Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grace for your spirit April 1, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Teacher, I will follow You wherever you go. Jesus said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."  Matthew 8:20

People made pledges to follow Jesus for all kinds of reasons.  Some people think if they follow Jesus, they will end up with prosperity and fame.  Jesus always challenged people to count the costs and be willing to pay the price.  Like a king going into battle counts his troops and their troops.  Like a tower builder who has to stop half way up because of lack of funds.  When we say we will follow Jesus anywhere we need to accept the blessings and the troubles that are connected to the walk of a disciple. The apostles had in wrong for a long time and we can get it wrong too.  Let's commit to follow Him in good times and in bad ones

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 27, 2013

Grace for your spirit
One of them named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?"  Luke 24:18

These two people were found walking on the road to Emmaus the night Jesus rose from the dead.  It had been a tough weekend for all the followers of Jesus.  Their Master had died on a cross and their hope for Israel was down the drain.  A disguised Jesus asked them why they were so glum. They asked Him one of the most ironic questions in the Bible.  "Are you the only one unaware of the things that have happened?"  The irony is that Jesus was really the only one that was aware of what had happened.  On that walk Jesus revealed the truth to them, and it caused them to spring into action. Now they understood some of it and had to proclaim the risen Savior immediately.  We have the perspective to understand what had happened.  Let's pray that His message will burn in our hearts so we will proclaim that "He is risen".  Have a glorious Easter.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 26, 2013

Grace for your spirit
But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.  Matthew 26:58

It is hard to count the times when Peter spoke confidently of how he would stand up for Jesus in trouble.  The term "over my dead body" rings a bell.  Like many of us, Peter was bold in the assembly of the faithful, but in troubles his tune changed.  The night Jesus was taken captive and went to the cross, Peter had been told that he would deny Him three times that very night.  Peter made two big mistakes that led to those denials.  He followed at a distance, and he sat down in the wrong company.  His faith wavered, the devil sifted him like wheat, and the denials soon followed.  Jesus went to the cross with Peter nowhere in sight.  Let's make a renewed commitment this time of year not to follow at a distance and sit with the wrong crowd.  Let's stay close to the Master.  He needs us now as much as He did then.  Perhaps more.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grace fo ryour spirit Marh 25, 2013

Grace for your spirit
The crowds going ahead of Him and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!"  Matthew 21:9

The crowds that met Jesus that day had one thing in mind.  It was time for the coronation of their king.  Hosanna means "save us now". The prophets had spoke of it and they were going to find victory over all of their enemies with Jesus on the throne.  Their joy would soon be turned to tears as they witnessed a most difficult week for Jesus and His followers.  It was Sunday, but Friday was coming, and Jesus would be on the cross. They would discover later that the real triumphal entry for Jesus was his resurrection from the dead, and ascension to the right hand of God.  There the triumphant Lord would sit on His throne and intercede for us forever.  Hosanna!  Save us now !!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grace or your spirit March 22, 2013

Grace for your spirit
For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.  Acts 28:27

This is the problem for a world separated from God.  It has been the problem since the beginning.  Lost souls with closed ears, closed eyes and dull hearts, don't hear and won't hear.  The good news of Jesus Christ that could lead them to salvation and healing, escapes them.  The devil works overtime to keep those eyes and ears closed because when the messages gets through, Satan will lose.  If Christians would put out the effort that Satan does, eyes and ears could be opened.  I know that because, greater it He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Grace for your spirit March 21, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Now may the God that gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.  So that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6

As we grow in our faith, God continues to give us perseverance and encouragement so that our voice will glorify God.  As a mature Christians our voice should be encouraging and not complaining.  There is a song  by Taylor Swift called MEAN. It's a story about one person who develops, grows, gets better, and achieves, while the other person is just Mean.  Will that be the epitaph for our Christian life?  "All they ever were was mean?".  It is indeed a sad commentary that a person attends church all their lives and then at the end, they're just mean.  When adversity comes our way, are we sweet, trusting the Lord, or are we just mean?  
Let's listen to our words.  Are we glorifying God and spreading encouragement, or are we just mean?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 20, 2013

Grace for your spirit
"It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he will perform all My desire.'  And he declares in Jerusalem, 'she will be built'.  And of the temple, 'your foundation will be laid'." Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed.  Isaiah 44:28-5:1

Israel had no way to understand this prophecy for them.  Who is Cyrus? Why is he God's shepherd?  Why do we need to build Jerusalem and the temple?  The next two hundred years would be eventful.  Babylon would destroy their city and take them captive.  How would they ever be free and return to Jerusalem?  How would they rebuild their city and temple?  The answer is in the prophecy,  The Lord provided them Cyrus the Persian king to free them and facilitate their rebuilding.  There are many lessons in the story.  The Lord does provide, and when He gives us a prophecy of how He will do it.......believe it, even though we can't see.  That is walking by faith.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 19, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16

Offering up the fruit of our lips is a lot more than singing a hymn and offering a prayer. The best way to offer up a sacrifice of praise to God and give thanks, is do His will on the earth. .  The New Testament word for sharing and caring  is "Koinonia".  God's messengers have always been about doing good and sharing.  A sharing and caring fellowship comes from the basics of loving God, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. May our love not just be lip service, but action with word and deed.  How often should we live this way?  The word is "continually".   Let's have a "Koinonia" fellowship.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 18, 2013

Grace for your spirit
It happened while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples."  Luke 11:1

Do we need to be taught how to pray?  Of course we do.  It is a long way from mimicking the prayers we heard at a child, to effectively connecting with our Father as a Christian.  Where can we learn to pray?  Our best source is Jesus and the principles of prayer in His Word.  Jesus used these opportunities to teach them.  Teaching them to praise and honor God, to invite His will into our lives, to thank Him for daily provisions, to forgive as we are forgiven, and for deliverance from evil.  He also never failed to remind us to keep on praying and knocking on His door.  The elements of effective praying are unending.  When we really need to connect with God, we will be glad we learned them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 15, 2013

Grace for your spirit
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.  I Thessalonians 5:21-22

Life is a combination of negative and positive forces.  When we start our car, there is a negative post and a positive post on our battery.  Without both of them, the car won't start  The same is true with life.  As Christians, often we are seen as totally negative.  Is everything negative and filled with Thou shalt not's?  For some it is, and we need to change that.  There are some things we must oppose, but we also need to propose another course of action.  On this passage alone, I see two positives with one negative.  Examine and hold fast to good; positive.  Abstain from evil; negative.  Thou shalt not's are important, but loving God with all our heart soul and mind is more important.  Let's try to end of on the positive note. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 14, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost !  In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  Luke 15:9-10

This is a chapter about joy.  The joy of recovering that which is lost.  There is one lost sheep in one hundred.  There is one lost coin in ten, and one lost son of two.  We can identify with the joy of finding our property and our family, but how do we identify over the joy of seeing a sinner repent?  We need to find that joy to be the body that Christ wants us to be.  We need that joy to make room in our schedules for these precious souls.  We need joy to let the church know that this is our priority above all others.  What makes us happy?  Hopefully, nothing more than seeing the lost find their way back to Jesus.  Let's do the wave, and then get back to work.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 13, 2013

Grace for your spirit
So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.  
Exodus 32:14

This was the end of a interchange between Moses and God up on Mt. Sinai.  At the base of the mountain, the people were building a gold calf and calling it, "Their god."  God was filled with rage, and desired to destroy all the people, but He listened to Moses first.  He accepted the intercession of Moses on behalf of Israel, and it changed everything.  We should be thankful that God certainly will change His mind, but He never changes His purpose.  We also should be thankful that God will accept intercession on our behalf when we can't do it ourselves.  Our first intercessor was Jesus, and even now we can be thankful that people are interceding for us in prayer.  We all need it.  Let's be thankful that He listens and changes His course of action.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 12, 2013

Grace for your spirit
So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.  II Corinthians 8:6  NIV

Is there a difference between mercy and grace?  Yes! When we don't get something we deserve, that is mercy.  When we are given something we don't deserve, that is grace.  Did we ever think of giving as an act of grace?  Giving really is a grace gift according to Romans 12, and when we do it with a grace attitude it is always fulfilling.. Since it is impossible to always know who really deserves a gift, let's give anyway when we can, and make it an act of grace. This is what God was calling on Corinth to do for the saints in Judea. For a bonus, it has been shown that acts of grace usually end up in a return of grace to us

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 11, 2013

Grace for your spirit
The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,    I Peter 2:7-8

God gave us a precious stone in Zion.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He came to earth to be the cornerstone of the kingdom of God, but was rejected by the builders.  This rejected stone became that chief  cornerstone and a guide for all who would love God.  If we accept Him, are spiritual house will be built on Him. If we choose to reject Him, that same stone will be something we stumble over.  We must stand on Him, or stumble over Him.  If we reject Him in our building, He will reject us when we stand before Him at the judgment.  Let's choose carefully, and choose Jesus.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 8, 2013

Grace for your spirit
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.  James 4:3

Too much of our prayers lives consist of "gimme, gimme, gimme"  Like..., "The Lord is my shepherd, now here's what I want".  How can we change our prayers to be in His will, while still communicating our needs to Him ?  May I suggest we begin by praising His name.  When we build Him up, we will humble ourselves before Him.  Let's confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.  Now let's thank Him for what He has blessed us with up to now, giving Him the glory.  Now when our priorities are right with Him, let's ask for things that are in accordance with His will.  When our pleasure is also His pleasure, we've hit the jackpot.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 7, 2013

Grace for your spirit
For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago, have secretly slipped in among you.  They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.  Jude 4

In the story of Rip Van Winkle, he went to sleep for twenty years.  When he woke up, he was living in a different world.  Things had changed drastically for him.  Sometimes it seems like the church has dozed off for a long time too.  While the church sleeps, ungodly people slip in perverting the grace of God.  They encourage us to look at Jesus and immorality in a new way.  They rob our values and change right and wrong.  It is important for us to wake up and stay alert against the changes the world brings to us.  Sometimes it is so subtle that we miss it, until we get fully awake.   Let's wake each other up right now.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 5, 2013

Grace for your spirit
And Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me".  And he took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it into molten calf;  and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.  Exodus 32:2-4

While Moses was up on Mt. Sinai getting the Ten Commandments, the people became restless and unhappy.  Aaron, Moses' brother was in charge while Moses was gone.  He made a decision to keep the people happy instead of making God happy.  Therefore their spiritual leader helped lead them into idolatry and away from God.  There will always someone nearby to help us build our idols when we are unhappy with God.  Often it may be the preacher.  In a futile effort to keep the church happy, often the will of God is ignored, in order to keep the church growing.  Let's keep our eyes on the Word, and not allow ourselves to be led astray on good and bad days.  We won't be happy everyday, but we are still called to holiness.

Grace for your spirit March 6, 2013

Grace for your spirit
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again.  Mark 8:31

The apostle Peter had an immediate response to this message from Jesus.  Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him for this pronouncement.  Why?  Jesus told him he was setting his mind on his own interests instead of God's.  True. Peter was primarily interested in their rise to power and prestige.  He wanted victory over the enemy and couldn't see this path Jesus described.  Are we in for the will of God or our own victory?  Let's get on the same page with Him.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 4, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? II Corinthians 13:5
Grades have always been a priority for students. What will it take to get A? What do I have to do to pass? Do they grade on the curve? Is there anything I can do for extra credit? Many people ask the same questions about their grade from God. How do we get an A from God? Are we passing this week? Will be satisfied with a C? Did I pass the test? Will that be enough to graduate? When it comes to our grade with God, there are only two grades in His class. When we are in union with Christ, His righteousness makes us righteous, and we get an A. When we choose to reject the saving grace in Christ, we get an F. Any amount of effort toward a B,C, or D is useless. Come into Christ and come to the front of the class.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Grace for your spirit March 1, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ?  I Corinthians 6:9
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but  you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus. and in the Spirit of our God.  I Corinthians 6:11

Behold the judgment and the mercy of God.  From the Garden of Eden to the judgment day, God's mercy and judgment are ever present.  With every blessing there are conditions to receiving those blessings.  Jesus died on the cross so we might all inherit the kingdom of God, but not all will.  The good news is that although we may reject Him, we have the opportunity to be washed, sanctified, and justified.  Washed in the blood of the Lamb, made holy by His Spirit, and made right by His blood.   Thanks to God for His everlasting mercy and grace.