Archive for August, 2010

Daily Bible Reading is essential!


            ‘Now Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to him, he said, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

            But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Mathew 4: 1-4.)


            After being baptized, Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, where he was tempted by Satan.  Satan attempted to control him through manipulation.  He called in to question Jesus’ deity, and appealed to his bodily desires for food.  The Lord replied by quoting scripture, saying “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  There are bodily and spiritual needs; the stomach needs food, but the heart (spirit) needs the word of God.

            Recently I have been ministering to a woman who is near spiritual death.  She can’t stop doing drugs, yet professes to know God.  When asked if she reads the bible daily, she replied, “No.”  Strangely, when told that daily bible reading would bring about a transformation in her life, she didn’t seem to get it, or worse she didn’t believe it.  When asked what had happened when she was reading the bible daily, she roughly replied, “I read it for a while, and then my life gets better, and then I stop reading it, and I go out and revert back to my old ways.”  She has failed to understand the truth of what is revealed in this scripture; that the spirit needs to be fed with the bible daily; not two days a week, or one week out of a month, but daily.  The spirit controls the body, and when the sprit is starved, it becomes so weak, the fleshly desires take control.  They then are guided by immediate desires for food, for sex, for drugs, etc.  The key to regaining control is feeding the spirit with the word of God.

            Today, we all need to be feeding ourselves with the word of God.  How much time does it take to read a proverb, or to go through a portion of a scripture?  Daily, we spend a half an hour or more eating food; does opening the bible for ten minutes and consuming the word of God seem too difficult?  Give God’s word a chance in your life.  Make it a part of who you are, and you will find a strength to overcome and endure anything that may come your way.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we ask and pray that You would give us a hunger for Your word.   Give us a desire to feed our spirits with Your divine power.  Provide for us new insights as we read, that we might be excited with every new truth we uncover.  We thank You Lord, we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.”  Amen.

He plays, we dance


            And the Lord said, “To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like?  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, saying: 

            ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

            we mourned to you and you did not weep.’   

           For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  But wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7: 31-35.)


            John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and preached a message of repentance in preparation for the arrival of the messiah (Jesus.)  John did not drink wine, and he and his followers fasted regularly.  He baptized people in the Jordan River, and had no affiliation with the priests in Jerusalem; the priests hated him because the majority of the Jewish people believed he was a prophet, and he undermined their authority by baptizing people with water, for the remission of sins.  John was seen as a threat because he recognized the corruption of the priests, and publicly called them to repent and be baptized.  They refused, because they wanted to keep their power, their wealth, their full stomachs, and their fine clothing.  They wanted John to ‘lighten up;’ they wanted him to ‘play nice;’ this is what Jesus was referring too when he said the priests were like children who ‘played the flute’ for John but he didn’t dance.  (Children in the marketplaces would try to get reactions out of others.)  When John didn’t ‘dance,’ they condemned him as ‘demon possessed.’  Jesus referred to himself as ‘The Son of Man’ (an Old Testament title given to the Messiah.)  He said, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking.”  He and his disciples drank wine, and didn’t fast, because they were celebrating his arrival as the Messiah.  The religious leaders didn’t want anyone celebrating Jesus as the messiah, so they condemned him and his disciples as drunkards and deviants.  This is what is meant by, ‘we mourned to you and you did not weep.’  The religious leaders called Jesus and John evil in an attempt to regain control, with little regard for right and wrong.  They didn’t want to dance to God’s tune, and God doesn’t dance to a man’s tune, so these men became enemies of God.  Rather than helping, they were hindering His work.  Jesus said, “But wisdom is justified by all of her children.”  The children he was referring too were all of his followers.  Those who were repenting were coming to Jesus and giving their lives back to God.  The religious leaders had no one coming to them, because they had nothing to offer.  They had no children, no converts, no followers, because they were blind.

            Many churches have multiple pastors.  Often times a person who is stuck in sin will go to one pastor for counseling, but when faced with the idea of change, they rebel.  Not liking the answer they found with one pastor, they will go to the next pastor hoping for a different outcome.  Until they’ve exhausted all of the pastors.  If they are still unwilling to change themselves they may change churches.  They may go to the next church, a more liberal church, and if rejected for their lifestyle or sin at that church, they will go to the next church.  Often, when exiting a church they condemn the leaders and the church itself.  Today, there are whole churches that have become ‘last stops’ for those who have ventured down this path.  Many of the churches, no longer teach from the word of God, because to do so would make their ‘luke-warm’ congregations feel uncomfortable.  ‘Judgment, hell, condemnation, or change;’ ‘let’s just get rid of the bible and avoid all of these negative reactions’ (sarcasm.)  I was driving by a building that resembled a church, but the sign outside was promoting same-sex marriage.  I pulled my car over and stopped in; hoping to discover what portion of the bible might support their stand on this issue.  The pastor told me, “we’re not biblical literalists.”  What she was really saying was, ‘since God wouldn’t dance to our tune, we had to get rid of him.’  ‘Since God wouldn’t play our game, we’ll just remove the parts of God we don’t like.’ 

            Today, as Christians, we shouldn’t attempt to make God dance to our tune; we’re supposed to dance to His.  We aren’t to chisel portions of the bible out of our minds and hearts to continue on in some sinful practice.  Reading the bible is invaluable in any Christian’s life.  Why?  If you were about to jump out of an airplane and you were being told the directions on how to pull the cord, would you be interested in what you were hearing?  Your life depends on the words in the bible; you cannot be transformed unless you expose yourself to it.  You cannot grow to know more about God unless you are reading His word.  Followers of the Lord make scripture reading a part of daily living; all the scripture, not just the warm fuzzy ones; but the ones that challenge you to change and be more like Him.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we ask and pray that You change us to be more like You.  Give us a hunger to read Your word and to dance to Your tune.  Help us to submit ourselves to Your leading.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Serving the Lord is costly


            “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” (Luke 14: 26-30.)


            Most people are more loyal to their families and to themselves than they are to Jesus Christ.  Their service to God is conditioned upon it’s noninterference with what they hold most dear.  Jesus used the illustration of a tower under construction as a metaphor for discipleship.  When building anything, the foundation must come first.  Whatever a person is most loyal too, is the foundation upon which their life is built.  In construction, a lot of earth needs to be removed before a person hits bedrock.  Most, in order to dig down deep within their hearts and give their loyalty to Jesus Christ, must first remove those things that stand in the way.  This includes father or mother, wife or children, brothers or sisters, and even themselves.  Anyone who accomplishes the task of making Christ their foundation, must then deny themselves and embrace pain in order to love others.  A disciple undergoes crucifixion every day; their wants and desires are nailed to the cross so Christ may live in their place.  Christ lives because they die; he has risen because they have been buried.  Is a lifetime of self-denial, crucifixion, and service, worth the reward that comes when we finish the race, when we complete the task, when the tower receives it last stone?  A life with Christ takes work.  Sadly many start that work, and after a month, a year, a decade, they walk away; they abandon everything they had sacrificed, to regain a life of their own choosing.  [Jesus is not saying that we are supposed to stop loving our family, what he is saying is, we need to make sure they are no longer our number one priority; rather, Jesus Christ becomes the priority in our lives, and all of our other relationships take their place accordingly.]

            As a child I was constantly starting projects and never finishing them.  I wanted to build a pool, so I dug up my backyard, but abandoned the effort when my mother came home to find a hole in her lawn.  On another occasion, my dear mother came home to find that I had dug a hole in my bedroom ceiling (there was insulation everywhere.)  I thought I could insert a ladder through the hole to the roof and build an observatory up there (I was a unique child.)  As an artist in adulthood, my track record for incompletion continues somewhat today.  I have more than a number of partially completed paintings to my name.  I often become inspired to start a new painting before the one I’m working on is finished.  My inspiration will often lead me to abandon that one in like manner (not always, some I do finish.)  As an adult I found inspiration in novel ideas; I enjoy starting new projects, new hobbies, and new adventures, but often times my enthusiasm is fleeting. 

            Many people today are inspired to attend church, say a prayer, pick up a bible for a short time, but they don’t dig deep enough to make Christ their true foundation.  He becomes some small part of who they are; he is left in a compartment, in some little area of their life, because to bring him in to every area would result in much discomfort.  In building a life with Christ, in being his disciple, there is no half-way, there is no unfinished business.  There will be pain, there will be discomfort, and there will be trouble.  There will be trials, tribulations, turmoil, broken relationships, but you will know a joy, and you will have a peace through these trials.  You are going to have to deny what you want, what pleasure you might seek for yourself, to seek what pleases him.  Sit down; count the cost, ask yourself if you want what he is promising upon completion of a life of discipleship.  But don’t start something you can’t finish.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You help us to let go of our old lives, to take up Your new life.  Give us the strength to deny ourselves daily, and to endure, and to overcome.  We ask You to be raised to life in our place, that others can see You, and know You, and be loved by You.  Help us to serve You, and to serve others, in love.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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