Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jesus Cares

Many people doubt that God exists. Others think if He does exist, that He doesn't really care about people. Jesus came to earth to prove both of those ideas wrong. The story of Him raising the widow's son from the dead in Nain is a great example. (Luke 7:14,15) Think about this event in the life of Jesus, and see what it tells you.

First of all, it shows that Jesus was not just a man, but He was God in the flesh. Only God has the power of life, because God is eternal. When Jesus saw the dead man being carried by his friends to his burial, He simply touched the coffin and spoke to bring Him back to life. That reminds us of how God spoke the world into existence because of His wisdom and power. Yes, God exists, and He has visited us on this earth.

Secondly, Jesus saw the man's mother was a widow with no other children, so she had no way to provide for herself. He was moved by His compassion, and He cared so much that He worked a miracle to meet her needs. Jesus can and does do the same thing for us today, when He knows that is what we need. Other times, He uses natural means to meet our needs, but He always cares. He feels our hurts, and He wants to help us, like He helped His own widowed mother, even when He was dying on the cross by giving her John to take care of her.

I pray that all of us will be assured that God exists, and we can take all of our burdens to Him, trusting Him to meet our needs in just the right way, even if it is not how we would meet them. His way is always the best.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Luke 8-10.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Worship and Serve God Only

Satan is smart. He knows that he can lead us away from the Lord, if we will worship other gods, or other people, or other things. He also knows that if he can get us to serve something else besides God, even ourselves, that he can get us away from God. We see this as he even tempted Jesus in this way, when he came to Jesus in the wilderness after His baptism. (Luke 4:8) Let's take some time to reflect on this important truth.

What or who do you worship? Remember, worship means to ascribe "worth" to someone or something. We are to worship God only. This means that God is worth more than anything in our lives, and we would never give worth to something else that would lessen our commitment or worship of Him. In other words, since He is worthy of all of our devotion, we do not let anything stop us from doing what He says for us to do.

The same goes for our service. Who do you serve? Is there anything or anyone that you serve before you serve the Lord? Do you put yourself and your desires before the Lord, so that you serve yourself, instead of doing God's will? Of course, we can serve others, or even serve money and power. Take time to reflect on what you do and how you spend your money. That shows who or what you serve.

Let's all make sure that we are consistently worshiping and serving God alone. That will bring His favor on our lives, which will be such a blessing.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Luke 5-7.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Giving Light to Those in Darkness

Zacharias and Elizabeth were blessed by God to be the parents of John, the Baptist. Once John was born, his father spoke a wonderful word of prophecy about Jesus and his son. (Luke 1:76,77,79) In many ways all believers are to carry out the role that John began, when he prepared the way of the Lord coming into the world. Let's see what he did, so we can know what we are to do today.

A prophet spoke forth God's word, so others would see God's will. We must depend on God's word and share it with those around us, who do not know it. We must give knowledge of salvation by remission of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, because most people think salvation is by works. We must give the light of the Lord and His word to those who sit in darkness around us each day, or they will never see the truth but abide in the shadow of death. Finally, we must guide people into the way of peace, which is knowing the Prince of Peace, Jesus.

John was the first to cry out in the darkness. We may be the last generation to shine the light before Jesus comes. John had an urgency to prepare the way, when Jesus came the first time. Now, we must have an urgency to shine the light before He comes again.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Luke 2-4.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sweet Hour of Prayer

Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to watch and pray with Him for an hour, as He was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion.  They fell asleep, and Jesus confronted Peter about his inability to pray for an hour. (Mark 14:37,38) Jesus said Peter needed it, because he might fall into temptation, since the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Could it be that we all need that sweet hour of prayer each day, since we have the same flesh and the same types of temptations? I believe we do.

Prayer changes things, and the main thing it changes is us. When we pray, we submit to God's will, and we ask for His direction and power to live out His will. When we are faithful to pray, He is always faithful to supply what we need. Then, we can overcome the flesh by His power, and we can do the things that bring us abundant life, instead of stress and defeat.

Many people say they do not have time to pray for an hour a day. The truth is that we do not have enough time not to pray for at least an hour a day. If we fail to pray, and we give into the temptations which lead us from God's will, everything else takes longer, and by the end of the day, we look back and see how little we accomplished on our own. When we take time to pray for that hour, we can look back and see how God caused everything to go according to His will, and we have a great sense of accomplishment because of all He did in and through us.

If you do not know how to pray for an hour Biblically, I have some notes I can send you. Just send me a private message with your email address, and I will send them as soon as I can.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Mark 15-16 and Luke 1.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Forgiving Others is Essential

Many people, even believers, believe that they are justified in not forgiving other people who have treated them badly. In fact, I have heard Christians say they can't forgive others, so they do not even try. That is a terrible sin for several reasons. Jesus made it plain in His teaching. (Mark 11:25,26) Please, hear what the Lord says and do it.

Jesus said that if we have anything against anyone, we must forgive them. We must release them from any debt we feel they owe us, and we must love them as we love everyone else. If we fail to do this, God can't forgive us our sins. When we come to Christ, we repent of all of our sins, of which  unforgiveness is one of them. We turn from it, and we commit to go God's way, so that we forgive as Jesus does. Then, once we are saved, we are to not allow sins to block our relationship with God, so that we confess those sins, so we can be cleansed and restored in our relationship. Unforgiveness is one of the main sins that we must confess. It is very hypocritical for us to desire to be forgiven of all of our sins, if we will not forgive others.

Also, when we harbor a grudge or unforgiveness against someone, we don't hurt them, but ourselves. That sin keeps us from God while they go on their way, not even caring that we do not forgive them. Or even worse, they know we are a believer who won't forgive, which is a very bad testimony.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Mark 12-14.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Defilement Comes From Within

Many people concentrate on what they put into their bodies, but they neglect to realize that what comes out of their hearts is the real problem. We need to listen to what Jesus said about this and apply it in our lives. (Mark 7:20-23) It might surprise you to hear what He said.

People do not have to learn evil. We do not have to be taught to sin. It comes from our heart. We are born with a sinful nature, and we will sin when we are given a choice. Then, we are defiled by that sin, and we are separated from God. This is the plight of all people.

Religions are rules about what to do, what to eat, and what not to do. They have no effect on the heart, so they are useless. It is only the power of redemption that comes from Jesus' death and resurrection that can bring cleansing to a defiled heart. He paid for our sins and died in our place, when we deserved to die for our sins. Since He is God and became a man, He is the only one who could do that, and He is the only one who can cleanse us.

Therefore, we have to go to Jesus in repentance and faith to have the defilement removed, and to receive a clean, pure heart. Then, the things that proceed from our hearts will be different, because we have a new heart that listens to God, and we have His Spirit to empower us to do the right things. I pray that all of us will know Him and be cleansed, so the evil will not be in our hearts any more.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Mark 8-11.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Unpardonable Sin

Most people have heard of the unpardonable sin, but many do not understand it. (Mark 3:28-30) Some people think suicide is an unpardonable sin, others think divorce and/or adultery are not able to be forgiven. However, there is only one sin that is unpardonable, and it is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. I hope to make that clear for all of us.

When we trust Christ as Lord and Savior, because of His sacrificial death for us on the cross, all of our sins are forgiven by God, past, present, and future sins. We are saved by grace through faith in Him, and the forgiveness is a gift from God. It is a one time transaction, in which we are justified by His blood, and He counts us as righteous before God. Yes, we will sin after we are saved, and those sins affect our relationship with God, hut we can't lose our salvation. We confess those sins, and our relationship is restored, and those sins do not affect our closeness to the Lord. (I John 1:9) Therefore, a true believer can't commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

An unbeliever who resists the revelation of God by the Holy Spirit, and instead of listening to the Lord speak to his or her heart, says that Jesus has an evil spirit, He is not God, is the one who commits blasphemy against the Spirit. All of us are drawn by the Spirit to see Jesus as Lord of all. Many reject the Spirit and live their own way. They can still be saved if they repent and trust Christ. However, if anyone is so adamant that he or she says that Jesus is not God, but evil, so that God knows their rejection is complete, they have committed the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit and will spend eternity in hell. That is why Mark explained it with verse 30, that they said He had an unclean spirit. Only God knows those who have done this, so that He quits drawing them, and allows them to go away from Him forever. It saddens God, but He does this since we all have a choice, and He respects that choice.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Mark 4-7.