Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grace for your spirit July 1, 2013

Grace for your spirit
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered....Therefore those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.   Acts 8:1+4

In the modern day corporate church, it seems we leave the evangelism to the professionals.  The members stay home, while the "hired help" works to reach the lost and build the church.  We ascribe success and failure to them.  The first church in Jerusalem was just the opposite.  The apostles stayed home, while the persecuted members went everywhere preaching the word.  As it turns out, the responsibility to spread the good news falls to every disciple,.  Perhaps if we were persecuted a little more and felt the need for the sanctuary of the body, we would all be better equipped to face the challenges ahead.  As it turns out in the great commission Go Ye, really does mean Go Me.  God Ye, does not mean Go Them.  Go with the rhyme !

Friday, June 28, 2013

grace for your spirit June 28, 2013

Grace for your spirit
The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.'  So he divided his wealth between them.  Luke 15;12

This well known parable of the prodigal son has many applications to us.  The younger of these two brothers would have been entitled to his share of the inheritance when his father died. There would have also been some responsibility connected to that inheritance.  He just wanted  his inheritance now without any consequences.  In so many words, he was saying to his father, "I wish you were dead."  His poor attitude followed him right into the pig pin.  Let's be careful of our selfish attitudes and how we treat others.  We can be sure our sins will follow us until we truly repent.  When he did, he found his way home.  Will we?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 27, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another just as you also are doing.  I Thessalonians 5:11

Encouragement is not a passive activity.  If you read the next 11 verses here, we see it is very proactive.  Actions like, build up, appreciate, esteem, admonish, encourage, help, rejoice, pray, learn, examine, and hold fast.  These are the actions that help us to grow, and help others to excel.  Let's plan ahead of time, and be ready to make a positive difference wherever we go.   Maybe someone will call you Barnabas someday too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 26, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved  Teach and preach these principles.  ITimothy 6:2

The first century church was often a blend of slaves and masters.  It was a strong testimony of Christian transformation that allowed them to work together with mutual love and respect.  It would be an extremely poor testimony that one would dishonor their position by taking advantage of a brother.  In our world today, we can apply the same principle to our bosses and employees. The Christian worker should be the best choice any company could make.  Whatever out, let make the Lord proud of us. 

Grace for your spirit June 25, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Draw near to God and He will  draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  James 4:8

Last winter was a particularly difficult flu season for many. After multiple flu attacks, people started taking special measures.  They started eating better to build up their natural immunity. Next, they took special care to wash their hands to keep from picking up the germs.  Strong immunity and clean hands certainly helped.  Compare that to turning back the sin epidemic.  We build up the influence of Jesus in our lives, and cleanse our hands of the sinful nature, God will help us to be free from sin and death.

Grace for your spirit June 24, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself   through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  II Corinthians 5:18

God has given us everything that we might accomplish two things in our lives.  He wants us to be reconciled to Him forever, and He wants us to be share our lives with others so they can be reconciled to Him too.  Our vertical responsibility is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.  Our horizontal responsibility is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Completing that circle of love is the completion of our reconciliation.  When completed we will all be one with God as He desires.  We are called to be His ambassadors.  This is our calling from Him, and our calling for Him.  Let's go.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 20, 2013

Grace for your spirit
And while He was still speaking, they came to the house of the synagogue official saying, "Your daughter has died;  Why trouble the teacher anymore?" But Jesus overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official. "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.  Mark 5:35-36

Jairus was a man with troubles.  He was filled with worry, fear, and anger.  His daughter was at death's door.  But now Jesus was on the way to make it all right.  Now he was filled with faith, hope, and love, but only for a moment.  The news that he was too late sank his hopes again.  Jesus took that worry, fear, and anger that had returned and made things right again.  "Only believe."  Many times we will find ourselves on a roller coaster  of worry, fear, and anger.  Let's remember that with Jesus, they can be replaced anytime with faith, hope, and love, when we believe.  Believe.

Grace for your spirit June 21, 2013

Grace for your spirit
"May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces."  For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will now say, "May peace be within you."  Psalm 122:7-8

As Israel journeyed to Jerusalem for their worship and feast days, they were of course, concerned for the peace and prosperity of their land.  It was part of their daily prayers, but there was a peace that was even more important.  It was the peace of mind, and peace of heart within the worshipers.  Sometimes there will be war around us that we cannot prevent, but God gives a peace that passes all understanding.  Through the storms of life, sometimes Jesus calms the sea, and sometime He calms the disciple. With His peace within us, we can weather all the storms that come our way, and pass that confidence on to others.  May peace be within you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

grace for your spiritr June 19, 2013

Grace for your spirit
For if  you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?  Esther 4:14

Queen Esther was born in such a time, and elevated to such a place, that she could save her people from extermination by their enemies.  It was dangerous and she didn't want to do it.  She was reminded that this place, time, and commission was her calling, and she did it.  As Christians, we find ourselves in a difficult world that fights against God.   God has elevated us and given us a position to bring light into the world.  Shall we shirk, jerk, or work?  In the midst of our, complaining, perhaps we should remind ourselves that bad times are a calling for the good to rise up.  Let it start with me.

Grace for your spirit June 18, 2013

Grace for your spirit
You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Matthew 5:14-15

Would you rather light a candle or curse the darkness?  Our conversation exposes our real answer.  When we have the opportunity to be light and spread the light, but spend our times cursing about the darkness, the answer is in.  God has made us light, yet we cover it up, hide it under a bushel, and stumble in the darkness.  We have so many challenges before us.  If we keep them in the dark, will they go away? If griping was a fuel source, our world would be very bright.  Let's brighten the corner where we are with the magnificence of Jesus Christ instead. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

grace for your spirit June 17, 2013

Grace for your spirit
But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God   Romans 14:10

What are some of the signs we have contempt for our brother? There are words that show contempt.  There are expressions that show contempt, and even the tone of our voice can reflect contempt.  It is that feeling that others are somehow below us.  The distinct feeling that they are unworthy.  When we find ourselves giving the look, the word, and the tone of contempt, let's remember these three things.  One, we seldom know all the facts.  Two, God is the ultimate and final judge and three, our contempt will often drive them farther from God.  Let's be steppingstones instead of stumbling blocks for those on the road to God.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grace for your spirir June 14, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Honor your faith and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you,  and that you may live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6:2-3

Honor--Good for him, good for us
Father's are wonderful people, too little understood.
And we do not sing their praises, as often as we should.
Somehow father seems to be the man who pays the bills
While mother binds up little hurts and nurses all our ills.
Father struggles everyday to live up to his image
as provider, protector, and hero of the scrimmage.
And perhaps that is the reason, we sometime get the notion
That fathers are not subject to the thing we call emotion.
But if you look inside dad's heart where no one else can see,
You'll find he's sentimental and soft as he can be.

Honor--Good for him, good for us

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 13, 2013

Grace for your spirit
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:6-7

It takes courage to be humble enough to submit to God.  When we take that step, God promises to give us the grace to accomplish our goals and His goals.  We will have the grace to resist the devil and draw near to Him.  Most people think God's grace is just to forgive our sins, but He also gives us grace to strengthen our weaknesses, resist the devil, and walk by faith.  It is true that when we humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, He will lift us up.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 11, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye.  Matthew 7:4

Most people would insist that they are not prejudice, but it is a part of human nature that is hard to overcome.  It is a tendency to show partiality against anyone we fear or don't understand.   Ironically, while we fear in the sin of others, the greater wrong is our sin, partiality and judgment.  That is the log in our eye.  One day a large leather clad motorcycle gang came into a restaurant.  Customers and some employees bailed out the back door in fear.  In fact, this turned out to be a church group on the way to worship.  Let's give people a chance.  I learned an important lesson that day,  Let's look at ourselves first.

Grace for your spirit June 10, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves.  So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  Job 5:17

It is a wise man that determines the being reproved and disciplined is a very good thing.  Most people like to think they already know everything and hate it when someone tries to correct and help them.  Job was a man under extreme pressure.  He had several options to find happiness in such bad times.  Most of his options were a slippery slope to take him down, but one road was the right one.  He decided to take the reproving, the discipline, and endured until he found victory. God knows it all and we do not.  When we let Him be our guide, and do not despise His authority, happiness is at the end of our road.

Grace for your spirit June 12, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by faith  Habakkuk 2:4

Israel was on a path of destruction.  Their enemies waited outside their door and they were arrogant about their power to overcome.  They were proud of their heritage, but they had not been faithful and they knew it.  If they had faith in God, and did the right things, He would guide them to ultimate victory.  They would literally live by faith.  Paul uses the same thought to present the gospel of Jesus in Romans 1:17;  If we are proud, we will die in our sins, but if we walk by faith, we will live,  It is the power of God for salvation.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 7, 2013

Grace for your spirit
And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Mark 1:17

The first four apostles who heard this invitation were professional fishermen, and they knew the challenges and rewards of effective fishing.  Following Jesus they had great experiences fishing for souls.  2000 years later, some might think we were not called to be fishers of men, but 'keepers of the aquarium'. When most of our thoughts, efforts, and resources, are put into our buildings, do we think if our meeting place is pretty enough, people will abandon their cars and rush in?  Sadly, when our evangelism efforts are ignored, we lose our ability to catch fish even in our own aquariums.  Let's mend our nets and get out there again.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 6, 2013

Grace for your spirit
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  My help comes from the Lord. Psalm 120:1-2

There's an old gospel hymn that goes, "Oh then to the rock let me fly. To the rock that is higher than I."  It seems that God has always positioned His help, "Up High."  Jerusalem was on a high mountain.  His temple was up there on a mountain, Heaven is pictured above the blue heavens, and Jesus came down to us.  I want my help to be above the pollution of this world, and as solid as a rock.  The Old Testament Hebrews traveled to Jerusalem three times a year to visit the Rock.  When we find ourselves stuck in the valleys of sin, let's sing our songs about our Rock, Jesus Christ, as we reach up to Him.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 5, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Do not bother me, the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.  I tell you,even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.  Luke 11:7-8

Jesus uses this" neighbor illustration" to show us how much we should ask, seek, and knock when petitioning God in prayer. This neighbor is snuggled in at midnight and has no intention of giving help for friend or neighbor, but because of persistence he gets up and helps.  God does not slumber or sleep, and He is ready and willing to answer our call at anytime.  Let's ask, seek, and knock.  As we wait, let's keep it up.  God loves that in  us.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 4, 2013

Grace for your spirit
You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH,' but I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  Matthew 5:38-39

Jesus came to earth to show us all the way to be life lifters.  He always sought a place, an activity, or a person to lift, and help them do better.  Whether we are together to worship, or on a missionary trail, Jesus wants us to be salt and light, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love our enemies, and be sons of our Father in heaven.  Wherever we are, may we lift others up, and leave a trail of smiles.  That is so much better than a trail. of blind toothless people.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grace for your spirit June 3, 2013

Grace for your spirit
Dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.  II Thessalonians 

The people had been wondering; is this persecution we are suffering our eternal punishment from God?  This is God's answer; NO!.  The Lord Jesus will be revealed with flaming fire, bringing our retribution on those who don't know God and who do not obey the gospel.  These will suffer an eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.  The eternal punishment with the devil and his angels are reserved in the torment of flaming fire.  The worse thing about hell is not the heat, but the absence of the presence of God.  That separation is the ultimate death, there will be no more questions.