Friday, September 30, 2011

How would you answer?

“Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement.” —Ronald Reagan

Today’s Text: 2 Corinthians 5:21, Titus 3:5

Words of Ministry

Life is filled with perplexing questions—heartrending unknowns that follow us through the day and keep us awake at night:

  • Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
  • Why do they have Braille numbers on drive-through ATM's?

And for the more theological types:

  • What is the difference between “justification” and “regeneration”?

Regeneration is the Siamese twin of justification, and these particular Siamese twins are the kind you cannot separate. Both are inseparable aspects of salvation; neither can take place without the other. 

  • Justification is God declaring us righteous and just. 
  • Regeneration is God making us righteous and just. 

Justification happens outside of us; regeneration happens inside of us. They are inexplicably bound together. God can justify us only because He regenerated us:

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. —2 Corinthians 5:21 

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. —Titus 3:5

Regeneration is the core of being born again. We give to Christ who we are (spiritually dead, guilty sinners) and He gives us everything that He is (righteousness, eternity, Life). What an incredible trade! 

PRAYER: God, I thank You for regenerating me and justifying me. I know that I don’t comprehend the magnitude of this merciful gift. But I do ask that You would take this theology and make it my reality, that I would somehow be able to experience it today so that my worship would be a reflection of these truths. Amen

Thursday, September 29, 2011

When We Act Deceptively

Today’s Text: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. (Vs. 1-2)

Words of Ministry

From his youth, King David was a committed follower of God. Yet there was a time when this devoted believer gave in to temptation and committed adultery with Uriah's wife. His walk of integrity was severely compromised.

Ethical and moral failings have beset Christians throughout the ages. When a believer decides to do whatever it takes to obtain something he wants, then selfishness or greed is the root cause. 

At other times the desire for acceptance can tempt us to manipulate people and circumstances—or fabricate lies in order to seem more desirable. And fear of conflict can result in compromised standards; many people try to fit in so they can avoid arguments.

At first, even those close to us may not notice our deception. But God sees. He will use our conscience to produce guilty feelings so we might confess our sin and turn from it. Self-protection will take over if we continue in unrighteousness—we will try to quiet our conscience by justifying the behavior. 

Over time, we will draw away from certain people so they won't discover our ungodly behavior. By keeping them at a distance, we hope to avoid their scrutiny. Habitual sin may result in lost job opportunities, damaged friendships, and broken families.

When confronted by Nathan, David recognized his sin, acknowledged it, and received forgiveness (2 Sam. 12:13). 

How do you respond when the Holy Spirit convicts you of ungodliness? Do you see the reality of your behavior and repent? Or do you try to justify and persist in your conduct?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Resting in Righteousness

Daily Devotional Bible Verse

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Words of Ministry

Jesus traded His perfect rightness before God for our utter depravity. His sacrifice was not lacking, it was complete, flawless, and whole. In fact, Jesus said it Himself, “It is finished” (John 19:30). However, often we attempt to add to Christ’s finished work.

We justify ourselves in our own minds and hearts by doing good things (i.e. reading our Bibles, going to church, giving our tithe, serving others). When we do these good things we come to believe that we are good people. Yes, Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), but God’s opinion of us is still largely based on the merit we earn by doing the right things.

This belief that we can add anything to completed work of Christ on the cross is dripping with pride! On the opposite side of this pride coin, however, lurks another evil. It is the idea that we can also subtract from His work.

The notion that we aren’t doing enough of those good things to earn God’s favor and love is just as heinous, as it completely undermines the truth that all of our righteousness springs from Christ. We will, as Christians, walk as He walked, think as He thought, and do as He did (I John 2:5-6), but not as the means for our justification. We will walk in relationship with our Father through the reconciling work of Jesus alone.

Do you attempt to add to or take away from Christ’s finished work? Rest in His righteousness today, and marvel at our undeserved grace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today’s Daily Devotional Bible Verse

But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized! (1 Corinthians 11:19)

Words of Ministry

The church in Corinth was dealing with a lot of problems: sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5), idolatry (1 Corinthians 10), and taking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11).

Paul explained that God actually allows these to occur in order to help us discern genuine believers from the frauds. When divisions do arise, our actions represent who is really the Lord of our heart and help in revealing its motives. For example, those defending a sexually immoral lifestyle are ultimately working from the selfish motive of self-gratification, many times exalting their own lusts above God’s law. 

When controversy comes to your church or ministry (as it inevitably will if you preach the Gospel) use it as a learning experience and examine your own motives.

Are you experiencing division over essential beliefs (the Bible, Jesus, Salvation), or peripheral beliefs (Worship Music, Church Name, Color of Carpet)?

Essential (Fundamental) beliefs are those hills upon which we are willing to die and should continually fight for.

Peripheral (marginal) beliefs are those that we need to address in love, remembering always that the world will know we belong to Jesus by the love we show for one another (John 13:35); especially amidst conflict and controversy.

Determine a right response to division by determining the underlying motives of those involved, including your own. You may not always be right!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Learning from the .....


Daily Devotional Bible Verse

And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-42)


Words of Ministry

As we read the account of the leper in the first chapter of Mark, there are a couple things we can learn from it.

The first thing we can learn from it is how to come to Jesus. We read that the leper came to Jesus with the words, “if you will”. There wasn’t a demand, but humbleness in his asking to be made clean. It wasn’t for him to decide, but for God to decide, as with anything in our lives.

Unfortunately, there is teaching that God will bring healing if we ask with the right amount of faith. If this were the case, Jesus would have rebuked the leper for his “lack of faith”. We also read that the Apostle Paul asked God to take away his thorn in the flesh and God didn’t (2 Corinthians 12:8).

Secondly, we learn more of the compassion of Jesus. Jesus could have easily just said the words “be clean”. Instead He reaches out His hand and touches the leper. Luke’s gospel record of this account says that the leper was “full of leprosy” (Luke 5:12).

This wasn’t a case of a few spots, but a body that was covered. He probably hardly resembled a man and was shunned from society. Yet, Jesus who is God reached out His hand and touched the man with compassion. What a beautiful site this would have been to see!

As we study this scripture’s, let us learn to humbly come before God as the leper did. In doing so, we can also learn from Jesus to show compassion to those who are hurting and have been shunned from society.

Show the humbleness of the leper and compassion of Jesus today.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Satan's Strategy

Today’s Text: Luke 22:31-34, 54-62

Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” V's33

 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” V's55

Words of Ministry
All of us make tracks through the valley of failure. The question is, How are you going to respond? Plenty of people give up and exchange a vibrant kingdom-serving life for a defeated existence. But failure need not be an end. It's a chance for a new beginning living in Christ's strength.

Peter had a life-altering failure. Jesus warned that Satan had asked permission to "sift" the disciple like wheat (Luke 22:31)—vigorous shaking is required to separate wheat kernels from debris. The Enemy wanted to shake Peter's faith hard in hopes that he'd fall away from Jesus like chaff.

Peter fervently believed the promise he'd made to Jesus: "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not" (Mark 14:29). But Satan knows a few things about the power of fear. What's more, he realized that the disciple would be wounded by his own disloyalty. A man with tattered pride can't help but question his usefulness.

When Satan sifts believers, his goal is to damage our faith so much that we're useless to God. He wants us shelved far from the action of the Lord's kingdom. Therefore, he goes for our strengths—the areas where we believe ourselves to be invincible, or at least very well protected. And when the Devil succeeds, we are disappointed and demoralized. But we don't have to stay that way.

If we are willing, God can use failure to do spiritual housecleaning. Peter laid down his pride and instead put on the Holy Spirit's courage. Thereafter, he risked humiliation, persecution, and death to proclaim the gospel. Failure was the catalyst that brought forth greater faith and true servant hood.

Extra column On the Enemy

"The Devil often transforms himself into an angel to tempt men, some for their instruction, some for their ruin.
—Augustine of Hippo

"The deceit, the lie of the Devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God's Word." 
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"The existence of the Devil is so clearly taught in the Bible that to doubt it is to doubt the Bible itself." 
—Archibald G. Brown

"The Devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God." 
—Jonathan Edwards

"The Enemy will not see you vanish into God's company without an effort to reclaim you." 
—C. S. Lewis

"For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel." 
—Martin Luther

"That there is a Devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influences of the Devil." 
—Cotton Mather

"The more God uses us, the more Satan will attempt to harass us." 
—Dr. Charles F. Stanley

"The Devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still." 
—A. W. Tozer

"The Devil does not tempt unbelievers and sinners who are already his own." 
—Thomas à Kempis  

Friday, September 23, 2011

The key to finding ....

....  financial freedom

Today’s Text: 1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Words of Ministry

You might be shocked to know that the average American family owes about $16,000 in credit card debt. That’s astounding. And you would think that this amount among Christians would be significantly lower, but it isn't!

The truth is that countless Christians today are in financial bondage. It’s so bad that many are unable to freely give to the Lord as God would have them. And as you’re thinking about the upcoming Christmas season, maybe you’re really considering doing a little “plastic surgery” by cutting up some of those credit cards.

It saddens me when I look at the financial state of many in the American church. They spend so much on temporary pleasures and forget that every penny they have is really God’s.

Financial stewardship is about more than simply giving to the church as you’re able. It’s about spending every penny you have to the glory of God. I’m not saying you can’t have fun or buy nice things, but you should always ask with every purchase,

 “Is God getting the glory here, or am I?”

Do you want to have financial freedom? Then discover what stewardship really is by spending every penny you have for God’s glory.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reconciling God's Love and Justice

Today’s Text: Psalm 33:4-5

 For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good;  the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.

Words of Ministry

Some people reject the message of salvation because they are offended by the Bible's description of God's wrath. Even believers struggle to reconcile the Lord's love and justice. How can He at the same time be perfectly loving and perfectly just? In an attempt to come to terms with this dilemma, we often try to soften the message of judgment and instead emphasize the Father's loving qualities. But love and justice are not contradictory terms. In fact, you can't have one without the other.

God's love brings good into our lives. But if there is no justice, sin runs rampant and causes untold pain and suffering. No one thinks a judge is loving when he refuses to punish guilty criminals. To set them loose in society is not healthy for either the wrongdoer or the community.  

In the same way, our loving heavenly Father cannot allow sin to go unpunished.But this presents an even bigger dilemma for mankind. 

We are all guilty before a holy God. That is why Christ came to earth. He bore divine wrath for all our sins so that the Father could be both just and forgiving. His justice was satisfied by the most loving act of all time—Christ's death on the cross. Now those who by faith accept Jesus' offer of salvation will never experience punishment for their sins.

Although in heaven believers will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, there will be no reason to fear. Our judgment has the purpose of determining rewards, not dishing out punishment. Out of gratitude, we should prepare now for that time by living for the Lord every day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God’s Chariots

Today’s Text: Zechariah 6:1-7

“Behold, four chariots were coming forth from between the two mountains…The angel replied to me, ‘These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth…They patrolled the earth.” 

Words of Ministry

In Bible times, chariots were advanced military weapons, transporting armies and spreading fear. Chariots also enabled people to communicate quickly across long distances.

Chariots were central to the vision God gave Zechariah. He saw God sending out four chariots, “the four spirits of heaven,” who stood in His presence. They were sensitive to His leading and direction, always ready to obey His guidance.

These chariots symbolize the many ways God works in the world and the many kinds of messengers He uses to accomplish His purposes. They were sent to “patrol” the earth, moving among men and nations, reviewing world conditions, examining how people lived.

This message cuts across time and cultures. It gives us insight into the way God has looked at the world in history and how He looks at the world today. Men may think they can ignore God in their plans, but they cannot hide from Him. He knows their thoughts, their words spoken in secret, even their motives.

Today, remember that God is watching you and all you do. He has a plan for you, and for the world. It’s a plan that He’s unfolding step by step, day by day, until it’s fulfilled.

Ask God to help prepare you for the probing work of His Spirit. You can know that His “chariots” are being sent from His throne to deliver messages…for you… messages of comfort, insight, conviction and reproof, direction and warning.

Seek to live according to His Word. Also, remember that you can trust Him. Nothing happens without His knowledge, and His plans are sure.

PRAYER: Father, help me to be sensitive to Your messages for me. I commit my life and resources to You. Use me to impact lives for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The God Who Meets All Needs

Today’s Text: Ephesians 1:3-8

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be Holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. 

Words of Ministry

Our Father's concern about us is not confined to spiritual matters. He is interested in the details of daily living as well. People tend to divide their lives into categories, distinguishing between issues related to work, home, faith, etc. 
Yet the Lord sees us as whole persons.

God's Word shows that He is in the business of keeping bodies fed (Luke 12:29), minds wise (James 1:5), and hearts at ease (Phil. 4:7). And since believers are in union with Jesus Christ through His indwelling Spirit, every aspect of a Christian's existence has a spiritual connection. There is not a time in the day when the Christian's life separates into "sacred" and "secular" components. The anxious heart that distracts us from prayer is as much God's concern as the tired mind that easily drifts into temptation.

Scripture stresses God's commitment to believers' whole selves: "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

The Lord doesn't limit Himself to building godliness in us. Day-to-day particulars of life matter too. We need never wonder if God can or wants to meet our needs. El-Shaddai, the all-sufficient One whose kindness never ceases (Lam. 3:22), gives believers whatever is required to grow their faith—whether that is food, comfort, knowledge, or peace.

The loving heavenly Father sees His children as whole people rather than physical beings with a spiritual life on the side. We cheat ourselves when we think God is interested solely in our spiritual needs. He has many kinds of blessings to offer, if we will but ask. “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” (James 4:2b)

Monday, September 19, 2011

God Acts On Our Behalf

Today’s Text: Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Words of Ministry

We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we've begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God "acts on behalf of those who wait for Him" (Isa. 64:4). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.

In this devotion, we'll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait.

First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.

Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: "Trust Me." And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, "I don't trust You."

Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can't see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.

Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Riches of God's Grace

Today’s Text: Ephesians 1:1-14

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Verses 3-4

Words of Ministry

Do you think of yourself as rich? No matter how much money you have, if you're a believer in Jesus, you're extremely wealthy because God has lavished the riches of His grace upon you. At the moment of salvation, He deposited into your account "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (v. 3). 

Why, then, do so many believers live in spiritual poverty?

1. IgnoranceSome Christians don't know about this unlimited spiritual "bank account," and, therefore, they never draw upon it.

2. Confusion. Too many believers just don't know how to access the treasures of God's grace. As a result, they worry and complain about their needs and problems or in desperation come to the Lord begging and pleading for help, never realizing His abundant supply has already been deposited into their account.

3. Competing InterestsDistraction by things of this world may be the most common reason. Christians in this category focus on possessions, pressing responsibilities, and advancement but lack interest in God's spiritual blessings.

The riches of God's grace supersede any earthly wealth. They give the peace and contentment that money can never buy, and their benefits reach all the way into eternity.

The only way to access God's spiritual riches is by faith. We don't have to beg or persuade the Lord to give what He has already made available to us. Instead, we simply choose to believe that we are who He says we are and can do what He has called us to accomplish.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Your Personal Hero

Today’s Text: 1 John 4:10, Matthew 27:46

“Christ is the Son of God. He died to atone for men's sin, and after three days rose again. This is the most important fact in the universe. I die believing in Christ.” —Watchman Nee
(note found under his pillow, in prison, at his death)

Words of Ministry

War stories are filled with heroes—men and women who put themselves on the line for the good of others, sometimes using their own bodies to protect someone else. That’s what Jesus did for you.

When coming to our rescue in the depths of humanity’s greatest crisis; Jesus “took the hit” for us. Separated from God by sin, He paid the ultimate price to purchase a restored intimacy with the Father.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. —1 John 4:10  

When Jesus was hanging on the cross—perfect and sinless—at a certain moment in time, God poured the sins of every single person who ever lived—past, present, future—all of our sins, into Christ. Not only did He receive all of our sins, but God’s wrath, because of those sins, was poured out on Christ, too. So, we can understand why Jesus, hanging there, said,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). —Matthew 27:46

In that moment, Jesus experienced the consequences of sin for all humanity. The separation caused by our sin—by your sin—came between Jesus and the Father. Your personal Hero intervened. He took your sins to the cross, and He received the wrath that you deserved. There for, you have escaped the wrath that you deserve and the debt of your sin has been paid.

PRAYER: Jesus, I only ask today that You would somehow take the cross and all You accomplished there and make it real in my heart and in my mind. It makes sense in theory. Help me to envision it as true so that I experience it as my reality. Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Messages Parents Send

Today’s Text: 1 Samuel 20:30-34

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” verses 30-31

Words of Ministry

When someone asks, "What do you do?" the reply frequently includes a job title. But anyone who is raising or interacting with children has a role far more important than ordinary career duties.

Parents are communicators. Yet unlike conference speakers, moms and dads don't get to preplan their entire message. Everything we do and say—especially that which happens "off the cuff"—teaches our kids. 

Think about your childhood days. What did your parents do that illustrated their priorities, beliefs, and passions?

Even without speaking, we send messages by our body language, interests, kindnesses, absence or presence, silence . . .  Add words to the mix, and we have a recipe for remarkable impact, whether positive or negative.

Inevitably, our children will be greatly affected by what we communicate and how they interpret it. Be conscious of the way each young one processes information—sometimes our intended message becomes skewed by their understanding. What an incredible responsibility we've been given. 

No wonder wise parents rely on God's help.

Only troubled parents—like the angry, jealous King Saul in today's passage—would ever set out to hurt their children. But in our busyness, or from past woundedness, we might just be sending damaging messages.

What are you communicating to your kids?

Ask yourself: What do my actions point to as priorities in my life?

Do my children sense a hunger in my heart for God's direction, counsel, and sustenance?

Have my children ever heard me pray, or see me reading the Word?

Above all, would they know how to have a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ by watching my life?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Your crisis,

 His solutions

“God will not overcome evil by crushing it under-foot—any god of man's idea could do that—but by conquest of heart over heart, of life over life, of life over death, of love over all.” —George MacDonald

Today’s Text: 1 Peter 3:18

Words of Ministry

Heroes respond to needs. They see the crisis and take action. Jesus took radical action! He spanned the gap of eternity to enter our world and then gave it all. Why? There are at least three good reasons, all wrapped up in the crisis called “sin.” 

1. Because of God’s justice, our sins required forgiveness. He couldn't just say, “Well, never mind! I love you, so I won’t worry about your sins.” He is just! He is perfectly just so He can’t do that! We couldn't forgive ourselves, so He had to come up with a way to forgive us!

2.Because we were dead in sin, we needed Jesus to provide life for us. We could not provide life for ourselves because, well, we were dead.

3.Because of our rebellion, our relationship with God the Father required restoration. We couldn't restore it, because we were dead in our sins, but Jesus could, and He came to bring us back together. 

The most heroic act in history took place one day on a cross in Jerusalem. There Jesus voluntarily submitted Himself and substituted Himself for us.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. —1 Peter 3:18.

That’s worth pondering for a moment, isn't it?  

This is the new view from above. The wrath of God has been satisfied by the sacrifice of God so that we can experience true intimacy with God.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for responding to my deepest needs! You have given me forgiveness, Life, and relationship with the Father. Let those truths be my comfort and rest. Amen

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Burden of.....


Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 1:19-36 

“Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’ (verses 19-21)


Words of Ministry

Standing on the edge of the Promised Land, the Israelites were overcome by fear. The size and strength of the enemy contrasted sharply with their own weakness and inability. Because we're human, everyone at times will experience inadequacy and the uncomfortable feelings that accompany it. The issue you and I face is not whether we are sufficient for a task, but how we will respond when a challenge is beyond our capabilities.

Like the children of Israel, we can give in to fear and then focus on the expectation of certain failure. As the obstacle grows in our minds, our feet run in the opposite direction, away from the challenge and toward safety. However, turning away from the task that God has given us will lead us not to security but into bondage. By allowing fear to control our choices, we'll become chained to feelings of inadequacy, which will shape our future decisions and, ultimately, our destinies.

As a result of their refusal to trust the Lord and move forward to conquer the land, the Israelites were consigned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. The men who did not believe God's promise never saw the land that He wanted to give them. Opportunities are always lost when we let fear overrule our faith.

When God calls you to a task beyond your abilities, instead of giving in to your feelings, choose to rely on what you know about Him and His promises. By moving forward in faith despite your inadequacy, you will discover the Lord's faithfulness. He always empowers us for the works He assigns. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God's Clear.....

........ Instructions 

Today’s Text: Joshua 6:1-5

Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”

Words of Ministry

Joshua needed guidance as he faced one of the most crucial moments of his life. Because the Lord had promised him success in conquering Jericho, he knew the outcome of the battle, but as the day of combat approached, he needed a specific strategy for victory. What he heard the Lord say must have made his jaw drop.

Can you imagine the soldiers' thoughts as they carried out this bizarre battle strategy? In confusing times like this, it's good to remember three requirements for benefiting from God's instructions. We need:

Faith to believe the Lord 

Courage to obey Him 

Patience to wait for His timing

When God gives us clear instruction through His Word or His Spirit within us, our response shows how much we trust Him. If we truly believe Him and His promises, precise and complete obedience will follow. His victory in any area of struggle is available only to those who act upon His directions.

Submitting to the Lord's timing is also an essential part of obedience. What would have happened if the army decided to bypass God's plans for the first six days and skip straight to the seventh day's march around Jericho? They would have missed the victory.

How often do we beg the Lord for guidance, yet hesitate to obey when He finally gives it? Living by faith can seem like a huge risk when His instructions make no sense or require a lengthy wait. But knowing His eternal perspective and unlimited power can strengthen our resolve to obey.