DIVINE GUIDANCE – – Part 2


Isaiah 35:8 – “And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.”  NASB

Let’s consider the process of achieving God’s Divine Guidance.  Suppose you have accepted Jesus, received the Holy Spirit, and committed ourselves to read and study the Bible more and more and accept it as truth.  Congratulations, that is a great first step.  Does that mean you automatically have ‘tuned out’ the Wisdom from Below and ‘tuned in’ the Wisdom from Above?  Does that mean you will automatically begin to hear God and receive His divine guidance? 

Unfortunately, No!  One of the problems is we do not always realize or discern that we are being exposed to counterfeit wisdom.  We do have a clear promise in the Bible that we can know the mind and will of God in any matter.  However, there is also a warning that we must beware of false guidance.

Sadly, I am aware of well-meaning Christians who have turned to dangerous sources and methods seeking guidance.  They have been deceived into turning to what the Bible calls ‘familiar spirits’ in their pursuit of truth and guidance.  I refer you to Deuteronomy 18:10-13 for consideration. In that, we find the mention of people and places we are instructed to avoid. 

Let me list them for your benefit.  Divination is fortune-telling.  Observing the times is astrology.  Enchanters are real magicians.  Witches which includes sorcery.  Charmers which includes hypnotism.  Consulter of familiar spirits which is to receive a medium as a guide.  A wizard which includes the clairvoyant and psychics.  The necromancer or those who consult the dead.  I know that I may be stirring a hornet’s nest for some, but I challenge you to examine the text and the original language.  God’s prohibitions are for our benefit, not our hurt.

Those are supernatural sources but not the Holy Spirit.  The information they bring may sound good and detailed. The information may be things we wanted to hear and because it is clear they are from a supernatural source they are often accepted as being from God.  Paul warned us in 2 Corinthians 11:14, “…and no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 

Another problem in receiving Divine Guidance is the trickery we encounter in our own mixed-up human emotions, the impurity of our motives, the flaw of our prejudices, and patterns of thought and action. 

There are been some glaring failures in the church causing some, even entire churches, to turn their back on Divine Guidance as a valid pursuit for today.  I have been told, “We have the Bible, that’s all we need.  God no longer speaks today.”  I have been told by the other side of the equation, “I hear God, so I don’t need the Bible.”  I believe both are wrong.  God does speak today and even if we hear Him, we need the Bible.

I see Four Basic Principles to be learned and followed by anyone who honestly desires to be guided by God in their daily lives. 

Divine Guidance does not come automatically.  You cannot push a button, flip a switch, open a Bible randomly, or listen for voices and automatically hear God. 

Receiving Divine Guidance is a skill to be learned.  I have learned to hear God by learning how I do not hear God or trial and error.  That requires a measure of spiritual adventurism and the exercise of faith. 

Receiving Divine Guidance is not a set of methods or a formula.  However, it is based on obedience to a specific set of biblical principles. 

Finally, Divine Guidance is intensely personal.  It involves and demands a relationship.

I want to take this another step but will wait until the next devotional.  I ask that you muse on those four basic principles and we will reopen this in the next devotional.

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

DIVINE GUIDANCE…


Isaiah 35:8 – “And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.”  NASB

I believe in practicality in biblical truths.  The theoretical has a place but when it comes to our relationship with God and His guidance we need to move beyond theoretical to practical.  I have been on a quest to discover and teach people how to discern or know the guidance of God in our daily lives.

I have encountered two extremes regarding God’s guidance.  One group says, “God told me” regarding everything even things that are blatantly lacking biblical foundation.  The other says, “God does not speak anymore.”  I consider both extremes and detrimental to the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.  They have both been instrumental in causing some to discard the wonderful truth of “Divine Guidance.”  The response has often been like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 

The passage in Isaiah 35 is a beautiful promise.  The picture of a highway in the wilderness that is so clear and straight that even the simple can follow it.  I believe that God wants to guide us today.  Jesus said in John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…”  Who is this?  Who is He dealing with?  What is He going to do?  How much truth?  All valid questions.  This guide of John 16 is the Holy Spirit.  He is a person and can never be reduced to a method or theory.  But He is guided by some clearly revealed principles in scripture.

Our objective is to learn to distinguish God’s Guidance from the confusion of our own desires, prejudices, preconceived notions, and impulses.  We also need to learn to distinguish the counterfeits of the devil.  I like to say, “Nobody gets lost on a straight road.”  In my years of Christian ministry, I have found that many are fixated on finding a ‘surefire’ way to know what direction or action to take in life.  We want to be ‘on target’ and not ‘miss the mark.’

Those who do not know Jesus sometimes seek many forms of guidance including psychics, prognosticators, astrologers, market analysts, etc.  We encounter ‘experts’ in every field and there is frequently great disagreement and confusion produced in the ‘truth-seekers.’  Why?  Basically, it is because they believe that all wisdom comes from the same source.  That is wrong! 

The Bible teaches that there are two sources of wisdom.  There is Wisdom from Above and Wisdom from Below.  We have God’s Wisdom and the faux wisdom that comes from the devil.  The Wisdom from Above is Truth and the other is False.  One causes us to “hit the mark” and the other to “miss the mark.”

God’s Provision for Guidance is first and foremost the Lord Jesus Christ.  He saves us and enables us to be reestablished in a right relationship with God thereby opening the door to Light and Life.  Secondly, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We see that in Acts 2:38, John 16:13, and Luke 11:13.  Thirdly we have the Holy Scriptures.  The Bible is the written revelation of the will and purpose of God.  John 8:31-32 – “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Everybody lives by some authority and Jesus said that if we make God’s Word our authority we will never be put to shame.

There are a Process and a Progression that is needful for us to understand but I will wait until the next devotional to address that.  Therefore, we will pause here and pray that the LORD will guard and guide you through this day.

Have a Great Day in the Love and Light of God!

THE DOOR IS OPEN, and THE DEVIL IS MAD – – Part 2…


1 Corinthians 16:9 – “for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”  NASB

Last time we consider, briefly, the reality that the devil fights the work of God, the believer, the church, and the Kingdom using opposition from the outside.  Today I want us to consider the other side of that coin and the reality that the devil uses Opposition from Within to hinder us as well.

There is Opposition From Within.

In Acts 13:8 we encounter a magician named Elymas who was opposing Paul and the disciples.  That was opposition from the outside connected to someone on the inside.  But, if we look further, we see in Acts 18:5-6, the opposition by the religious crowd and the recognized prophets of religion.

Then in 2 Timothy 3:8 Paul reminded the church that opposition from within was not uncommon and unexpected.  He cited the opposition to Moses by Jannes and Jambres.  Paul used that to reveal how there were those in the present church opposing the work of God and were following the depravity of mind and had rejected the truth. 

He encountered opposition from groups and sects within the church.  Some of it was the result of spiritual indifference and a desire to live with ease and in a state of compromise.  It resulted from spiritual laziness where people lost their desire and commitment to ‘seek first’ the face of God and do the will of God.  Self had become the center of their universe again and that brought about opposition to the move of God. 

There was the fear of failure, social reproof and rejection, and loss of power and position.  Some can find nothing right with the church but can find everything wrong.  Some desire to allow things done but never find the time or desire to invest themselves in the work.  They complain that things are lacking but make no commitment to resolve the problem.  In that, they oppose the leaders and bring about confusion and discord.  Some stir up strife because they are not the chief puppy in the liter. 

But God has opened a door for us in the Church and in America today.  We have been given the opportunity to launch forth into the harvest and see a move of God beyond anything we have ever witnessed.  We also have the opportunity to complain and criticize, point fingers, and stir up strife.  The choice we make will determine the success or failure of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives and in our local congregations.  We can press forward into victory.  What will we choose? I choose to go through God’s Open Door.  

May your day be prosperous and joyous.

THE DOOR IS OPEN, and THE DEVIL IS MAD…


1 Corinthians 16:9 – “for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”  NASB

I could address much of what is happening today in America and the world with a biblical and life reality.  I have never seen it fail when God beings to bless the devil gets his feathers ruffled and angry.  He beings to stir up opposition in every way he can.  Although he is a defeated foe, he has not been annihilated.  He is still around and still seeking to inflict harm and damage if we let him. 

God’s blessings bring the devil’s opposition.  It is not inconsequential that we are reminded that God and the devil are enemies.  God is completely Holy, and the devil is completely evil.  When they confront each other there is an explosive war that impacts the lives of everyone.  The devil opposes all that God does and he uses every tool he can muster.  He uses everything within his sphere of influence to stop the progress of the Church and the Kingdom of God.  He uses people, often without them being aware they are being manipulated.  (Matthew 16). 

The devil fights the Church and the Believer from two sides – From Without and From Within.  If we grasp that reality. we can decipher much of what happens in our world and rather than become distracted and target the wrong enemy we can fight the good fight of faith and use spiritual weapons pulling down spiritual strongholds.

The Opposition From Without.

Zechariah 3:1 – “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.”   Why do I include this passage?  To help us realize that the devil influences civic leaders as well as religious leaders.  Many of the things we see happening in our world are the direct result of opposition from hell.  The devil influences people to take steps and actions that hinder the Church, the Believer, and the Kingdom.

In Ezra 4:4 we see the reality of what I am suggesting, “Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building…” A group of God’s people was seeking to complete the prophecy of restoration and those on the outside opposed them.  They sought to frustrate the purposes of God and did for a time, but God never quit being God.

The devil uses politicians, businessmen, and even religious leaders through sectarian opposition to hinder the work of God.  That is not unusual, and we see it today in America.  In Nehemiah 4 we have Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Arabians conspired to prevent the walls of Jerusalem from being restored.  Politicians use laws or interpretations of laws to hinder the Church.  The devil uses the laws of the land, politics and politicians, social organizations, and even religion to hinder the purposes of God. 

The devil’s prime objective is to hinder the work of the Church of Jesus Christ from fulfilling the purpose and plan of God.  He wants to hinder if not destroy the work.  Sadly, he is sometimes incredibly effective. Why?  Because we get distracted from the real issue and the real enemy and fight politically partisan fights rather than doing spiritual warfare.

There is opposition from the outside and that opposition is not defeated using natural means but through spiritual warfare.  I want to address the opposition from within but will wait until the next devotional.

Until then, may the Lord bless your richly as you enjoy this day and manifest Him to the world!

SUFFICIENT GRACE – – (Part 3)


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

We have considered that this Grace is sufficient for Salvation and sufficient in time of Tribulation and today I want us to move one step further in considering the sufficiency of God’s Abundant and Amazing Grace.

This Grace is Sufficient to Carry Us Home.

I love the way the apostle Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 15:5-52 – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” 

We are reminded and need to keep reminding ourselves that Jesus is coming back just like He promised.  He is coming for the faithful.  He is coming for those that watch for His appearing.  In Hebrews 9:28 we read, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”  John phrased it powerfully in 1 John 3:3 – “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 

This is a race, a journey, a trip, a battle that must be completed for us to receive the prize of the high calling of God in the consummation of salvation.  I believe that Jesus is not only coming but coming soon.  I believe that His Promise to never leave us nor forsake us is real and valid.  I believe that no matter what we experience in this life, God is there watching over His word to perform it for us.  He is desirous to show Himself strong on our behalf.  We are not left to fight this fight alone!

Therefore, no matter what we face we have the comfort and promise of Sufficient Grace.  The writer of Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus is never changing.  He is the same past, present, and future.  What He did, He does.  What He was, He is.  He is not going to fail us now. 

The Grace of God is Sufficient for Salvation.  It is Sufficient for Tribulation and it is Sufficient to take us Home to Heaven.

So, as you face whatever trial you face, look up and I would encourage you to make Psalms 91 your daily devotional in time of trial.  Memorize it and quote it to yourself and to the devil repeatedly.  Rejoice in the Promises of God and live in the Sufficient Grace of God.

Have a fantastic day in Jesus!

SUFFICIENT GRACE – – (Part 2)


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

            In our last devotional, we considered that this Grace is Sufficient for Salvation.  Today, I want us to move to the next consideration of the sufficiency of this grace of God.

This Grace Is Sufficient in Tribulation.

In America and some other sectors of the world, persecution is not something we are accustomed to experiencing.  However, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  That is not a suggestion that it might happen but a warning that it will happen.  Jesus warned us that the world will hate us and hate always seeks to persecute.

I have heard declarations of ‘suffering for Jesus’ and realized that the suffering being described was not having the lavishness of life rather than real suffering.  Paul suffered for the cause of Christ.  The world demands compromise, but Paul said, “No.”  The attitude exhibited in Queen Esther was in Paul and the other disciples, “If I perish, I perish.  Who shall we obey, God or man?” 

In today’s world and some of today’s churches, the demand is to have inclusion to the point that we compromise our convictions and ignore God’s directives.  I have been told that we have to modify our message and tone it down in order to attract the world.  My attitude is the attitude expressed by the early church and declared by Jesus.  “If He is lifted up, He will draw people to Himself.”  We do not need to move toward the world but present an answer to the problems, ills, troubles, and battles of life.  We need to be people who are different and demonstrate the Grace of God in all things and at all times.  We do not need a new definition of morality; we need a new commitment to God’s call for us to be Holy as He is Holy.

The only time an army ‘strikes’ or takes down its colors (flag) is when it is defeated or on the run.  We are neither so we must never let down our standards and seek Him above all and in all. 

Paul made a powerful declaration in 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” 

Sickness may come, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Grief may strike, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Poverty may become a present reality, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Soul sickness may surface, but God’s Grace is Sufficient.  Never lose sight that “My Grace is sufficient for you…”

In all of Paul’s sufferings, he never lost sight of the vision God placed in his heart.  He not only had hope in this life but was confident of God’s promises and faithfulness.  He knew that God’s Grace would carry him through everything he faced and transport him to heaven at the end of his journey. 

I want to address this more, but for now, I encourage you to look up if you are battling difficulty and hold to the reality and promise that God’s Grace is sufficient.

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

SUFFICIENT GRACE…


2 Corinthians 12:6-10 – “For if I do wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  NASB

As we study the New Testament, we quickly realize that Saul of Tarsus was a terror to the newly established Christian church before he became the apostle Paul.  He persecuted the Christians with no remorse because he believed he was doing God’s work.  He considered the Christians a blight on God’s Truth and proper religion.  After his conversion, he became more zealous to promote Christianity than he was to destroy it.

Paul’s encounter on the Damascus Road brought him face to face with the one who was the foundation for the Christian message.  The experience he had that day was one that he would often relate to those to whom he was ministering.  He would say, “I was on the road and I saw a light from heaven.”  He found that God’s grace was sufficient and abundant.

God’s Grace is Sufficient for Salvation.

There are several things I believe beneficial for us to consider.  We need to go back to the beginning and to the Garden of Eden and rehearse the Fall of Man.  Then we need to realize that the Law given to Israel could not save.  We are reminded repeatedly in the Bible that ‘without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin.’  In our walk through the Bible, we realize that man, without Christ, is bound for an eternity in hell.  Then we come to the incredible declaration in John 3:16 of God’s incredible Love and Gift to man in the life and death of Jesus.

This Cross was an expression and demonstration of Love that is beyond human comprehension.  It is Grace beyond measure!  It is unmerited and impossible to earn or deserve.  It is God’s Gift!  If we received what we deserved we would spend eternity in hell, but God desires that none perish.  Because of that desire and God’s incredible Love he offers us a path to escape that eternal punishment and torment.  It is not automatic but provided if we will receive it.

It is because of God’s incredible Love we can sing, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now I am found.  I was blind but now I can see.”  Why?  The Grace of God is Sufficient!

God’s provision of Grace is our only hope of living eternally in His presence in heaven.  Jesus is the only road to heaven.  He is the Door.  He is the Way.  He is the Truth.  He is Life. 

I would never suggest that the Christian life is a life of ease or a bed of roses.  The apostle Paul suffered incredible persecution and tribulation.  He endured more than most could withstand.  He seemed to be a man of steel and super-human.  What was his secret?  God’s Grace!

I want to dig a little deeper into God’s Sufficient Grace but will pause here and ask that you muse on the greatness and abundance of this Grace.  Rejoice in the fact that Jesus loved us enough to die for us and now we have an open door to the Father through the Son.

May the LORD bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

THE TWO-FOLD PURPOSE OF PREACHING…


2 Corinthians 4:5-6 – “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”  NASB

I am sure you have endured or encountered preaching, preachers, and believers whose message and ministry seemed more about them than God.  I had an Evangelist come to the church I was leading, and he spent the entire time promoting himself and his needs.  He took a text, and gave us a title and then never touched the text, never came near the subject of the title, but we learned about how many people were seeking him, how much it cost him to continue his ministry, and what his next project was and how much he needed to pay for it. 

I had an Evangelist call me at 2 AM once to tell me that he wanted to come and conduct a ‘crusade.’  He wanted me to secure an auditorium in a neighboring city that would seat several thousand, hire a television crew to film the meeting, bring in professional musicians, and provide him with elaborate living quarters.  He said, “I feel that your people need to hear what I have to say.”  If you wonder what I said, you probably guessed it already.

I allowed this individual to speak for several minutes and then said, “No.”  He was stunned and said, “Don’t you know who I am?”  Yes, I knew who he was.  He said, “Don’t you care about the needs of your people?”  That set me off and as I bit my tongue and prayed for calmness I said, “Yes, I care about the needs of my people, but I don’t think you do.”  He wanted to promote himself and told me that he had a $2,000 payment due on his bus as well as some other expenses that made his expectation of the ‘crusade’ an offering of well over $10,000.  We were a church of about 300, not 3,000.

Sorry, for ranting and sounding as though I am down on Evangelist and other ministers, I am not.  I have had some incredible people come and minister to the congregations I have led.  They came with humility and a genuine desire to ‘hear God’ and ‘serve the people.’  Their heart was to “Preach Christ” and see Him become a reality in lives, setting them free from the clutches and devastation of sin.  In each of those times, the LORD provided abundantly and most of the time far exceeded any hope they had financially.  The more God moved in power, the more the people gave in finances.  The more the speaker demonstrated humility and a genuine love for God and concern for them, the more they responded in prayer, presence, and giving. 

When I entered the ministry, it was my desire to serve and to be a voice, not an echo.  I did not want to be a copy of someone else, I wanted to be the unique vessel that God had called me to be and made me.  I wanted His presence and power in my life so that I could see the works, greater works, and destruction of the devil’s work.  I knew that if I could lift Jesus up and do so with humility, He would do the rest and touch lives transforming them. 

I learned, often the hard way, that being a servant was the only way to achieve success.  The more we served, the more the communities would respond and receive us.  The more we focused on people and the less we focused on us, the more impactful our church became in the community. 

The goal of a preacher, a Christian, and a leader must be to Preach Christ. They must view and present themselves as servants of Christ and serve people. If we allow the Love and Life of Christ to be manifest in us, we will find that people are much more open to the message.  Jesus said, “If I be lifted up…”  He was speaking of the Cross, but I believe it was a message far beyond the Cross and a challenge or call for us to “Lift Him Up” through service.

God bless you as you enjoy His presence, peace, and power on this beautiful day!

YOU KNOW HOW TO GO OUT – Do You Know How to Come In?


1 Kings 3:7 – “And now, O LORD my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.”  NASB

Some may think that question foolish, but I consider it essential in discovering how to live the Christian life, perform our spiritual duties, and lead in a godly fashion.  We know how to go out.  We know how to enter the battle and tackle the obstacle.  We know how to pursue the objective and may even know how to fight while we are pursuing the prize before us.  We may know how to achieve the victory and defeat the devil through the principles of God’s word and with the spiritual weapons of warfare.  That is wonderful and needful.

Yet, I wonder, do we know how to come in after the battle has been fought and the victory won?  I speak of that from two perspectives.  Do we know how to come in before the people and into the presence of God rightly after the battle?  Do we know how to come in, after we have experienced a major victory?  Some, become infatuated with their own ability, supposed spiritual power, and importance and come in with an attitude of pride.  God will never honor man’s pride. 

The Bible issues a needed warning in Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  In Proverbs 13:10 we are informed that it is by Pride that Strife enters the picture.  The apostle Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”  It was Pride that got Lucifer kicked out of heaven.  It was pride that destroyed kings in the Bible.  It was pride that has caused nations to crumble. 

We need to learn to walk in humility and gratefulness for God’s blessings and provisions so that when we have won a victory. We need to be humble and acknowledge that we achieved it through and by Him, not our own ability or strength.  We will then cause people to see and desire Him and His help rather than elevate us to a more lofty position that we should be granted.

The second focus of ‘coming in’ is entering the Presence of God in Worship.  The Psalmist in 100:4 instructed on the proper way to enter the presence of God.  We enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  In Psalms 96:9 we read, “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth.”  In Psalms 34 1-3 the powerful directive is, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  2 My life makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

I appreciate the sense of security we have or should have that God loves us and is our Loving Father.  However, I am often disturbed at the casualness in the approach of many to God.  I am told that even Prince Charles, in England, bows before the Queen and calls her ‘ma’am.’  I hear people call God “Big Daddy” or some other casual descriptor. He is not the ‘man upstairs’ and Jesus is not just our ‘buddy’.  We are talking about The Living God, the Creator of all things.  The Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. 

We are invited to come into His presence with boldness but that does not equate to disrespect or dishonor.  Would you approach the Queen of England or the President of the United States and say, “Hi doll, or hey, buddy or Mr. Prez.”  No, you would show respect even if you did not respect the person.  But, with God how can we enter His presence and not respect and honor Him. 

The disciples’ or Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6 we are told that our entering His presence is to be with an attitude of respect and honor Him.  “Hallowed be Thy name…”  The Greek word is “hagiazo” which means to ‘make holy, to hallow, honor, sanctify.’  Obviously, we cannot make God pure, He is pure, so our hallowing of His name is our recognition of Who He Is.

We need to know how to ‘Come In’ or ‘Enter’ His presence and when we come before Him in repentance and humility, He comes to us with Grace and Peace.  When we come before Him respectfully and with the honor and awe, He deserves, He comes to us with provision and blessing.  We need to not only know how to “Go Out” and fight but how to “Come In” and Worship and express our Gratitude and Thanksgiving.  When we do, we will be better able to “Go Out” in strength, power, and victory, and “Come In” receiving His enrichment.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

THE WORD OF THE CROSS – Dual Effect…


1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  NKJV

I had a person send me a message on Facebook over a birthday greeting I sent to a mutual friend.  He called me some vile names and said, that I was a purveyor of hate because I promoted, in his words, “my invisible friend”.  I’m not sure how that was hate, other than hatred for sin, but He continued to tell me that I was offering false hope to people and thereby robbing them of the ability to live life freely and fully.  He considered my Christian blessing foolishness. He laughed at my declaration that I have experienced God’s blessings and the message of the Cross as the incredible power of God to transform. Truly, he was an example of this scripture.

After I returned home from the Vietnam War in 1968, I spent a year searching and trying to satisfy an emptiness in my heart.  I tried many things (not opioids) but things very detrimental to my physical and emotional well-being.  I even considered reenlisting and returning to Vietnam because I was empty and lost.  I had no one to talk to and when I tried, they could not understand the emptiness of my heart and my frustration.  Most of them were in the same condition I was in, Lost, and without God.

I encountered God’s love through people in Palestine, Texas at Westside Assembly of God and after several weeks of the constant display of that love, I received Jesus at the kitchen table of my sister’s house around midnight on a Saturday night, as I sat alone reading Proverbs 3:5-6.  The experience was incredible.  The weight of the world lifted from my shoulders, the peace of God flooded my heart and I was changed.  No, changed is not an adequate description, I was TRANSFORMED!  I was Born Again!

The Cross, the message of Jesus’ sacrificial death on my behalf and His resurrection, provided the Transforming Power to completely rewrite my life.  I have encountered people who believe as did Karl Marx that “religion is the opium of the people.”  They believe as did Friedrich Nietzsche, “God is dead” or that God does not exist. 

I have encountered avowed atheists who insist that there is no God and agnostics and followers of Gnosticism that insists it would be impossible to know if there is a God or not.  I beg to differ I have experienced Him.  I meet people who believe that a loving God would never allow sin, sickness, and evil to exist and therefore, there cannot be a God because a loving and benevolent creator would not allow pain in people’s lives.  They take exception to our message that God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Everywhere Present, and Loving. 

I love the apostle Paul’s retort to those who disbelieved and were attempting to discredit the message of Good News in the Gospel.  He said, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”  (1 Corinthians 1:21).

God’s love is immeasurable and the Father’s willingness to allow Jesus to be born of a woman, live on this planet which He did without sin, die for man’s sins, and rise again ascending to heaven to intercede for us is nothing short of amazing!  That is the descriptor of Grace – AMAZING!  No wonder John Newton in 1772 would write the incredible anthem of the Church, “Amazing Grace.”

God’s Amazing Grace is sweetness to my ears and my heart.  I was lost and He found me and allowed me to find Him! I was afraid and He quieted my fears.  I face dangers, toils, and snares, and He never leaves me.  His Grace is the doorway to lead us into the presence of God, bring about the New Birth, and lead us to our eternal abode and heavenly reward.  Hallelujah! 

Those who are atheists, skeptics, agnostics, and rebellious may consider the message of the Cross foolishness but those of us who have experienced the Love, Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness of God know its Power!  

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!