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April 12, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you know how the Word of God works in our lives? Part 2

I wanted to continue with the idea of “Renewing” today.  I think a lot of the times we go to work trying to change our lives without change our thinking first.   For us to make a complete change for the better in our lives we must actually strive to make a complete change of the way we think.  I can think of no better way to “renew our minds” than by diving into the Word of God.  When we fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, we will be changed from the inside out.


Can you imagine what would happen if the construction workers only worked to renovate the outside of the house these real estate agents are trying to flip for profit?  We all know that Jesus talked about the religious people having a gorgeous outside appearance, but on the inside they were a filthy mess and that’s much the same with us today.  Nowadays, most of our attention is on making our outward appearance look better while ignoring what is on the inside. We all have heard that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance; He looks at what is in our hearts.


Don’t you know that when people buy a house they don’t just look at the outside of it, and say “hey that looks gorgeous we’ll take it”.  No they go inside the house, they inspect everything.   They want it to look immaculate both inside and out, don’t they?   The majority of us are so consumed with making sure our outer image is improved that we neglect and even ignore the inside.  We try to dress ourselves up a little, maybe we tan, maybe we spend hours at the gym trying to look how we think we need to look, it’s all outward…outward…outward.  Can you imagine how much money these real estate people would lose on these properties if they just concentrated on making sure the outside of the house was fixed up and left the inside in ruin? 


Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  If we are going to be renewed our heart has to renovated by the blueprints of God.  Why?   Merely “doing” something good or right without the right heart won’t last. When we hide, treasure and breathe the word of God, the Holy Spirit can bring forth the changes within us.  The Word of God is the blueprint, and it contains what the Holy Spirit is going to need in order to bring about the necessary changes and renovations needed in order to reflect His work in our lives.  Then it produces things like love, peace, joy, and so forth until we begin to reflect more and more of the image of the Son of God. 


So that brings us back to our verse,  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2  The only way to know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God is, is by the Word of God. 


This is my Prayer:  God give me spiritual eyes to see what You would have me to see.   Lord teach my heart to receive and respond to Your Word.  Jesus lead and guide me into all truth and to help me as I walk and journey with You.  God give me knowledge of Your word and the wisdom to allow it’s work in my life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 11, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you know how the Word of God works in our lives? 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

In Romans 12:2 the Greek word for “renew” is anakainosis and it means “renovation” or a “complete change for the better.” I find the word “renovation” interesting here, because anyone who has watched shows like “Fixer Upper", about flipping houses you know that what those people do is buy these old rundown houses, make plans for renovation or completely changing them for the better, and then turning around to sell them to hopefully cover the cost for not only buying the house, but the cost of the renovations.  The main goal is to hopefully sell the house for more than it cost to buy it and renovate it so that you can make a profit.


Do you know that’s exactly how the Word of God works in our lives?  Come on, most of us when we come to the Lord for salvation are kind of like these old, broken down shacks that are bought by these real estate agents who are seeking to take something old and ugly and turn it into something beautiful and profitable.  You do know that the Word of God is “profitable” don’t you?  If not, I’ll show you turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 says this:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  The good news is that we have a Savior who is a Master Carpenter who is responsible for the renovation of our lives!


As I said the good news here is that it’s Jesus who does the renovation, but the problem for most Christians is that we don’t understand that the Bible is the blueprint that the Master Carpenter uses to renovate us from.  Just like when the construction workers have to adhere to the blueprint that’s drawn up by that the real estate and architect.  The Holy Spirit is bound by the blueprint that’s drawn up in the Word of God and it’s only through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit can operate in our lives and do the rebuilding in our hearts, our minds, and transform us and conform us into the image of Jesus


When those people buy and flip the house, you have before, during, and after photos.  The goal is to get the flipped property to look like the image in the final photo at the end of the renovation process.   The image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is the final photo of what we’re to look like while the Holy Spirit is working on us.   In order for the Holy Ghost to “flip” our lives from being the old, broken down shacks that we were into beautiful temples of God, we need to be in the Word of God. 


We come to the Lord as broken people, and then as we learn from Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” and also in Philippians 1:6 we read that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”   Friends, there is power in the Word, and I am confident that it is the determining force to renew our mind.  It’s the Word of God that causes the Holy Spirit to bring forth the changes within us.  The problem is that we are the ones who are trying to do the building and we refuse to follow the blueprint.


This is my Prayer: God speak to my heart about things of the world that have taken more importance in my life than You, Your presence, and Your Word.   Father help me to understand just how important Your Word is to my own renovation and transformation.   Show me how the Holy Ghost uses it conform me into the image of Your Son.  Lord help me to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Pray without ceasing, Oh Boy!

Does the term pray without ceasing intimidate you?  Do you feel defeated even before you’ve begun?  You are definitely not alone in this one.  I have always been a little (a lot), intimidated by the challenge of “praying without ceasing.  I find those challenge people are always giving about praying for this amount of time and on this hour very difficult for me.  So I decided to look up the word “ceasing” in the original Greek text and found that it meant “ongoing communication without intermission.” Now don’t let that make you feel defeated. Let me explain, I believe that we can have ongoing communication with God if we truly realize with communication means.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


For me communication just starts with talking.  I don’t know about you, but I am always talking to God.  Do you know that we can talk to God just like we talk to anyone else?  You know, there’s always a time and a place for formal prayer. I don’t know about you, but I cannot get through a day without just talking to God just to talk to Him, and you know what He blesses that just as much as He blesses formal prayer.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m sitting outside or in my car or where ever and I just have something on my heart and I’m like:  “You know Lord, I really appreciate this beautiful day.”  Listen, I don’t walk around all day saying:  “My gracious Heavenly Father, how I thank Thee for what Thou is doing, Oh that Thouist wouldist…”  I honestly think if I went around talking to God like that He’d probably in return be like:  “What are you doing?  Why are you talking to me like that?  Don’t you know how ridiculous you sound?”


Now listen, I’m not making fun of the way people pray, and if that’s on your heart to pray that way that’s awesome.  Can I ask you a question?  Would you walk around talking to your dad like most people pray?  I don’t talk my dad like that, so why in the world would I talk to my Heavenly Father like that?  I can assure you that I’ve gotten more out of my informal chats with God than I’ve gotten when I do the formal praying like we hear in churches and everywhere else. 


No, like I said.  Sometimes, I will just start talking, and I know that God knows I’m talking to Him.  That’s what Paul means to pray without ceasing…it doesn’t mean I going to pray 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  It just means I gonna talk to God.  I gonna talk to Him about things that bugging me and about things that make making me happy.  I’m gonna talk to Him about how my day is going and ask Him how His is going.  We all know that prayer is talking to God, so just talk to Him.  Think about it this way, if we just talked to our friends whenever we felt like it they would probably start to get the feeling that we really don’t care about them, and don’t want to talk to them.  God’s no different.  He wants us to talk to Him.  He wants us to put down our fake religious praying and just talk to Him like we’d talk to anyone else.


I believe that sometimes the reason people don’t get their prayers answered is because they approach Him in a way that’s fake and inauthentic, and He’s not impressed by that.  Believe me, He’ll let you know when it’s time to get into your prayer closet, and really sincerely seek Him and pray like we do at church.  But friend, what I believe God wants is for us to be real with Him.  So be real, be yourself, be authentic, and I promise you that God’s not going to throw fire down from Heaven to consume you.  He’s going to honor that because you’re being open, honest, and vulnerable to Him. God’s blessed more by you coming to Him as you are, than coming to Him the way you think He wants you to approach Him.  He wants you to approach Him like He’s your Father, your Friend, and anyone else you’d talk to because that what is meant by “praying without ceasing”.


This is my prayer: God I ask You to help me to be more real and authentic with You.  Lord teach me to just talk to You, like we would anyone else.  Jesus show me how to communicate with God like you did.  God help me to be real, open, and honest and just spend my day talking to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Can you imagine what would’ve happened if the guys at Jericho would’ve been like us? 

Have you grown weary in an area of your life? Do you feel like you have stayed the course and nothing has changed? What amazes me about the story of the Fall of Jericho is that the people kept going.  Can you imagine what would’ve happened if these guys would’ve been like us?  Shoot if we have to admit that most of us wouldn’t have even lasted twelve hours into the march as we’d have thought that because twelve hours had passed that God wasn’t really ready to move on our behalf and probably somewhere in the middle of that we’d start thinking that maybe we didn’t really receive a Word from God, we heard wrong or imagined it.


”So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. “Galatians 6:9

The problem in today’s microwave society is if God doesn’t instantly do something we decide that maybe it really wasn’t God’s Word after all, and since God didn’t answer or operate on our time frame He’s not going to.  We even say spiritual stuff like “it must not have been the right timing”.  No friend it was the right timing, but we grew weary in waiting upon the Lord and therefore our impatience caused us to lose out on the blessing God had for us.

In Jericho after the first day of marching, the Bible doesn't say there were any noticeable cracks in the walls or shifts in the foundation. In fact, it's highly likely that the people who resided inside those walls didn't feel any different. Yet, the Israelites marched.   The residents of Jericho probably thought that the Israelites looked ridiculous. I imagine there might have even been some "nanny, nanny boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo" sayings thrown out. Yet, they marched.  I figure quite a number of them wondered if Joshua was a lunatic. Wondering how in the world marching could make some walls fall down had to be a lingering question in their minds. Yet, they marched.


This is where a lot of us give up.  When the people around us see us believing God for something, but what we’re believing God for hasn’t happened yet. People begin to say things like:  “Why don’t you just give up on this waiting on God stuff it doesn’t work.”  When that happens we start to doubt ourselves.  I have most definitely been in these shoes.  I know exactly what happened to me, and I can be real enough with you all to admit that I have came up short in waiting upon God a time or two.


I wonder what it was like to be there with them as the walls of Jericho came crashing down at the end of that seventh day.  I can imagine the faith that sprung up in the hearts of all that were there.  They endured ridicule and all the lies that satan could throw at them.  They marched no matter what, and God showed off.  You know every time I find myself in a place like this my first thought is to give praise and glory to God for bringing to pass what He spoke into my life, but shortly thereafter is the thought of what it would be like if I would trust God in everything the way I did during these the times.  If He can bring down the walls of a city for the Israelites, He can do the same for your lives.  But the key is that when you and I get that Word from God, we march on until those walls fall.

This is my Prayer:  Father, I pray that in the midst of marching around my walls of Jericho.  God help me overcome my weariness and the wondering of if You’re really going do to what You spoke to my heart that You would do.  Lord I pray that You would renew my  strength, guiding me, and directing my path.  Jesus I trust that You’re in control.  Lord I ask when I do grow weary that You would remind me of what You spoke to me, help me to hear Your voice, and show me how to march on.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 8, 2017, 5:00 AM

Have you screwed up so badly that you think you are not qualified to be a witness for Christ?

Have you screwed up so badly that you think you are not qualified to be a witness for Christ? Are you hiding in a corner hoping that no one will remember what you've done?  You’re not alone, I’ve screwed up in life so badly that people still cannot reconcile who I am today because of Jesus, and who I was. The good news in my life is that Jesus gave up everything He had so that I could have a right relationship with God, and then He worked patiently upon me to get me to a place where I began to understand who I was as a result of what He did. For about 10 years I ran from it because I couldn’t stop seeing myself through the world’s eyes.  Growth in my life came from stepping out and believing in the person that God sees instead of the person I see.


If anyone should have been disqualified from being a witness for Christ, it was Peter. He walked with Christ, ate with Christ, followed Christ, and left his family for Christ. He told his Lord that he'd be with him till the end.  He was even willing to fight for Him, slicing the ear from a guard showing his undying loyalty to the King of Kings.   But all that change when he was asked if he knew this Jesus character. And to that he replied, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." Not once, not twice, but three times.  The second crow of the rooster was heard and Peter broke down and wept.


Peter could have forsaken all that he knew and experienced with Jesus. Instead, he chose to deal with his failure, shake the dust off his sandals and press on to share the amazing love of the Son of God to the world. For this, I am so grateful.  Peter story is one that really hits me in the heart.  The very reason it took me ten years to respond to the call of God on my life is because I felt unqualified to do what it is I’m doing today.  I couldn’t stop looking at my past failures, at the old me, at the old creation and as long as I kept looking back at those things it kept me from feeling qualified. 


I have good news for you to, God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called.  While there will still be consequences to the sin you once allowed to entangle you, it does not have to keep you strangled from here on out. You can repent of your sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and proclaim God's faithfulness for the rest of your days.  We are still gonna stumble, fail from time to time, and miss God on a regular basis, but none of that disqualifies us from serving Him, none of that disqualifies us from His grace, and therefore it gives us the ability to know that no matter what we may think or feel it’s about what He has said in His Word.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17


This is my Prayer:  God please renew me from the inside out. Help me Lord to see past the experiences of my past that still hold me in shame.  Jesus show me how to remove the feelings of shame and uselessness, and replace it with a peace and joy I find in You.   Lord help me to see myself through Your eyes, so that I can share Your amazing love with those that need to hear it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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