“TURN YOUR HEART . . . NOT YOUR CALENDAR!”

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”   Psalm 27:14 NIV

 

Read:   Psalm 27:1-14

 

With the closing of 2017, many are glad to see the year ending with great hopes for a better 2018 year.   The truth is if we put our hope and faith in the turning of a page on the calendar we are preparing for a great disappointment.   The calendar doesn’t change a thing.

 

The calendar displaying a new year’s date will not heal the serious illness, mend a broken heart, restore stolen property or give you a new job.

 

Any and all restoration; spiritually, physically or emotionally will come about only through faith in our LIVING GOD.   By faithfully understanding GOD alone has a timetable for all these things, we can find comfort in waiting.   His timing may be at the turning of a calendar page, but it may also mean waiting another year or even a decade.  We often are students, during difficult times, being taught patience.

 

Find peace in knowing GOD is in control and all is under HIS control not ours.   Trust and believe in all HE can do and has done for you.   In time, not necessarily at the stroke of midnight, your life can change.   Meanwhile, take your request to GOD.   Make your request a vigil under our LORD.  Then, wait for HIS calendar to change…not yours.

 

Today’s prayer: “GOD OF ALL HEAVEN AND EARTH, Thank YOU for YOUR wisdom  and YOUR timetable.  Help me to be more patient and to wait for YOU to guide me in all things.   Amen.”

 

“TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!”

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”   Matthew 38:19 NIV

 

Read:  Matthew 28:16-20

 

The phone rings and you hear a voice long forgotten or maybe pushing a shopping cart through the grocery store a face appears you barely remember.   These unexpected encounters remind us of how little we know of GOD’S plan for our lives.

 

GOD’S ancient people were so concerned about their daily lives they grew faithless.   For thousands of years they had been promised a MESSIAH.  JESUS was born, just as all the prophesies of the Old Testament had taught.  Still, with the star shining bright above that manger, GOD in human flesh laid in a bed of straw.

 

Most of us have still not progressed very far.   The majority of the world  knows of JESUS, yet refuses to believe.   Even more who claim to believer, have better things to do than do as GOD has told them.

 

We are told to come together to worship.   Will you gather with other believers today?   We are told to make disciples of all….not to just tell others about our RISEN SAVIOUR…but, to make disciples of all nations.   Are you making disciples of others?  Telling others about JESUS is only part of HIS instruction. This command was given to all believers…including you.

 

Are you a passive believer or are you a true disciple of CHRIST?   If JESUS returned today would you be ready or would HE arrive totally unexpected?

 

Today’s prayer:   “JESUS,  Thank YOU for being my SAVIOUR.  I want to be YOUR disciple and to share YOUR gospel message to others.  Help me to share your message with others who will then take YOUR message to even more.  Amen.”

 

 

“WHAT DID YOU GET?”

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matthew 6:3-4 NIV

 

Read:  Matthew 6:1-4

 

Within hours, we will hear “What did you get?” almost in every house across our nation.   We are so attuned to getting; we seem to have forgotten the real meaning of CHRISTMAS.

 

When someone asks ‘What did you get for CHRISTMAS?’;  joyfully tell them:   I got my SAVIOURS’ love!   There is no better gift you could receive.   And…be sure to prayerfully thank JESUS for loving you.  When you tell others of JESUS’ love, you have given them the best gift you could give.   You have given them the gospel message.

 

While you are counting your Blessings, count one more.   Thank your pastor for all he is doing.   Unless you are in a mega church, the chances are your pastor is tremendously under paid.   Most pastors of small to medium sized churches work 7 days a week, then the phone rings at 2 a.m. and he is off the hospital for someone’s emergency.  Be in the gifting mood.  Put a $20, $50, $100 or whatever you can give in an envelope and give it to your pastor with two sincere words;  “Thank you!”.

 

Prepare your heart to be a giver rather than a getter this coming year.  Keep in mind everything you have is a gift from GOD and all you can give is part of what HE has given you.

 

Today’s prayer: “Thank YOU, JESUS, for saving a wretch like me.   I owe YOU more than I could ever repay.   Please be with me this CHRISTMAS to spread YOUR good news; giving YOUR gospel instead of getting things I do not need.   Amen.”

 

“IT IS ALL IN YOUR MIND!”

“When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.”

Job 9:11 NIV

 

Read:   Job 9:1-11

 

 

Perception…it is all in our minds.  When we look at something we believe it is what it is based upon information or the lack of information we have learned from previous observations and teachings.

 

Have you ever questioned what GOD looks like or how GOD created HIMSELF?   When we try to imagine the physical characteristics of GOD, we attempt to use human qualities.   Despite what we imagine, we have no idea of the scope or person of GOD.

 

Draw a dot on a piece of paper and you can see the size of it, but you cannot see the thickness.  Raise it off the paper and you can see height, width and depth.  If round like a ball, you cannot see where the ball’s surface or interior began or ends.

 

GOD is like that.   There is no beginning or end.   GOD came from GOD.  If you want to know more of GOD than what we know, you will find out when you go to Heaven.  Spending eternity with GOD is the only way to know more.  If you don’t go to Heaven, you don’t know GOD in your daily life and you will never know HIM.

 

This minute, you have a choice.   Accept JESUS as your risen saviour and know the true GOD of eternity; THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT.  Reject HIM and you will never know all of GOD.  Stop trying to figure HIM out in your mind and feel HIM in your heart.

 

Today’s prayer: “LORD, MY GOD, Thank YOU for sending YOUR SON to take the sins from me so that I might live.   Help me to understand YOUR love and to radiate that love to others.   Amen.”

“IT AIN’T ME!”

“But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”   2Corinthians 10:17-18 NIV

 

Read 2Corinthians 10:1-18

 

From my northeast Texas ancestry, “It ain’t me” could be taken for proper English.   Proper or not, there are times we would all like to take credit for something we have no rights to claim and other times to avoid association, we would chime in with “It ain’t me!”.

 

I wear a lot of hats in this ministry and I am often asked how I do all I do.  My answer is easy; “It ain’t me!”   I do what I do only because I am not capable.  Preaching, writing devotionals, helping pastors and churches and remodeling the house to be used as a pastors’ retreat is what GOD is doing through me.  It ain’t me…it is GOD!

 

Today’s scriptures tell us of Paul and the other disciples desires to deliver the gospel without any credit of their own.   Paul had been an evil man and this humble attitude was opposite from whom he had been.

 

How about you?   Do you have a humble attitude in all you do?   You can be like Paul.   You can take on a life of submissive achievement.  Take on the world with the confidence that can come only from GOD.   Lay your ego aside and trust in our RISEN SAVIOUR.

 

Today’s prayer: “LORD, Thank YOU for all you do through me.   Help me to do more, much more, as I listen to YOUR instructions.   I am ready for YOU to use me as YOU desire.   Amen.”

 

 

“THE KNIFE CUTS!”

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.”  Romans 3:19 NIV

 

Read:  Romans 3:19-24

 

My mother’s father was a simple man of few words, yet you could feel his love and kindness.  ‘Dirt poor’ was an old expression I learned as a child and it described him well.

 

When I was 12, while I was with him in his rickety tool shed, he told me to get a nickel from my mother.  Returning, I gave him the nickel.   Then he reached on a shelf and gave me a large pocket knife,   He told me he was selling it to me for the nickel.   That way, if I cut myself, he would not be responsible since I bought the knife.  He said, if he had given it to me, he would be responsible for my carelessness.

 

In Papa’s sweet simple mind, he removed all responsibility of his actions by transferring the responsibility to me since I bought the knife from him and it was not his gift to me.   All too often, we attempt to transfer our own responsibilities through misguided efforts.

 

Peter tried to save his own skin with misguided efforts by denying he knew JESUS three times.  When the rooster crowed the third time, guilt came home to roost (no pun intended).   It took the crowing of the rooster to remind Peter of what JESUS had told him.  Still scared, but Peter became one of the great disciples of CHRIST.

 

You can become great in all you do as well.   Pick up the Cross and accept the responsibilities JESUS gave to you.

 

Today’s prayer:  “My sovereign LORD, Thank YOU for being tolerant of me when I am less than accountable for my own actions and shift the blame to others.   I will be more responsible for my actions, words and thoughts.  Amen.”

 

“LESS OF ME, MORE OF THEE!”

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 7:12 NIV

Read:  Matthew 7:1-12

 

We have all met them.   There are some who go through life proclaiming: “ME, ME, ME!”   They seem to have the opinion their world and all those in it have a single purpose; to satisfy them.

 

As we think of those with that ‘ME, ME, ME’ attitude, we need to be reflective of the times we are the ones who are being selfish.    While we can see that attitude in others, it is an emotional blow to accept the fact we also can be too self absorbed.

 

In truth, there is not anyone else.   There is

everyone else.  As this Christmas season approaches, let’s be less concerned with ‘me’ and more concerned with ‘THEE’.   When we focus on the love of CHRIST and all HE is doing and has done for us, it will come naturally to do unto others as JESUS would have us do.

 

Spread the true meaning of Christmas.   JESUS came in the innocence of an infant to save the world.   GOD born in human flesh to take on your sins.   Don’t spoil HIS intentions by focusing on ‘ME, ME, ME!’   Honor our LORD with ‘THEE, THEE, THEE’ all day, every day.

 

Make the lowest person you meet each day, the most important person every day this Christmas.

 

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for coming to save us from the sinful life we live.   Help me today to honor YOU by having a servant heart and actions to help others.  Amen.”

 

“I KNOW HIM!”

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?'”  Matthew 21:10 NIV

 

Read:  Matthew 21:10-32

 

 

Have you ever seen someone you knew from years before, but you could not remember their name?   Maybe, you could not even remember where you knew them from or when.   But, you were certain you knew that face.

 

I have to admit; I have been in that situation.  I felt embarrassed years ago at a high school reunion.  The man recognized me and called me by name and I was a total blank.  There was something about him, but his name was not to be known by me.

 

All too many have an opposite problem with JESUS.   They know HIS name.  They even admit HE is the SON of GOD.   Yet, they do not know HIM.  You may know who the president of the USA is, but still you don’t know him since you have never even met him.   Knowing who is not the same as knowing personally.

 

Knowing who JESUS is will not get you into Heaven.   Knowing JESUS personally as your LORD AND SAVIOUR is the only way of getting into Heaven.   Knowing HIM personally is your salvation from the misery we find in this sin filled world.

 

If you don’t know HIM, today is the day to know JESUS.  Tell JESUS you accept HIM as your LORD.  Thank HIM for taking all your sins away.   Ask HIM to come into your heart.   JESUS knows your name and who you are.   Tell others; “I know HIM!”

 

Today’s prayer:  “THANK YOU LORD for loving me and knowing who I am.   I know YOU, not just WHO YOU are.   YOU are my LORD.  YOU are my SAVIOUR.  Amen.”

 

“WHO WERE THE BEREANS?”

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  Acts 17:11 NIV
Read:  Acts 17:1-15

 

Only once in scripture are the Bereans mentioned by name.  The Berean Jews were of noble character as we read in Acts 17.   These Jews were open to the teachings of Paul and many came to know CHRIST as the SAVIOUR they, as their ancestors, had waited to come.

 

During Paul’s journeys, he was chased from Thessalonica.  Undaunted, Paul continued his teaching of the RISEN SAVIOUR in Berea.

 

Are you undaunted as Paul continuing to proclaim the wonderful message of JESUS?   Or would you describe yourself as the scholarly Berean Jews who took Paul’s message and proved him right through the study of ancient scriptures?

 

These insightful men of the synagogue accepted the teachings of Paul because the scriptures of their fathers proved JESUS was the SON OF GOD, the SAVIOUR, as prophesied.

 

We all can be like the Berean scholars of two thousand years ago.   We believe because the truth of CHRIST is real.

 

Today’s prayer:   “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for coming to this earth and dying so I might live.  Forgive my doubts and insecure moments.   I know YOU are THE SAVIOUR of all who believe and I believe! Amen.”