Stir Me Up Lord!

Stir Me Up Lord!: November 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011


For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you, “ says the Lord.”… (Jeremiah 29:11-14a NLT)

GOD wants good things for HIS people. HE wants to bless HIS children. Do you know any earthly fathers who lavish their children with gifts, who want only the best for their children? I’m not talking about just wealthy parents;  I’m talking about a parent who would do anything for their child, because they love them so much. They have so much love for their child, they want to make sure they never experience pain or hurt, they want to protect them from all the bad things in the world, they want to give their child unconditional love…I’d say the majority of parents feel this way about their children. It’s a natural protective emotion, so now that you’ve got this idea of a natural unconditional love for your child, lets multiply that times a zillion; now we have an inkling of GOD’s love for HIS children. "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give..." (Luke 11:13 NLT).

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33 NLT) Jesus was explaining about how everything we need, we will have, all we have to do is, seek the Kingdom of GOD first, when we put GOD first, everything else falls into place!
 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”  (Luke 6:38 NLT ) GOD wants to bless us, HE’s told us how we can be blessed, we just have to receive the blessings HE has for us. Imagine what Jesus was trying to tell us right here, GOD has so much HE wants to give us, it’s going to overflow, and it’s going to be more than anything we’ve ever even imagined!!

People are caught up on never being good enough, and this is true. We can never be good enough, that is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 NKJV)

Grace is getting something we don’t deserve, and GOD has given us grace in the form of Jesus. HIS selfless sacrifice was the atonement for all of mankind’s sins, we didn’t deserve the gift and we cannot earn it. If you are trying to earn grace to be good enough to deserve blessings and healings then Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross for you. Jesus’ sacrifice was for all mankind, each and every one of us has the free will to accept and receive, or reject. If you are going to accept Jesus as your savior then all you have to do is receive.  Jesus Himself, was the one who said that HE came to save us, not condemn us.  It’s a lie of the enemy that healings and blessings aren’t meant to be ours, people have been deceived into thinking that they can’t be healed or they aren’t good enough to receive anything better than what they can earn themselves. This was never GOD’s plan for us, GOD’s plan for us has always been to bless us, HE’s waiting on us to receive these blessings by faith, just step out and receive your blessings!

GOD gave Moses this blessing to give to His people in Numbers 6:24-26 (NLT), “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”  Doesn’t that sound like the kind of blessing a father would give to his children, so here our Heavenly Father is giving a direct blessing for us, and HE is more than capable of fulfilling all of this blessing, after all HE did create the Heavens and the earth!

Every morning, before my day gets hectic and I lose sight of all I’ve been blessed with, I always pray over my sons.  So while praying this morning, I was thinking of how much I love them, and my oldest son being 12, would one day be driving, which caused me to have a bit of fear.  I knew GOD would protect him, but at that moment, I knew that between my son’s free will and the devil, there was a lot of room for ‘something’ to happen. You see, the bad things that come our way in life, they are either: our own doing, someone else doing bad to us (probably with a bit of nudging from the devil), maybe even some bad judgement on someone's part and/or the devil.

GOD doesn’t do bad to HIS children, just like a good earthly father wouldn’t willingly do ‘bad’ to his own children. GOD gave us free will and it belongs to everyone. Once we are saved, we continue to  have free will, to rebel or to follow GOD. So even if our children are protected by GOD, which means that the bad decision they make can lead them outside of GOD’s protection, but that’s not the end, just like after the crucification, three days later, Jesus rose from the grave and is now seated at the right hand of GOD. Anything that the devil can do to us, GOD can then cause to HIS glory (and don’t you know HIS Glory is awesome!) “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT).  This is the game winning scripture reminder for us, no matter what we do to ourselves, no matter what someone else does to us, no matter what the devil does to try and destroy us, GOD can take that situation and bring GLORY to HIS name through it and then cause BLESSINGS to us.

Have you seen the movie or read the book, ‘Soul Surfer’ by Bethany Hamilton? I’m  going to try and sum up the whole book in just a sentence (although I won’t be able to do it justice)…a young girl growing up in Hawaii who lives for surfing, loses her arm in a shark attack, and is able to overcome this tragedy with her faith and trust in GOD. You know the devil thought he had her good at this point, lost an arm, young girl who hopes to be a professional surfer, not much left she can do now, go feel sorry for herself maybe, never going to be able to further the Kingdom of GOD….ha…so the devil thought!! Bethany is now a professional surfer, inspirational speaker and her experience is a major motion picture and through all of this, she has inspired so many people through their own tragedies and have led multitudes of people to learn about Christ!  GLORY TO GOD!! 

Whatever your situation, whatever you are going through right now, if you believe you are stuck and cannot get out of that rut, put your trust in JESUS. Thank GOD for all that you do have, and cling to these promises from GOD, HE will get you out of the mire and muck you are in now, your job is to receive HIS blessings by faith. 

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Repentance and Following GOD

I’ve caught up on my Bible readings, I usually read 4 chapters a day, 1 NT, 1 Proverbs, 1 Psalm & 1 OT; via . But with the devotions I’ve been writing, I’ll start on a chapter and usually during the reading, I’ll get what I believe is to be my devotion, and I stop my daily reading and begin reading and researching on the scripture for my devotion. So today, I’ve caught up on Revelation 4-9 and 2 Kings 15-20, what I’ve noticed in both of these OT & NT readings, is repentance and following what GOD has instructed us. 

In 2 Kings, the Kings of Judah repeatedly had this said about them, “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there.” (2 Kings 15:3-4 NLT).  Each one of these Kings continued to leave these pagan shrines up, kind of like, turning a blind eye to what the people were doing. Today’s thinking is, ‘If I don’t see what’s going on, it’s not really happening’. When we don’t listen to what GOD tells us we are sinning, in the case of the pagan shrines, GOD made it perfectly clear: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord you God, am a jealous god who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected- even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.” (Exodus 20:2-6 NLT)

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17 NLT).  You see, by failing to remove the shrines, the Kings were passing their sins upon their children; these same children grew to be the Kings, and committed the same sins. Leaving these pagan shrines also opened the availability for sinning against GOD, a foothold that can become a stronghold of sin. In other words, this is the sin of rebellion, knowing what should be done, but refusing to do it; just like in the devotion I wrote yesterday about hardening your hearts.

Repentance is knowing you have sinned and then seeking forgiveness. The key to repentance is once you have confessed your sin; you must not continue to commit that same sin. Do you remember this example:  “ ’Teacher,’  they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!’ Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.  When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’  ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.’ “ (John 8:4-11 NLT).

The key to a truly repentant heart, is to NOT desire to sin again. Our flesh is weak, but our spirits are stronger, so we can overcome the sin, because “Greater is He who is in me, than he who is of this world.” (1 John 4:4b) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).  I’m not saying that if it’s a sin that has been in your life for years, that you would instantly be removed of that burden (although this is absolutely possible and has happened to many, many believers!). It’s the desire to sin no more, the desire to please GOD and truly be remorseful of that sin and continue trying to break free of that stronghold of sin. It’s a battle of faith and perseverance and one can be victorious over what once was a stronghold of sin. It can be turned into a stronghold of faith if one continues to cling to their faith and believe for freedom from that which bondaged them in sin.

In Revelations, I was reading about the events to come, great destruction will befall on the earth, people will see signs, wonders, and amazing destruction; but they will refuse to turn from their sins and acknowledge GOD as Lord. Why would they be so resistant to turn, because those sins have caused a stronghold in their lives, their hearts had hardened and they refused to believe or repent.  You can’t turn on the news today without seeing images and hearing stories about atrocities happening today, don’t you believe people’s hearts are being hardened, being de-sensitized to the human condition. We live in a world where GOD is being pushed out and flesh is being promoted, Christians are not the minority, but they are being treated as though they were. As an American we live in a country where we can still go to the church of our choosing, we can read our Bibles without fear, we can worship GOD and not be afraid of the consequences. But there are more countries in the world now, that don’t allow this worship, than countries that do allow this freedom.

Morals have been left behind, sins are not only being allowed, but are promoted in the name of progress. Some believers are trying to make areas that are black and white, gray, so they can fit into their lifestyle. Christians are not to judge, we are to encourage and love each other, we cannot condemn, but we cannot allow what we are taught in the Bible as a sin, to be accepted either. Does this mean we are to judge, yell, and scream at one another; no, we would be falling into the same category of the unbelievers, we cannot show love when we are condemning. Yet, we can say we do not agree with this or that, and if possible, vote or ban against. We must always use GOD’s word to be our conscience, the Holy Spirit lives inside us to guide us, but only if we will allow HIM to. Some believers have stopped listening to the Holy Spirit and started listening to the lies of the enemy, by trying to reason their way into believing what they want to, slowly hardening their hearts and stiffening their necks. But, if we keep our hearts tender and repentant we won’t allow a foothold to become a stronghold of the enemy.

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Monday, November 21, 2011


Thanksgiving week is upon us, Thanksgiving is an American tradition where we acknowledge all that we’re thankful for.  It’s become a tradition that many people don’t realize that it was natural in the days of the Pilgrims to have a day of Thanksgiving after a harvest, it was a custom to give thanks to GOD for their blessings. So much was it custom for people to recognize where their bounty came from that during the Civil war, Abraham Lincoln instituted Thanksgiving as national holiday. Below is part of the Proclamation that President Lincoln wrote when he issued our national observation of Thanksgiving day:

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…..
 No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

What I love about Thanksgiving, is so many people publicly acknowledge what they are thankful for, even on Facebook, people have been posting everyday a different reason for their thanks. Being thankful is so important, when we stop and give thanks we are no longer focusing on our problems, situations, issues or anything negative that we are experiencing. Instead our focus is now on, what we have received as a blessing, and when your focus is on the positive your heart is able to be enlarged.

When we give thanks, we allow our hearts to soften and not harden. If you’ve read my devotions before, you've read about the dangers of hardening your hearts.  I quoted my Pastor on my Facebook page, Stir Me Up Lord, ‎"When you have confidence in GOD, you focus on the potential and not the problem". When we focus on GOD; our thanksgiving will increase, when we acknowledge GOD as our source, when we give HIM all the praise and thanksgiving that HE deserves, that’s how and when everything falls into place. I love the Message translation of 2 Corinthians 9:8-9, “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.”

Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.” (Psalm 107:21-22 NLT).Here the Bible tells us to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, a sacrifice means giving up something of value. The ‘value’ means that our thanksgiving is of ‘value’ to HIM. The fact that we are ‘giving up’ something is the part where it’s not easy on our part, which makes it all the more valuable to GOD. When we stop and give thanks to GOD, we are acknowledging HIM, we are putting our focus on HIM, and we are giving our time to HIM.  

When our hearts are hardened we are no longer able to give thanks, we begin to have the mindset that everything we have is of our own merit and our own hard work.  Our focus is negative, unable to see the light in any situation. We begin to become callous and stiff, unable to see the good, instead we start focusing on the bad and develop a poor attitude towards life and everyone around. We think we are owed; that we deserve this or that, to the point where giving anything, much less offering thanks becomes almost impossible.

There is only one incurable condition in the whole Bible; that is the heart that has become so hardened that it will no longer listen, it is full of rebellion, stubbornness, and self-righteousness. Pharaoh was a good example of a man so full of himself and his pride; he refused to listen to any wisdom or counsel. How many plagues were set upon Egypt and he kept his heart hardened, Exodus 8:15 “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said.” Each time a plague was delivered, Pharaoh would tell Moses that he would let his people go if GOD would stop the plague, GOD would end the plague and Pharaoh would forget the ‘source’ of his relief and go back on his word. Pharaoh was seeing miracles, he would even admit that the events were from GOD himself, and yet he would stiffen his neck, rebel against all that he saw and believed, yet still he refused to obey GOD.  This constant hardening of his heart, led to Pharaoh’s destruction, “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1 NKJV)

The key to being tenderhearted is thanksgiving, if we are continually thanking GOD we are keeping our hearts pliable, moldable, and we are able to enlarge our hearts for GOD.   Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) I’ve written before on this verse and the act of sacrifice, but right now I just want to point out that we are to ‘continually’ offer thanksgiving of praise to GOD.  Continually, means we are always offering thanksgiving, not just once a year, or even just at meal times (saying grace).

A good start to continually giving thanksgiving, is to practice this, Psalm 119:164 (MSG), “Seven times each day I stop and shout praises for the way you keep everything running right.”  My pastor’s wife, said when she started doing this, at first it wasn’t natural to her to do this seven times a day, but after a while it became habit and just second nature for her.  Today is my first day to undertake this task, they say after 21 days most people are able to form a habit from a routine, so hopefully I will be posting that in 21 days the results of my new ‘habit’. If you are not in the habit of always thanking GOD (not just when things are going right, but during the typical day to day activities, and even the tougher times), would you consider joining me in giving thanksgiving to the Lord seven times a day? 

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Friday, November 18, 2011


So many people hurting
So many tears
So many lives in pain
So many
So many
The answer you’ve been seeking
HE has a name
HE has always been there
The One who heals
The One who gives you hope
The One who created you for so much more
The One who calls you HIS Masterpiece
The One whose love never fails
The One whose arms are wide open
The One who understands
The One who paid the price
The One who holds you in HIS right hand of righteousness
The One who was, who is and who is still to come
Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD GOD, the Almighty

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Revelation's Lukewarm Church

Revelation 3:15-16
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

You are a Christian or you are not, you are ‘hot’ or you are ‘cold’, you are on fire for GOD or you do not know GOD. People that call themselves Christians, but live as though they never knew GOD, are lukewarm. Lukewarm 'believers' send a bad witness to people who do not know GOD. The non-believers see this person who claims to be a Christian; doing the same things they do, acting the same way, saying the same things. How are we to stand out, be a city on a hill, be a light in the darkness, be the salt of the earth; if we are no different than those without GOD. As Christ's represenatives here on earth, we are the Body of Christ; we are the Church. We need to love as Christ loved, the places our feet walk to need to be places Jesus would have walked to, the things our hands do need to be the things that Jesus would have used his hands to do. There’s a saying, we can’t just talk the talk, we need to walk the talk -but if you’re not going to walk the talk, then please just keep your mouth shut.

 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  (Matthew 5:13 NLT)

A person who claims to be a Christian, but loses their desire for GOD has lost their ‘flavor’ and are of no use to GOD. Our job as believers is to share the Good News of Jesus’ Salvation, to shine our light and share GOD’s love with others. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be).”  (1 John5:21 AMP) If you are living only for yourself and your flesh, you are not building up the Kingdom of Heaven, you are tearing it down! In the Old Testament, the people of Israel were lukewarm, “Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, ‘How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” (1 Kings 18:21 NLT) You cannot follow GOD on Sunday, then follow ‘Baal’ (a pagan god, but consider Baal to be your flesh, the world or the enemy) on the other days of the week.

This doesn’t mean a person who has turned from GOD, cannot repent and turn back to GOD.  This is for the person who is being rebellious, knows they are wrong but have no desire to turn back to GOD. If you want to be right with GOD, you can always repent and HE will welcome you back into HIS arms whole heartedly as if you never sinned. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).  But don’t be lukewarm and repent with your mouth and continue to move in the direction of your flesh, the world, or of the enemy.

When you are on fire for GOD, you thirst for more of HIM, and you are hungry for more of HIS Word. You want to be stirred up, you want to do more for GOD, and you want to put HIM first in your life; not as an afterthought. Jesus said often that, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Mark 4:9, as my Pastor explained this verse last night, almost everyone has ears, what HE is referring to as ears, are our spiritual ears. As new creations in Christ, we have spirit ears, we can listen to more than just the words being spoken, we can be given discernment and ascertain the Will of GOD in our lives by praying and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Again, Jesus went on to say, “’For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.’ Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given – and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.’”  (Mark 4:22-25 NLT). There’s another translation that says instead of “the more understanding you will be given” it says, “the measure you give will be the measure you get back”. The more you want to learn, the more you want to read the Word of GOD, the more GOD will reveal and give you wisdom and understanding. It is part of the ‘you reap, what you sow’ principal, so it’s not just a desire and a want, you do have to put forth some effort. If you want more, you have to give more of yourself to GOD. Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, sit down and spend time with GOD, read HIS Word, talk to HIM (pray), and listen for HIM.

When we have a desire and we spend time in HIS Word and time in prayer with HIM. HE will stir us up, HE will cause a burning for more of HIM, and we will want to please HIM.  ...Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 As believers we are called to be a witness to others, by our actions and our words. Jesus commanded us, “And then he told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’” (Mark 16:15 NLT)  That is our purpose here on earth, we all have been given different talents, different skills, different abilities to accomplish this purpose, and each one of us has been commissioned for this task. So be ‘hot’ or be ‘cold’, make a choice, but do not be ‘lukewarm’!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Revelation's Unbelief vs Faith

Revelation 3:8, 10
I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me…Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to the world.”

This letter was to the ‘The Faithful Church’, otherwise known as the ‘True’ church. And as I’ve said in the previous devotions on Revelations, the believers are the church, we make up the church, and we are the bride of Christ, the body of Christ. This message was for the true believers who did not turn away from GOD and to live of their flesh for the worldly pleasures.

I do believe that the believers will be raptured before the Great Tribulation, I do not know if by this verse that it means that those who were saved BUT turned away from GOD after receiving salvation, will have to endure the Great Tribulation or not. That thought never occurred to me until just now. Perhaps understanding the types of unbelief will explain my thoughts on this…

I learned yesterday that are two types of unbelief, the type of ignorance (just don’t know any better) and non-persuadable (the kind where you do know, rebellion). The first type, ignorance unbelief, is explained by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” This type of unbelief have no knowledge of GOD, so they have never experienced salvation, because they have chosen not to accept it.

The second type is the type of unbelief that happens when someone has accepted Christ as their Savior, but after sometime have turned away from GOD and has placed the desires of the world above GOD. This is same rebellious unbeilef that the Israelites showed when they were in the desert. They had seen the miracles of GOD, they had seen the Red Sea part, they had eaten the Manna, they had seen GOD’s miracles every day, yet they doubted GOD's goodness in their lives. They chose their flesh over GOD. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ Then the Lord said, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are.’” Exodus 32:8-9 You see, GOD brought them out of Egypt, but Egypt was still in them! GOD had delivered them from their bondage, but they chose not to receive their freedom from that bondage.

The rebellious unbelief is what happens to believers when they allow their hearts to harden; they’ve choked the ability for their hearts to receive GOD’s blessings, grace and mercies. “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” A reference in my Bible to this verse says that, “Those who abandon the truths and morals of the gospel in favor of false doctrine meet with catastrophe.” I imagine this to be the removing of GOD’s hand and favor from their life. These believers have experienced GOD's redemption and grace, but chose to turn away from HIM and thus removing HIS protection from their lives.

We that remain faithful will be received into Heaven without enduring the Great Tribulation. We will be watching from the Heavens the events that unfold here on earth. When we keep the Faith and honor the name of Jesus, doors will be opened to us that no one can shut. This door is blessings, mercy, grace, and love, GOD’s favor upon our lives. The door to eternal salvation as children of GOD, we have received permanent home with our Father in Heaven.  These doors are for us to use for GOD’s Kingdom, we are to use our blessings to bless and encourage others. We are to build HIS Kingdom here on earth, each of us make up the Body of Christ, and each of us has an individual responsibility. If you are not sure what your purpose is, pray for the answer, but know that while you are waiting for an answer, GOD can still use you to strengthen, encourage, and lead others to Christ.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Revelation's Wake Up Call

Revelation 3:1c-3
“…I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive- but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly as a thief.”

This letter was to the ‘Dead Church’, it was spiritually dead, a church just going through the motions, a church that forgot it's purpose. Remember as believers we are the body of Christ, together we are the church. It doesn’t make a difference what denominations we are, WE are ALL the church. We (the Body of Christ, the church) are Christ’s bride that HE will be returning for.

Here’s my paraphrase of the parable of the 10 brides waiting for the bridegroom with their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13). The brides who were prepared were greeted by the bridegroom and went into the wedding feast; the door was closed and locked. The brides who were unprepared knocked at the door saying, ‘Lord, Lord, Open the door for us!’, but the bridegroom said, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ Once Christ returns, it’s too late for salvation. There are many people who sit in church (or at home) and believe themselves to be Christians but their hearts, faith, and works show otherwise, they are spiritually dead.

We can know we are spiritually alive, if our faith produces good works. Faith by itself will go stale, if we put faith in a container on a shelf, but don’t use it, it will decay and become useless. In order to grow our faith, we have to step out in faith, each step, increases our faith. Obedient faith produces fruit. When we continue to step out in faith and follow what we believe to be God’s will for our lives, we will produce fruit for the Kingdom of GOD.  An illustration was given that our spirits are like a flower (imagine producing fruit). A flower wasn’t created to remain closed, it needs the radiance of the sun to bloom (awaken from the deep sleep). Our spirits need the SON of GOD to awaken our spirit (reborn) and we need the Bread of Life (Word of GOD) to bloom and produce fruit.

1 Timothy 5:5-6 “Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help. But the widow who lives only for pleasure is spiritually dead even while she lives.” The contrast, the widow whose hope is in GOD is spiritually alive; compared to the widow who lives for pleasure and indulgences is spiritually dead. When you are constantly feeding your flesh seven days a week, but only feeding your spirit one hour a week, you are starving your spirit, causing decay and eventual spiritual death. The worldly desires, pleasures, indulgences, the selfishness, the ‘ME’ first mentality cannot co-exist with GOD. We cannot produce fruit if our world is revolved around 'ME' and not around 'GOD', we won't be sharing our love, because we're too wrapped up in ourselves.

Matthew 8:22 “But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” Jesus was saying, there is work to do for the Kingdom of GOD and then, there is idleness or busyness. Don’t use ‘busyness’ as an excuse for not doing GOD’s work. We can get caught up in 'stuff', people use the saying, ‘GOD never gives you more than you can handle’ to take on more responsibilities, but that’s not GOD giving you those responsibilities. That's not GOD burdening you down with so much ‘stuff’ that you can’t take the time to spend with HIM and share HIS love with others.  That busyness is you, learn to say no, GOD wants to bless us, not stress us!

Good works and busyness, are two different things, busyness is a distraction from what is really important.  Remember when Jesus visited Martha and Mary, Martha was busy cleaning, cooking, preparing a big meal for Jesus and her guests, but Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha was upset at all her work and busyness, while Mary was doing nothing, she asked Jesus to have Mary help her, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).

Anyone can busy themselves with good works and not maintain a relationship with Jesus. You must have the faith behind the works (otherwise its just busyness), and you must have the works (good fruit) to show your faith.  So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds. You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Just as the body is dead without breath (or without spirit), so also faith is dead without good works.” ( James 2:17-20,26)

This song came to mind as I was writting my devotion this morning, I shared the video on my FB Stir Me Up Lord page

"If We Are The Body" by Casting Crowns
It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girl's teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Jesus is the way

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Revelation's Love Command

Revelation 2:4
But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

If you read this chapter, you’ll see that this was one of the letters written to the seven churches, the heading to this chapter is ‘The Loveless Church’. I believe this ‘Loveless Church’ was mentioned first, because love is so important and when you have love, everything else will fall into place. As believers of Christ, we are the body of Christ, we are the church. Church is not meant to be a religious routine without emotion, church is the coming together of believers to worship GOD, to give HIM all the honor and glory HE deserves, the message the Pastor (Preacher, Priest) brings is to strengthen, encourage, grow our knowledge, and give us understanding of GOD’s word.

There is only one warning with love, do not love the world, do not love the ‘things’ of this world, do not put them above others. Do not compare your church with other churches, by who has the larger building, which has the larger sanctuary or attendance. Do not fall into the trap of comparing.  Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:15-16) There is nothing wrong with gaining possessions; the problem is when your possessions possess you.  We have to remain faithful to GOD, loving HIM and giving to HIM and others. As long as our stuff doesn’t become the center of who we believe we are. GOD wants to bless us, HE wants us to not have any wants, this doesn’t require us to be poor (why we would be called upon to help the poor if HE wanted us poor), and as long as our first want is to please and serve GOD, we are in the right place with our hearts for GOD.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:9-12) Jesus showed us how important love was, by being the example of love. Jesus went on to say in the next verse the example of that ultimate love, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) This command was so important, Jesus repeated it again in verse 17, This is my command: Love each other”.

We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters” 1 John 4:19-21 If we love one another, we are fulfilling all of GOD’s commands, because we cannot sin against a person if we love them. It’s easy to love our friends and families, but it’s completely difficult to love our enemies and those who just get on our nerves.

If we are struggling with loving others, ask GOD to help you love others, ask GOD to enlarge your heart, give you compassion and understanding. We are called to love all, because Jesus died for ALL, not just the people we like.  Owe nothing to anyone –except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These- and other such commandments- are summed up in this one commandment: “love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Romans 13:8-10

So now that we know that we are to love others and not this world, we need to know what love really is. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

If you are struggling with this, ask GOD for help, HE is faithful and will answer your request. Remember we are the church, we are to share the Good News and share Christ’s love.  I also tell you this: if two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.For where tow or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Revelation's Preparedness

Revelation 1:3
“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.”

A little disclaimer...
I’ve been writing on a verse from my daily bible reading every day and I wasn’t aware that I was going to be in Revelations. I had read a book last year that my pastor had recommended and I’ve had an ‘urging’ to read again, but have yet to, so now that I see I will be reading in Revelations, I will pick it up again (“What in the world is going on? 10 Prophetic clues you cannot afford to ignore by David Jeremiah). When I write these devotions, I don’t necessarily have a specific knowledge or background information on the topic beforehand. I just pray beforehand that God would give me the wisdom, knowledge, discernment, reasoning and understanding that I need and that God would guide me to the verse and topic I will write on for these devotions. My purpose is only to bless and encourage others and yet I have been blessed and encouraged in the process, praise God! Without further ado, let’s learn together….

“for the time is near” This is not a reference to a precise historical time, it is an urgent call to the obedience. Obedience, the Hebrew word ‘hupakoe’, from ‘hupo’ means ‘under’ and ‘akouo’ means ‘to hear’. The word signifies attentive hearing, to listen with compliant submission, assent, and agreement. It is used for obedience in general, for obedience to God’s commands, and for Christ’s obedience. So we are to continue to follow Christ's commands to us, until the day of HIS return.

 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6
Jesus revealed to John, “Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.” Revelation 16:15  Jesus said to the disciples about the second coming, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” Mark 13:32-33 NLT

We are to be prepared, not spend our time calculating the time for HIS return. Jesus himself said that HE did not know the time, if we knew the time of HIS return, how many people would live their lives however they wanted to, then repent the day before, it seems there would be a lot of selfishness occuring instead of selflessness. The main point I’m getting here, is that we are not to try and figure out a day of the Lord’s coming, The writings of Revelation are not written in chronological order of events to happen, but in chronological order of the visions John had. This does not mean that we won't see the events leading up to, just know that the events leading up to could still be a hundred years before the Second Coming.

Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief”. Revelation 3:3

We are to continue following Jesus commands to love one another and to spread the Good news, to share our testimony and win as many people to Christ.

Jesus gave many parables as to what HIS second coming would be like, all of them show that we need to be prepared because we don't know when HE will return. “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
Luke 12:35-40

Jesus told the disciples, “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” Mark 13:34-37

Preparedness is the theme, not merely waiting.

Again Jesus told his disciples, “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. 32 Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! 33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. 34 That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.” Luke 17:28-35 NLT

When the Lord returns, life will be ‘as usual’, we need to be prepared for HIS return by continuing the works HE commissioned for us. We will not know the date or time when Jesus returns, but yet we are to fully prepared, not as in packed and ready to go, but as in our hearts prepared. We are to be vigilant and ready for that day, we are to watch for the signs and events, BUT watching the events and signs should ONLY put urgency in us to win lost souls for the Lord and for ourselves to be spiritually prepared for the events to come, "for the time is near".

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Thursday, November 10, 2011


2 Peter 3:18
“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.”

Yesterday I talked about growing in grace, today we’re looking at growing in knowledge.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7  Fools are people who follow the wisdom of the world, those that do not ‘know’ GOD, their faith is in the world and only the seen. Learning to walk in the fear of the Lord is learning to live in awe and reverence of GOD.  It is foundational to our walk of faith. GODis loving and full of grace and mercy; but HE is also all-powerful, awesome, holy, righteous, and sovereign over all things.

Knowledge of Christ is not the knowledge you can get from just going to church or just reading your Bible, you have to have a relationship with HIM.  Most people have a person in their life that knows them better than anyone else, knows their moods just by looking at them, knows what they’re about to say before they say it, this is the kind of ‘knowing’. This person got to have knowledge of you probably by spending LOTS of time with each other. And you can’t ‘know’ GOD without taking time to spend with HIM in prayer or reading HIS Word everyday.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16 Once a believer you are a child of GOD and a friend of GOD, but before you are a believer, you are an enemy of GOD.

Until you have accepted Jesus as the Son of GOD and that HE died for our sins,  rose again on the third day and sits at GOD’s right hand in Heaven, you are an enemy of GOD. “… Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. “James 4:4 NLT  For since our friendship with GOD was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.” Romans 5:10

Knowledge of God, once we have knowledge of GOD, we want to please GOD. We have a new spirit that is perfect and filled with the Holy Spirit; our new spirit wants to only please GOD. Our spirit does not want to sin, when we sin, our spirit is sickened. The spirit is clean, it is pure, when we sin it is against GOD and our spirit requires us to repent of those sins. That gnawing feeling you get when you’re a believer that has sinned but you don’t want to repent, that’s your spirit grieving.“I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body…” (Daniel 7:15) Our spirit can be distressed, especially from an unrepentant sin.  David wrote Psalm 51 after he repented of his sin with Bathsheba, in verse 17, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

Knowledge, Greek word, “da’at”, means knowing, intelligence, wisdom, discernment, skill. It comes from the verb, ‘yada’, “to know”. In Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.” My concordance says (From the labor of HIS soul he shall see light) this can be taken to mean that knowledge of HIM (that is knowing HIM) justifies them, or that HE uses HIS knowledge and skills to obtain their justification: that is, HE, by HIS priestly intercession, knows how to justify believers.  So by knowing Jesus, by claiming HIM as Lord and Savior in our lives, we ‘know’ HIM and that is what saves us. 

The knowledge of GOD brings us grace, and that grace and knowledge of GOD is which saves us.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011


2 Peter 3:18
“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.”

We are to grow in grace, we are to give grace to others if we are to receive it. The word ‘grace’ used here was the Greek word, ‘charis’ comes from the same root as ‘chara’ which means ‘joy’ and the ‘chairo’, ‘to rejoice’. Charis causes rejoicing. It is the word for God’s grace as extended to sinful man. It signifies unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, or a free gift.  Just as we benefit from GOD’s grace by giving us the gift of salvation, we are to bestow grace to others. We are to be Christ like here on earth, which means all the things Jesus did, we are to follow his example. We can extend grace to our family, friends, co-workers, acquaintences, and even strangers! So when someone says or does something to you, instead of giving them the deserved response; try responding with grace.

In reading 2 Corinthians 12, Paul, said he received wonderful revelations from GOD, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) The explanation my Bible gives to this is too great not to share: “His Grace is Sufficient- Godliness and Moral Purity; Grace, God’s unmerited favor, is that indeed a manifestation of His power exceeding what we could achieve or hope for by our own labors. And not only is it mightily in effect at our salvation, it is also a God-given resource that makes possible “holy living” when our life, circumstance, or character is under fire by the adversary.  God’s grace becomes His enablement or empowerment to achieve His plan, endure hardship, or access Him. His grace is powerful and all-enabling to the believer. His grace facilitates our abilities to conquer every weakness as we yield to an absolute trust or reliance upon God, trusting His heart even when we cannot trace His hand. Also the Greek ‘arkeo’ for ‘sufficient’ suggests the idea of ‘raising a barrier’ or ‘warding off’, God giving us the grace – the supernatural ability or miraculous faculty to sustain, endure, or maintain our call-for all He is enabling us to become in Christ.” (Jack W. Hayford, commentary, New Spirit Filled Life Bible )

Wasn’t that awesome, grace, is not only some gift we can bestow upon others, but it’s a way we can endure and sustain ourselves when we are under attack! GOD wants us to grow in grace, not just so we can be stronger Christians, but so we can lead others to Christ. HE wants us to share our experiences to encourage others. Some people don’t want to let anyone know that they have a weakness or struggles, but those very issues are what can bring people to Christ. Some people believe because we’re Christians, life is perfect and fair-weather. They need to know that yes we have struggles, BUT those issues don’t define us, we are strengthened through our trials, we still have joy regardless of our circumstances, because we have Jesus!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Sacrifice of Praise

Psalm 136:2
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.

Praising GOD and giving thanks for every day. Being thankful for the moment we have, not dreading the next, troubles come and go, and whether we’re on the mountain top or in the valley, we’re to give GOD praise. We don’t praise GOD just because life is good, we praise GOD because HE is so good! “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Praising GOD when life is great and everything is going our way, not so difficult, yet we’re to praise GOD even when that’s not the case.  Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrew 13:15 Notice this verse says to ‘continually offer the sacrifice of praise’, we’re to ALWAYS offer praise, our situation doesn’t dictate our praise, our praise is to be unconditional. 

The Greek word, thusia, was used for sacrifice, which comes from the root word, ‘thuo’. ‘Thuo’ is a verb meaning “to kill or slaughter for a purpose”.  So when we offer GOD a sacrifice, it can be that we are killing our pride, fear, or even laziness. When we’re suffering, the last thing we want to do is to thank GOD for HIS blessings, it’s not natural, and that’s why it’s a sacrifice. Praise isn’t always what we want to do; it’s what we need to do.  The sacrifice might also be related to pride, for example, if we get rewarded for some achievement, instead of telling everyone, "yes, I worked really hard for this", try saying, "thank you GOD, I couldn’t have done this without you".

Also in Hebrews 13:15, “the fruit of our lips”, we all bear fruit with our actions and our words. Remember Jesus’ words, “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.”  Matthew 12:33-36  No word that leaves our mouth is without profit or loss, the words we speak do not disappear, they will be remembered (unless we repent of those words and ask GOD for forgiveness).  Don’t you want your words to be remembered for encouraging and praising GOD?!

The good fruit and bad fruit, makes me think of it this way. We feed GOD the good fruit, when we praise GOD through the tough times, we’re feeding him the fruit of our words, we’re allowing HIM to grow larger in our lives, and we’re giving HIM the praise HE deserves!!  BUT when we give bad fruit, we’re feeding the devil, we’re feeding him the negativity and misery he thrives off of, we’re giving him a foothold into our lives, we’re allowing the enemy to steal our joy and letting him defeat GOD’s will for our lives. 

So we have to train ourselves, it isn’t natural for us to give praise when times are tough (remember our bodies are only flesh, it’s our spirit that is the new creation, and our minds have to renewed to match our spirit). “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 The saying, ‘garbage in, garbage out’, speaks true here. We get out of ourselves, what we put in, the same goes for our diet, exercise, the TV shows we watch and books we read.  This is why reading our Bible every day is so important; if you keep putting GOD’s word into you, it will come out of you. You will find it easier to speak encouraging words and your outlook on life will change dramatically. If you listen to praise and worship music a little bit each day, you will find joy in your spirit even when the day is going wrong, you will discover that offering those sacrifices of praise are less of a sacrifice and more of a gift. Once we have conditioned ourselves with praising GOD and we are praising HIM out of habit, we will be able to bless others (and ourselves) by speaking words of encouragement and not defeat.

Here's a final thought on how we will ALWAYS have a reason to be thankful, regardless of our circumstances: We can ALWAYS be thankful for Jesus Christ . We can remember HIS sacrifice, HE came to earth, bore our shame and punishment, HE saved us before we ever knew HIM, HE loved us before we loved HIM, HE died for us before we gave HIM our hearts. And we can be thankful that today, HE sits at the Father’s right hand and righteousness is HIS, we have HOPE, we have FAITH, we have the Father’s LOVE, we have a comforter, the Holy Spirit, we are never alone and we know that no matter what we may go through on this earth, we are GOD’s children and we will overcome any circumstance and situation, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! So we can offer a small sacrifice to HIM, we can offer HIM a sacrifice with praise and thanksgiving in any circumstance we are going through, because the price we pay is nothing compared to the price HE paid for us.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011


Psalm 9:9-10
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
a refuge in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
For you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”

In times of trouble, when we are under attack, or when we start to fear, turn to GOD. Instead of picking up the phone to call someone, drop to your knees and call out to GOD. Words from friends can sometimes help, but only the name of GOD can save.

In the verse, "Those who know your ‘name’..."; name is a poetic symbol for the total person and personality it represents. Here it stands for the reliable character of GOD. We have to have faith to believe in the name of GOD and all that it stands for. GOD is waiting for every individual to know HIS name and to experience HIS love. Only one name can save, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13). To trust in the Lord is to confidently believe that HE will never leave you or abandon you.  It’s a walk of faith and in that walk; we learn to trust in GOD and not ourselves. We trust in GOD to fulfill his promises and to believe HIS word.

Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 7:7-8: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Notice how Jesus told us to ‘keep on asking’, keep on, if you haven’t received.  This is faith, to keep on asking for something that we haven’t received yet, Jesus told us to keep on asking, because HE knew we would get weary. HE told us to ‘keep on’ knocking as well, but the last part of that verse shows the outcome: And to EVERYONE who knocks, the door will opened.” We might not receive immediately or even weeks, months, years, but if we ‘keep on’ GOD is faithful and we will receive, that’s the walk of faith.

Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles and the rulings he has given,” Psalm 105:4-5 In the verse "if we 'continually' seek him," the word 'continually' is translated from the Hebrew ‘tamid’, which is also translated to: all times, always, constantly, ever, perpetual, regularly. As long as we do our part to ALWAYS seek HIM (that means in the good times and not just the bad), HE will be faithful, “He always stands by his covenant- the commitment he made to a thousand generations.” Psalm 105:8. 

The original Hebrew word ‘misgab’ is translated to refuge, stronghold, an unassailable lofty/high tower. In military strategy; a place of complete safety, once you have entered that stronghold, you are sheltered from the attacks of the enemy. This doesn’t mean you won’t be attacked, but once you are in the Lord’s shelter, you will have GOD’s peace while the enemy attacks. Jesus told the disciples in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Once we receive HIS peace, then our faith is able to grow even stronger because we see that what happens around us doesn't matter anymore! Because the peace that GOD gives us is not effected by the surrounding circumstances, HIS peace is based on trusting in GOD and HIS word.

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” Psalm 29:11

When we keep searching for God; when we remember HIS promises, HIS mercies and HIS grace he has given us; that is the place where we will find HIM. We must keep our hearts tender to HIS word and thankful for HIS blessings. By keeping our hearts open to HIM and HIS word, we will always have a place of refuge when those storm waters rise and the winds howl. We can have peace in GOD’s shelter, we will have strength for the enemey's attack, because we have clung to GOD’s promises and have put our trust in HIM. The Christian walk requires strength and faith and GOD has given us all we need to persevere. We were never promised that our life would be easy; we were just promised that we would be able to overcome.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Enlarge our Hearts

2 Peter 1:3
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”

Everything we need to live our lives for Christ has been given to us, when we were saved and became a new creation in Christ. ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 Our dead spirit became new, alive, so like a newborn baby must be nourished and fed to grow and develop into a mature adult. We must also nourish and feed our new spirits with the Bread of Life, the word of GOD. We were created in God’s own image (see Genesis 1:26-27), our spirit (God’s own image, not my physical body) has the capacity and ability to love as Christ loved us, our spirit or hearts can be enlarged and increased to love all!

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

I love the Amplified version of this scripture, read this and let it really sink in:
“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” What an awesome prayer we can pray over ourselves!

God wants our hearts to be enlarged so that we can receive the outpouring of blessings he has for us, if our hearts are hardened and narrowed, we are unable to receive and grow, thus unable to share our hearts with others. A narrow rigid heart has fear and selfishness, where as an enlarged heart is fearless and selfless. When you live in fear, you are not having faith, but the greater your faith, the larger your heart! "But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4

We are to read the word of God, feed on it, not just read a verse or chapter, but read it, study it, think about it, seek and pray for understanding. We are to pray, talk to God have communion with him and not just when we need something. Share your heart with Him and get to know him intimately, pray that he will enlarge your heart, soften your heart and keep your heart tender to God, His word, and others. He loves you and longs to spend time with you. Give him praises of thanksgiving, thankful for all that we do have and have been given, every day is a new day to serve God and to share God’s love with others. 

“When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15

A child believes and receives without difficulty, because they are open, as we age, we harden our hearts, our thoughts, and we adapt to the world around us, by reasoning and rationalizing. But we can receive so much more than we could ever imagine with our spirit than our minds even know to ask.“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 A child doesn’t think about “what if’s” they just accept what they are told. While our minds try to reason with the promises that God has given us, we try to make things impossible by what we know, instead of imagining GOD's limitless abilities. How beautiful it is to have childlike faith, pray for that kind of faith.  

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stay Alert!

1 Peter 5:8
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Stay alert, or be vigilant, don’t let your guard down, when you hear those words you know you need to be on the lookout for something and be prepared. The next part of the verse tells you the reason you need to be cautious, you have an enemy and he is a liar, a thief, and a killer. When you think of all the bad things in the world, it begins with the enemy. He is roaming around and looking for someone to attack with a fierce hunger that can never be satisfied, so my question is, when you know you have a lion waiting for you, do you go out without your weapons or armor?

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:10-12 

The first rule of battle is to know your enemy. You must know who you are fighting against and you must know how they attack so you can be prepared. You have to know what is of GOD and what isn’t, even the devil and his demons can quote scripture, just used out of context. The best defense is a good offense, so read your Bible, read it daily, memorize scriptures that you can hold to when you are attacked.  And when someone gives you scripture, look up that scripture and read the chapter, read the footnotes and references, know the scripture and know the truth.

When the devil attacks, hold fast to your shield of faith so you can block those arrows (thoughts of defeat, self-doubt,  fear, reasoning and practicality) and cling to your sword the word of GOD. (see the whole armor of GOD in Ephesians 6:10-18) When Jesus was being tempted by the devil for those 40 days, everytime the devil would tempt Jesus, Jesus would use the sword of the Spirit, the word of GOD. (see Luke 4:1-13).

Discern what is from GOD (joy and peace can only come from GOD).And know that the devil will rob you of your joy, load you down with depression, he will steal your peace and try to kill something in you. If GOD gives you a promise, hold to that promise with faith. When we start to doubt those promises, we are stopping the will of GOD and helping the devil. You need to be able to stir yourself up for the Lord. You need to know you cannot go by your ability, but by GOD’s ability and by HIS ability, there is no stopping you! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13  We can do ALL things, but we do have our part to do; we must stay strong in our faith, with perseverance and patience.
The lion watches for the wounded, lone, helpless, (those that aren’t prepared, don’t know what they are up against, don’t know they are in a battle, and/or don’t use their armor of GOD), those are the perfect prey for the devil. I remember a story once of pastor who came to visit one of his church members, who had stopped going to church. On that cold wintery day, the two didn’t have much to say to one another, the pastor removed a coal from the collection of coals in the fire, the lone coal went from red to black as the coldness of its surroundings became more than the heat of the group of coals it was with, until it finally had just burnt out; the illustration that the church member who left the congregation, his fire within would grow cold and die without the rest of the church to strengthen and encourage his fire for GOD.

You have to know what to resist and what to yield to, they are not interchangeable. You don’t want to resist GOD and yield to the devil, so use your armor so you are resisting the devil and yielding to GOD. The devil is a reasoner, always questioning what GOD is telling us, he defeats us with practicality. The devil uses our human doubt to reason away GOD’s ability, we convince ourselves that we couldn’t possibly accomplish what GOD told us we could, when it was never our ability, if GOD gave us a job to do, it’s going to be based on HIS ability not ours. GOD created the heaven and the earth, he knows our thoughts before we think them, so how are we to tell GOD that HE overlooked this one part of HIS plan?

When GOD gives you a word, do you get excited, do you get pumped, do you feel like you can anything? Then when you’re at that mountain peak, the devil shows up and starts telling you all the reasons why you can’t do what GOD told you, you could. Your joy is lost, your excitement is gone and you start to fear, and then all the reasons why something isn’t possible, or say it’s just not practical, that’s when you’re listening to the enemy. GOD doesn’t need something practical or complex reasoning, he created you from dust, he doesn't need anything from you, except your faith. 

Don’t let fear govern you, the enemy is trying to make you settle, when GOD doesn’t want us to settle. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  Ephesians 3:20 Did you catch that, HE is able to accomplish infinitely more than we can even imagine!! HE is a GOD of abundance, when you give GOD your faith, your faith is rewarded: “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 Amen, that’s the kind of GOD we serve, we never deserve HIS grace, but HE is always faithful in his loving-kindness to HIS children with HIS endless mercy and everlasting love.

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