A BETTER PLACE IN OUR TOMORROW…


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John 14:1-6 – “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  4 “And you know the way where I am going.”  5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  NASU

 

In troubled times like these, we need something to inspire and comfort our hearts.  Many are facing situations and problems to a degree they have never experienced.  Some are living in fear of what is coming or about to come on the earth.  Many are troubled by the direction of the nation over the past few decades.  They are troubled by the direction of the organized religious community, and our society as a whole.  Things do not look good on so many fronts that it would be easy to become discouraged, despondent, depressed, and draw into a shell and try to pull the covers in over our heads to hide.  That is not possible so we need something that gives us reason to get up in the morning and face the new day with a smile rather than trepidation.  That is found in this passage for me.

The one thing I know for certain is that there is a better place in our tomorrow because Jesus said so.  I trust Him and His affirmation that if it were not true He would have been honest with us.  You may prefer the word “mansion” or “room” to the words in this version “dwelling places” and that is fine but the fact that I want you to focus on is that There is a Place in the presence of God in Heaven for us in our tomorrow.  Jesus departed this earth to prepare that place for us and has promised to come again and receive us unto Himself so that where He is there we may also be.  Access to this place is through Him and there is no other access.

So if you are facing difficulties today that are almost beyond your ability to bear, look toward the future (eternity) in which there will be a better tomorrow!  We have the absolute assurance of our precious LORD that there is a place and He is coming for us to take us to that place.  It is a place that the world did not provide, the government did not create, and the devil cannot prevent.  It is our Eternal Home!  So as you go through each day go through it with the confidence that no matter how bad or bleak things may appear here there is a “Better Place in Our Tomorrow.” 

May God be with you as you go through your day!

LIGHT SHINING IN DARKNESS…


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John 12:44-50 – “And Jesus cried out and said, ” He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  45 ” He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  46 ” I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  47 “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  48 ” He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.  49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  50 “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”  NASU

 

 I realize that there are at least ten devotionals I could give from this passage but I want to pull out one particular statement and focus on it.  Jesus said:  “I have come as the LIGHT of the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”  What a powerful and comforting statement!

In this world of darkness, corruption, wickedness, evil, and depravity there is a Light shining as a beacon and that Light is Jesus!  If we come to Him, we come to that Light and darkness is dispelled and we are able to walk in the Light seeing clearly not only the dangers and pitfalls but the beauty of what God has wrought.  We are able to live in the Light and be free of the torment of darkness.  We are able to live Forgiven free of the pain of hidden sin and separation from God.

If you have ever been in a storm and the darkness was so black that you could almost touch it and feel it then the clouds rolled back and the sun began to peak through you know the feeling of calm that comes when darkness is driven out.  That is what Jesus offers spiritually.  His Light in the midst of darkness and when He comes into the room the situation or life’s darkness flees.  We see with new eyes and new hearts and the sweetness of life becomes fresh and new.  Fear is banished and peace floods the soul bringing a calm and confidence that cannot be experienced anywhere else or in any other way.

If you do not know Jesus the Light of the World I encourage you to call upon Him today and allow Him to become Light in your darkened world.  If you do know Jesus then refuse to allow the darkness to invade your light, resist the devil and he will flee.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

INSEPARABLE LOVE…


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Romans 8:37-39 – “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  NASU

 

Sometimes we read something in the Bible that so resonates in our spirit that we can’t keep from thinking about it for days.  This is one such passage for me.  It seems that each time I come to it I spend the next few days thinking of little else beyond the Incredible Unconditional Love of God and the mind-boggling patience and sacrifice He was willing to extend to mankind so that we could be restored to a relationship with Him and escape the torments of the kingdom of darkness.

I love Paul’s definitive optimism that No Matter What – “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”  Then he proceeds to make the foundation granite and sure pounding this truth into the bedrock of our hearts saying, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  HALLELUJAH!  What a promise and declaration!  What a truth!  What an anchor to ground our lives!  We have the promise of GOD’S INSEPARABLE LOVE!

There is no devil in hell, no situation, no person, no government, no economic crisis, no health crisis, no relational crisis – – Nothing, absolutely Nothing can come between us and God’s Love!   We may turn on that love and walk from it but God Will Go On Loving Us Without Fail!   Nothing can change that!  In that reality I live my life and find solace when things are dark.  In that, I live my life and find comfort when the storm winds blow.  In that, I live my life and find the strength to “repent” and “return” anytime I find myself straying from the path He has chosen.  I know that I am accepted in the beloved and that His Love is Without End!

Never allow yourself to think that you are worthless, without value, or unloved because you are loved by Love Himself!  You are loved by the Love that breaks all barriers, shreds all bonds and chains, and brings hope, comfort, and joy to the soul.  We have God’s Inseparable and Unconditional Love!

May God’s love cover you like a glove as you go through your day!

THE WORDS OF CHRIST…


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Colossians 3:16-17 – “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” NASU

In speaking to the Church at Colossae the apostle Paul gives them a discourse on love, humility, compassion, gentleness, and forgiveness.  His message is so powerful that each time I read it I tremble realizing, my own deficiency and short-comings.  It brings me to a place of repentance each time and I am thankful that it continues to have that effect on my heart.  I never want a calloused heart that can read the Word of God without being touched by it through the Holy Spirit.  Then he comes to the text that I have chosen for this devotional and it is equally powerful.

His admonition is for each of us to Let or Allow, which is an act of our will or choice on our part, something to transpire or be birthed in our hearts.  It requires our involvement in the process and is not something done to us but done in us as we cooperate with the Spirit of God.  He says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you….”  Wow!  Imagine the Word of Christ living “inside us.”  Not just floating around in our brains but Living inside of us and producing the life that it brings.

That LIVING WORD produces:

  • ALL WISDOM – – Enabling us to be taught and teach each other.
  • THE TOOLS – – Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. (It would serve you well to carefully examine the difference in each of those and their significance)
  • THE OBJECTIVE – – A life of Thanksgiving so that whatever we do in Word or Deed we do in the Name of the Lord.

We find ourselves not just representatives of Christ but manifestations of Him to the world who is longing for something real and relevant in their troubled lives.  Too many churches and Christians are trying to be modern without really being relevant or without dealing with the Root Causes of the Problems that people face.  I am not interested in just having a crowd I am interested in seeing people Freed From Bondage.  If that means I minister to a House Full or a Hand Full it is perfectly fine with me.  The objective is bringing people to an encounter and place in God where “The Word of Christ can richly dwell in them…..”  It is in that state that I know from experience and the Word of God that there will bring Liberation from the Bondage of the devil and a New Found Freedom that will create an attitude and atmosphere of Thanksgiving and Praise which is infectious to those seeking Liberty!

May the Lord be with you as you go through your day!

WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THE MIRROR?


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2 Corinthians 3:12-18 – “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  NASU

 

What a powerful presentation of the Gospel by the apostle Paul.  He identifies that if we only have the “Letter of the Law” we are living with a veil over our hearts but if we have the “Spirit of Christ” we have the veil removed.  In that condition, we find Liberty because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty.

I love his description in verses 17and 18.  It identifies the liberation of the heart by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It is also the liberation of the mind or mindset.  He then goes on to identify that as believers in Christ it is as though we have the veil or change the prism of how we see things.  As we, in this condition, look upon the Lord and His Glory we are then Transformed into His Image from Glory to Glory.  The Bible teaches and I believe and have proven that we become like that which we Worship.

If we worship money we become like mammon.  If we worship power we become brutal and ruthless, unfeeling, and often uncaring.  If we worship natural beauty we allow our hearts and minds to be filled with carnal delights and pleasures and become vain, egotistical, conceited and driven for physical perfection.  But if we worship GOD we go through a Transformation or a Metamorphosis into His Image.  The reflection that others see is HIM rather than our imperfections because in the transformation He transforms our heart and our hearts issue forth HIM.

I do not want to be a representative only of Jesus I want to be a manifestation of Him to the world.  I do not want to just speak about Jesus I want to speak for Him to this world.  I do not want to be an example of a good man I want to be a reflection of HIM.  It is because I know that in my own power, or positive character qualities I cannot transform a life but He Can!  I know that it is Only as we behold Him with unveiled face and heart that we are Transformed from darkness into His marvelous light.  So my cry is “God remove the veil and let me BEHOLD YOUR GLORY so that I can Become more and more like you!”

May God be with you as you go through your day!

LEARNING TO WAIT…


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Psalm 33:18-22 – “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, 19 To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine.  20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.   21 For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.  22 Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.”  NASU

 

I find this a particularly interesting and challenging passage.  It is encouraging, filled with promise, laced with guidance and direction, and carries a condition that most miss.  When I read passages from the Bible sometimes there are certain things that leap off the page to me and grab my attention which results in going back to look in more detail at what has been said.  That is what happened with the conditional portion of this passage.

As I gave this passage a cursory reading I was blessed but when I came to verse twenty-two I was arrested by the Holy Spirit and went back to look over the passage in more detail and with a different heart.  Let’s consider it from verse eighteen and see where it leads us:

  1. We have a Revelation which also has a condition attached.

The Eye of the Lord is on those who Fear Him and on those who Hope for His Lovingkindness.  They are hoping, trusting, or believing for God to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. There is both protection and provision in this revelation of “God’s Watching Over Us.”  I find repeatedly in Scripture the solidification of this and take great comfort in knowing that God not only Sees but Can and Will do something about my situation. 

  1. There is the Instruction.

The Soul that is waiting upon the Lord knowing that He is our Help and our Shield, that’s the picture.  Wow!  In my “waiting” on the Lord, I am entering into not only His provision but His protection.  That is not only instructional but tremendously encouraging. 

  1. There Is an Encouragement and a Nudging.

To allow the heart to Rejoice in Him, and that is possible because we Trust Him.  It is out of my faith that I am able to “Rejoice in All Things” and “Give Thanks in All Things.”  It is as I trust His Name, His Person, and His Grace that I am Free to Rejoice! 

  1. There is the Request and the Condition.

The Request is – – “Let your Lovingkindness be upon us.”

The Condition is – – “According as we have hoped in You.”

That reminds me of the passage in 3 John 2 – “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” NASU The promise and desired result are clear but the condition is unmistakable if we are haphazard in our relationship with the Lord we become as James described “double-minded” and that instability renders us, poor candidates, to receive.  Why?  We are not in a spiritual mindset or condition to utilize it properly and in all likelihood would as James declared “consume it upon our own lusts rather than to move us closer to God and advance the Kingdom.”  I am not saying that God will not bless anyone who is not Totally Dedicated to Him.  No! No!  If that were the case few of us would have ever received anything from Him.  What I am saying is that if we want to live in the midst of God’s Care, Keeping, and Blessing we need to train our souls to WAIT UPON THE LORD and SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!  It is in that condition of heart that we humbly receive His blessings and as a result, many others are also blessed.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

TIME TO GET DRUNK…


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Ephesians 5:15-21 – “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” NASU

 

Hopefully, my title will not cause a mass exodus from my friend’s list on Facebook or cause anyone to refuse to read what I am about to write.  Read the passage before you jump to any conclusions as to what I am going to say.  That is always the safest course of action in any situation.  We need to become people who “Hear the conclusion of the whole matter,” before we render judgments.

Paul tells the Ephesian church and the church today that they and we are to take care “how we walk” or “live” this spiritual life in the flesh.  He warns us against being “unwise” while reminding us of the condition of the hour regarding evil and wickedness.  He admonishes us to “understand” or “discern” what the Will of the Lord is.  Then he says something that is almost totally off the topic he is discussing and says in verse eighteen – “Do not get drunk with wine…”  Had he stopped there one would have to conclude that there was a problem with drunkenness in the Ephesian church but he continued and said in contrast, “Be filled with the Spirit…”

He identified some characteristics of a Spirit-filled Life in the next verses that are worthy to be considered:

  • Speaking to one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
  • Sing and make melody with your heart to the Lord.
  • ALWAYS giving thanks for ALL THINGS in the Name of the LORD.
  • Be subject to one another in the Fear or Reverence of Christ.

If I truly consider what he is saying then I immediately recognize that adoration, praise, and worship is vital to the Spirit-filled life.  It is important that we rejoice in the Lord and from many other passages in the Bible I would suggest that this should be not just an occasioned occurrence but a daily one.  We notice additionally that it is important to have “An Attitude of Gratitude” in our daily lives and be thankful for All Things not just Some Things!  Then we come to a place that most either have a problem with or resist and that is “being subject to one another” but doing so in reverence to Christ.

We seem to have an innate fear of subjecting ourselves to anyone for fear that they will abuse us in some way.  I suggest that if the church practices mutual subjection in reverence and fear of Christ there will be No Lording it over anyone but there will be a mutual desire to protect and defend each other from the enemy and forces of evil.  There will be a caring for each other that seeks the best good of that individual rather than a Lordship Position.  There will be the rise of humility and servanthood rather than abuse and lordship.

Begin with the first part and “Get Drunk on the Spirit” and “Jesus” and the rest will follow naturally.  So I declare that today is a good day to GET DRUNK in the Spirit or on the Spirit of God.

May God bless you as you go through your day!