Seeing the Unseen

July 29-30, 2017

“Most of the time we gaze at life and glance at God,” says author Levi Lusko. But to get an eternal view on every situation, Lusko advises that we “glaze at God, and glance at this life.” That’s how Apostle Paul, who suffered repeatedly as a Christian, viewed his troubles: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17‭-‬18). Focus on the eternal and gain God’s perspective on whatever you’re going through.

Keys to Spiritual Renewal

It doesn’t matter how saved, sanctified or spiritual we are, there will be dry and dull seasons in our walk with the Lord. In 2 Kings 23, Josiah’s example shows us what to do when we have strayed from God, dried up, or we just need a spiritual jump start. (1) REVIEW the Covenant — reflect on God’s word and how He redeemed you; verses 1-3. (2) REMOVE all idols — thinking, habits, and things that compete with God’s time and place in your life; verses 4-20,24. (3) RENEW worship from the heart — worship that centers on God’s presence, adores who God is, and celebrates what He has done; verses 21-23,25.

Incarnation: How God Came Near

July 27, 2017

As a boy, Clark Cothern played beside his mother’s desk at the college. He noticed nervous students entering the ‘President’s Office’. Clark felt terror whenever he saw the college president in his 3-piece suit and shiny shoes. One day as Clark played with his toy car, the door swung opened, President Robert Sutherland walked out, got on his knees and asked Clark, “May I have a turn?” The pair played cars like two kids. “Call me Dr. Bob,” the president told Clark; that experience changed the boy. Similarly, God humbled Himself to “play” with us, letting us know that He is “not a distant and terrifying being but a loving Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; Doctrine 101 devotion). That’s incarnation – God took on a human body AKA Jesus Christ.

Effective Treatment for Thieves

July 26, 2017

The Bible cure to stealing is work, not jail time. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). When society jails a thief, we all lose more by paying to feed and house the thief, who remains unproductive behinds bars, while the result is the same as theft: taking what others work for. In ancient Israel, a thief was made to work and pay back what he stole, plus interest (Exodus 22:1-4). That’s restitution, not incarceration.

Healing is Divine…Every Time

July 25, 2017

Regardless of how healing occurs, God is always the Healer (Exodus 15:26). God heals by miracle and/or by medicine. Yahweh added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life by healing him from terminal illness, using miracle and medicine in the form of a poultice of figs (2 Kings 20:1-7). Apostle Paul operated in miraculous healings, but he had Luke the doctor on his mission team (Colossians 4:14), and Paul prescribed grape wine for Timothy’s frequent stomach ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). Yet the LORD prefers to keep us in health through nutrition, making healthy food our best medicine.

What Do You Mean by Fear God?

July 24, 2017

“The fear of the Lord” is used 27 times, and “fear God” is found 17 times in the Bible. Never once does it mean to ‘be scared of God’ or ‘scared by God’. Based on context, the phrase means: reverence or high respect for God that leads us to live godly (Ps. 34:11); divine dread that freezes or paralyzes the enemy of God’s people (2 Chron. 14:14); worship of the true God that forbids syncretism, a mix of religious beliefs and practices (2 Kings 17:5-12); revelation or the revealed truth of God that brings heavenly wisdom, as in “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10).

Don’t Share Truth Unless You Show Grace

July 22-23, 2017

Jesus Christ showed grace so He could share truth for God’s glory. The Bible says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His GLORY, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH” (John 1:14). The highway to the glory of God is paved with two lanes: grace & truth. Grace points the way, and truth delivers the message of saving faith in Christ. With grace we build a bridge before we can share God’s truth with those impacted by our gracious words and actions. Believers who lack grace may preach, criticize or yell at sinners, but their grace-less behavior forfeits the right to share God’s truth for God’s glory in any meaningful, acceptable way.

Apply the Blood of Jesus through Prayer

July 21, 2017

The blood of Jesus shed on the cross is far superior in every way to any other blood sacrifice. If “the blood of bulls and goats…sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ…cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13‭-‬14). Let’s apply the power of His superior blood through prayer: I plead the blood of Jesus over my life for cleansing, over my body for health & healing, over my family for protection & provision. I plead the blood of Jesus over my community for spiritual renewal, over my church for God’s glory & deeper worship, over my children for hearts that honor God and love Jesus. I plead the blood of Jesus!

Unleash the Power of Jesus’ Blood

July 20, 2017

“There is wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb!” Those lyrics are based on Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb…” (Revelation 12:11). About 4,000 years earlier, the lamb’s blood over the doorposts of Israelite households shielded them from untimely deaths that ravaged Egyptian homes (Exodus 12:13). Apply the supernatural power of Jesus’ blood by praying: “I plead the blood over my life…, over my body…, over my family…, over my city…, over my church…, over my children…, over this situation…” There is no limit to what the blood can cover or conquer.

Dreams, One of Heaven’s Channels to You

July 19, 2017

“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men… then (God) opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction” (Job 33:15‭-‬16). Never overlook your dreams as God’s channels of communication. Just one God-given dream can transform you and those you connect with. Joseph’s dreams took him from slavery through prison to the palace, where he saved multitudes from starvation (Genesis 37, 39-50). Before you sleep, prayerfully tune into Heaven’s frequency; God may be broadcasting directly into your spirit. Get ready to receive and live out the Father’s dream for your life.

Relationship Needs Forgiveness

July 18, 2017

Be “kind to one another… forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). There is no perfect relationship because there are no perfect people. In your relationship, compensate for human imperfection by being ready to FORGIVE and to BE FORGIVEN. You will be offended; kindly extend forgiveness. And you will offend; humbly ask for forgiveness, the power that revives, the river that supplies, the spine that sustains every long-term relationship.

The Double-Edge Nature of Relationship

July 17, 2017

Relationship hurts, and relationship heals. During a mission trip, Paul was so offended by Mark’s desertion that he and Barnabas parted ways over Mark’s behavior (Acts 15:36-40). But years later, Paul instructed Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him…because he is useful to me…” (2 Tim. 4:11). Our deepest wounds are inflicted within relationship, but total healing from those wounds must come through relationship. LORD, deliver from the isolation trap; teach me NOT to withdraw from everyone, especially when I’ve been hurt by people.