“BORN AND BORN AGAIN!”

“JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID TO HIM, ‘TRULY, TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, UNLESS ONE IS BORN AGAIN HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD.'” JOHN 3:3 NIV

READ: JOHN 3:1-36

IF YOU FISH, YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD OF CRAPPIE (PRONOUNCED KROP-E’). MANY YEARS AGO, WHEN MY YOUNGEST SON WAS ABOUT 10, I TOOK HIM AND A NEIGHBOR BOY CRAPPIE FISHING IN SOUTH TEXAS. WE FOUND THE PERFECT SPOT AND STARTED LOADING OUR BOAT WITH CRAPPIE. I SPENT MOST OF MY TIME RIGGING THE BOYS’ LINES AND PUTTING FISH IN THE ICE CHEST.

ALL AT ONCE, MY ROD DOUBLED OVER. I WAS ABLE TO REEL IN A CRAPPIE THAT WEIGHED JUST UNDER FOUR POUNDS. THIS WAS AN AMAZING FISH, SINCE MOST CRAPPIE CAUGHT RANGE FROM ONE TO TWO POUNDS. FROM A BASS BOAT ABOUT 100 FEET AWAY, A MAN YELLED IN A SOUTHERN DRAWL; “THAT’S A MOUNTIN’ CRAPPIE!”. I TOLD HIM I HAD HEARD OF BLACK CRAPPIE AND WHITE CRAPPIE, BUT NEVER OF ‘MOUNTAIN CRAPPIE’. AFTER SPITTING OUT A HUGE WAD OF CHEWING TOBACCO, HE YELLED BACK: “MOUNTIN’ CRAPPIE….YOU PUT IT ON A BOARD AND YOU MOUNT IT ON THE WALL!”.

WHAT WE SAY IS NOT ALWAYS HEARD AS WHAT WE MEAN. WHAT WE HEAR IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT ANOTHER SAID.

THERE WAS A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JESUS AND NICODEMUS OF BEING BORN AGAIN. NICODEMUS HAD A PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING WHAT JESUS WAS TELLING HIM. NICODEMUS WAS NOT ALONE. THESE VERSES ARE SOME OF THE MOST UNDERSTOOD VERSES BY THOSE WHO ARE NON-BELIEVERS. AS CONFUSING AS SOME WOULD BELIEVE, THESES VERSES ARE SOME OF THE EASIEST WORDS OF GOD’S WORDS TO UNDERSTAND. NOT ONLY SHOULD WE UNDERSTAND JESUS WORDS, WE SHOULD BE EXCITED TO TELL OTHERS THE REAL MEANING OF BEING BORN AGAIN.

AS NICODEMUS HEARD JESUS, HE IMAGINED BEING BORN AGAIN AS RETURNING TO A MOTHER’S WOMB TO BE BORN AGAIN! JESUS CAREFULLY EXPLAINED THE DIFFERENCE OF BEING BORN AS AN EARTHLY CHILD AND BEING BORN AGAIN OF THE SPIRIT.

YOU MAY CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY WITH A PARTY AND CAKE. PEOPLE WHO CARE FOR YOU MAY GIVE YOU PRESENTS TO CELEBRATE. DO YOU CELEBRATE YOUR BORN AGAIN BIRTH DATE? JESUS GAVE YOU THE BEST PRESENT YOU WILL EVER GET. JESUS TOOK AWAY THE DEATH OF SIN WHEN HE GAVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE. BEING BORN AGAIN IS THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE ETERNITY WITH GOD.

IF YOU ARE NOT BORN AGAIN, IS IT NOT TIME? GIVE YOURSELF TO JESUS TODAY AND ACCEPT HIS GIVE OF SALVATION AND A ONE WAY TICKET TO HEAVEN!

TODAY’S PRAYER: “JESUS, THANK YOU FOR FORGIVING ME OF ALL MY TERRIBLE MISTAKES. THANK YOU FOR GIVING YOUR LIFE SO THAT I MAY LIVE. BEING BORN AGAIN IS MORE THAN JUST TWO WORDS TO ME. BEING BORN AGAIN IS A WAY OF LIFE. THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME. AMEN.”

“GOD SAID WHAT?”

“GOD SAID TO MOSES, ‘I AM WHO I AM. THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY TO THE ISRAELITES: ‘I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU.'” EXODUS 3:14 NIV

READ: EXODUS 17: 1-6 AND NUMBERS 20:1-12

HAVE YOU EVER PRAYED FOR SOMETHING AND FELT YOU HEARD GOD, BUT STILL UNSURE OF WHAT GOD CLEARLY TOLD YOU? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. SOMETIMES, IT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS.

MANY TIMES GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS ARE SO SPECIFIC; THERE IS NO WAY WE COULD MESS IT UP. OTHER TIMES, WE CAN BE UNSURE OF GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS AND NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME IN PRAYER FOR CLARITY. THEN, THERE ARE THE TIMES WE HEAR HIS ANSWERS AND HALFWAY THROUGH WE DECIDE WE KNOW IT ALL. THIS IS THE TIME WE NEED TO STOP. THIS IS THE TIME WE ARE PUTTING OURSELVES AND OUR OPINIONS EQUAL TO OR ABOVE GOD.

MOSES WAS A SPECIAL MAN. GOD USED HIM TO FREE HIS PEOPLE AND THEN TO BIND THEM TOGETHER FOR FORTY YEARS IN THE DESERT. SOME SAY THEY WANDERED. GOD WAS USING THIS TIME TO BRING THEM CLOSER TO HIM. MOSES WAS THEIR LEADER AND TEACHER. MOSES WAS ALSO DISCIPLINED BY GOD.

IN EXODUS 17, THE PEOPLE WENT TO MOSES COMPLAINING AND TELLING HIM THEIR MASSES NEEDED WATER. MOSES PRAYED TO GOD. FOLLOWING GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS, MOSES STRUCK THE ROCK AND WATER FLOWED FOR THE PEOPLE. MOSES FOLLOWED GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS.

DECADES LATER, THE PEOPLE ONCE AGAIN WENT TO MOSES WHEN THEY LACKED ENOUGH WATER. IN NUMBERS 20, MOSES AND AARON PRAYED. GOD TOLD MOSES TO ‘SPEAK’ TO THE ROCK IN FRONT OF THE ASSEMBLY. INSTEAD, MOSES TOOK HAS STAFF AS HE HAD DONE MANY YEARS BEFORE AND STUCK THE ROCK. HIS ACTIONS WERE GOOD IN PURPOSE AND GOD BLESSED HIS PEOPLE WITH FRESH WATER. YET, AS GOOD AS MOSES DID; MOSES DID NOT FOLLOW GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS. AFTER DECADES OF OBEDIENCE, MOSES DID AS HE PLEASED AND AS HE HAD DONE BEFORE. HE STRUCK THE ROCK INSTEAD OF SPEAKING TO IT AS GOD HAS TOLD HIM TO DO.

GOD’S DISCIPLINE WAS IMMEDIATE. GOD TOLD MOSES OF HIS DISOBEDIENCE. MOSES WAS NOT ALLOWED TO LEAD HIS PEOPLE OR ENTER THE PROMISED LAND!

JUST AS GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS CHANGED WITH MOSES, HIS INSTRUCTIONS CAN CHANGE WITH US. WE HAVE GOD’S BIBLE TO GUIDE US IN LIVING IN THIS CONFUSING WORLD. STILL, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE NEED TO GO TO GOD IN PRAYER. WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF GOD’S VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. GOD HAS HIS REASONS FOR HIS SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. WE MUST BE OBEDIENT IN EACH SPECIFIC SITUATION. WE CAN HEAR SPECIFIC ANSWERS WHEN WE PRAY SPECIFIC PRAYERS.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD, THANK YOU FOR FORGIVING ME WHEN I FAIL YOU. THANK YOU FOR YOUR DISCIPLINE IN TEACHING ME YOUR WAYS ARE BETTER THAN MINE. HELP ME TODAY TO CLEARLY HEAR YOUR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. AMEN.”

“FIXER”

“COME TO ME, ALL WHO ARE WEARY AND HEAVY-LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. TAKE MY YOKE UPON UPON YOU AND LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. FOR MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.” MATTHEW 11: 28-30 NIV

READ: MATTHEW 23: 11-24

ARE YOU A FIXER? DO OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS SEEM EASIER TO FIX THAN YOUR OWN?

WHEN WE SEE THE PROBLEMS OF OTHERS, WE MUST BE OBEDIENT TO GOD. SOMETIMES OUR EFFORTS TO FIX ANOTHER’S PROBLEM IS A HELPING HAND, WHILE AT OTHER TIMES WE CAN BE INTERFERING. I AM REMINDED OF A LADY MANY YEARS AGO WHO WOULD RUN TO THE AID OF ANYONE WITH A PROBLEM. IN HINDSIGHT, HER EFFORTS WERE SELFISH. SHE ACTUALLY OFFERED LITTLE HELP, BUT ONLY GATHERED INFORMATION SHE USED TO ENFORCE HER GOSSIP.

IN ORDER TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE, WE MUST START WITH PRAYER. BEFORE GOING TO THE PERSON IN TROUBLE, ASK GOD WHAT YOU ARE TO DO. THEN, TELL THE PERSON OF YOUR TIME IN PRAYER AND ‘ASK’ HOW YOU CAN BE OF HELP. IT MAY BE BEST FOR THEM AND YOU TO BE A COMFORTING EAR TO LISTEN. WHAT OTHERS NEED MOST ARE PRAYERS. THEY MAY ALSO NEED PHYSICAL HELP OR FINANCIAL HELP. OFFER TO HELP, BUT DON’T BECOME A BURDEN. LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE THERE BECAUSE YOU CARE. TAKE THE TIME TO PRAY WITH THEM. KEEP IN MIND; IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR MOST TO ASK FOR HELP AND STILL DIFFICULT FOR MANY TO ACCEPT HELP. IN THESE SITUATIONS, IT MAY SEEM THAT WHATEVER YOU DO IS NOT ENOUGH AT THE TIME. BUT, WHAT YOU DO PRAYERFULLY WILL BE BEST.

TAKE THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE HELPING OTHERS. IF FOR ANY REASON YOU ARE GATHERING ATTENTION OR BENEFITING YOURSELF, EVALUATE WHY YOU ARE HELPING. OUR GREATEST BENEFIT AND PAYMENT SHOULD BE THE SILENT THANKFULNESS FROM GOD AND NOTHING FROM OTHERS. IN ANY CASE, DON’T BE LIKE THE PHARISEES.

YOU CAN’T MAKE SOMEONE ELSE HAPPY, HEALTHIER, MORE SECURE, WEALTHY, STRONGER OR MORE HONEST. YOU CAN’T…BUT GOD CAN.

DON’T FORGET YOURSELF. SOMETIMES, WE LOOK AT REACHING OUT TO OTHERS WHEN WE ARE THE ONES WHO NEED ‘FIXING’ THE MOST. WE MAY HAVE DECIDED OUR PROBLEMS DON’T NEED FIXING OR OUR PROBLEMS MAY SEEM SO MONUMENTAL WE RUN FROM THE IDEA OF EVEN THINKING ABOUT THEM. WE, FIRST, NEED TO CONCENTRATE UPON FIXING OURSELVES THAN FIXING OTHERS. FIXING OURSELVES STARTS WITH PRAYER. A GOOD LONG TALK WITH GOD ABOUT YOUR TROUBLES WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHERE YOU NEED TO START.

WHEN HELPING ANOTHER OR ‘FIXING’ YOUR OWN PROBLEMS, DEPEND UPON GOD’S STRENGTH AND GUIDANCE AND NOT YOUR OWN.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “PRECIOUS LORD, THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME. GIVE ME PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING TO HELP THOSE YOU HAVE PUT IN MY PATH. I, ALSO, ASK FOR UNDERSTANDING MYSELF AND HOW TO WALK IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS AS YOU WOULD HAVE. AMEN.”

“HOME ALONE”

“I CRY TO YOU LORD; I SAY, ‘YOU ARE MY REFUGE, MY PORTION IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.'” PSALM 142: 5 NIV

READ: PSALM 142: 1-7

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, WHAT WAS TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST WATCHED MOVIES OF ALL TIMES DEBUTED. ‘HOME ALONE’ HAS BECOME A CLASSIC. WITH THE PREMISE OF A YOUNG BOY LEFT UNINTENTIONALLY AT HOME, THE LARGE FAMILY AND THEIR EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS WERE ON THEIR WAY TO EUROPE. THE COMEDY ENSUED WITH THE YOUNG BOY FENDING FOR HIMSELF AND FOILING THE EFFORTS OF TWO BUNGLING HOUSE BURGLARS.

DAVID IN HIS EXILE WHILE ESCAPING SAUL FOUND HIMSELF ALL ALONE. WHILE HIDING IN CAVES, HIS THOUGHTS AT TIMES WERE OF HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT SEEMINGLY HAD ABANDONED HIM. STILL, DAVID CALLED UPON THE LORD.

AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, WE HAVE ALL FELT ‘HOME ALONE’. LIFE CAN PUT US IN SITUATIONS WHERE IT SEEMS THERE IS NO ONE THERE FOR US AT THE MOMENT. WE MAY FEEL AS IF WE HAVE BEEN ABANDONED IN A CAVE. OF COURSE, THESE ARE FALSE FEARS. SATAN CAN PLANT THESE DOUBTS. SATAN WILL USE OUR FEARS TO TEAR US DOWN. GOD WILL TAKE AWAY OUR FEARS AND LIFT US UP. IT IS UP TO US TO TAKE OUR FEARS TO GOD AND TO DEPEND UPON HIS STRENGTH.

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. IF YOU HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR, THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS WITHIN YOU….GOD’S PROOF HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU…EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL ABANDONED AND ‘HOME ALONE’.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD GOD, TAKE AWAY MY DOUBTS, FEARS AND INSECURITIES. HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND IN MY FEARS OF DARKEST ABANDONMENT, I AM NOT EVER ALONE. LET ME FEEL YOUR LOVING ARMS OF SUPPORT AS YOU EMBRACE MY BROKEN SPIRIT. AMEN.”

“MISSED THE BOAT!”

“JESUS ANSWERED, ‘I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.'” JOHN 14:6 NIV

READ: JOHN 3: 1-18

OVER 50 YEARS AGO, BILL ANDERSON RECORDED A FUN SONG ABOUT WHY THERE ARE NO UNICORNS. THE SONG WAS A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT OF COURSE WITH LYRICS TAKING US BACK TO THE DAYS OF NOAH AND THE ARC. THE MELODY TELLS US HOW THE UNICORNS ‘MISSED THE BOAT’. THE SONG TELLS US OF NOAH FINISHING THE ARC AND HIS CHECKING TO BE SURE ALL THE ANIMALS WERE ACCOUNTED FOR…EXCEPT FOR THE UNICORNS. AS THE RAINS SET IN, NOAH SAW THE UNICORNS PLAYING IN THE WOODS. THEY WERE SO CAUGHT UP IN THE REFRESHING RAIN, THEY PAID NO ATTENTION TO NOAH’S PLEAS. THE UNICORNS ‘MISSED THE BOAT!”.

SO, NOW YOU KNOW WHY WE DON’T HAVE UNICORNS ACCORDING TO MR. ANDERSON. THE UNICORNS SIMPLY ‘MISSED THE BOAT’.

HOW ABOUT YOU? IF YOU HAD BEEN AT THE CLOSING OF THE DOORS OF THE RAMP, WOULD YOU HAVE MISSED THE BOAT? OF ALL THE INHABITANTS, GOD ALLOWED ONLY NOAH AND HIS FAMILY ON THE ARC. SCRIPTURES TELL US ONLY A PORTION OF US WILL FIND THE FAITH TO TRUST, BELIEVE AND ACCEPT JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR. ARE YOU ARRANGING YOUR LIFE TO MAKE PASSAGE ON GOD’S BOAT? AT ANY TIME, YOUR BOAT MAY BE LEAVING. WILL YOU ‘MISS THE BOAT”?

JESUS GAVE YOU A PERSONAL INVITATION TO NOT ‘MISS THE BOAT’. JOHN 14:6 TELLS US IN JESUS’ OWN WORDS HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN. WE HAVE ONLY ONE CHANCE TO GET TO HEAVEN. WE CAN ONLY GO TO HEAVEN IF WE ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR. JOHN 14:6 IS AN EXCELLENT COMPLIMENT TO JOHN 3:16 WHICH TELLS US GOD SO LOVED US, HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON SO THAT WE CAN SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN WITH HIM.

DON’T ‘MISS THE BOAT!’.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “ABBA FATHER, THANK YOU FOR GUARANTEED PASSAGE TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH YOU. MY FAITH IS SECURED IN KNOWING YOU HAVE A PLACE FOR ME. HELP ME TODAY TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT YOU SO THEY DON’T ‘MISS THE BOAT’. AMEN. ”

“SHOWERS OR FLOODS?”

FOR YEARS, MOST OF TEXAS HAS BEEN IN A DROUGHT. A FEW SPRING SHOWERS RECENTLY HAVE BEEN BLESSINGS TO SAY THE LEAST. STILL IN A DEEP DROUGHT, A SPRING FULL OF THUNDERSTORMS WOULD BE VERY HELPFUL. WITH AQUIFERS DESPERATELY LOW AND MANY LAKES REDUCED TO LITTLE MORE THAN MUD HOLES, A LOT OF RAIN IS DESPERATELY NEEDED RAIN COULD HELP FILL WATER SUPPLIES AND AN ABUNDANCE OF RAIN COULD ALSO CLEANSE OUR LANDS AND CITIES. WITHOUT WATER, WE CANNOT LIVE. WATER IS NECESSARY FOR VERY EXISTENCE.

WE MIGHT ALSO BE REMINDED OF THE ADAGE; ‘WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS’. WE USE THIS PHRASE WHEN IT SEEMS AS IF THE SHOWERS IN OUR LIVES HAVE TURNED INTO FLOODS OF PROBLEMS. HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR PROBLEMS WERE SO MONUMENTAL THAT YOU COULDN’T DEAL WITH THEM? IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THESE TIMES, YOU NOW UNDERSTAND IN SPITE OF THE STORMS IN LIFE, YOU HAVE SURVIVED! OF COURSE, THOSE WERE DIFFICULT TIMES AND THE MEMORIES OF THE PAIN AND SUFFERING CAN LAST A LIFETIME.

IF YOU ARE GOING THRU A STORM IN YOUR LIFE, UNDERSTAND IT IS OK TO NEED AND ASK FOR HELP. THESE STORMS MAY SEEM LIKE THEY WILL DESTROY YOU. THE STORM YOU ARE IN CAN BE LESS DAMAGING WITH GOD ON YOUR SIDE. DURING THE FLOODS, ACCEPT GOD’S HELP. GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE. ARE YOU ON GOD’S SIDE? ARE YOU ALLOWING GOD TO BE THERE FOR YOU OR ARE YOU BLOCKING HIM OUT AND ATTEMPTING TO DEPEND UPON YOURSELF?

WHEN MOSES WAS CHOSEN TO LEAD THE ISRAELITES OUT OF EGYPT, HE WAS NOT PREPARED FOR ALL THE PROBLEMS. WHEN JOB LEARNED HIS CHILDREN WERE ALL KILLED, ALL OF HIS LIVESTOCK STOLEN AND HIS HEALTH CHALLENGED; HE WAS NOT PREPARED. WHEN JOSEPH WAS SOLD MY HIS BROTHERS, HE WAS NOT PREPARED. YET, ALL WERE DEPENDENT UPON GOD TO GIVE THEM THE STRENGTH TO DEAL WITH THEIR PAINS AND DIFFICULTIES. EACH ACCEPTED GOD’S HELP WHEN THE FLOODS POURED DOWN UPON THEM. DON’T FORGET NOAH. HE KNEW THE FLOODS AND PROBLEMS FIRST HAND! WE CAN LEARN FROM SCRIPTURES. GOD WAS THERE TO PROTECT. HE IS STILL HERE TO PROTECT YOU TODAY.

YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THE FLOOD OF PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE, BUT YOU CAN ACCEPT GOD’S HELP AND DEPEND UPON HIM TO BE YOUR UMBRELLA. GOD CAN USE THESE TROUBLING STORMS TO CLEANSE AND WASH AWAY YOUR PROBLEMS AND REDUCE THEM TO SHOWERS.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH ME WHEN I NEED YOU THE MOST. GIVE ME FAITH WHEN IT SEEMS MY WORLD IS CAVING IN ON ME. I KNOW, WITH YOUR HELP, I CAN ENDURE ALL. YOUR STRENGTH IS ALL THE LOVE I NEED. AMEN!”

“THE END OF THE EARTH!”

“AND JESUS CAME UP AND SPOKE TO THEM, SAYING, “ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH. GO THEREFORE AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE.” MATTHEW 28: 18-20 NIV

READ: LUKE 12: 1-8

IN PREPARATION FOR A CHURCH REVIVAL, I SHARE WITH THE CHURCH MEMBERS THE FOLLOWING STORY.

THERE WAS A COUNCIL OF PASTORS MEETING AT A CONFERENCE IN RUSSIA. ONE BY ONE, THEY EACH STOOD AND INTRODUCED THEMSELVES, TELLING A LITTLE OF THEIR MINISTRY, THEIR HOME CHURCH AND WHERE THEY WERE FROM. AS THIS WORKED AROUND THE CONFERENCE ROOM, ONE PASTOR STOOD, INTRODUCED HIMSELF AND SAID HE WAS THE ONLY ONE AT THE CONFERENCE WHO HAD TRULY PERFORMED THE GREAT COMMISSION. THE CROWD OF MINISTERS WAS SHOCKED! HOW COULD THIS MAN OF GOD BE SO SELF RIGHTEOUS?

HE THEN TOLD THEM THAT HE WAS FROM YAMAL. INSTANTLY, A ROARING LAUGHTER FILLED THE CONFERENCE ROOM. YOU SEE, YAMAL IS FAR NORTH OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE. YAMAL, TRANSLATED, LITERALLY MEANS ‘THE END OF THE EARTH’. SO, IN TRUTH, THE STANDING MINISTER HAD TAKEN THE GOSPEL TO ‘THE END OF THE EARTH’ AS SCRIPTURES TELL US TO DO.

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE IS ‘THE GREAT COMMISSION’, GIVEN TO US BY JESUS HIMSELF. WE DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL TO YAMAL OR ANOTHER DESTINATION TO FULFILL OUR ASSIGNED DUTIES AS CHRISTIANS. WHILE MISSIONARIES ARE DOING WONDERS IN CHRIST’S NAME AROUND THE WORLD, VERY LITTLE TRAVEL IS REQUIRED OF MOST OF US.

YOU MAY HAVE TO ‘TRAVEL’ ACROSS YOUR YARD TO YOUR NEIGHBOR NEXT DOOR, VISIT WITH A CO-WORKER AT THEIR DESK, GIVE A DEVOTIONAL TO THE CASHIER AT THE GROCERY STORE OR TO YOUR WAITER AT A RESTAURANT. MAKING DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS STARTS WITH WHERE YOU ARE. TELL THEM ABOUT JOHN 14:6, “I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THRU ME.”

….AND THE TIME TO START….TODAY!

TODAY’S PRAYER: “FATHER, THANK YOU FOR TRUSTING ME TO DO YOUR WILL. GIVE ME INSIGHT AND STRENGTH TO DELIVER YOUR WORD TO THOSE I KNOW AND COME IN CONTACT WITH TODAY. HELP ME TO HELP OTHERS TO BE YOUR DISCIPLES AS YOU HAVE INSTRUCTED. I ASK THIS IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN.”

“YOU’VE GOT MAIL”

“YOU KNOW THE MESSAGE GOD SENT TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, ANNOUNCING THE GOOD NEWS OF PEACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS LORD OF ALL. ACTS 10:36 NIV

READ: PSALM 29:1-11

“YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” THIS SLANG TERM SOMETIMES DICTATES OUR DAY. WITH THE ADVANCES OF THE INTERNET, WE WERE AMAZED JUST A FEW YEARS AGO OF THIS NEW FOUND COMMUNICATION. TODAY, WE RECEIVE EMAILS ON OUR OFFICE COMPUTERS, LAPTOPS, MOBILE PHONES, TABLETS AND OTHER PERSONAL DEVICES. THE EMAIL IS GIVING WAY TO THOSE IMMEDIATE TEXT MESSAGES. ANYTIME, ANYPLACE YOU CAN REACH OUT TO ANYONE AND THEY CAN REACH YOU. OUR PRIVACY AND PERSONAL TIME CAN CERTAINLY BE INVADED. SOMETIMES, IT CAN BE OVERWHELMING. BUT, THE OPPOSITE WOULD BE SAD. WHAT IF NO ONE CONTACTED YOU?

I CAN REMEMBER AS A CHILD WATCHING FOR THE MAILMAN. IT WAS AN EXCITING TIME OF DAY IN HOPES WE WOULD GET MAIL WE WERE ANXIOUS FOR A LETTER OR POSTCARD FROM A DISTANT RELATIVE OR FAMILY FRIEND. GETTING MAIL WAS EXCITING. WHAT ONCE WAS A TIME OF EXCITEMENT IS NOW OFTEN TAKEN FOR GRANTED AND JUST AS OFTEN TAKEN AS AN INTERRUPTION.

HOW ABOUT YOUR SPIRITUAL WALK? DO YOU TAKE GOD’S ‘MAIL’ FOR GRANTED OR AS AN INTERRUPTION TO YOUR DAY. DO YOU START YOUR DAY WITH HIM? DURING THE DAY, GOD SENDS YOU ‘MAIL’. GOD’S MAIL MAY BE HIS THUNDEROUS VOICE OR HIS GENTLE WHISPER IN SOME AUDIBLE WAY OR A TUGGING WITHIN OUR HEART. HIS ‘MAIL’ TO US MAY BE IN A SIGN WE RECEIVE AS GOD USES OTHERS TO TALK TO US. IN ORDER TO HEAR, WE HAVE TO LISTEN AND PAY ATTENTION. AS A BELIEVER, THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS IN YOU. DO YOU BLOCK HIM OUT OF YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU FOCUS ON WORLDLY ACTIVITIES? THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THAT LITTLE VOICE INSIDE THAT GUIDES YOU IN GOD’S WILL.

WHEN YOU WERE FIRST SAVED, WAS THERE AN EXCITEMENT IN GOD’S WORD THAT IS LACKING TODAY? WERE YOU ANXIOUS TO GO TO CHURCH AND BIBLE STUDY TO LEARN MORE? WHAT WAS AN EXCITING TIME FOR MANY HAS TURNED INTO A TIME OF OBLIGATION. IT IS NOT ABOUT NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME. IT IS ONLY ABOUT PUTTING GOD BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE. THERE IS TIME TO READ GOD’S WORD EVERY DAY, TIME TO PRAY GIVING THANKS FOR ALL GOD HAS GIVEN YOU OR TO SAY A PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO YOU KNOW ARE IN NEED IF GOD IS YOUR PRIORITY. YOUR TIME IS A GIFT FROM GOD. IT IS HIS TIME GIVEN TO YOU. USE IT WISELY.

GOD HAS ‘MAIL’ FOR YOU. LISTEN FOR GOD’S VOICE. OPEN YOUR ‘INBOX’ AND RECEIVE ALL GOD HAS TO TELL YOU. LISTEN, THEN SEND A SPECIAL PRAYER ‘PRIORITY MAIL’ TO YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR.

TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD, THANK YOU FOR ALWAYS BEING HERE FOR ME. HELP ME TODAY BE FOCUSED UPON YOU. MAY I UNDERSTAND HOW TO LISTEN TO YOUR VOICE AND TO BE WITH YOU IN SOLITARY PRAYER AS I GO THROUGH THE DUTIES OF MY DAY. THANK YOU FOR HEARING MY PRAYERS AND GUIDING ME ALONG YOUR ROUTE. AMEN.”

‘RICH AND FAMOUS’

“FOR YOU KNOW THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT THOUGH HE WAS RICH, YET FOR YOUR SAKE HE BECAME POOR, SO THAT YOU THROUGH HIS POVERTY MIGHT BECOME RICH.” 2 CORINTHIANS 8:9 NIV

READ: PROVERBS 28:20-28

WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY THAT IS MORE AND MORE OBSESSED WITH BEING RICH OR FAMOUS OR BOTH. THE OBSESSION HAS GONE FROM WANTING IT YOURSELF TO IDOLIZING THOSE WHO ARE RICH AND FAMOUS. WITH THE TABLOIDS, TELEVISION SHOWS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS AND THE INTERNET BLASTING US WITH THIS INFORMATION 24/7, IT IS HARD TO IGNORE. IT SEEMS MANY WHO HAVE DECIDED THEY WILL NOT HAVE RICHES OR FAME ARE WILLING TO SACRIFICE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENVY OTHERS. NEWS ACCOUNTS DOCUMENT THE FALLEN LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS.

PRISONS HAVE AN ABUNDANCE OF PEOPLE WHO STOLE, EMBEZZLED AND CHEATED IN ORDER TO HAVE RICHES THAT BELONGED TO SOMEONE ELSE. OUR SOCIETY HAS A GROWING NUMBER WHO FEEL THEY ARE ENTITLED TO ANYTHING THEY WANT WITHOUT HAVING TO WORK FOR IT. INSTANT WEALTH IS A GIVEN NECESSITY FOR MORE AND MORE. GLUTTONY FOR MONEY AND ‘THINGS’ IS A WAY OF LIFE FOR MANY…TOO MANY.

FAME IS THE SAME. MORE AND MORE WANT TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. FROM SEEMINGLY INNOCENT TALENT SHOWS PROFESSING TO MAKE THE WINNER AN OVERNIGHT STAR TO THOSE WHO WILL DO ANYTHING TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT.. THERE ARE WARPED MEN AND WOMEN WHO WILL TURN TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES JUST FOR THE MEDIA ATTENTION AND TEMPORARY FAME.

HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU DESIRE MORE THAN YOU NEED…MORE THAN GOD HAS REWARDED YOU WITH? DO YOU NEED TO HAVE THE NEWEST AND THE LATEST PHONES, MEDIA DEVICES, CLOTHES, CARS AND MORE? HOW ABOUT FAME? DO YOU NEED TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION? DO YOU HAVE A NEED OF BEING MORE IMPORTANT THAN SOMEONE ELSE?

UNTOLD FORTUNE AND FAME AWAITS. MAYBE, YOU ARE LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACE.

JESUS HAS PROMISED US ALL THE RICHES WE CAN EVER IMAGINE. RICHES OF THIS EARTH THAT YOU ACCUMULATE WILL DO YOU NO GOOD. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. BUT, JESUS HAS PROMISED US WEALTH THAT WE CAN TAKE WITH US FOR ALL ETERNITY. HEAVEN IS DESCRIBED IN SCRIPTURE AS A GOLDEN CITY, TRANSPARENT AS GLASS AND ADORNED WITH EVERY JEWEL WITH 12 GATES EACH MADE WITH A SINGLE HUGE PEARL. HEAVEN HAS MORE RICHES THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

GOD OFFERS YOU FAME AS WELL. YOU CAN BE KNOWN AS THE GREAT PRAYER WARRIOR, TALKING TO GOD FOR THE BENEFIT OF OTHERS. YOU CAN BE THAT LADY WHO DIDN’T GIVE HER NAME BUT PAID FOR THE FAMILIES DINNER OR THE MAN THAT GAVE MONEY TO THE HOMELESS MAN ON THE STREET. WILL YOU BE FAMOUS TO ONE FOR INTRODUCING THEM TO THEIR SAVIOR? ALL THESE THING YOU WILL FIND THE GREATEST FAME…WITH GOD.

‘RICH AND FAMOUS’ ARE YOURS FOR THE TAKING. GIVE OF YOURSELF AND GOD WILL REWARD YOU WITH RICHES AND FAME FOR ALL ETERNITY…STARTING WITH FORGIVING YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER DONE WRONG!

TODAY’S PRAYER: “JESUS, THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME ALL I WILL EVER NEED. HELP ME TODAY TO BE HUMBLE WITH ALL I COME IN CONTACT WITH. HELP ME TO GIVE OF MYSELF AND REWARD ME WITH YOUR RICHES AND FAME. TEACH ME NOT TO BE CORRUPTED BY WORLDLY RICHES AND FAME. THANK YOU, LORD, FOR LOVING ME THIS MUCH. AMEN.”