inwardly changed by the Bible know the full joy of Jesus.

I invite you to come with me on the journey of knowing and doing the will of God as recorded in the word of God. It doesn’t get any better than this.

 

 

Wednesday, 4/15/2015        I John 1:1

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;"

 

I have loved the little book of First John for a long, long time. It is five chapters long and takes about 35 minutes to read it.

First John uses the word love and the word know over 30 times each. It has always helped me to love and to know.

The book of First John is a general epistle meaning it has a broad audience and is not written to a certain individual or a certain local church. John had me in mind when he penned First John.

As all Scripture in the Bible, the author of First John is God.  John was the penman. Although the book does not tell us that the Apostle John wrote First John, there is internal evidence in the book that he did.

John is the only writer in the Bible who uses the title ‘Word of God’ for Jesus. He does this in the Gospel of John, the book of Revelation and in First John. John also is the only writer who uses the greek word ‘paraclete’ to describe Jesus. Paraclete is translated advocate in First John and comforter is the Gospel of John.

First John has always been used of God to help me find forgiveness from sin, restored fellowship and renewed strength and determination to overcome.

I encourage you to read First John through today. We will spend time in First John the next several days.

 

 

Tuesday, 4/14/2015        Psalm 91:1-2

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in Him I will trust."

 

Abiding in Jesus has special benefits. It is possible to be a Christian and to follow Jesus from afar. There are going to be two types of Christians at the return of Jesus: those who are self filled and ashamed and those who are Spirit filled and confident.

God calls us to make a choice to abide in Christ. To abide in Jesus, we must humble ourselves, received nourishment from the Bible and prayer and then to moment by moment yield to his presence, comfort, guidance and strength in obedience.

Then we will live in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Nothing will be able to throw us off course or to steal our peace, joy and strength as we walk with the Lord. The winds of life or the fierce rain of tribulation will not be able to take our inner source of satisfaction. We will have and we will exhibit a deep inner sense of well being as we abide in the Lord.

While others scream fearfully, we will be able to stand through difficulty, trials and adversities! We will rejoice in and through all things knowing we are safe and hid away in the will of the Heavenly Father.

This is the benefit of those who walk and live with and in the Lord.

 

 

Monday, 4/13/2015     Romans 5:17

"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!"

 

So, I inherited a sin nature through Adam, the first man. So did you. And so does every human that is born in this world.

Psalm 51 says we are were conceived in sin. Does that mean sex between a husband and wife is bad? No. It does mean, however, that the blood in our veins is tainted and nothing produced by this world can fix it or cure it.

Only the blood of Jesus Christ, the God/Man who came from heaven can fix our sin problem. That is why Jesus died on that cross and shed his blood. The blood of Jesus was shed in order that we might be forgiven and changed.

Salvation is by grace, it is the gift of God and when salvation through Jesus is received,  it brings forgiveness and new life to the one who receives it. Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

The only way you can ever be forgiven and changed is by receiving Jesus as your ONLY Savior! If you feel no need for forgiveness and no need for spiritual change, you have never received Jesus as your Savior. That means you are still lost in your sin and are hell bound. That is the harsh and difficult truth.

How much more is the birthright to all born again children of God. What are some of the much more’s of salvation by the grace of God. Wisdom is a much more. Love is a much more. Insight is a much more. Joy is a much more. Abundant life is a much more. Blessings are a much more. Strength in suffering is a much more. Peace is a much more. Patience is a much more. Spiritual friendship is a much more. Truth is a much more. Righteousness is a much more. Protection is a much more. Guidance is a much more. Answered prayer is a much more. Fellowship is a much more.

I am so glad that receiving God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of Righteousness through Jesus, I have the much more’s of life.

You can have the much more’s of life too, by receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior and through following Jesus as your Lord. I recommend Jesus to you. I am smiling inside and outside right now because Jesus is giving me at this very moment the much more’s through his abundant provision of grace!

I thank God that he has given and is giving me the much more’s of the abundant provision of the grace of Jesus. I hope for you too, the much more's of Jesus. I hope you have received Jesus by repenting of your sin and trusting him as your Lord and Savior. Then you too can access the much more's of Jesus!

 

 

Sunday, 4/12/2015       Luke 22: 31-32

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

 

I believe in the eternal security of the believer. I believe in once saved always saved.

In our text, Jesus is talking to Peter. Peter is the leader of the Apostles.

Jesus tells Peter Satan wants to get him. Jesus also tells Peter that he has prayed for Peter that his faith fail not. Then Jesus tells Peter that even though Peter will fall down he will turn back and be used of God to strengthen other Christians.

Jesus is praying for every believer. Hebrews 7: 25 says: " Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Do you see this? Jesus is praying for the believer! I am a believer. That includes me! Jesus is praying for me and Jesus will save me to the uttermost.

Jesus prayed for Peter. Jesus is praying for me. Jesus is praying that my faith does not fail. Even though, I may and will fall at times, Jesus is praying for me.

What a comfort! What a victory! The eternal God, the creator of this universe, the one who holds all things together, the one who died for me and rose again, this one, Jesus, is praying for me!

I can’t ever be lost! Wow!

 

 

Saturday, 4/11/2015       Psalm 32:5

"I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin."

 

A Christian on the one hand has all of his sin forgiven and covered but on the other hand must confess sin. Postionally, all sin is forgiven and pardoned but practically sin must be confessed and forgiven continually. That is a paradox of being a Christian.

It is the difference between relationship and fellowship. Nothing can change the relationship that a child of God has with her heavenly Father. Fellowship, however can change when a child of God is disobedient to her heavenly Father.

Why would a child of God be disobedient to Father God? Because the sin nature that is inherited at birth from Adam is not eradicated at conversion.

At conversion, a person receives a new spiritual nature when the righteousness of Christ is credited to one’s account at initial salvation. But the sin nature remains intact and must be dealt with through faith. The just shall live be faith.

God has designed it so that means of grace may be accessed through faith by the child of God. These means of grace are the Word of the God (the Bible), prayer, worship and service. There is an individual aspect to these means of grace but also a corporate aspect. The individual aspect cannot be substituted for the corporate aspect neither can the corporate aspect be substituted for the individual aspect. Going to church does not mean a Christian needs no personal devotional life and having a personal devotional life does not mean a Christian needs not to participate and to partnership in corporate church life.

When either the personal or corporate aspect of maintaining fellowship with God is neglected, then the Christian runs out of gas, so to speak, and sins. Just as a car has to be continually  maintained with refueling, oil changes, tire rotations and other maintenance items, the Christian life has to be maintained as well.

Taking a car through a car wash is as to  a Christian confessing their sins. It is not if a car is going to get dirty and need washing or if a car burns oil and gas and needs replenishing, the fact is, a car needs regular washing and needs regular maintenance if used. The same is true for the spiritual life of a Christian.

I am so happy God has made possible the cleansing, washing, and restoration of fellowship with him through the confession of sin.

Sin is to be confessed directly to the heavenly Father. The only middle person a Christian needs to confess sin is Jesus. No human priest is needed. In fact, all Christians are believer/priests. The priesthood of the believer is a Bible fact and a reality in the life of the child of God.

We can come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:12).

If fact, God invites us to come unto him often and even continually for cleansing and washing. The fact is if we are not confessing sin to the Heavenly Father, then we are adding compounded layers of unconfessed sin in our life.  It is as if a conduit of grace and power has been stopped up as when a sink is stopped up and does not drain properly. When the love, power and grace of God does not flow freely through our life, then we are stopped up with sin. We need, so to speak, the liquid plumber of confession of sin to open up the conduit so the Spirit of God can flow flowly freely through our life.

I am happy to confess the fact that without Jesus, I can do nothing  in dealing  with the fact that I am prone to wander and prone to sin. To keep open communication with the Heavenly Father to to live and walk in the light and is the antidote for the lack of practical and personal power, peace, life, joy and strength

To confess means to say the same thing God does. It means to see the danger and damage that sin does to our spiritual life and to deal with things immediately by agreeing with God about our disobedience.

My desire is to continually walk with the Lord and to continually through faith to utilize the means of grace in my life. But when I turn aside and temporarily fall through sin, I am thankful that God allows me to quickly confess my sin and to be restored to power, grace, joy, peace, life and usefulness.

 

 

Friday, 4/10/2015       II Timothy 4:16

" Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

 

Today I just want to share some things I believe.

 

I believe the Bible is without error and is the inspired inerrant Word of the living God. I believe God will preserve the Bible for all eternity and the 39 books of the Old Testament coupled with the 27 books of the New Testament are the entire bible and is the complete Bible with no other books ever to be added.

 

I believe Jesus Christ is God come to earth and that he is the creator, redeemer and preserver. I believe the only way to heaven is by repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be saved other than the salvation provided by Jesus through his substitutionary death on the cross for sin and his bodily resurrection from the dead.

 

I believe when a person turns  from sin and receives Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, then that person is saved, forgiven, redeemed, born again, cleansed, indwelt , sealed, and preseved by the Holy Spirit. I believe that new child of God is saved eternally and Jesus who has begun a good work in them will complete it until the day of Christ.

 

I believe the means of grace that operates in a Christian's life functions by faith alone and is supported and strengthened through daily  Bible Study, prayer, worship and service. I believe God means for every Christian to be part of a local congregation of believers which is the local church where weekly they worship, are instructed by pastors, teachers and evangelists, serve through one's spiritual gifts and support the ministry and work of the church  through tithes and offerings.

 

I believe the main reason Christians are left in this world is to fulfill the Great Commision of Jesus by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to every man, woman, girl and boy in this world. Therefore, local and foreign missions should be supported by prayer and financial giving and actual particpation. Every Christian should be a witness and soul winner and through walking in the Spirit and should demonstrate the love and truth of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit  by deeds of love and verbal witness of the gospel of Jesus. Para Church ministries such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Family Research Council,  preacherlarry.com and others should be supported by prayer and financial giving as the Lord leads the individual Christian.

 

I believe the defining characteristic of a Spirit filled Christian is the love of Jesus which is demonstrated in acts of loving kindness, intercessory prayer for others and sharing the good news that Jesus saves with others.

 

I believe the only marriage that God honors is between a man and a woman and the only place where sexual intimacy is to occur is in the marriage that God honors. I believe romance is a prelude to marriage and therefore should be not entered into lightly or flippantly.

 

I believe human  life begins at conception and should be protected and preserved by all means avialable until natural human death.

 

I believe  the next prophetic event on the calendar of God is  the catching away (the rapture) of the Church followed by the 7 year tribulation, the 1000 year millenial reign of Jesus Christ on this earth, the Great White Throne judgment of unbelievers, and the creation of a new heavens and new earth in which believers shall live eternally in a new body without  the presence and ravages of sin. I believe there are but two eternal destinations for every person in this world: either eternal life in heaven with Jesus for believers in Christ or eternal hell for unbelivers in Christ with satan and the demons.

 

These and other doctrines are formative in my belief and practice. Here I stand, I can do other.

 

 

 

Thursday, 4/9/2015      Romans 5:1-2

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

 

Justification has been described as just as if I never sinned. I like that. When God saves a person, that person’s sins are forgiven, separated as far as the east is from west, blotted out, and cast into the sea of God’s forgetfulness. No more guilt. No more judgment.

This results in peace with God, the ability to stand for God and great joy. All of this is through Jesus!

We live in a world of conflict and confusion. The Bible says in 119:165 "Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them." Again in Isaiah 26:3 we read "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee." Peace with God is the birthright and the result of receiving through repentance and faith, God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. He says in John 14:27:"

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

 

Another result of justification by faith is standing grace. It does not bother me to stand for the truth, righteousness and love of God. We live in a rebellious, disobedient sin sick world. Profanity, sexual immorality and violence runs rampant in our world. Everyday, someone is getting shot, raped, beaten and robbed. It is really sad. The grace of God which saves me through justification by faith enables me to stand up and not to worry about those things. I just know and experience that God is working things out for me.

There is also great joy. I sleep real good at night. I am a contented person. I am not saying that I never get upset or frustrated, but I have real joy. Truly, the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

The source of my strength is the joy of God. The source of my ability to stand against the evil in culture is the strength of God. The source of my contentment and sense of hope is the peace of God.

Peace, joy and standing strength are mine because I trusted Jesus by faith and Jesus justifies me 100%. When you turn from your sin and trust Jesus totally and implicitly as your Savior and Lord, peace, joy and strength are yours as well because of justification by faith! I praise the name of Jesus! He is my Savior! He is my source!

 

 

Wednesday, 4/8/2015      Romans 6:23

"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

The first step to solving a problem is to recognize there is a problem. Every person in this world, including you and including me has a sin problem.

Sin is the inability to do what God requires. It is the missing of the mark. The Bible describes  sin as the transgression of the law of God, falling short of the glory of God, knowing to good and doing it not and not acting in faith. We all sin.

No one can deal with and solve their sin problem on their own and no one can deal with and solve their sin problem without first realizing and admitting the terrible sin problem one has.

Sin works overtime in us and pays us off in death:  Spiritual death (separation from a relationship with God), physical death (the cemetary)  and eternal death(hell). 

At the final judgment, we all will appear before Christ. 

Christians will appear at the Judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:20).  That is where all Christians will be receive recognition and reward according to what they did through faith in Jesus.

Non Christians (non believers) will not appear at the judgment seat of Christ. 

Non Christians (non believers) will appear at the White Throne Judgment.  At The White Throne Judgment (Revelation 21:8) will be all liars, thieves, idol worshipers  (those who put things, ideas, and doo dads before Jesus) fornicators (those who are active in pre marital sex, porn, homosexuality or any sexual activity other than that through loving heterosexual monogamous marriage), adulterers, drunks, drug abusers, the fearful, and all unbelievers.  These will be cast into the lake of fire which burns forever, ever and ever without end. There will be conscious punishment for sin and banishment from God for all eternity there.

There is a solution however. It is the gift of God:  Salvation which results in pardon, forgiveness, new live, spiritual graces and eternal life is only through Jesus Christ.

Can you say Jesus Christ is your Lord?  Have you believed on Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? Have you?

Don’t play games or act as if this is no big deal. Either you have not and are committed to sin and which results in death or you have and are committed to Jesus Christ which results in eternal life!  Have you received the gift of God which is eternal life thorough Jesus Christ, our Lord?

Has Jesus changed your life? Are you pardoned? Are you forgiven?  Does Jesus live in your life?  Do you love Jesus more than any other person, place or thing?

I encourage to make sure you have truly received the gift of eternal life. 

Tell Jesus you know you are a sinner.  Tell Jesus you know he died on the cross to pay the death penalty of your sin.  Tell Jesus that by faith you are turning from your sin.  Tell Jesus that by faith you are receiving Jesus as your very own personal Lord and Savior. Tell Jesus you receive the gift of God which is eternal life thorough Jesus Christ our Lord.

When you receive the gift of God which is eternal life thorough Jesus, you will be pardoned, forgiven, adopted as a child of God, born again, made new and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Then you will be my spiritual sister or brother and I will see you in heaven one day where will we will live with eternal life with no more results of sin.

 

 

Tuesday, 4/7/2015     John 1:12

"But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to as many as believed on his name."

 

On the way to St. Pete, Fl, , John and I had a spiritual conversation about the Lord and the Bible and John asked the Lord to give us a divine appointment in Florida. we stopped so Darline and John could get something to eat.

I stayed with Abby, our boxer and had some crackers. As I got out of the Van with Abby, a lady was parked in a SUV with her window rolled down beside us. I said good afternoon and she said what a pretty dog Abby is.

I got her a gospel of John out of the ...car and introduced myself and ask permission to give her the good news of Jesus. She said ok. Her name was Amanda.

We started to talk and I asked her if I could ask her a couple of spiritual questions. Again she said ok. I asked her if she was to die today, where did she think she would spend eternity. She said 'I hope heaven.' I then asked her if she was to stand before God right now and God said to her why should I let you into my heaven, what did she think she would say.

She said because I try to do the right things, and I treat people the right way, I said you gave me an 'I' answer but Galations 2:20 says 'not I but Christ' and Matthew 17:9 says 'Jesus only.' I shared the plan of salvation with Amanda from the book of Romans and asked Amanda if she would like to call upon the name of the Lord and tell Jesus she was a sinner, that she believed Jesus died for her and rose again, to ask Jesus to save her and to surrender her heart and life to Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

She said yes. As I took her hand, I teared up as she prayed out loud and called on Jesus to save her just as Darline and John walked up. We all rejoiced with Amanda, our new sister in Christ. I loved the beach, baseball and sunshine, but the best part of our trip to Florida last week was our divine appointment with Amanda.

 

Monday, 4/6/2915     Romans 5:8

"But God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

 

The good news is that while we lied, cussed, fussed, gossiped, lusted, hated, stole, was mean, thought bad things, did bad things and all the the rest, Jesus died for us. No one can be good enough to go to heaven on their own. It is only through the righteousness of Jesus provided by the cross of Jesus that can one go to heaven.

When one repents of his sin and receives by faith Jesus as Savior and Lord, Jesus forgives them and comes into his heart.

When Jesus comes into our heart, he cleans us up and gives us new spritual holy desires.

This morning I read several chapters in God's Holy Word, the Bible and confessed my sins as I worshipped Jesus and prayed for my family, my pastor and church leaders, my friends and for others. Why? Because Jesus has forgiven me and given me new holy spiritual holy desires!

What about you? Have you told Jesus you know you are a sinner, that you believe he died for you and rose again and then through believing faith called on Jesus to surrender you life to him as you Savior and Lord?  If so, you too are forgiven and you too have received new spiritual holy desires.  If not, you are still an unrepentant sinner,  dead spritually,  lost in trespasses and sins,  hell bound,  and separated from the grace and life of God.

Please admit you are a sinner and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior before it is too late.

And if you have received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, then follow him whole heartedly and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through Bible study, prayer, public worship and serving the living and true God!

 

 

Wednesday, 4/01/2015        Romans 3:23

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

 

When I was a kid, we had an archery set complete with a bow, an arrow and a bulleye’s target. We would stand twenty or so feet back and shoot an arrow at that target.  Most of the time, we would miss the target.

That is the picture of our text today.  It is a person shooting an arrow at a target and missing it every time.  That is what sin does.  It misses the glory of God.

This is the third day, I have written about sin from Romans.  Well guess what?  Sin is bad.  Real bad!  It is an evil that poisons every heart and life in every single person in this world.  We all have a sin disease.

I once saw a movie called ‘The Omega Man.’ It was a story about a man who was the only person in the world who was not infected with a deadly disease. His blood was the antidote and cure for every other person.  At the end of the movie, he died and fell into a fountain and spilled his blood.  The fountain became the cure for all the people infected with this disease.

That is the story of Jesus.  Our sin results in our spiritual death and separation from God.  Sin  prohibits us from having a relationship with God and banishes us from eternal life after this earthly life is over.

The only antidote for our sin is the blood of Jesus Christ that he shed on Calvary’s Cross.  The blood of Jesus cleanses everyone from sin when they repent of their sin and trust Jesus as their very own personal Lord and Savior.

Come to Jesus.  Trust Jesus.  Give your life to Jesus.  Follow Jesus.  Love Jesus. Obey Jesus.  For Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes unto the Father except by him. (John 14: 6)

 

 

Monday, 3/31/2015        Romans 3: 10-12

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands;

  there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

 

When an actor plays the phantom of the opera, the actor does not actually become the phantom. The actor is still John so and so but is only playing the part of the phantom. That is the way it is when a person who is not a born again Christian does an outwardly good thing. That person outwardly  does a good thing but inwardly is devoid of the Spirit of Christ because that person has not accepted Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior and thus has not been born of the Spirit:

For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ (I Samuel 16: 7)

It is a hard pill to swallow when a person comes to realization that as Romans 7: 18 says:

'For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.'

This fact is classically called the doctrine of the total depravity of man. What this teaches is that humans may outwardly do good things but their inward motives, desires and outward actions are ultimately based on self fulfillment and self centeredness and so are not lived for the priorty of the glory, love and honor of God.

Isaiah 1: 5-6 describes total depravity:

Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.’

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20 that ‘there is not a just man on earth that does good and sins not.’

We are all born with a sin nature. Little children before they reach the age of accountability are innocent but then no one has teach them to be selfish or disobedient because they are bent that way because of original sin.

People given to pride and ego will go to great lengths not to admit they are a sinner and that they are  incapable of being inwardly good on their own.

Jesus was tempted in all points such as we yet was without sin.  Because Jesus was without sin, he could become and did become the perfect sacrifice for our sin.  Jesus is the perfect spotless flawless lamb of God. "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (II Corinthians 5:20).

I Peter 3: 18 says: ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.'

Have you come to the place in your life where you realize are a sinner and that you are in need of a Savior? That place is called conviction of sin.  Conviction on sin precedes conversion from sin. Conversion from sin is when a person repents (turns) from their sin and unbelief and places their total  reliance, trust, faith, and belief in Jesus Christ as their very own personal Lord and Savior. Have you because of the conviction of your sin come to Jesus Christ in humble dependance to receive him as your Lord and Savior thus being converted from sin?

I pray as you read this, you feel the need to be saved and you will invite Jesus Christ into your life by faith to be your Savior and Lord.

When Jesus comes into your heart, you will be spiritually born again, forgiven, pardoned and receive the gift of everlasting life.

Jesus is saying to you now:

‘Behold I stand at the door and knock, If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and fellowship with him and he or she with me.’ Revelation 3:20.

Invite Jesus into your heart now as your Lord and Savior and his goodness will become your goodness. And that is a good thing and the very best thing that can ever happen to you!

 

 

Monday, 3/30/2015         Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

 

Murders, thefts, drug abuse, alcohol addiction, domestic abuse, rebellion, prejudice, hatred, sexual immorality, anger, rage, greed, lying, dishonoring parents, jealousy, envy, gossip and many other attitudes and actions mark our day to day world.

Jesus Christ said all these attitudes and actions lie latent inside of all of us:

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Matthew 15: 17-19)

We were all born with a genetic pattern that is woven intricately deep down inside of us with that causes the sinful twist and pattern of life that we inherited from Adam. The Bible says in Romans 5: 19:

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners

And in Psalm 51:5

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived

And again in Psalm 58:3:  'The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.'

So there you have it. We are all born with a sin nature inherited from Adam and this sin nature results in evil attitudes, thoughts and actions. Everyone has this genetic defect from birth.

People try to counter act this evil within by good works. Things like baptism, confirmation, church attendance, taking communion, confession and all the rest can never deal with our sin. Galatians 2:16 says ‘by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.’ Good works can never erase our sin.

Only by admitting that you are powerless to do anything about your sin, it’s damning penalty and results and then by and through trusting in Jesus Christ  alone by faith can you ever do anything about your sin and receive cleansing, pardon, justification and eternal life.

Through Jesus we can be saved!  The simple truth of John 3:16 is the only solution to our sin ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.’  Through trusting and relying in and on Jesus we can  have redemption and forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7).  It is only by faith that we can receive and possess the gift of  eternal life, redemption and forgiveness of sin :  Ephesians 2: 8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

If you have never turned from your sin and received Jesus by faith as your Lord and Savior you can do so right now for God says  ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'  (Romans 10: 13).  Call on Jesus right now and pray a prayer like this to him:  Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, I know my sin separates me from you and will condemn me eternally to hell.  I know I am unable to do any good works to save me.  Thank you for dying for me and for rising again.  I at this moment turn from my sin and I ask you by faith to enter my life and save me, forgive me, pardon me and make me a child of God.  Thank you for just now giving me eternal life.

In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

If you just prayed that prayer sincerely,  Jesus just came into your heart,  saved you, forgave you, gave you eternal life and made you into a child of God.  Now tell a Christian friend what has happened to you.  Read the Gospel of John in the Bible (the Bible is your spiriutal nourishment),  have a time of prayer every day and go to a good Bible believing Church and profess your faith publicly.  God bless you as you have begun a journey with Christ and as you live by and through faith in Jesus every moment of every day!

 

 

Sunday, 3/29/2015          Ephesians 5: 15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

 

Ben Franklin once said 'time is the stuff life is made of.' So true.

I am now nearly 66 years old.  Anyway you cut it, most of my life has been lived and spent. I am not sure if I am out of time but it is getting there.

So I am now more aware of how I spend my days and minutes. I only have so much more time left.

As I look back at my time, I see mountains and valleys. I see times I, in my estimation, did things right and I see times, in my estimation, I did not things wrong.

I believe I can now make better use of the time I have left because of this.

It is high time to make proper use of our time. I need to get my mind right and keep my mind right to do this.

Only Jesus can renew my mind to help me make wise decisions as to the use of the time I am given. I want to do several things better now.

I want to tell people more often that I love them and to actutally do things that show people I love them.

I want to spend more time in prayer and in Bible study.

I want to spend more time in tellling other people about Jesus' love, truth and power.

When I was a youth, I played in a band. We did a song called 'time won't let me.'  I am tired of wasting time. It is time to know and to serve the Lord. To do things his way in his time.

God help us!

 

 

Saturday, 3/28/2016          Proverbs 3: 5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thy own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

 

Our life is made up of many major and many minor decisions. Major decisions would be like where to life, who to marry, how many children to have, where to work and where to go join and go to church? Minor decisions would be what to eat, what to wear, when to cut the yard, what color of car to buy and and should I plant roses or day lilies?

The crux of the matter in making decisions is does God fully have our heart, our mind and our obedience. When God fully has your heart, your mind and your obedience, you can do as you like and be assured he is directing your paths.

What does it mean for God to fully have your heart? It means you have fully trusted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. That is, you totally have repented and turned from all bad attitudes and actions and you have totally entrusted all that you are and all that you ever hope to be to him and his care.

What does it mean to lean not unto your own understanding? It means you have devoted your life to discovering what God says about a thing from his word. It means you have placed yourself under good Bible preaching and teaching. For instance, I found 206 gospel sermons and messages yesterday I can listen to free of church on audio via the internet from a noted Bible preacher and teacher yesterday. I plan to listen to these as I can and apply the Bible truth I learn from them to my life. You can go to you tube and listen to great Bible teaching from men such as Adrian Rogers, Michael Youseff and Franklin Graham. Most Bible teaching ministries and good Bible believing churches have web sites. Then you can also faithfully attend the local Church that you have joined and glean understanding through the sermons of your pastor and the lessons from your Bible teacher. Learn the word of God, the Holy Bible. Jesus said ‘man shall not live by word alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4)

What does it mean to acknowledge God in all you ways? It means that in your day to day life to obey the principles and commands you know from God’s word. That means we have God to fill us with his Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to ‘be filled with the Spirit.’ That means we humbly come to God and admit we don’t have all the answers and ask him to actually fill our life, that is to consume and to envelope our life with his Holy Spirit! At that point we are being taught by the Spirit, guided by the Spirit and controlled by the the Spirit. That means our life will be in line and obedient to God’s will and desires for us as recorded in his Holy Word. We are to ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

God will direct your paths when you trust him fully with all your heart, when you lean to what he says in his word and when you commit yourself through the power of the Holy Spirit to be obedient to what you know his word says.

 

 

Friday, 3/27/2015         Psalm 46:1

" God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble"

(Borrowed):

I have several friends that have recently lost a loved one. I am hurting with them. I feel led to post these "15 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN ABOUT GRIEF". I am praying that this will help...

1. You will feel like the world has ended. I promise, it hasn’t. Life will go on, slowly. A new normal will come, slowly.

2. No matter how bad a day feels, it is only a day. When you go to sleep crying, you will wake up to a new day.

3. Grief comes in waves. You might be okay one hour, not o...kay the next. Okay one day, not okay the next day. Okay one month, not okay the next. Learn to go with the flow of what your heart and mind are feeling.

4. It’s okay to cry. Do it often. But it’s okay to laugh, too. Don’t feel guilty for feeling positive emotions even when dealing with loss.

5. Take care of yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Eat healthily. Work out. Do the things you love. Remember that you are still living.

6. Don’t shut people out. Don’t cut yourself off from relationships. You will hurt yourself and others.

7. No one will respond perfectly to your grief. People–even people you love–will let you down. Friends you thought would be there won’t be there, and people you hardly know will reach out. Be prepared to give others grace. Be prepared to work through hurt and forgiveness at others’ reactions.

8. God will be there for you perfectly. He will never, ever let you down. He will let you scream, cry, and question. Throw all your emotions at Him. He is near to the brokenhearted.

9. Take time to truly remember the person you lost. Write about him or her, go back to all your memories with them, truly soak in all the good times you had with that person. It will help.

10. Facing the grief is better than running. Don’t hide from the pain. If you do, it will fester and grow and consume you.

11. You will ask "Why?" more times than you thought possible, but you may never get an answer. What helps is asking, "How? How can I live life more fully to honor my loved one? How can I love better, how can I embrace others, how can I change and grow because of this?"

12. You will try to escape grief by getting busy, busy, busy. You will think that if you don’t think about it, it’ll just go away. This isn’t really true. Take time to process and heal.

13. Liquor, sex, drugs, hobbies, work, relationships, etc., will not take the pain away. If you are using anything to try and numb the pain, it will make things worse in the long run. Seek help if you’re dealing with the sorrow in unhealthy ways.

14. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to need people. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.

15. Grief can be beautiful and deep and profound. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk alongside it. You may be surprised at what grief can teach you.

-- Thank you Teryn O’Brien for your insight.

 

 

Thursday, 3/26/2915          II Peter 3: 15-16

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

 

Jesus said once if they won’t hear Moses and the prophets neither will they hear if one rose from the dead.

The scriptures have power. The word of God is the sword of the spirit. The scriptures are quick and powerful and sharper than a two edged sword. The Bible is like a hammer. It gives us spiritual insight, wisdom, and faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

All scripture is inspired by God. Every word of God is true.

What Paul wrote is the inspired word of God and is scripture.

Today, some people try to use a red letter edition of the scripture as only being binding. They ask what did Jesus say about something and then act that if Jesus did not address a certain issue, then it must not be that important.

Jesus did not mention snorting meth but meth kills people when they snort it. We are told to not be drunk with wine in Ephesians 5:18. We are also told our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and not to defile the temple in I Corinthians 3: 16-17. Meth defiles the body. Meth is wrong. Case closed.

Paul wrote Ephesians and I Corinthians. What Paul wrote was scripture. We are bound by scripture.

Now some will say, Paul did not meet Jesus on earth. That is true. But Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus when Paul SAW Jesus. Paul says ‘Have I not seen the Lord?’

Jesus called Paul to be an Apostle just as much as Jesus called Peter to be an Apostle. You had to see Jesus to be an Apostle. That is one reason why there are no longer Apostles today as in Peter and Paul.

What Paul wrote is Bible. We are bound by the Bible. The Bible makes us wise unto salvation, elicits faith, corrects, reproves, and instructs us in righteousness.

We are to study the Bible and rightly divide the Bible.

I am saying that what Paul wrote is Bible and the Bible is binding on us today.

Study the Bible. If you want to know Jesus, study the Bible. If you want to be spiritually strong, study the Bible. If you want to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, study the Bible.

That’s it.

 

 

Wednesday, 3/25/2015         Acts 9: 26

"And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple."

 

When Jesus saves a person, Jesus changes a person. When a man repents of sin and turns his life over to Jesus thus receiving Jesus by faith as his personal Lord and Savior, that man is forgiven, pardoned, cleansed, changed, and made new. That is salvation.

Sometimes, however, a Christian falls back into old destructive life patterns and ways. What then?

It has been said that the church is the only army that shoots it’s wounded. That is it is often easier for the church to receive a poor lost repentant and humble x sinner than it is to receive a repentant, humble and forgiven Christian who has recovered from a stumble. It should not be that way, but it is.

Colossians 3: 12-14 describes how we should treat a Christian who has stumbled but now is repentant, forgiven and recovered:

 

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

 

We are to forbear and to forgive. To forbear means to delay resentment and punishment or to pass over, forget, and to cease to label one based on past behaviors. To forgive means to forget, cancel, cover and send away. Without the grace and love of Jesus operating in one’s heart, this is impossible to do.

When Saul of Tarsus was converted, it was an amazing thing. Saul had hounded, beaten, thrown into jail and even been privy to the killing of Christians before he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. It was most difficult for the church to receive him. They scrutinized Saul, kept an eye on Saul and sent him away in order to deal with him. But Saul was so changed by Jesus that he received a new name: Paul.

Paul spent three years alone away from the Jerusalem church, then went and met with Peter alone. Then Paul spent fourteen more years away from the Jerusalem church and burst upon the scene in Jerusalem to become the greatest missionary the church had ever seen.

God changes people when a person is saved and surrendered to his grace. We must forbear and forgive. We must pass over, forget, refuse to label one based on his past actions when the forgiveness, grace, mercy and power of God is evident on and in a person’s life.

When a Christians stumbles, has a moral failure and repents of his sin, is cleansed by Jesus and changed by God’s grace, we in the church must forbear and forgive.

God grant us the grace to do this. To be like Jesus and say, neither do I condemn you. Just as Saul of Tarsus received the name of Paul the Apostle, we must see others as Jesus sees them: forgiven, clean, changed and new.

 

 

Tuesday, 3/24/2015      II Timothy 4:22

  "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."

 

Last thoughts and words of a person are of utmost importance. For instance, a deathbed confession carries much weight in a court of law.

II Timothy is the last book Paul wrote in the New Testament. In his last sentence, Paul wishes for Timothy the presence of Jesus and the blessing of grace.

Sometimes, we can get tired of keeping on. That is when we need Jesus to infuse our spirit with passion, energy, hope and faith. Only the presence of Jesus through the indwelling Spirit of God can infuse our human spirit with the passion we need to be vibrant and hopeful in our walk with the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our strength. Lord implies Jesus is King of all. Jesus implies that he has provided salvation from the penalty and power of sin. Christ implies he is the the promised Messiah sent from heaven to be God in human flesh.

Jesus suffered in all ways such as we so he personally is sympathetic and is able to help us in our need.

Are you sick? Jesus is the Great Physician. Are you lonely? Jesus is the Friend of sinners. Are you tired? Jesus as all power in heaven and in earth. Are you laden with guilt? Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Are you doubtful? Jesus says to believe on him and do not doubt.

Sometimes our spirit gets weak and sometimes our spirit gets wayward. During these times, come to Jesus, lean on Jesus, cry out to Jesus and lay your life and heart open to Jesus. There is a Balm in Gilead that still heals the sin sick soul. In the Old Testament one time there was bitter water. God told Moses to throw a tree in the water and it would be made sweet.

Is your life bitter and sad? The wooden cross of Jesus where Jesus spilt his precious blood when thrown into the bitter and sad waters of your life can and will bring zest, power, joy, forgiveness, pardon and faith to you!  Jesus paid it all, all to him we owe, sin hath left a crimson stain, Jesus washes it white as snow!

We need the grace of God in our life. Grace is a free gift. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace infuses our life with cleansing, pardon, power and life. Grace creates gratitude in us when we receive it. Grace issues to the one receiving grace a new life, a new power, a new vision and new actions.

The wonderful thing about Jesus and his grace is that it is for you and for me!  What if a kind soul deposited one million dollars into your bank account and told you to use it, spend it or invest it however you desired?  Would you be at the bank at 9 am tomorrow morning?  Yes you would! And so would!

God has deposited Jesus and his grace into the born again Christian's spiritual bank account. Let’s waste no more time moaning, crying, and being in a weakened and spiritually tired state.

Let’s cash the check of unmerited grace made out to us by King Jesus and live life to it’s fullest. Joy, love, peace and power awaits us now.

Praise the name of Jesus? I thank the Lord for his gift of grace!

 

 

Monday, 3/23/2015        II Timothy 4: 19-21

"Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren."

 

Christian friends can be like a rose on a stem filled with thorns. How wonderful it is to have brothers and sisters in Christ who love you, pray with you, pray for you and care and check on you.

Paul the Apostle had such friends and lists several in our text for today.

Prisca and Aquila were a husband and wife team who were active in making disciples for Christ. They opened up their home and often took people to instruct them in the things of Christ.

We need such husband and wife teams today. How wonderful it is to see the Spirit of Christ working in couples. We can easily identify such couples by their first names such as Bob and Mary, or Tom and Betty. They are two but they function as one. Their lives are in perfect harmony that is made so by the unity of the Holy Spirit that is evident in their lives.

Paul mentions Onesiphorus. He was a person who through courage and love ministered to Paul with hospitality in Paul’s great need. It is so excellent to have people as this as a Christian friend. They may help you with your moving van, your plumbing problem or visit you in the hospital.

Erastus was a high ranking political figure in Corinth. There are Christians today like that. They serve our government and need our prayers. There is a temptation to be shady in the political arena and so our Christian friends in political office need our prayers and support. God bless those Christians who serve in political office and help guide and enact the laws of our country! Let us pray for these Christian officials!

Trophimus was sick. This lets us know that God does not always instantly heal us of our illnesses. Sometimes God works through suffering and affliction his greater good. We know one day we will be healed from all our afflictions in heaven but until then it is good to remember that ‘through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22)

Paul mentions others by name in this text. We all need to be more aware of the Christian friends God brings us into contact with in our Churches, Bible Study groups and care groups. Let us pray for one another, check on one another and love one another!

God gives us Christian friends. Let us be be friendly and show concern for each other.  Here is a testimony from a young mother about the need for Christian friends and the local church: 

"Robert, the kids, and I made Grace Fellowship our church home today! God has been so faithful in giving us a place to worship and grow. I remember Scott Burks teaching at Refuge years ago that the ABCS of church are being Accepted, Belonging, and being Cared for. We have found all those things and more at Grace. Every week God speaks to us in a special way; we are so blessed! So for those that have prayed for me over the past 13 years since I left Alabama and to those praying for Robert, the kids, and I lately --- thank you from the bottom of my heart! God is so faithful even when we may seem at times faithless. I know from experience now that every Christian needs a pastor, a church family, and a place to worship. Don't wait on eternity to start building relationships in the Body of Christ, start now!"

A verse that has meant much to me through the years is Proverbs 18:24: ‘A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.’ The principle is that when we put the first foot forward and make relationships, we will have relationships!

And remember, a sweet word that people really like is their own name:  Call people by their name and you will make more Christian friends: "But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name" (III John 1:14)

 

 

Sunday, 3/22/2015        II Timothy 4: 18

 "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

 

When you are knocked down by life’s struggles, the Lord will be your cut man. A boxer needs a good cut man. A cut on a boxer’s face can end a fight prematurely if not dealt with properly.

Paul was in prison when he wrote Timothy and he said everyone had forsook him except Luke. When you are on top of the world, it can seem like everyone want’s a piece of the pie but when you are down in the pit, people can turn a blind eye.

Even so, the Lord is with us during our troubles.

We must remember to communicate our needs and desires to others when we are suffering seemingly alone. Paul wanted Timothy to bring his coat, his books and Mark with him when he came to see Paul. Remember that people cannot read minds. It is true the Lord can speak to one directly and tell them to come see you but in the normal case of events God wants us to communicate with others our needs with our own lips.

It is ok to warn those whom we love about the Demas’ and the Alexander’s of this world.  Demas had fallen in love with stuff and departed from Paul and Alexander the Coppersmith did some bad things to Paul.  Paul told Timothy about Demas cutting out and to watch out and keep on eye out for  Alexander.  I do not mind to give my opinion on people like that.  I would always say it to their face as well.  One thing, whatever we say, say it truthfully, lovingly and gently.  Speak the truth in love.

It is good to find out what can comfort others in their hard times. For Paul, it was a coat, his books and a friend.

God is our ultimate deliverer and our ultimate preserver.  The only things that come into our lives are those things that God permits.  I never grow tired of hearing Jesus say unto me: I will never leave thee nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

One day and not too long, we will be translated to the heavenly kingdom. There we will be enveloped in God’s glory and glory forevermore.

Until then, let us communicate our needs to others and let us minister to those in affliction in Jesus’ love and name.

 

 

Saturday 3/21/2015       II Timothy 4: 6-8

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

 

One day, our life on earth will be over. Our life will be weighed upon the scales of God. The Good, the bad and the ugly of our life will be evaluated.

We shall be examined to see if we had become a Christian. No one becomes a Christian at birth. There is no such thing as an infant baptism that will elicit salvation in a baby.  No one can do religous activites or good deeds that will earn salvation.

(Titus 3:5 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy has he saved us.')

Salvation takes place in a person’s life only when the following takes place:

 

---A person becomes convicted they have broken God’s laws and has sinned

---A person realizes their sin has separated themselves from a relationship with God

---A person realizes they have no innate power to do anything about their sin

---A person hears that Jesus is the perfect Son of God who died for their sin

---A person realizes that Jesus took and paid the penalty of their sin on the cross

---A person is drawn to give their life to Jesus, the risen Son of God

---A person repents and turns from their sin to Jesus

---A person calls upon Jesus to be the Lord, Master and Savior of their life.

 

When that takes place in a person’s life, Jesus saves them, forgives them, gives them spiritual life, eternal life, and a new relationship with God. Then the Bible becomes God’s love letter to them, prayer becomes their communication with God, and other Christians become their spiritual family and friends (the church!).

That is the crux of the matter. After initial salvation, the Christian life begins. Paul describes three aspects of the Christian life as being the life of a fighter, the life of a runner, and the life of a businessman. The Christian is to live for Jesus by faith during the days of his or her’s life on this earth.

We are to fight the darkness and evil forces in this world that consists of the devil, the demons and sinful humanity through faith.

We are to run a spiritual race by faith in this world as a cross country runner or a long distance runner so as to not get sidetracked in allowing trivial matters to take away our focus from God’s glory, honor and mission.

We are to be, by faith,  good stewards of God’s gifts and abilities that he has given us and keep our spiritual books balanced as a successful businessman.

When a person who has been saved by Jesus Christ, thus becoming a born again forgiven Holy Spirit indwelt Christian lives the Christian life by faith there is a reward of a crown of righteousness awaiting them at the judgment seat of Christ.

There is a day coming called ‘that day’ which is the day when we will be evaluated by Jesus. Two things will be evaluated:

 

---Has a person been initially saved by Jesus?

---Has a person who has been initially saved by Jesus lived by faith as described

by the metaphors of a (in a spiritual sense)Fighter, An Athlete, and a

Businessman?

 

There is only one righteous Judge who will determine this: Judge Jesus.

There is a key element to those who are living by faith: they love the fact that Jesus is coming again! On Fire overcoming by faith born again Christians all have this in common: they are looking for, hoping for and expecting the return of the Lord Jesus to this earth.

Wow, that’s me. I want to be ready for the return of Jesus. I want his light, love, mercy, truth and righteousness to be functioning in me, propelling me, and empowering me by his Holy Spirit day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. How about you? Are you with me in this?

 

 

Friday, 3/20/2015         II Timothy 4:3-5

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."

 

Sometimes it can feel like us against the world. Often, in church history, the church and the church’s leaders have become lukewarm, apathetic, and messed up on doctrine and truth. In the last days, however, this will be the rule and not be the exception to the rule.

Just this week, a major denomination has decided that marriage is no longer only a union between one male and one female for one lifetime. The majority of leaders in this denomination has turned away from the truth, sound doctrine and

has turned to fables.

Yesterday, I went out for a while and when I returned home, there was a pamphlet stuck in my door inviting me to a service located at a ‘Kingdom Hall.’ This group does not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, instead believing that Jesus is a created being. This goes against the clear teaching of the Bible and is a heresy. This group has even published their own version of the Bible where they have changed certain words to reflect their unsound doctrine and fables.

We are to make full proof of our ministry during these trying times of false teaching and false teachers.

A tired and proven recipe is a recipe to be followed. There is no need to substitute an ingredient. There are three ingredients to keep on keeping on during these trying times:

Watch, Endure, Work.

We must continue to pray and to trust the Lord: to watch in prayer.

We are to realize that our way may be difficult and filled with trials and difficulties.

We are to keep sharing the simple message of the gospel that Jesus saves.

This is the way to counteract false doctrine: watch, endure, work.

Prayer brings the power and touch of God upon our moment by moment life. We are to pray without ceasing. We are to pray for people and situation by name and by specifics. General prayer is ok but pointed specific prayer is better. It takes time to pray for real needs and real people. And it is the prerequisite for continual prayer.

We must understand that life will not always be easy. An indication of the blessing of the Lord upon our life is not the absence of affliction. In fact, the more affliction one has coupled with the ability to stay in peace, love and joy is an indication of the blessing of God upon one’s life.

We must keep telling people about Jesus. People must know that they are born with a sin nature, that sin nature corrupts them, they can do nothing in and of themselves to overcome that sin and that only the death of Jesus as our sin substitute makes possible forgiveness and pardon which is may be applied when one turns from sin and by faith alone trusts the risen Lord Jesus Christ as their very own personal Lord and Savior.

Watch, endure, work. This is how to fight error, half truths and false doctrine and false teachers.

 

 

Thursday, 3/19/215       2 Timothy 4:1-2

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine."

 

God has some serious business with us!  We are given a task that is so important and so monumental.  The import behind this business is God and Jesus.  The task is so important that Jesus is coming again in great glory to set up his earthly rule on this earth to make sure it has and is being done.  Those alive in Christ and those dead in trespasses and sins will give an answer as to whether this business has been taking care of.

Elvis and his entourage used to wear rings with the engravings TCOB: taking care of business.  We are to take care of business for the Lord Jesus Christ in this most important business he has called us to.

We are to preach the word until he comes.  In the Acts chapter 8 we read of how the church was scattered due to persecution.  Those who were scattered preached the gospel wherever they were scattered unto!  That means  every man, woman, girl and boy who was a born again child of God!

Does that mean you and me?  Yes, it means you and me.  We are to preach the gospel.  We are to be God’s messengers!

Yesterday, I took my son to Cracker Barrel for lunch.  I left a preacherlarry.com card on the window sill.  I left another preacherlarry.com card, a gospel tract and a Gospel of John on the table. As I paid for the meal, I gave the cashier lady a preacherlarry.com card, a gospel tract and a Gospel of John explaining that I liked to share the gospel where I went.  Outside, I left a preacherlarry.com card on the barrel by the front door, a tract and a preacherlarry.com card on the small bench and a preacherlarry.com on the newspaper machine.  My desire is to share the message of Jesus where ever I go.

Tonight, I will bowl in my bowling league.  I am praying God will allow me to preach the word at the bowling alley in some way.  That is my desire and responsibility.

What about you? Are you a preacher of the word?  Are you a witness for Jesus?  If so, that is so wonderful! God bless you!  If not, why not?

We are to preach the word in church and in the highways and hedges!  We are to point people towards the truth of the good doctrine!  We are to gently to tell people where they are going astray!  We are to motivate others to give their life to Jesus and serve him with all their heart and life!  We are never to quit preaching the word and never give up preaching the word!  We are to under gird our preaching with the sound teaching of the word of God and to declare the whole counsel of God.

Our tithes and offerings to our local church and to ministries such as preacherlarry.com also count as participating in the preaching of the word.  Our prayers for our Pastor, Sunday School teacher and for ministries such as preacherlarry.com also count as participating in the preaching of the word.

I am all about preaching the word!  Are you?  Do you preach the word?  Do you give of your tithes and offerings to support the word being preached?  Do you pray for pastors, Bible teachers, missionaries and others who faithfully preach the word?

God says the preaching of the word is serious business. It is such a serious business that one day Jesus will come again to judge and to evaluate those who have preached the word, those who participated in the preaching of the word in giving and praying and those who shirked their duty by not preaching the word or supporting the preaching the word. 

I am on the side of those who preach and the word and I, with God’s power and love, preach the word.  That is being on  God’s side. And being on God’s side is the most important thing in this world!  Join with me in this great business and responsibility to continually preach the word!

 

 

Wednesday, 3/18/2015        II Timothy 3: 16-17

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

 

Every word of God is pure. All means all. What God wants in the Bible was put there when it was first written. God has preserved the Bible intact in order that we have exactly what he wants us to have.

The scripture is inspired of God. The word inspiration is only used here in the whole Bible. It means ‘God breathed.’ Again, the words and message of the Bible is intact and is just what God wants to have. We can rest in comfort and confidence in that.

A business must be profitable to thrive and survive. The Bible is profitable to you and I. 

The Bible  is profitable for doctrine.  Doctrine is teaching.  We need to be taught about salvation, about Jesus, about Father God, about the Holy Spirit, about the nature of the church, spiritual warfare,  about the end times and much, much more. All the teaching we need on spiritual things is contained in the Bible.  There is no new scripture being written today.  No one is receiving golden tablets from an angel that contains scripture.  The New Testament was written in the first century and no more scripture has been written since then.

The Bible is profitable for reproof.  Scripture teaches us how to spot a fraud, a false teacher, a heretic and an anti-christ.  People devoid and lacking the Holy Spirit are led into error by those controlled by satan and demons.  The Holy Spirit teaches born again Christians the scripture and by the scripture, the Holy Spirit keeps God's child  safe from the evil one.

The Bible is profitable for correction.  We know what is sin from the Bible and we know how to avoid sin from the Bible. The mantra of the me generation today is 'if it feels good, do it.'   We are living as in the days of the Judges of the Old Testament, that is, every one does what is right in their own eyes.  Today, people decide on what is right and wrong on the consensus of the people.  The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount is ignored, derided, pronounce outdated and invalid and out of style by today’s crowd.  People get their clues on how to live and what to do from Hollywood and Washington D.C.  If their favorite professional athlete or actor does something, then it must be all right.

The born again child of God, however, has a different measure for right and wrong. The measure for the Christian is the scripture which corrects the Christian, that is, by the scripture, the Christian knows what to do and how to do it.

The Bible is profitable for instruction in righteousness. We know about justification by the scripture. In scripture we are made wise about how Jesus lived a perfect life and died as a perfect sacrifice as the lamb of God to shed his precious blood for the remission of our sins. We know that once and for all Jesus provided pardon, forgiveness and right standing with God at the old rugged cross. We know that Jesus was buried but the grave could not hold him for on that first Easter morn, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ broke the bonds and chains of death, sin and hell and rose again from the dead. Because he lives, we live also. Jesus has imparted unto us eternal and abundant life.

We know about sanctification by the scripture. We know that we no longer have to live chained to do sin’s bidding. We can overcome the vices of the flesh such as hate, greed, immorality, addiction, pride, etc. Now we can manifest the life of Jesus in our life through faith.

I have been in big houses where people did not have the means to buy furniture even though they qualified to buy the house. Our spiritual house is not empty like that.

Our spiritual house and life is thoroughly furnished unto all the good Works.

When I got saved, I got a new want to. I have not always done that which I ought to do but more and more as I trust in Jesus, I adopt new ways and patterns of life. God is so good, he is so good to me! I thank the Lord for the scripture, the written pages of the Bible---all of it---every page---every word. For through the scripture, I know about my Savior, Jesus Christ and am able to walk, talk and serve him each and every day!

 

 

Tuesday, 3/17/2015      II Timothy 3:15

"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 

To learn and to apply Bible truth in one’s life is a sign one has been saved by Jesus. Those who have absolutely no desire to read the Bible, study the Bible and hear the Bible taught and preached give no indication that they are saved by Jesus.

The Bible is spiritual nourishment just as milk, bread and meat is physical nourishment. Just as eating is crucial to life so the Bible is crucial to spiritual life.

We are to continue in ‘the things’ we learn in the Bible. We are to emulate the lives of those whose lives whom God brings into our life whose lives are affected positively by the Bible. And we are to remember what led us to spiritual truth and life in the first place: the Holy Bible.

Children raised in Christian homes and in a Christian environment have a leg up on the rest of us. I loved my parents and respect their memory but my home was somewhat nominal as it relates to being called Christian. Yes, we had Bibles. Yes, we said grace before supper. Yes, we went to church (not weekly). But the pursuit of monetary success seemed to be the over riding influence in my home.

My parents did not provide a family altar where the Bible was read and prayers were said daily. I believe a family altar is as Biblical as Jesus being the way, the truth and the life. I said it. Those fathers and mothers (especially the father) who do have a burden or even an inkling of an inclination to provide a daily (that’s right, I said ‘DAILY’) family altar are depriving their children of being raised in a real Christian home. I am not talking about a ritual.

I am talking about mommie and daddy being so affected with the Bible’s teaching in their own lives that they show the love and truth of Jesus to their children by their words and actions and then take that same Bible and daily teach it to their children.

That was the benefit Timothy had. We are told in the Bible that his mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice, took the lead in this. I am not sure where his father was.

My generation was the baby boomers. We birthed the radical situational ethics of the 1960’s. In one decade we went from Dick Clark to Woodstock. What happened? Our parents substituted the television for their hands on spiritual training from the Bible. Everyone can remember when they saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan but can they remember having a family altar the days surrounding that? Perhaps some can, but I would predict most can’t.

We parents who neglected having a family altar with the children God gave us must ask forgiveness from God. Then we must repent of our neglect. We must begin having a personal altar of daily Bible reading and prayer. Then we must ask forgiveness from our children whom we neglected to spiritually model Jesus and the Bible which caused our neglect of a family altar with our children.

Then we must pray for and model to the next generation, our grand children, the

modeling of Jesus and the Bible and bring our influence to bear upon our own children in having  a family altar with their children.

The lack of modeling Jesus to children and the daily practice of the family altar has led our society to the redfinition of marriage,  gender confusion, the breakdown of the family unit and the shelving of the Bible and the Church. Christian ethics and values are being thrown on the trash heap and are no longer viable to so many today.

God help us grand parents and parents to surrender our lives fully to the Lordship of Jesus and then to begin a personal altar of daily Bible reading and prayer and then model the grace and truth of Jesus to our children and reinistitute the family altar.

 

 

Monday, 3/16/2015        II Timothy 3:12-13

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."

 

American Christians do not suffer the kinds of persecutions that other Christians suffer in some countries. Recently, the news reported a group of Christians who had their heads chopped off because of their faith. That is not happening like that in America.

It is a fact though, that the more godly life a Christian exhibits, the more persecution that Christian will get.

My first born son and I are at odds because I do not agree with his lifestyle. He tells me I am in darkness and am judgmental. We have not spoken  in over four months now. I am not sure if this qualifies as persecution, but our conflict does stem from my refusing to honor what I perceive as out and out ungodliness in his life.  I will not recognize his lifestyle as being righteous nor will I allow him to influence my grandchildren towards his ungodly lifestyle and because of that, there is a very painful split in our relationship.

Jesus talked about things like this.  I am not hateful or mean spirited towards my son, but because I with love and truth take a stand, I feel heat from him towards me. I pray for him everyday and hold no ill will towards my son. But the conflict remains.

More and more in American, we do see Christians losing employment and being held back because of their decision to take a stand for godliness.

Polycarp was an early Christian church father. He was killed by the Roman government when in his 80’s, Polycarp refused to say the words ‘Caesar is Lord.’ There may come a time in American when Christians will also lose their lives by refusing to bow down to government regulations that go against the Bible and their faith.

Another thing running rampant in our culture is spiritual deception.

One the of things that purveyors of universalism cannot stand is when a Christian says what the Bible says about Jesus being the only way to heaven. The Oprah’s, Katie Couric's  and Ellen’s of this world do not like that. It is in vogue to believe that every religion is equally valid and their are many ways to that one heaven.

That is not what the Bible teachers, however. Only Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Only Jesus is the door to salvation. Only Jesus is the bread of life. Only Jesus has authority to judge all people at the judgment seat of Christ and the great white throne judgment. Only is Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes unto the Father  except by him.

The cross of Jesus is still foolishness to those that perish but unto the Christian, the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

No one is this world will enter have their sins forgiven and escape hell and go to heaven without  repenting of their sin and placing their faith, hope and trust in Jesus alone. This message is an offence to the world but it is the truth, the only truth.

I will stand with Jesus and his righteousness and I will not give heed to other systems of religious emptiness and vanity. No one can ever earn salvation by good works or learning a religious system.

Not by works of righteousness does Jesus save us, but according to his mercy does he save us(Titus 3:5).  ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Watch out for those who persecute those who live godly and watch out for those who declare another gospel other than Jesus dying on the cross, being buried, and rising again the third day. It is through believing  in  Jesus based on this and this alone that we are able to be forgiven, pardoned and receive spiritual life which results in abundant life now and eternal life forever.

 

 

Sunday, 3/15/2015          II Timothy 3:7

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

 

I learned about levels of knowledge once in a class about learning how to teach. Until a student is able to apply the knowledge they have put in their head, the knowledge is really of no use to the student.

It has been said from thousands of pulpits that many people will miss heaven by about 18 inches: the distance between the head and the heart. Head knowledge alone about Jesus and the Bible is never enough alone. I heard one preacher say that the janitor who sweeps off the steps often times has more spirituality than the PHD in the pulpit.

The bottom line is this: Jesus came to save sinners. Until what we believe gets into our heart, soul, eyes, hands, feet and life, it does us no good eternally and no good practically in our day to day life.

So many today do have a form of godliness but deny the power of it. They appear to know God. They know the words to the songs in the song book and on the screen. They can quote chapter and verse of so many things in the Bible. They teach classes on the Bible. They even go on mission trips. But deep down inside, they are mean as a snake. They are filled with pride, anger, greed, gossip, and have a self serving spirit. What they believe in their head has not got down into their heart.

What about you and I?  James, the brother of Jesus says ‘faith with works is dead’ in James 2:20. We can quote the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and even the Westminster Confession of Faith and still bust hell wide open.

You got to get saved to go to heaven. There is no pride or pats on the back for getting saved. It is what it is. Getting saved is when a poor lost sinner comes to Jesus admitting his sin and utter spiritual bankruptcy and casts him or her self upon the grace, mercy and righteousness of Christ and receives him as both Lord of his live and Savior of his soul. That is getting saved.

Getting saved results in a changed life. Why? Because the Operatatus Mundi changes. That which makes one tick changes. Now, instead of being motivated to lie, cheat and steal, the saved person is motivated to tell the truth, have a servant spirit and give back more than one takes. Jesus forgives and pardons the sinner but also motivates and propels the sinner. That is why a person asks forgiveness from others when they get saved. That is why a person makes restitution when they get saved. That is why a person goes out of their way to serve others with a towel and basin when they get saved.

Paul talks about his manner of life which includes purpose, longsuffering, faith, love, patience, persecution and afflictions. What Paul is saying is that when he got saved, his life changed. He is now like Jesus. That is what getting saved does to a person.

Have you been saved? Has what you believe in your head and profess with your lips actually changed your life? If not, you have not got saved yet.

Listen, when the creator of this universe and the one who keeps it from exploding into a zillion bits comes into your life, you will change. It is impossible not to. O yeah, we might slip once in a while and exhibit the patterns of the old life as in selfishness, meanness, pride, foolishness and sins of the flesh. But not for long. Because after we get saved we have a new owner: Jesus. Jesus will not stand for our disobedience when we belong to him. The Lord chastens and disciplines every son and daughter whom he receives.

I am not perfect but I am perfectfully forgiven. I have not arrived but I am on the journey. I am not the man that I should be but thank God I am not the man I used to be. The grave clothes are falling off of me piece by piece. Thank you Jesus for saving me, forgiving me and changing my life by your power piece by piece.

 

 

Saturday, 3/14/2015       II Timothy 3:1

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."

 

In the 1970’s, many thought the return of Jesus was right around the corner. We had just survived the turbulent 60’s and the Viet Nam War. Many things had changed. Drugs, sexual immorality and rock and roll was the poignant theme of many young people’s lives.

Yet in the middle of all this, a movement of God took place called the ‘Jesus People Movement.’ I was part of the Jesus Movement. I was in a church where there were many young people who were on fire for God! Contemporary Christian music was birthed and a theme song was ‘Left Behind’ by Larry Norman.

My own little brother got saved and he and his rock band partner started a Christian rock band. Our church set up outside the church on a flat bed trailer and we had a a Christian Festival with music and preaching. Thousands of young people came to that event in Memphis, Tennessee. Many were converted!

A book was written called ‘The Late Great Planet Earth.’ It was about, of course, the return of Jesus. We made a Jesus is coming back newspaper scrap book and attempted to jibe current events with the Bible.

Things seemingly have cooled off now. I rarely hear from many pulpits a sermon or even a mention of the return of Jesus. Someone said that one out of four verses in the New Testament is about the return of Jesus. I never counted them but I have never heard that premise challenged either.

Have we become complacent in our commitment to Jesus resulting in us not so looking for the return of Jesus?

The Bible says there will be two kinds of Christians at the rapture. Those excited, looking for the return of Jesus and on fire for the Lord and those ashamed, not looking for the return of Jesus  and cold in their spiritual zeal. Which one are you?

This world is ripe for the return of Jesus! Israel has returned to their land as the ancient prophets predicted. Violence and immorality runs rampant in public life.

As a child, I never heard a cuss word on television or in the movies. Never. But around the mid to late 1960’s, that all changed.

I am told now that many young women cuss like sailors often times (even the college educated ones.) What has happened to us? Satan has entered in and is thrashing up a storm!

Mankind has the capacity to press a button now and possibly destroy whole cities and even countries with nuclear weapons. We call them weapons of mass destruction.

Although there are still being people won to the Lord and taught to follow and to serve Jesus, there are so many who live and believe as if Jesus never existed.

I am told there are more children born out of marriage than in marriage now. What has happened? I believe that many Christians do not have a burden for the lost anymore and do not really cry out for their salvation at the throne of God. Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness? Do we pray for and go after the spiritually lost?

Many churches do not even give public invitations anymore or an altar call at the end of the service. In many quarters, the church has become lukewarm and tepid and afraid to offend the feelings of those who live ungodly lifestyles.

We should never be judgmental towards unbelievers but we should with a burden, tears, truth, emotion and gentleness call sinners to repentance and faith! Yes we should!

One day, perhaps very soon, even today or tomorrow or next week (soon, but we don’t know the day or time) Jesus will come again. I am ready. Are you? Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

 

 

Friday, 3/13/2015        II Timothy 2:23

"But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."

 

The Christian life is about relationships:

1.) a relationship with God

2.) a relationship with yourself

3.) a relationship with others.

These relationships are fueled by the power that is made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the basis and foundation for our faith.

Whenever people start making other issues the primary issue, you know they are barking up the wrong tree.

For instance, there are those teaching today that if you just do what God says in the Bible, then you will get a whole lot of money, nice houses, new cars, boats, or trains and planes. This is not so. These teachers are appealing to the desires and lusts of others to build their so called ministries. They are supposing that gain is godliness. Sure, God gives good gifts to his children but not everyone is going to to make a million dollars a year or thereabouts.

The writer of the Proverbs wanted to be neither  poor or rich but just to have what he needed. Philippians tells us to be content in whatever stated God deems for us: whether it is having a whole lot or just having enough. That is the truth--- not that we should be filthy stinking rich in money and possessions just because we serve God.

Satan wants to side track us from the main mission that God has for us.

The main mission that God has for us is to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ which is  that Jesus can forgive sin and give new and eternal life because he died for us, was buried and rose again the third day!

The truth is that some people are still bound up by Satan. They are captives of the devil and are unable to see and to do what God says. We are to gently, lovingly and truthfully proclaim them to them Jesus, what he has done for them and what he can do thorough them. That is our mission.

Of course, if the people whom God has led us to reach have other issues such as lack of food, lack of wisdom or are stuck in some bondage of the devil, we are to help them to bring their issue to God and find deliverance and freedom as well.  If a person is hungry, we must help them have physical food to show them the love of Jesus and in order that they might not be distracted from hearing about and receiving the spiritual food Jesus has for them.

So let’s stay on the main issue of reaching people with the good news of Jesus. Watch out for those who would get you off course.

Stay with Jesus and he will fill you peace, joy, hope, love, strength, faith and patience. And that is good.

 

 

Thursday, 3/12/2015        II Timothy 2:15

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

 

This is been a favorite verse to me for many, many years. We are commanded to have a good grasp on the teachings of the Bible in order that we might please God.

I would like to suggest four ways you can do this:

1.) Read the Bible

2.) Hear the Bible preached

3.) Be in a Bible study class

4.) Study the Bible for yourself.

Do you have a daily reading program for the word of truth, the Holy Bible? Did you know that if you read five chapters from the Psalms daily, 1 chapter from the Book of Proverbs daily, two chapters from the New Testament daily, and two chapters from the Old Testament Daily that you will read the Psalms and Proverbs twelve times a year, the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament twice a year? You could do all of this by reading approximately thirty minutes in the morning from the Bible and then thirty minutes in the evening from the Bible. Is your spiritual life worth that? Of course! Is it worth it to show God how much we love him by doing this? Yes it is!

Every Christian should attend a good Bible believing Church! We should get a good night’s rest the night before Sunday preaching and then stay awake, attentive and prayerfully receptive during the preaching service. I pray for my pastor, Dr. Johnny Hunt every day of the week and more often than that:  several times each day by name. We should pray for our pastors to be enriched from their study of the word of God and to get just the message God wants to hear and to apply.

Are you in a Bible study class? I love my Sunday School class at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia. I pray for my teacher, Jim Law (who is also Executive Pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia) every day.  Get under the teaching ministry of a good Bible teacher where you can interact and ask questions and share with others what God is impressing on your heart and teaching you! You will be a stronger Christian for that.

Do you study the Bible for yourself? I suggest having two or three good translations of the Bible on hand, a good Bible Dictionary, a good Bible Concordance and perhaps some Bible Commentaries or Bible Word Study helps. Take a section of Scripture and break it down verse by verse. I like to outline the verse, look up meanings of words and other Scriptures that use the same words.  Questions I like to ask about a section of Scripture are:

1.) Who was this originally written to and what was their special situation?

2.) Is this a historical account, poetry, wisdom literature, or prophecy?

3.) What abiding principles does this text teach for today?

4.) What universal commands are in the text for all people of all times including me?

5.) Is there a promise I can claim in the text?

6.) Is there an example to follow or to stay away from?

7.) What does this text teach about Jesus my Lord (Jesus is on and in every page of

the Bible)

Let’s understand, rightly divide the word of God and apply it to our lives through the guidance and illumination that the Holy Spirit gives to us. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth and magnify Jesus to us. Let me finish by quoting Psalm 19:

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 3/10/2015        2 Timothy 2:1

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

 

It takes real spiritual focus to do the Lord’s work and will. James says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. I once listen to a teaching series on the preparation of Olympic athletes go through in preparation for their coming competition. It is arduous, painstaking, and difficult. To prepare for one event takes hundreds, even thousands of hours.

It takes no less effort and practice to prepare to serve the Lord. So often it can seem that we just go through the motions, though.

What is at stake in doing or not doing the Lord’s work and will?  The reputation and glory of God is at stake.  The destiny of precious souls is at stake.  Our own reward at the judgment seat of Christ is at stake.  Our ability to influence our family, our neighbors and our friends to follow and honor Jesus is at stake.  There is much at stake here.

Paul gives three analogies that pertain to our preparation in following the Lord:

1.) the preparation of a soldier

2.) the preparation of an apprentice or athlete

3.) the preparation of a farmer.

I served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971. Upon arriving at Fort Polk, La, I was nineteen years old and weighed 154 pounds. In nine short weeks, I learned how to march, how to shoot a M-14, how to throw a hand grenade, and how to low crawl a distance on my belly and avoid land mines and machine gun bullets firing over my head.

When I finished my basic training, I weighed 176 pounds and could run over 5 miles without even getting winded.  I prepared to be a soldier.

I always wanted to play sports and I did some.  My problem was I was too slow and not agile enough to do that.  So I took guitar lessons for two years.  I learned how to play to top 50 songs on the radio and started a band.  We played sock hops, school assemblies and teen dances.  I prepared to be a musician.

As a child, I would go to my Grandmother’s home for several weeks most summers. My Uncle Gene lived next door and had a farm.  He had tractors, combines, plows and everything a farmer needed to till the ground, plant the seed, cultivate and harvest the crop.  Uncle Gene studied farming, knew about farming, practiced farming and was successful at farming.  My Uncle prepared to be a farmer.

What about you and I as it pertains to Christian service?  Do we get adequate training to serve the Lord.  My dear wife sings in our church choir.  Trust me, she just does not show up Sunday morning to sing.  She goes to choir practice to prepare for Sunday.

Sunday School teachers have teacher training and prepare every week to teach their lesson if they want to please the Lord and impact their class to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

We as Christians must focus and prepare to serve the Lord successfully. I have purchased a New Testament called the ‘Share Jesus Without Fear’ New Testament. To adequately prepare to take a person through certain Scriptures in order to share effectively the gospel message with them, I am to write on the pages of this New Testament where to go next and to high light the Scripture verses.  Then I am to practice on how to ask permission to share the good news with others and to develope certain questions to fact find and to begin a spiritual conversation with a person.

I am preparing to share an evangelistic presentation with a lost person.

Let us all commit to pray, Biblically prepare and to focus on spiritual preparation in order that we might be effective in bringing  glory to the Lord and that we we might be effective in influencing  our friends and family and fellow church members  to follow and serve the Lord!

 

 

Tuesday, 3/10/2015        II Timothy 1:6

 "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."

 

Our foundation directly affects our ability to stand. I sold home sun rooms to provide for my family for nearly twenty years. The foundation was crucial as to the ability for the various parts of a sun room to work. A poor foundation meant the doors would not open properly, nor the windows. The roof would not set properly on the top of the sunroom if the foundation was not strong and level. Every thing hinged on the quality and strength of the foundation.

To be able to stir of a gift that is in us means we have started out right. The Apostle Paul said he served the God of his forefathers. Paul acknowledged the influence of those who went before.

Timothy was greatly influenced by the faith of his Mother and Grandmother. Timothy also had the Apostle Paul in his corner. Yet sometimes Timothy had the reputation of being afraid. Although the name Timothy literally means honors God, we get our English word timid from Timothy.

Not every one gets happy when we serve the Lord. People don’t automatically jump head over heels and shout glory when we do what God says. Why? Because they have the devil in them. That’s right, the spirit of this world, old slewfoot.

When one serves God that means that other things have to go. A man cannot have his drinking buddies and serve God. A woman cannot attend gossip gatherings and serve God. A high school student cannot do what the crowd does when serving God.

Recently a lady told about her high school daughter. This girl was everything in school as in cheerleader, class leader and so forth. Half way into her senior year she decided to drop out of high school and finish up in home school.  Why? Because as a Christian, she felt it was the right thing to do.  There was just too much sin in the school for her.  Many told here she was wrong to do that.  But now this girl who took a stand for God has receive a scholarship to a Christian University and has answered God’s call to be a missionary.  She will serve in Africa one month this summer before beginning her studies.

Paul said all of Asia had turned from him.  Paul thanked one individual for caring for him time and again while he was locked up.  Paul told Timothy to not be afraid but to remember where he came from and to remember where he is going.  Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift that God put in him.

God puts a gift in all of us. Your thing might be teaching or supporting or praying or preaching.  But you have a motivational gift that fuels your passion for what you do in God’s vineyard.

Now, if your foundation is not right, you got to fix that first.  Make sure your faith stands on the cornerstone who is Jesus Christ.  Do not follow a human personality. Humans will let us down because we are all finite and weak. It is only through Jesus that we can be strong and balanced.

Make sure you have the right Biblical understanding and basis for your life.  Just because Abraham had many flocks does not mean you will.  Peter and John said ‘Silver and gold have I none but such as I have give I unto you.’  The prosperity preachers have it all wrong. God promises to meet our need not necessarily our wants.

Make sure you understand that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And make sure you stir up the gift that is in you.  Remember your foundation, depend on Jesus and don’t be afraid.  And stir up the gift that is in you. Let’s get stirred up and do what God says for his glory!

 

 

Monday, 3/9/2015            II Timothy 1: 2

"To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

Years ago in the church denomination of which I am a member, we had a church wide emphasis entitled: ‘Each one Win One." Of course, this emphasis was designed to motivate each church member to win other person to faith in Christ that year. If that actually happened, there would double the amount of Christians next year.

The thing is, that is not happening, though, is it?

Jesus said all Christians should be a witness to him by and through the Holy Spirit. I am to exert my influence upon another to give their life to Jesus, to follow Jesus, to learn of Jesus and to become a disciple of Jesus. But do you and I do that?

We all have spheres of influence. Our immediate family where we live is the first sphere (unless of course, you are single and live alone).  We also have other spheres of influence such as work places, clubs and our neighborhood.  We also in the day and age in which we live have social media as a possible sphere including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and mobile texting.

Parents are to raise their kids up in the fear and admonition (respect and teaching) of the Lord. Sometimes I look at ministries and see this happening  as in Billy Graham and Franklin Graham.

How wonderful it is when an actual physical son becomes a 'beloved son' as in a committed disciple of the Lord as Timothy was to Paul.  I have two sons, one actively loves and follows Jesus while my older son is presently a prodigal son. I pray for them both and love them both.  I rejoice over one while I grieve over the other.  God willing, my older son will return to a committed life to Jesus one day is my often and continual prayer.

Paul spoke of being an apostle, the will of God and the promise of life in II Timothy 1:1.  As perhaps you know,  Paul’s given name before he got saved was Saul.  Saul is a Hebrew name but Paul is a Greek name.  Because Paul became the Apostle to the Gentiles, his name changed from Saul to Paul.  Has Jesus changed your inward and outward life so much that you could have a new designation and so could be called a brand new name because you are so different than what you was before you knew and walked with Jesus?

The word Apostle literally means one sent forth as in a letter or a messenger.  Have we personally received and responded to the clarion call of the Lord to go forth bearing the precious seed of the gospel to plant in the lives of others for the Lord?

Paul was convinced that his mission was the particular will of God for him. Do we pray for guidance and direction that we might plant our lives into the particular lives of others that we might too have a Timothy as Paul did?

Paul saw his actions being empowered by what he called the ‘promise of life.’ God promises to make us and mold us into his change agents when we continually give our life to him through faith in Christ Jesus.

For Paul, God and Jesus were co equal and one.  It is the power of God that changes our life through faith in Jesus Christ,  the God man who is the very God of heaven who came to earth to die for us on the cross and to rise again the third day.

Yes, we are to make Timothy’s by and through the power of Christ!  We are to make disciples.  So are we?   I hunger and thirst to be a witness and a diciple maker  for Jesus.

Once I worked in a place for several years where one man continually made fun of my faith. He called me ‘preacher’ and sometimes would actually mock a preacher by raising his voice and act out how a preacher might preach. Many other employees laughed at his antics. Twenty years afterward,  I was on a sales appointment in his home.  I had not seen him for twenty years.  In tears, he told me of problems he had and how he gave his life to Jesus years after he worked with me.  He apolgized for acting in such a ridiculing and mocking fashion years earlier and he thanked me for being a witness of Jesus to him and said the example I had exerted upon him for Jesus lingered in his mind throughout the years and helped him to turn his live over to Jesus when he realized his need of a savior.

Let us live a life pleasing to the Lord, I say.  Let us plant gospel seeds by our testimony for Jesus and by sharing the precious Word of God, the Bible, prayerfully where ever we are: in our family unit, at our place of employment, where we associate with others in clubs (and other organizations), with our neighbors and in our day to day goings and comings.  God will add unto the church such as should be saved and he will give us opportunities to find a Timothy as did Paul.

 

 

Sunday, 3/08/2015        II Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth

 

It can seem sometimes that we are all alone serving the Lord. That is especially true when one is not in the presence of other believers on a regular basis. That is one reason why being a viable part of a New Testament church is so important. God did not mean for us to go it alone.

It should be that with the advent of the internet and messaging via cell phones, that one should be more connected more than ever  but that is not always the case either.

Paul uses a plural you in our text today. He thanks God that the Christians in and at the church of the Thessalonians are distinctively chosen, believed and set apart by God.

The Christian is not alone in his mission. There are millions who have gone before us and there are millions walking with the the Lord now. We need to know that!

We are loved by God and it is his purpose that we might be part of a team in whom the Holy Spirit is working through faith in Jesus and growth in understanding and applying Biblical truth.

The Bible teaches that in during the ‘last day’s, however, there will be a great falling away in that people will compromise Bible truth and their walk with Christ. We see that today in that many people are embracing false and destructive practices such as the going away of seeing people as male or female.

I know there are certain physical aberrations and abnormalities caused at birth with in a minute number of births of babies born with both male and female organs or their physical makeup being so obscure, it it is difficult to assign a gender to that child. But I am not speaking of that.

Today at an old University,  that was one distinctively Christan but no longer,  in the North East, dorm rooms are assigned based on a student choosing one of fifteen gender designations. Yes, fifteen, when there are but two: male and female. God created us male or female, that’s it.

One thing I know, I could imagine trying to live my life without the indwelling Spirit of Christ who teaches me the spiritual truth and gives me insight and understanding how to apply that spiritual truth to my day to day minute by minute life.

The Christian is bombarded today with bad examples, false teachings, and cultural pressure to confirm to a life without Christ.

But we have our true brothers and sisters in Christ to help us along.  That is why it is important to stay connected.  We that are strong ought to support the weak, though. We must pray for, check on and keep in touch with each other!

We are the body of Christ!  I might be a little finger in the body or even a finger nail, but I am needed.  It makes no different what is our ability or designation in the body as far as staying connected.  Every part of Christ’s body (the church) is needed.

There is no such thing as a Long Ranger mentality as far as we are concerned.

God does not mean for us to go it alone. We need each other. Today, more than ever there is the advent of the machines that can make us feel depersonalized more than ever. Yes, we have computers but the keyboard does not check on us or  pray for us. Only another human in the body of Christ can do that.

The plural words in our text today are you (as all of you) and brethren. Reach out today and connect with like minded Christians in the body of Christ.

 

 

Saturday, 3/07/2015         Psalm 70:1

         Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord.

Two simple words: Help Me! When my Grandson was a little tyke he fell between chair and a wall and cried out to my wife: ‘Help me, Dee Dee, I’m stuck!"

These two simple words are ones we should cry out to the Lord every day and every moment of each and every day.  The reason that many times we don’t is because we really don’t realize the shape we are in without him.

Jesus told us in John 15:5 ‘Apart from me you can no nothing’ yet often times we go about things in our own strength and cunning. Yet when the proverbial bottom falls out, we cry out with the Psalmist, ‘Help me, O Lord!’

A television commercial that seemingly will not go away is the ‘help me, I’ve fallen and cannot get up’ one.  But isn’t that true of us?  We need and must have the Lord to help get us up and help keep us up or we will not be up. So lets learn to continually say to the Lord: ‘Make haste, O god to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord!’

It is much easier to say these words in a time of crisis.  A hospital bed or a sudden death of a loved one, or an unexpected calamity comes and we cry out to the Lord for his help.  Why do we wait until hardship and great difficulty to ask the Lord for his help? It is because we are not fully award of our spiritual plight.

Yesterday, before an appointment with a foot doctor, I sat in my van reading Scripture from Isaiah.  Isaiah paints a picture of our true spiritual reality without the Lord:

"From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment."  (Isaiah 1:6)

This describes us in our own strength, wit and intellect.  That is why Jesus came and gave his life to deliver us from our sins.  He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him.  He gave himself to die for us: the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God!  Because of Jesus, when we place our faith and trust in him, we may overcome, be forgiven and be helped up from our terrible unsoundness and weakness.

You can go into a gym and see all the strong men and even strong women (physically strong, that is) but  those who have yet to come to Jesus are unsound, unfit, puny, shriveled up and weak, weak, weak spiritually.

The Scripture says God hates a proud look. Pride goes before a fall. Paul said to take heed if any man thinks he stand, lest he fall.  Even as a born again child of God, a Christian can slip back into patterns of self sufficiency and self actualization. We don’t need a co-pilot for our life, but we do need a pilot. We don’t need a first mate for our ship but we do need a captain.

We need to get into a state of perpetual humility and need to really walk with the Lord.  Our continual cry must be for the Lord to help us.  We must see ourselves as a little child not knowing where or how to go and knowing how to do things and cry out to the Lord for his help constantly.

I need Jesus’ help.  I am nearly 66 years old and I need his help more than ever! Help me, O Lord, I will sink without you.  I cannot measure up with out you O Lord. Make haste, O Lord, help me.  I will follow you and I will do your good will, but only Lord, if you Help Me!

 

 

Friday, 3/06/2015         Galatians 3:26

      For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

 

The cry of he reformation was Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratis, Sola Pistis: Only the Bible, Only Grace and Only Faith.

It is through faith that we become children of God. No ritual can save.

Water baptism does not saved. You can be dunked in the water so many times that you know every minnow in the pond by name but that still will not save you. Infant baptism does not save. Child baptism does not saved. Teen age baptism does not saved. Adult baptism does not save.

Church membership does not save. You can join a dozen different churches and memorize their doctrinal statements but that still will not save you. There is no one particular church that grants salvation. Joining a church and being punctual in attendance and giving will not save you.

Doing good deeds will not saved. You can take all your good deeds of helping others, giving to others and acts of kindness you do and even though they might appear to outweigh the bad you have done, those good deeds cannot saved you. You can join the lodge and all the service clubs you can

but that will not save you.

Knowledge will not save you. You can learn intellectually all there is to know about world religions including Christianity and that will not save you. Buddha, Confucius or Mohammed cannot save you. Shintoism or wicca cannot save you. Rev Moon cannot save you. Joseph Smith cannot save you. Ellen White cannot save you.

Only through faith in Christ Jesus can you be saved. Only through Faith in Christ Jesus can you become a child of God.

Why is this so?  Because:

Only Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. Only Jesus died in your take place to suffer your just penalty for your sins. Only the blood of Jesus can provide pardon for your sin, forgiveness, cleansing and justification. Only the risen Jesus can send the Holy Spirit to grant you spiritual life, new birth and take up residence in your life. Only Jesus can take you to heaven when you die.

To have faith in Jesus means you trust Jesus to do in, to , for and through you what you can never do for yourself. You have to know you are lost and undone before you can be found and made new.

Have you admitted you are a sinner who on your own and in your own power are lost, separated and doomed to eternal hell without Jesus? That is necessary to receive Jesus.

Once you are convicted of your lost state, then you may believe in and on Jesus.

Believe is another word for faith. Faith and belief imply trust in, reliance on and adherence to Jesus.

We are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus says: I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.’ (John 10:9)

Jesus is not a door but THE DOOR! Have you come through Jesus? He invites you to come by having faith only in him to receive eternal life and to become a child of the living God. 

Come through Jesus by, through and in  faith and you will be saved. Come through Jesus and you will find spiritual sustenance for your life. The Holy Spirit will enter your life and regenerate you when you come through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will affirm to your heart, soul and mind that you are now a child of God when you come through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will teach you spiritual truth from the Bible when you come through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will help you pray when you come through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will place you into the body of Christ and give you a desire to worship, relate to and serve with other Christians through the church when you come through Jesus.

Even faith is a gift of God. Cast yourself upon Jesus and he will grant you the gift of faith. Cry out to Jesus: ‘This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.’ (Psalm 34:6) 

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. (Acts 16:31)   He (Jesus) came unto his own but his own received him not but unto as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God even to as many as believed on his name. (John 1:11-12)

 

 

Thursday, 03/05/2015        Hebrews 13:5

Be content with such things as you have, for he has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.

 

What do you have this morning? Do you have food to eat? Do you have clothes to wear? Do you have a chair with which to sit? Do you have a bowl for your cereal? Do you have a cup for your coffee or milk? If so, be content.

I can understand when a person is a little bit concerned  when they do not have the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing. If that is you, I pray for you. You can contact me and I will do what I can to help you myself or to help you find the help that you need. But to those like myself, who have what they need, the message is to be content.

Contentment denotes thanksgiving, joy and peace. Contentment does not always strive for more and more. Contentment does not yearn to keep up with the Jones’. Does Mr. Jones have a new shiny green and yellow John Deere lawn tractor and you still have that Wal Mart 3 horse power push mower? Does your mower work? Does it cut grass? Then be content. Contentment does not envy Mr. Jones. Contentment rejoices with Mr. Jones that he can get that new John Deere.

The most important reality for the Christian is the presence of the indwelling Jesus. Jesus told his 12 Apostles that during his earthly ministry, he was with them but after Pentecost, he would be in them. Which is better: with or in? In is, of course.

Jesus is in us. And he promises to never leave us or forsake us.

Do we as a  Christian sometimes give in to that old sin nature and get short tempered, envious, jealous and run our mouths saying hurtful and spiteful things about others? Yes, we do. And when we do that, we shove Jesus into a little corner of our life. We knock him out of the driver’s seat of our life into the back seat. He still does not leave us forsake us. Why?  Because he covered and forgives our sins based on his shed blood on the cross. Because he was in the grave but now is arisen alive foever more and has applied his righteousness to our lives. Because he loves with us an everlasting love.  And because he promised not to. (ever leave us or forsake us)

This morning, I want to come to Jesus and give him the rightful place of control and directorship in my life. I want to do things his way. I want to be thankful for the things I have. I may not have a summer house in Florida or I may not be financially able to take that Alaskan Cruise or that trip to the Holy Land, but I have the indwelling Jesus in my heart and life and I choose to be content with the things he has provided for me.

I have a warm residence, a nice bed, clean clothes, my choice of oatmeal, eggs, toast or yogurt for breakfast, and a nice computer to write Daily Light.

I am content in Jesus. I choose to thank the Lord and to celebrate the 100% fact that he will never leave me or forsake me!  I smile with joy.  His peace floods my heart and mind.  God is so good!  I am happy in Jesus!

Can you say that you are content? Do you celebrate the fact of the presence of Jesus in your life?  Are you thankful he says he will never leave you or forsake you? Do you sense his peace, love and joy flooding into and out of your inner most being?  You can!

Just come to Jesus, admit your need of him in your life. Turn from your way of doing things and receive Jesus as the director of your life and invite him to be your Lord and Savior.  Then you will be content with what he gives you and you will be thankful and rejoice because the creator, redeemer and sustainer of this universe is in you and has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you! (And he never breaks a promise!)

 

 

Wednesday, 3/04/2015         I Samuel 12:23                                                     Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

 

An acrostic for prayer is the word ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I Samuel 12:23 refers to the supplication part.

God says in his word that we sin when we do not pray for the people whom God has brought into our life.

I once had a professor who wrote a book called ‘Concentric Circles of Concern.’ His purpose of the book was to help people determine what people were in their life that needed to be evangelized  and won to Jesus. In various outlying parts of the circle were groups of people such as family members, neighbors, church leaders and friends, work associates, clubs, people where you shopped and people you had not even met as of yet.

Yesterday, I went to see two different Doctors, one was my primary care physician (whom I see every ninety days, rain or shine) and the other was a foot doctor who I also see every ninety days.

I was in contact with two front desk persons, two medical assistants, two Doctors, one lab person, and two check out billing people. God convicted me that I should be burdened for the salvation and personal needs of these people and to pray for them. I had two spiritual conversations; one with the lab lady and one with the medical assistant at the foot Doctor. As I think about it now, I could of told each person briefly that I had a burden to pray for them and asked if they had any needs that they wished to pray for.

I don’t think I am stretching this scripture when Samuel said he was sinning if he did pray for the people that God had brought into his life.

What would happen in our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, our work places, our Doctor offices, our clubs and activity centers if all of us as Christians got burdened and really started praying for the people in our lives?

Coupled in our text for today, is the result of praying for people which is people being taught the good and right way to live. Of course the good and the right way to live is to follow the Prince of peace and the King & Savior of the world,

Jesus Christ.

In my first church pastorate, I got the church membership list of 263 people and began to pray by name for every member in the church on a daily and weekly basis. As I actually mentioned by name the church members before the throne of grace, more happened in that church as far as people getting saved and right with God than had ever happened before.

My plea and prayer today is that the Lord will convict us to have the kind of burden  for the people in our lives that calls us to pray for them by name to  the Lord. The promise of II Chronicles 7:14 still applies to us for today:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land

Yes, it will take time to pray. We are told in Scripture that Jesus prayed all night the night before he chose the 12 Apostles. Paul talks about the labor of prayer. Jesus asked his disciples in the garden, ‘could you not watch with me one hour?"

God forbid we should sin in not praying for those whom God has placed in our lives, on our hearts and before our eyes such as family, friends, neighbors, church leaders and members, work associates, club or activity members, business people and political leaders and others. We will see great and might things unfold and take place when we obey God and really pray with a burden for others to be found in the good and the right way.

 

Tuesday, 3/03/2015 John 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

 

John 5:24 is a wonderful promise of assurance for the born again believer in Jesus!

Literally verily, verily is amen, amen. It is a solemn affirmation of what is to follow. It’s kind of funny that in the modern church, the word amen is used as an affirmation of truth after a statement is given but Jesus used it to a define a statement that had not been given. Seems we are always turning things around!

I have often thought how wonderful it would have been to be present during the earthly ministry of Jesus. Just to have heard him speak would have been such an experience, right? Well the Bible states we have a more sure word of prophecy through what is written in the New Testament than those who had initially heard him.

Think about that, the words in the Bible are all we need to hear Jesus speak today! Timothy was told by Paul that from a child he had heard and been taught the scriptures where were able to make him wise unto salvation.

Romans 10:17 states ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’ The words of the Bible from the written page are applied to the heart of the one believing in Jesus and illuminated to the heart of the one believing  by the Holy Spirit!

To believe in Jesus means you also give credence that the Father sent Jesus. It is impossible to to believe in God and not necessarily believe in Jesus. For the Father is God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God. That does not mean there are three Gods; no, it means there is one God who manifests himself in three distinct and different co-equal persons. We call that the trinity. Don’t ask me to explain it. I just believe it. I believe it first because the Bible teaches it and second because I have experienced it. Experience must always be examined in the light of the Bible. The Bible is the ultimate source of authority, not experience.

People today are trying to say opposite. Some say their experience trumps the Bible. That is not so. That is false doctrine and false teaching. Anytime someone tells you that they have experienced something that changes what the New Testament teaches, run from that person as fast as you can because they are getting their stuff right out of the pit of  hell. Remember that satan cast doubt on the word of God to Eve in the garden of eden and to Jesus in the wilderness temptation when he said: ‘Has God said?’

Eternal life  begins the second you get saved. To get saved, you must acknowledge your sin has separated you from God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior who died for you on the cross, was buried and was raised from the dead victorious over sin, death and hell. Jesus is our living Savior who presently saves us. Eternal life is a present possession and experience of a believer in Jesus !

When you posses eternal life, you do not come into condemnation. That means Jesus died for all the sins of the one presently possessing eternal life: past sins, present sins and future sins. What? Do you mean Jesus died and paid for the sins I will commit tomorrow and next week? Yes! That is what I mean. All your sins are paid for in full.

So why live for Jesus then? Why? Because when one gets saved, that is, receives eternal life, one receives a new life. I live for Jesus because I love him so much and want to please him. I also know the destructive qualities of bad sinful decisions and actions. I am running away from the devil and sin as fast as I can to the safety of my Savior Jesus. I have done things Larry’s and the devil’s way. That way hurt me and those I love real bad. Now, I do things Jesus’ way. His way is best. His way results in blessings like peace, love, joy, contentment and so forth.

One more thing: Because one believes in God (and Jesus at the same time) one is passed from death unto life. That is why when the Bible talks about the Christian dying the word used is sleep instead  of death. Death for the Christian is just a stepping stone, a door, a graduation to the next and final arena: Heaven! Jesus told the thief on the cross after that thief humbly with repentance and faith asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ Wow! At the point of my death, the angles will rush me safe into the arms of my Savior Jesus Christ in paradise. I will see that thief on the cross who got saved at the final moment of his life. And more importantly and gloriously, I will see Jesus!

I love John 5:24. It has been a great and precious promise to me from the word of God for many years and I never grow weary of hearing it again and again!

 

 

Monday, 3/3/2015       Galatians 5:16

Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

 

When Jesus saves you, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of your body and soul. You are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. That means the eternal God takes up residence inside of you. The temple of the Holy Spirit is the believer’s body!

So think about, how could one be the same after Jesus saves them? Well, they can’t!  So if one remains the same after a profession of faith, then that was a false profession of faith.  Because trust me, the Spirit of the living God changes things when he comes in.

We all have what the Bible calls ‘the flesh'  (even after we are saved).  The flesh is that ole thing way down deep in us:  the sinful pull, lusts, and ungodly desires.

A Christian is to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit who resides inside of him or her to gain victory over the lust of the flesh. We do that by walking in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be filled with the Spirit. Jesus invites us to drink of the Spirit just as an alcoholic would drink of beer.

I have seen people thirst after beer. At 5:30 in the afternoon, they rush to the 7/11 to get a tall boy, a six pack or a case of beer. I have seen them hold that beer carefully and almost as if it were a little baby. They caress the can. They place it to their lips and then drink expectantly!  When the beer hits their lips and enters their body, they breathe a sigh of relief and relax. Then often times it is beer after beer. Many beer drinkers become intoxicated and are controlled by the beer after several beers.

Christians are to thirst after the Spirit of God just like that.  Through repentance and humility they are to drink of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit fills us, a sense of peace, joy, strength and contentment floods our soul! We become intoxicated with the Spirit of God.

That does not mean we shout or run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, but things are different. We think before we speak. We pause before we act. We do things God’s way. We are motivated by love, service and a desire to win others to faith in Jesus!

It can also mean we do something unusual and even odd at times. God leads us in a new way. Once Jesus and the disciples were traveling and Jesus said he had to go through Samaria. I means the Jews did not even get along with the Samaritans! The disciples did not understand this but Jesus knew he had an appointment in the heat of the day at the well with a Samaritan woman! This woman was going to get saved and lead her village to Christ.

(Read John Chapter 4 for this thrilling account)

Are you walking in the Spirit? What is your ultimate goal in life? Is it to eat the next fine meal, buy the next shiny car, get the latest spring fashion or is it to bring glory to God, to honor the Lord, to do his will in winning others to Jesus and to bring  comfort and healing to the downcast and downtrodden?

When you walk in the Spirit, you will have a higher calling!  You will have a divine power that enables you to focus on God’s will, honor, glory and mission of bringing a spiritually dying world to himself through the repentance and faith of sinners in order that they might call upon the name of the Lord!  You will also give yourself to comfort the pain and distress of your brothers and sisters in Christ as well.

As the old hymn says:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

 

Sunday, 3/01/15 Hebrews 12:15 "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"

The Christian life is more than a fire insurance policy. When does a Christian quit serving the Lord? Never. As long as one has breath, is in his or her’s right mind, has bodily strength, it is time to serve the true and living God!

I once knew a lady in her late 50’s or early 60’s. She said she had worked with children in Sunday School for many years but now it was time for her to sit on the sidelines. This lady’s service, so she thought, was only to come to Church 2 or 3 times a month on Sunday morning. That was it as far as she was concerned. She was lukewarm in her faith. She could of at least committed herself to teach others to teach children or whatever God would lead her to do. But she seemed unconcerned and seemingly did nothing for Jesus! How sad and how destructive!

Jesus said he would rather a child of God be hot or cold because when one is lukewarm, he will spew that one out of his mouth!

Are you hot for the Lord? Do you have a passion to serve him with your spiritual gifts? Is there a time in your life when you were more on fire for God than you are right now? If so, what happened?

Sometimes one can’t get over getting their feelings hurt. One can feel mistreated, left out and looked over. That, my friend, is no excuse to get lukewarm in your faith. The grace of God in us is a working grace.

God says we are created unto good works. The Greek word for good works in Ephesians 2:10 is poeima. We get our word poem from this. We are God’s created masterpiece to be written and painted on the canvas of this world. We are  passionately and wholeheartedly to serve the true and living God. Let’s bow our head and get our on our spiritual knees and confess our sins and cry out for God to cleanse us, purge us and to fire us up with a fresh baptism and filling of the Holy Ghost!  

That is what we need today!

Do not let bitterness and hurt feelings rob you of the power and fire of God on and in your life! When one gets lukewarm and bitter it does not just affect that one but it spreads like a cancer where ever they are. They poison others with their bitterness. It is as if acid is pouring out of their mouth and glands upon other people, especially their own family and friends. O God, do not let me get bitter!

The key to staying in tune and on fire for God is to look unto Jesus for your approval and source. When he says well done, thou good and faithful servant, that is all we need for approval. The approval of men is ok but not sufficient to power us and to embolden us! We need God’s approval and stamp on our life! That is enough.

 

 

Saturday, February 28, 2015   Matthew 24:33
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

(Borrowed):

Here are 4 signs from the Bible that reveal we may be living in the last days:
Itching Ears
Second Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
Doesn’t this describe much of the modern messages today?  People don’t want to hear about repentance, sin, confession, the cross or holiness but they want to hear how they can prosper, be blessed, be happy and have their best day now.  Sorry, but that’s not the gospel. Our calling is about holiness not happiness.  The Word of God is supposed to rebuke and correct. The Word of God comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. It cuts in order to heal.
Another Gospel
Second Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”
Paul constantly had the Judiazers hounding him and trying to undo everything He did.  For example they wanted to add circumcision to the gospel but if you add one drop of works then it’s not grace anymore (Eph 2:8-9).   Works + grace = nothing but grace + nothing = salvation.  Today, there are other gospels out there, just as there were in Paul’s day which is why Paul wrote “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:6-7). Paul stated to the church in Galatia and he tells us that even if “an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse” (Gal 1:8).
Proud, Lovers of Self
Second Timothy 3:1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
Have you watched professional sports lately?  How many of these athletes thump their chest or even point backwards to their name on the back of their jersey after making a big play?  Today, a great number of men and women are in love…with themselves!  They are looking out for number one.  They are abusive, proud, boastful, greedy (loves of money), slanderous, brutal, have no self-control, and love pleasure, not God.  They might look like their Christians (having a form of godliness) but inwardly they deny the power of God.  We are to “have nothing to do with such people.”
Falling Away and Teachings of Demons
First Timothy 4:1-2 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
Paul seems to be saying that the Holy Spirit clearly told him that in the end times some will abandon the faith.  This is happening at an ever-increasing pace.  They might still go to a church but they are not following biblical teachings but following “deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”  They are hypocrites who by continual lies have so seared their consciences that they are no longer convicted by their hypocrisy and sin.
Conclusion
The best way to steer clear from doctrinal error is to stay in the Word of God. Daily reading of the Word builds our ability to discern truth from error. We are to follow the Word and not men or women. The only parts of sermons or Bible studies that are perfect are the parts that are direct quotes from the Bible. 

 

Friday, 02/27/2015 Psalm 23:6

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

Three marks of being cared for by the Good Shepherd Jesus are:

1.) Righteousness

2.) Love

3.) Eternal Life.

When one becomes a Christian, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is injected in one’s life. The life force of a Christian is to think things and to do things that are pleasing the the Father in heaven.

Now there is a another inward reality that is also present in the Christian that competes with the righteousness of Jesus which is called sin. Jesus said that out of the heart proceeds the evil things that people do and think such as adultery, hate, greed, prejudice, jealousy, lust lies and murder.

Romans chapter 7 is about the struggle between the new nature of righteousness and the old nature of sin in the Christian. Romans chapter 8 is about how the Spirit of God can give the Christian victory over the world, flesh and the devil.

It is very sad when I hear about a return of one who claims to be a Christian to an old lifestyle of sin and addiction. There is a major league baseball player in the news now about his relapse into cocaine and alcohol addiction. When one possesses the righteousness of Christ and yet falls into sin, there is a great disconnect. The inner conflicts of guilt, remorse, feelings of failure, disappointment and letting God down are ever present in the life of the Christian who has fallen into sin. Yet God promises to discipline, purge and bring back the backslider into fellowship with Jesus.

Victory is much better. To walk in the Spirit and not to fulfill the lust of the flesh is a wonderful and blessed life. The just shall live by faith and that faith is from faith to faith.

Another life force that is injected into ones life upon becoming a Christian is love.

Love for God, Love for others and Love for oneself.

A neat little acrostic for love is J O Y: Jesus, Others, You.

Now at the same time, another life force is present in the Christian: sin. Sin results in attitudes and actions that are opposite from love such as selfishness, jealousy, lust, greed, meanness, prejudice, envy and even hate.

Again, the victory of love is won by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God. To overcome sin, a Christian must grow in personal knowledge of the Bible, prayer, worship and service. This is possible. And the blessed release of love when manifested in the life of the Christian is so sweet and beautiful! Just to love the Lord, care for others and even love oneself is so blessed!

To dwell in the house of the Lord is the present result and end result of righteousness and love that is ever present in the Christian. Eternal life in heaven forever, forever and forever. I am 65 years at this writing. But, I am living forever!  I possess eternal life without end right now. In a million years from now I will be one million and 65 years and I will live in a new heavens and and new earth in which dwells righteousness and love. No sin will be present.

Think about that. No war. No hate. No sickness. No jealousy. No adultery. No addiction. No lust. No murder. No immorality. No pain. No tears. No envy. No meanness. No prejudice. No poverty. Just righteousness and love and perfect bliss forever.

I am ready to be resurrected and receive my new body without a sin nature and to live in a place without the ravages of the world, the flesh and the devil!  You can be ready as well.  Accept Jesus today by repenting of your sin and calling on the name of the Lord and you will be ready too!

 

 

Thursday, 02/26/2015 Psalm 23:5 "My Cup runneth over."

All that is needed to live a joyful, peaceful, strengthened and contented life Jesus gives to his follower. That is why the one who experiences these graces is full of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus!

Before one comes to Christ for salvation and begins a daily victorious walk with the Lord, one is full of inner conflict and an unquenched thirst for the things of the this world.

A wise old saint, Augustine of Hippo said it like this: ‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.’

That is why after one comes to Jesus to drink of the joys of salvation that one says:

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11)

Before February 2, 1971, I was an immoral man who lived for the next bout of drinking and partying. I had no conscience and remorse for my sin.

On February 2, 1971, I confessed my sinful ways to God, asked for forgiveness and surrendered my life lock, stock and barrel to Jesus Christ.

I wrote the following words about this:

I met him on a cold dark day,

When the the sun refused to shine.

In a German coffee house,

He became a friend of mind.

I did not know the implications

Of what had happened to me.

I only knew I felt so new, so fine,

So clean, so free.

He took my hand 

And he said my friend

There's no mountain 

That we can't climb

And since that day I met my friend

We've scaled new heights sublime.

And so I wish that everyone

Could come and meet my friend

'Cause I got first hand knowledge

Of what it means to be knowing him.

Won’t you give your life to Jesus?

Let me introduce to my friend.

Let him change, rearrange your life,

And take you upon his wing,

Then you’ll know what it means

To be knowing him.

Give your life to Jesus, my friend,  and follow him as the Lord of your life and your cup will run over with love, grace, peace, forgiveness, power, praise and thanksgiving!

 

 

Wednesday, 02/25/2015       Proverbs 20:1    Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

When I was in my twenties, my Pastor was Dr. W. Wayne Allen. Dr. Allen had a very good friend named Dr. Adrian Rogers, Pastor of Bellevue of Baptist Church (the largest Church in the Southern Baptist Convention) . Both Dr. Allen and Dr. Rogers were very much against the drinking of alcoholic beverages as in not a single drop.

My first Church Pastorate had the Baptist Church Covenant on the sanctuary wall. It read that members of that local church promised to abstain from the partaking, selling or production of alcoholic beverages.

I read a book by Evangelist David Wilkerson called ‘Sipping Saints’ which also taking this position bemoaned the many Christians who drank alcohol even to the point of intoxication.

I know this is a controversial subject and many will say Jesus turned the water into wine and Paul told Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach problems. But I think everyone will agree that alcoholic beverages causes much, much bad. Most crimes and most domestic abuse are done while people are drinking. More people are killed every year in the United States due to drinking and driving than all Americans who were killed in the Viet Nam War.

I do not drink alcoholic beverages and I also encourage others not to drink. Even last year, my older brother and I had a great conflict and disagreement due to my brother’s drinking all day. So I, too, am against drinking.

A friend of mine, Dr. Jerry Spencer recently wrote the following non alcoholic beverages:

Call me names or simple ignore me but i want to say how much I hate Alcoholic beverages of any nature. After 57 years of working with people I am yet to witness a single good ever Accomplished by Liquor . I have however seen tragedy after tragedy caused by those who have been Consuming alcohol. The atrocities Perpetrated upon children haunts my memory . The hundreds I’ve know to be Injured, Disabled for life, and killed by drunk drivers. The verbal and physical abuse of innoc...ent and often helpless family members. The " stupid" things that drunks do . The promising students who drop out of school because of drinking. The date rapes and unwanted Pregnancies caused by being Intoxicated. The Abortions that have Slaughtered innocent little unborn children conceived while one or both partners were drinking. The insults Endured By innocents as long tongues and filthy mouths spew out Uncontrolled and thoughtless words born in minds Dysfunctional because of being pickled in Booze . The hours and days lost from the workplace and thousands of jobs lost due to drinking. The wasted lives of Alcoholics along with the untold Horror stories of family members Negatively affected by the drinkers. Life savings are Frequently spent paying for rehab after rehab and the bonding out of jail . The cost to the family members of those who abuse themselves by Consuming alcohol runs into the billions. Aged parents are drained of their money, their health , and even their lives by "drinking" adult children who never grow up. Massive programs are organized and funded by Compassionate people who loving do

All they can to rescue others from their addictions. God bless them

For their unselfish Sacrifice of time, energy, and funds . Would to God that no person on earth would ever take that first drink. I hate all booze .. Beer, wine, Whiskey... All of it. In the final Analysis I control only one person out of the 7 billion people on this planet....ME! All my life I’ve heard people say " drink in moderation". " drink Responsibly" " we love our beer.. Don’t judge us". I’m a Connoisseur of wine --- it Is a sign of culture to know your liquors"

Talk as you please and do as you will... I hate it ! I’m sure you couldn’t care less what I think. I’m sure many would tell me what I’ve missed ! I still hate it and believe the world would have been better off if not a single drop of Liquor would have been intentionally created or Consumed!

 

 

Tuesday, 02/24/2015 Psalm 23:5 "You anoint my head with oil."

The Good Shepherd uses oil to care for the sheep. Oil is used for healing purposes, as an insect repellant, to protect a ram’s head and for protection from snakes.

In the Bible, oil is used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity:

God, the Holy Spirit.

At salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates a poor lost sinner (such as all of us). The new born again child of God is healed from the ravages of sin. Forgiveness, pardon, cleansing, deliverance, and spiritual healing are the results of salvation.

When a sheep injures it’s body and especially it’s head, the Good Shepherd uses oil to treat the wound. The healing properties of oil enable the wound to be protected from spreading and from infection.

God uses the oil of the Holy Spirit to treat his child when a child is spiritually injured or hurt. Perhaps you have been betrayed, insulted or hurt by a trusted friend or family member. Your thoughts and feelings can be affected and infected by the brunt of this pain and heartache. Ask God to apply the oil of the Holy Spirit to your mind and heart and he surely will. God will enable you to not respond in kind but even to heap love and kindness upon your enemy. God can turn your sorrow into joy.

Insects increase and are much more prevalent after winter time. The Shepherd applies oil around the eyes of sheep in order that they might not labor to see. Not being able to see means a sheep will lose it’s balance, step into a hole, not see predators and perhaps even lose sight of the flock.

God the Holy Spirit applies oil around the spiritual eyes of the Christian in order that the child of God may see clearly to follow Jesus and to stay out of danger from becoming easy prey to spiritual predators. There are spiritual predators today who wish to lead a child of God into error, heresy, and sin. God the Holy Spirit will use his oil in order that we might see clearly and discern evil or false teaching.

Male sheep, rams, will fight each other at times. They will run at each other and bust each other’s heads with their horns. The Good Shepherd will apply oil to the heads of rams in order to cause their heads to slide off when they head butt each other.

Christians sometimes can have personal conflicts with other Christians. These conflicts can lead to church and fellowship splits and result in lost ground for the work and kingdom of God. The oil of the Holy Spirit brings gentleness, wisdom, understanding and conflict resolution among Christians.

When I was a child, there was a field across the street from our home that was filled with grass snakes. Now these garter snakes, as we called them, were not poisonous and we little boys would catch them and put them in boxes, jars or even our shirt pockets. Once I stuffed one into a little matchbox, wrapped it up in decorative paper, and gave it to my big brother for a birthday present. Imagine his surprise when after unwrapping that, opening it slowly and that snake springing out of there to scare him out of his wits. Imagine him again chasing me around the yard to show me what’s for!

There are poisonous snakes of jealousy, greed, pride, grudges, anger and so forth that threaten the Christian life. A shepherd would apply oil to a snake hole in the ground in order that the snake would slide back into his hole as a person might slide on an icy incline.

Come to the Holy Spirit today and ask him to apply his oil to heal you, allow you to spiritually see, help you to solve conflict and to protect you from losing your joy, love and peace.

God bless you!

 

 

Monday, 2/23/2015 Matthew 25:40

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

If you have come to preacherlarry.com early this morning looking for Daily Light, I regret that I missed my self imposed dead line of 6 a.m. est of having Daily Light done and posted at preacherlarry.com

It is 7:20 a.m. eastern standard time. I am late this morning posting Daily Light. It has been my practice to pray and write Daily Light each morning before sunlight but due to a certain matter, I was unable to get Daily Light done this morning. This is like a school teacher not being able to get to the first class of the day or having to miss a day of teaching and so a substitute is brought in at the last minute or so forth.

Anyway, I am considering writing several days before time some as I did last month when I had surgery and was unable to write for three or four mornings.

When I graduated seminary years back, I was told that I might do well to minister in a non traditional setting. The concern was that I might not be fitted for a traditional southern Church pastorate. Neither was John The Baptist.

I did, however, lead and pastor four different southern churches.

I have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. As a young man, I did jail ministry and would have inmates with court cases pending and out on bail, for meals in the home of my wife and I. I remember one young man allowing my young two year old son to climb into his lap and to feel his what was called his Afro hair cut. This inmate looked like a fellow named ‘Link’ on the TV program ‘Mod Squad’ if you are old enough to remember that.

Now God is leading myself and my family to become involved again in the plight of the homeless and downcast.

Jesus says when people who suffer as in not having food, clothes, or shelter and we as Christians turn a blind eye and an uncaring heart to their suffering, it says we don’t really know Jesus or have his love constraining us and leading us to share our love and resources with people in need.

It is time for PreacherLarry to step up and to be like the lady Jesus talked about once as he said of her: Mark 14:8

"She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying."

It is time to do what I can. People need the Lord and people need help.

Thank you Jesus for opening up my eyes, my mind and my heart to the needs of others. The greatest need is for people to know Jesus. It is easier to say to a person to repent and believe than to help a person in a tangible way as you share the message. It is time for every Christian to not  just say the message but also to be the message. Jesus is our model. Help us Lord to be kind, loving, giving, concerned and to touch others with your love and grace as we share the message that you died for them and rose again in order that they might be forgiven, restored and changed and given the gift of eternal life.

 

 

Sunday, 02/21/2015 "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  II Timothy 2:15

From cover to cover, the Bible's primary purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ and to make him known to all who would come to him in repentance and faith. Jesus is symbolized in the coverings for Adam & Eve, the Ark of saftey for Noah, the coming Prophet that Moses spoke of, the Sacrifical Lamb whose blood symbolized the cleansing and forgiveness of sin, the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace, The Great, Good and Chief Shepherd, the Savior of the world, the Gift of God, and the Righteous Ruler. Look for Jesus when you read and study  God's Word, the Holy Bible, and you will find him.

  The Bible is inspired by God. That means God super intended the writing of the Bible's content (Holy Scripture) so that what men wrote was exactly what God wanted to convey to us. The Bible is without error in all it's words but it must be interpreted.                                                                                                      There are sections of the Bible that are history, poetry, wisdom literature, epistle's (letters) to certain churches and indviduals, and end times material. Some people mistakenly take Bible verses out of context that were meant for a certain people, place or time and try to apply them to themselves. That, in some cases, is faulty interpretation of the Bible. I mean just because Moses was able to split  the Red Sea with his rod does not mean I can necessarily go over to the Holy Land and split it as well. There is a principle there, however, that means whatever I face, God is interested in me as his born again child and will  help me to deal with my own personal issues of life with his wisdom, strength, direction, power, grace and undestanding.                                                                                                               Having said that, there are not only abiding principles in the Bible for the modern believer but there are also timeless commands for all people in all places and all times. Some of these commands are not to dishonor one's parents, not committing marital infidelity, not stealing, and always being in an attitude of prayer as well as having consistant daily prayer times to praise God, thank God, confess one's individual sins to God and to pray for one's personal needs and the needs of others. Remember this: Either the Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible: 'Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.' (Psalms119:11)                                                                                                    Also remember that there are wonderful promises in the Bible for us today like 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved' and 'My God shall supply everything you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus' (Acts 16:31 & Philippians 4:19)

 

An acrostic to help you study the Bible:

Have you got your Spec's on? (A helpful hint for understanding the Bible)

S     Is there a sin to avoid?

P     Is there a promise to claim?

E     Is there an example to follow?

C     Is there a command to obey?

S     What is the Spirit of God teaching you in this verse? 

***Remember that the most important thing to understand the Bible is being led, taught, and directed by our teacher, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will teach all born again believers in Jesus and guide them into the truth of the Word of God, the Holy Bible!    

 

 

Saturday, 02/20/2015     Psalm 23:5  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;”
The Shepherd leads the sheep to a meadow place on the top of the mountain where their is lush meadow that has previously been sowed and made ready by the Shepherd for the sheep. While the sheep feast, the Good Shepherd Jesus stands watch to define the sheep from wild ravenous predatory blood thirsty animals. Those wolves, lions and bears can only stand and watch the sheep eat as they are protected from danger by the Shepherd.
The needs of a Christian are met by the Good Shepherd Jesus. As those needs are met, Jesus keeps watch over and protects the Christian.
In Mark chapter three, there several people mentioned who create conflict for Jesus. These people are the enemies of Jesus. They are demons, pharisees, lawyers, his family, Judas and the Herodians. 
Jesus had enemies. Jesus was persecuted. Jesus said his follower would take on the characteristics of the one followed. The Christian has enemies. The Christian is persecuted. 
Today we see many Christians in the middle east being killed by fire and by the sword. In America, bakers and fire chiefs are losing their jobs for standing strongly for Christian morality. 
God ultimately protects the Christian. Sometimes it appears that is not the case but we don’t actually see what is happening in heaven and in spiritual dimension. 
Know this, Jesus will meet your needs and he will be with you if you are one of his sheep in the presence of your enemies. 
Remember that God says to not fear them who can kill the body but rather fear God who holds the power over the soul either to take it to heaven or condemn it to hell.

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7: 59-60)

 

Friday, 02/29/2015 Psalm 23:4

"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

The Good Shepherd uses two tools in the care of his sheep:

His rod and his staff.

The rod is used to protect the sheep as a weapon against scavenger’s who wish to harm the sheep. The rod is also used to mark the sheep with a red substance because the sheep is disobedient. If the sheep does not straighten up, then chastisement is in order and in some cases even death. The entire flock cannot be lead astray by one or two disobedient sheep. Disobedience must dealt with by

the Good Shepherd Jesus.

The staff is used to keep the sheep in line and by pulling the sheep with the crook of the staff. When a sheep falls into a hole or ditch, the staff is used by the Good Shepherd Jesus to gently pick up a lamb or sheep and place them back on even keel with the flock.

The Shepherd uses the staff to gently guide the sheep in the ways of the flock. A loving nudge to the sheep from the Good Shepherd’s staff is used to keep the sheep following the Good Shepherd with the flock.

Many people claim to be a born again Christian but never act like it. There is no evidence of the Good Shepherd dealing with certain professing individuals with his rod and with his staff. When will the non fruit bearing and non witnessing person wake up and really repent of their sin and follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord? For many, never. For some, perhaps now or at later time.

Here is the warning for wolves in sheep’s clothing: "He that being often reproved and hardens his heart shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy." (Proverbs 29:1) The longer one waits to repent and trust Jesus, the harder it is to do so and the more likely one never will. Don’t be that person who has a false profession and never repents and truly follows Jesus. Your eternal destiny is in danger when you refuse to own up and admit you are an unforgiven and unsaved sinner and then cry out to Jesus to save you.

Jesus’ sheep know his rod of chastisement and his staff of caring.

Jesus will not let one of his sheep stray or live a lukewarm faith of sin for very long. Jesus will use his rod to get that straying sheep in line or take that sheep home.

Jesus will not let one of his sheep fall into a hole or ditch without gently lifting him or her out of danger with his staff. Jesus will gently guide his sheep with his staff of comfort.

Jesus will not let a lion or a bear hurt his sheep without fighting for the sheep’s life with his rod.

It is comforting to know that the Good Shepherd Jesus comforts and cares for me with his rod and with his staff.

I am prone to wander but thank God for the divine intervention of Jesus who comforts and cares for me with the loving action of his rod and his staff that comfort me.

Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If so, then practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, going to church and using your spiritual gifts of service that Jesus gives to you to increase his kingdom, to witness to others about Jesus and to lovingly minister to others through Jesus' power and in his name.

If you do not know Jesus, quit playing a game with your eternal destiny! Come to Jesus right now. Admit you are a sinner. Tell Jesus you are sorry for your sin. Believe that Jesus died for you on the cross to pay the penalty of your sins, that Jesus was buried and on the third day that Jesus rose from the grave.  Jesus is a living Savior who can and will save the one who calls upon him in repentance and faith to enter into a personal relationship with the him, the Good Shepherd.  Jesus will surely save, forgive and begin a personal relationship with the one who humbly calls upon his name for pardon, forgiveness, deliverance and new life.

It is a wonderful thing to daily know the comfort and care of Jesus, the Good Shepherd,  who uses his rod to protect us and to discipline us and uses this staff to guide us and to lift us our of a hole or ditch!  What a joy and comfort that us for a Christian!

 

 

Thursday, 02/19/2015 Psalm 23:4

 "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil"

Death can be scary. Death can be a downer. Death can be a shadow. Death can be feared.

Funerals are most of the time not a happy time. I have watched mourners look at an open casket very quickly as a plethora of feelings run wild in their minds. Have you ever been face to face with your possible death? If so, you know that can be a scary thing.

Most people are not upbeat about death and dying. Physical death is the cessation of physical life in this world. There are no more promises to be kept. There are no more goals to be made. There are no more victories to be had. There are no more celebrations to be cheered. It is all over. No more chances. No more gatherings. No more. Over.

Death for the Christian is but a shadow from the light of the Lord. An old preacher said a shadow of a dog can’t bite you. A shadow of a scorpion can’t sting you. The shadow of death cannot harm a child of God.

Jesus’ light overcomes death for the child of God. Death for the Christian is but  a graduation to better things. Having said that, the time and cause of death is to be in the plan, purpose and will of the Heavenly Father. We are to push and work for life but in his own time, God permits a time to die.

I am at the age where many singers, athletes, actors and so forth that I admired growing up are dying. It seems that every day the news reports the death of someone I am acquainted with. It reminds me that one day I will face death also. I am not afraid of death. Of course, I wish to live a long life on this earth and then go peaceably and calmly. That is my choice but as far as to when or how I die, that is in the hands of the Lord and I trust him.

The precious Lord will take my hand and lead me on when my physical death comes. I will fear no evil. Satan is prohibited from touching me or causing me harm as to my departure in this life. God is my defender, my shield, my fortress, and my protector. God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Jesus said he will never leave me nor forsake me. Therfore, I do not fear death.

The Evangelist D L Moody when talking about his future death said :

"Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all-out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto his glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever."

I like that. I am living forever. Death is swallowed up in victory because Jesus died for me and rose again. Praise his holy name.

If you are uncertain about your eternal destiny after your death, accept Jesus today by repenting of your sin and trusting Jesus by faith as your personal Lord and Savior. For Jesus' promise to those who accept him is:  John 14:1-3

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

 

Wednesday, 02/18/2015 Psalm 23:3

"he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake."

The Good Shepherd leads his sheep. The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd and a stranger they will not follow. The nature of a sheep is to follow the Shepherd. Sometimes, however, a sheep might stray but the Shepherd goes and gets the sheep and brings that sheep back into the fold.

I worked in a factory once as a young Christian. I was assisting two different machine operators as they needed help. One of the men told if I had not been baptized in water by his church, I was not saved. The other man told me if I had not been baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues, I was not saved. Two different men, two different messages, both in error.

Jesus kept me from following them. I read in the Bible in Romans 10:13 that ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Therefore, since both of those men issued a message that contradicted the Bible, I knew they were wrong.

At certain times, I have made a wrong turn in my life and have gotten off the beaten path. I have felt the chastening hand of the Lord in discipline during those times. The Bible says that the Lord loves and chastens every child whom he receives and if you be without chastisement, you are a bastard. (Hebrews 12:8)

In the paths of righteousness is how God leads us. Romans 6:1 asks should we sin in order that grace may abound? And then answers God forbid! Today, many claim they are a Christian but do not show a work of God’s grace in their life. Ephesians 2 says after one is saved by grace that God creates them for good works.

True Christians do not live a life of getting intoxicated by booze. True Christians do not live a life of sexual immorality as in practicing pre marital sex, adultery or a homosexual lifestyle. True Christians do not have a potty mouth filled with profanity and cursing. True Christians call sin sin and righteousness righteousness. A Christian might stray from time to time but a Christian can never have a continual lifestyle of practicing sin. Why? Because Jesus, the Good Shepherd leads the Christian in paths of righteousness.

The reputation of the Shepherd is at stake if the sheep is not fed, cleansed, nurtured, protected and taken care of. True Christians love the name of Jesus.

The New Testament tells Christians to pray in Jesus’ name. Christians are taught that from a child by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit manifests how wonderful is  Jesus’ name to the Christian and guides the Christian into all truth.

When one refuses or cannot bring him or her self to testify and witness of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and of his grace in their life and is in no way led into the truth of the Bible by the Holy Spirit, then that is an indication that they have never been saved and are still an unforgiven unrepentant sinner.

When I got saved, the Good Shepherd Jesus begin a work of grace in me and I was inclined to tell others about that. He did not leave me alone to my own devices. If you are saved, Jesus is leading you into the paths of righteousness and Jesus is proclaiming the power, honor and majesty of his name to you.

Do you have the true evidences of salvation in your life as in being led in the paths of righteousness and the name of Jesus becoming the most wonderful name to be uttered from your lips?  If so, you are saved. If not you are not saved and lost in your sins.

Now, if you are unsaved, please turn from your sinful disobedience by repentance of you ruling your life and give your life to Jesus by faith and committment. And if you are saved, please walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Then the Good Shepherd  will lead you in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 

 

Tuesday, 02/17/2915 "It’s appointed unto man once to die but after that, the judgment"

Hebrews 9:27

Known as an Australian adventurer and animal advocate, the "Crocodile Hunter" was stung and killed by a stingray on September 4, 2006, while filming Ocean’s Deadliest, an underwater documentary. According to The Los Angeles Times, Irwin and his cameraman, Justin Lyons, were in chest-deep water near Queensland, Australia. The pair came across an 8-foot-wide stingray; after filming the stingray for a while, it ended up attacking Irwin. "It started stabbing wildly with its tail," Lyons told The Los Angeles Times , "hundreds of strikes within a few seconds." Despite the crew’s efforts to save him, Irwin died before they could get him help. In Lyons’ interview with The Los Angeles Times , he said Irwin’s last words were

"I’m dying."

Every one has an appointment with death. Lesley Gore died this week. She had a number one hit when I was in the eighth grade called 'It's  my party.'  She was only three years older than me. Everyone has an appointment with death.

I beleive that so many resist aging so much because deep down inside we know we were meant to live forever and that death is really alien to us. Something is not right about dying.

In the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned, there was no death or aging. When Adam and Eve were disobedient and sinned, the clock of death began to run.

Romans 6:23 says 'the wages of sin is death.'  Physical death and spiritual death. Ephesians 2:1 says before a person becomes a born again child of God by repentance and faith, that person is dead in tresspasses and sins. Separated from God because of spiritual death.

Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

To negate death, believe in Jesus. Believe comes from he root word for faith. It means to rely on, to trust in, to commit to and to adhere to. Believe in Jesus and you win over death. When you believe in Jesus, you overcome physical death because you will rise again. And when you believe in Jesus, you overcome spiritual death because you are forgiven, changed and given spiritual life. And that can never change.

 

 

 

Monday, 02/16/2015 "He restoreth my soul."

When the Good Shepherd restores, he renews, he revives, he refreshes, and he brings back a sheep.  Either the sheep has gone astray by wandering from following the Shepherd or has become weak either from malnutrition or attack.

How does a Christian wander into error?  By neglecting the practice of the study and application of the truth of the Bible,  by neglecting sitting beneath the teaching and preaching of the Bible and by neglecting personal and corporate prayer, praise and worship.

How does a Christian become spiritually weak? By the assimilation of the ways of culture and the world.  By being too friendly with the fashions and doings of sinful and non believing in Jesus people.  By giving into the vices and plans of the devil and inward lusts or temptations.

The Good Shepherd restores his sheep. How? By seeking the welfare of the sheep. By chastening, by correction, by conviction and by the  conversion of a sheep.

Have you wandered away from Jesus and the Bible?

Is your life a sterling example of our Lord or is your a live a sterling example of the world, the flesh and devil?

Do you hunger and thrist after righteousness? Is your soul happy when it is time to go into the house of the Lord? Do you have a burden to witness of Jesus to the lost and to win them to faith in our Lord? Do you have a daily private time of Bible study and heart stirring prayer? Do others see you as a loving truth filled righteous doing Christian or do they see you as just another person following the whims and fashion of this world?

Was there a time in your life when you was closer to the Lord and to godliness than you are now?  Do you need the Lord to restore your soul?

Literally, to restore means to bring back again. In many things we all offend. We must keep a short account of our waywardness to truly serve the Lord. Psalm 27:8 says ‘when you said unto me seek my face, my heart said unto you Lord, your face face will I seek. It is time to seek the Lord daily and moment by moment.

A sure sign we belong to the Lord is that when our spiritual life is diminished by wandering  or the neglecting of our spiritual duty or by associating and becoming part of the crowd of those who do not know, love and follow the Lord is that we are disciplined by the Lord.

When I was a child, a little razor strap or losing the priviledges of playtime or entertainment made me consider my wrong doing and caused me to correct my unacceptable attitude or actions.

God will discipline his child when that child departs from wholeheartedly following after the Lord. Revelation 3:19 tells us when we are wayward:

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." 

The discipline of the Lord may come in the way of an affliction or a spiritual correction that gets our attention as in a financial setback or the pain and hurt suffered by those whom we love.

God calls us into restoration when we stray and become wayward and weak. Psalm 119:176 says:

"I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments."

Once a person truly becomes a born again child of God, one is regenerated, indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for a true born again child of God to  have the joy of the Lord and the peace of God  that passes all understanding while wandering from the truth of the Bible or  being  disobedient and lukewarm towards Jesus  by pitching their tent toward the wicked.

What a great testimony it is when we testify that God has brought us back to a strong spiritual connection with him to abide with him still, to do his good will and to be happy in Jesus as we trust and obey!

God says in Hosea 14:4 "I will heal their backslidings" and in Luke 22:31-32 "Satan has desired to sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers." 

When we wander into spiritual error and weakness, we lose the desire and ability to love others and help others through the power of Jesus. But Jesus prays for us and when he restores us, we again have the best interests of his kingdom work in our mind and activity.

It is a wonderful thing to be restored by the Lord. We have a new strength, a new vigor and a new desire to know, to server and to follow Jesus!  "Will you not revive us again, that your people might rejoice in you?"  (Psalm 85:6)

 

 

Sunday, 02/15/2015   Psalm 23:2  “He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
We are continuing our study of Psalm 23. The Good Shepherd leads his sheep beside the still waters. 
God leads his child. We may not understand or always jump in delight as to where God leads us, but he is leader and not we. When we trust in him with all our heart,  lean not to our understanding and in all our ways acknowledge him, he directs our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Thing is to wait upon the Lord. As you seek him, when you sense a red light, stop. When you sense a yellow light, slow down. When you sense a green light, go through it. God opens doors no one can shut and closes doors no one can open in the life of his child. 
God leads you. We have all heard the stories of great missionaries or testimonies of miracles. The thing is that is not just for who we consider saints or super Christians. That is for little ole me. God leads me! An old hymn says: He leadeth me, O blessed thought. Another says: He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by his own hand he leadeth me, His faithful follower I would be, by his own hand, He leadeth me!”
There have been times when I got ahead of the Lord or made a wrong turn. The results of those mistakes were painful. But you know what? God was there to forgive me, to restore me and to set me back on the right path. Isn’t that wonderful? It is safer and better to follow God’s leading as we live by faith, stay in his word and do his will. 
I have never been more happier or contented than I am right now. God has brought me to a place in my life where I feel so blessed, so peaceful and so satisfied! There are some bright shiny toys that I would not  mind to have but I can totally live without these because I am safe in the everlasting arms of the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ!
In the midst of turmoil, difficulty and the honking horns of irate people in this world, there are still waters that God will lead his children beside. Those still waters refresh the spiritual thirst of every child of God. Those still waters are a wonderful place to contemplate upon the care of God and to meditate in and on his word. Thank God for the still waters that God leads us to be beside. 
There is a spiritual peace that is every Christian’s birthright. I remember one day when someone told me about Isaiah 26:3: “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” 
You mean when life seems to be falling apart and questions remain unanswered, there is perfect peace for one who patiently follows and trusts the living God? Yes!
I remember a time in my life when everything I held near and dear was being ripped away from me. I knelt in prayer and said, God this is all yours, you can do as you please and I will love and praise you. I prayed the prayer of relinquishment. At that moment, my dear old saintly Grandmother came into the room and tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘God told me everything is going to be all right.’
The next day, miracles happened and all the stars lined up and heaven shined on my life and soul. Everything worked out and yes, everything was all right. 
He leads us beside the still waters. Perfect peace according to God’s good and perfect will. What ever God wants is what I truly want. I may not fully understand, but that is ok. When I cast my cares upon him through prayer coupled with faith, I have the peace of God that passes all understanding. I can look sickness, death, and trouble in the face and smile and laugh in the Lord. Why? Because he leads me beside the still waters!
Are you following the Good Shepherd, Jesus?
Can you honestly say at this moment that you have perfect peace and peace that passes all understanding? Is the Good Shepherd Jesus leading you beside the still waters? If so, I am so happy for and with you! If not, you may give all your troubles and trials to Jesus.

Cast all your care upon Jesius, the Good Shepherd,  for he cares for you!  When you do that,  a  wonderful sense that everything will work out for your own good will invade your inner most being and you will sense the solitude and wonder of still waters refreshing your soul! And then in God's correct and exact timing, God will

work all the details of your life together for your good!

 

 

Saturday, 02/14/2015 Psalm 23:2 "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."

When the Lord is one’s Shepherd, the Shepherd engineers and superintends the circumstances in the life of that sheep.

God knows how to get our attention.

I have a younger brother, now retired, but who had a very successful life in the Christian music industry. When he was a very young man, he severely injured his back lifting a Hammond B-3 Organ into a truck. After a back surgery, he was pretty much on his back for a solid year. He and his new wife had to move in with my parents. He got so financially broke, he went on food stamps.

But in that year, he made great strides in his spiritual life and received wisdom and understanding from the Lord. The Lord, his Shepherd, made him to lie down.

He and a friend began a contemporary Christian music band, made records and toured the world for 20 years. They had the first Christian video on MTV named 666 and received many Grammy and Dove nominations.

He started a record company and signed a Christian rap group whose albums went platinum. EmI bought him out and he would run that Christian division newly created company. Then Capitol records bought out EMI and my little brother retired this last year as President of Christian Recording for Capital records. Many of the top selling and well know Christian music artist’s were signed and their recording efforts were managed by my little brother and were distributed by Capital.

Life has not been perfect for my little brother but he has navigated through the channels of life with Jesus as his Lord, Savior, Guide and Savior.

And when he was young, the Good Shepherd Jesus made my little brother to lie down.

Is God making you to lie down? Has the bottom of your life fallen out?

When I was in my mid forties, God made me to lie down. On the outside looking in, I was pretty successful. I had a home in the nice suburb of Hoover, Alabama. Two new cars and took beach trips often. I pretty much had a pocket full of money most of the time.

My spiritual life had become very shallow and I held a grudge against those who I felt ill treated me in a church situation and then a different group in another situation also ill treated my pastor in his church situation.

I was getting in excellent physical condition by walking on a treadmill four miles a day. Pound by pound, my weight was trimming down.

Then it happened. I awoke one morning with a very severe pain in my mid section. My wife took me to the doctor and he instantly put me in the hospital. I awoke ten days later with a machine to breathe for me and a tube in me to feed me in ICU.

I had the greatest personal revival of faith with the Lord I ever had in that ICU room.

The Good Shepherd Jesus made me to lie down. It took over a year to recover from this sudden illness. Many people died from my condition, but the Lord saw fit to heal me and give me a total recovery.

During that year of recovery, I prayerfully read the Bible through and wrote many notes in the margin on every page of the Bible. That changed my life and led me to green pastures.

Life has not been perfect since then, but today, I am the happiest I have ever been, have the best relationship I ever had with the Lord and I am in great physical shape for my age. Again, I am losing weight pound by pound.

More important than losing physical weight, however, is laying down the weight and sin that so easily besets us and running the spiritual race with patience while looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Give your life to Jesus. Repent of every known sin, confess that sin and ask forgiveness. Receive Jesus as the CEO of your life.

He may also make you to lie down in one way or another but he will also lead you to the green pastures of your life. You can take that to the bank and depend on that. God Bless.

 

 

Friday, 02/12/2015 Psalm 23:1 "I shall not want."

We are studying the 23rd Psalm. The psalmist declares that because the Lord is his shepherd that he shall not lack any thing. The needs of the sheep are met by the shepherd. God will meet the needs of the born again child of God totally.

In college, I studied the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow. Maslow listed these needs on an ascending scale as:

Basic needs such as food, water, shelter, rest, safety and security,

Psychological needs of relationships, love, prestige, accomplishment,

Self fulfillment needs of achieving potential and creativity.

Well guess, what? Faith in Jesus meets all these needs. Lets thing about it.

God promises to meet the needs of his child. Not the wants but the needs. They Psalmist said he had never seen the righteous begging bread (Psalm 37:25). I can testify of this. All my days, I have always had food to eat, water to drink, a bed to sleep in and my basic needs met.

God has supernaturally meet my needs of safety and security. Paul said he had learned to be content either with a lot or with a little but he had learned to be content (Philippians 4:10).

Great relationships and great love has God given me. I have my wife, my children (even though one of my adult children and I are presently in a conflict) and my grandchildren. I have church relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ and recreational relationships at the bowling alley (I am in two bowling leagues). Yes, God has met my psychological needs.

My self fulfillment needs are met in Christ. Because my primary goal is to know and walk with the Lord, Jesus meets that need by increasing my faith and the Holy Spirit teaches me spiritual truth through the prayerful study of the Bible. Even doing preacherlarry.com meets my needs for creativity.

I just want to stop and thank the Lord for meeting my needs! My most important need is forgiveness and grace. Because Jesus came and died for me, was buried and rose again, my sins can and have been forgiven. The Holy Spirit has given me spiritual life and teaches me the Bible. I have eternal life thorough faith in Jesus. I know I am going to heaven when I die. I have peace of mind and joy in my heart.

Can you say ‘I shall not lack?’ Are you content? Do you have peace of mind? Do you have real joy?  Are you sins forgiven? Do you have spiritual life? Do you know that you are going to heaven when you die?

Jesus says in John 6:35: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

The spiritual bread Jesus that is available through believing in him will meet all your needs. Give your life to the Good Shepherd, Jesus, and you will be able say ‘I shall not want.’

 

 

Thursday, 02/12/2015 "The Lord is my shepherd." Psalm 23:1

This psalm is written by David when he is an old man. He is looking back at his life recalling how the Lord had led him, fed him, protected him and prospered him.

David had been a shepherd when he was a boy. He knew the relationship the shepherd has with the sheep, the needs of the sheep, the care of the sheep, the leading of the sheep, the protection of the sheep and the health of the sheep.

It is said sheep have no means of direction, no means of caring for themselves and no means of defense. Sheep cannot fend for themselves; sheep need the shepherd.

David says the "The Lord is my shepherd."

God himself is the believer’s shepherd. God may send angels to protect and to minister to his child but God superintends his/her care. God may utilize individuals to help us, but God engineers and guides the circumstances in order that the believer may find that certain Doctor or human agent of help.

John chapter 10 speaks of Jesus being the Shepherd of the child of God. Christians hear the voice of Jesus, follow Jesus, have their needs met by Jesus and are protected by Jesus. Jesus gives eternal life to his sheep, the believer in him and the follower of him.

‘Is’ in this psalm denotes the present tense. The believer in Jesus does not have to be always saying all the things the Lord has done for him in the past or hoping for all the things the Lord will do for him in the future as in going to heaven. We thank God for the blessings of the past and the promised blessings of the future but it is right now in the present that the Lord is my shepherd. God is the God of the now.

We may enjoy the blessings, presence, power, peace and provision of God right now in this moment. Are you facing difficulty right now in this minute, child of God? The Lord is your shepherd!  Are you feeling uncertainty right now, child of God? The Lord is your shepherd!  Are you sick right now? The Lord is your shepherd!  Are you being betrayed at this very moment? The Lord is your shepherd!  Are you facing death? The Lord is your shepherd! Are you enjoying prosperity?  The Lord is your shepherd!

David uses the word ‘my’ to describe his relationship with the shepherd. The Lord is the good shepherd and the chief shepherd and he is 'my' shepherd. The Lord is not everyone’s shepherd but only the shepherd of those who hear his voice, follow him and are given eternal life by him. Is the Lord ‘your’ shepherd? Have you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior by repenting of your sin and receiving him by turning your life by faith over to him? If you have not, then he is not your shepherd. If you have, then he is your shepherd and you may receive his guidance, enjoy his care and provision, and be protected by him until he takes you home.

How sweet are the words: "The Lord is my shepherd!’ As the old hymn describes and declares the relationship that the child of God has with the Lord:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take him at his word;

Just to rest upon His promise,

And to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!

Oh, for grace to trust him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust thee,

Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;

And I know Thou art with me,

Wilt be with me to the end.

 

 

Wednesday, 02/11/2015     Leviticus 6: 12-13   "The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."

The altar is where sacrifices for sin were offered. Sacrifices for sin were needed as often as one sinned. That meant always. The Christian celebrates the fact that the blood of Jesus, that is,  his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sins, is the only sacrifice that is of ultimate value and that will satisfy the righteous justice of God thus resulting in the requirement for our justification and redemption when accepted by repentance and faith.

That is why the Christian no longer offers sacrifices of animals which were only a type of the blood of Christ because the animal sacrifices could never take away sin anyways. Only Jesus can take away sin:

"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."

"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 7:27, 9:28)

There is still, however, an application for keeping the fire on he altar burning continuously. Used to, we say tp speak of a passionate Christian as ‘being on fire for God.’ To be that way takes prayer, Bible reading, internalization and meditation, personal and corporate worship and service and witness:

Prayer

Bible

Worship

Service

The means today to keep the fire of faith continuously burning in one's life are these four practices when infused by God through Christ's atoning sacrifice:  Prayer, Bible, Worship, & Service.

One reason why this web site offers a Daily Light devotion is to ignite and  and to help enable believers in Jesus to keep the fire burning.

Although, I stay in an attitude of prayer all day, I have a personal prayer time every day in an effort to ignite my faith and to enable me to keep the fire burning. During Bible reading and study, I keep the fire burning. . During continuous prayer and personal prayer time, I keep the fire burning. With other Christians on Sunday, I worship with the church and keep the fire burning. Daily I offer myself in worship and praise to the Father in heaven through Jesus in the power of the Holy of the Holy Spirit to keep the fire burning. I serve God with my spiritual gifts which are prophecy and evangelism and keep the fire burning.

(I tell others about what God wants and ensuing results with my lips (prophecy) and I share the good news that what Jesus accomplished in his death, burial and resurrection (the Gospel) when accepted by faith will issue salvation to the believer (evangelism).)

Prayer, the Bible, worship and service when offered to God is ignited by God in me to enable me to keep the fire burning.

What about your personal altar? Is the fire of God continuously burning in your life? It can burn if you use the means that God has provided unto us to keep the fire burning every day: prayer, Bible reading & study, worship and service.

Good fire and fires!

 

 

Tuesday, 02/10/2015 Exodus 34: 5-7

"So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation."

God is a God of 2nd (& 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, etc.) chances. I am thankful for that. Moses, in a fit of anger, had broken the 10 Commandment Tablets written with the finger of God. But God told Moses to chisel out some new ones to replace them.

It seems to me that the first ones were preferred because God had done them but Moses still had a 2nd opportunity through grace and forgiveness.

Later, Moses would be prohibited from entering the promise land because of his anger issues. Sin has consequences even though we may find forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

God used the Apostle Paul greatly as a missionary and church planter, yet Paul always carried with him the scars of his past life when he persecuted, jailed and permitted even the stoning of Christians (Paul named himself the chief sinner).

Yes, God separates our sins as far as the east is from the west when our sins are placed under the blood of Jesus Christ, but consequences linger. But God is the God of the consequences as well.

Years ago, I ministered in the County Jail every Sunday morning at 8 am over a three year period. Many inmates received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through repentance and faith but they still remained in jail and some went to prison.

Forgiveness, yes, but still consequences.

God comes down, stands with us, goes before us and proclaims his compassion, graciousness, love, faithfulness and patience to and for us! But there are still consequences for our past, present and future sinful thoughts and actions. This is why sanctification is so important to ourselves and to those whom we love and associate with.

Sin is like the flu. It affects and infects those around us. Children often struggle with same additions and lusts that their great Grandparents suffered with (sometimes even more so). The Good news is that through Jesus, we may be forgiven and overcome those addictions and lusts. The world, flesh and the devil may be thwarted and day to day victory may be our's  through overcoming faith.

It can seem like a contradiction that forgiveness and consequences go hand in hand. But, they do. And God is the God of both.

I look back at my past life and see how things could have been different. Don’t get me wrong, there were many victories in my past life but there were also many failures. Life can be like salt and pepper or sugar and spice. The good, the bad and the ugly.

This morning, my God is the God of all of these.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a soul cleansing while on my knees before the throne of grace. God told me the past is the past, the present is now and the future is still in the future. My God is the God of all of that.

My past is forgiven, my present is under his rule, and he holds the key to my future. I can handle the regrets and concerns over consequences because he holds my past, present and future in his hands. I am glad we may lean on his everlasting arms to find grace and strengtrh in time of need. God is good!

 

 

Monday, 2/9/2015    Matthew 22:29

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."

A knowledge of the Scriptures coupled with surrender and faith to Jesus equals the power of God being present in the Christ Follower’s life. A disregard or disinterest in knowing Scripture always results in spiritual ineptness and sin. Always!

Many people only read in the Bible once a week when they they go to church. That is not the mark of the spirit and power filled believer. Neither can it be!

Years ago, a minister challenged us to make a commitment to read the Bible five minutes a day. He said five minutes was much, much better than no minutes and was a start in the right direction. I would like to issue that challenge to you if you are not reading the Bible daily.

Today, a tool I often use to read the Bible with is an app called ‘BibleGateway.’ At BibleGateway, I may enter a word verse, click and go to the many or several places that appears in the Bible and I may read verse by verse and chapter by chapter the Bible. I may also compare many translations together. As my eyes age, it is easier for me to read from a lighted screen. There is a BibleGateway app in the left margin of preacherlarry.com and BibleGateway provides the ‘Verse of the Day’ page on this site  where also it may be accessed by verse and chapter in  written form or in audio.

I also have an My I-Bible. It is a small Mp3 player which is about 2 inces long and one inch wide in size and plugs into headphones. I sometimes utilize that method to listen the the Bible as I travel or wait in the lobby for an appointment of some type. I can select on this device any book or chapter in the Bible and listen straight through.

The My I-Bible is rechargeable (no battries to buy) and comes in several translations of the Bible and holds both the Old and New Testaments, the entire Bible, as a handy and easy way to listen to Scripture being read.

The Apostle Paul actually told Timothy in I Timothy 4:13 to :’Til I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.’

The My I-Bible may be purchased through preacherlarry.com by entering ‘digital bible player’ in the christianbook.com app that appears in the left margin of each page at preacherlarry.com or by clicking on ‘the Bible’ at the 'Christian book store’ page at preacherlarry.com. (Christianbookstore.com donates a portion of your purchase to fund the work and  ministry at preacherlarry.com when you make a purchase there and that is a way you help do God's work at preacherlarry.com &  I thank you for that!)  Cd’s or downloads of the Bible and many Bibles, themselves, are also available through accessing christianbook.com through preacherlarry.com.

I am just saying all of that to encourage everyone to read and study the Bible daily with and in whatever method you use, either holding a Bible in your hands and reading and marking verses, reading on a computer screen the Bible and printing pages of verses and chapters, or listening to the reading to the Bible by computer, audio mp3 player or Cd’s.

This is like the athletic shoe commercial: ‘just do it!'

Now, just a quaint reading of the Bible does not guarantee spiritual growth and power if this this is done in a wooden concrete manner without humility, prayer and surrendering faith!  Do you see this? Jesus said ‘Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ (Matthew 5:6). As Scripture is read, we must hunger and thirst for spiritual truth to be manifested into the power of righteousness in our life. A simple prayer I learned many years ago still applies today when I read the Bible: 'Spirit of God my teacher be, reveal the things of God to me.'

Isaiah 34:16 tells us to ‘Seek ye out of the book of the Lord and read’ and in Isaiah 66:5 to ‘hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word.’  So to approach the reading of the Bible with seeking and trembling is a necessary mind set.

Jesus defeated the devil through quoting the Bible three times in the wilderness temptation. No wonder, Paul said that part of the armour of God we use to defeat spiritual wickedness is ‘the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.' (Ephesians 6:17)

A verse I challenged my youngest son to memorize and meditate upon  when he was a teenager was I John 2:14:

' I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.'

That youngest son of mine is now 29 and he reads and studies his Bible everyday and I see the powerful hand and spirit of God evident in his life! What a blessing that is to me!

It is never too late to begin reading and studying the Bible. Once in a church where I was pastor, I baptized two men the same Sunday morning who recently accepted Jesus through repentance and faith and became Christians. One was 69 years old and the other was 76 years old. It was my joy to help them learn and memorize Scripture for several months after that momenteous occassion! I saw the power of God then change their character, attitudes and actions! Glory!

Let’s read and study the Bible to  know the scripture and the power of God in order that we might do the will of God on this earth and make known his gospel and his love known to whomever we meet and in whatever we do.

 

 

Sunday, 02/08/2015 Exodus 34:26

"Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk."

The Bible tells us that ‘all Scripture is given by inspiration by God’ (II Timothy 3:16) and ‘every word of God is pure’ (Proverbs 30:5). That means every phrase in the Bible is there because God put it there for our spiritual instruction, wisdom and benefit. That includes our Scripture today about not boiling a baby goat in the milk of it’s mother.

Sometimes I get into conservations with people who are adamantly not Christian and who scorn the Bible. They call the Bible a collection of iron age fairy tales and myths.

I believe they do this, however, because they tenaciously with seeming octopus arm suction power hold onto their sin and darkened state. A faith in Jesus and belief in the Bible would cause them to repent of their errors and actions so they go into attack mode against Jesus and Bible when their value systems and wicked thoughts and actions are called into question.

I have had more than one of them bring up this verse so as to imply, that it is, in their opinion, a very stupid thing for there to be a verse in the Bible about not boiling a baby goat in it’s mother’s milk.

So what are we to make of this verse?

Firstly, the ancient Jews were commanded to not sacrifice an animal that was less than a week old: " Leviticus 22:27). So this verse is a reminder that it is always needful to precisely obey what God has commanded us in his word.

Now since, the New Testament Christian is no longer under the law of Moses but under the perfect life, love, and liberty of Jesus Christ, a Christian is not bound to the letter of this command but the principle still applies which is to not be sloppy in obeying what Jesus has commanded us in still a most important thing to a Christ follower. The New Tesament tells the Christian to dress modestly, abstain from immorality, to avoid violence and  to speak graciously. Hollywood could take a lesson from this!

Secondly, the ancient Jews were commanded to care tenderly and sensitively for every living animal and especially newborn animals and their mothers. (Deuteronomy 22:6). This does not mean that we can never utilize animals for food and clothing or fish for our diet but it does mean that Christians are to be sensitive and even loving towards the animal kingdom. If we are to treat the animal kingdom with love and respect, how much more should we love and respect all humans, even the unborn.

A great blight upon our society is the terrible sin of abortion. The Bible teaches that life begins at conception. The Bible never uses the word fetus to describe a child in the mother’s womb but uses the word brephos which means babe.

Thirdly, the prohibition for the ancient Jew not to boil a young goat in it’s mother’s milk is a reminder to never mingle life with death. The life giving milk of the animal mother is needed for the life of it’s young and should never be cheapened by mingling it with the death of an animal offspring.

For us today, this means we should celebrate life and the victory that Jesus has accomplished over death through the giving of his own body to die on the cross for our sins. True believers in Christ never excuse sin which is the kiss of death. 

 We who know  the Lord no longer fear aging, human frailty, and the grave. We who have found forgiveness and new life in Jesus know that Jesus has give us eternal life and sent his Holy Spirit to infuse in our now day to day existence the Holy Spirit to produce in our inner most being the wonderful peace, overcoming power presence and love of Jesus!

Jesus bore our sin on the cross so the mingling of life and death is no longer an issue for the Christian. Jesus said that whoever believes in him has life and shall never die. Physical death for the Christian is but a graduation to paradise with Jesus forever and ever. Praise his name!

 

 

Saturday, 02/7/2015 Psalm 28:7

'The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.'

Do you need help today with a difficulty that is pressing you down? Are you nearly or at wit’s end? Do you feel unable to effectively find an answer to life’s problems that are tearing at you and gnawing at your heart? If so, I have good news for you: God can help you!

Step one to accessing God’s answers to your problem is to acknowledge he is the Lord. The word used in Psalm 28:7 for Lord is the Hebrew word Yahweh. It is how God answered Moses out of the burning bush when God told Moses: ‘Say that "I AM" has sent you.

Several times Jesus described himself as this great "I AM."  Jesus said in John 10:11: ‘I am the good shepherd and the good shepherd gives us life for the sheep.’ That is correct!  Jesus gave his life for you and me that we find his grace, forgiveness, strength, comfort and guidance!

The pronoun ‘my’ is used in our text six times. We have a personal God who invites us to be personally related to him. Jesus said that all power in heaven and earth is given to him. God deals with our problems and difficulties in different ways when we bring them to him. Here are some ways God has dealt with my stuff through the years: he takes away the problem or he leaves the problem and gives me strength and guidance to manage it and live with joy.

The psalmist declared the Lord is his strength and shield. This means that whatever he faces, God gives him strength to successfully deal with it and protection in order that the problem not destroy him.

I stuttered profusely as a young teenager. I dealt with that back them by clamming up. Later in life when God led me to pastor four different churches, I learned how to manage it by slowing down and increasing my vocabulary. I, occasionally, still stutter, but when I do, I just slow down and sometimes substitute another word for the one that is giving me difficulty.

God did not totally take stuttering away from me but he showed me how to manage it. Sometimes when I meet an adult who has a very obvious problem with stuttering, my heart really hurts for them and goes out to that individual.

We must trust the Lord who offers his his strength and shield to effectively thorough his grace deal with our difficulties. Trust implies reliance, belief, faith and surrender. Have you trusted the Lord?  He is faithful and has never failed me one time.

I did not always get the answer I wanted, but his way was and always is the best way.

Trusting the Lord results in great joy. That’s right. One way to know you have trusted the Lord fully is when God opens up his flood gates of joy to pour into your life. This joy coupled with peace is a great release in your inner most being and is a supernatural thing. I have seen blessed saints dealing with a death bed illness with this joy.

This joy makes the believer in the Lord to sing unto the Lord and to praise him. Martin Luther said he always had a Bible in one hand and a song book in the other. The hymns and spiritual songs of the church are great blessings during hard times. Isn’t it wonderful to live in this digital age when we may access these songs so easily over the web?

My prayer for you today is that you may know the Lord who gives you his strength and shield in the midst of life’s hardest difficulties in order that you might fully trust him to help you, and give you joy, a song and praise. God bless you. .

 

 

Friday, 2/5/2015       Exodus 31: 15-17

15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Sunday is known as ‘the Lord’s Day’ and the ‘Christian Sabbath.’ Are these designations correct? Whole denominations have be created surrounded this day. For years, there were blue laws down south were I grew up. The only items that could be purchased on Sunday were things like gas and medicine. Then grocery stores opened and the malls, 5 & dimes, and movie theaters followed. In most place, beer and wine may be purchased on Sunday now.

Sunday was known as a day when you did not work and went to Church for morning and evening services. 

in some churches, there is a Saturday night worship service and the church members just treat Sunday as a day to do whatever they like. Is that right?

The following are some lessons I have learned as I have mused and pray about the Sabbath Day.

1.) The original naming of the seventh day was when God designated it so to Israel.

2.) Humans need a day of rest.

3.) Christians need a special time designated for public worship with the church.

4.) Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, reapplied nine of the ten commandments but did

Mention the Sabbath command.

5.) Jesus kept many Jewish traditions such as the Sabbath day.

6.) The early church at Jerusalem kept the Sabbath day in the Temple.

7.) Transitions away from certain elements of the Old Testament came about when

Paul preached to those not of the Jewish faith (gentiles) such as dietary laws.

8.) Romans and Colossians teach that keeping the Sabbath Day is voluntary upon a

Christian. (Romans 14:5-6, Colossians 2:16)

9.) The Old Testament Sabbath day is a type of the soul rest the Christian has in Jesus.

(Hebrews 4: 3-11)

10.) Today, the Christian is no longer bound to keep the Sabbath Day as the Jews. 

Christians are to corporately worship and give offerings on a weekly basis, to rest

His/her body and mind as needed, and to experience and enjoy the rest, peace,

And comfort Jesus gives unto his life and soul. Particularly keeping the seventh day as a day to cease labor and for corporate worship is voluntary.

I go to my church on Sunday to worship and give becuse that is the day my church has designated for corporate worship. 

Some would disagree with all or part of my gleanings, but that is what I feel the Lord has taught me about the Sabbath day.

The main crux of the matter is if we have come to Jesus to find rest for our trouble and weary soul. Have you? Jesus invites you to come to him and find that rest:

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

And sometimes, we Christians must rest our bodies as well as Jesus told his disciples:

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

(Mark 6:31)

And let us also remember:'Not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is" (Hebrews 10:25).

 

 

Thursday, 2/5/2015 Revelation 1:5-6  " And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

Once, years ago at a wild game dinner at a church where I was pastor, we had a pastor from a nearby town as the special speaker. He was a gifted communicator and  made one feel very easy and comfortable in his presence. I met him and years later when Mike Huckabee ran for the governor of the state while campaigning in the northeast section of that state he met my mother. My mother, without mentioning  my first name, said you know my son. At that, Mike said, and how is Larry, does he still live by Texarkana?

There you have it,  if Mike ever becomes President, I will know the President. I’ll tell you something much better than that. I know personally the one who is over every president and king on this earth, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. In fact,  I have direct access to his oval office anytime I have a need

or need some counsel. Wow!

Jesus, the prince of the kings of the earth has made me a king and a priest. That means there are areas he has committed unto me where I have governmental rule and that I, as a priest, have access to the holy of holies, the very presence of Jesus.

Why? Because Jesus has loved me and washed me from my sins in his own blood. That’s right, I am absolved from all guilt and eternal consequence of my sin.

The blood of Jesus has washed me clean and whiter than snow. I am, lily white. No condemnation, no  record, no conviction for my wrong doing. Clean.

That is why I give him all praise, honor and thanksgiving because he has all glory and dominion!  And now, because, he is the faithful witness, I want to be his faithful witness.

Jesus is the only real and lasting hope for anyone in this world. Have you experienced the love of Jesus and have you been washed in his blood?  If so, you are a king and priest too and like me want to be his faithful witness. Because that is the way it is.

If you have no desire to praise and make Jesus known in all his glory and dominion, then you have never really met him as your savior and Lord. Please turn from your sin now and cast your all upon Jesus in faith and surrender. Then you will know the thrill and the many eternal and present benefits of knowing Jesus too!

Jesus is called the first begotten of the dead. Jesus was the first to rise from the grave victoriously over sin, death and hell with a new body that knows no limits. That is my future. I will rise too.

Sometimes I go to a cemetery or drive by one and look at all the headstones. We all have an appointment with the undertaker unless, we who are Christians, live until the rapture of the church.

I will be planted too. But one day, I believe in the not too distant future, I am coming out of that grave to meet Jesus in the sky!  I will be changed in a twinkling on an eye.  I will not age anymore and will not even get heartburn or any other malady anymore as I have and get now.  O glorious day!

I want to be on fire for Jesus until that day comes. Today, I want to be his faithful witness. Today, I want to rule my area well that he has given unto me. Today, I want to access my priestly right to his throne room and visit with the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! What a Savior!

 

 

Wednesday, 2/4/2015 Jude 1: 24-25

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

When a person falls, that can be a just a bump and a bruise and getting back up or it can be like when the famous diet Doctor fell, Dr. Atkins,  when he slipped on the ice and fell and hit his head and then dying from a head injury.

There are spiritual falls as well. Every child of God falls to get back up. Proverbs 24:16 states: ‘For a just man falls seven and times and gets up seven times but the wicked shall fall into mischief.’ The idea is that even though all Christians fall from time to time, the rule is that they do not stay fallen. They get back up.

Psalm 37:23-24 states:

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

Aren’t you glad Jesus is able?  Jesus has all power in heaven and on earth. We are told in Scripture that by Jesus all things were created and that by Jesus all things hold together. What a Savior! This Savior is able to keep us from ultimately falling away from him.

I believe in the eternal security of the believer. Nothing can separate me from the love of God and nothing can pluck me out of my Savior’s hand. I am safe and secure in Jesus. Praise God!

One day, Jesus will present all his children faultless in heaven with all the angles rejoicing. Perhaps you can remember as a child when there were family pictures or when Momma got you new clothes for Easter Sunday. Talk about clean and pristine! Jesus makes the believer in him spiritually clean and pristine. We are already accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:3) and even though we have a few bumps and bruises during this present life, one day we will be clothed in fine linen:  white, clean and bright! Glory!

Jesus is our God and Savior. Jesus is God come down to earth. Jesus is not a created being rather he created all other beings beside him.

Jesus has glory and majesty, dominion and power now and forever. Right now, Jesus is our ultimate ruler clothed in majesty. It is this Jesus who resides in the heart of every born again child of God by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

It always amazes me when I hear stories of a person living life very frugally and then dying when it is discovered that they have millions of dollars stashed away but never used their resources to better their life. This is a picture of a Christian who does not appropriate and utilize the resources of heaven by faith and prayer.

I long to learn more and more about how to totally depend upon the Lord alone and to see him do great and mighty things in my life! I hunger and thrist for his righteousness, his fullness, his joy,  hispeace,  his love and  his strength!

Dear Jesus, please reveal yourself to the lost today, May they turn from their sin and the self rule of their life and in doing so turn to you in trust and believing faith.

Lord, may your children realize all that that you are and all that you have for them today and all that you will do for them one now and that day when you present them faultless in heaven!

 

 

Tuesday, 2/3/2015 Jude 1: 20-23

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh

We live in a world of many more unsaved persons than saved people. Jesus said the road to life is narrow with few on it but the road to destruction is broad with many on it. There are many inferences and words used that tell us Christians are to be on mission to win the unsaved people to Jesus. Christians are to be fishers of men, light, salt, witnesses, ambassadors of Christ, the fragrance of Christ and living letters from God to man.

The first step to winning others to Christ is to build oneself up in the faith. That is, to live a life of Bible study, worship, service and prayer. Christians are to pursue holiness, that is, to talk as Jesus talked and to walk as Jesus walked. That includes a dying to oneself daily and fresh surrender and faith in the Lord Jesus.

To win the lost, one must also pray in the Holy Spirit. That means warring and travailing in prayer. Fasting is called for. Isaiah 58:6 describes a fast that will lead to the salvation of the unsaved: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?"

The number one rule of faith and conduct  for winning the unsaved to faith in Jesus is the love of God and the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without love, we are useless. Love goes the extra mile. Love is patient, kind, is not proud and does not steal the stage. Love serves others with no thought of being served in return. That is the call of the day in winning others to Christ.

We are to keep in focus that this life is not it. Eternal life without end lasts forever. People will have a conscious existence forever either with Jesus and the saints in heaven or with the devil, the demons and all the wicked of all times in hell. Eternity in heaven or eternity in hell is the final landing place of every person in this world.

That alone should make every Christian burdened and busy for the Lord in planting gospel seed, giving a verbal witness, loving and serving others in Jesus’ name and praying for the people in our lives by name to be saved.

Some will come to the Lord by compassion while others will come to the Lord by fear. That means we are to serve lost people and show them the compassion and the concern of the friend of sinners, the Lord Jesus.

We are also to warn the unsaved of the result on an unrepentant attitude and a life lived without following Jesus.

Jude tells us to pull people out of the fire. When John Wesley was saved during a reading of Romans chapter one, he said his heart was strangely warmed and he said he was plucked out of the fire.

People today are running headlong into hell. Jesus is not worshipped, praised, followed or obeyed by so many today. Many believe the Bible to be a book of fairy tales and myths. They are wrong. So wrong. Eternally dead wrong.

So let’s build ourselves up through Bible study and prayer. Let’s develop a real Holy Ghost prayer life. Let’s keep love and mercy forefront. Let’s show love to the unsaved. Let’s warn the the unsaved. Let’s share Jesus with with the unsaved and bring them to Jesus!

That ultimately is the only real hope for individuals today.

And if you are still unsaved, give your life to Jesus by repenting of your sin and placing your hope and faith in Jesus by surrendering your heart and life to him as you believe on Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

 

 

Monday, 2/2/2015 Jude 1: 17-19

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit

 

Do not think it unusual for there to be teachers and preachers full of false doctrine today. The Apostles predicted it and it is a sign of the last days.

Notice the text talks about ‘the’ apostles. To be a first century apostle, you had to of actually seen the Lord Jesus Christ. All of them did, including Paul whom Jesus appeared to on the Damascus Road. That is why it is a little bit unsettling to me today when a person assumes the title ‘apostle.’

We are told to remember the words of the apostles. To remember something means you experienced it at one time. Experience the word of the God and remember it.

The church is full of people today who mock the truth. Many churches are not much different than a night club. Healthy churches, preach & teach Jesus, hold to timeless Bible teaching, worship in spirit and in truth, and produce disciples. Where are the Christians today in day to day life?

Recently I had a hospitalization. I gave out preacherlarry.com cards to many nurses and tech’s and told them about Jesus. Only one really plugged into my witness and only one really rejoiced with me and had Christian fellowship with me. That is today’s world. That is also why we are to share Jesus and get his word out anyway we can.

Last week I had delivered to me some large print gospel of John’s that I ordered. I look forward to distributing these as the Lord leads. I am all about soul winning and witnessing for Jesus in the Holy Spirit’s power to others.

People talk about what interests them, things like sports, cars, cooking, gardening, shopping, etc. Let’s talk about Jesus!

I read a survey that said that up to 68% of young singles in the church today approve of sex outside of marriage. It is no longer a sin to them. They are walking after their ungodly lusts. A book tells single seniors to not get married for tax and social security purposes but to enjoy all the benefits of marriage anyway’s. What is up with that? That is sensual as Jude says. Those who participate in that kind of lifestyle prove they do not have the Holy Spirit.  We should not hate them but love them in Jesus name, model the life and love of Jesus to them, tell them of of the gospel and gently but firmly and truthfully witness to them in the power of the Holy Spirit as we pray for them to be saved.

Let all who know Jesus remember: there but for the grace of God go I. The only reason I am not a sensual mocker walking after ungodly lusts devoid of the Spirit of God is because Jesus reached down to save me and is reaching down to change and sanctify me. That is the only reason. Give God the glory!

If you are living an ungodly sensual lifestyle, I implore you to repent and place all your faith and trust in Jesus by surrendering your life to him and inviting him into your life to be your Lord, Master and Savior.

If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then please get on fire for God and live a life of holiness, of love and of the truth of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit that prays for the lost, holds up a Christ filled example to the lost and witnesses and wins the lost to faith in Jesus.

 

 

Sunday, 2/01/2015 Jude 1: 14-16

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage

A hymn says ‘One day he’s coming, O glorious day!’ We can become so entrenched and preoccupied in the nasty now and now that we forget the sweet by and by.

There is coming a day when General Jesus will lead the saints (believers) of heaven back to this earth to fight a final battle with evil. It will not be a pretty picture.

Many people today give hardly a thought at all about eternal things. But they should! Because Jesus is coming again to straighten this mess out..

This present world is filled with ungodliness, hurtful, harmful and blasphemous words against Jesus, people speaking angrily under their breath, continually complaining, big pompous talk, and people seeking to be idolized and ever worshipped.

To me, it seem we are truly in the last days. But Until Jesus comes again we are to pray, to watch and to work. We are to occupy ‘till he comes.

This passage from Jude proves the rapture of the church. Question: how could Jesus come again with ten thousands of his saints if those saints are not in heaven with a new body? The saints are in heaven with a new body because the rapture (the catching away) of the church has already happened to trigger the seven year tribulation when the anti-christ will arise.

I am ready.  Are you?  I am looking for his return.  I love his return.  I am just like a little kid pulling back the window curtains and looking for Daddy to come home.  I mean, I am looking for Jesus to return. I can hardly wait.  I am like a kid waiting to open Christmas presents. 

The last prayer of the Bible is ‘even so, come quickly.’

The good thing is that Jesus will stomp out darkness, evil and sin.  The bad thing is that many people will remain unsaved at his soon return and be cast into the lake of fire which burns for all eternity and be separated from God for evermore.  Yes, I believe in an eternal hell.  Wickedness will have to be paid for.

Jesus paid for my wickedness on the cross.  My sin was laid upon Jesus on the cross.  He become my substitute and bore our all my wrong doing, mouthing off and every dark and despicable thought or action I have ever had on the cross.  I have received and believed on Jesus.  Have you?

If you are playing games with your eternal soul, stop it!  Come to Jesus in repentance and sorrow for your sin and ask him to save you based on what he did for you in dying for your sins and paying your sin debt on the cross.

The risen Lord will save you when you repent and trust him as your Lord and Savior.  Then you will be part of that army of saints to return to this earth with Jesus to fight and win that final battle over the world, the flesh, and the devil.

I am bound for the promised land.  O who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land!  Will you go with me?  I’m ready!

 

 

Saturday, 1/31/2015 Jude 1: 11-13

11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever

When wheat is harvested, the tares which are not fit for human consumption must be separated from the wheat which is for human consumption. To do this, the wheat with the tares are thrown up into the air and while the wheat and tares look very much alike, because the wheat is heavier and has more substance than the tares, it will full faster to the threshing floor while the tares are swept away.

There are tares today in the church. These tares look, act and smell just like the wheat. Jesus had 12 disciples but he called one of them a devil: Judas.

I heard a great preacher (in my eyes) once say that the worst sin is substituting self righteousness for the righteousness of Christ. The basis for our redemption resulting in pardon, forgiveness and new life is the shed blood of Jesus. Substituting human effort as in good works for the shed blood of Christ to gain acceptance with God is a sin. That is what Cain did; Cain brought the wrong sacrifice.

The only acceptable sacrifice for our sins is Jesus. That’s it, pure and simple. Jude warns us about those who go in the way of Cain. When it’s about about power, prestige and place, it is about the wrong things. Our life under the Lord and through the power of the Holy Spirit is to be about service, praise, worship and proclamation that Jesus is the way. Nothing else can measure up.

Jude calls those posers spots, fruitless plucked up dead trees, raging waves and wandering stars. These are apt descriptions of those who just want to be seen and noticed. They are in it for recognition and power which are the wrong reasons.

Eternity separated from God is describe in our text as blackness of darkness forever. How sad to have heard that Jesus saves and yet to never have been saved by Jesus. Yet that is the plight of many today.

I am so happy that one day, I realized I was separated from God by my own personal attitudes and actions. I was responsible because I decided to sin rather than be cleansed by the blood of Christ.

Then Jesus told me he paid my sin debt on the cross and I turned from doing things my own way and called on Jesus to come into my heart and take over my life. Here are some words that describe the day Jesus came into my life:

"I met him on a cold dark day when the sun refused to shine,

In a German coffee house, he became a friend of mine.

I did know not the implications of what had happened to me,

I only knew I felt so clean, so fine, so good, so free."

You see, when Jesus comes into your live, you no longer are a spot, fruitless, raging wave or a wandering star. Your life will have meaning and peace when Jesus comes in. And then it becomes all about Jesus and not about you. Has that happened to you? May our lives emit the fragrance and beauty of Jesus, the gentle shepherd and lamb of God through the power of the Holy Spirit who remains in and works through us by the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

 

Friday, 1/30/2015 Jude 1: 7-10

7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

Jesus said as in the days of Noah and of Lot so shall be the days of his return to this earth in power and glory. Noah’s day was marked by great wickedness and Lot’s day was marked by rampant self indulgence and immorality. Brothers and Sisters, I believe we are there.

It seems to me we are living in a culture similar to that Roman culture in which Jesus was born in and the Apostle Paul preached and planted churches in. The early believers expected the return of Jesus in their life time. Jesus did not return then.

An additional sign of the return of Jesus was fulfilled in 1948 and 1966 when the nation of Israel was reborn and took Jerusalem. This causes me to believe we are in that last generation when Jesus will come again. I was born in 1949. If I live to be 95 years old as many of my relatives on my Mother’s side have, I will be 95 in the year 2044. Wow! Perhaps I shall be alive when Jesus comes again.

The next event on the prophetic calendar is the rapture (catching away) of the church. Jesus will come and the trumpet of the Arch Angel will sound and the dead in Christ will rise first and then I, and all living Christians will be instantly changed to receive a new immortal body and rise to meet Jesus in the air.

We shall be transported to heaven while this earth goes through the 7 year tribulation during which time the anti christ will rise to power and with deceptive powers will deceive many to receive his mark of 666 in order to buy and to sell.

Don’t worry, though, at the end of that 7 year period, Jesus will return with his army of saints (I will be in that army) to throw satan in a prison for a 1000 years while Jesus sets up his rule on this present earth.

At the end of that 7 year period period, satan will be released to deceive many more and a final battle will ensue in which satan, his demons, and human followers will finally be defeated for all time. Satan, his demons and those who are lost because they spurned the call of Jesus to salvation will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.

This old earth will be burned to a crisp by God and a new heavens and new earth will be created in which the redeemed of all ages like Noah, Abraham, King David, John the Baptist, The Apostle Paul and PreacherLarry will live for ever. I plan to see my mom, my dad, Christian friends and  my boxer dog Abby there as well (more about that a later time).

Hope to see you too. Turn from your sin and accept Jesus’s offer of salvation and I will see you there too! God bless.

 

 

Thursday, 1/29/2014 Jude 1:5-6

5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Years ago, I read a little booklet entitled ‘The Four Spiritual Laws.’ The first statement in that little booklet really caught my attention: ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.’ That is good news.

There is another tract that I have recently ordered 100 of is entitled: ‘3 Things God Cannot Do.’ The three things God cannot do are: God cannot lie, God cannot change and God cannot let sinners into heaven (the sinner part is the bad news). This tract goes on to tell how even though man’s sin separates himself from God now and for all eternity in hell that Jesus came to die for our sin and that through repentance and faith one may be forgiven from all sin and receive the gift of eternal and abundant life. That is also good news. (I will stamp these tracts with preacherlarry.com and distribute these as I shop, as I am going, and as God prompts and leads me.) God is good.

Our text today is all about bad news. It tells us that those who turn away from Jesus and believe not including people and the angels that rebelled with lucifer, the once angel but now the devil will face final judgment one day. That is bad news.

There is coming a Great White Throne Judgment at the end of time when the devil, the demons and all those who refused Jesus and instead chose a life of sin, self indulgence, pride and rebellion will be cast into the lake of fire: Revelation 20:10-15

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire

Now some will get mad at the Bible, God and also me, PreacherLarry for saying this. Hey, I am just saying what God says. The great thing is unlike the devil and all his demons who are already condemned with no hope of ever receiving pardon and forgiveness, every person alive today who has an inkling of conviction and turns from their sin, places their faith In Jesus will be forgiven, pardoned, saved, become a child of God with eternal life and will receive the promise of heaven as their final destination:

II Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Acts 3:19

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

I have chosen to by repentance and faith to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I hope you have or will now as well.

Romans 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

 

Wednesday, 1/28/2015    Jude 1:3-4

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude decided that his little book would be about the aspects of the common salvation that he shared with other Christians but the Holy Spirit led him in a different direction. Aren’t you glad that God leads us?  Often times I want to do one thing and even that thing I wish to do is not intrinsically evil but God has a different direction that he engineers in my life. That is true with every believer! I am glad God has promised to ‘direct our paths.’ (Proverbs 3:6)

Jude shifts direction and writes to exhort us to stand true, defend, and proclaim the true gospel and message of Jesus Christ. Jude says ‘the faith’ is once delivered unto the saints. Now a saint is anyone who believes in Jesus and literally means to be ‘set apart.’ You don’t have to wait for some group of people to vote you into sainthood, for God has already made you a saint the instant you believed in Jesus and became a born again child of God.

The basic elements and tenets of the Christian faith are ‘once delivered’ unto those whom God has set apart for his holy purposes!  That means they are unchangeable. Things once delivered unto the saints and uncangeable including the following.  The literal death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in history is unchangeable. The fact that faith alone is necessary for salvation is unchangeable. The rule for all faith and conduct is the wriiten word of God (the Bible). That is unchangeable.

The main aspect of ‘the faith’ is God came to earth as a sinless man to die for the sins of man, to rise again and one day will come again in great power and glory!

Already in Jude’s day and also in ours are those sneaky so called preachers and teachers who want to live the life of riley and deceieve many with false doctrine 

while denying the power and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to be on the lookout for those who would compromise the pure gospel and message of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come as our Savior to make us financially rich or to give us a perfectly tanned and super model body. Jesus came to pay our sin debt and to save us from our sins through faith in what he acquired for his by his shed blood in order that we might have eternal life, life a life of holiness and woship, serve and love others while sharing the precious gospel message of his death, burial and resurrection with a lost and dying world!

Anything that attempts to shift the primary focus of ‘the faith’ is a false gospel and should be exposed as such.

As the old hymn so aptly says:

Stand up, stand up, for Jesus,

Ye soldiers of the cross;

Lift high His royal banner,

It must not suffer loss:

From victory unto victory,

His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished,

And Christ is Lord indeed.

 

 

Tuesday, 1/27/2017 Jude:1-2

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied

For the next few days of Daily Light, I will be going through the little book of Jude in the New Testament.

Jude was a brother to James and a brother of Jesus. Jude knew the physical Jesus as he grew up as a 1/2 brother to Jesus in the same home. I say 1/2 brother because as Mary was Jude’s and Jesus’ mother, only Jude and James had Joseph, the Carpenter as their Father. Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit with out an earthly Father (virgin born by Mary) to be the spotless, blameless lamb of God to shed his blood on Calvary’s tree for your, mine and the sin of the whole world to make possible the salvation of those who would trust him as Lord and Savior.

Jude identifies himself as a servant of his earthly brother, Jesus Christ. Though he could, Jude makes no reference to his earthly relationship with Jesus as a brother.

Do you see then that the most important description of you to others is also being a servant of Jesus Christ? What a privilege to know the Lord in this way!  Doing his bidding in this sin sick world. Offering a drink to others in the name of Jesus. Giving what we have in the name of Jesus. Serving others in Jesus name!  What a privilege and responsibility!

Jude says James was his brother. At this time, James the brother of John had already been killed by Herod. This James that Jude mentions as his brother was known as James the less or James the just. He is the same James who was an elder in the early church in the book of Acts and was over the first church counsel in Acts 15. James also wrote the book of James. The book of James is about the result of believing in Jesus which is good works like remembering widows and orphans in their affliction. No doubt, James influenced Jude to show his faith by works. Let's do llikewise and through Jesus do acts of kindness to our family, our friends, our neighbors and those who are suffering. And let us remember that the most important work as a result of faith is supporting and doing the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jude writes his little book in the Bible to those who are sanctified by the Father and preserved and called by Jesus. That includes every Christian of all times and every Christian today.

Sanctified means set apart and made holy both in once and for all at salvation and also in one's daily experience.

Preserved means the position of the Christian as a child of God is signed, sealed and delivered. It speaks of the eternal security the believer has in and through Jesus and that nothing on heaven or earth can separate the believer from Jesus.

Called means that each Christian has heard from Jesus through the Holy Spirit individually to salvation , personally for service and has responded to that call by inviting Jesus into their heart and life.

Are you sanctified, preserved and called? Has God set you apart and imparted his holiness into your life? Are there habits and practices in your life that you have overcome and are overcoming on a day to day and moment by moment experience through appropriating the cleansing and life changing power of the Holy Spirit made possible by the shed blood of Christ?

If you are a Christian, do you know and praise God that you are preserved and eternally saved through Jesus? Have you heard the call of Jesus to salvation and to be his servant and answered that call with a resounding yes? Jude did. I have. Every Christian does.

Jude ends his salutation in his little book with a blessing for every Christian including Christians living today. Mercy, peace and love is mentioned.

Mercy denotes the undeserving grace received resulting in the pardon and forgiveness of sins at salvation as well as through out the Christian life. This mercy is only made possible and offered because of Jesus shedding his precious blood and giving his life for our sins on the cross.

Peace is offered to every Christian.

There are three types of peace: the peace of justification, personal peace of mind on this earth , and future peace in heaven. That peace is the birthright of the believer in Jesus.

Love is also mentioned: The love of Jesus, the Father and of the Holy Spirit! The Christian can know that wonderful love on a day to day basis. O, the blessing of knowing and experiencing God's love and then having it spill over onto others in our daily lives.

Do you and I know that mercy, peace and love? If we are born again children of God, we do.

If you are yet to repent of your sin and believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you do not know that mercy, peace and love.

(turn from sin and now and trust Jesus as your very own Lord and Savior and you can know that mercy, peace and love!)

Jude wishes these things to be multiplied in our lives. May they be multiplied and multiplied over and over until the words of Jesus are real in our lives: "by this shall all men know you are my disciples because you love one another."

 

 

Monday, 1/26/2015    (Borrowed)

                             ‘The Spiritual State of Our Nation’

By Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President Southern Baptist Convention

Who is addressing the spiritual state of our nation? Are we really trusting only in governmental powers and processes to heal our land?

I love America and believe each citizen needs to be involved in charting the future of our nation. Our churches have compartmentalized faith and kept it from influencing our nation for far too long, just as most of America’s leaders compartmentalize their faith from their politics. Today, our nation has become a product of this sad reality.

We need to return to the conviction that a faith worth believing in is a faith worth dying for. Our faith cannot be checked at the door like a piece of luggage at an airport.

The Time is Now

The time is now for churches to rise up and address the spiritual state of our nation. With compassion, we need to tell it like it is. With hope, we need to share it like we believe it. With fervency, we need to pray like God alone is our hope.

The time is now for our nation to recognize that we cannot fix ourselves. The signs of our brokenness are glistening in our dark world. The blatant destruction of the family, the killing of unborn children, the continuing racial tension, the rebellion against authority, the ongoing reality of poverty, the rising threat of our security, the clear attacks against religious liberty and, of all things, the arrogance to believe the highest court in our land can rule on what the Bible says is genuine marriage testify to just how broken we really are. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

I am just one man and one pastor of a local church. I refuse to be silent and see our nation continue to struggle. Therefore, I submit four actions that will change the spiritual state of our union.

1. We need to repent.

Repentance occurs when we have a change of mind. This change of mind changes our behavior.

As a nation, we need to personally and collectively repent of our sins. We need to ask God for His free gift of forgiveness for the sins we have committed, resulting in change from that point forward.

2. We need to return to God.

America is a nation that was built on a deep belief in God. A desire for religious liberty was the catalyst for the beginning of our nation. While we have gone through ups and downs in our history, God has been very merciful and gracious toward us.

It is time to return to God. It is time to stop making every issue about ourselves, posturing to ensure we get our way. God’s way is the only way. There is no other. Anything less than God’s way diminishes our happiness, our fulfillment and even our liberty.

3. We need our churches to wake up.

Churches all over our nation need to wake up from the slumber we find ourselves in as a whole. We need pastors to return to their spiritual calling, be rekindled by the fire of God and declare the hope we have in the Lord. As a pastor goes, so goes the church.

As our churches go, so goes our nation. The evidence is overwhelming of just how broken we are as a nation. This is the greatest hour for our churches to rise up. Never more has America needed our churches to lead the way forward, serving and influencing our communities with compassion and hope.

4. We need a spiritual awakening.

In our history, there have been seasons of spiritual awakening that have influenced the spiritual state of our nation dramatically. Lives were changed and subcultures became different. Spiritual awakening is our greatest need in America today.

There are many who have probably never even thought about this need. Others may feel we have gone too far. But I want to assure you: God can do more in a moment than we can ever do in a lifetime.

Wherever you are in life, would you just stop for one moment and pray something like this: "God, would you please bring spiritual awakening to America? It is our greatest need."?

America’s greatest need is the next great move of God. This is our hope

 

 

Sunday 1/25/2015     Matthew 10:32-22

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

What is in you comes out of you. Love produces love. Hate produces hate. Cursing produces cursing. Jealousy produces jealousy. And Jesus produces confessing Jesus.

The Bible says ‘the wages of sin is death.’ (Romans 6:23) Now, there are two kinds of death in the Bible: physical death and spiritual death. The only people on this earth who will not die physically are those who are living when Jesus comes again to rapture his Church that I Thessalonians 4:16-17 talks about:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Everybody else on this earth will die and Hebrews 9:27 tells us: "And it is appointed unto man once to die but after this, the judgment."

The judgment for those who die in their sin (without turning from their sin and trusting Jesus as their Savior and Lord) is described in Revelation 21:8

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

This is the result of being spiritually dead. Before you are born again, that is before you make a decision for Jesus to turn from your sin and trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are spiritually dead as Ephesians 2:1 says: ‘" (you are) dead in trespasses and sins" and eternal separation from God is your final destination.

Have you consciously turned from your sins and trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If you are unsure that you have done that, you are spiritually dead and on the broad road to destruction.

There is good news for those who are presently spiritually dead. The first half of Romans 6:23 says: "The wages of sin is death" but the second half of Romans 6:23 says: "But the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Now a gift must be received for it to become yours. Have you received the gift of God, that is, have you turned from your sin and by faith received Jesus as your Savior and Lord.?

To receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you must admit you have sinned, turn from your sin and trust Jesus by surrendering your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into to him." You open the door of your heart to Jesus through repenting of your sin and believing on Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then you will be born again, saved and become

a child of God.

Tell Jesus through prayer that you know you are a sinner, you are sorry for your sin, you wish to turn (repent) from your sin and that right now you wish to invite Jesus into your life to be your Master, Lord and Savior. Do that and Jesus will come into your heart, save you and give you eternal life right now.

When you receive Jesus into your heart, you are saved, you receive the gift of eternal life and you become a born again child of God. Then Jesus wants you to confess him before men. (and your willingness to confess Jesus before men means that you really have turned from your sin and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior)

To Confess Jesus before men means you make it known publicly that you are a Christian. You will want to join a Bible believing and preaching church near where you live and follow Jesus in believer’s baptism. And then you will want to learn about Jesus, worship Jesus with others, and be a disciple of Jesus.

You can begin confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now by contacting preacherlarry.com and sharing your decision to follow Jesus with PreacherLarry. Click the tab on the left side of this page that says ‘Confess Jesus as Your Savior’ and fill in your information and comments and hit the send button to confess Jesus now as your Lord and Savior.

God bless you as you confess Jesus before men.

 

 

Saturday, 1/24/2015 Psalm 1: 6

"For the Lord knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

There are two opposite extremes in life. Consider these opposites:

Righteousness------sin

Love--------------------hate

Truth--------------------lie

Light--------------------darkness

Godliness-------------ungodliness

Heaven----------------hell

Sometimes these opposites clash. Recently, the Chief of the Atlanta, Georgia Fire Department was fired. This civic servant has had a very distinguished career. He was previously the head of the Fire Administration for the government of the United States. And once he served in Shreveport, LA, where he was chairman for a Franklin Graham Crusade.

Why was Chief Cochran fired? He wrote a book about how sin separates one from God and how Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is the antidote for that. The Mayor of Atlanta said he should not have written that book because it inhibited and compromised his ability to be impartial and fair to government employees. And he was fired.

Franklin Graham has spoke out about this and the Liberty Counsel is presently defending and representing Chief Cochran legally. Many Christian leaders in Atlanta are behind and supporting Chief Cochran including my pastor, Johnny Hunt (past President of the Southern Baptist Convention), pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Georgia and Michael Youssef, Pastor of Church of the Apostles and founder of ‘Leading the Way’, an international Television and Radio ministry. Chief Cochran will be ok. The main one and most important one on the Chief’s side is God.

When a person does not know Christ as their Savior, the foundation of their life is human philosophy, sin, lust, gratification, greed, and so forth. When a person does know Christ has their Savior, the foundation of their life is Godly wisdom, righteousness, love, sacrifice, service and so forth. Sometimes and often these two world systems collide.

Jesus said if the world persecuted him (he was crucified),  then the world will also persecute his followers (as in Chief Cochran being fired.) That is the way its. Polycarp, an ancient follower of Jesus was told to to bow to Caesar and to call Caesar Lord. His answer was he could not deny Jesus whom he had followed for over eighty years of his life. Polycarp was burned at the stake because he refused to call Caesar Lord. In some parts of the world today, Christians are being imprisoned and even killed for their faith.

In America, today, Christians are being fired, castigated, and forced to close down their businesses because of their faith and stand for Biblical truth. I am praying for our Country to return to the God of it’s founding Father’s and past leaders. Abraham Lincoln said of the Bible:

'In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.'

I hope and pray for our Country (Our leaders and our people) to repent, call upon the Lord and turn from all  wicked ways, for then, God will hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land.

 

 

Friday, 1/23/2015 1 John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Yesterday, I issued a challenge and an encouragement to some friends: The most important thing: Share the love of God and tell someone what Jesus did for them on the cross today.

Throughout the day, I wondered about this. I thought how shall I perform this challenge myself today. You see, much of my day is spent at home now. I am retired. And I spend my time with a family member who needs my presence.

Thursday night is my bowling league night. I thought, many of the members of my bowling league enjoy drinking their beer, giving lots of high fives and bowling strikes and spares. (I give the high fives but do not drink any beer). During a competition is a time for fierce and positive determination.

We bowled against two guys named Chris and Perry (both young men in perhaps their late twenties or early thirties). Chris, a salesman, had been laid off his job and was interviewing with a major retailer that he worked with earlier. I asked Chris how his job search was going and he said he never heard back from his previous employer.

We talked about how often time politics and the good ole boy network is going on behind the scenes when the really good jobs come up with a company car, benefits, etc.

Chris said he had hired on with a Real Estate Agency and was being paid a base to work inside and make prospect calls while studying for his real estate exams. I looked at Chris and said, ‘I think you will do great, you are very talented and personable and I will be praying for your good success.’ Chris thanked me. This was done in a passing conversation.

I am praying that very soon I will be able to share further with Chris about success and perhaps share Joshua 1:8 with him: ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therein day and night that thou might observest to do according to all that is written therein, for then thou shalt make thy prosperous and then shalt have good success.’

My team member and I bowled real good. We took all 7 points. Perry gave his congratulations and said we gave them a good whupping! I began to pray about sharing with Perry about Jesus dying for him on the cross.

I had some contact with Perry previously because Perry had been a contractor but had gone into working in a body shop when the economy turned. I had Perry over about 5 months ago one Saturday morning to do a small job at my son’s new home he purchased last year. At that time, I briefly shared with Perry how Jesus made my life joyful and fulfilling. Perry had shared with me that he never had been to a church service before.

As we were packing up to leave the bowling alley, Perry was down at a table with several other’s in our league having a beer and talking it up. As I walked towards the the door, I prayed: ‘Lord, I would like to share with Perry in a private conversation about the cross so Lord if Perry leaves talking it up and turns and walks toward me, I know that will be your signal and key.’

As we walked towards Perry, Perry suddenly turned towards us and started walking towards us. As we met in passing I stopped and said to Perry: "Perry, I won’t be here next week because I am having a major surgery and will have to take off from the league a couple of weeks. But if I don’t make it through the surgery, I want you to know something, Perry, Jesus died on the cross for you and wants to be your Lord and Master." I gave Perry a man embrace (not too close) and said, with some tears, "Perry, I love you, man" Perry also teared up a little and said: "I love you, too." Now I want to tell you. Perry and I are manly men with a tough guy persona. But we had a special moment and I got to do the most important thing that I challenged my friends to do yesterday: Share the love of God and tell someone what Jesus did for them on the cross today.

God’s commandments are, indeed, not grievous. I hope and pray that very soon, perhaps, I will be able to have a time with Perry when I will be able to fully explain the gospel with him. But you know what? God may send another gospel worker to harvest the seed that God let me plant in Perry. I might just be the seed planter and the worker who watered the seed. And that will be ok, too.

 

 

Thursday, 1/22/2015 Psalm 76:10

'Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.'

The account of Joseph in the book of Genesis tells how Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and how Joseph survived an Egyptian prison to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and give food and deliverance to his brothers in a seven year famine. Joseph gives God’s perspective on the whole matter in Genesis 50:20 ‘ But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.’

Over and over again throughout Scripture God reminds us how good results from suffering. A verse that is used often for this is Romans 8:28:

'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.'

So several truths are evident from these and other Scriptures:

1.) The worse things that people do can not diminish the fact that God is good, worthy and shall be praised.

2.) The hardships, through no fault of their own, that children of God face and go through end up for their good and God’s good and perfect plan being done.

Are you going through a hard time right now? If so, know this: even though it may be tough and hard now that eventually it will be better. I know. It does not seem this may happen but it is the truth for the child of God. And when you submit to the Lord and ask him for peace, srength, wisdom and comfort during your suffering, he will give it to you.

What about those who suffer who are not the children of God? Wait a minute isn’t everyone a child of God? I mean, Oprah or new age purveyors would say that every one is a child of God, wouldn’t they?  Yes they would, but that is not the truth.

While it is true that everyone owes their existence to God, only those who have been born again by the Spirit of God are in God’s forever family and are truly children of God. That is why Jesus said:

'Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' (John 3:3)

Have you been born again? If so, you are a child of God. If not, the brutal truth is that you are not presently a child of God (that can change, however). For, John 1:10-13 says:

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Can you see this? Not everyone knows Jesus or receives Jesus so not everyone is a child of God. But those who do receive Jesus in believing faith are born of God and receive power to become a child of God. (You can receive and believe on Jesus right now and become a born again child of God!)

So, if you are yet to become a child of God, even the evil you do will end up giving God praise. God will see to that. And God is able to withstrain and prevent any wrathful actions from a lost person that he chooses to stop as well.

The only reason this world is not a totally dog eat dog world right now and 100% out of control is because of the presence and working of the Holy Spirit. One day the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from this world when the rapture of the church takes place and then literally all hell will break loose.

If you think it is bad now, just wait until then.

Don’t wait. Turn from your sin now and by receiving and beleving on Jesus, become a child of God today!  And Christian? Remember that every event in your life is and will be ultimately used by God to make you better and bless your more! Amen.

Give God praise, honor and glory!

 

 

Wednesday, 1/21/2015 Proverbs 31:10-31

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Last night and then during my sleep as I was praying about today’s Daily Light, the Lord kept laying upon my heart to celebrated godly women.

I thank God for the godly women of past years and for the godly women today. They are such a blessing and a force and power for the Lord.

My own Mother was one. She gave birth to and raised four sons. She was married to my Father for 44 years before Dad passed on to a better place.

Mom mostly stayed home with us boys and watched after us until I reached High School. Mom was church pianist, church secretary and worked with the Sunbeams, a mission organization on Wednesday nights. She was a saint.

My mother went to Beauty School in her forties and became an instructor at a local Beauty School. She ended up owning two Beauty Schools, three Beauty Shops and was voted President of the State Board of Cosmetology.

When my Father passed on, Mom moved back to a small town (like Mayberry) in Arkansas near her birthplace. She volunteered as a pianist for what she called ‘singings’, was a pink coat volunteer at the local hospital and in many other places. When she died at age 80, I preached her funeral. The funeral home was packed and her funeral was a celebration of her life. My mother! I love and miss her so!

As a previous Pastor of four local churches, I so appreciated and admired all the godly women in my pastorates. I can tell you that the backbone of those pastorates were those godly women. They prayed, served, volunteered, witnessed and gave their all for the Lord and for his glory.

I remember at one church we started an evangelism program. We would study how to share Jesus and then go out in the community and share the gospel with friends and neighbors. One young woman who was five months pregnant at the time was part of this evangelistic program. We saw grown adults give their lives to Jesus through this effort.

How I wish the church would pray, study and go out again into the highways and hedges to share Jesus and to fulfill the Great Commission! Godly women would lead the way!

The godly women I have known have been prayer warriors and soldiers in the Army of the Lord. I thank God for them!

Once, when I was in Seminary, my wife was pregnant with our third child and it was in December. We barely had enough money to buy groceries much less presents for our kids. A dear saint named Ms. Lilly came by one night with a car load of groceries (I am talking about the good stuff--staples and snacks!) and a check from our local church to help us out that Christmas. I tear up recalling this event. Ms. Lilly was one of those godly women I am talking about.

I have know godly women who have showed up every Sunday to sing in the choir or to play the organ. I have seen and witnessed godly women work with the little children in the nursery to love on them and to teach them about Jesus. And who can number all the godly Pastor's wifes who are and were godly women!

Even now, I know many godly women who labor in the word of God, who serve, teach, sing, and go for the Lord. Thank God for godly women.

My own dear wife is one of these. On our first date over 43 years ago, she read to me John Chapter 17, her favorite chapter in the Bible, and placed that open bible on the console between our car seats. My dear wife has labored, gave birth to our four children, is a nurse and is such a wonderful godly Christian woman and role mode for our grandchildren!

All I can say this morning is thank God for our godly women!

 

 

 

Tuesday, 1/20/2015 ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.

The Bible teaches modesty. The Bible teaches not to flaunt one’s body or possessions. So why, then, is every hollywood awards ceremony a race for immodesty and flaunting one’s body?

God commands his children to not be like the world. We are held to a higher standard. I, like anyone, am concerned about how I dress, how I look, what shape my body is in and how I feel. But I want you to know something. I am more concerned about what Jesus thinks how I dress, about what Jesus thinks how I look, about what Jesus thinks what shape my body is in and about what Jesus thinks how I feel.

John 15:5 says ‘without him, you can do nothing.’ That means whatever we do we should do for Jesus’ sake and for Jesus’ glory.

There were two quarterbacks playing in a big football game the other day. I can’t spy into their heart, mind and motives. But one gave God the glory and the other did not. I’m just saying, do it for Jesus and you will be all right!

The first thing God made for Adam and Eve after they sinned and fell from grace in the garden of Eden was clothes: ‘Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them’ (Genesis 3:32). These coats served as suitable clothes for them to cover them and to protect their bodies but also were a type of the salvation the Lord clothes his born again child of God.

So this is evident here. If you claim to know Jesus, when you go out in public, dress to represent Jesus. We are called ‘ambassadors of Christ.’ An ambassador represents the official or country who sends him or her out to do his work. You would not expect an ambassador of the United States, say in Europe to waltz into a meeting with heads of states dressed immodestly in such a way to cause and entice one to lust after them, would you? Of course not.

Our Christian teenagers must be taught to dress modestly. There will be some battles parents will have to fight over this, but fight it and fight it real good. Win for Jesus! Your Christian teenager will thank you later when they enter adulthood and they, themselves, become parents.

Jesus is coming again. He said he will come unexpectantly. We are to be looking for his soon return. Live like he could come today;  plan your life like you will live a lifetime. There will be two type of Christians when Jesus comes again: those without shame who are looking for him and those with shame who are not looking for him. We have all been one or another at any given time. However, I want to be on fire for God and to love his appearing, watching, waiting and working. I want to hear Jesus say to me, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant!’

If you are not concerned with how you look for Jesus and are not looking for his return, you are either backslidden and away from God or, more likely, you have never been saved in the first place.

Give your life to Jesus today. Surrender your all to Jesus today. Place your faith, hope and trust in Jesus today. Accept Jesus as your Commander in chief and represent him honorably in this world and always be on the lookout for his soon return. That is PreacherLarry’s message for you today. Have a good day and may God bless you real good today is my prayer for you.

 

 

Monday, 1/19/2015

‘From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 4:17

The message of Jesus is marked by two things:

1.) our need to repent

2.) our participation in the kingdom of God.

The first thing Jesus did in his public ministry was to preach for people to repent because the kingdom of God is upon us. C.H. Dodd, a Biblical scholar wrote about the kingdom of God as being marked by two things:

1.) already

2.) not yet.

There is a present aspect to the kingdom of God and a future aspect of the Kingdom of God. The future aspect of the Kingdom of God is when Jesus returns to this present earth and sets up his one thousand yea reign on this earth. That is when the lion will lay with the lamb and peace will be prevalent on planet earth.

The present aspect to the kingdom of God is when God takes up rule in a believer’s heart and life thus producing the will and works of God in and through that believer’s thoughts and actions. This is seen in the part of the Lord’s prayer when Jesus taught believers to pray ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.’

Kingdom means rule and dominion. We, as human beings, are not plugged into the kingdom of God unless we repent. This repenting has two aspects to it:

1.) initial repentance

2.) continual repentance

Initial repentance takes place when a person recognizes:

--they are sinner

--their sin has separated them from God

--their sin has future penalty in hell

--Jesus died to pay for their sins on the cross and rose again

--they turn from their sin to turn towards Jesus and receive him by faith as their

Lord and Savior.

That is initial repentance. When that happens to a person they instantly become an adopted child of God, are pardoned and forgiven and, are regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Born Again) and saved for all eternity. A yearning for the kingdom of God is placed by the Holy Spirit into the heart and the life of the new believer. My friend, if you do not have a present yearning for the kingdom of God, this has never happened to you, you are still lost and yet in your sins. Please repent now.

Continual repentance takes place when one who has initially repented receives power from on high to walk in the Spirit thus not fulfilling the lust of the flesh. An adopted child of God still has a sin nature as well as a new spiritual nature. A person who has not initially repented only has one nature: a sin nature.

For the will and works of God that mark the kingdom of God to be operative in a child of God's life , a child of God must continually turn towards Jesus to live a life pleasing to the Father in heaven by and through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible in Galatians 2:20 describes this:

‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’

I have two questions for you today:

1.) Have you initially repented?

2.) If you have initially repented,  are you then continually repenting?

If you can answer yes to those two questions then God can work in and through you for the goals and presence of the kingdom of God. If you are unsure that you have ever initially repented, that is realized you are a sinner, that your sins separate you from a holy God and then placed all your hope and faith in Jesus by surrendering your life to he who died for your sins and rose again, then repent now. It is of extreme importance for you to repent when God speaks to you by convicting you of your sin. To wait is dangerous for you,  so come to Jesus now through repentance and faith! The Bible says that for ‘whosoever shall all upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Romans 10:13)

You can make this prayer your prayer of repentance and faith:

"Lord Jesus, I know I am sinner. I know my sins condemn me to separation from you now and then in eternal hell later. I believe you died on the cross for my sins and that you rose from the grave. I turn from my sin right now and ask you to come into my life to be the Lord and Savior of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen."

If you just prayed that prayer, you are now a forgiven, born again, saved child of God.

Now find and attend a Bible believing Church, read and study your Bible every day, have a private prayer time every day and continually pray and walk with Jesus all day long. Then you will be a participant in manifesting the kingdom of God on earth.

 

 

Sunday, 1/18/2015

4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1: 4-5

Jesus is the light of the world. He said so in John 8:12. The opposite of light is darkness.

Every day, day light reminds us that Jesus is still the light of the world. Even at night when darkness is prevalent, we have candles, flash lights, head lights, light bulbs and items lit up by fire to give us light and to remind us of Jesus. Jesus remains.

Little children are open to the light of Jesus. When speaking of little children, Jesus said that such are the of the kingdom of God. Young people through their teenage years are open to the light of Jesus. An add in our freely distributed county newspaper enlisted parents and adults to work with with ‘Young Life.’ The work was to introduce young people to Jesus Christ and to teach young people the roadmap for life, the Bible. What an opportunity, because youth are open

to the light of Jesus!

In the early to mid 1970’s, in a large southern city of which I and my young wife resided, there was an explosion of light. It was called the ‘Jesus movement.’ Young people by the droves came to the light of Jesus for cleansing, salvation, direction and new life. That is what I yearn for today.

Surveys have been done that show most Christian converts are younger rather than older. It seems the longer a person stays in darkness away from the light of Jesus, the harder it is to come to the light and so as far as percentages go, there is a lower chance an older person will come to the light.

There are exceptions. My own Father came to the light of Jesus when he was thirty eight years old. You see, my Father was on his own at age twelve, traveling and living from place to place. He learned more about the darkness as a young person but at age thirty eight, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, was baptized and joined the church. I remember as a child our family having the Pastor with his wife and family over to our home for Sunday dinner. We loved the light!

Much of what I write and do visually at preacherlarry.com is aimed at getting people out of darkness and into the light. My audience is most likely primarily adult, however. But I still yearn to see people saved thus finding the light of Jesus. There is a party thrown in heaven every time a sinner comes come (to Jesus). This is what I do. This is who I am.

When I was a pastor of local churches, I saw grown men and women come to the light. One Sunday morning, I baptized a 69 year old man and a 78 year old man. I remember another Sunday, I asked an older man who visited the church often but was not a member: ‘have you ever accepted Jesus as your personal Savior.’ He answered ‘no.’ I said ‘how come?’ He said ‘nobody ever asked me to.’ I thought, he heard me preach two or three Sundays every month and I gave public invitations but in his mind, nobody had asked him to accept Jesus. I asked him ‘would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ He said ‘yes.’ Talk about jaw dropping and eye opening. I led that man in a prayer to receive Jesus and I baptized that man who was over seventy years old.

I pray that I will become more bold and asks others if they have accepted Jesus as their Savior and then if they have not but are open to that,  ask them if they would like to receive Jesus as their savior.

Jesus had a cousin named John. We call him John the Baptist. Of him it was said in John 1:6-8:

"There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light."

Wow, that is exactly what I want to be about. I want to be a witness to testify of  Jesus, the light of the world, so that through Jesus, people in darkness might believe and come out of darkness and be saved.

Lord, help us to be witnesses of the light, we who know Jesus, the true light. And Father, may those who have yet to really follow Jesus in sincerity and truth as the light of the world, may they follow Jesus today. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

 

Saturday, 1/17/2015

49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Psalm 18:49

The Psalmist was thankful because God had protected him, delivered him and empowered him.

I just feel like thanking the Lord this morning. We used to sing a little song: "God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, he’s so good to me. I love him so, I love him so, I love him so, he’s so good to me. He’s coming son, he’s coming soon, he’s coming soon, he’s so good to me." Yes, God is so good and I just want to thank him today.

Isn’t the Lord wonderful? Thank of his blessings. Most of us who will be reading these words live in heated houses this winter. Let’s thank God for our homes and for heat. We will be able to pull food out of our pantry or refrigerator and prepare it on or in a gas or electric range. Or we we use an electric griddle, fry pan or toaster oven. God is so good to us. I thank him

My wife by herself drove and traveled in a mini van several hundred miles yesterday to my daughter and son in law’s home in another city. I thank God for keeping her safe. She and my Son will travel another 4 to 5 hours to another city to see a very sick friend. I thank God, he is a God of healing, comfort and peace. I ask him to be with my wife and son as they travel. I ask the Lord to be with, give healing and strength to her friend. I ask the Lord to be with her family as they have been through so much difficulty and hard times in the last several years. Thank you God for your presence, peace, upholding grace and blessings.

What are you thankful for today? If you are a Christian, then you can thank God for his saving grace. I want to thank God for his provision of forgiveness and mercy when I stub my toe and get my spiritual feet dirty in this walk of life. God is so good. He gives the Holy Spirit to all who ask him. I so desire the power, gifts, guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for his provision.

As the old hymn says: "What a joy divine, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms, leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms."

Our text encourages us to thank God in the presence of the heathen and with singing. All who are Christians now were once a heathen. Thank God for our great and glorious salvation that Jesus provided for us by dying for our sins on the cross. Thank God that our salvation was made active and available to us through Jesus raising from the dead. The same resurrection power that raised Jesus has saved us to day and sanctifies us from the old way of life. Thank God!

What a Savior, we have. He is merciful, loving, truthful, caring, kind, interested in us and ever present with and in us through the Holy Spirit. I thank him today! I so desire to be grateful and to give thanks with a grateful heart! Let's thank him together today for all that he is and all that he does for us!

 

 

Friday, 1/16/2015

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Genesis 33:4

I am told that during the 2nd World War, on Christmas day, a one day truce was in effect between Germany and and the Allied Forces. For one day, there was peace on earth and goodwill toward men. That is what Jesus wants for every day. But one day is better than no day.

It is a wonderful thing when two people who have been in a conflict throw down the gauntlet as Jacob and Esau and embrace. That kind of scene can make you weep.

The difficulty comes in when people still embrace their baggage. Especially if that baggage has cause a split in the relationship.

For instance, many people are addicted to alcohol. This addiction affects their entire life and being. It affects their finances, their health, their relationships and often times their occupations. So can, say, an adult child embrace and forgive an alcoholic father? Yes, but for a relationship to ensue and to continue, there would have to be boundaries.

The child might have to agree not to continuously berate the parent over the addiction. And the parent might have to agree not to partake of alcohol at family gatherings. Then, just as Germany and the Allied forces had peace and goodwill on one day, so might an adult child and a parent have peace and goodwill during a family gathering.

Most people do not like boundaries. People are always wanting to extend their boundary into another persons life and territory. The alcoholic wants their brew and I will admit that I want to influence a person locked in a sinful lifestyle to receive the life changing grace of Jesus. But I cannot inflict that influence on a family member who adamantly rejects that.

In fact, Jesus used metaphors to describe this.

Jesus said once to not cast your pearls before swine. Another time Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet of the people and cities that rejected the preaching of the kingdom of God.

Even the Apostle Paul kept on the move from people to people and place to place as he preached the gospel. Often times, though, Paul was asked to leave or was run out of town. But when Paul found a receptive spirit in people towards the life changing grace of Jesus, Paul would pitch his tent for a while and after going on his way would stay in touch through the writing of letters.

It is that way in the life of our families as well. Jesus said he came not to bring peace but a sword. The Christian adult child and the non believing alcoholic parent know about that division, trust me.

For Jacob and Esau, they embraced and wept and their relationship got better. Their mother was grieved when Esau took a Hittite wife and it was evident that the relationship was harmed when Jacob impersonated Esau to take his blessing from their Father.

Family dynamics can really get complicated, can’t they?

My heart grieves today for families that are tore up over things. I realize that only Jesus can really repair and heal the breaches. I saw this once when a family member got off drugs, went through rehab, and found a personal relationship with Jesus. What changes were wrought and enjoyed between family members when Jesus healed the breach.

Hope is a good thing. I hope some healing takes place in all of our families. I know I need Jesus to intervene in some situations in my extended family. And I know he is able and willing to do that. Love conquers all.

I pray for the Christian family member who is hurt to not hold a grudge and to patiently wait for the Lord to do his work in that non saved family member. Even though there must be boundaries during the waiting.

And I pray for the lost non Christian family member to come to their senses, to lay down their all to Jesus and to receive his healing and life changing grace.

That is the goal. That is what we hope for. That is what we patiently wait for. Until then, let us have truce days,boundaries and have peace and goodwill when that is possible.

 

 

Thursday, 1/15/2014 Colossians 1: 27-29

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

To ‘Strive’ is a hallmark and a bench point for a committed passionate Christian.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘strive’ as:

1

:  to devote serious effort or energy :  <strive to finish a project>

2

:  to struggle in opposition :  <contend for the prize>

The mission of the Apostle Paul was to preach and to teach the riches of the glory of Jesus to those in need of a Savior.  Paul was able to do this by his labor through striving because Jesus worked in Paul mightily through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The word strive was used in Paul’s day to describe toil, competition and battling. The word envelopes agony, that is, totally being exhausted after giving one’s all to a noble cause.

Vince Lombardi, the noted coach of the Green Bay Packers said "I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious." That is what Paul did, except Paul’s energy came from the Holy Spirit’s dynamite power infused into Paul’s life.

The word strive is used seven times in the New Testament. We are to strive to enter into the narrow gate.  Jesus is our example as he agonized (strived) in prayer in the Garden and sweat drops of blood.  We are to fight (to strive in) a spiritual battle for the kingdom of God. We strive (run) with patience the race that is set before us. We fight (strive for) the good fight of faith. We strive to obtain an incorruptible crown. We speak the gospel of God as the enemy strives against us. We fight (strive in) a good fight, we finish the course, we keep the faith.

God calls every Christian to be a striver. To fight, to engage, to compete, and to toil for Jesus to do his work on this earth. Jesus is in us to enable us to strive according to the mighty energy and work of the Holy Spirit. But we have to answer his call, be willing to strive and then to appropriate his power by faith to be a real striver.

I am in the final part of my life. I want these final years (yes I am in my final years) to be the very best, the very hardest fought, and the most winning years of my life for Jesus.

My prayer is for the Lord to use me mightily according to his energy through Jesus in me, my hope of glory.

Are you a striver? Are you in the competition? Are you in the battle? Are you toiling for the Lord with every thing you got? Is your all on the table for the Lord?

Let’s strive for Jesus. Time is short. Let’s do this!

 

 

Wednesday, 1/14/2015 1 Peter 3:15

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

One thing is for sure. If you or I never have a conversation with anyone about the Lord, we will never be used of the Lord to introduce a person to Jesus as their Savior.

Years ago, we would ‘get ready’ to go to church. As a child, there would be Saturday night baths. Momma would lay out our Sunday clothes and help us use the liquid shoe polish to make our shoes look nice and shiny. Then on Sunday morning, our faces would be washed and our hair dressed and combed. We had to drive to church so my three brothers and I with Mom and Dad would pile in the car with our Bibles (back then, we carried our Bible to church---I still do) and off we would go. I tell you we had to ‘get ready’ to go to church.

We have to get ready to tell someone else about Jesus, too. First we have to sanctify the Lord in our hearts. That means to set him apart in our lives. He deserves first place. His purpose, plan and mission deserves first place in our life. Does Jesus have first place in my life and in your life? He has first place when repentance, faith, prayer and receiving his word is evident and a priority.

Then we have to be ready to speak for the Lord. That means we should know, for instance, the Romans road to salvation. I also use two questions to prompt a conversation about salvation. First I ask permission as in ‘do you mind if I ask you a couple of spiritual questions?’ When he or she says yes, then I ask the questions:

1.) If you was to die right now, where do you think you would spend eternity?

2.) If you were standing before God and he were to say to you, why should I let

You into my heaven, what do you think would say?

These two questions will definitely get a spiritual conversation going. At another time, I will go into detail as to how people answer these questions and how that determines how you might proceed. The important thing, though, is to just get ready to tell others how to get saved.

Our text implies, though, if you live a life pleasing to God, then someone might actually ask you about what makes you tick. The Bible tells us to live that way. Be a magnate for Jesus. Emit a fragrance that is pleasing spiritually to others. Are we helpful, cheerful and have a serving spirit about us? Do we have a pleasant smile on our face or walk around with a scowl or a chip on our shoulder? Presentation makes a difference. I found just having a smile may cause people to ask why are you smiling all the time? Bingo!

Then answer with meekness and fear. That means to graciously give God the credit and to point others to him. Don't take credit. Give God the glory! Fear means to show respect for the Lord and his word. God is the judge. Just, by his power and guidance, point others to him. People have a lot of baggage or layers of stuff that God will peel away by his Holy Spirit to get front and center in their heart.

Be intentional with your verbal witness for Jesus.

Look for opportunities that include pockets of time to give a presentation of the good news of Jesus. And be ready to give an answer when some asks you about the basis for your positive outlook of faith.

Are you a Christian? Have you turned from doing things your own way and surrendered your life to Jesus by faith? Give your life to Jesus. You will never be disappointed. Jesus will give you pardon, forgiveness, peace, joy, guidance, strength and comfort now and eternal life later in a place called heaven after your life on planet earth is over.

If you are a Christian, are you ready to tell others about Jesus?  Do you look for opportunities to be intentional and are you ready when someone asks you about spiritual things? Get ready to be the best witness for Jesus that you can. Jesus wants and deserves the very best verbal witness from you and I!

 

 

Tuesday, 1/13/2015 I Peter 4:19

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator

It is within God’s will for us to suffer. Suffering may come in persecution for your stand for Jesus (The Fire Chief in Atlanta, Georgia was fired last week for writing a book on Christian morality during his off time), sickness (St Jude Hospital in Memphis, is full of little children who are sick and many of these children have not even reached the age of accountability), financial reversal (Christians are losing their right to operate businesses that stand for Christian ethics and truth) and just the aging process with it’s arthritis, loss of memory and diminished physical strength, to me, is a part of suffering.

Everyone will go through suffering of some kind more than once during their life. Some go through suffering continually with a physical malady or some other thing.

There are false preachers and teachers who teach that suffering is alien to the child of God or that suffering always goes away on earth if you just have faith. That is false doctrine. Believe them and you may become cynical and angry at God when you go through stuff and keep going through stuff.

So what do we do when we suffer? Commit it to God. Keep on doing right through the power of Jesus. Proclaim God’s faithfulness.

Jeremiah the Old Testament prophet who suffered greatly for his stand for truth proclaimed that God has great faithfulness and his mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23). Through the process of suffering God does not forget, you, his child.

God will comfort you, give you peace, teach you, strengthen you, give you hope, and show you off as a polished trophy of his matchless grace to others who will marvel how you have joy even in your suffering state. That is what God wants to do for you and in you as you suffer.

When we go through the fire, the dross and impurities of our life are burned away. We are conformed to the image of Christ through our suffering. Suffering has a way of bringing us to total dependence on God like nothing else will or can.

Therefore, the psalmist when reflecting upon his suffering said: ‘it is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.’ (Psalm 119:71)

Suffering may come as a chastisement to a child of God but not always. Always ask God what it is he wishes to teach you through your suffering. A wise counsel once told me it is always better to ask God what rather than why.

Commit the keeping of your soul to God as a faithful creator during your suffering that is appointed by God and is the will of God. Yield your heart to him. Listen to him. Receive his grace and his love.

Part of this earthly journey that is marred by original sin is suffering. That is just the way it is. So learn from it. God will keep you and bless you in and through it. And sometimes, the storms in your life may cease during your earthly journey. But not always. For some, God leaves the thorn in their flesh (as the Apostle Paul) and his grace is sufficient for you.

It is always right to pray for strength, for healing and for deliverance. God is faithful. He has a plan. His ways are higher than our ways. We may not always understand but we can always obey.

My heart goes out to all of my readers who are suffering greatly or who have loved ones that are currently suffering. My prayers are with you. You can leave a prayer request on my prayer page and I will pray for by name if you like. Hold on to Jesus for he holds onto you and he never lets go.

 

 

Monday, 1/12/2015 ‘Be content with the things that you have, for he has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.’ Hebrews 13:5

This wonderful promise from the New Testament Book of Hebrews has been a major comfort to me for over 40 years.

I first memorized this verse as an assurance of salvation verse. Many young Christians base their assurance of salvation upon their experience of sanctification and this can actually cause a lack of assurance. I am saying that after a person becomes a Christian, they often times go back temporarily to old lifestyle patterns of sin and self indulgence. For instance, a new born again child of God is now indwelt by the Holy Spirit and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30) but that does not mean a new born again child of God will never quench the Holy Spirit and even grieve the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 24:16 states: ‘For a just man falls seven times and gets up seven times but the wicked shall fall into mischief.’ This means that a new born again child of God is not exempt from returning to old lifestyle practices of sin and self indulgence after becoming a born again child of God. In fact, we (all born again children of God) do.

The question, then, arises: how does our falling and sinning affect our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (‘we are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.’ Galatians 3:26)? Well, we know that from Hebrews 13:5 that Jesus will never leave us or forsake us and we know from John chapter 10:28 that we will never perish and no man can pluck us out of his hand. So sinning after becoming a Christian does not cause one to lose their salvation.

So what does happen when we as a child of God sin after receiving Jesus Christ by faith as our personal Lord and Savior? We forfeit fellowship with God. We forfeit the peace of God (not the peace with God but the peace of God: there is a difference.) When one first comes to Jesus in repentance and faith for salvation, that person is justified by faith and receives peace with God (Romans 5:1). And nothing can ever change that.

However, when that new born again Christian is strengthened by the word of God and prayer and is in snyc with the Holy Spirit, that is, breathing and walking in the Spirit, there is a prevailing peace of God that is enjoyed, experienced and realized. And that is a beautiful thing.

But the instant that child of God falls and sins, the peace of God evaporates and then disappointment and even despair can mark the experience of the child of God(but the fact of justification and the peace with God stays intact and cannont be forfeited or changed). Praise God for I John 1:9: If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ We come to Jesus in humility and ask for cleansing and forgiveness by saying the same thing about our failure as he says about it. That is, the sin of a Christian is alien from the operation and working of the Holy Spirit who fulfills the promise of Jesus in the child of God that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

Eventually, through suffering, spiritual growth and maturing faith, the old shackles of sin can be removed from a child of God. Those who use to lie quit lying. Those who used to gossip quit gossiping. Those who use to envy quit envying. Those who used to covet quit coveting. That does not mean a mature Christian will ever fall down and lie again, gossip again, envy again or covet again. It does mean, that through spiritual maturity that does not have to be a continued pattern of repeatedly falling and getting up over and over and over and over as a new born again child of God might. It could be but it does not have to be.

I still struggle in certain areas of my life. One area is that I am prone to have a sharp tongue and impatience with those whom I love. When I relapse, I regret it and am sorrowful, however. I hurt Jesus and I hurt my loved ones through my turning from having my speech seasoned with grace to my old tendency of being sharp and cutting my with language. God, forgive me. O God, change me and root out my sinful tendencies. May I walk with the Lord in the light of his way and experience his love and power all the day. Thank you, Lord Jesus for the promise that you will never leave me or forsake me but I also pray for the power to live a life pleasing to you that is  filled with the Holy Spirit and thus operating and walking in your grace, power, light, wisdom and love. In Jesus Name, I pray, amen.

 

 

Sunday, 1/11/2015 Matthew 5:43-45

43 "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Every verse and word of the Old Testament is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ.

For instance, there are those today who teach and imply that if you just serve Jesus, you will be rich financially and healthy in your body. That may be the case but that is not necessarily the result of serving Jesus. In the book of Acts, we are told, for instance, of those Christians in Jerusalem who struggled financially and who received help from other Christians. Sometimes, one might have what they need but not a Lincoln or a Ferrari if they serve Jesus. You know what I mean?

Some non believers will attempt to discredit Christianity by quoting verses of the Old Testament. That is not correct for Jesus reinterpreted and fulfilled the verses of the Old Testament.

For instance, God’s people in the Old Testament had a King and an Army. They actually had a military who fought wars and battles with other people and countries. The people of God today are the church. While there are Jews who have been born again and saved, they are part of God’s people, the church, after their salvation experience in and through Jesus Christ Christ. The church does not have a king on this earth or a military on this earth. The church is a spiritual body and the king of the church is King Jesus and Jesus is in heaven seated on the right hand of Father God.

Other people teach that we need a priest to be a go between a Christian and God. No where does Jesus or the Apostles teach that. That is Old Testament and the Old Testament is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep three times. That is what a pastor does through prayerfully studying the Bible and then giving what he finds to people in the church as they gather. Every Christian has a direct access to Jesus and is invited to come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:12).

Then is a whole group of people who say Christians should observe the Jewish Sabbath. In the New Testament, we find Christians coming to together to worship on other days such as Sunday.  We are told that one person might esteem one day higher than another but someone else might esteem every day the same (Romans 14:5). We have freedom to worship when we wish, however, we are still told to worship and serve with others (Hebrews 10:15).

There is no lone ranger Christianity taught in the New Testament. Every believer should be a part of a congregation that meets weekly for worship, preaching & teaching, to give an offering, and to observe the ordinances of baptism (of new converts) and the Lord’s Supper (periodically). Those who say you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian are right but those who say a Christian can rightly serve the Lord if they are physically able but who do not go to church are wrong.

The ministry of preacherlarry.com is a para-church ministry (I am called along side of the church to assist and support the church but never

to replace the church).

If you want to understand the Old Testament, listen to Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament so the teaching to the Jews in the Old Testament is no longer binding on the New Testament Christian except where implicit directions are given by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. Study the Old Testament with the Holy Spirit as your teacher and guide through the lens of Jesus, the Apostles, the New Covenant and the writings of the New Testament

and you will be ok.

The primary teaching of the New Testament is that Jesus is God who came to earth, was tempted in all points such as we yet never sinned, offered himself willingly as a sacrifice and payment for the sins of the world on the cross, was buried and rose again victoriously over sin, hell and the grave, ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father and one day will come again in glory and majesty as the Supreme Judge of all in this world.

Do you know this Jesus? Have you believed on him for him to save your eternal soul? Have you surrendered your life to him by faith? Are you daily taught by him through the Holy Spirit as you study the Bible? Do you pray in his name and for his glory? Do you gather with other Christians for worship, prayer, teaching/preaching and service?

Come to Jesus today in total surrender and continue coming to him every day in total surrender. Then you will understand the Old Testament and the New Testament and you will be a New Testament Christian.

 

 

Saturday, 1/10/2015 ‘When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.’ They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. (Genesis 26:34-35)

Life does not become perfect when one becomes a Christian. (I have noticed in the last twenty or so years that many call followers of Jesus a ‘Christ Follower’ but I still prefer the word ‘Christian’ probably because I am such a stickler for the Bible and Christian is a word from the book of Acts describing the ‘Christ Followers’ at Antioch who were ‘called Christians first at Antioch’)  (Acts 11:26)

But while reading the Bible the other day, I found today’s Bible verse (which is in the NIV, by the way---I know, I know, some of you are thinking, PreacherLarry, you mean you know that are other versions beside the KJV?) and the wording of the verse 35 jumped out at me: ‘They were a source of grief to Issac and Rebekah)

Sometimes people are the proverbial ‘burr under our saddle.’ We have conflict with others because we just don’t get along or some other reason. Whatever is the cause, conflict can be a part of life and sometimes it just goes on and on and on.  But you know what,  if I have a conflict with someone over my love for Christ and my stand for Biblical truth, then we will just have to have a conflict.  And I say this with a pain in my heart and tears behind my eyes.  Even in conflict we can trust God for a gentle and respectful presentation  with those whom we disagree.

Issac and Rebekah had a conflict and grief with Esau and Judith. I am not sure exactly what was the grief or conflict but it must have been surrounding the lifestyle choices of Esau like putting food and his appetite in front of everything else. I am sure Esau and Judith had other lifestyle practices that also grieved Issac.

Someone said once ‘what a tangled web we weave.’ Some conflicts are of are own making while other conflicts are not. Even so, lets remember two three word sentences that a pastor once told me that are sometimes the hardest little sentences to say: ‘I love you’ and ‘I forgive you.’ In fact, as soon as I finish this Daily Light, I am going to text those two sentences to one of my adult children with whom I am have having conflict.

In the book of The Acts of the Apostles, the fifth book in the New Testament we are told about a conflict Paul had with Barnabas. Paul did not want John Mark, a young man, to accompany them on a trip to various cities where they had previously won people to Christ. Baranbas wanted John Mark to go, Paul did not and the contention was so great that Paul and Barnabas split up and Silas became Paul’s missionary partner.

Near the end of Paul’s life, it is recorded in II Timothy 4:11 that Paul said ‘Mark is profitable to me for the ministry.’ So Paul and Mark solved their conflict and mended the broken fences of their relationship.

The third book of the our New Testament was written by that young man

John Mark: The Gospel of Mark. Peter had become a mentor to Mark and no doubt Mark wrote his gospel based on that relationship he had with the great Apostle, Simon Peter.

So I am saying, when a relationship gives you grief, keep loving, keep forgiving, keep praying and keep the lines of communication open. God can mend any relationship and even if the relationship itself is not mended, God can mend our heart and keep any bitterness from poisoning our life.

Love and forgiveness are the words. We don’t have to lower our standards but we do have to love and forgive if we wish to have the peace, joy and grace of Jesus to be the hallmark of our life and that love and forgiveness that Jesus gives us is the key to not holding a grudge or bitterness and  mending those relationships which are causing us grief.

 

 

Friday, 1/9/2015 Mark 6:31

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Different words and phrases are used to describe it: worn down, worn out frazzled ,worn down to a nub, dog tired, whupped, depleted, out of gas and others.

There are at least three different times when we need to rest:

1.) being physically tired

2.) being emotionally tired

3.) being spiritually tired.

Jesus and his disciples had been mighty busy. They had been teaching, healing, ministering, the disciples had gone on a preaching and healing mission, people had been pressing in on them to have their physical and spiritual needs met and they had been dealing with controversy and criticism.

In the beginning, God decided and commanded that his people should have one day a week out of the seven days for a day of rest, worship and reflection. That day is called the Sabbath Day.

During Seminary, I was pastor of a very rural Church. We were twelve miles away from the nearest store or gas station. (You did not want to run out of food or gas out there.)  It seemed half the families in our Church were hog farmers while the other half were cattle farmers, both on fairly large family farms. This was in the breadbasket of America. They would work very hard from Monday through Friday, go to town on Saturday and worship and rest on Sunday. I am told they took long naps every Sunday afternoon. They needed and got their physical rest.

Men and women in the military receive a month’s furlough every year and when serving in a war zone receive times of R & R (rest and relaxation). They need rest for physical and emotional stress. Many of them after serving experience PTST (post traumatic stress syndrome). Their emotions are damaged. Sometimes it takes a long time to heal the emotions. They need emotional rest and healing.

Christian workers who labor in teaching and serving positions often get spiritually drained. When one gives care and support continuously, one can get spiritually tired. The idea of a Spiritual Retreat was born from this. A retreat is a time to get away from the hustle bustle of a fierce routine and cluster with others for rest and times of renewal. Leaders need spiritual rest.

The biggest need for spiritual rest, however, is for those who have never experience it. Spiritually, we all have three enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. Those who have never received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are taken captive by these three enemies. The world, the flesh and the devil will beat a person mercilessly and demand a total commitment of one’s time and energy. People come to Jesus when they come to an end of themselves.

Jesus’ wonderful promise for soul rest is found in the book of Matthew 11: 28-30:

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Have you come to Jesus to receive his saving grace that can and will bring rest to your troubled soul? Let this old hymn be your heart cry and you will find spiritual rest and salvation today through faith in Christ:

I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,

I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,

In faith taking hold of the Word,

My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;

The Haven of Rest is my Lord.

 

 

Thursday, 1/8/2015 II Timothy 1: 12-14

13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

All cults have one thing in common. They take Jesus off the throne and substitute man’s ideas, goals and plan. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12 ‘There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.’

Any group that does not magnify, lift up, love, adore, exalt, follow and serve Jesus as the spotless lamb of God who willingly died on a cross to pay our sin debt and then rose on third day from the grave---well, run the other way, get out of there, shut the door, and as James 4:7 says: ‘Submit therefore yourselves to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from you.’

The other night, my wife and I as we often do in the evening, were watching a favorite TV game show together. One of the contestants who ended up smoking everyone else and won the show was introduced as a Transhumanist. He said Transhumanism was into solving world problems of war, sickness, poverty, despair and aging. I immediately thought of ‘the tower of Babel.’  You know when God came down and confounded the languages of mankind to keep them from delving into stuff they had no business delving into.

Now, this guy who won the game show was hyper intelligent, quick witted and the other contestants just could not keep up him intellectually. So I did a little research on Transhumanism.

My research on transhumanism revealed the following:

Transhumanism is the belief that technology can allow mankind to improve, enhance and overcome the limits of our biology. By merging man and machine via biotechnology, molecular nanotechnologies and artificial intelligence, one day, Transhumanists believe that science will yield super intelligent, emotionally hyper acute, physically stronger humans with much longer life spans.

The final goal of Transhumanism is to create post human intelligent beings far superior to man, a near embodiment of God.

That is some scarry stuff. They make Hitler look like he was in middle school as to his theory on building a super human race.  Well, there is certainly some weird stuff out there. The way to overcome all this mess is to simply to place all your hope, faith and trust in Jesus Christ and then be about doing his will in loving others and sharing the good news that Jesus saves!

Stay on your knees. Stay in on God’s word, the Bible. Go to a good Bible believing Church. Praise the Lord. Thank the Lord. Ask God for a burden for those lost and separated from God and heading towards a devil’s hell. Stay the course. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and you will be ok.

God bless you.

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.   I John 5: 20-21

 

 

Wednesday, 1/7/2015

‘Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us’ Romans 12:6

My Sunday School Teacher’s birthday is December 25th. You know what that means. He gets Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts the same day.

That is the way it is for every child of God as well. We get the gift of eternal life and then we get a spiritual gift or gifts as well.

So what is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is an ability that the Lord gives a born again child of God to bless others in the body of Christ, the church. Romans 12 gives a list of some of these gifts as well as I Corinthians 12-14. Of course, there are variants and implications of these gifts in 2015.

I do not have a gift to be a sound engineer at church for the Sunday services but I am glad someone knows how to do that. There might be feedback and sounds that are too soft to hear or very sharp to my ears if there was not a person who was gifted to do that at Church.

As I enter a side door to the worship center at my church on Sunday morning, a man named Tony greets me and others every Sunday. Tony was ordained to the gospel ministry about 20 or so years ago. This past Sunday, our Pastor announced it was Tony’s birthday. Tony is 90 years old. Wow! His smile, warmth, love and handshake is a wonderful gift to me and others every Sunday as we enter the Sanctuary for Sunday morning worship, singing and preaching services!

I am told that sometimes others will point out to us what and how they perceive the Lord has gifted us with spiritual abilities and gifts. I have been told I have two gifts: Prophecy and Evangelism. In the New Testament, prophecy is mainly the gift of forth telling rather than foretelling. I don’t mind speaking my mind or getting right to the point of the matter. Sometimes the gift of prophecy is telling the bad news. On the other hand, the gift of Evangelism is telling the good news, especially the simple gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, Jesus died for us, was buried and on the third day was raised again and whosoever believes (that is adheres to, trusts in and relies on) on Jesus will be saved.

When you become a Christian, God gives you a gift or gift’s too to serve others with.

Romans 12 tells us to effectively uncover and utilize our gifts, it takes dedication, transformation and humility. To use our gifts, we must realize we are all needed, we are all different and we are all to be bonded together in love.

The gifts mentioned in Romans 12 (not exhaustive) are prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, ruling or leading, and mercy. Possible pitfalls or abuse of our gifts are also mentioned and include pride, going overboard, impatience, complicating things, and having a sour spirit.

Then results of using our gifts in the body of Christ are mentioned and include straight up love, staying pure, brotherly love, putting others first, TCOB (taking care of business), passion, focus, joy, prayer, sensitivity, fairness, peace, no paybacks, and overcoming evil by doing good.

There you have it. Spiritual gifts 101. Sunday morning, a person told me after the services that the Lord was prompting him to sing in the choir and to work in the homeless ministry (wow, God had showed him his spiritual gifts!) May God show you and I the abilities that are needed for the church to run smoothly, effectively and lovingly, in order to bless each other and the world with the presence, message and love of Jesus.

 

 

Tuesday, 1/6/2015

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:7-11

‘Under conviction’ is a definition that has been used to define a person who has not yet wholly believed in Jesus but currently is under a deep sense of being lost and needing to believe in Jesus.

It is hard for me to understand how or why a person does not come to Jesus to be saved. I mean, after all, Jesus is God come to earth in the form of a human being to show us the type of life one can live when totally dependant upon divine guidance and intervention. But that is not the primary reason Jesus came to earth.

The primary reason Jesus came to earth was to offer himself as a sin offering through his death on the cross in order that you, I and every other human being might be redeemed thus being forgiven, pardoned and regnerated in receiving a total free and wonderful salvation. Wow!

Think about the fact how terrible a state being lost in sin without salvation must really be. That person who is lost does not have it within himself to come to God for salvation unless the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) does a work of pre conversion (salvation) of reproving that person who is lost.

Matthew Henry the great theologian and Biblical commentary author when speaking of  the Holy Spirit’s pre conversion work in a person says: ‘Convincing work is the Spirit’s work; he can do it effectually, and none but he; man may open the cause, but it is the Spirit only that can open the heart. The Spirit is called the Comforter (John 16:7), and here it is said, He shall convince. One would think this were cold comfort, but it is the method the Spirit takes, first to convince, and then to comfort; first to lay open the wound, and then to apply healing medicines. Or, taking conviction more generally, for a demonstration of what is right, it intimates that the Spirit’s comforts are solid, and grounded upon truth.’

The threefold conviction of the Holy Spirit in the non believer prior to conversion to Jesus is to know the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment.

This conviction comes when a person hears how to be saved from the Bible. The message of how to be saved from the Bible may come to a person through a pastor, a Bible teacher, a missionary, a witness or from the Bible itself. Most Christians have heard from a Gideon speaker a story about how one checked into a motel to find a Gideon Bible and while reading it fell ‘under conviction’ and so repented and believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

So I have to say what Romans 10 says, that is, ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. But how can they hear without a preacher, and how can one preach unless he be sent?’

Pre conversion conviction never feels good to the one without Christ. I remember as child scrapping my knee and my mother putting peroxide or Mercurochrome (no longer sold in the USA) which would give a burning sensation to the wound while Mother said that was killing the bacteria and making it better (I was not sure).

Since the Holy Spirit uses Scripture to bring about conviction (reproof) in a non believer prior to conversion, I want to share what the Bible says about getting saved with as many people as I can:  thus preacherlarry.com.

I will keep sharing simple truths of the Bible while I take can or until I take my last breath on this earth, that is:

‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’;

‘the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord’;

‘But God commendedth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;’

‘that if you shall confess with your lips Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved’;

‘for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’; ‘

much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.).’

(Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8,10:9,10:13, 5:17)

 

 

Monday, 1/5/2015    Proverbs 11:30:

'The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.'

 

There is an old fashioned word that needs to revitalized. It is the word soulwinner. A soulwinner is a Christian who wins souls to the the Lord. I want to be a soulwinner.

Notice I said I want to be a soulwinner not that I am a soulwinner. There

is a difference.

In my young Christian life, I was used by the Lord to bring souls into the kingdom of God. I was a soulwinner.

Soulwinning was taught and soulwinning was practiced.

There was literature soulwinning, that is, the use of gospel tracts to win others to Christ. The thought was to ask people if you could simply go through a gospel tract with them. There was the ‘four spiritual laws tract’, the ‘Roman’s Road tract’, ‘Chic tracts’ and many others. While there are still tracts being published,

it seems to be a loss art today.

Churches had bus soulwinning. Churches had bus captains and bus workers. Christians would canvas neighborhoods enlisting children, with the permission of their parents, to ride the bus to Church on Sunday for Sunday School and Children’s Church. Many children were won to the Lord that way.

The children would put on programs at the Church and parents would be invited to come to the program in order that attempts would be made both at the Church and during home visits to lead the parents to the Lord.

Youth groups would do park soulwinning and event evangelism. My wife was witnessed to and won to the Lord through a para church group called Campus Life. I, myself, was witnessed to and won to the Lord through a group who worked with those in the military called the Navigators.

Churches had a visitation night one night a week to do in home soulwinning of visitors and sometimes just cold calls. There was training for evangelism through programs such as Evangelism Explosion, Continuing Witness Training, Faith, Each one win one and Lay Evangelism Training. Christians were taught how to give a testimony of their faith and how to go guide people through the Scripture verses on salvation. There was Soulwinner Bibles especially marked to be utilized by the soulwinner to lead people to faith in Jesus.

Churches had Revivals and Crusade soulwinning. During these meetings, there was Cottage Prayer Meetings where the lost were prayed for by name. Then the lost were invited and brought to the Revival and many were saved through these efforts.

It seems me to be that we have become so sophisticated and cultured that we have just stopped soulwinning.

Well, soulwinning is on my heart. The Lord called me to do preacherlarry.com in a effort to win the lost and to teach and motivate the saved to win the lost. I feel led, as the Lord leads,  to take preacherlarry.com mobile after the winter thaw.

Some might say, why do you want to do that? It is because I want to be like Jesus. Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that ‘the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.’ So as God opens doors, I want to go and seek the lost and lead them to Jesus who still can and will save them.

I feel led to set up at craft fairs, home shows, cook offs and where ever people gather in an effort to share preacherlarry.com and to engage people in conversation about Jesus. We will see where God takes this.

I am asking the Lord to send me people to join the ‘PreacherLarry ‘A’ Team.  To join the PreacherLarry 'A' Team, you must click the tab on the left side of this page that says 'Join the PreacherLarry 'A' Team',  then fill out the form on that page and then click 'send form'  and then the form will come to  me as an indication that you want to join and be part of this soulwinning effort for the Lord. God is able! You see, I am into soulwinning.

I have seen family members saved, neighbors saved, co workers saved, people saved in home visits, people saved in Revivals, and what we used to call person X evangelism who was a person you had a divine appointment with out of the blue maybe on a plane or at get together who you shared Jesus with

and they got saved.

My prayer is: God do it again! I am praying for boldness to share Jesus with others including my family, my neighbors, people to whom I come in contact with and the people to whom I will do event evangelism, Lord willing, with after the winter thaw.

O God, I want to be a soulwinner. Give me an army of soulwinners, Lord. Do it again, Lord! Use me again, Lord. Make me into a soulwinner, I pray in Jesus Name, amen.

 

 

Sunday, 1/4/2015  ‘But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.’ Genesis 6:8

Noah is a Hebrew name and means rest or comfort. Think about that. Noah lived through the worst rain storm this world has ever seen and his name means

Rest.

A few days after I moved to Atlanta, Georgia about five years ago, Atlanta had the worst rain storm it had seen in over one hundred years. Water covered houses in certain parts of the city. Cars were swept away and lives were lost in the flood. It was bad. I did not feel restful or comfortable during this storm. But Noah was at rest during the worst storm this world has ever seen.

God sees everything. Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes. As God measured up Noah,  Noah found grace from the Lord. An acrostic I learned for the word grace is:

God’s

Riches

At

Christ’s

Expense.

Amazing grace is possible for you and I because Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross. You see the wages of sin is death but because Jesus paid our debt of sin, we may find grace just as Noah did. Let me caution you, though, because finding grace is not automatic for anyone. Remember that only Noah and his family went into the Ark and everyone else in the world perished in the flood. Jesus said: The road to eternal life is narrow and few are on it while the road to destruction is broad and many are on it.

We only find grace in the eyes of he Lord when we admit we have sinned, repent of our sin, and place our hope and faith in Jesus alone to save us. Please make sure you have done that.

If you are unsure, you can tell Jesus right now that you know you have sinned, you want to turn from your disobedient ways and you want to turn your life over to Jesus by faith as your Lord and Savior. When you do that, you leave the broad road to destruction and enter the narrow road to eternal life.

That is the most important decision you will ever make. The decision to follow Jesus is more important than other decisions such as where you will go to school, where you will live, where you will work and who you will marry. Much more important. Those other decisions are important and should be made prayerfully for God’s will to be done in your life but only after you admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross, repent of your sins and receive by faith Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

preacherlarry.com would not need to exist if there was no grace from the Lord to be found.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. On February 2, 1971, I found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Yes, there is a time and a place when one finds grace in the eyes of the Lord.

The last thing Jesus told his disciples before he ascended to heaven as recorded in Acts chapter 1 is that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit and be his witnesses all over the world. I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior in West Germany as a young soldier. Because I have received the power of the Holy Spirit I am witnessing this fact to you.

Where were you when you found grace in the eyes of the Lord? A natural consequence of receiving the power of Holy Spirit is to witness that most important and momentous event in your life to others.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. PreacherLarry found grace in the eyes of the Lord. What about you? Let me know what God is doing in your life so I can rejoice with you and pray for and with you. God bless you.

 

 

Saturday, 1/3/2015 Jeremiah 20:9

'Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.'

Jesus said ‘In the world, ye shall have tribulation.’ Paul said ‘Through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God.’

When tribulation comes, we often retreat and lick our wounds. That is a normal thing to do and is a survival tactic.

Once on a hospital bed I heard in my spirit the Lord speaking to me. The Lord said, ‘Larry, I have loved you with an everlasting love but I have somewhat against you because you have left your first love so remember where you have come from and repent or else.’ I knew God was serious with me so on that hospital bed, I had a personal revival of restoring grace and shed many tears of repentance and thanksgiving.

That experience caused me to return to my spiritual roots of passion, service and usefulness.

Are you going through a hard time right now? Perhaps you are suffering difficulty from a financial setback. You don’t know how you are going to pay your bills. Take it to Jesus. Come boldly to the throne of grace and ask for help in time of need (Hebrews 4:12).

Perhaps your body is ill or a loved one is suffering greatly. Take this to Jesus, he cares for you. There is grace and help for you at the foot of the cross. God still heals and God still gives strength to carry on. Ask and you shall receive.

Our tribulations are but a stepping stone to greater passion, service and usefulness. Once you see it that way, you know the purpose of your difficulty. Your difficulty is to shape your character into the likeness of Jesus Christ. That is why the word says that the comfort God gives us is so that we will be able to use and offer that comfort to others.

Jeremiah had been slandered, tortured, and put in jail for his faithful proclaiming of what God said. In his despair, Jeremiah thought he would never speak for God again. Yet, Jeremiah found what you and I will find in the midst of his and our difficulty. The true measure of our faith is what is way down deep inside. When one has a real experience with the Lord, that is, experiences true saving faith and spiritual life. No problem of life can ever snuff that out. It cannot lay dormant.

Pressure has a way of causing the flow of things to continue. ‘Tribulation worketh patience, and patience; experience, and experience, hope and hope: maketh not ashamed because the love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us’ (Romans 5: 3-4).

The natural flow of tribulation and difficulty is to release the inner floodgates of the grace of God in our lives.

You too will find that God’s grace, will and way will be like a fire in your bones during hard times and will be released into greater passion, service and usefulness through the pressure of your tribulation.

Hold on, take faith, look up, Jesus is fixing to lift you to greater things very soon.

 

 

Friday, 1/2/2015 ‘Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. I John 4:4

Yesterday on TV, there was football, football and more football. I watched it and while I enjoyed it, the teams I was pulling for did not always win. Two teams opposed each other and one team came out as the winner.

In our Spiritual life, there is opposition as well. Our text talks about the spirit of error and the Spirit of truth---the spirit of the world and Spirit of God.

Everybody out there is on of two teams. You see there are but two teams that really matter in this world: satan's team or Jesus' team.  There is a battle raging right now for the hearts and minds or every person in this world. Everyone starts out on satan's team and if you stay on that team you will lose everything and one day go to hell for all eternity. However, Jesus is recruiting you to join his team.  When you join Jesus' team, you will be a winner in life and will one day go to heaven

for all eternity.

I used to be on satan's team: the spirit of error which is the spirit of the world. Now, since I have been been saved and have become a part of the family of God, I am on Jesus'  Team : the Spirit of Truth who is the Spirit of God.

Which side are you on?  Which team are you on? When it all boils down, there are but two teams in the game of life: satan’s team and Jesus’ Team. To get on Jesus’ Team, you have to admit you have been on satan’s team but now you want to transfer to Jesus’ Team. It is kind of like those football players who play for a junior college and then are recruited and invited by a coach to transfer to a big powerhouse university. Jesus is recruiting you to be on his team but you have to want a new owner (God the Father), a new school (the church) a new play book (the Bible), new team members (other Christians) a new Coach (Jesus) and a new offensive and defensive coordinator (the Holy Spirit).

Have you transferred to God’s team?

If you have, you have a new power in you, a new teacher in you, a new comforter in you, and a new enabler in you who is all one person: the Holy Spirit.

And now, he that is in you will ensure that you defeat the world. I John 2:16 tells us what is in the world:

1.) the lust of the flesh

2.) the lust of the eyes

3.) the pride of life.

Before one gets saved (transfers from satan’s team to Jesus’ team), one is consumed with these three things in the world. Everything is about the fulfilling the desires of the flesh through sinful measures, wanting everything we see including things and people, and wanting to be admired and to have position, power and prestige. Those are the things in the world.

When we get on Jesus’ team, things change. There is a new movie out called Unbroken. Franklin Graham says the movie only goes to chapter 33 of the book. After the war, Louie gets addicted to alcohol, good times, tobacco and pornography. Louie’s  wife gets saved and gets Louie to go to a Billy Graham Crusade where Louie remembers a promise he made to God while he was surviving in the ocean that he would follow and serve God if he made it to safety. Louie gets saved.

Louie goes home and pours out his whiskey, throws away his cigarettes and get’s rid of his girly magazines. Louie forgives the enemy who wronged him and lives the rest of his life to tell others about Jesus and to help them anyway he can. I would say Louie transferred from team satan to Team Jesus.

You can only be on one team or the other. Are you on satan’s team or Jesus’s team?

If you never transferred to Jesus’ team, then turn from your sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness and give your life to him.

If you have done that, then train by learning the play book (the Bible), get off the sidelines and get in the game to defeat the darkness of this world.

Brothers and Sisters, I am on Jesus’ team. I might not be the star player, but I am on the team and giving my all on the field of life and one day in heaven I will get my championship ring because ‘Greater is he that is in me that he that is in the world.’

I hope to see you at that ring ceremony.

Until then, let’s play our hearts out and leave our all on the field of battle for Jesus and the Holy Spirit because this game of life is too important not to give it all we got!

 

 

Thursday, January 1, 2015 ‘Thou crownest the year with thy goodness’

(Psalm 65:11)

After you have lived very long, you can look back and see that certain years seemed to have been better than other ones. You can rejoice at the past and learn from the past.

For me, 1971 was the year I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I also married my lovely and sweet wife in 1971. In 1973, we saw the birth of our first child. I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry and was called to pastor my first Church in 1977.  In 1978, our first daughter was born. In 1980 I graduated from the university.

In 1980, I began seminary. Our second daughter was born in 1983 and in 1984, I graduated from seminary. I began my first full time Church as pastor in 1984 and our 2nd son was born in 1985. In 1986, I began Doctor of Ministry studies.

In 1988, my father passed away and I preached his funeral. In 1989, I became fed up with in fighting in a church and became cynical.

I developed a root of bitterness which festered until 1996 which the Lord rooted out of me during a bout with an illness which brought me to death’s door in the hospital as I was hooked to life support. God knows how to get our attention.  Amen?

With a renewed faith, I became very passionate again for the Lord as he restored to me the joy of my salvation.

After serving in volunteer ministry opportunities in homeless shelters, children’s centers, and as associate pastor of a small church, the Lord put me back as a full time pastor in 2001. My mother passed away on 9-13-01 and I preached her funeral.

I returned to sales as my vocation in 2003 and was sales manager of three different companies.

In 2007, the Lord began giving us grandchildren and we have three of those little blessings so far.

I retired from working in 2013 and now have received a call from the Lord to do what I am doing now at preacherlarry.com which is to evangelize the lost and equip the saved through a web based ministry and through other doors that I expect the Lord will open in 2015.

My wife survived cancer and four surgeries in 2014. She is a great loving and courageous child of God, the love of my life and my best friend.

Now that you know some of my history better, I also feel better reliving the valleys and victories of previous years.

But now it is 2015. I believe 2015 will be a great year in my life. I am passionate and expectant in dreaming about what the Lord will do in my life, the life of my family, and at preacherlarry.com! I can hardly wait because I believe it will be so good! Praise God!

So what year did God save you? (if that has not happened yet, then 2015 is a great year to receive Jesus as your Lord and savior!)

What has God done in your family life and in other areas of your life through the years? What have you learned from the hard times and what are the high points of certain years?

What is God calling you to do in his kingdom work for 2015? If you are uncertain, ask God for a dream and vision for the great and many things he wants to do in and through you this next year!  (Jeremiah 33:3)

Happy New Year and have a great and blessed 2015!

 

 

Wednesday, 12/31/2014   'And you hath he quickened, who were dead in tresspasses and sins'  Ephesians 2:1

An old gospel song starts out ‘I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in.’ That in a nushell is the message I want to convey today.

There are three different stations of life represented in our text today:

1.) Before Jesus took me in.

2.) Jesus took me in.

3.) The benefits to Jesus taking me in.

Before Jesus took his in we were dead in trespasses and sins. That is we had no spiritual life and were separated from the life, power, peace and promises of God by sin. Sin is described as walking according to the course of this world.

This world is marked by pride, by possessions, by power, and by pleasure. It is a ‘me centered world.’

Most who walk according to the course of this world are not aware that they are being influenced and controlled by satan and his dark, evil demonic power. Satan is all about people being disobedient to God. Satan is the father of lies and offers empty promises of prestige, power and pleasure. Satan lives to bring down the righteousness, grace, love and peace of Jesus. His mission is create a little group of hell bound participants.

There was a band in the 80’s called ‘The Culture Club.’ That is a good description for those who exemplify a life of not being taken in by Jesus. The culture club is marked by a lifestyle of the lusts of the flesh and the mind, under God’s wrath, and far off from Jesus, the Bible and the things of God.

When a person is taken in by Jesus (we are still using the words of the old gospel song), that person is made alive (quickened) and made nigh (near) by the blood of Jesus. New life is imparted unto the new believer and a whole new opportunity of spiritual possibilites is now at the disposal of the new Christian.

That is the salvation (deliverance, made whole, spiritually healed, pardoned, justified, regenerated, saved, quickened and made nigh) from Christ that is given to and in the new born again child of God.

After Jesus takes us in, we now have access by the Holy Spirit to the Father in heaven.

We really can pray, then, Our Father who art in heaven! Think about it, when Jesus takes us in, we have a new life, we have a new nature, we have a new outlook, we have a new desire to know and to please God, we have a new appreciation, thirst and understanding of the Bible, we have a new spiritual life from the Holy Spirit, we have a new family: the family of God in the church, we have a new direct phone line to heaven: prayer, that is, we are never put on hold and we never hear a recorded message.

Instead, the Heavenly Father, himself, picks up our 911 calls to heaven to give us comfort, direction, blessing, hope, joy, strength, peace, love and assurance.

Has Jesus taken you in? He has taken me in!  I have experienced life both ways: the failed promises of satan and the glorious wonderful promises of Jesus.

Thank God, thank God, Jesus took me in!! Praise the Lord! I am forgiven. I am made new. I have life, peace, joy, hope and faith. I have a new love for others operating in me. The Bible is now God’s love letter to me, his child. I feel like dancing for Jesus right about now! What a mighty God we serve!

 

 

Tuesday, 12/30/2014 ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

Philippians 4:13

In the mid 1970’s, every Sunday morning at 8 am, I held worship services at the county jail. I would take my guitar and lead the inmates in a few songs and sometimes I would bring a guest to give a testimony of their salvation through Christ. Then I would preach a gospel message from the Bible and give an invitation for the inmates to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior or recommit their life to Jesus.

At first, a jailer would stay in the room with me while I held services but after about a year, he would leave the room and the inmates, me and God would

be in the room.

I would go back to the jail on Wednesday afternoons to meet with some of the inmates who had made decisions for Christ and spend time with them one on one.

Several of them made bail and got out before they went to trial. I would have them in my home and take them to the Church of which I was a member. I was in my mid twenties and was wide open for Jesus.

My parents were very concerned I would have them over in my home because I worked nights while my wife was home by herself. I prayed about this and while I did not have just any of them over, those whom I felt were sincere in their new walk with Jesus, I would have over for a Sunday meal or something like that. We never had a problem with any inmate out on bail.

When I came to Christ in 1971, I was in the Army and the fellow who led me to faith in Jesus worked with a para-church organization called ‘The Navigators.’ Back then and perhaps still today they were big on Scripture memorization and had little cards printed up called the Topical Memory System.

The first Scripture I memorized as a new born again Christian was Philippians 4:13: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Because that particular Scripture (and many others) meant so much to me, I encouraged all the inmates who made decisions for Christ to hide that verse in their heart by memorization. When saw them, I sometimes would ask them ‘What does

Philippians 4:13 say?’

When Jesus fought with the devil in the wilderness temptation, Jesus quoted scripture from memorization to defeat satan. Three times Jesus, the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s said to satan ‘it is written.’ In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said to satan: ‘it is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of

the mouth of God.’

The Psalmist said in Psalm 119:11 ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.’ John told his new believers ‘I have written unto you young men because you are strong and the word of God abides in you and you have overcome the evil one’ (I John 2:14).

The righteous man who is said to prosper in whatsoever he does is described as ‘in his law doth he meditate day and night.’ (Psalm 1:2)

O Lord, Open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out thy law and then hide and memorize your word in our heart and mind.

When we hide Scripture in our heart and mediate on it, God will smile at us. Our prayer life will improve as well as our spiritual life. We will discard bad habits as effortlessly like tossing a piece of trash into the waste basket.  We will get a greater burden for the things of God and lo and behold we will discover the will and the ways of God for our life.

 

 

Monday, 12/29/2016 ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Marvel not that I say unto you, ye must be born again.’ John 3: 3, 5

No one automatically goes to heaven. In the context of our verses, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews came to Jesus at night to speak with Jesus. He came at night because he did not want to be seen publically with Jesus. His shame of Jesus or fear to be seen with Jesus belied the the fact that he did not have a faith relationship with God.

Are you ashamed of Jesus? When in a group of your peers, are you willing to take a stand for the truth, righteousness and grace of Jesus or are you fearful of being identified with Jesus as Nicodemus? If you are ashamed and fearful of Jesus, there is good news, you can be born again.

Nicodemus began his conversation with Jesus beating around the bush. The main issued that needed to be addressed was the lack of Nicodemus possessing saving faith yet Nicodemus wants to talk about Jesus being a teacher from God and a doer of miracles. People will talk about how good they are or they are not as bad as other people often times when talking about spiritual things. That is not the issue that needs to be addressed.

You can believe that Jesus is a good teacher and you can believe Jesus does miracles and be just like Nicodemus: lost as a goose. An intellectual belief about who Jesus is and what Jesus does will never save anyone from an eternal hell which separates one from God forever and ever.

Many people are like Nicodemus today. They cling to a false hope based on their human goodness and intellectual assent of Christ that they are heaven bound. They, like Nicodemus, are wrong. Once again, being good and believing good things about Jesus will not save you.

Nicodemus asked Jesus how could a person enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born again. Jesus explained that is not the case: you must be born of the water (physical birth) and then born of the Spirit. Being born of the flesh, you enter into a physical life on planet earth. Being born of the Spirit, you enter into a spiritual life into the kingdom of God.

Have you been born physically? You say, of course, I live, I breath, I eat, I see, I hear, I drink and I think. Have you been born spiritually? You say, I hope so. That is not good enough. Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance on whether or not if you have been born again.

In explaining the new birth to Nicodemus, Jesus talked about the Spirit, the incarnation, the cross and faith.

First, Jesus said the new birth is an operation of the Holy Spirit from start to finish. It is something the Holy Spirit does in you and to you. You and I can take no credit for the new birth. Just as an infant can no credit for being born physically, you can take no credit for being spiritually.

Secondly, Jesus said it is impossible for a person to ascend unto the new birth (by human goodness, education, citizenship, doing right things, etc.). Rather God must come down to perform an act of grace in a person to be born again. God did come down to this earth as Jesus Christ (the incarnation). No other political or religious leader is God. The one and only God Man is Jesus Christ. Put that in your book.

Thirdly, Jesus said, that he had to be lifted up on the cross for a possibility of spiritual deliverance and the possibility of the impartation of spiritual life through the new birth to take place in a person’s life. Notice I said ‘possiblity,’ No one automatically enters the kingdom of God. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.

Fourthly, Jesus said that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. Being born again happens, then, when a person believes in Jesus.The word believe in the Bible comes from the same root word as faith. This is not talking about a head belief in Jesus but rather a heart belief in Jesus.

To have a heart belief in Jesus means you admit you are a sinner, you realize Jesus died for you, you acknowledge you cannot save your self, you repent and turn from your sin and then you turn to Jesus and call upon Jesus to rescue you, to forgive you, and to give you spiritual life and eternal life.

This means you surrender your life, your all, your past, present and future to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That is what it means to believe on Jesus and that is only what makes a person born again.

Has that happened to you? If so, you are born again. If not you are not born again. There is no in between state. Either you are saved and born again or you are not saved and not born again. Accept Jesus today and begin a new life in the kingdom (rule and dominion) of God.

When you become born again, tell someone who is also born again and is following Christ so they can help you in your new spiritual life and walk with the Lord.  The first things you will want to know after you are newly born again is to read your Bible (the gospel of John in the New Testament is a good place to start), pray, and go t a Bible believing and preaching Church.  And please contact preacherlarry.com and let us know as well so we may pray with you and assist you in your spiritual life. God bless you.

 

 

Sunday, 12/28/2014 ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall added unto you.’ Matthew 6:33

I once worked in a hot tub and casual furniture store in a nice part of town. I was the out door in home salesman. We had two Sunrooms constructed inside the store. Customers would come in and I would give them a presentation of the features and benefits of the Sunrooms and hot tubs. I would then make an appointment to do a site survey at their home, give them a parts and pieces demo at their home, and  close them on a deal to purchase a Sunroom. Back in the late 90’s, business was really good.

The owner of the business was a family man and both his wife and son worked in the store. Joe was the chairman of the stewardship committee at his church and Joe’s wife, Margie,  went to church seven days a week. The son married a lady from a different church background, but she converted to their church.

Once a week,  their father (priest)  and the sister (nun)  came by for pimento cheese sandwiches. When I would misplace things like my keys, Margie would tell me to pray to St. Anthony or someone so I could find them. I told her I went straight to the heavenly Father through Jesus so I really did not need to pray to St. Anthony.

I was self employed there.

In between sunroom customers coming into the show room, I would study the Bible and pray in my office. The office did not have a door so Joe and Margie could observe. I filled up many note pads with what God gave me there in that office. I sold a lot of sunrooms so they did not fuss about my Bible reading and prayer.

Well, let me tell you, we had a lot of discussions about Jesus and the Bible the 5 or so years I worked there. When I would go out on my in home appointments, Joe would dip the fingers of his hand in a hot tub filled with water and sprinkle it on me to bless me so I would sell. I did not ask for that, it was just something he would fly out of his office and do. I did not put any stock in that hot tub water but had fun with Joe with it.

The only Scripture Joe had memorized was Matthew 6:33: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.’

He would always quote that to me when I would inquire if he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior and be born again and saved. He would tell me that in his church, they did not do that born again stuff.

When reading Scripture, to properly understand it and apply it, we must first ask the Holy Spirit to teach us the meaning and then read it and study it in context, that is who was the verse originally meant for, what did it mean to them and does it have a universal command for all people and all generations or, if not, what principle is it teaching me today?

For instance, the priests were commanded to bake shewbread in Leviticus but we do not bake shewbread today because Jesus fulfilled the law and he is our bread of life.

So the command to bake shewbread no longer applies to our church leaders to day but the principle is to receive Jesus by faith as the bread of life. Bread of life is a metaphor for spiritual salvation and sustenance through Jesus Christ and that is how we would apply the shewbread command today. Plus every believer (a born again saved person) is called a priest in the New Testament meaning we can come straight to the Father in heaven through Jesus ans so we do not need a human priest on earth to be a go between (Jesus, our Lord Savior and High Priest is our go between to the heavenly Father).

The command in Matthew 6:33 still applies to us today. It is a universal command to all generations. The teaching is that we should not worry or be preoccupied with the physical necessities of food and clothing rather we should be preoccupied with Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Kingdom means rule and dominion. Righteousness is the absence of sin and iniquity (lawlessness). So we are to make our first concern in life for God to be the ruler in our life and to know and practice his righteousness.

We seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness by first of all repenting of our sin and trusting Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we receive Jesus as or Savior, his righteousness in credited to our accout because he died on the cross to pay our sin debt and then rose from dead so he can apply that payment to our account.

Then we continue to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness on a day to day basis by prayerfully studying, memorizing, and meditating upon the written word of God, the Holy Bible in order that we by faith might fully follow and know moment by moment the living word of God, Jesus Christ.

When we are preoccupied with seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, the teaching is that other things in our life like food, shelter and clothing will be fall into place.

For instance, able bodied Christians are commanded in the New Testament to work and to provide for their family. Christians are commanded to be good stewards of money and possessions (if we followed that command, we would be satisfied with not keeping up with the proverbial jones’, right?) So when we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, it follows by reason that we will apply other scriptures to our life with the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Lets make our preoccupation to first of all seek God’s rule and dominion and God’s righteousness in our lives. Then our basic needs will be met. And  we will have confidence, peace, joy, holiness and clarity of vision. we will live an upright life of love and service and  know the calm assurance of our heavenly Father and will enjoy his spiritual rest as well as his provision of things like food, shelter and clothing on a day to day basis.

 

 

Saturday, 12/27/2014

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. Isaiah 64:4

The theologians (scholars who study about God) talk about two kinds of grace: common grace and saving grace.

Common grace include the gifts that God gives to every person. This grace

includes things like being created in God’s image, the gift of air, water, the plant

and  animal kingdom and abilities that people have like music, artistic,

math,  scientific, etc.

Saving grace includes the gifts that God gives to those who are born again. This grace includes forgiveness from sin, pardon of sin, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, inward graces of peace, joy, love, longsuffering, self control and faith, the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit which includes the spiritual capabilities to understand and apply the Bible, spiritual weapons to fight spiritual darkness,         sin and the devil, and eternal life including heaven as the believer’s

home one day.

The born again saved follower of Jesus receives and possesses both graces: common grace and saving grace while the unbeliever who is not born again and still an unsaved person only experiences common grace and does not have saving grace.

If a person dies only having common grace and never receiving saving grace, that person is condemned to spend eternity separated from God in hell.

This may sound harsh, because after all, are there not some good people out there who really don’t follow Jesus? No, every person who does not follow Jesus

is not good.

By God’s standards and in God's eyes, no one is good outside of receiving Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Romans 3:10 states ‘there is none good, no not one.’ Some people are worse than others, to be sure, that is the deeds and thoughts of sin manifest more hurt to others than some.

There is a special place in hell reserved for those sinners who  are yet  unrepentant like Hitler or a child abuser. Psalm 86:13 says: For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.'  From this text and others, we understand there  are levels of hell and punishment.

Even the acts that appear good that an unsaved person does does not amount to righteousness because one’s motive can never really be pure when one is not born again.

Isaiah 64:6 says ‘but we are all as an unclean thing, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rag.’  Our human righteousness substituted for the righteousness of Christ is unacceptable to God and so our human righteousness done apart from trusting in Jesus and done through the power of Jesus is sin.

I am happy that I have received saving grace from God. One day, I realized I was a sinner and that sin had separated me from a loving God in my present life and if I did not deal with my sin by receiving Jesus’ love and forgiveness then that sin would condemn me to an eternal hell where I would be separated even from the common grace of God forever and ever.

And then one day, I believed on Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I acknowledged my sin, repented (turned from my sin), and surrendered my all to Jesus by faith in him thus receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

At that point I received saving grace and my sins were forgiven and pardoned, the righteousness of Christ was credited to me forever, the Holy Spirit came to live in me to manifest spiritual life in and through me, I became a child of God and eternal life in heaven forever with God became my guaranteed final destination after my earthly life is over.

Have you received saving grace? If not,  you can do so today. Confess that you are a sinner,  agree that Jesus died to pay your sin debt,  believe in Jesus as your risen Savior by repentance (turning from your sin) and placing your faith only in Christ(trusting in , surrendering to, relying on)  thus receiving Jesus as your Savior, King, Lord, Master.

Then you will possess the two graces of God: common grace and saving grace thus receiving the gift of eternal life given through saving grace and then you will no longer have just common grace which  by itself which can never forgive sin and can never by itself grant eternal life.

 

 

 

Friday, 12/25/2014

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20: 29-30)

Today there are many false teachers and teachings floating around representing themselves as solid spiritual truth.

In our text, the Apostle Paul is speaking with the leaders of the church in Ephesus to give them instructions what to do in Paul’s absence. You see, Paul had a special place in his heart for the church in Ephesus. Paul spent a longer time with them than with anyone.

Paul had spent three weeks with the church at Thessalonica, eighteen months with the church at Corinth and three years with the church at Ephesus. So Paul had special bonds with the Christians in the church of Ephesus. Paul had founded that church and led many of them to their initial born again faith in Jesus.

So now it was time to for Paul to go and Paul is concerned that false teachers will come into them and arise out of them to speak perverse things in order to draw disciples after them.

We see this today, as well. There are many false teachings floating around. I don’t have space in this devotion to mention all of them or to define them. But, as I see it, from my perspective, here are some I will warn you about.

The personality cult. Beware of groups or ministries that want to be like Hollywood mega stars or professional sports figures. Jesus said the main mark of his servants is that they serve. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and fixed them a fish dinner after the resurrection. Any leader that separates themselves from the people such as a champion prize fighter with an entourage is suspect in my book.

The works cult. Beware of groups that teach you have to earn your salvation by works or do works after you get born again to keep your salvation. That is false teaching.

The prosperity cult. Beware of groups or leaders that teach if you follow Jesus you will be rich and healthy all the time. Read the New Testament and you will learn Paul had a thorn in his flesh defined as an affliction (and the word affliction is properly defined as illness or sickness). Many scholars believe Paul had an eye disease which he alludes to when he talks about grossing people out and having to dictate his epistles to someone who actually did the writing.

The jesus cult (Notice I did not capitalize Jesus). Yes, there are groups who do not teach that Jesus is God. God came to earth in the form of man named Jesus. Beware of groups who teach Jesus is a created being, for Jesus created all things and he holds all things together (Colossians 1: 15-16)

The adding to the Bible cult. There are groups today who add to the sixty six books that we have in our Bible (39 Old Testament books; 27 New Testament books). Some groups send people to knock on your door to tell you there was a prophet in last 200 years who wrote additional books in the Bible. No. No. No. Beware.

The many ways to heaven cult. There are so called super star television personalities who teach that Jesus is not the only way to God. They teach you meditate your way to God, yoga your way to God, nirvana your way to God, not eat meat your way to God, burn incense your way to God, climb a mountain and talk to a holy man your way to God, chant your way to God, walk on hot coals your way to God, improve your mind your way to God and so on and so on.

Listen, only Jesus was God come to earth. Only Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. Only Jesus bore our sins on the cross so we can be saved. Only Jesus raised from the dead. Only Jesus is coming again to straighten this mess out. Beware of the Jesus is not the only way to God cult.

The I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian cult. I call this a cult because this person either does not read the Bible or does not believe the Bible. We read the following words in Hebrews 10:25:

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I invite my readers who are not sure if you died today that you would go to heaven to turn from every false way to and turn to Jesus and trust him to save you. Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father except by me (John 14:6)’

I invite all readers who are Christians to ‘Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II timothy 2:15)’ Every born again Christian needs to be a prayer warrior and be on he battle field fighting for the truth of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit against the evil and dark forces of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

 

Thursday, 12/25/2014

'And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.' Matthew 2:11

It is Christmas day. Sometimes I wonder what Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus did on that first Christmas day? Did they leave the stable? Did Joseph go pay his taxes? I wonder what Joseph and Mary had for breakfast or dinner on that first Christmas day?

Most of us have a tradition for Christmas day.

Years ago as a Daddy, my wife and I would put gifts from Santa out early on Christmas Day after we made sure the kids had finally gone to sleep. Most of the time, there would be things I would have to put together. Race sets, train sets, doll houses, and the such. Sometimes, I would show frustration and my wife would tell me to just take my time and that it would be ok.

Finally, we would have four stacks of presents from Santa in four different places so the kids would not intermingle their gifts with a gift of a sibling (didn’t want to have any of that.) We were very careful that each of the four children would pretty much get equal to what the other child got. We had to do be fair, you know.

Then it was time to hang the stockings with care. Back then, there were a few drug stores like Walgreens open all night. Sometimes, I would make an early Christmas morning run (like at 1 am) to get some additional candy and trinkets to fill those four stockings. That was so much fun. I, as my parents did previously when I was a child, would put some fresh fruit and nuts in those stockings (even though the kids never cracked those walnuts or pecans).

Then for a few minutes, I would stand back in the room, with the lights off but with the Christimas tree lights on, and admire all that Santa had accomplished!

Then it was time to retire. Most of the time, I would be the first one to arise on Christmas morning around 5 am or so. I might even wake the children if they were sleepy heads to come see what Santa had for them.

We would take the pictures of the children’s happy faces discovering all those wonderful new shiny things Santa had brought. We had a polaroid camera, then a 110 camera, then a disposable camera, then a giant vhs camcorder and today we get our pictures and movies from cell phones. Wow, things have changed!

Later on Christmas day, we would have a giant feast of a ham. I used to like to put pineapple and cherries on the ham. There would be hot bread, veggies, casseroles, finger food, cookies, pies, candy and cakes. Christmas Day, indeed!

On this Christmas day, the greatest present we can give Jesus is our self. That is what Jesus wants from us, our heart. The greatest lie in this world is if one follows Jesus, one will lose. That is so wrong!  The only stuff you lose when you follow Jesus is the bad stuff that hurts you and mars and hurts others!

I know.  I have tried it both ways.  With Jesus and without Jesus.   It is far, far better with Jesus.  Light years better.

The wise men gave baby Jesus gifts.  The gift Jesus wants from you and I this Christmas Day and every day all year long is our devotion, our love and our service---all that we are and all that we ever hope to be.

Give it all to Jesus. You will be blessed when you give it all to Jesus.  From PreacherLarry and his family to you and your family, have a blessed Christmas Day!

 

 

Wednesday, 12/24/2014

Luke 2:13

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

 

My wife and I had and raised 4 kids together. We had a teenager in our home for 20 straight years!  One year, the kids were ages 3, 5, 10 & 15.  Christmas was a really great time in our home!

I loved the tree, the ornaments, the lights, the tinsel, the angel on top of the tree, the decorations, the treats, the presents, the Christmas story & Santa Claus!   And now I am a grandfather and I miss being the Daddy ( and Santa.)

Excuse me, I am getting sentimental. My eyes are tearing up a little as I think back to the wonderful Christmas eve’s I had as a Husband AND a Daddy.

Somehow, every year, we had enough income to give the kids what I thought was a nice Christmas. There were bicycles, jewelry, video consoles & games (remember Atari with asteroids, e t , and missile command?).

Memories, memories, memories.  Where has the time gone?   I will say this today to kids and young parents. Treasure these times (you know what I am fixing to say) because they won’t last forever.

My sweet wife would fix chex mix, sausage balls, Christmas cookies with a cookie cutter with white icing and shiny sprinkles.  On Christmas day, we would have a meal, usually a big ham with all the trimmings.

Yes, those were the days!

On Christmas eve, I would always get my guitar out and we would sing the kid’s songs of Rudolph and Santa Claus and the holy songs of Silent Night, Away in a Manager, and O Come all Ye Faithful. And then we would read the Christmas story from Luke.

I am tearing up again.  I really am;  I am just not saying that.

Memories. Wonderful magic memories!

Thank you Lord for these wonderful memories.  I pray I can live up to the Christmas Story.  I don’t want to be like ole cranky judgmental Scrooge, rather I want to be like little tiny tim who was grateful and loving.  God help me.

Christmas, to me, is the most wonderful time of year as the song states.  It has been said a million times but Jesus is the reason for the season (and not just the reason for the season but for yesterday, today and forever.).  May the glory of Christmas shine on us today and may we, as the shepherds of old, announce his birth to our world.  Merry Christmas from my home to yours. God Bless.

 

 

Tuesday, 12/23/2014

'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.'   Isaiah 9:6

The little babe born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary and laying in a cradle of hay among the animals in a stable was God come to earth.

God wanted to rescue us from our sin and disobedience and so he himself, the Creator and Judge of he universe, took on human flesh.

That little babe of Bethlehem would grow as a child and mature into a man while he was about his Father’s business. Teachers and Doctors would be taught about life by him.

His cousin, John the Baptist would baptize him in the baptism of repentance yet Jesus needed no repentance because he never sinned. He identified with sinful man in that baptism and began his public ministry.

He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead and he, himself, died on the cross as our sin substitute:  the sacrificial lamb to wash and take away our sins. He showed us how to live and then died that we might have life. He was buried, but the grave could not hold him for three days after his death on the cross, he arose victorious over death, hell and the grave.

He then gave us his traveling orders that we, his followers, should declare his death, burial and resurrection to a lost and dying humanity. Then as he ascended into heaven, he declared that one day he would descend back to earth to gather unto himself those followers of his that would be alive and serving him after raising from the dead, the believers of all ages,  those whom had died in the Lord.

Then he would set up his 1000 year reign upon this present earth. During this time, the Lion will lay with the lamb and a child will play with a once deadly serpent. During that time, some will serve him out of fear while others will serve him out of love. The devil will be chained up during that 1000 years.

Many people will still have malice and sin in their heart during that 1000 year millennial reign even though outwardly they appear to be in sync with Jesus for when that devil is released, he again will deceive those who only give lip service to Jesus.

They will rebel again as the armies of men face the army of the Lord in one last final victorious battle over evil.  Jesus will win along with his army of saints who are dressed in fine linen white, clean and bright.

Then the devil and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire along with those of all ages who had refused to repent and to give their lives in faithful service to King Jesus.

Then Jesus will burn this present earth up with fervent heat and create a new heavens and a new earth where the redeemed of all ages will live together with the Lord.

This child in Bethlehem, the son given unto us, will indeed have the government upon his shoulder. He is the Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. He is God come to earth as a man.

Today, I have the peace of God in my heart and life. This peace passes all understanding. I am kept in perfect peace as my mind stays on him because I trust in him (Isaiah 26:3). Because I am justified by faith, I have peace with God. As I walk with him, my heart and life stays peaceful even when I face the problems and adversity of life. And one day, I will, in heaven, have a new body and be in perfect peace. My new body will no longer age or get sick, I will have no more tears and I will be like the Prince of Peace, Jesus,  because I shall see him as he is.

Can you say, you know personally Jesus, the Prince of Peace? Have you repented of your sin and placed your faith in him as your Savior, King, Master and Lord? Have you? If you are unsure, do that today and you will be gloriously saved.

You who do know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, are you walking in peace and do you, even now moment by moment, know the peace of God that passes all understanding in your heart and life?

You can, you know (through Jesus). Quit trying and start trusting. The same faith it took you to get saved is the same faith you utilize now to walk with the Lord and to know his peace. Feed your faith the word of God and breathe in the Holy Spirit through prayer. And live by faith. The just shall live by faith and live from faith to faith.

What a Savior!

 

 

Monday, 12/22/2014 Psalm 119:105

'Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path'

The Bible is given to us by God. God inspired holy men during the Old Testament era and during the New Testament era to pen Holy Scripture. Inspired literally means God breathed.

Canon means measuring stick’ kind of like a measuring tape today. Canon is a word used to define the books in the Bible that are divinely inspired and so are part of the Bible.

Other books were also written that did not make it into the Bible such as ‘Enoch’ in the Old Testament era and ‘Thomas’ in the New Testament era. These books and others did not make it into the canon of Scripture because they did not measure up and were found to be false. Reasons for books not being accepted as Scripture included they taught false teachings (heresy), had magical elements in them or contradicted other books in the Bible.

The final canon of the Bible was decided upon by the early Church around 325 BC. So today, the Bible has 37 Old Testament Books and 29 New Testament Books which together are a total of 66 books and comprise the entire Bible.

The books of the New Testament were written by Apostolic authority. Qualifications of an Apostle included one who actually saw Jesus and one who was actually chosen by Jesus. For instance, the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd John, and Revelation. Some books in the New Testament were not written by an actual Apostle but were written by one authorized by an Apostle such as The Gospel of Luke or The Acts of the Apostles.

When the New Testament Apostles died, there was no more Scripture being written. So there are no new books being added to the Bible since the day of the New Tesament Apostles.

Having said all that, then, when we pick up the Holy Bible today we are holding the actual written word of God. We have the Holy Scripture.

Although, we have no original copies of the Bible, there are thousands of manuscripts (copies) still in existence that the early church actually used. These manuscripts have a few minor word differences but every major teaching and doctrine are intact and are in harmony with each other. This means that God has preserved his word until our day as in indicated in Psalm 33:11: ‘The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.’

The Bible is, then,  indispensable for one’s spiritual growth. The purpose of the Bible  is to exalt Jesus, present the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and to enable us to be saved by faith and then to live our lives by faith.

To really know and walk with God, we must read the Bible, study the Bible, hear the Bible preached and taught, memorize the Bible, meditate on the Bible, internalize the Bible and utilize the Bible in spiritual warfare.

If you notice, everyday that I offer Daily Light, I start off with a verse of the Bible. The Bible is infallible but Daily Light is not infallible. I wish to offer to you what the Lord has taught me in my study and internalization of the Bible but in no way do I claim to be inspired by God as only the Bible is. I even encourage you, my reader, to check me out and to compare what I write to the Bible.

When Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit, he said:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13) So when we read, study, hear and internalize the Bible we must ask God to teach us through the Holy Spirit who is present with us today and who indwells the Christian today.

A good place to start reading the Bible is the Gospel of John for the purpose of John is found in John 20:31:

'But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.'

Many current Christians have a daily Bible reading plan that include Psalms, Proverbs, some verses from the Old Testament, a section of the Gospels, and other books of the New Testament. Many Christians read three different chapters of the Bible each day for in doing that, the Bible may be read from cover to cover in one year.

My own plan is to give at the very least thirty minutes daily for actually prayerfully reading and studying the Bible.

The more I age, the more I desire to know God’s word, the Holy Bible. I feel as though I am still in elementary school or perhaps barely in middle school as to really knowing, internalizing and applying the Bible in my day to day life.

I challenge you, my reader, to make a commitment to make the written word of God, the Holy Bible a priority for your life. For when you do that, you will find spiritual peace, victory, success, and blessing.

 

 

Sunday, 12/21/201

'The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;' (Mark 1:1)

The Gospel of Mark makes short pointed descriptions of the life and work of Jesus. So the Christmas story according to Mark is in one sentence. In that one sentence, ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we are told the good news of Jesus, the Son of God had a beginning. The beginning of the gospel is on my thoughts and in my heart today.

When we read how the the other Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John present the Christmas story, we understand more about what Mark termed as ‘the beginning.’

The Christmas story is composed of truthful elements that paint a canvas of the beginning of the good news of Jesus.

There is drama, intrigue, interesting people, the divine element, opposition, worship, dreams, angels, miracles, struggles, common people, royal people, people of status, senior citizens, and the primary reason of the Christmas story and it’s needed message for every person in our world.

Hollywood has made mini series on so many different people and times. I wonder if one has been made on the truthful elements of the Christmas story? It would make wonderful viewing and be so great to see the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ presented truthfully in a mini series. Maybe one has been done already,

I don’t know.

I do know however, that I love the Christmas story. I love to see it presented in music, hear about it preached and taught, and to see it when the children present it as a play or drama at church. Isn’t the Christmas story wonderful?

Think about it. You have Elizabeth having a child late in life who is the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist. You have her husband, ole Zacharias, seeing the angel and being struck speechless.

Then there is Joseph struggling as what to do about Mary being pregnant before they had intimate relations and then his dream and the angel telling him what to do and to what name to give the Christ child, even the name Jesus which signified he would save us from our sins.

There is the virgin Mary, a young girl (a teenager, perhaps) being visited by the Angel, Gabriel to tell her that the child she is carrying was put there by the Holy Spirit and that she would birth our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Then she praises God wonderfully.

There is the political structure of Caesar, Herod and Cyrenius, which meant Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

And Herod who wishes to kill Jesus because he considered the child political opposition tries to get the Wise Men to fill him in as to the location of Jesus.

And the Wise Men. They brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and fell down on their knees and faces to worship Jesus. And then they avoid Herod.

And who can forget the shepherds, the lowly shepherds who saw the angels, received a message from the angels about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and being overwhelmed by the angles praise, worship and proclamation of the majesty of Jesus. And they rushed to that stable with the cattle and hay to worship Jesus for themselves and then returned to tell others about what they had heard, seen and experienced of Jesus.

Let us not forget a few days after the birth of Jesus when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present Jesus in the Temple and Simeon and Anna the senior citizens are part of the Christmas story as well as they worship and adore the Christ child, Jesus.

Today, I am just overwhelmed with the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I so want that story, his story to totally envelope, fill, touch, compass, and to control my life. I so want my all in all to be on the altar of sacrifice as an offering to Jesus, that little child who was born of a virgin in a stable with all the drama, intrigue, miraces and story to which I have alluded and briefly touched on today.

I am unworthy. He is worthy. I am a sinner. He is sinless.

I take. He gives.

O God, make me, mold me, change me to be more like Jesus. To be about his mission--may I announce he has come to break the chains of sin, to put back together broken lives, to restore dignity and the image of God in our lives through the purpose of his birth: to save his people from their sins.

 

 

Saturday, 12/20/2014 Acts 3:6

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Years back, I heard a radio preacher sing a little song. Now this preacher was kind of like PreacherLarry in that he was not a gifted soloist but he had what I want which is a white hot pure passionate desire to know Jesus and to make Jesus known to others.

The song he sang was about how little is much when God is in it and goes like this:

"Little is much when God is in it!

Labor not for wealth or fame.

There’s a crown—and you can win it,

If you go in Jesus’ Name."

Our text this morning talks about how Peter and John had no silver and gold. Wait a minute, I thought some preachers tell us we should be rich and have lots of money so how could two Apostles of Jesus be broke financially? Well, whatever they had, they gave it away. That is what the early church did. The situation was that there was much poverty among them so they pooled together their money so everybody would have something and the work of God would be blessed.

I am not advocating we necessarily do that today but sometimes God leads in a certain way for certain people in a certain situation. What I am advocating is, however, that we give what we have for his glory and purposes.

‘Such as I have give I thee.’ At this time in my life, I am not able to pastor a church somewhere because of family obligations and while I might would like to do that, I am not able to.  I am perfectly happy to sit at this computer and type out a Daily Light encouraging myself and others to give what we have for the work of Jesus.

A woman in the Bible who anointed Jesus’ body for burial is described as:        

'She hath done what she could.'  (Mark 14:8)

What can you do? Can you prepare a meal for someone? Do it for Jesus. Can you sing a song somewhere? Do it for Jesus. Can you spend time with a child? Do it for Jesus. Can you assist a loved one with a physical need? Do it for Jesus. Can you teach a lesson? Do it for Jesus. Can you preach a sermon? Do it for Jesus. Can you give an offering to further God’s kingdom? Do it for Jesus. Can you help a neighbor in need? Do it for Jesus. Can you volunteer somewhere? Do it for Jesus. Can you rake a widow lady’s leaves? Do it for Jesus. ( I am saying these things so you and I will catch my drift.)

Let’s just use what we got and give it and do it for Jesus! Ok?

A person asked me to pray this week for a loved one who had been suffering with an illness for some time. This loved one had been to the best Doctors and the best clinic in America for this particular illness but was still suffering with this illness. The Lord prompted me to pray for a complete healing for this loved one of my friend. A trip to the north east for more medical help for this illness revealed that the illness is now healed and completely gone. My friend is praising God and is filled with great Joy. I know I am not the only one who was praying for this loved one.

But I did pray, and healing did come. I did what I could and that is all that

God asks of you and I.

Perhaps you are reading this today and God is tugging on your heart’s strings to fully surrender yourself and what appears to be your meager gifts and talents to Jesus. Do it now for God will bless that.

A little boy had a few loaves of bread and a few fishes. He gave them to Jesus and Jesus blessed what the little boy gave and fed a multitude of 5000 with them. And God will make our little into much when we go in Jesus’ name and use what we have for his glory, purposes and work.

O God, use our gifts and talents for your work and purposes today, I pray Dear Jesus. You delight in doing the impossible with the little we have.

We thank you for that Lord. You have elevated us in that you take what we have and what we give and use it for your glory in a mighty and meaningful way.

Thank you for that, Lord. We praise you today and exalt your name on high. Save the lost today, O lord and revive the saved. I pray in Jesus’ mighty Name, amen.

 

 

 

Friday, 12/19/2014

Acts 8:3-4

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

 

Our text this morning tell us of the early persecution of the church. Stephen, had just been stoned and killed for his faith and for giving a message of God’s word to those killing him. Saul was there as a leader of the pack. Later Saul would have his name changed to Paul as he was changed by the Lord into the greatest missionary the church has ever seen.

The several thousands of Christians in Jerusalem had to get out of town because of Saul’s persecution leaving only the Apostles behind to tend to the matters of the church. We are told that they were scattered all over the place and wherever they went, they shared the good news of Jesus through proclaiming and sharing

the word of God.

Some times, a child of God goes through certain problems, sufferings, trials, tribulations and even persecution for their faith. As a Christian goes through those tough times, we are to use these things as a spring board for the sharing of Jesus’ love and especially the sharing of the good news that Jesus saves through preaching (proclaiming) the word of God.

I have seen Christians do just that. They lose a job and they take Jesus with them to the unemployment office. They have a health issue and they take Jesus with them to the Doctor’s office or the hospital. They serve on a foreign battle field and they share Jesus with other soldiers on the battle field. What is in us really comes out during tribulation.

The little Greek word for tribulation used in scripture is a word that was used when the grapes were put in the press and the people would squeeze out the juice by jumping up and down on those grapes. What was in the grape was grape juice and that is what comes out of the grape when it goes through tribulation.

When I squeeze a lemon, lemon juice comes out. When I squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out. When I squeeze a pimple, (shall I go on or do you get the picture---I thought so.)

Yesterday, my wife who is recovering from her third surgery this year and is being tended to by your’s truly (I feel sorry for her) asked me to go to pizza hut and get bring home dinner. I did so at her request (she deserved a treat because of all she has been through).

Upon entering the little front area at our local pizza hut pick up place, it was kind of crowded. As I waited for our pizza, I placed a little Red Bible booklet (the size of a matchbook) on the inside of the front window on the sill.

I had stamped inside the front page of that little Red Bible booklet a quarter size emblem that simply said compliments of preacherlarry.com.

Later last night, I received an email from a person asking if I was at our local pizza hut.

It seems a person there heard them announce that Larry’s pizza is ready, and then on their way out picked up the little Red Bible booklet. That person put 2 and 2 together and decided that PreacherLarry was at the pizza hut.

We exchanged emails and the person thanked me for my Christian commitment and said he went to preacherlarry.com and shared the booklet and the website with his girl friend.

A little song we used to sing (and I have a feeling you will hear it on preacherlarry.com very soon goes ‘it only takes a spark to get a fire going and soon all those around can warm up to it’s glowing, that’s how it is with God’s love, you got to pass it on.’)

If you have yet to receive Jesus as your very own personal Lord and Savior, it is my prayer and heart’s desire that you will so now. Jesus loves you, died on the cross to pay your and my sin debt so we can be saved and born again. Just turn from doing things your way and ask Jesus to come into your heart to save you so you can do things his way. He promises to save you, send the Holy Spirit to give you the born again experience, to forgive all your sins, to make possible abundant life for you now and give you eternal life in heaven later.

I encourage all my Christian brothers and sisters to use your suffering, trials, tribulations and persecutions as a spring board to share the good news of the word of God that Jesus saves with those whom God brings across your path. Take Jesus with you to the hospital, the unemployment office, the Doctor’s office and even to pizza hut. You never know who you will touch with the love of Christ.

 

Thursday, 12/18/2014

4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:4-7

 

Certain sayings have been made surrounding the concept of time as in:

Time is the stuff that life is made of.

Time waits for no man.

Timing is everything.

It’s Time.

We’re running out of time.

The Time is right.

It’s Christmas time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our text tells us that God sent his son to be born of the virgin Mary when the fullness of time came. I am told that at the time of Jesus’ birth there was the world wide language of koine (common) Greek, the world wide transportation routes of Roman roads and the Old Testament was completed as we know it today and was also translated into Greek.

So we can see how Jesus was born when the fullness of time had come.

All of us have different time periods of our life as in childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle aged years and senior years. I want you to know that God can and will work in your life during all these seasons of life. You can have the fullness of time if you are a young adult , a middle aged adult or a senior citizen. I know this is so. That is exciting, isn’t it?

God has certain blessings awaiting us for each season of life that we could not have utilized or appreciated if we had gotten them sooner.

I am on up in years (not as old as I could be but not as younger as I once was). This week, a very special person in my and my wife’s life during a three year period of our young adult years died and went to be with Jesus in heaven. I was in my late twenties and she and her husband were probably in their middle to late forties. She was eighty four years old at her death.

During my first pastorate, she and her husband fed us so many meals, I must have gained five to ten pounds, literally. What a blessing she was to my wife and I during our young adult years.

And now, I am twenty or so years older than she was when she blessed us so many years past. Time marches on, doesn’t it?

George Muller of Bristol, England was greatly used of God in creating orphanages for disadvantaged children. Mr. Muller is know for teaching us about prayer and faith. A life verse of his was Psalm 81:10 ‘Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.’ He lived by faith, literally. It is said that while he never asked anyone for support of his work and while only mentioning needs, he prayed in over eight million dollars for the orphans.

George Muller always wanted to be a traveling Evangelist but was not able to do so until he was seventy years old. He then traveled the world over the next seventeen years until he was eighty seven years old preaching the glorious gospel of Jesus and teaching about prayer and faith.

I want you to know today that whatever season of life you are in today that God has a wonderful plan, purpose, blessing and design for you.

Your fullness of time will be different at 60 years old than 30 years old but God has a plan for your young adult years as well as your senior adult years!

I mean, think about it. We can be excited today and anticipate the great challenges and blessings that the Lord has for us right now. We can enjoy Jesus today. Maybe we have desires and goals that we have not reached today, but we can still praise the Lord and be useful in his kingdom work today in what ever state we are in at this moment. That is so, so marvelous, isn’t it?

I encourage if you have not given your life to Jesus, do so today and you will become an adopted son or daughter of the Heavenly Father, you will receive the Holy Spirit and cry out to God as your Daddy (Abba Father) and you will be an heir to the riches of the Lord awaiting for you in heaven through your faith in Christ.

You who know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, lift up your head, smile, and thank him that whatever stage of life you are in today, he has a wonderful plan for you to be blessed and to be a blessing to others! Walk by faith and not by sight. The Just shall live by faith.

 

 

Wednesday, 12/17/2014 ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Psalm 84:11

The theologians like to create terms to define truth. Like when I talk about getting saved, the theologians talk about soteriology or when I talk about Jesus coming again, the theologians talk about eschatology. In talking about the grace of Jesus, the theologians talk about common grace and saving grace.

I studied a little bit of New Testament Greek when I as at the University and the Seminary but I want you to know that although they can take the boy out of the country, they cannot take the country out of the boy. I mean, after all that education, I drifted back to my roots. I, in no way demean or denigrate education, but the devil trembles when the weakest Christian gets on his or her knees and not when the smarted person gets another degree. I heard one pastor say that sometimes the janitor sweeping off the church steps knows more than the PhD in the pulpit. That is so true.

Anyway’s, a few things I learned a while back stuck with me even unto today. For instance, I remember that the Greek word for gift in the Bible is doron. Maybe I remember it because doron sounds like moron, who knows?

Ephesians 2:-8-9 says:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I am thankful for the gifts of God this morning. One gift, I am thankful for is how the Lord brought my wife through surgery yesterday and she is at this moment sitting in the recliner sipping on a 7 up and a cup of java. Praise God. I am thankful for all my family and friends who have prayed to the Lord for my dear wife yesterday and all of last year as she went through three different surgeries and has been declared free of cancer. Thank you, Jesus.

I am thankful that 43 years ago, today, my wife and I were married. What a gift she has been to me along with our marriage, our children and our grandchildren. Little did she know what she married me, she would live in so many different places and so many different states. And now, my sweet wife is laying back down to rest and to continue to heal up from her surgery. And here we are. Blessed by God! Smiling from ear to ear. A grateful (greatful) heart! What a mighty God we serve!

I am so thankful today for Jesus’ steadfast love, his unwavering faithfulness, and his total acceptance that the grace of God brings to this ole boy. So many years, so many mistakes, so many wrong decisions, and so much grace.

Ricky Ricardo used to tell Lucy ‘you got some splaining to do.’ And I feel as though, I got some making up to do.

I feel like the Apostle Paul who said he was the least of the Apostles because he persecuted the church. Paul said he came to Jesus late and so he labored harder than anyone to serve the Lord in the time the Lord gave him after his initial salvation on the Damascus Road. I feel I got to make up for some drifiting I did through the years. It is time to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, for Jesus!

I, too, want to make up for lost time. Whatever more time, the Lord gives me in this life, I want to burn bright for Jesus. I don’t want to be a flickering candle, I want to be like one of those spot lights you see at night flashing through a dark sky advertising a car lot or a retail store. I want to be the biggest neon light you ever saw for Jesus.

God has withheld no good thing from me.

When I needed direction, he gave me direction. When I needed a job, he gave me a job (maybe not the job, I would have chosen, but a job none the less). When I needed physical healing, he gave me physical healing. When I needed the chip knocked off my shoulder, he knocked the chip of my shoulder (even though that did not feel too good). When I needed a loving wife, he gave me a loving wife.

Yes, God is a sun and a shield. We love him because he first loved us. We can never repay him for all his blessings. But you, like me, can resolve that through his grace and strength to serve him, shine bright for him and to make him known to this ole sin filled world through your words and deeds.

Dear Lord, your greatest gift this Christmas season is the gift of salvation through your Son, Jesus!. Thank you for your wonderful and beautiful gift of grace through Jesus.

May all of us say, I am what I am because of the grace of God and it is not I doing anything of great magnitude or any thing that seems little but the grace of God in me that propels me, infuses me, motivates me, and explodes in me to cause me to serve the living and true God .

Help me to shine bright for you in pointing others to your love and grace! Thank you, Jesus!

 

 

Tuesday, 12/16/2014 ‘For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me, he shall set me up upon a rock.’ Psalm 27:5

We all have a time and also periods of times of trouble. Trouble may be an illness. It could be a conflict in a relationship. The death of a loved one can be a troubling thing especially if it is unexpected. Sometimes, trouble might be an accident of some type. People who are affected by natural disasters see that as a trouble. War is trouble. Job loss, financial reversal, aging, yes there a multitude of troubles.

It’s like the old spiritual song: ‘Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? There’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.’

Trouble does not bother me as much as it used too. I have seen good times, bad times and hard times. In and through it all, God has sustained me and has seen me through.

I am here today to say that no matter what trouble you have or you are going to have in the future that if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior that Jesus will sustain you, care for you, guide you, help you, love you, bless you and be your all in all when you cling to him and trust in him.

I know this because of what God says in his Holy Word, the Bible and I also know this from the many troubles God has seen me through! Praise him!

Our text from God’s word in Psalm 27:5 tells us God will give us his child three things during trouble:

1.) God’s Shelter

2.) God’s Presence

3.) God’s Security and Safety

The human instrument who was guided by the Holy Spirit to write the word of God found in Psalm 27:5 knew about shelter. A shepherd in ancient days had a tent where he could take the sheep during the heat of the day to protect the sheep from the scorching and blistering heat.

Sometimes in our trouble, we feel totally off guard, vulnerable, off balance, fearful, afraid, forsaken and distressed. I want you to know God has a shelter of his grace that we can enter in during these hard and troublesome times. We can find comfort and a shield from our troubles during hardship. You can go to Jesus for refuge and help during any trouble you may be facing.

In the wilderness, the children of Israel were instructed by Moses to build a Tabernacle where the presence of God would dwell. There would be a cloud over the Tabernacle in the day time and a pillar of fire over the Tabernacle during the night symbolizing the presence of God.

Wherever the people traveled, the tabernacle would go with the people. God was with the children of Israel in the Tabernacle.

John 1:14 tells us that God became a man, Jesus, and Tabernacled (dwelt) with us. Jesus is still with us through the Holy Spirit who is our comforter, guide, and teacher.

During our troubles, the born again child of God has the presence of God with him or her. God’s presence is so awesome. His presence gives me joy, peace, love, strength, patience and self control. Bring your troubles to Jesus. He will bring to you, give to you and make very real to you his comfort, healing, deliverance and peace.

The psalmist said God would set him on a rock during his troubles. The rock is Jesus.

The Bible says in Psalm 62:1-2:. Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

Our troubles may seem like a strong unsettling wind, or a raging fire, or a terrible earthquake but the born again child of God can stand on the Rock of Jesus and find strength, safety and stability during a hard and troubling time.

Do you have a trouble today? Perhaps, your trouble is long lasting or maybe it will be short term. Whether it lasts for a while even for a long time or goes away tomorrow or next week, I want you to know that Jesus is the rock you can stand on and he will be a rock of stabilty, a rock of safety and a rock of protection for you during your trouble.

Lord I pray for a loved one of mine who is having surgery today. I shall be with that loved one depending upon you as our shelter, resting confident that your presence is with us and I shall stand upon you, the rock of our salvation. For you are our rock even though inside I may feel like wavering, I know you are our refuge and our strength, a very present help during our time of trouble! You are my loved one's healer and provider!

Heavenly Father, be with my readers today. That one who has yet to surrender his or her life to you Jesus, as his or her's Lord, Shelter, Master, Rock and Savior, I pray that one will come to you today and will invite you into his or her's heart.

For those who have been born again through your Spirit and are now the sons and daughters of God, be with them, O Lord, and may they know they can lay down any trouble that comes their way at your feet and you will bring joy out of ashes and peace out of heartache and difficulty. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

 

 

Mondy, 12/15/2014   'O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from this body of death.'   Romans 7:24

About 10 or 15 so years ago, there was a giant fad going on among Christians. It was called the WWJD fad. I call it a fad not because the concept was shallow or trendy but just because you just don't hear or see much about WWJD anymore. The WWJD was, of course, 'What Would Jesus Do.'? There was WWJD bracelets, WWJD hats, WWJD T-shirts, WWJD jewelry and on and on.

I read a book once titled 'In His Steps.' It was written in 1896. The book was about what happened when every one in a small town decided to ask themselves about every motive, thought and action: what would Jesus do if he were in that

situation and then they did that. 

I am all for examining my motives, my thoughts, and my actions based upon what would Jesus do? My real problem goes much deeper than that as to actually doing what Jesus would do in a given situation. The problem I have is that way down deep in my inner core, I, sometimes,  really am not motivated towards spiritual motives, thoughts and actions.

You see, even though I am a Christian, born again, saved, a child of God and all that, I still don't always want to do the 'spiritual thing.' Like I said, there is something way down deep in side of me that wants to do things my own way and in my own time.

You ever get your feelings hurt? I do and have. Now, that can be something very hard to deal with. I mean, after all, we feel that someone has wronged us by tallking about us or just being mean spirited to us. Perhaps they said something to our face that has offended us.

Once I was pastor of a church that was named after a tree. It makes no difference if it was a pine tree, an evergreen tree or a maple tree. Some people in that church got side ways with each other and so the church split. The splinter group went about a mile past the orignial church and started a new church. And guess what? They named their new church after a tree as well. So now, you had two churches. Let's say the first church was named Maple Grove and the second church was named Pine Grove. All because of a disagreement and hurt feelings.

Disagreements and hurt feelings can lead to church splits, family splits, job changes, war and creation of new countries and heads of state. It goes on and on. We want to lash out and strike back because we don't have the spiritual resources internalized through the Holy Spirit that will enable and empower us to act in a loving and truthful manner. So, as a born again Christian, we must learn how to walk in the Spirit's power and then to continually maintain our spiritual life.

It is not always that we are unwilling to do what Jesus would do, rather, it is just that we are unable or unmotivated to do what Jesus would do.

That is what the Apostle Paul was talking about in our verse for today. Paul was calling himself a wretched man because, tried as he willed, he just could not bring himself to act and to respond  as Jesus would.

Paul called it a sin problem. You mean, a born again Christian, one who is saved, blood bought, regenerated, adopted into the family of God, saved by faith, indwelt by the Holy Spirit & a Christ follower still has a sin problem?  Yes, that is what I am saying.

Paul found threre is only one way to deal with the sin problem: 'through Jesus Christ, our Lord' (Romans 7:24).

Often, my want to and my can do apparatus gets messed up. I don't  always feel like reading the Bible, going to church, being forgiving to the driver who cuts me off in traffic, not defending myself and lashing out to someone who says or does something out of the way to me. Self gets in the fore front and sin takes over.

The only way I have found to deal with this is just to simply humble myself before the Lord, admit to Jesus that I am unmotivated and unable to do what he says and cry out to him to infuse my life with Holy Spirit power that forgives my sin and fuels me to walk before him in love and holiness.

I was told my Grandfather took my Grandmother to California from Arkansas in the early part of the 20th century on a motorcycle. One thing I know about motorcycles is that they don't always go to far on a tank of gas. Some of them will go around a hundred miles or so on a full tank of gas. Then they have to refuel.

My life is kind of like that. I don't go too far on a spiritual fill up. I seem to run low or even run out of the spiritual fuel that keeps me going for Jesus. So I have to stop a lot and ask Jesus to refuel with me Holy Spirit power through receiving the word of God, meditating on the word of God and spending time in private prayer and then continuing on in an attitude of prayer. If I don't, then I feel wretched or spiritually bummned out.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today to ask for a fresh touch of your Holy Spirit in and on my life. You know me Father. Sometimes I just feel so weak and inept spiritually. I need your power way down inside of me to cleanse me, wash me, fill me, refuel me, and cause me to walk after your ways.

Lord, I pray for my readers today that those who have never known the life of Jesus will cry out to Jesus today for salvation and a new beginning. Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who need a fresh touch and refuel of Holy Spirit passion and stength that they will stop and personally come to Jesus to find help in their time of need. In Jesus' Name I pray, amen.

 

 

Sunday, 12/14/2014   'I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.'

(John 15:5)

In a Baptist Hymnal used in the 1980's, on page 200 was a song entitled 'Without Him.'  While many of the hymns were written a long time ago as in 'Amazing Grace' written by John Newton that was published in 1779, 'Without Him' was written in 1961.

Mylon Lefevre, who stills sings for the Lord, wrote 'Without Him' when he was 17 years old. Elvis Presley recorded 'Without Him' in 1966. The next year, 'Without Him' was recorded by over 180 different singers and musical groups. ---Just some interesting tidbits about the song 'Without Him.'

In our text, this morning, we are told that without Jesus, we can do nothing. This is true. Jesus is the 'Author and finisher of our faith' (Hebrews 12:2) and we are to look to him for all things.

We can obtain and attain nothing of real significance without Jesus. Augustine so succinctly and aptly said:  'You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.' 

The salvation of the believer from the begininng to the end is by and of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who draws us to himself. It is Jesus who sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins. It is Jesus who regenerates us through the work of the Holy Spirit in the iniital born again experience of salvation when we believe only on and in him. It is Jesus who makes all things new in our life. It is Jesus who gives us the power through the power of the Holy Spirit to live towards holiness and righteousness after we are saved. It is Jesus who allows us to approach Father God in prayer for our needs and the needs of those we love and know. It is Jesus who answers our prayers when we pray 'in Jesus Name.' And it is Jesus who will come again to give the believer a new glorified body and take him or her home to heaven.

When Peter, James and John were on a high mountain with Jesus, Jesus was transfigured and his face did shine as the sun and his clothes were white as the light.

Suddenly, Peter, James and John saw Jesus speaking with Moses and Elias.

Peter, who always had the 'right' thing to say told Jesus they should just make some tabernacles on the mountain and stay there.

Just then, a bright cloud appeared and the voice of God spoke out of that cloud saying, 'This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.' Peter, James and John got real scared and fell on their face to shield themslves from the light and the voice.

When they looked up after things settled down, the Bible says:

'they saw no man, save Jesus only.' (Matthew 17:8)

Yes, it is Jesus only whom we need and must have to survive eternally and spiritually. Do you have Jesus today?  For he says 'apart from me, ye can do nothing.'

'Without him, I could do nothing. Without him, I'd surely fail. Without him, I would be drifting like a ship without a sail. Jesus, do you know him today? You can't turn him away.  Jesus, O Jesus, Without him, how lost I would be.'

 

 

Saturday, 12/13/2014 ‘Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.’ Joshua 14:14

There was a movie made about a man who was captured and lived among the American Sioux Indian Tribe. This man so closely identified with these Indians that he was named by them ‘Horse.’ Eventually, he gained warrior status and finally became their leader. You may remember the movie’s title: ‘A Man called Horse.’

There was a man in ancient Israel whose name meant ‘Dog.’ We could say Caleb was ‘A Man called Dog.’

For some reason, kids sometimes make fun of other kids and demean them by calling them names such as Dumbo, Fatty, Ugly, Fruit, Dopey or some other mean name. Some of these nicknamed kids carry the scars of this name calling into adulthood.

The little rhyme some of us learned that goes ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’ is not always true, is it?

For a person to be named dog in ancient Israel was not a compliment or a good thing. The term dog was used to describe outsiders, perverted doers of immorality and those in other countries that were considered Israel’s enemies.

So for Caleb’s name to mean dog means Caleb did not have a leg up on success early in life.

Perhaps the kids in Caleb’s life said things like this to poor little Caleb: ‘you dirty dog’, ‘you stinking mutt’, ‘you are a dead dog’, ‘you good for nothing mangy animal’ or what’s that foam on your face, rabies?’

Caleb, however, learned how to overcome a negative self image and the name calling he must of received as a child for Caleb wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. Because Caleb wholly followed the Lord, Caleb received for his family the highest place to live in Israel: Hebron.

Hebron was a special place where Abraham received the promise that a child would be born to him and Sarah named Issac, Sarah was buried in a cave on Hebron and King David ruled his first seven years from Hebron.

And now Hebrob was possessed by a man called Dog, Caleb because Caleb overcame his past by wholly following the Lord God of Israel!

To follow another means you are going where that person goes. So to follow the Lord means we go where the Lord goes.

Jesus said: ‘Even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Mark 10:45) Now, it is not very exciting to be a servant and to do menial tasks in helping others. But if we wish to wholly follow Jesus, we must be a servant.

A fellow named Lawrence (not me, I am Larry)  wanted to really experience the Lord in his day to day life. Lawrence was assigned the task of working in a kitchen and did tasks like washing dishes, peeling potatoes, cleaning countertops and the kitchen floor, seasoning soups, and the such. But Lawrence determined that if his mission in life was to work in a kitchen, then the counter must become his altar and the sink must become a sacred place to him.

After a while, the light, love and wisdom of God so shined in Lawrence’s life that people began to come to him from the surrounding countryside, villages and cites to receive his counsel and guidance. Lawrence would write a book that is still read today detailing his finding the ways of God in the kitchen entitled: ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’

So Caleb teaches us that even if other people think we are or call us ‘Dogs’ or some other mean and vile name, we can still find and experience the blessings, wonder, greatness, victory, and ways of the Lord if we will, with Caleb (and Lawrence)  wholly follow the Lord God.

We can take what seemingly is broken and what has defined us in our lives and if we commit it wholly to God, he will infuse that thing like being called a ‘Dog’, into something beautiful, wondrous, holy and grand!

Lord, perhaps some of my readers today are carrying scars of past relationships of childhood, adolescence, or even adult hood. Perhaps they have been called names, have been physically or emotionally abused and told they would never amount to as much as a hill of beans or something worse.

God, let them know that Jesus loves them, died for them, and rose again for them. Lord, let them know and experience that they are created in your own image and are special in your sight. O God, I pray my readers will know that you, O Lord God of Israel, the same Lord God of Caleb and Lawrence, have a special plan for them that can only be carried out as they wholly follow you, Lord and become a servant as Jesus was and give their lives for others in Jesus name.

Those who have yet to be born again and saved by the majestic grace of Jesus, may they repent of their own ways and devices and surrender them selves to you by faith and call you Lord, Master and Savior. For then, they will be born again and saved and may wholly follow you and find their special destiny and purpose in

life.

And those of us who do know you but get sidetracked and hindered by the things of life, may we fall on our faces before you and cry out to you, O Lord God of Israel, renew my faith, forgive my apathy and use me in a new and blessed special way as I wholly follow you, Lord, for your glory and will. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen

 

 

Friday, 12/12/2014   'And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren.'

Jesus had just been accused of using the power of the devil to do his mighty works and the religious leaders had held a council against Jesus on how they might destroy him. Why?  Jesus had stirred up their little world and power trip they were on. You see, Jesus put the needs of people above religious rules and regulations. I mean if someone needed to healed on the Sabbath day, Jesus did it. And the religious rulers did not like that.

During a heated discussion with the Phariisees, Jesus' mother and brothers came for him. We are not told the exact reason why they came. Perhaps it was talk some sense into Jesus or perhaps it was to take Jesus home. After all, Jesus was stirring things up. Why couldn't he just have a quiet non obstrusive ministry? Why did Jesus have to create controversy everywhere he went?

During Jesus' public ministry this controversy surrounding him and the opposition to him grew and grew. Finally, the Pharisees involved the Romans and the very crowds who applauded Jesus now cried crucify him, crucify him. People like you and I are so fickle, aren't we.?

When a person follows and obeys Jesus, feathers are still ruffled today. I have seen this in my own personal life in the last little while. That is ok. The Jesus follower is not bound to make those around him comfortable in their sin and darkness. Jesus said he came to divide famlies and friends.

What he meant was when one member of the family follows Jesus and their life focus is changed to honor, praise and glorify Jesus and another member of he family does not follow Jesus and their life focus is job, money, possessions and fun, there is a clash of values and heads.

It happened to Jesus. Jesus' mother and brothers came desiring to speak to him but Jesus said in their presence that his mother and brothers were those who know the will of God and do it. Jesus' physical family must have perceived those words as cutting and piercing to them.

When I was a young adult and newly born again and saved by Jesus, I remember a family Christmas time. Everybody knew by their standards, I had gotten real religious. So they asked me to read the Christmas story out of the Bible. I did and then I started lifting up Jesus to my family and I said I just wanted to know if they were saved. You could hear a pin drop. It got real awkward in there. One person, said, of course we are, now lets get on with opening presents and then have a nice meal.

The next year, one of my brothers told my mother if I ever pulled that stunt again, he would not be present at another Christmas celebration. My mother pulled me aside and asked me to please temper my presentation of the Christmas story. You see, a line had been drawn in the sand. I have thought about those days often. Was I over zealous?  Was I over the top? Maybe I could have handled my remarks differently. But you know what, I was on fire for God and in love with Jesus and I just could not keep Jesus bottled up inside of me.

If you are a Christian, I am not suggesting you turn your family Christmas celebration into an evangelistic crusade but you and I both know that on this special day of Jesus' birth, there is no way you cannot and will not bring Jesus forefront into the celebration. When you do and I do, some feathers might be ruffled again. That is ok.

The Jesus follower who is indwelt and controlled by the Holy Spirit will celebrate Christmas differently then those family members who only see Chrismas as a lighted tree and wrapped up Christmas presents.  For the Jesus follower thinks of the cross and Jesus being the light of the world and the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus because Jesus is the King of kings and the fact that the most important gift is the the gift of salvation that Jesus gives to those who believe.

And so we have to let it flow. Just make sure it is Jesus doing the flowing and not you and it will be all right.

Lord, I pray for our family members and friends who have yet to really accept and follow Jesus thus falling in love with him and the things of God such as his holy word, his body which is the church, the bride of Christ, helping others in Jesus' name and reaching others wth the glorious good news that Jesus saves. Lord I know not everyone wants and lives to see the lost saved, the kingdom built, Jesus glorifed and his will done on earth even as it is done in heaven. But I do, Lord and you know my heart.  O God, I pray others will come to know Jesus this year during this Christmas season because they will be saved for eternity and this Christmas will be the best one they ever had. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

Thursday, 12/11/2014  'Finally, my brethern, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.'   Ephesians 6:10

Not every one is doing so great this Christmas season. Some people are in the hospital right now or are heading to one. One family I know has a loved one in the hospital and another just lost a loved in death. A tragic unexpected death of a young adult. So, not every one is doing so great this Christmas season.

I know, as a Christian, that the Lord will give me, his child, the strength necessary to make it through any difficulty or even that difficulty I don't make it through until I get to the other side in heaven. That still not does not make it easy.

It is easy for me to lose compassion for others when most of the things in my life are going smoothly. You know, everyone is healthy, plenty of finances and no major problems. That is one reason why what the psychologists call traumatic grief can be so hard to work through and to recover from

The little song says Christmas is the hap, happiest time of the year. For some, however, it is the lonliest time of the year.

When everything is going good and then all of a sudden, that illness comes, that tragedy comes, the job loss, the financial reversal, a death of a loved one, or an unexpected split in one's family unit. Then it gets real hard.

One fellow I know was told yesterday on his job that his services was no longer needed. This would have been his tenth Christmas on that job. His Christmas will be different this year because of his current experience.

I am a great big burly guy.  I give an image as the tough pioneer type. You know, the frontiersman, the boxer, or the private eye who does it alone. But I have seen times, though, that I could barely hold on or go on. Especially when the problems of life hit during the Christmas season.

I mean, you are supposed to sing Christmas carols, hang mistletoe, and say ho, ho, ho, during Christmas, aren't you?  Sometimes in the midst of life's struggles, you just don't feel like singing about Rudolph, wrapping presents or even shopping for that matter. You have been hit in the solar plexsis with trouble. It's Christmas and you don't feel like it.

I live in America. My life has been pretty good. I am looking forward to a family gathering this year before Christmas, planned that way, because one family member has a surgery before Christmas on the calendar.

I depend on the strength of the Lord to see me through. I have seen some hard times and some tough times during the Christmas season. One benefit of having gone through so many Christmas seasons, as I have, is I can look back and see the faithfulness of the Lord. I know the Lord will never fail me not only because God says so in the Bible but also because I have gone through the valley's, the meadows, and the mountain top experiences of the Lord during the Christmas season.

But I keep in my back pocket at all times the strength of the Lord so to speak. I don't mean I don't always depend upon the strength of the Lord, but let's face it, it's easier to praise the Lord when you are on top then when the proverbial bottom falls out, isn't it?  So if the bottom falls out on me or on my family this year, I will be ok. I know that I will be ok because I have been there before and the word promises God will see me through!

I know that God never promised me a rose garden all the time and I know that he will see me through what ever is put on my plate.

Where ever you are in life this Christmas season or whatever you are going through or are about to go through, I want you to know something. If you are a born again child of God, then 'if God be for you, then who can be against you' and that Jesus says to you 'I will never leave you or forsake you.'  You may feel as though you are at a breaking point. Go ahead and let the tears flow (not while you are driving if you can keep from it). Remember that when God comforts you (and he will) he will want you to use that comfort he gives you to comfort someone else who also is going through a hard time.

Let's remember this Christmas season that not everyone is doing so great. Let's pray for those and support those going through hardship or loss. God will give us and them his strength to make it through when we lean on his everlasting arms. And remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

 

 

Wednesday, 12/10/2014  'But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.'  

Isaiah 59:2

Have you ever spoken to someone and not been heard?  Perhaps the person was preoccupied with something else or maybe they were 'hard of hearing' or they were watching television more than they were listening to you. For one's message to be be spoken yet the recipient of he message not to hear that message is aggravating, isn't it?

God, the heavenly Father hears the cry of his child and attends unto that child. God, the heavenly does not have to and may not hear the cry of the one who is yet to become a child of God.

One becomes a Christian (child of God)  by first realizing they are not one. It takes a recognition of personal sin before a person can get saved. Sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:5) Sin is when one disobeys either in thought, word or deed what God says by either disobeying what God says or not obeying what God says (by comission or by omission).

Every human being inherits a sin nature that has been passed down from Adam since Adam disobeyed God in the garden of eden. Children are innocent for their thoughts, words and actions that do not line up with God's law but when that person reaches the age of accountability, they will sin and are then responsible thus held liable by God for their sin. (For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.--Romans 3:23)

The present result of sin for a person who has yet to become a Christian is not having a personal relationship with the God of our universe. The non Christian has no real peace or joy because the true source of those attributes come from knowing God. The final result for a person who dies without becoming a Christian is eternal separation from God in everlasting hell where 'their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44,46,48).

The good news about Christmas is: 'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord' (Luke 2:11)  Jesus was born of the virgin Mary without out a human father so Jesus was the only human being ever born since Adam who did not inherit a sin nature. Because of that, only Jesus was able to be our Saviour from sin and that is why God told Joseph: 'thou shalt call his name Jesus because he shall save his people from their sins.' (Matthew 1:21)

Three things must happen for a person to get saved, born again and to become a Christian:

     1.) acceptance of the fact that one has sinned and is separated from God

     2.) acceptance of the fact that Jesus died for and paid the penalty for that sin

     3.) acceptance of Jesus by repentance & faith into one's heart and life to be   

          their Lord and Saviour.

Has that happened to you?  If that has not happened to you, then that is why God does not have to hear your prayer.

God is a loving father. New parents bring a healthy baby home from the hospital after that child's birth. When that new born child cries in the middle of the night, the loving mother or father hears that cry and will quickly arise and check on their new child. When we become a Christian, 'we are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:26) When we cry out to God in the middle of our difficulty, God, our heavenly Father hears our cry and will quickly attend unto our cry.

I am a born again child of God. God hears me when I cry out to him in prayer. Have you come to the point in your life where you know you are sinner, you know that Jesus died for your sins and you have by faith received Jesus as your very own pesonal Lord and Saviour? If so, you are a born again child of God and God, our heavenly Father will hear you when you cry out to him in prayer.

God does not have to hear the one who is still an unrepentant sinner who has not really known that Jesus died just for them, and who has not received Jesus by faith into their heart and life as their very own personal Lord and Saviour. If that is you, God does not hear you and attend to you in your present state.  I pray you that right now you acknowledge your sin, turn from your sin, turn to Jesus and invite Jesus to be the Lord and Saviour of your life. Then, you will be born again as a child of God and saved and God, the heavenly Father will hear your cry and attend unto you too!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 12/09/2014 ‘ Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any’ Isaiah 44:8

Today, there are so many who cling to the idea that there are many ways to God or all religions teach the same thing or it doesn’t make any difference what you believe, just that you believe.

The teaching of the Bible, however, is that there is only one God, only one Savior, only one Bible, only one Spirit and only one church.

Listen to this:

‘For there is one God and one mediator between God and men.’ (I Tim. 2:3)

‘ For through him, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father’ (Eph. 2:18)

‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6)

‘Seek ye out of the book of the Lord’ (Isaiah 34:16)

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling’ (Eph 4:4)

When I was a young man, I worked in a factory that made railroad track switches. This factory  took the raw steel, melted it down, formed it, honed it, drilled it, bolted it and shipped it. After working there for eight hours, I was covered with sweat, grime, dust, and all kinds of stuff. There was a fellow who worked there named Bob. Bob was bald on top, wore round iron rimmed glasses, had hair over his collar in the back and to me, looked like Benjamin Franklin. I was told that whatever drugs anyone wanted, Bob would get them and sell them to you. One Day Bob asked me if I needed any stuff? I answered I had the best stuff available and the stuff I had made me feel free and happy. Bob asked me what my stuff was called. I answered, ‘Jesus.’

From then on, for the next four months I daily told Bob about Jesus. A Bible verse I shared with Bob over and over was ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'  (John 8:32)

Yes, there is one truth!

I left that factory job to manage a pizza parlor. Several months passed and one day Bob came into the pizza parlor. I thought perhaps he was going to try and sell me drugs again. Bob told me that one night he was convicted of the truth that Jesus is the way to the Father that he knelt by his bed and prayed to receive Jesus into his heart. The next Sunday, Bob went forward during the invitation at a church service and was baptized! Glory to God!  Bob told me he was off drugs and was no longer a pusher but now he had the joy of sharing Jesus with others instead of drugs.

I am glad that Bob had the chance to receive the one gospel from the one God about the one Savior, applied and infused to him by the one Spirit, and he was placed in the one body, the univeral church of Jesus Christ.  Many others have yet to have the opportunity Bob had.

The Bible says: ‘For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

Many naive people are deceived by those on the talk show circuit who say that there are many ways to God and Jesus is one of them. The Bible says Jesus is the only way:

'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' (Acts 4:12

Have you received Jesus as your only way to forgiveness, eternal life and heaven? Can you share how your life was before you received Christ, how you received Christ and how your life is different now after having received Christ?  You better be that particular about this because the final destination of your eternal soul is based on this.

If you have received Jesus as your only way to forgiveness, eternal life and heaven, are you active in sharing the message of Christ by praying for others to be saved, by giving of your income in support of the preaching and teaching of the gospel and actually giving out the message of Christ to others by sharing your personal testimony, giving out the gospel in written form and by your words sharing the message of Jesus? You may need some training to get out and share your faith.

The Bible says the Christian life is like being a soldier.

Perhaps you need basic training in how to share your faith. A great resource for helping us to share Jesus is entitled: ‘How to give away your Faith’, by Paul E. Little. It is available to order online or your local Christian book store can get this book for you. I recommend it.

So, listen. If the fact that the Bible teaches there is only one God gets all over you and rubs you the wrong way, may I say to you very politely, gently and firmly that you need to get saved? I would rather be like a sand paper to you and irritate you some than to see you reject Jesus and go to hell. I want to see you in heaven!

I am glad that one day, the one God who came to his earth in human flesh, Jesus Christ sought me out, found me, confronted me with his truth and grace, and then I repented of my sin and received him by faith as my only Lord and Savior. Yes, I am glad that is settled for me! Now I just live to make Jesus known to others and I absolutely love to do that!

 

 

Monday, 12/08/2014   'And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.'   Matthew 4:19

When Peter and his brother Andrew heard these words of Jesus, they left their fishing buisness and followed Jesus for the next three years during Jesus' public ministry.

In reading and studying the Bible, to interpret it, to understand it and to apply the message of the Bible one must prayerfully:

**Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and teach you into all truth.

**Consider the setting and to whom the original words of the Bible were written.

**Humbly ask God what he wants you to be and to do in regards to the

   section of Holy Scripture that you just read and studied.

Now, what does Matthew 4:19 mean to me and you?  In other words, what does God want you and I to be and to do in regards to Jesus's  words to Peter and Andrew?

Does Jesus want us to follow him around the Holy Land for three years? I think not.

Does Jesus want us to leave our full time vocation of fishing, ship building, stock broker or graphic art designer or banker and go into full time vocational ministry? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Does Jesus want you and I to be a fisher of men? Most definitely!

I don't know what you do with your time and energy in your day to day life. Perhaps you are a mother and a home maker and your duties involve cleaning, cooking, washing, changing diapers, getting kids off to school, picking up kids from school, taking kids to activities, preparing breakfast and lunch for your kids and preparing supper for you your family. if so, it would be most difficult for you to leave all that and go into full time vocational Christian ministry. In fact, if you felt so inclined to do that, I might wonder if you really heard from God or was you just trying to shirk the duties of mother and home maker?   You catch my drift? You know what I mean?

Now, how could that wife, mother and homemaker fulfill Jesus' call to be a fisher of men? I can think of several ways and I know God the Holy Spirit and will lead any one indvidually who truly wants to hear him and be led.

That person could be a godly example to her husband and children showing the love, joy, peace and patience of the Lord, which will motivate and influence the children and husband to know and serve the Lord when they detect that the Lord can give her the fruit of the Holy Spirit as she does her day to day tasks and duties. That person could make sure her kids get to Church, Sunday School, and even the activites that many churches have for children on Wedesday nights such as mission organizations. She could spend time in private devotion to God by arising before the household does, if possible, and having a quiet time of Bible reading and intercessory pray (praying for others).

Susanna Wesely had twelve or so children and among other things,  resolved to spend one hour a week individually with each of them to teach them about Jesus. Two of the children are remembered in history, John and Charles became Christian leaders and today many churches and entire denominations exist as a result of their work and passion including the Methodists, Nazarenes and the Holiness movement. Wow, all that because one wife, mother and home maker felt the call to answer Matthew 4:19 and to become a fisher of men!

So, here is what I am proposing. Let's quit having pity parties and making excuses because we lack certain gifts, abilities, opportunites or open doors that others seem to possess. Let's quit comparing to ourselves and to others altogether. Let's just get busy being all we can be or do for the Lord in our present situations of life. If and when God opens up a door for service, go through it, but serve where you are.
There was a movement years ago in Christian circles called 'bloom where your are planted.' I hated that concept (something I should not have done). I might have been better off if I had paid more heed to that.

The Apostle Paul did some of his best work while locked up in prisons (much of our New Testament was penned in jails).  We would not have the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, had not the Apostle John been exiled and banished to a desert isle. The kitchen duties or the floor sweeping or the part time job God has you in might be where you will do your most important work for the Lord.

I just want to be a fisher of men. I want to pray for the lost to be saved. I want to give a portion out my meager (to me) income to the cause and work of Christ at my local church and in other places as that dollar I love to put into the bell ringer's bucket outside of the grocery store during this Christmas season. I want to give out Daily Light at preacherlarry.com (the work God has called me to do as this point in my life).

I want to be an encouragement to my dear wife as she leaves home to work in an office and, I retired, stay home and take care of things here. I want to love on my relatives who need me to be there for them.

I want to pray for opportunites to love on and show my immdediate neighbors Jesus and his grace.

I want to pray for my pastor, worship leader and other ministry, teaching and service leaders at my local church that that they might have the touch, passion, power and vision to do what God has called them to do.

I want to hand out preacherlarry.com cards and my little red Bibles to grocery store clerks, people I meet at the gas station, servers at restaurants, and so forth.

And I want to do some intentional evangelism and preaching work as God opens up the doors. I just want to be on fire for God and to be a fisher of men.

How about you? What is God doing in your life? Stir of the gift that is in you. Time is short. Get doing what Jesus said. Be a fisher of men. Lord, help us to be fishers of men. Excuse me while I go wash some dishes!

Lord, help us to be fishers of men.

 

Sunday, 12/07/2014   'He that hath the Son of God hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.'  I John 5:12

When I was twenty one years old and a serviceman in Germany, I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.

The fellow who led me to the Lord was part of a Christian ministry that was dedicated to ministering to those in the armed forces. He asked me to stay in Germany for a year (the Army would fly me home free after one year) in order that he might teach and disciple me in the elemental aspects of the faith. I said no way,

I am going home.

Upon arriving home, my older brother met me at the door (he had also been in the military)  and we partied down for 6 months. You may ask, how did you do that after receiving Christ as your Savior? The answer is I was a Christian but not a disciple. It is true that while one can sin after becoming a Christian, it is also true God, the Father will discipline and correct that wayward child. No discipline from the Heavenly Father means one is not his child in the first place.

I was miserable doing those things that were not indicative of a Christian.

One night at a night club about 7 miles away from my parent's home where I was staying, it was if I could see Jesus in that nightclub looking at me with hurt and sorrowful eyes. I had great conviction of sin which is indicative of being a Christian. I got up and without telling my brother, walked that 7 miles home.

Upon arriving home, my parents were in the den (what we call the family room or great room now) watching the late show on TV. I sat down at the kitchen table and put a pint bottle of whiskey to my left side in front of me on the table and a Bible to my right side in in front of me on the table.

When my parents came up from watching their program, they were very surprised to see this. Dad and Mom asked me what in the world was going on?  I told them of my decision to follow Jesus I had made six months prior in Germany.  I explained how I had accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior in Germany before getting out of the Army and that I had not been living or doing right since then. I told them I was going to make a decision that night about how I was going to live.

I was raised in a nominal Christian family. By nominal, I mean the only prayer we had in our home was grace before the supper meal and although we were faithful in Sunday worship at church when I was a child, by the time I had became a teenager, we might go to church as a family perhaps every four to six weeks as I remember it. I would liken my family unit to the Ozzie and Harriet show on TV, the Donna Reed show, or even Leave it to Beaver. We were good but not distinctly Christian and so althougth others could see our balanced and caring family unit, what they did not really see or hear about from was us was Jesus.

So my parents thought I was a little off balance that night with the bottle on one side and the Bible on the other. But you know what? I made a decision that night to wholeheartedly follow Jesus and to stop the party scene (and the whiskey).

Less than a week later, I got reacquainted with my future wife. I had know her when she was fifteen years old but had no romantic involvement with her then. When she had turned 17, a leader of a Christian student organization had sought her out in the school cafeteria (yes, back in those days, it was allowed to speak of Jesus at a public school) and invited her to the club meetings the organization had during the evenings at a home across the road from that school. And at a student conference in the mountains nine months before she and I got reacquainted she got saved and born again and started a journey of discipleship and following Jesus.

She was totally upfront with me about her new life in Christ and her love for the word of God, the Holy Bible.

We fell head over heals in love with one another and five months later, forty three years ago this December, we were married.

Little did I know that the one who 'hath the Son of God' is one whom Jesus promises to 'never leave or forsake' (Hebrews 13:5) ,and that he promises that 'he (Jesus) that began a good work in me would complete in until the day of  Jesus Christ.' (Philippians 1:6)

It is wonderful to see God how God worked it all out:

1.) decision to follow Jesus in Germany (February, 1971)

2.) decision to stop the party scene and wholeheartedly follow Jesus (August, 1971)

3.) the start of a romatic relationship with my future wife (August, 1971)

4.) the marriage to my wonderful and beautiful wife (December, 1971)

6.) touching others for Jesus with preacherlarry.com (December, 2014)

Yes, 'he that hath the Son of God hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.'  What a Savior!

 

Saturday, 12/06/2914 'In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.'   Ephesians 1:7

Many people have already done a bunch of shopping for Christmas while others will begin to shop today or those who procratinate may wait even until Christmas eve.

When I was a little boy, my brothers and I would search the house for where Dad and Mom might hid the presents they purchased and which we would receive for Christmas.

I remember one year we found the gifts up in the attic under a blanket. With glee, we sorted through them wondering who would get which ones.

We really did not think what Dad and Mom went through to get those gifts. They worked hard and personally went without sometimes so that we might enjoy a few presents on Christmas morning.

When one first receives Christ as one's personal Savior, oftentimes, they have no real idea the pain, agony and the death Jesus went through to provide and make that salvation possible.

It cost Jesus his very blood. In fact the Bible says 'without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.' (Hebrews 9:22)

I have heard some people criticize Christianity because of Jesus' blood and say that is the very reason they will have nothing to do with Christianity. It is just one of many excuses people use for not coming to Jesus for salvation. The real reason people don't  come to Jesus is that they love darkness and that darkness causes them to be blinded by their sins. And only the blood of Jesus can justify them and save them from wrath (Romans 5:9)

It is because of he blood of Jesus that I have boldness to go into heaven's throne room and find grace, strength and provision to meet my needs.  It is because of the blood of Jesus that I can draw near to Jesus and feel his touch and love. It is because of the blood of Jesus that my sins are washed away. And it is because of he blood of Jesus that my consicence has been purged from worthless living in order that I might serve a living God and Savior!

Like the the old hymns say: what can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus and there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath that blood lose all their guilty stains and he sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood. The shed blood of Jesus is the basis of all that God might do in my life including my redemption, my salvation and even the power that enables me to know, enjoy and serve Jesus today.

Why, then, do we often times not hear much about the blood today today since the blood is of ultimate priorty in God's eyes?  For about twenty years, it seems that the message and music that Christians choose to communicate Jesus to the world is a bloodless one. Why?  And even when a person is drawn into some Christian circles, they really never hear about the significance of the blood of Jesus! I tell you, a bloodless religion is a religion that can not save from sin, that can not cleanse from sin,that can not purge from sin and that can not empower from sin. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.

The cost for my redemption is 'the precious blood of Christ' (I Peter 1:19)  Once, when I was about five years old, I remember being outside and walking around the corner of our house. Upon looking up, a cat leaped from the roof unto my head and dug it's cat claws on and into my little head. I screamed like a little banshee Indian. Mom brought me inside and as every one was gathered around a white porceline sink, Mother put my head underneath the faucet to wash my head. I can still, to this day, visualize my, yes, even my red blood from that ole cat clawing my head swrilling around on that white sink going down the drain. I shall never forget that visual image!

 But have we forgotten about the basis of our sins being washed away, of the power we receive to live victorious over the world, the flesh and the devil, and the basis of  our eternal salvation from death and hell, the precious blood of Jesus!  I hope I never forget because the blood of Jesus and nothing but the blood of Jesus has given me, a born again Christian freedom from sin and is that blood of Jesus that motivates me to turn from my sin and cry out to God for his peace, power and protection.

Thank you, Jesus for taking my place on the cross and shedding your blood to save me for without your blood I could never be forgiven, or come to know you, or to have the power to serve you, the power to overcome the sins that would destroy me both now and forever or to one day spend eternity with you in heaven forever. Thank you, Jesus for your shed blood!

 

 

Friday, 12/05/2014  'But those things which procced out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.'  Matthew 15:18

I have a mouth problem. I study the Bible. I pray. Yet I still have a problem with saying sharp and impetuous words. God help me.

I asked my Grandmother many years ago what was her favorite verse in the Bible? Without hestitation she told me: 'Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart , be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer'

 (Psalm 19:21).  Yep, I do believe Granny had a mouth problem too. I mean, why else would that be her favorite verse? Now, I never heard Granny cuss or say anything suspect but she loved to talk about herself and always seemed to know everything. I will say one thing about Granny, she could not stand it when someone took the Lord's name in vain.

Granny used a literal real bar of soap to wash out a child's mouth when and if that child used profanity or said something real mean. Granny wanted holy words to come out of her mouth and Granny knew in order for that to happen, she needed the right meditations way down deep inside.

Words can be a sharp and bitter thing. Words can wound a person, ruin reputations of both the speaker and the receiver, can start wars and can end relationships.

I want to thank God for him always being willing to forgive me and restore me when my tongue gets going, but how I wish that I might never say another prideful, hurtful or impetuous word or sentence!

One thing I know is that the longer I know him (Jesus), the sweeter he grows (to me). Change can take time even though I do love Jesus and how easily it is to slip back into patterns of speech and or behavior that one thinks they have conquered.

Peter had a mouth problem. The great Apostle denied our Lord three times before the rooster crowed just as Jesus told him he would. Peter wept bitterly over his mouth problem. How in the world did he, the great Apostle say such mean and hurtful things about his Savior, Jesus?  Because Peter had a heart problem too.

When one comes to Christ for the initial new birth experience, what we call getting saved, one gets a new heart. But guess what, now that new Christian has two hearts. I heard a story about an Indian who said he had two dogs in him fighting all the time. When someone asked that Indian which dog would win the fight, he said the one he fed the most.

We must feed prayerfully on what we talked about in another Daily Light, the manna, milk and meat of the word of God in order to walk the way Jesus wants us to walk and in order to talk the way Jesus wants us to talk.

The old heart previous to the new birth and getting saved experience still exists in the new Christian even though he/she has been born again and received a new spritual heart from the Lord. You see, previously to getting born again and saved, that person only had one heart. Yes that old heart was good at pretending and acting but way down deep inside was all the bad stuff because that old heart a person is born physically with, as a baby, is a sinful heart.

That is why Psalm 51:5 says 'Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me' and why Psalm 58:3 says 'The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.' A child does not have to be taught to be selfish or to say unkind things, do they? It just comes natural.

So how do I conquer my sometimes biting, sharp, sometimes hurtful and impeteous tongue.?  By Jesus! 

I must yield my members, my eyes, my hands, my feet, and yes my tongue to Jesus. To yield continiously, I must have deep spiritual resources to fuel the new heart that Jesus gave me when I got born again and saved.

That is what Daily Light is all about. The Christian needs the word of God put prayerfully way down deep inside that causes one to turn from that ole heart and cry out to the Lord who infuses Holy Spirit power to operate his new heart. 'Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee' (Psalm 119:11) is an elemental scripture as Grandma's favorite scripture was for her that the words of her mouth and the meditation of her heart might be acceptable in her redeemer's (Jesus) evaluation.

Heavenly Father, I really, really desire the power necessary to overcome my tongue. I do not want to say mean or hurtful things. I do not want to applaud me all the time to others and speak of my accomplishments and the things I am or do. I do not want to lash out with sharp and hurtful words to the ones I love. I want to use my tongue to praise you and to love on others in Jesus' name.  O God, I desire to speak softly, lovingly and with your wisdom and understanding. Yes, Father, I know sometimes when you lead me to speak the truth in love that will seem to some as a sharp tongue but even in that situation, O Heavely Father, I wish to have my tongue under your control, power, love and grace. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

Thursday, 12/04/2014

'He is altogether lovely.' Song of Solomon 5:16

Jesus is a wonderful Savior!  I just want to praise and thank him today. Jesus is my best friend. Why, then, do I sometimes neglect him?

Hebrews 2:3 asks 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?'

The Christmas holiday season is upon us. I love the lights, the wreaths, the Christmas trees, the songs about a white Christmas, have a jolly holly Christmas, Santa Claus is coming to town and the holy songs such as silent night, away in a manger and we three kings.

But my heart aches and is broken for the multitudes who in their hustle and bustle do not really know the true message of Christmas. You see, it's all about Jesus!

God came to this earth as a little babe in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes and people saw Christ the King. His name was called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins. Jesus was born to die. We will all die one day including we who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior unless we are alive at his coming again. Then,  He will catch us up in the air and we will be changed in an instant. Our corruptible body will be changed. We will be clothed in fine linen, white, bright and clean. We will have no more death, no more aches, no more financial issues, no more family misunderstandings, no more toil, no more tears, no more sickness. I just want to praise Jesus today, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Yes, Jesus is altogether lovely!

Jesus is the lamb of God without spot or blemish that was offered up as a sacrifice for our sins.  All we have to do for his sacrifice to be effective for us is to receive the risen (yes, Jesus died but raised from the dead the third day) Lord into our heart by turning from our sin and neglect of him and embrace him as the King, Lord and CEO of our life. No one else can save us. No teacher, no philosopher, no prophet, no wise man, no guru, no swami, no leader. no one can save us but Jesus!

I wonder, do you know him today? 

Do you really know him? To know him is to love him. We love him because he first loved us. If you do not love Jesus supremely more than any person, place, position or possession, then you do not know him!

Christmas is about Jesus. Yes, I love the songs, the lights, the presents, the celebrations, the musicals, the holly and all the rest, but I do not and can not love those things more than Jesus!

Only Jesus is God who left his home in glory to bring to us salvation story. Only Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, tempted in all points just as we, yet without sin. Only Jesus healed the lame, gave sight to those born blind, raised the dead and Only Jesus said 'it is finished' as he died on the cross and fullfilled the law, the teachings and the types of the Old Testament.

Only Jesus, yes, had the flesh on his back ripped out by leather straps with sharp stones on the end of those straps,  had a crown of thorns pressed into his forehead, was beaten and flogged and then nailed to the old rugged cross to die an undeserved death and shed his blood for the sins of humanity. Jesus, on that cross, prayed for those who nailed him on that cross praying 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do.' Only Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb, had the giant stone sealing the tomb supernaturally rolled away, and rose up alive from death on the third day victorious over death, the grave, sin and hell. Yes, that's my Jesus.

He is altogether lovely. He is the Prince of peace, the lily of the valley, the rose of sharon, the bright and morning star, the fairest of them all, the lamb of God, the son of man, the son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the creator of the universe, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Messiah and the coming Ruler of this earth.

Yes, he is altogether lovely!  That is my Jesus! I am not ashamed to own him publically. I want to prase him and thank him. Christmas is about Jesus.  Thank you, Lord Jesus for coming down to earth to save us. Thank you and Praise you!

 

 

Wednesday, 12/03/2014

'This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.   Joshua 1:8

Starting college at age 24, I did not lay the right kind of foundation to assimilate and retain text book knowledge for college studies during my high school years. So I had difficulty in retaining the knowledge necessary for test taking at the University. One friend told me to use a military model he was taught in the Navy, the srq2  method, that is survey, recite,  question and then do it again. That was a good suggestion but another friend gave me better advice.  That friend suggested I use the Joshua 1:8 method. When I memorized scripture, meditated on it during the day and night and then obeyed it, my ability to study material, retain knowlege and remember it on exams greatly incrased.

A very large company with nearly 100,000 employees produces over 55,000 different products to include adhesives, tapes, car care products and a little product nearly all of us have used at one time or another: post it notes. The company in named 3M.

There are 3M's when it comes to injesting the Holy Scipture into our lives: Manna, Milk and Meat.

The children of Israel received manna from heaven to eat during their time in the wilderness. This manna, referred to as bread, was seedy, sweet and would in it's  natural state only last for one day (except the day before the Sabbath day God would give twice the manna as on a normal day and they would bake or boil manna to eat on the Sabbath day of worhip and rest because they were not allowed to gather manna on the Sabbath day.) The thought here is that the manna we get today will not suffice for tomorrow.

God used manna to teach the children of Israel that 'man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' (Deut. 8:3)  Jesus quoted this scripture in order to defeat the devil during his wilderness temptation.

The memorization, meditation and application of scripture caused me to excel in college and it will cause you to excel in life, as well.

The second M is milk. We are told in I Peter 2:2 'as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.' My wife gave birth to our four children. I remember one of them, as a baby, drinking milk 11 times a day. That seemed like alot of milk! The Christian needs the milk (a whole lot of it) of scripture to grow spiritually just as a new born baby needs milk to grow physically. Some good scriptural milk for the newly converted Christian to begin reading is the Gospel of John, Proverbs, Psalms, and the Epistle of Philippians and Ephesians.

The third M is meat. When a baby grows and matures into a small child, it is time to expand the diet to veggies, fruits and solid food. If a child continued to only exist on milk, it would very difficult for that child to properly grow and mature.

Paul told the Corinthians 'I have fed you milk and not with meat, for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither are you now able.'  Hebrews 5 12-14 tells us that the Christian that only partakes of the milk of the word is unskilled in the word of righteousness because he is a babe but the meat of the word belongs to those 'who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses excercised to discern both good and evil.'

The meat of the Bible can be topical studies like spritual warfare, identifying wisdom and understanding, controlling one's tongue and how to suffer joyfully and peacefully in the will of God while building character and comforting others because you know how to use suffering as a device that God uses to work good for you.  Bible book studies of Old or New Testament books from noted evangelical writers such as Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries are also wonderful opportunities to find and gain insight and spirtual nourishment from the meat of the word of God.

Do you memorize, meditate and internalize the written word of God with the Spirit of God guiding you into all truth?  When you do, you will get the divine nature of Jesus imparted into you because Jesus is the living bread of life. And Jesus said if we abide in him and his words abides in us, we can ask what we will, and it will be done for us (John 15:7). That means we will be able to know the will of God and to receive insight and power to do it thus being succesful, peaceful and powerful in our day to day life.

All area's of your life including your personal life, your family life, your business life, your recreational life and your financial life will go better and be successful when you live by the 3M and Joshua 1:8 method. God promises it. I have experienced it. You can, too!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 12/02/2014   'And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.'  II Samuel 24:14

Once I observed two men trying to move a washing machine by hand up a narrow flight of stairs and down a hallway  with a sharp angle leading to the room where this washing machine was being moved. One of the men was named Greg and the other was named Rodney. Greg was a farmer with a big, big family farm and Rodney was a local jack of all trades and handyman who Greg enlisted to help. Turning that sharp angle, Rodney's hand was pressed between the washing machine and a hardwood door casing which caused Rodney some pain and discomfort.  Rodney shouted out: 'We're in a pickle now, this ain't working!'

Sometime's our life gets in a pickle and at other times our life can be like a rotten potato or rotten egg--seemingly worthless.

At times we cause the problem and at other times it just happens to us for what seems like no reasonable reason. (God knows)

I want to say right now, however, that nothing catches God by surprise. God has a pupose and a will and His purpose and will will come to fruition with or without us. I mean God is all poweful, all present and all knowing. God is God and we are not!

In our text, David had messed up. David lost his beloved son Absalom as David's military General Joab, while Absalom was dangling in a tree from his hair, rather than help Absalom down, put three darts into Absalom's chest , had him put to death and threw Abslom's body into a ditch and covered it with stones. Merciless!

You see, David had a tangled web from his sin of adultery and murder. David's life was in a pickle and was rotten like an egg. And then, David was so preoccupied with the strength and number of his troops that he counted them rather than depend upon the power and might of Almighty God. (It is ok to know what your bank account is or the state of your crops, just don't put that concern above your trust and dependence on God.)

David was told by a man of God that he could have three choices of consequences of his sin: 1.) 7 years of famine, 2.) 3 months of running from his enemies or 3.) 3 days of pestilence in the land. David chose the three days explaining from his point of view that it would better to fall into the merciful hand of God rather than to fall into the hand of man. David knew something the Syrians did not know, that is, God is not only the one and only God of the hill, but God also is the one and only God of the valley.

70,000 people died from the 3 days of pestilence but God decided not to destroy Jerusalem and told the angel 'it is enough.' (II Samuel 24:16)

Yesterday, we talked about confessing sin to God and receiving total forgiveness from God for any sin we might commit. Forgiveness does not always negate consequences, however. When God says 'it is enough,' the consequences have run their course. Some consequences might last a lifetime, though, even though God can use an individual in those consequences when that individual trusts soley in the Lord.

I might break the speed limit and get a ticket. God will forgive me for breaking the law if I ask him but I still normally have to pay the ticket.

I have seen some messed up stuff in my life. I have seen lives wrecked by booze, sex, drugs and family break ups. God always forgives but sometimes the consequences have to run their course. It can take a while to sort things out after a giant mess up. Sometimes a year, two years or even longer. Good news: God is the God of the valley and God is the God of the mountain. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. So if you feel messed up, Jesus is for you (and me)!

After I came to the Lord and surrendered my life to him at age 21, I had about 5 years of stuff that had to be worked through, rooted out, healed and delivered from over the next several years. My mind and emotions had to be reworked. The Word of God, the Holy Bible, praise and prayer and the fellowship and service with other Christians was key for me then and is also now. I still had joy even in that valley during that time. God is good all the time!

You may feel your situation is beyond help or repair. I want you to know it is not!  For nothing shall be impossible with God. Just give it all to God and follow his leadership of restoration and healing.  Go with God and He will go with you! God bless you as you surrender all that you are or ever hope to be to Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

 

 

Monday, 12/01/2014   'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'   I John 1:9

Around 1976, Dr. Lehman Strauss, a Bible Teacher and Preacher, came for a series of messages in the church of which I was a member. The power of God was upon him and the services!  Dr. Strauss really broke the scripture down so I could understand and apply it's teaching to my daily life.

During the Sunday morning sevice, Dr. Strauss came to the pulpit after the special music to deliver his message.  After he introduced himself and a short prayer, he gave about a three minute presentation of how to get saved and a public inivtation. I had never seen that done before exactly like that. Usually a preacher would preach for 30 or 40 minutes and then give a public invitation for people to come forward and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, to rededicate their life to Christ, or as a previously born again Christian to join that particular church.

The church was totally packed from pew to pew and shoulder to shoulder.

More than several people came forward in that invitation including my Father-in-law who came to that service on the invitation of my wife (his daughter) and your's truly.

He got saved that day.  He was probably around 50 or so years old at that time. That was really something and we all rejoiced (got really happy) about his decision to repent of his sins and accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior!

I remember Dr. Strauss continuing the service after what I considered an unusual invitation and then preaching I John 1:9

First John is a great book in the New Testament. It is only 5 chapters long and can be read in about 30 or so minutes or shorter depending on how fast one reads.

First John is about fellowship with God and other Christians, loving God and loving other Christians and the Christian dealing with sin and walking in victory, love and righteousness.

If you really want to dig into First John, Dr. Lehman Strauss wrote a book on 'The Epistles of John' which is still being published and can be purchased on line or ordered by your local Christian bookstore. I recommend it to you.

First John teaches that a Christian's new nature,  after becoming a child of God, is to on a continual basis deal with the ongoing sinful tendencies in one's life and thus live a life pleasing to God which is full of love and right living. (Consequently if one claims he or she is a Christian and exhibits or has no desire to deal with sin and to live a life pleasing to the Lord, that is an indication that he or she never got saved or became a Christian in the first place---they just had an intellectual or an emotional experience but did not really get saved and so that still unsaved person did not have  the Holy Spirit impart to he or she a new nature and new desires to know and serve Jesus which is seen in their lack of conviction of sin and their lack of committment to deal with sin).

Sometimes, however, a Christian will give into temptation and sin because no Christian on earth ever reaches a state of sinless perfection.  When that happens, there is I John I:9. (so we can confess our sins to Father God and not to father man)

If we (the Apostle John included himself in the 'we') confess (say the same thing God says about our sin, that is our sins are the breaking of his law, are unrighteousness and are contrary to our new nature) our sins (most likely more than one sin), he (God) is faithful and just (never failing and always doing right) to forgive (send the guilt of our sins away as far as the east is from the west) us (John, you and every other Christian) our sins and to cleanse (wash us whiter than snow, restore us to fellowship with him thus producing fellowship, joy, power and faith) us from all (every thing that keeps us from God's power and fellowship) unrighteousness (any temporary sin we commit; that is, there is nothing God will not or cannot forgive in the Christian's life).  Wow! That is good, Real Good!

There is much more, so much more I could say about First John but what we have talked about here is crucial to your Christian life and also for you who will come to Christ for initial salvation today, it is crucial for your Christian life as well. God bless.

 

 

Sunday, 11/30/2014   'Even so will it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.'   Luke 17:30

In my early twenties, I really began following Jesus in earnest. We used to talk about being on fire for God and I think I was. I always a had small Bible and a pocketful of gospel tracts with me. The Bible and the tracts were as to me as a walkie talkie and flashlight were to a policeman back in the day.

A big teaching going in during those days was the second coming of Jesus. We talked about the rapture, the tribulation, the millenial kingdom, armageddon, the great white throne judgment and a new heavens and a new earth. We compared the Old and New Tesatment teachings on the second coming in Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. Theme songs we sang had lyrics like 'there's no time to change to your mine, the son has come and you've been left behind', 'Jesus is coming son, may be morning, night or noon' and 'Signs of the times are everywhere.' In our youthful zeal, we really were expecting Jesus to return at any time.

Today, it seems we are at the opposite extreme. People want to talk about time management, conflict resolution and how to get along with other people. That is all well and good but where is the teaching on the second coming?  One thing we know is that the return of Jesus is closer now than it ever has been.

To me, the one of the biggest signs of the return of Jesus is that Israel returned and possessed it's land just as the prophets predicted (this happened in 1948).

A Christian band had a song in the 1980's called 666. It was the first Christian video to have be shown on MTV. MTV said it was too violent so it had to be edited. If you like, you may still view this video over the internet. I have not heard in contemporary Christian music, today,  a song about the second coming of Jesus. Maybe there is one and I have not heard it, however. I don't know. (I am told that a current Christian Band sings a song entitled 'Glorious Day' that is about the return of Jesus.)

It just seems that when I was a young Christian, we all were excited about the soon coming of Jesus and were looking for His soon return.

Jesus said in the verses surrounding our text for today that his coming would be as the days of Noah and as the days of Sodom. That rings a bell for me. In Noah's day, there was great wickedness, great accomplishments, great corruption and great violence (sound familiar?) In Sodom's day, there was great prospertity, great compromise and great immorality (sound familiar again?)

Yes, Jesus is coming again. So what should we do in he mean time? I have four 'W's' for you: Watch, Wait, Worship and Work.

I want to keep looking for him to return. I want his soon return on my mind and heart every day! I want to wait patiently for his return remembering that no one can set a certain date! I want to continue to have daily worship, personal praise, an attitude of gratitude and to worship together with other Christians weekly! And I want to work for Jesus daily by pointing others to him by my words and by deeds so they can get ready for his soon return as well.

Jesus is coming again. Are you ready? I said, Jesus is coming again. Have you made your peace with God? Accept Jesus today as your Lord and Savior and then get on fire for his purpose and plan because Jesus is coming again!

 

 

Saturday, 11/29/2014   Revelation 3:5   'He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father,  and before his angels.'

In 1959, my Father, Mother, my three brothers and I moved from Michigan to the south. We rented a home for about a year before my parents bought a home which I would grow up in from age ten to age eighteen.

The rental home we lived in had unstained wooden window sills inside of the windows. One day, I found a kitchen knife and carved my entire name into the window sill of the bedroom I shared with my little brother. I looked at the beautiful carving of my name and gave total approval of my work. I smiled glowingly.

The next day, my Father said he wanted to have a word with me. Dad took me into the bedroom and pointing at the window sill with my mark on it said 'What is this'? I could tell that he was not too happy with me. He continued to speak of my name carved into the window sill of the home we were renting and the more he talked, the more he angered.

Back in those days, there was no time out discipline. It was whup, whup time. My maternal Grandfather among other things had been a barber and his old leather strap hung in our kitchen as a reminder to my brothers and I not to mess up because we would have to face the consequences of our actions and feel that razor strap on our hind end. Mom's whippings were nothing compared to Dad's. Dad swung a mean razor strap.

Forty years later at a wedding, I met a man who asked me why my name was carved into a bedroom window sill of a home he had purchased twenty years earlier. I was so proud that my name was still there. The perfect carving of a nine year old boy of his name into a natural wood grain window sill. Magnificent!

Yesterday we talked about about what it means to overcome by faith. We said the victorious overcoming of faith in Christ was a past action in the Christian's life which continued as a habitual action resulting in a real and vital overcoming of the world.

That is what happens when you get saved. Through overcoming faith (for by grace are you saved by faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast--Ephesians 2:8-9) your name is written in the Lamb's book of life for all eternity never to be blotted out again.

Perhaps by now, someone has replaced that old window sill where a nine year old boy who hungered for stability and even recognition carved his name because he thought it was the nomal and right thing to do. Maybe so. No one, however, is or can ever going to replace that book of life where Jesus writes the name of the born again Christian who by faith has overcome sin, death and hell. No one can. Jesus said he would never leave or forsake the child of God and no one would ever pluck him out of his hand. Now that is real security, stability and recognition. Jesus knows my name and I know his. You may not know my name but you must know Jesus to be saved. I invite you to give your life to Jesus today and have your name written in the book of life never to be blotted out. You will find in Jesus the security, stability and recognition you hunger and thirst for that you can never find through anyone or anything else. Only Jesus can truly satisfy your soul. And only Jesus can write your name in the book of life for all eternity never to be blotted out. When you give your life to Jesus, I may not meet you on this earth but I will meet you in heaven. I am looking forward to that day.

 

 

Friday, 11/28/2014  I John 5:4-5  'For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that ovecomes the world, even, our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Tomorrow in the south, many will watch college football state rivalries such as the egg bowl and iron bowl. May the best and most deserving teams win.

The Christian life is often defined as a fight, a battle and a race. The Apostle Paul said there was laid up for him a victor's crown of glory that he would receive in heaven because he, in his Christian life,  fought as a boxer,  ran as an athlete and kept the books as an accountant.

There are songs and hymns the Christian sings that allude to victory: Victory in Jesus, It is finished, Victory is mine, Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching to Zion and others. A contemporary Christian band used to sing 'Destined to Win.' Two of the singers of that song have now passed on to heaven where they will receive their crown of glory (Jessie and Dana).

The winner of races in ancient Greece received a laurel crown as a symbol of winning and victory. Today, individuals receive trophies, ribbons and medals for winning. Yes, we teach that is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game that counts, yet in our hearts is present the idea of winning and coming in first. Yet when we do not come in first, we do want to know down deep that we gave it everything we got. A favorite movie of mine was Rocky. Rocky Balboa just wanted to to the distance, to finish and to be standing at the end of the fight with Apollo Creed. Although Rocky did not actually win the fight, Rocky won in his heart because he did not quit, he ran the course, he finished the fight.

The Christian is in a competition today. We compete against the world, the flesh and the devil (Ephesians 2:3-4). With Jesus, we fight, we race and we compete knowing we will win. Why? Because on the cross, Jesus defeated our opposition when he declared 'it is finished.'  All that needed to be done has been done to ensure the victory.

We overcome by faith. The tense of overcome in I John 5:4 implies an act that has already happened and is habitually happening. Wow! Even though we are presently running the race of faith, we already know the outcome: through Jesus, we win!

Someone once asked Billy Graham why he was so optimistic. He answered because he had read the last page of the Bible. You see, through Christ, we have the victory.

So we play the game, run the race, fight the battle knowing that we are winning and will win in the end. That sounds good to me because I like winning!  A cartoon character once said 'release the secret weapon.'  Our secret weapon is faith; it is through our belief in Jesus that we win and ultimately win. We have been given the victory through Jesus! So with patience, we run the race of life that is set before us; we practice, we keep ourselves in shape spiritually because it is in our heart to win, to overcome and to finish.

I am in the game. Are you? You can be if you know Jesus who enables us to be in the game (makes us born again), who puts it into our heart to participate in the game and who ultimates makes us an overcoming victor!

I invite you to join Team Jesus today if you have yet to do so (you can join Team Jesus by turning from running your own life and giving Jesus his rightful place in your life by surrending your life by faith to Christ) and I encourage you who are already on Team Jesus to hold your head up and stay in the game because we are on the winning team!

 

 

Thursday, 11/27/2014  II Thessalonians 4: 16-18  'Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'

I was reminded of the story of Squanto earlier this week by my son. Squanto was a native Indian in America when he was abducted as a teenager and taken to England in 1605 to be taught English with the plan to utilize Squanto as a guide and interpreter in America later.

Upon returning to America, Squanto was kidnapped, chained in a bottom of a ship and taken to Magala, Spain where he was sold into slavery being purchased by a monk. The monk allowed Squanto to return to England where Squanto learned shipbuilding. Upon returning to America, Squanto, sorrowfully, found that his native tribe had been infected by a disease and wipped out.

Circumstances led Squanto to help the pilgrims at Plymouth after they barely survived a harsh winter. The pilgrims were kind to Squanto and Squanto was a present from God to them in that he interpreted for them, was a guide for them and more importantly taught them how to plant, fertilize and harvest corn. William Bradford decreed Squanto to have been a 'special instrument sent by God for their good' and decided they would have a three day celebration which is recognized as the beginning of our Thanksgiving holiday.

In 1623, Squanto contacted a serious fever and with William Bradford at his dying bedside, Squanto told Bradford that he wanted to go to the Englishmen's heaven and died.

Perhaps you or some of your family or friends have had a rough go of it this past year or even for several years similar to what Squanto went through which included his slavery and the demise of his tribe by a plague.

Don't you love the phrase, however, that 'there is a light at the end of the tunnel.'  As a Christian, I know from the scripture and by experience that God works all things according to my good. Even the bad stuff like sickness, financial setbacks, family disruptions, betrayals, false accusations, job losses, and a multitude of other problems and plagues that are used by God for good in the Christian's life.

And so, I am thankful today. I rejoice today. I pray to give thanks today.

I even look forward to seeing Squanto and William Bradford in heaven one day. I want to hear from their own lips that story of how God used Squanto to help those pilgrims surive in America. I think I shall eat some corn casserole in honor of them today.
PreacherLarry wishes you and your family and friends the Happiest Thanksgiving ever today! God bless you.

 

Wednesday, 11/26/2014  James 1: 21-22  'Wherefore lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekeness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.'

Some years ago, I was in Guatemala helping a friend dedicate a Christian School that with which he was involved. One night at dinner, we were talking about the Book of James and I quoted James 1:21 and a lady told me I was mistaken because the English word superfluity is not in the Bible.

I very gently told her she was mistaken because the word Superfluity is in the King James Bible in James 1:21. We opened the Bible and there it was, plain as day.

Now, there is a reason I knew that. You see as a young Christian in my 20's, I just could not get enough of the word of God, the Holy Bible in me. I would get 3 x 5 cards and in mass would write the chapter and verse on one side of of the card and the Bible verse on the other side. I did this by the 100's of verses. The only friend I knew that did more than that memorized the text of First John both in English and in Greek. I waved a white flag to that.

Now just memorizing scripture will not make you any better than anyone else or necessarily more like Jesus, either.

What has to happen is first of all, you have to be saved, that is, born again through Jesus. A pastor friend of mine explained that what it takes to be saved is 1.) repentance of sin, 2.) belief in Jesus and 3.) receiving Jesus. When one does that and then humble's oneself before the mighty hand of God that he (God) may exalt you in due time, then and only then are you ready to really get the word of God into you.

The word must be engrafted in you for it to really effect you and change your life. Engrafted is an agriculture word that means implanted or to be sown into. It also carries the connotation of taking two plants side by side and spliting them and joined them together so that they will actually grow together into one plant. I feel like shouting right about now. This means that when you lay aside the bad stuff and the superfluity (the overflow) of the really bad stuff and then receive with meekness (a humble and willing spirit) the engrafted word of God, that word of God which is the only thing powerful enough to bring salvation to our soul, you then become a doer of the word of God and you are not deceiving yourself.

An old man was in the rural grocery store and used some profanity in front of some other men. One of the men said to him, I thought you was a deacon in the church. He said listen, my religion is just like these overalls I got on. You see, I take them off on Sunday and change into my suit to go to church, then when I get home I take off my Sunday suit and put back on my overalls for the rest of week. That kind of getting salvation has never saved anyone. I am not saying when you get saved, you become perfect and never sin any more, but what I am saying when you get saved, you get a new love for Jesus, the Bible, other believers, doing right, walking with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and yes when you do slip, you confess (agree with what God says about your sin in the Bible) your sin and immediately get back on track and walk with Jesus. That is exactly what happens when you really get saved.

Do you have that kind of salvation or do you have the kind the old man talked about? Have you turned from sin and received the engrafted word of God which is able to save your soul (remember when you see word in the Bible, it is speaking of the living Word, the Lord Jesus and the written Word, the Holy Bible) and then turn you into a real second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day doer of the word? I have and I hope you have as well.

It goes like this: the word is heard and read, the word goes to the humble soul, the word goes to the brain, the word goes to the eyes, the mouth, the hands and the feet and guess what? You are walking in the word and doing the word. That's what I'm talking about! Let's do it! You up for this? I am! Like I said, I am on shouting ground now. I am pumped up and ready to get out of my box and serve Jesus in my home, my neighborhood and everywhere else. 'Cause the word is implanted in me, now.

 

 

Tuesday, 11/25/2014  It's all about Jesus! It's easy to get sidetracked and to sway from the main and primary thing which is: J E S U S.

I remember at youth church camps, we used to have Jesus cheers: give me a J, give me an E, give me a S, give me a U, give me another S---what's that spell? JESUS, what's that spell? JESUS, I can't hear you, what's that spell??!! JESUS !!!!!  Now, a Jesus cheer may seem a little over the top to some, but at least no one could exclaim we were not passionate and excited about Jesus!

Here are a few Bible verses (scripture) about Jesus---'There is no other name given among men where by we must be saved'---'You shall call his name Jesus, for He shall save his people from their sins'---'He is altogether lovely'---He's the lily of he valley, the bright and morning star and the rose of Sharon',---'He is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father except by him'---He is the 'only begotten Son' (unique, one of a kind of the Father), 'the Alpha and Omega'---'He created all things' , 'He holds all things together', 'He was made to be sin for us that we might become the righeousness of God in Him', 'He was dead but now is alive, amen, and has the keys of hell and of death,' 'Because He lives, we shall live also' and 'He is our Great God who is coming again!' (please Contact PreacherLarry if you would like PreacherLarry to get to you the Bible references for these scriptures)

One time, a man was walking accross America and we allowed him to spend the night in our church fellowship hall. The next day, he addressed the students at the local school about the virtures of not smoking and health. I asked him if he was a Christian and he told me he was of the Jewish faith. I said, that was great because, Jesus and the 12 Apostles were all Jewish, too. I thanked him for Israel and for the Old Testament. That night, in the parsonage, I memorized Isaiah chapter 53, a great prophetic (future predicting) teaching about Jesus written about 700 years before Jesus was born in Bethleham.

The next morning, I asked our walker if I could walk a ways with him and visit with him as he walked out of our town towards the east. He said, sure. You know what I did. I shared Jesus with this Jewish walker out of Isaiah 53---about how Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, about how the iniquity (wrong living) of all of us was laid on him, about how by His stripes we are healed and about how the righteous servant would justify many (not all). I asked him to accept Jesus and he politely told me no. My heart was wounded but I had done what God wanted me to do. I planted the seed but perhaps someone else harvested that seed later. God knows.

At another place and time where I was pastor, a deacon and I were visiting in the community (we used to call that soulwinning but now many people think they are too sophisticated to do that). We sat in a man's house and told him and his wife about Jesus. Just as I shared the good news of Jesus with him, a bolt of lightening struck the outside television antenna on the roof of his house ( this was pre cable days). The lightening went down the antenna wire and through the television into the room where we were sitting and exploded with a loud crackling boom and a very bright white light, I mean right there, in the middle of that room. I liked to have jumped out of my skin! The five foot between me and that lightening strike was much too close for comfort ! You know what?  That man still would not receive Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Jesus said once if people will not hear and obey the Bible, they will not believe if a person they knew died and then came back from the dead to tell them about Jesus and salvation.

The crux of the matter is that Jesus has done all that can be done to save a lost soul. Jesus lived a sinless life. Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus rose from the dead the third day in victory over hell, death and the grave. (and Jesus ascended into heaven, sat down on the right side of the Father and one day, Jesus is coming again to straighten things out down here)

Yes, it's all about Jesus. Don't get side tracked. keep your focus, your eyes, your heart and your faith on and in Jesus because it's all about J E S U S!!!

 

 

Monday, 11/24/2014   Isaiah 61:10a 'I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.'

As usual, my wife and I were rushing and trying to get out of the front door of our home to our van to go to church. We were not late but did not have time to waste. There was a chilling, not bone chilling, but nonetheless uncomfortable wind blowing but the rain with it was driving and felt like little pellets of extreme cold water hitting my skin. I pushed the remote to unlock the van, handed my wife the umbrella and said 'I'll be out in a minute, I have to put a coat on.'

I went to the coat closet to choose a sport jacket which is the style now for men to be worn with open collered shirts. Of course, I wanted to look presentable and not distracting at church. I grabbed my black sport coat and begin to put it on. It felt very tight going on my arm and the more I tried to get my arm through the sleeve, the tighter it got. Upon closer examination, the coat was not my favorite black sport coat but the suit coat I had worn in my wedding to my dear wife 43 years back. Of course, it would not fit. Smiling, I grabbed a grey herringbone sport coat, slipped it on easily and went out the door.

Upon getting into the van and out of the wind and rain, my wife asked the questions of questions: 'what took you so long?' As I told her the story of me trying to put on my wedding coat and it not fitting, she busted out laughing and cried 'how funny, of course it would not fit.'

When a person comes to Christ for salvation, Jesus puts new spiritual garments on the new Christian. These garments in scripture are described as a 'robe of righteousness, fine linen, white and clean.' How wonderful.

When I was a little boy, once my mother took my three brothers and I to the Robert Hall Clothing Store and we all got a brand new stylish outfit for Easter Sunday. Wow, we really felt dressed to the gills with those shiny new shoes to set off that outfit. The old clothes we had just did not feel the same, especially when we aged and grew.

Every new Christian has a past life, past habits and past behaviors that can be considered like old clothes that are of no use to the new Christian. It just does not feel right to put on those old clothes when you have some brand new ones on hand.

Colossians 3:8-14 describes the Christian life as putting off old clothes and putting on the new robe of righteousness made of fine linen, white and clean when it tells us to put off lying, anger, getting even, profanity and the such and putting on mercy, kindness, humility, self control, being patient in hardship, forgiveness and most importantly God's kind of sacrifical love.

You know, ever since I got saved and born again, the old clothes don't fit and don't feel right. I like to wear the new ones much better and I sure like stylin' in Jesus!  Are you with me?

Maybe these things make no sense to you because you have yet to put on Jesus. I just want tell you that it is so great to be clothed with the garment that God gives you when you get saved, that robe of righteousness, so fine, so white and so clean. Why keep those same old clothes around when you have the new stuff? Tell Jesus you want his clothes of righteousness and you will be looking good walking down the avenue and be useful in God's kingdom work.

My old pastor used to say that the saddest person in the world was a Christian who was not right with God. Why in the world would a Christian who was given the best garment and robe of righteousness of fine linen, white and clean put back on those dingy, wore out, ill fitting clothes he wore before he met Jesus? It just doesn't make sense, does it?  Christian, let's you and me wear the new clothes Jesus gave us when we got saved, after all they stay looking brand new, fit perfectly and always look real good on us!  Right?  God bless you today as you put on and keep on the garments of salvation, the robe of righteousness, fine linen, white and clean!

 

 

Sunday, 11/23/3014  Job 22:29  'When men are cast down, then you shall say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.'

It was a cold grey Sunday morning. My wife and I were on he way to church. We passed by a street corner where there were two big churches on either side of the street. There was also what we called a bus bench: a bench with advertising on it where people would sit and wait for the next city bus.

On that cold hard bench was a man sleeping that frigid dim Sunday morning. It struck me as strange that people were walking by him going to church on either side of that street corner. I felt prompted to stop and check on that man.

I parked the van in one of the church parking lots and walked up to the man sleeping on that bus bench. His clothes were dirty, shoes were worn, and he was wearing a tattered old overcoat for warmth that cold grey Sunday morning. I nudged him on the shoulder saying, 'are you all right, sir?'  The man turned over and began to rub the sleep out of his eyes. His face looked to have had two or three days of unshaven stubble; he had saliva in the corner's of his mouth.

The man answered me and said, 'yeah, I'm all right.' I told him my name and asked him his and he told me Jackie O'Shay. I thought to myself, he looks just like a Jackie O'Shay. I said to Jackie 'you seem to be a little bit down and out, would you like to know how you can do better?' He said he wanted to do and be better and I told him how Jesus could lift him up if he turned from his own way and trusted Christ to come into his heart and life and make him born again. I asked Jackie 'would you like to be born again through Jesus?' Jackie said, 'well, sure.'

We turned that city bus bench with a bbq joint advertisement on it into an altar and knelt there and prayed. Jackie, in his worn and tatterd clothes, asked Jesus into his heart right then and there kneeling on that sidewalk at the bus bench that now had become an altar as those in their Sunday best walked by going to their perspective chruches with big crosses and steeples on that street corner.

When Jackie opened his eyes from that sinners prayer, he said, 'everything is so beautiful, the colors are so pretty, the grass and sky, everything looks so new.' As we stood up, his coat pocket hit the corner of that city bus bench and I heard the sound of glass. I asked Jackie 'what's that in your coat pocket? Jackie pulled out a half empty bottle of whiskey and said 'I won't be needing this anymore' and poured the whiskey out right on that concrete side walk in front of the bench.

My wife suggested we take Jackie downtown to the city mission where he could get a hot meal, a new set of clothes, some help in his new Christian life and pehaps find a suitable job.  As we drove to the mission, we had Sunday School right there in our van with Jackie O'Shay. My wife had a Bible that she carried with many notes she had written in it that she treasured. As she shared the Word with Jackie, she asked Jackie if he had a Bible and he said no. Then she gave Jackie her prized possession, her favorite Bible.

Perhaps, you feel cast down too. You may not be in as bad of shape that Jackie O'shay was in or you may feel just as down and out. Maybe your family is falling about, or you have bad problems on your job or maybe, you too, have an addiction that is slowly destroying your life that you cannot shake on your own. I want you to know that if you humble yourself, that is, admit you are powerless and weak, and then turn to the one who has all power and strength, the Lord Jesus and ask him into your heart and life to take over and make you born again, you can start on a new life with Christ today! Your road may be bumpy and filled with roadblocks, but with Jesus, you can find guidance, comfort, joy, peace and forgiveness!

Today or tomorrow, you and I may may pass by one that is as obviously cast down as Jackie O'Shay was on that Sunday morning sleeping on that cold bus bench while the skies were grey and people wearing their Sunday best were passing by on either side going to their perspective churches that were so noticable with manicured lawns and big signs. I pray we will stop and say to the one who is cast down 'there is lifting up' and share about the one who does all the lifting: Jesus. And just as surely as Christ lifted up Jackie O'Shay, he will lift up that one who is humble.

 

 

Saturday, 11/22/2014 Psalm 30:5b, 'In his favor is life, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' 

A pastor of mine loved to quote this verse. He always encouraged me to know that problems can only be a temporary situation. This pastor, whom we called Brother Wayne, was one of the most upbeat optimistic people I have ever met. He always seem to know that good things were right up the road.

Then I became a pastor and quoted 'weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning' too. A church I pastored asked me to come back and preach a homecoming service. This church was truly a country church; it was 12 miles from the nearest store or gas station. While there for the homecoming service, my wife and I stayed with a family now in their 40's (they were in their 20's when I was their pastor). Going into their home, I noticed a plaque right at the entry door with Psalm 30:5 on it: 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' I asked Marla if she would tell me why that verse meant so much to her. She said while I was their pastor, I quoted that verse alot (just as my previous pastor) and it really stuck in her mind and heart. Marla said when her mother died that this verse encouraged her greatly and that the truth in this scripture gave her hope that her grief would not last and that someday she would see her mother again in heaven.

Several months after I preached the homecoming service, I received news that one Sunday morning, Marla sang the special music for their worship service. When Marla returned to her seat, she gently laid her head to one side and passed into eternity. Marla was not an old person by our standards and the picture of health before her unexpected death. Marla, now, has found true everlasting 'joy in the morning.

Are you going through a difficult time?  It has been said we are either in a storm, just been in a storm or now going into a storm. Life can throw us a curve ball sometimes. Our trial or trouble may be sickness, family related, job related or we too have lost a loved one in death. The words of an old hymn can help give us solace during our difficult times: 'Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?  Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.' May the Lord teach us and continue to teach us that truly: 'In his favor is life, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!'

 

Friday, 11/21/2014 

A good daily practice to fuel your passion, isolate your purpose, bring you clarity and set your course has been called a daily devotion or a quiet time. Two essential elements for a daily devotion and a quiet time is the Word of God, the Holy Bible and a time of prayer.

In this special time, you can, by faith, receive from the Lord spiritual nourishment, a clean slate, peace of mind, special direction and strength for your daily tasks and responsibilites. It really is, then, indispensible for you and I to have a daily devotion and a quiet time.

Just five minutes daily having this time will really get you going and even give you as a song said: 'an easy peaceful feeling.' Some people spend 15 minutes, other's 30 minutes and some even an hour. The amount of time is between you and God and based upon your special needs and situations. After all, this is your quiet time.

PreacherLarry just reads a few sections from the Bible including a Psalm, some Proverbs, a section of the Gospels, and some from Acts, or an Epistle or Revelation. Often times with pen and paper, I will make a few notes and jot down some special promises or direction that I glean from Scripture. The Psalmist prayed while reading the Bible: 'Lord, open my eyes that I mignt observe wondrous things out of your law" A prayer I have prayed is 'Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of God to me.'

Following your reading of God's Word, it is good and necessary to have a time of prayer. Nothing blesses the heart of PreacherLarry more when he sees his son kneeling in prayer in front of his recliner! A little acrostic to help in prayer is ACTS:

A     Adoration:      Spend some time praising God

C     Confession:    Ask God to show you where you need to shore up your life and

                               ask Him for forgiveness, cleansing, and power to do right.

T:     Thanksgiving: Count your blessings. A grateful heart results in a happy life.

S:     Supplication:   Pray for the needs of your own life and also pray for the needs

                                of your family, friends, neighbors, co workers, government

                                officials, and your Pastor (including PreacherLarry, Please!)

Born again children of God are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need as they pray in Jesus' name and for His honor and glory. God bless you as you begin and continue your daily devotion and quiet time