Monthly Archives: August 2017

You have Authority

We have authority over the devil. Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Luke 9:1, “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases…”

Authority is the right to command and enforce obedience. Just as He gave this authority to His disciples, so has He given it to us. In some ways we can consider it a Power of Attorney to act on His behalf against demons. He has given to us the authority to act in His name since He is not here on earth. When we use the name of Jesus Christ, Satan has to listen to us.

In Acts 3:6, Peter says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Peter did not have the power to heal. What he acted upon was the authority to use the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to heal.

Do you know the devil trembles when he hears the name of Jesus? Demons have to leave at the name of our Savior. Satan must release his hand from you by the authority of Christ.

Some people take the privilege to mean that Satan will leave them alone. We will face trials and struggles. Hardship will at times surround us; but when it does, remember who you serve and under whose authority you reign.

Today, ask God for the confidence to act under His power and authority. Thank Him that He conquered Satan at the Cross.


The Freedom to Choose

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

There are times, more than I’d like to admit, that I really don’t want to do the right thing; mainly, because I don’t feel like doing it. Some days, I would rather stay in bed instead of getting up to read my Bible and have prayer time with God. Sometimes, I would rather respond in anger to someone who is out-of-place or rude instead of responding in a calm and appropriate manner; actually,  I’d really like to bop them in the nose! At times, I would rather not stop and pick up a head of cabbage on my way home from work as Connie has requested of me. Often, I’d prefer to watch television instead of mowing the grass; would rather eat lemon cookies than raw carrots; and would rather not listen to complaints about my sermons and just go to lunch. But, bottom line, the way to victory requires discipline and has nothing to do with our feelings. God requires us to do what is right in all situations, not just when we “feel” like it.

God has given us the freedom to choose the right way or the wrong way; but He expects us to choose the right way. To enter the narrow gate, we have to actively pursue God’s Word and live by it obediently. There are days when I don’t feel like living obediently; however, I’ve learned from experience and the school of hard knocks, that it is faith not feelings that leads to eternal life.

Today, choose to do the right thing. Choose God’s way. Be one of the few that finds the small gate leading to the road of eternal life.


Alive!

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

I often hear people speak of the inconsistencies of the Bible. Most of these people are only reading portions of it or a few verses and claiming a fallacy. The beautiful part of the writers of scripture is God allowed them to express His teachings in various ways. The Bible, when read in its entirety, has no inconsistencies. Every part fits together, chapter after chapter; verse after verse; word after word. Some stories are told in duplicate but by different writers. We find this in the New Testament. While Matthew and John may have been at the same events with Jesus, they tell the stories of Him in different ways. But isn’t that human nature? Does anyone tell a story the exact same way?

It really doesn’t matter who wrote the words to paper; because, the Bible is the documented Word of God. His Spirit did the talking and He used different men to write it down. We can trust in every word of the Bible for it is God’s words to us. The Bible is the greatest instructional writing for our lives ever written. The Word is alive and can be used by us to navigate how we are supposed to live. Make the Bible an important part of your every day.


What it looks like…

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy

There’s much to be said about forgiveness; scriptures to read; many quotes to hang in our offices or on the front of our refrigerators;  and when all is said and done, how do you know you have truly forgiven?

Forgiveness is not an option for believers of Christ. We can justify in any way we wish, “I’ve forgiven him but he hasn’t changed;” or “the hurt I’ve experienced is unforgivable;” or “I can’t forgive what I can’t forget.”

The answers to these and other such statements is the same, “You are expected to forgive.”

Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

But what does forgiveness look like in every day life?

Forgiveness is dropping the right you feel you have to get even with him or her. When thoughts of this person come to mind, force those thoughts to be positive and not about the hurt he or she has inflicted on you.

Forgiveness is the hardest when it is someone you once cared very deeply about. Come to the point that you know in your heart, if that person was in trouble and you could help them, you would.

Forgiveness doesn’t seek to get even with anyone. It wishes those who have harmed us, good. It longs to see him or her change, and it believes he or she can change. It desires the best possible life for him or her. It stops looking for him or her to fail.

Forgiveness is tough but it is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ on the cross.

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”  – Oscar Wilde


May your God…

May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” -Daniel 6:16

Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, full count, score is tied, and of course, it’s for the league championship. The anxiety in the small stadium of our hometown builds as the high school pitcher, adjusts his cap, glances over his shoulder to first base, winds to throw…

Life is like that. Sometimes we are faced with difficult odds. I’ve been that pitcher and so have you. The solution could go either way – we can win or we can lose. One throw. One chance.

Daniel’s life was at stake because he chose to worship God and not the king. Even though he knew by worshipping God he would be thrown into the lion’s den, he openly stood in his window, in full view of everyone, and praised his God. His sentence by the king, as he well knew, was the lion’s den.

When I struggle with faith, I often imagine Daniel walking to the pit, knowing the lions had not been fed for several days. Was he afraid or was he assured? I can imagine he remembered the times in his life God had shown up before. He knew the power of God’s miracles; and yet, his life was not without trials and struggles.

Daniel had been taken captive from his home as a young man and made into a eunoch by the Babylonians. His entire life had been twisted and uprooted, separated from his family and culture, and forced into slavery. I’m sure as he journeyed to Babylon, he diligently prayed for God to save him; to free him from bondage; to prevent bodily harm to him; but God didn’t – not in the way Daniel probably wished.

As he walked to the lion’s den, what was on his mind?

Sometimes in life we know the situation could go either way. Mistakenly, we use faith as a wish. Like a child, “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!”Faith is not about having life work out the way we want; faith is about believing God’s way is the best way and trusting in Him for the best solution.

May your God rescue you… Every step Daniel took toward that lion’s den, God was with him. Every time he lifted his foot, God placed it on the ground. As he fell freely into the den of lions, God surrounded him lovingly, assuring Daniel of His presence for Daniel was His son. As he faced the lions, God shut their mouths and Daniel was not harmed.

Faith is knowing no matter the outcome, God will always rescue you. It might not be in the manner you believed. Daniel probably hoped God wouldn’t allow the soldiers to drop him into the pit. Talk about the bottom of the ninth! But God did show up and He did rescue Daniel and He will rescue you, too.

Faith is really about the courage to step. It is about lifting your foot not knowing the direction of placement or where exactly you will be landing. Faith is about trusting in God that whatever happens, it will be for His purpose and your good.


Hope

Sometimes, we just need encouragement. Sometimes, we need to share encouragement with others. Here are some verses on which I rely:

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to Him,  and He will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Psalm 119:114-115, “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. 115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!”

Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I hope today you find words of hope and encouragement in these scriptures. We serve a God who loves us and wants what is best for us. Memorize these scriptures to help build yourself up and others.

Psalm 120:1, “I call on the LORD in my distress, and He answers me.”

John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”


The Icebergs of Life

I was reading an article on the Titanic, a cruise ship which struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean on April 14, 1912. In reading the tragic accounts of loss and errors, one factor remained significantly prominent – indifference. Eyewitness accounts told of the efforts made by the crew members to get passengers to go in lifeboats. For over an hour, passengers avoided the warnings. Repeatedly it was proclaimed the Titanic was unsinkable! They couldn’t see what was coming. They didn’t realize the damage. They didn’t know there were only 1/2 the number of lifeboats available. The luxurious ocean liner lulled them into a sense of comfort and safety; all the while, the grip of death hung over them as the boat sank slowly into the frigid water.

Passengers on the Titanic trusted the comfort of their surroundings more than the warnings of the crew members. Very few passengers took the time or made the effort to understand the reality of what was ahead. The damage caused by the iceberg to the ship’s hull was severe; yet, many did not want to believe it. For the moment, it was easier to believe in the comfort of the ship. It was easier to look around the room and make assessments, “Well, no one else is moving toward the lifeboats! Why should I?”

The reality of life and death eternal consequences hovers over you like the damage to the ship’s hull on the Titanic. The Word of the Lord being taught globally rings loud and clear; yet many fail to listen to it. See, like the passenger’s of the Titanic it is more pleasing to stay in the immediate satisfaction of life than to accept the harsh realism of hell. We make choices based on comfort or others or immediate impact instead of delving into the truth. We are a society of “what’s in it for me?” “what will I get immediately from it?” and “how quickly will my desires be satisfied?”

All around us ships are sinking and people are refusing to get in lifeboats. Are you one of them? Are you living your life in the luxury of the day, not realizing the eternal demise by avoiding the danger lurking around you? Following Jesus is a lifetime choice; it is an action; it comes with life changing decisions and a different walk from the one you took before.

Don’t ignore the warnings around you. Commit yourself to the ways of Christ.