We Should Never Lose Heart!

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

Paul is talking about something he’s well aware of in this passage. He says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not ourselves.”  He’s talking about the afflictions, perplexities, persecutions and all the other things that the world throws at us to strike us down.  Sometimes the world gets you in the corner and just starts to body punch you.  It feels like you are at your end but you can’t escape.  The good news is that no matter what it is that you’re going through today, although it looks and feels really bad to you, God’s plan is being carried out in your life.

It’s hard to see when we’re in the middle of it but that’s why Paul told us not to lose heart!   God can use, and does, every situation that comes into our lives in a positive way.  In Romans it says that God can cause all things to work together for good, and that’s good news.  But how does He do it?

In our main scripture for today, the word decaying means to lose one’s strength and vigor, where the word renewed means to regain one’s strength and vigor.  The world continues to break down our outer body and tries to kill us.  That’s the plan, to steal kill and destroy us.  But when these things happen and our strength and vigor starts to drain us and we feel like we can’t make it, God’s grace falls upon us.  His strength rises up within us.  His power takes over and brings us through. So whenever the enemy tries to destroy us, He’s actually causing God’s strength to increase within us.  Hallelujah!!  Every time the world comes against us, God causes growth inside of us.  So the more that the outer vessel is destroyed, the more Jesus grows inside of us, and again I say, “Hallelujah!!”

So no matter what it is that you’re facing today, put your hands up in surrender and praise the Lord for it!  Thank Him that you are victorious and that the Devil is defeated!  Thank Him for His grace and mercy.  Thank Him for His strength rising up in you!  You are more than a conqueror in Christ and you can do all things through Him!  So bring it on Devil!  The more you work to destroy me, the more I’ll rise back up!  That’s the good news today so stand up, don’t give in, and above all else, never lose heart!  Amen!

 

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We are Sealed!

“Having believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

I was at a funeral last week and the pastor talked about a passport.  I have been overseas and I understand passports.  You see when you get off the plane, bus, ship, or whatever means you travel to another country, you must present a passport.  But to be able to enter the country, someone must put a stamp on your passport.  In other words, you can have a passport that’s in proper order, but it won’t do you any good unless it’s stamped.

So, we have religion.  We can carry out our religion our whole life.  We can dress like a Christian and talk like a Christian.  We can go to church and call ourselves whatever we might profess to be.(Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Catholic, etc.)  We can do all kind of things in this world.  These actions are, in a sense, our passport.  We call it a lot of different things but in reality we hope it’s our passport into another world.

The Bible says that we are not of this world.  We are foreigners and aliens in this world.  So we need a passport to enter into another place.  Some would believe that this passport is called organized religion.  Now, if you will, shift your gaze forward to the gates of Heaven.  We have all these jokes we tell about meeting St. Peter at the gates of heaven.  That’s not what the Bible actually teaches us, but let’s for a moment just envision this scene for the sake of discussion.  You get there and Peter asks for your passport.  You very proudly announce that you are a member of so and so church.  You have given a lot of money to the church.  You’ve even been baptized.  You had the service committed to memory and could even quote it to St. Peter.  He was actually quite impressed with your memory.  But then he says to you, “Your passport seems to be in order but there just appears to be something wrong.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but, oh yea, I know what it is.  It’s not sealed!  Why is your passport not sealed!  I’m very sorry but I can’t let you in without the seal, no matter how much order there is in your passport.”  Wow!

Now you might say that’s just ridiculous, but what if the Holy Spirit is the only one who can get you through the gates.  What if you can’t make it in without Him.  Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly what the Bible teaches.  You can’t be truly saved except by the Holy Spirit.  You can have all the religion you want, but without a personal relationship with the Father you can’t get in.  And that only comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  He is our seal.  He is the down payment to the eternal life that God offers us one day, yes, but also on this earth.  So no matter what you believe, no matter what church or organization you belong to, make sure that you get your passport stamped.  You are not allowed in without it.  Amen!

To Minister (Serve)

Jesus answered and said, “What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter.”

First of all, foot washing was not uncommon in Jerusalem during the days.  Everyone wore sandals and all the animals traveled the same roads, so when you had people come to your house their feet where normally washed.  This was to prevent all the dust and other items that one would have picked up on the roads to be left at the door.  It’s kind of like when you’ve been working outside all day and you take your shoes off before you come in.  Or if mom yells, “You better take those shoes off before you come in!”  The problem here was that there was no host that night in the upper room, just Jesus and His disciples.  He was probably waiting to see if any of them would do it, but He knew they wouldn’t.  You see, they were all fighting about who was to be in charge and who would sit next to Jesus in His coming kingdom.  So Jesus gives them some, if you will, on the job training.

The word minister in Hebrew is a verb which means to serve.  That’s what Jesus was trying to tell them.  “You must be servants of the people.”  Today in the church, servants are few and far between because, you guessed it, everyone wants a position and wants to sit close to the Pastor. Everyone has a card with their position on it that they can hand out.  The church today has taken the verb and made it into a noun, a Minister, or a profession.  We have far to many ministers (professionals) in the church!  Where are all the servants.  Jesus was trying to tell them, “If you want to be great in the kingdom, you must serve others.”  That has to be your way of life, not just a fleeting act that you perform for the benefit of others!

The servants in the church today are the most important ones!  Unfortunately, every Pastor would tell you that they are few and far between.  If you have one or two in your church, you are lucky, but don’t try to think who they might be.  You see, true servants don’t ring their own bell.  They are very humble and in the background.  They go unnoticed by most.  We need some good ministers in the church today.

Over the years, I’ve had more than I can count that have come in church and told me, “I have a call on my life.  What can I do for you!  Where can I serve?”  I have always told them the same thing, “I need someone to come in every week and clean the toilets.”   Interestingly enough, not one of those people ever stayed in my church more then a couple of Sundays.  You see they were really saying, “What position is open and when can I preach!”

Brothers and sisters, servants are the most important people in the church today.  These true ministers are the heart beat of the church.  Oh, how they are needed.  You might ask the question, “Where do I start to serve?”  Just put your hands to whatever is in front of you.  If the chairs need straightened, just do it.  If help is needed in the kitchen, just do it.  If the grass needs cut, just do it.  Don’t do it for earthly rewards.  God will reward you on that day when He says, “Well done My good and faithful servant!”  Amen!

The Lord Will Do It

"The Living Word"

“Then I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it.”

Sometimes we just become so broken up and dry that we can’t even move anymore.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not God’s doing.  We are the ones that wonder away from Him or do things that we know we’re not supposed to.  We’re the ones who don’t do what we know to do.  And so we become like dry bones.  The world becomes to much and we just lay down and feel like we don’t want to get up any more.  We can’t function or do anything.  We don’t even want to get out of bed.  But God won’t let you stay there.  He’ll open your grave and pull you out.  He’ll…

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Your Will

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!”  “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord, ” will  enter the kingdom of heaven: but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven!”

We pray the Lord’s prayer so often but sometimes I don’t think we have a clue what we’re praying, “Thy will be done!”  What does that mean?  The scripture says that we can prophecy and cast out demons, and even perform miracles but we still stand a chance to not make heaven if we don’t do His will for our lives.  That’s pretty scary if you ask me. Because I for one know that I don’t always do what He wants me to do.  Oh, I do good things and try to please Him but I don’t always even take the time to ask Him what He would have me do.  You see, I believe that the plans and purposes of God are tied up in His will for our life.  So sometimes we don’t do exactly what He wants, but we expect Him to take us to our appointed destination.  How unsettling for us.  We could build Him a kingdom here on this earth, maybe the biggest, most beautiful ministry man has ever known or seen.  But what if it’s not what He had for us to do on this earth?  What if we did it all in our own strength?

You see we tend to think that God will never say no to us as long as we’re doing good things.  But He said no to a lot of good people along the way.  I remember when Paul had a thorn in the side and he kept asking God to take it away.  God basically said, “No!”  “But God, look at everything I’m doing for you!  I’m reaching all these people and going through quite a lot of torment at the same time.  The least you could do is take this demon away from me that keeps messing with me, I mean, what’s the deal Lord!”  I can hear the Lord say, “No!  My grace is sufficient.  Just deal with it!”  Wow.  You see, God doesn’t always do what we want, He just allows what’s best for us!  Ouch!

He did it to His own Son.  That’s right!  Jesus prayed, “If you can take this cup from me, please take it.”  Our Lord’s Father spoke with the force of eternity behind Him, “No!  Deal with it!” Jesus did the will of the Father but it wasn’t pleasant at all.  It was the worst torture known to a human body.  But Christ had to walk through it to accomplish His Father’s will for His life.

So my point is that sometimes we think that God is so good to us that nothing bad is ever going to happen, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth!  If we truly pray, “Thy will be done, not mine,” then we should expect that we might not always experience the best this world has to offer.  We might have to go through some things to accomplish His plans and purposes for our lives.  That’s where trust comes in.  If I truly trust Him, I know that when I do what He wants, no matter what the cost, He will always be there with me and will always see me through it.  I know that He’s allowing what’s best for me to accomplish His plans and purposes for my life.  He is a good God and has a plan for my life.  It’s not necessarily what I think He should do, after all I could probably do it better!  But I can trust Him that His eternal plan is working through my life to accomplish something great!

So if you’re going to pray the Lord’s prayer be careful.  “Thy will be done,” could open up a can of worms!  So don’t be shocked at what you might find!  Just be obedient.  Doing His will is the path we each need to take to hear those words we all long for, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”  That’s what I’m talking about.  How about you?

A Bad Report

“So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report”

God had told them that He would give them the land.  But their report was based on what they saw and heard instead of what God said.  So, anytime we base our report on what the world tells us and the things that are happening around us instead of what God says, we are telling a bad report.  God’s Word will always come to pass. “Heaven and earth shall pass away but His Word shall endure forever.”  His word is eternal and is not based on things that we encounter in this world.  Remember that He created the world by the Word.  “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  Sometimes we don’t see what He says, or maybe we don’t understand what He’s saying to us, but that’s all because of us, not Him.  You see, sometimes when He tells us something, we think it means what we can understand in our small finite minds.  So we expect things to happen a certain way, and when they don’t we think that God is not faithful or that He doesn’t care.  What we don’t know is all the things that are going on behind the scene.

Sometimes God has to move mountains to bring things to pass in our lives.  You might think that if God is God then He should be powerful enough to just do what ever He wants.  But that’s not true.  He is also a just God, which means He must do what He says.  What I’m trying to say is that God has already told us what will happen if we do certain things, the blessings and curses that will come upon us and, because He’s just, He will not deviate from these things.  So if He has to move a mountain in our lives to fulfill His Word, it’s not His mountain, it’s one that we have created for ourselves.  In other words, if God said it and it’s not happening, there is a very good possibility it’s our fault and not His.

“He is not a man that He should lie!”  So God is always right and we are wrong, no matter what.  Bottom line; when somethings not going the way we think it should be, we need to focus our attention inward, not upward.  That’s where we will find the  problem.  God is not the One with the problem, it’s usually us.  If we would spent as much time trying to fix ourselves, instead of God or everybody else, God’s Word would come to pass in our lives a lot faster than it currently does.  We must stop speaking a Bad Report and start speaking God’s Word!  We must start agreeing with God instead of fighting against Him.  His Word will come to pass.  That is the one and only thing in this universe that we can be guaranteed!  God’s Word never fails!!!!!  So, what words are coming out of your mouth?  God’s Word or a bad report?

He Sustains Me

The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples.  That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word!

Between these and my video devotions, sometimes it seems like I post day after day to a screen that has no name.  I sit in front of my computer day after day posting things to what appears sometimes like a dead screen.  The other day “I liked” one of the posts that I follow so I simply wrote, “Good word!”  I received a reply, “Thank you.  I need to remember that.”   You see, it’s easy to minister one on one to people because they are right in front of you.  You can see the results and know that God is touching them.  But with an internet ministry, my, my, my, you don’t even know that anyone is out there.

Now you may think that all of us that post these things are looking for a response.  You may think we need you to lift us up, but that’s not the point!  The point is that God gives us a Word to sustain people with every morning.  The point is that there are people out there who need to hear what God has for them every morning.  The point is that we think we’re talking to a blank screen but God knows exactly what someone out there needs and He sends it through us.  That’s the biggest blessing that we could ever receive, knowing that someone, somewhere is being touched by God’s Word.

So, what about you?  What about the Word that God gives you?  Are you willing to share it?  I would be the first to admit that there are some words I send that are for me, whether I send them or not.  But I also realize that if they are for me, someone else needs them to.  So why don’t we all share the things that God is giving us?  Why do we think sometimes that the Word is simply for us?  It’s time to share the Good News with everyone that will listen.  It’s time to share the Word with the world so that everyone who needs sustained will receive what they need everyday.

Lord knows there is a lot of bad on the internet, but there could be an overwhelming amount of good if everyone shared.  It’s time to build up the body and take the Word to every highway and byway.  It’s time to pick our brothers and sisters up, no matter where they are.  Just be encouraging to someone today, Lord knows we all need it!!!