Thursday, March 23, 2017

"If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." -- John 7:17
Have you ever gotten lost? Was it due to someone giving you wrong directions? Or was your GPS miscalculating? Well, no matter how sincere we may be, wrong directions will get us lost every time. While this maxim may always be true, when we genuinely desire the Lord's direction, we will always find His way.
Jesus spoke to those that questioned his teaching. He revealed this truth; that when you're willing to do God's will you will know His leading. His path will open before you like a wide open country road. Those who might worry about missing the way as they seek the Lord's leading should take this to heart and move forward with utmost confidence.
Are you seeking the will of God in your daily walk? Is His leading first and foremost in your mind? But, do you fear that you might lose your way my friend? Have no fear; God will never lead astray those who have a willing heart to do His will. "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." - Psalm 32:8

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ -- Matthew 18:32-33 
What's the difference between a silk flower and a real one? A lot! Depth and texture are hard to reproduce, but some have come close. Yet, the distinct floral fragrance is just not going to happen. The real deal has a God given scent that most people find quite pleasant. Silk flowers may look nice, but you'll never get out, what hasn't been put in by God.
In the same way, forgiveness is a Christian fragrance. Paul gave instructions to the believers in Ephesus to, "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2) God loved us so much that he forgave us for a lifetime of sin. When we face the offense of another, shouldn't we have mercy as the Lord has had on us? This is one significant difference between a religious person and a true believer. The believer has been forgiven in love and exudes a fragrance of loving forgiveness toward others.
Are you a forgiving person? Just as you can't find fragrance in a silk flower, you'll never have a fragrance of forgiveness if you're just religious. But, if you're the real deal, you have been given a scent of loving forgiveness as the Lord forgave you, "while you were still a sinner". (Romans 5:8) If you refuse to forgive, one of two facts are true. You have never been born again as a forgiven child of God, or you are living in sin. Be a flower from God every day my friend and "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?''... Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 18:1, 4
"Fortune 500", "Success", "Smart Money", "Fortune", "Upscale", "The Prosper Magazine" and "Fast Company" are a number of periodicals that regularly highlight business success. If these weren't enough to boil the pot, you will find any number of articles in Christian periodicals that emphasize the pursuit of "Christian Success". The question continues to haunt us ... "Who is the greatest?" 
"We've come a long way Baby" from the teachings of Jesus. Today, rather than teaching the multitudes on a hillside or from a fishing boat, we need a Crystal Cathedral. Instead of washing the feet of our friends we sit together and sip our Lattes in the church Jacuzzi. But Jesus lifted up a child and pointed to child-like humility and simplicity as the true path to kingdom success. We need to get back to the basics.
What are your priorities my friend? Are you so driven by the pursuit of worldly success that you're of little heavenly good? Do you even remember the days of child-like faith that changed your life? Where have the joys and satisfaction gone that came from simple Bible study, prayer and serving others? Let's find greatness in being a child again and get back to the basics.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child." - Luke 9:37-38
Vacations are great, but eventually they end. Work awaits and the daily routine demands our attention. Even in retirement the demands of daily life call upon us when we return from trips to see grandchildren and other enjoyable diversions. Special occasions and getaways are important for good health and emotional well-being, but real life is what we are all about.
In the same way, we need to have spiritual retreats and special times with our Lord. Such occasions may be a week away at a Christian camp or Sunday celebration at church. Then again, it could be the simple but refreshing devotional time alone with the Lord every morning. But when we "come down from the mountain" the daily routine demands our attention and ministry to others is waiting. The truth is, times with Lord fill us up so we can be ready to tackle real life for Jesus.
Do you often wish that your mountain top experiences could be the norm my friend? If they were, who would bring the Lord's blessings to those in need? Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that the Lord "comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction". Be sure to take special times of refreshment with the Lord, but "come down from the mountain" ready to tackle real life for Jesus.     

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it." - Mark 9:32
How often were we told by our teachers not to be afraid to ask questions? How many questions did we ask? There are so many reasons why we don't ask questions when we are in doubt. Sometimes we are too proud, sometimes too embarrassed and sometimes too afraid. But whenever we fail to ask, we fail to learn.
The disciples were walking with the Lord Jesus day by day. He taught them great truths that changed their lives and his wisdom was beyond measure. What a wonderful opportunity to ask the Lord about everything they ever wondered about. Yet, they were afraid to ask about the Lord's death and resurrection. The result was tremendous sadness and frustration during the days of his Crucifixion and resurrection. I often wonder if they would have been better prepared by having asked questions. Whenever we fail to ask, we fail to learn.
The Lord has opened a door of opportunity for us in the words of Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" and James added in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Be confident to ask, and you will grow in your understanding. Be willing to ask, and you will be certain to learn.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

"And Jesus said to him, 'If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'" - Mark 9:23-24
When my vehicle is in need of repair I take it to the auto shop. I walk in, tell my tale of woe, hand them the keys and sit down in the waiting room. Usually, in a short time the car is back to normal and I'm on the road again. I take my auto needs to those in whom I have confidence because I believe they can fix the problem.
For this father belief in the ability of Jesus was his first hurdle. The Lord dealt with the issue as quickly as the words were spoken. "All things are possible for one who believes." The response was one of great wisdom, "I believe, help my unbelief". In the face of struggles and storms we can always come to Jesus. But we need to have confidence that He can fix the problem.
Are you in the waiting room, resting in the power and abilities of Jesus my friend? Have you placed your life with all its hardships in his capable hands? When doubt raises its ugly head remember to "TRUST in the Lord with ALL YOUR HEART, and do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). Join this father in prayer with the simple request, "I believe; help my unbelief".

Friday, March 17, 2017

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”"  -- Matthew 17:5
When a presidential inauguration comes about, people travel from miles around to participate and observe. There are a vast number of speakers and the program is filled with inspiring moments. While the entire event is quite an experience, only one person is the ultimate focus... the newly elected president. People from all around the world listen to him.
Peter, James and John were overwhelmed with the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus and they were greatly inspired. Peter suggested they have three booths erected for each important personality. But the heavenly Father responded with clarity... "This is my Son... Listen to Him". Many people make the same mistake today as they see various Bible characters as equally inspiring, yet only one person should be the ultimate focus. Jesus alone is the Son of God, so listen to him!
There may be many books on your shelf today, but only one book has the message of life. There may be many people that bless your life, but only one person is the way, truth and life. At the end of the day my friend, choose to be a person of one book and one person. Heed the voice of your heavenly Father, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”