“You Will Be Made Complete”

 19 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 3:19 NLT

Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT

It is impossible for us to even imagine the glory, power and strength of our God. His power is unlimited and we have access to it all. If we ask Him, He will come live with us in our hearts. We can never fully understand His love for us. He is the beginning and the end. We are incomplete without Him. He makes us complete with all the fullness of life. We are not even able to ask Him to do for us all the things He wants to do. These human bodies would explode if God just dumped all His power upon us. Our finite minds do not have the ability to conceive all the things God is capable of doing for us. “To God be the glory, great things He has done” , is doing, and will continue to do.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 09-09-2019

Focus On Jesus

22  I was so foolish and ignorant—    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. — Psalm 73:22

 Psalm 73:22-28 NLT
Have you ever wondered if God thinks about us in these terms?  I am sure that satan, the old deceiver, would like for us to believe that He does.  If we have ever had these kind of thoughts, we should be like the Psalmist here. In his very next breath (or verse in this case), he immediately gets his head on straight by remembering what has happened in every instance in the past. The Psalmist realizes that he is speaking from a bitter heart and he has been questioning God’s wisdom.  God never leaves us nor forsakes us nor does He cast us from His presence.  Instead, He reaches down to us and if we reach up to Him, He takes us by the hand and continues to lead us toward our glorious destiny.  The Psalmist remembers that God is our strength, our fortress and our shield.  We allow satan to sneak these silly ideas into our minds when we are focused on the horizontal.   We need to stay focused on the vertical.  That means spending time alone with God, praising and thanking Him for His goodness and His blessings.  If we do this, we can be assured that God will set the rest of the world straight in His own time.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-02-2019

“The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength”

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT
Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our hear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-25-2019

“Our Journey Requires Spiritual Food”

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”— 1 Kings 19:7 NLT

1 KIngs 19:1-8 NLT

God had just used Elijah to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, after that, God had given Elijah supernatural physical strength so that Elijah could catch and outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel.  Now, Jezebel had threatened his life.  She promised to kill him before twenty-four hours had passed.  After seeing the miracles God had just performed, how could any human being think that they could do anything to one of God’s chosen people?  Even worse, after all Elijah had experienced, how could he possibly believe that God could not protect him from the threats of Jezebel?  Is the God on the mountain not still God in the valley?  Yes, He is!  We want to spend our lives living mountain top experiences.  We should take notice that there is very little life on the mountains above the timberline.  The view is great and the atmosphere is exhilarating, but there is not enough dirt or oxygen to sustain life.  The life-giving elements are down in the valley and we need to spend some time there as well.  Elijah was having his valley experience, wallowing in self-pity, as we so often do.  God said “get up and eat”.   He was preparing Elijah for a journey that would take all of his strength.  When God calls us to do a work, He always provides everything we need to accomplish the task.  It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to “eat” the spiritual food that will prepare us for the trip through the valley and to the next mountaintop. 
If  we don’t eat the spiritual food God provides, the road will be rough and the journey will be miserable.  But if we do eat and prepare, the road will seem to be smooth and the journey will be a joy as we experience the presence of Jesus leading us home.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-02-2019

Prepared, Provisioned, Protected

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” — 1 Kings 19:7 NLT
1 KIngs 19:1-8 NLT

God had just used Elijah to defeat the 400 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, after that, God had given Elijah supernatural physical strength so that Elijah could catch and outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel.  Now, Jezebel had threatened his life.  She promised to kill him before twenty-four hours had passed.  After seeing the miracles God had just performed, how could any human being think that they could do anything to one of God’s chosen people?  Even worse, after all Elijah had experienced, how could he possibly believe that God could not protect him from the threats of Jezebel?  Is the God on the mountain not still God in the valley?  Yes, He is!  We want to spend our lives living mountain top experiences.  We should take notice that there is very little life on the mountains above the timberline.  The view is great and the atmosphere is exhilarating, but there is not enough dirt or oxygen to sustain life.  The life-giving elements are down in the valley and we need to spend some time there as well.  Elijah was having his valley experience, wallowing in self-pity, as we so often do.  God said “get up and eat”.   He was preparing Elijah for a journey that would take all of his strength.  When God calls us to do a work, He always provides everything we need to accomplish the task.  It is up to us to decide whether or not we are going to “eat” the spiritual food that will prepare us for the trip through the valley and to the next mountaintop. 
If  we don’t eat the spiritual food God provides, the road will be rough and the journey will be miserable.  But if we do eat and prepare, the road will seem to be smooth and the journey will be a joy as we experience the presence of Jesus leading us home.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 01-02-2019

Victory in Jesus

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27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or allow your Holy One to experience decay. ​- Acts 2:27 ISV​
 


Our story never changes.  It is the old, old story that is new every morning.  It is our anthem, our song, our strength and our hope.  Jesus voluntarily gave up His glory in heaven temporarily.  He was born into the world, He was fully man and fully God.  He went about doing good and God performed miracles, wonders and signs through Him.  Not everyone believed the story then and not everyone believes the story now.  But God, knowing what would happen, already had a plan in place.  Jesus came to this earth to redeem a fallen people from their sins and nothing, no one, nor any force of any kind would prevent that from happening. Over and over, the religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus before His time and in a manner that would not be sufficient for redemption.  God would not allow it.  Jesus was the perfect man, God had the perfect plan and now we are redeemed.  Just as God had a plan for Jesus, He has a plan for each of us to participate in the redemption story.  We are not perfect, God already knows that, so when we fail, He understands.  But His plan for each of us takes our weaknesses and failures into account.  He is never surprised by our failures and He never gives up on us.  We are chosen, we are called and we will succeed in the plan Jesus has for each of us.  So, when satan, the father of lies, comes to shame us with all of our failures, we just need to tell him to take it up with Jesus, stand up. let God clean us up and press on.  The battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s and He won the war years ago at the cross.  We may suffer losses and temporary setbacks, but we cannot be defeated.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 11-26–2018

“The Lord God Is My Strength”

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17 Even though the fig tree does not blossom, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even if the olive harvest fails,
    and the fields produce nothing edible;
even if the flock is snatched from the sheepfold,
    and there is no herd in the stalls—
18 as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I will find my joy in the God who delivers me.
19 The Lord God is my strength—  he will make my feet like those of a deer,
        equipping me to tread on my mountain heights.  
– Habakkuk 3:17-19​
 

Happiness and pleasure are worldly things and are dependent on our external circumstances.  They are fleeting and temporary.  But joy, true joy, comes from the Holy Spirit that abides in us.  It is dependent on our internal attitudes.  It is eternal and no one, not even satan can steal our joy.  If we lose it, it is because we give it away.  It is our strength that gets us through every day.  There are times when we may not be happy and our circumstances may not be pleasant, but how we respond to those times determines where we are on our journey with Jesus.  When these times come, do we blame God and sulk like spoiled children or do we respond like Habakkuk and rejoice in the Lord”?  When we don’t feel like praying, that is the time we need to pray the fervent, effectual prayers.  When we don’t feel like shouting with joy, that is the time when we need to clap our hands and shout with a voice of triumph.  Our joy is not based on feelings or circumstances but upon the sure knowledge that “God is our salvation and He has become our strength”.   All day, every day, all our life long.

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-12-2018

“Testing Produces Endurance”

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because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. – James 1:3 ISV
 
We love reading those verses that make us feel good, like Romans 8:28, Phil 4:13, John 10:10 and John 3:16.  Those are great verses that encourage us by letting us know that God is good and everything is going to be okay. But those verses can seem pretty hollow when we feel like God has deserted us and we are all alone in this evil world.  It is hard for us to understand how God, who is love, can allow bad things to happen to His children. When these times come, we need to remember that all we can see is “now”, but God sees and knows all about the future. He allows testing so that we can know where we are on our journey.  He already knows but we need to know so that we do not become puffed up and prideful.  Jesus warned us that in this world we would be offended and tested, so, it should come as no surprise when we are. Our Lord and Savior was tested and tempted in every way possible. He understands our pain better than we do.  We should never deny that we are in pain or that we are sick and hurting.  We need to admit our weaknesses and ask God to bring us through this time of testing. We need to persevere so that we can become mature and complete, fulfilled in Christ Jesus. We don’t want to hear “count it all joy” while we are in the process, but after the test is concluded, we can look back on the experience and see that Jesus carried us through the whole process.  The joy comes from knowing who we serve and that He loves us so much that He will allow nothing in our lives that He doesn’t give us strength to overcome. We are to “count it all joy”, not because of the situation, but in spite of the situation. We can’t be overcomers and conquerors if we never face situations that require us to overcome or conquer.  

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delightin weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9, 10 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-25-2018

“I Can Do Nothing”

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10 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 Cor.12:10 NLT
 
In the verses from 2 Cor.11:5 to 12:7a, Paul has been making the case that only a fool would boast about the things that they accomplish in their own strength. He is is making two points. One is that as long as we think we can, God won’t and the other is that we are foolish to think that we can do any of God’s work in our own strength.  Jesus made that fact very clear.

 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

We are not put here on earth to brag and boast about ourselves and our accomplishments. Our purpose here on earth is to bring praise to God in our words and actions.

 
 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.​ — 1 Peter 2:9​

It is in our weakest moments that God shows up to deliver us, it is when we come to the end of our rope and ask God for wisdom, that He shows us the open door through which He will take us to safety. Therefore, let us, like Paul, delight in our weaknesses and in whatever situation we find ourselves, trust God. As long as we think we can, God will allow us to struggle on our own.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its  way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-23-2018

“Be Very Glad”

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13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. – 1 Peter 4:13 NLT

Some of us have thought or been taught that once we are saved, life is just sunshine and roses. This can be true for us inwardly because we have the joy of the Lord abiding in us as our strength. But on the outside, satan is still around and sin still abounds, so we are going to have to face some offenses and situations. We should not be surprised when these issues arise.  Instead, we should rejoice in the situation.  Not because of the situation or offense, but because we know that if satan is confronting us with his garbage and lies, we must be messing with his plans. Sometimes it hurts deeply, but warriors on the front lines are the ones who get wounded. Should we complain?  Was Jesus not “wounded for our transgressions”?  Yes, He was and He suffered silently. Is the created better than the Creator? No, we are not.  We should count it a privilege and a joy to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. — James 1:2, 3 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 04-20-2018