Saturday, May 31, 2014

June 1, 2014

"As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head." I Samuel 17:48-51

Are you ready for the next giant-lesson?

Well, here it comes: When there is a giant in your path there is a David on the way!

Do you believe that?

What part of being God's people don't you understand? 

What part of "the battle is the Lord's" don't you understand?

God's army was already disgraced and they were about to be defeated. Goliath was cursing God and intimidating them. They were discouraged on the inside and about to be defeated on the battlefield. I guess you could say they were between a giant and a hard place. Immobilized and clueless - there they sat. King Saul was looking for someone to step up but could find no takers.

Little did they know that a hero was en route.

I believe there is more than just a great story here - and it IS that! There is a strong principle here. God's honor was at stake and His people were at risk. When that happens, when we are at our weakest, that is when God steps in.

That is why I say, "When there is a giant in your path, there is a David on the way!"

Sometimes that David is a person. God has an uncanny knack for sending just the right person at just the right time!

Sometimes that David is you! God is able to stir up something in you to embolden you and empower you to stand against that giant until it falls!

Sometimes that David is a group of people or a couple or a family that come at just the right time.

Sometimes that David is an idea or a strategy that comes in the stillness of the night!

Sometimes that David is a financial blessing.

God is sovereign and unpredictable. He has a unique answer to each specific problem. But you can be sure of it! You can be confident that if there is a giant in your path there is a David on the way!

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 31, 2014

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken." I Samuel 17:8-11

Giant-sized lesson number four is coming up!

As I read this story the other day it occurred to me, "Why did the Israelites allow the giant to set the rules?" Each morning and evening this fierce warrior came out and taunted the people of God. He dictated the terms and set the rules of engagement. They let him do it.

Who sets the rules for your life? Do you allow the enemies in your life to set the rules of engagement for you? Where do you get your marching orders?

That is a key question, don't you agree?

If you want to know the big difference between David and the other Israelities you look no further than that. David looked to God for his orders. He never allowed the enemy to set the rules for him.

I understand how easy it is to feel like you are powerless when you are confronted by an overwhelming circumstance or life situation. When you feel powerless you fell like your life is out of control. During those times you see how big the giant is and how small you seem to be. When that happens you become immobilized. That is where the army of God was when David showed up.

Notice the key word there - "feel". When you allow feelings to dictate your reality you are letting the enemy make the rules!

Here's a rule you can live with - WHAT YOU FEEL IS NEVER MORE REAL THAN WHAT YOU BELIEVE! As people of faith we judge our reality based on the facts of Who God is and how He works! We live "by faith and not by sight".

If you have a giant towering over you casting a shadow of fear or intimidation over your life - remember, he doesn't make the rules! 

What you feel isn't real! God is real! His Word is real! 

His Person and His truth define reality for us!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 30, 2014

"Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine." I Samuel 17:38-40

Once you figure why you are fighting the giant. Then you need to know how to fight him. What weapons will you use?

That is the first decision David had to make once he decided the giant must fall. King Saul had an idea for him. Even though he didn't want to fight the giant, he was willing to donate his armor and his weapons.

When your time comes to face the giant you will find other people have ideas how you should do it and weapons they are willing to loan. They don't want to face the giant but sure are free with their advice!

David was wise enough to know that if he was going to bring down the giant he couldn't do it with other people's armor. He could not face the giant with someone else's sword. In a big fight you need a familiar weapon. The shepherd boy had become an expert marksman with a sling and a stone. Because he had practiced and prepared and become proficient with this weapon, God was able to augment his skills to bring down a giant. God can't use what we haven't prepared. David understood that it was really a spiritual battle and that the battle was the Lord's. He understood what St. Paul knew:

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.In add ition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17

God's battles must be fought with His weapons. You can bring down physical giants with spiritual weapons - David did. And you can bring down spiritual giants with spiritual weapons but you can't bring down spiritual giants with physical weapons.

Killing giants takes the right reasons and the right weapons. David knew. Now you do, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 29, 2014

"Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken." I Samuel 17:8-11

Was Goliath a giant obstacle or was he a giant opportunity?

He was both! It just depended on who you asked! There was the actual Goliath, who was a large and powerful man. Then there was the even larger and more formidable giant that the Israelite soldiers were looking at and listening to. And then there was the big target that David saw.

What is it that determines your reality? Is your reality determined by what you see or by how you see what you see? Do you see life through eyes of fear or through eyes of faith? It makes a giant difference!

The soldiers were measuring Goliath's strength against their own. His size and strength were far superior to theirs. There was no denying that! We are talking about faith here - not fantasy! Faith is not denying reality it is focusing on a greater a reality!

That explained the difference between David's perspective on the giant as opposed to how the soldiers saw him. David knew he was no match for the strength and experience of the massive mountain of a man. But that wasn't a problem for David because he never planned on confronting the giant in his own strength. He had a realistic look at the giant but he also had a focus on a greater reality - God's strength!

They couldn't see beyond the giant and David could. They saw a big giant but he saw a bigger God.

Therein is the difference that faith can make. Faith is life without limits. Faith is a God-sized life.
Your life is filled with difficulties and challenges. Even on a good day life is bigger than you! To deny that is begging for trouble. In real life, giants don't always show up one at a time. Often they come in tandem or in groups! If you don't have a faith that is bigger than life, you will spend your days staring at giants paralyzed by fear and filled with frustration.

Don't you think God has something better than that in store for you? Do you think that God sent Jesus to suffer and die on a cross so that you can spend your life defeated by giants? Do you believe that Jesus submitted to leave heaven, become human and die a humiliating death in order for you to spend your life as a victim? I don't think so! I think He wants you to be a victor!
But you can't BE what you can't SEE.

David saw himself as a victor because he saw the power and strength of God! The army allowed themselves to become victims because they couldn't see beyond their own weakness. David chose a faith perspective but they settled for a fearful point of view.

Are you living as a victor or a victim? It depends on how you view your giants. You can decide as David did or you can default like the Israelites. Being a giant-killer is just one decision away. today could be that day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 28, 2014

"For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army." I Samuel 17:16

Are you ready for a giant life lesson from David?

Let me ask you, "How do you measure yourself? How do you measure your problems? Do you ever measure yourself against your problems?"

Another big difference between David and the rest of this bunch - including the giant, was how they measured themselves and how they measured their problems. How about if we look at that this morning?

Goliath got in trouble because he overestimated himself. He overestimated himself because he measured himself against the other soldiers. For the most part, that was a good comparison because he was bigger and tougher and stronger than anyone else. He was a champion and he didn't inherit the title he earned it. Two errors here that eventually proved fatal. (1) He measured himself against men who were smaller and weaker than he. I see many people who do that. In order to feel good about themselves they find weaker, smaller, and less talented people and therefore arrive at an unrealistic value of themselves. It is not healthy to inflate your ego by measuring down. You may become a champion by defeating inferior opponents but you won't remain a champion that way. (2) He defied God and despised the man of God. Yes, he was big but not that big!

The Israelite soldiers measured themselves against the giant. They arrived an unrealistic view of themselves by measuring against an unrealistic standard. I know people like that who are always defeated because they set unrealistic standards for themselves. Somehow they have the knack for putting themselves in no-win situations. It is healthy to aspire to be like someone who may be bigger or stronger or more well-known than you but use that for motivation to get better. That is not what these guys did. They devalued themselves by overvaluing Goliath. Not good. Not healthy.

And then there was David! Let's learn from David! David didn't measure himself against the soldiers and he didn't measure himself against Goliath, he didn't measure himself at all! He just lived in the power and grace of God and let God handle the giants, and the lions and the bears in his life. The healthy approach to a self-esteem is not to measure ourselves against others but to lose ourselves in God! God has not called us to compare to others He has called us to complete others! David didn't compare he committed!

Are you struggling with self-esteem or self-worth issues? That is a common struggle. It is one we must each conquer and the sooner the better! But don't follow the lead of the giant and don't emulate the soldiers. Don't get into the measuring or the comparison trap. Be like David! To love yourself lose yourself in God. To find who you are and what you can do, find yourself in God.

There is a giant difference!

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 27, 2014

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."  I Corinthians 11:23-26

As I shared Sunday, when Jesus calls you to Communion He is calling you to meet Him in His suffering. When you share in His suffering He promises to share in yours.

Meditating on that thought I was reminded of this song from the '80's I think expresses this thought quite well.

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows, 
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows, 
I came so close to sending You away,  
But just like You promised, You came there to stay, 
I just had to pray.


And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by my side, 
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied. 
I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried, 
And I strove to remind you, that for those tears I died.” 

Your goodness so great, I can’t understand, 
And, dear Lord, I know that all this was planned. 
I know You’re here now and always will be, 
Your love loosed my chains and in You I’m free, 
But Jesus why me. 

Jesus, I give You my heart and my soul, 
I know that without God I’d never be whole, 
Savior, You opened all the right doors,  
And I thank You and praise You from earth’s humble shores, 
Take me I’m Yours. 

He is a God of comfort!

Praise His Name!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 26, 2014

I hope you are enjoying your holiday week-end. 
I share this devotional thought I found online this evening.
Memorial Day – to some it’s merely the beginning of summer and to others it’s a solemn day to remember those who have passed from this life. However, to the war veteran and to the families of fallen soldiers, Memorial Day carries significance so deep that words cannot express their hearts.
When we look into the eyes of those who still mourn these once vibrant men and women, we often sense their loneliness and pain. We hear them choke back tears as they simply say the ranks and names of their military brothers and sisters at a Memorial Day service. White gloves, dress uniforms, rigid posture, and perfectly precisioned salutes represent the reverence and respect flowing from within. Those who have been personally affected by war understand and appreciate this day of remembrance.
What should we say to those who sincerely honor this day? "Happy Memorial Day" doesn't seem fitting. "I'm sorry for your loss" may be closer to appropriate. What would the fallen soldier want from their comrades and the rest of the country on this day?
In an often quoted Memorial Day speech given in 1884 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the speaker ended his address with these words, “Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death -- of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.”
The American soldier who gave his or her life for U.S. citizens to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness won’t be telling us how to observe the holiday. But I believe that Holmes’ proposition to “think of life, not death” would honor the fallen soldier. Their sacrifice follows the example of Jesus Christ laying down His life for our freedom. It's selfless love for others – not so they can mourn forever, but live!
"We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3:16
Notice that in scripture and in military service, the willingness to give up one’s life is not dependent on the worthiness of the people who benefit from the honorable act. In a perfect world, all who receive freedom and grace would be worthy of such a sacrifice and full of gratitude. But that’s not the way it is anywhere on earth.
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8
We are blessed to be living in a free society. May we honor our American soldiers for the liberty we have in this country. May we also give thanks to Almighty God for the freedom we have to spend eternity with Him because of His gift of forgiveness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 25, 2014

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."  I Corinthians 11:23-26

Communion calls you to remember the worst and most agonizing moments in Jesus' life. Why would He call you to meditate and commemorate a crucifixion?

Why would Jesus call you to into fellowship with Him at the point of His pain and suffering?

Isn't that a little morbid?

Jesus calls you to the cross because He suffered great pain to pay the penalty for your sin so that you won't have to remain trapped in your pain. When you come to the cross through the symbolic elements, the bread and the cup, it should cause you to remember and relate to:
  • The reality of His pain
Through Christ, God really knows how it feels to suffer and experience agonizing pain. So when you are suffering physical or emotional or psychological pain, you can better identify with His pain and have a greater appreciation for depth of His love for you. And you can also be sure He understands the pain you experience.
  • The reality of His provision
Coming to the Communion table to remember His suffering by the symbolic body and blood of Jesus helps you reconnect with the horrible agony He endured to provide an atonement for your sins. He didn't die because He was a sinner but He died because you ARE! He paid a price to bear the painful penalty of your sin so you can be delivered from its judgment.
  • The reality of His purpose
Jesus laid down His life for you. That means He chose the pain and suffering that He bore and died on purpose! And He did it for a purpose!  No one TOOK His life, He gave it up to shed His blood to take away your sins!

Our Savior wasn't really lynched and arrested and beaten and crucified by accident or against the will of God, He willingly laid down His life to set you free from sin!

And, He is able to bring purpose and meaning from your pain.
  • The reality of His presence
When Jesus was experiencing the worst of His agony on the cross, He was forsaken by His Father on died alone. Because He died alone you will never have to and when you are in the midst of your suffering He will be with you to comfort and encourage!
  • The reality of His promise
Because God has never failed to fulfill a promise, you know you can count on his promises. He will never leave you in your time of need! You will never suffer alone and someday He will receive you into a place where there is no more pain or grief or suffering or bad memories!

So, when God calls you into the suffering of Jesus through Communion, He is calling you to remember all that He accomplished for you on the cross! And when you come to remember and to commune with Him, you can bring not only your praises but you can bring your pain. When you enter into His suffering you call Him into yours as well! You don't just go back to the cross but you bring Him forward into your memories of loss, abuse, abandonment, betrayal, rejection, ridicule, failure, or fear. He will meet you there in sweet communion.

That’s why Communion is so significant for a believer, it calls you into His suffering so He can enter yours.

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 24, 2014

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  I Corinthians 11:23-26

I am thankful for a good memory and I am very thankful for good memories! The older I get the more I realize how important it is to make as many lifetime memories as you can.

But I also realize there is a reason 6,005,000,000 post-it-notes are sold every year! We are afflicted with the aggravating tendency to forget what we should remember and remembering things we should forget.

After all, that is the reason for the holiday of Memorial Day - to remember those who fought and died in foreign lands in order to defend our freedoms! We NEVER want to forget those brave heroes!

Communion is a spiritual equivalent of Memorial Day, each time you observe Communion it is a reminder of a Spiritual Warrior Who died to deliver you from the Enemy. When you remember it causes you to be sorry over the suffering you caused Him but thankful for the love that inspired His suffering.

Or, in a more practical sense, you could think of Communion as God's "post-it note" to remind you to remember Christ's love and His suffering that saved you from sin.

When we lose touch with God's grace we can become prisoners to our painful memories.

Memories are powerful because they recall not only experiences but emotions.

I spent many days being cared for by my Great Grandmother Snyder. My sister and I loved going over there to stay when our mother went off to her job. We have many pleasant memories of those days spent during our early childhood. In her neighborhood there were some mourning doves and that is where I first remember hearing their soulful cry.

Nearly every time I hear a mourning dove I remember Grandma Snyder and reconnect with the feelings of being with her.

So, memories can be very pleasant or they can be very painful – some are both. Because they are painful and pleasant or both, they become very powerful!

To a great extent your life will be dominated and defined by your most powerful memory. Communion is given to be a frequent reminder of how much God loves us and the price He paid to save us from our sins.

Taking the bread and drinking the cup helps us reconnect with our emotions of when we first experienced His salvation. When we can remember how much we are loved and how blessed we are it puts our own pain and suffering in perspective. His suffering becomes our dominant memory during  the Sacrament of Communion, as it should be!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 23, 2014

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." I Corinthians 11:23-26

The big idea in these verses is, memories are so powerful they can shape the reality you live in if you allow them to. Memories are one part event and one part emotion. When the event is traumatic enough and the emotions painful enough, and when they are repressed, rehearsed   or relived, they can define your life.       

For example:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Mark Twain said, "A cat who sits on a hot stove won't sit on a hot stove again! But it won't sit on a cold one either!"

A painful experience will attach a bad memory to your conscious mind that will process into fear or caution the next you face that situation.

Some painful memories reside in the subconscious and manifest themselves in the form of phobias or irrational fears.

For instance:

I have stated that I have a fear of heights, but I really think it is a fear of falling because I can sit by the window in a jetliner 35,000 feet above the ground and it doesn't bother me at all. But standing at the edge of a cliff near the Blue Ridge Parkway or on a roller coaster (Scooby Coaster included) it's SWEATY PALMS time!

Where did that come from? I could never figure it out. That is until my Mother explained that when I was just a few months old - much too young to roll over - she turned away for a moment while I was laying on my changing table and I rolled off the table falling to the floor and hitting the toilet on the way down. (I know, that explains some things, right?).

I don't consciously remember that happening but does my sub-conscious?  Probably!

Because I don't want subconscious fears defining my life, I defiantly boarded the Scooby Coaster with reckless abandon and rode it - TWICE!

Whatever your painful memories, whether conscious or not, you don't have to allow them to define your life nor do you have to give into the fear. You can learn the difference between a hot stove and a cold one!

Jesus calls you away from your fears and phobias when He calls you to Communion! Gathering in His presence surrounded by His people to remember His love, His grace, His atoning death for your sin, and His promise that there is a perfect painless place in your future!

When you take the bread and the cup and enter into His suffering, He steps into your pain!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 22, 2014

"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." I Corinthians 11:23-26

I don't know about your memory but the trouble with mine is this - I remember things I should forget and forget things I should remember!

Apparently, Jesus was aware of that tendency because he gave us a way to be reminded of how much He loves us and the radical way He proved His love. We call it Communion.

Our Founder understood the importance of Communion as a spiritual Sacrament and a constant spiritual reminder:

"...if we consider the Lord's Supper as a command of Christ, no man can have any pretense to Christian piety, who does not receive it (not once a month, but) as often as he can." - John Wesley, The Duty of Constant Communion(section 21)

How often do you need to be reminded of God's grace?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you of His grace toward you (God's Riches At Christ's Expense)!

How often do you need to be reminded that you are forgiven?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you that Christ took the penalty for your sins so you can be forgiven!

How often do you need to be reminded how ugly your sin is?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you of the horrible suffering caused by your sin.

How often do you need to recall the thrill of that day when you trusted Christ and experienced the joy of salvation for the very first time?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you of that wonderful day when salvation came to you!

How often do you need to remember your total dependence on Jesus for......well.....EVERYTHING!?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you of your TOTAL dependence on Christ!

How often do you need to remember the hope of someday sitting at the table with Him at the Great Banquet?

Taking the bread and the cup reminds you of the hope of Heaven!

Since these important realities often get smothered by the pain and pressures of life, being often reminded is important.

"do this in remembrance of me....." 

Take, eat and remember - often!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 21, 2014

"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:5

Shakespeare once said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."

That being true, John the Revelator, is a genius! He says a lot in just this one brief verse.

Let's take a few minutes to reflect on what he tells us.

Our God is seated on the throne!

What does that mean to us? Everything!

It means He is sovereign - fully in control. He is large and in charge! Nothing happens in this universe without His permission or approval. When the world seems chaotic - like now - it is controlled chaos because He is omnipotent!

If you know Him as your Father and if you are committed to Jesus as your Savior, you don't have to worry! God has given you an abundant life now - His grace, His guidance, and His guardian angels! And He has guaranteed you an eternal life! The best part of the eternal life is that He will be there and in control!

Our God is making everything new!

How do you improve on perfection? God can! And He does! In Revelation 21 we see that God makes a new Heaven and a new earth! This is the REAL new world order!

Our God is so great and so dynamic and so intelligent and so creative that, though He never changes, He is always getting new ideas and better ideas and has the power to tweak and improve His creation! That is why we can spend eternity and never get bored!

So that tells us that as good as it is now - it will only get better! Always!

For you and me, the best news of all is that He made us new and He renews us every day!

Third, God is trustworthy and true!

Wow! It is good to know that Someone as powerful as God is trustworthy. We know in our world power corrupts. We are accustomed to leaders who become corrupted by power once they are trusted with that power by their people. God is not like that! Praise His Name!

What that means is that you can depend on Him - always! It means you can hope in Him - always! It means that you can commit to Him - safely! It means what was true yesterday will be true today - and tomorrow! There is a constant in the universe! There is an anchor - a sure foundation for all of time and eternity!

Get your heart and mind around this little piece of good news! Rejoice in this knowledge of God! Give Him praise and honor today! Walk in peace, and confidence and security today. Live in hope of tomorrow!

God is on the throne!

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 20, 2014

"The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites."  Exodus 3:7-8

God prepared Moses for a call to ministry by placing in his heart a "holy discontent" or, as I referred to it in my message yesterday, "a Popeye moment". Popeye reached a point where it was "alls he could stand he couldn't stands no more"!

When God wants to launch a new ministry He often does it by planting a "Holy Discontent" into the heart of His servant. From that sense of "this isn't right" or "something has to be done about this" or "I can't stand this anymore and something has to change" a vision for change begins to formulate and a passion to change it ignites the soul.

That's how it happened for Moses and it will likely will happen that way for you!

As I was meditating on this and how it applies to the ministry at FredWes, I realized that is how we add ministries. We don't find a program and then look for a person to lead it, when we see a need we pray that God will lay it on some person who will see the need, feel the "holy discontent" and become impassioned to lead the development of a ministry to meet the need.

When God raises up a leader and a ministry, that leader is much more effective at designing the ministry and developing it than if a pastor or lay leader were to try to recruit him into a ministry.

Just yesterday I passionately shared a ministry opportunity that has presented itself recently and challenged someone to allow God to stir up a "holy discontent" within them for this ministry. Following the service I had four of our young ladies come up to me with great excitement to inform me God was calling them to assume responsibility for this ministry!

They were thrilled and I was thrilled and I believe God will be honored and souls will be saved through this new ministry! They will serve with passion because God has stirred them and called them to this new vision for outreach!

Is there something stirring in your spirit? 

If there is no unconfessed sin in your life, that stirring isn't conviction from the Holy Spirit. And if it isn't conviction, it may be a calling from God to serve Him in an area He has been preparing you for!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 19, 2014

"Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat." Matthew 8:24

Have you ever been so frightened that you physically shook?

I have and it is an awful feeling. It takes a powerful fear to bring that sort of reaction.

From what I see in this story, the disciples might have been shaking with fear.

Interestingly, the Greek word for "fierce" used here is "seismos". You might recognize it in conjunction with "seismology", the study of earthquakes or "seismograph", an instrument for measuring the intensity of earthquakes. So, this was a storm that literally shook the waters! And it got them shaking as well.

Another insightful fact about this word is that it is only used two other times by Matthew in his Gospel.

Once is in Matthew 27:51-54 in reference to Jesus' death on Calvary, "At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

The other use occurs in Matthew 28:2 - "Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it."

So, God knows how to shake things up! He shook the waters and He shook the earth! People noticed and people changed!

Has God ever shaken your world? Is He shaking it now? What is your response? Is it fear? Maybe He is trying to shake the fear out of you!

The message of the storm is, "Fear not when Jesus is in your boat"! He is stronger than the storm.

The message of Calvary is, "Fear not, Jesus has conquered your sin"! His holiness is stronger than your sin!

The message of the Resurrection is, "Fear not, Jesus has conquered death!" His life is more powerful than death!

God's earth-shaking message is, "Fear not! I have overcome the storm, the sin and the sentence of death!"

So, why should you be shaking? If there is a storm in your life right now, or if something has shaken your world, maybe it is God's "seimos" sent to shake the fear out of you and remind you that Jesus is in your boat! Fear not! Speak to Jesus and let Him speak His power to your fear!

The one who should be shaking is the devil!