Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Harvest is Great

Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways:
behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves

Well, knock me over with a straw. I suppose I have heard a hundred
times that the harvest was ripe. I have preached it dozens of times. I
thought I read it many times. But that's not what it says, is it?

Nope, it doesn't say the harvest is ripe. It says the harvest is great.
Jesus tells us in John 4 that the fields are white unto harvest.

Really, it only happens once in a while where a person is just so ready
to get saved. But most take some cultivation. They require a few visits,
or they attend church several times before they give in to the Lord.

It has never been my experience, at least here in America, that hordes
of people are rushing to be saved. I have found that it takes great
effort on behalf of soul farmers to bring in the reluctant harvest.

Still, it doesn't negate our responsibility to pray to the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth laborers into the fields.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The First Missions Givers

Luk 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Luk 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Do you support missions? I hope so. I pray that, above and beyond your tithes, given to take care of the house of God, you are also a blessing to the missionaries. They are the ones who, on your behalf do what Jesus did in verse one: ...he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God:

Paul made a very special promise for those who take care of the missionaries, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19 Now, there's is an unbeatable promise!

So here, we find certain women who were the trail blazers for missions support. They included Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna, among many others. Joanna was a woman who was well to do. Her husband was Herod's steward. I find it interesting that Mary Magdalene had the wherewithal to be a financial blessing. It seems she was out of work, seeing as how Jesus saved her from prostitution. Perhaps she saved up some of her profits for a rainy day and that day had come.

If you are not already heavily involved in giving to missions over and above your tithe, why don't you ask the Lord what He would have you to do on a regular basis to help the missionaries carry out their commission to get the glad tidings to the world? Maybe you cannot go to every corner of the globe, but you can send. Join the ranks of these unsung heroes of the faith who back the soul-winners/church-planters. You will be blessed and the promise of “all needs met” will be yours. And remember, you cannot out give God! Whatever you give will be given back to you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Great Faith Admired by the Lord

Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Here, the word marveled means that the Lord admired this man, that there was actually some wonder present.

On several occasions we find people wondering after the Lord, admiring Him for His works. But this is the only individual in the Word who has the Lord marveling after him. And he wasn't even a Jew! He was not a man of the covenant, not a child of the promise. He was a Roman soldier, a centurion!

What was it about this man that had the Lord admiring him? Faith.

This man knew that Jesus didn't even have to come to his house to heal his valued servant. He
knew that Jesus merely had to speak the word and it would be done. Furthermore, he expressed this sentiment publicly in front of both Jews and Romans, soldiers and subjects. He personally knew how power and authority worked and he recognized that Jesus was one who possessed such power.

In short, this powerful man showed great faith by:
1. Knowing how power worked
2. Knowing that Jesus was a source of power
3. Expressing it publicly

And for it, he received a great and rare commendation from the Lord.

It makes me wonder, has any expression of faith I have ever expressed caused the Lord to marvel? Has my faith been pretty much run of the mill or has there been an occasion where my faith has turned God's head and caused him to express admiration?

I think I will look for an opportunity along the way today to show that kind of faith. I have in mind a few cases that could use some heavenly intervention.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fill 'er Up

Luk 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Jesus took the time to get away for a refill. The result was the power of the Lord upon Him to heal those from every town in the Galilee, as well as people from Judaea and Jerusalem, and even the Pharisees and doctors of the law, if they would believe.

Listen friend, if Jesus took the opportunity to be filled with the Holy Spirit, shouldn't we make sure that we stop by God's filling station on a regular basis and ask the Attendant to "Fill 'er up!"? It's better than sitting by the side of the road with an empty tank. Just look around you at all the powerless Christians you know. See how frustrated they are as they continue to operate in the power of the flesh. The Lord has an alternate fuel for you that is much more efficient than what you are running in your tank now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blessed to be a Blessing

Luke 4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

Bless her heart! Peter's mom-in-law was a good lady. Getting along in years (good night, she must have been in her 40s by now!) she had come down with pretty bad fever. Walgreen's was closed and Ibuprofen hadn't been developed yet, so she was in a pretty bad way.

It was a good thing that Peter's house was just across the street from the synagogue. It was a good thing that Jesus was in town and the He was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a good thing that Peter thought to have Jesus over!

You know, when Jesus comes to your house, things will never be the same. When He shows up, the devil ships out. When the Good News comes in the front door, the bad news makes its way out the back.

Jesus had already had quite a day, preaching and teaching in the synagogue and chasing several unclean spirits out of a man right there in church!

Now He makes His way across the street to Peter's and lo and behold, Mom-in-law needs the touch of the Master's hand. A severe fever was no match for the One who had just whooped the devil in the wilderness, 3 to zip. Then, he trounced him again over at the synagogue, score: 4 to a big goose egg. So, He rebukes the fever and all is well once again in the Peter household. 5-0, game over!

But what happens next is the wonderful thing. This dear lady didn't start complaining about all her other problems and ailments, she got up, washed her hands and went to work! Hallelujah!

Most people think that once Jesus does something great for them, it is time to bask in the sunshine of that glory. But this fine lady was saved to serve, blessed to be a blessing, healed to help. Freely she had received, so freely, she would give.

God, grant us more people like this good sister who really got it. When the Son of God ministered to her need, she figured one good turn deserves another.

Lord, you have been so good to me! You have saved my soul, blessed my family, given me a positive bank balance, a home in heaven, a great church, wonderful friends and a good, good life. How could I do anything but minister to and for you. Show me today how I can best bless you and your work. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Spirit of the Lord upon Jesus

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Luke 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me 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,
Luke 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

For the third time in this chapter we find that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus. See verses 1, 14, 18

If the work facing the Lord was important enough that He required the Spirit's filling, shouldn't we see the need of the filling of the Holy Ghost for the work which is before us?

What was the work set before Jesus that required Heaven's unction?

1. He was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2. Upon completion of the temptation, He went into the Galilee to teach in the synagogues.
3. He would preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, recover sight to the blind, set at liberty them that are bruised and preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Any one of those tasks would be a tall order, but He had many things to accomplish for the Father.

You are I will no doubt be tasked by the Father today for some of these same assignments. Let's pause right now to see to it that we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Father of Lights, we come to you today confessing our faults. Cleanse us in the blood shed by thy holy Son. Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit, move upon us, grant us your presence for all we have to do for you today. Guide us to the neediest souls. Give us the words to say. Convict and draw them to yourself. Open all the right doors and let us boldly step through them. May we be effective for you as your Spirit works through us. Thank you for filling and using us! In Jesus' name we pray, Amen!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Moment in Time

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Crazy devil! Offering to Jesus what wasn't his to give. Besides, Jesus would receive all the kingdoms of the world in good time at the right time. Rev 11:15 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

That's just the way old Slew Foot is. He makes offers on which he can't deliver. Oh, but those offers can sure look great at the time. Did you notice that the devil was able to show the Lord all the kingdoms of the world in just a moment of time? Awesome advertising!

What he doesn't bother to show us when he does his best work is all the implications if we say "yes" to his offer. We don't see the back side of the billboard. All we see is the beautiful people, scantily clad, puffing on a cigarette or downing a refreshing brewski. Oh, the fun that billboard portrays. But if we could see the backside of the ad, we would see that beautiful individual shriveled up in an 80 pound body, hacking his/her guts out, dying of lung cancer or liver disease, way before their time. Have you ever seen someone breathing through a hole in their throat? Have you ever witnessed the black bile coughed up by a lung cancer patient? Have you stayed by the bedside of a delirious soul whose body is ravaged by disease caused by partaking in the devil’s ads?

Had Jesus took the devil up on his offer,
1. He could not have qualified as Savior. He would not have been Heaven's spotless Lamb had He given in to sin.
2. You and I would face a well-deserved, Christless eternity in hell because there would be no payment for our sins.
3. Jesus' teachings would be null and void. They would carry no more weight than the teachings of Mohammed, Buddha, Hitler, Charlie Manson or Joseph Smith. The Golden Rule would be tarnished. The Sermon on the Mount wouldn't amount to a molehill. His promises would be worthless.
4. There was no plan B or C or D. Redemption through Jesus was our only hope. Jesus was fully God and yet completely man. He was subject to such infirmities and temptations as we face, such as hunger, weariness, sickness, vanity and pride. Had He given in to the temptations which accompany human frailty, we would all have been doomed.

But, in that one moment of time, when Jesus was able to view Satan's billboard, He also did the right thing, used the Word to combat the half-truths of the enemy and rejected temptation.

My friend, there is no doubt that you will have a moment of time today in which an imp of hell will lie to you. It will make a promise to you it cannot keep. It will offer pleasure, but it will be fleeting. It will extend fortune, but it will vanish in smoke. It will promise fame, but that too will go up in a puff of smoke. If you believe the lie told to you, you will be left in a heap, suffering the consequence of disobeying God. Those same imps will ROTFLOL at you because you were foolish enough to fall for their tricks.

One moment of time, what will you do? Whom will you believe?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Being Tempted of the Devil

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

For 40 days our Lord was assaulted by Satan. Satan tried to appeal to the desires of the flesh (hunger), the eyes (kingdoms of the earth) and the pride of life (cast from the pinnacle of the temple). In this, Jesus could say that He was tried in every point, like as we are and yet, without sin.

Though we pray that we would not be led into temptation, we can each expect regular
visits from the emissaries of evil enticing us to succumb to sin.

Praise God that our High Priest, Jesus, knows all about our struggles, He's been there. The only difference is, He faced temptation and failed not. Therefore, He knows how to help us in time of temptation if we will but look to Him during these times of testing.

Hint: Jesus used the Word of God to counter each temptation thrown at Him by the
devil. Notice His responses: "It is written" "It is written" and "It is said."

The next time you are assaulted by temptation, be sure to use the Word of God, the
Sword of the Spirit, as your weapon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Full of the Holy Ghost

Luke 4:1
1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

Oh, how convoluted our thinking can become when we are innundated with cultural inuendo. The term "filled with the Holy Ghost" in contemporary vernacular has come to mean things like singing praise songs with upraised hands, or having a feeling ecstasy in worship, or even speaking in an unknown language. (Insert buzzer sound here).

Mind you, Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost also. It wasn't for the purpose of uttering unintelligibly or for getting holy goosebumps. He was filled with the Spirit for effective ministry. Hint, that's the reason you and I should seek the Spirit's filling. You're welcome!

How is one filled with the Holy Ghost?
1. Confess, repent and obey the Lord. Of course, Jesus had no sin to repent of, but we need to know that the Lord will not fill a dirty vessel. Paul contrasted sin and the Spirit in Eph 5:18-20, where he said, be not drunk with wine, but be ye filled with the Sprit.
2. Desire and ask for the filling of the Spirit. Jesus told us that the heavenly Father wants to give us the filling of the Spirit when we ask Him, just as a father would want to give good gifts to his children.
3. Thank the Lord for His filling. When you get a gift, you thank and praise the giver.
4. Use the filling! Again, we are not filled to feel goose bumps, we are filled to work and worship. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells us that after the Holy Ghost is come upon us, we would be witnesses.

As Jesus was filled for the work of ministry before Him, so we are filled with Holy Ghost power to tell others about Him. That is what the Holy Spirit does, He speaks of Jesus, brings verses to our remembrance, fills our mouth with the words to say, convicts the sinner, and draws them to the Lord.

Right now, and again tomorrow, and each day afterward, get filled with the Holy Spirit of God so you can be a powerful witness for Him.

Friday, June 17, 2011

That Old Fox

Herod’s Evil and Salome’s Death Dance

Luk 3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.

Herod's "significant other", sister-in-law, lover, the adulterous Herodias, had a daughter which history suggests was named Salome. That wicked Herodias, as infamous for her treachery as Jezebel of old, conjured up a plan in legion with hell itself. She convinced her daughter, the sumptuous, salacious seductress Salome to perform the death dance before Herod. It would result in John the Baptist's head on a platter and Herod's soul in hell.

Salome's Death Dance:
*Turned Herod on
*Tweaked his ungodly passions
*Took away his reason
*Tinged his conscience
*Tightened his noose

Herod went on to kill John the Baptist, James the Apostle and sign off on the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus.

Not only would hell enlarge herself at the induction of Herod to Hades Hall of Fame, but he ended this life in excruciating pain and misery. The Bible says he was eaten up with worms. A little digging and you will find that his disease was the most miserable of deaths.

Suffice it to say, don't mess with God's anointed, the misery you will suffer is unimaginable.

(Note: I had just finished this blog about Herod the old fox, as Jesus called him, when this fox walked right up to me!!! That's Twilight Zone stuff!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waiting for Christ

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was
Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation
of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto
him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the
Lord's Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents
brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

There are a whole slew of godly elders whose lives have entered the golden years. For years they have preached, longed for and loved the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I have personally heard them claim, some of them many years ago, how they were not looking for the undertaker, they were longing for the Uppertaker. They weren't going to need a hole in the ground because they were going to punch a hole in the sky.

But now their bodies are riddled with pain. Their hair has lost its sheen, their step has slowed considerably. Unless the promise of His return is fulfilled soon, they will be going the way of all the earth.

The one thing they have longed for, the trumpet sound they have listened for, the rapture they have worked toward may be witnessed be witnessed by the next generation, not theirs.

Simeon, that august, Spirit-filled believer who served God faithfully and trusted that he would see Christ's day, was soon to meet old man death. I can only imagine he felt a twinge of disappointment that he was nearing the end and would not see the promise fulfilled.

But God has the most fantastic timing. It is always darkest just before the dawn. Just when many are tempted to give up, God tends to show up. The fourth quarter seems to be God's favorite part of the game. He delights in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. And so, this grizzled veteran of the faith got to hold in his hands that which he had yearned for so long. His faith became sight.

And as it was with Simeon, who got to see Israel's consolation just days before his demise, so it may be with this slew of godly giants of our day who pointed us to the cross, then toward the ripened fields and finally toward the eastern sky. It could be that some of them have to go on home and will return to meet us in the air, but it could be that they emulate Simeon of old and see their consolation just before journey's end. After all, this is the hope of the believer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

John the Baptist, The Greatest Man Ever!

Luk 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Greatest man ever? Those are not my words. That is the estimation that Jesus, John's
cousin, had of him. Read Matthew 11:11.

Some things in this passage leap out at me which set John apart from the norm.

1. John was a miracle child of an old man and barren woman. vs 7
2. His parents were very godly people, blameless before God, faithful to the commands of God. vs 6
3. His conception was announced by an angel of God. 13
4. He was given his name from heaven. His parents had no say in the matter. 13
5. His birth would cause many to rejoice. 14
6. He would be esteemed great by the Lord. 15
7. He would live life in tee-totaling abstinence. 15
8. (and this is the best of all) He would be filled with the Holy Ghost while still in the womb! 15
9. He would be a great preacher and a prolific soul-winner. 16
10. He would be greatly anointed in his ministry. 17
11. He practiced gymnastics before he was born. 41
12. It was said of him when he was just 8 days old, "What kind of kid is this going to be?" 66
13. God's hand was upon him. 66
14. John was strong in the strength of the Lord. 80

Yet, as great as John was, he made sure that the attention was focused on Jesus. When great things of him were spoken, he would declare, "He must increase, I must
decrease." As all Jerusalem and Judaea traveled to hear him preach, he warned them
that there was another one coming, greater than himself. One whose shoes he was not
even worthy to stoop to untie. As they marveled at John, he pointed to Jesus and
declared, "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world."

Oh, that we would be great for God by humbling ourselves and preparing the way of the Lord for others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It’s a New Day! Carpe Deum.

Pro 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

The sun came up again this morning. God has given each of us a fresh start. Yesterday may have brought failure, disappointment or discouragement. It could be that we spoke unkindly or in anger. Perhaps temptation got the best of you. There are some who were greeted with tragedy. Our goals may not have been met, our Bibles may have been neglected, prayers may not have been prayed, words of encouragement may not have been uttered. But we have a wonderful gift, another chance, a brand new day.

The thorns that drew from the beauty of yesterday’s roses demanded too much of your attention. Rather than complain that roses have thorns, why not marvel that thorns have roses?

Today is a fresh start. Meet with God, read His Word, ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Help someone in need today, share the gospel, be kind, be generous. Yesterday is in the books, tomorrow is no sure thing. But you do have the gift of a new day. Seize it!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

When We Bring Another to Christ

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

Other than our own salvation, there is no greater joy than to lead another
soul to Christ. That euphoric feeling we receive when we pluck a brand from
the burning turns into the burden of responsibility as we then must disciple
the newborn into the faith.

I hope you have been able to experience this opportunity. It is one of the
chief reasons for our continued existence on earth.

Paul expressed the following feelings concerning the Philippians whom he
had led to Christ.
1. My brethren
2. My dearly beloved
3. My longed for
4. My joy
5. My crown

May we each bring others to Christ and then keep them as close to our
hearts as he did his converts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

For Your Own Safety

Php 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

Having told the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord, Paul now tells them something for their own safety. He says that he is not even grieved to have to warn them about false teachers. Such is the heart of the soul winner, church planter and faithful shepherd. The sheep come first. The feelings of sheep devourers he could care less about.

Beware of dogs - Isaiah (56:10) calls false prophets "dumb dogs". These are they who bring in false doctrines, damnable heresies. If their work results in just one soul spending eternity in hell, they must be called what they are, dogs! Their works must be made manifest and brought to light. Elsewhere, Paul reminds us that dogs return to their own vomit. These Judaizers profess faith in Christ but turn back to the old ways, preaching works and appearances for righteousness.

Beware of evil workers - Their evil works subvert the true gospel. Paul calls for them to be pronounced "anathema" that is, accursed. They are to be shunned, not even to be wished "god speed".

Beware of the concision - in the next verse, true believers are called the "circumcision", that is, they are made to be peculiar, a covenanted people in Christ. But these dogs and evil workers are merely called "the concision." It is kind of a play on words. “Katatome” means mutilation or amputation. In other words, there are those true believers whose hearts are marked by their faith in Christ, and then there are these false believers/teachers whose lives, messages and works are marked by mutilation. They tear down rather than build up, they cut rather than repair, they dissemble instead of gather together.

Believe me, these wolves are hopping from church to church in our day, leaving decimation and ruin in their wakes. They must be identified and challenged to repent or be exposed and run off.

David felt no compunction for the bear or the lion he slew to save his sheep. Paul felt no grief in warning his spiritual prodigy. Neither should we leaders be sheepish in exposing the dogs, evil workers and mutilators.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All of Me, Not a Part, but All of Me

Today's image: Lynn and Jeremiah under the Natural Bride at Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO.

Philippians 2:20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

Paul makes this strong statement against the flesh. Sometimes it seems that nobody is truly sold out of the Lord.

As that great man of God, DL Moody, began his service for Christ, his mentor challenged him, "Dwight, the world has never seen what God can do with and for and through a man totally committed to Him." Moody responded, "By God's grace, I shall be that man." At the end of his life, even the great DL Moody, who shook two continents for God, said, "The world has yet to see what God can do what God can do with and through and for a man totally committed to Him."

As preachers, sometimes we feel as did Paul, as if there is no one likeminded, who really cares about the work of God. It seems as if everyone cares only for themselves and their own, not for the things of the Lord.

But then we are reminded that there are those Timothys and Epahrodituses who are truly sold out for the Lord, caring not for their own lives, but willing to serve no matter the cost. Aquilla and Priscilla was a fine example of a couple fully persuaded to serve Christ, no matter the consequences.

Epaphroditus forfeited his health and almost died in service to Christ and the apostle. Mercifully, God healed him and gave him additional opportunities to serve.

I suppose most of us have counted the cost of complete surrender and have found our spiritual bank accounts lacking to cover the expense. So we opt to refrain from total surrender. We cannot cede the reigns to Him for fear of having to give up some dear past time or occupation or possession, as if these things hold any import in the light of eternity.

I love the words of the song which say;
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.

And another song which says;
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow,
No turning back, not turning back.

If we were to estimate how much of our being we have given to Jesus and how much have we reserved for ourselves, I wonder what those percentages would be. Would you say that He has 10% of you? Maybe 20%? Could some say that God has 50%? God is looking to bless one who has surrendered all to Him, 100%.

Might you be that one? The World is yet to see what God can do with and through and for this type of person.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blogging From the Ozarks

The picture is from the first night at Junior Camp (Beth Eden) in which two children gave their lives to Christ. It was a fantastic chapel service which included ventriloquism, prestidigitation, preaching, music and the Spirit moving. Here, Marin, Abby and G-ma are settling in for a fun week of camp. May many souls be saved and Christian kids surrender their lives to Christ!

My devotions today included perhaps my favorite verses in the entire Bible. I so look forward to Coronation Day! I recall the 90’s when I was really riding high in sports. My favorite teams were all in complete domination of their respective leagues. The Huskers were invincible, the Bulls won 6 championships and the Broncos were enjoying a peerless run. I felt euphoric during those years as my guys were boasting the very best sports had to offer.

But one day, it will be time for the greatest of all greats to reign supreme. He will dominate for all eternity. He will be proved on that day to be matchless and undefeated. His crown will never fade and His kingdom will never fall. His name will be prized as His praise will reverberate throughout the heavens for all time. On that day my Hero, and the Hero of Heaven will raise His arms in ultimate and eternal victory.

Every knee is going to bow in reverence. Every tongue: atheist tongues, Buddhist tongues, Hindu tongues, Muslim tongues, Christian tongues will all confess Him as Lord Sovereign over all the earth and heavens.

Read and rejoice:

Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What are You Living For?

What turns your crank? It could be; working hard, playing hard, maybe even shopping hard. I particularly love to fish, hunt, shoot and watch sports. I love to travel and see historic things. I love seeing mountains, forests, lakes and streams. I like to watch the sunset, especially over the mountains or the sea. Sunrises are pretty cool too. Personally, I like to sing and listen to good southern gospel music.

But I really like what Paul told the Philippians, Phil. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Does Christ turn your crank?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Prayer for Others

Phil 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in
every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your
fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippi is the place where Paul and Silas were mistreated and jailed for the
cause of Christ. God sent an earthquake to lose their bonds a free the
missionaries. As a result, the jailer and his family became believers.

Not much fruit was evident during the days of Paul's time in Philippi, but
now he writes this letter to them expressing his deep feelings for them.

We notice that he remembered them:
*With thanks unto God
*In prayer
*With joy
*For ongoing fellowship
*For what God was continuing to do in them

I think the key here is that Paul prayed for them:
1) Each time they were mentioned.
2) Each time they occupied his thoughts.
If we would just be careful to pray for others upon these two occasions, we
could make sure they have adequate prayer cover.

Are we careful to remember our co-laborers before the Lord? Heaven will
reveal the importance of our prayers for one another.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Doing Good Has Its Reward

Eph 6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

You have heard, one good turn deserves another. That is an immutable precept taught in the Word of the Lord. Here are some other interesting promises we find:

*Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
*Give and it shall be given unto you.
*If a man would have friends, he must first show himself friendly.
*For if ye forgive not men their sins, neither shall your sins be forgiven you.
*Cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it shall return unto you.
*With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

These are just a few of the spiritual laws that God has set up in the Word. If we comport ourselves in a certain way, there is an expected consequence.

Today, we find another surefire precept that ought to get our attention and improve our life situation. Any good thing we do for others, God will do the same for us.

Recall the clear teaching of Jesus who said,
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 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.

What greater motivation do we need to be a blessing to others than to know that God is taking note of all we do for others and will return those blessings upon us accordingly.

That promise motivates me to continue giving all I can give, encourage all I can encourage, show mercy to no end, help those in need, forgive, love, aid, instruct, be kind and generally keep the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Because, actually, what I do to them is going to come back on me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jacob Have I loved!

Romans 9:13 Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.

A few thoughts here. The word “hated” here in Romans is the Greek word “miseō” which is a comparative word meaning “to despise” or “to love less”. In the context of the passage, God, through Paul, is showing how God chose Jacob over Esau as the one through whose seed the Messiah would come. There is no doubt that God loved Esau’s soul, but He despised his ways, i.e. selling his birthright for a bowl of soup. God was in no way pleased with the chicanery of Jacob either, but He looks beyond what we are and sees what we can become.

Because God is love, that does not mean He cannot hate. If we do a study of the things and even the people God hates in the Bible, it is a bit shocking for the weak of heart. But we find that perfect love demands a hatred toward that which is destructive toward the objects of His passion.

Fast forward a few millennium and look at the harm inflicted upon the apple of God’s eye, the chosen people, by the offspring of Esau (and Uncle Ishmael) and we can better understand how He “loves less” or even “despises” those who seek to annihilate them. Think: Nazis, Communists, mass murderers and their ilk. Think: Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, Lenin, etc.

God loves these abusers enough to save their souls, if they would but repent and trust in His Son. But when they continue in their bent to destroy God’s work and His people, they place themselves in the path of God’s despite.

But I digress. The passage in question deals more with God’s unconditional choice, that is, Jacob over Esau, than it does the acts and emotions of love and hatred.