Archive for June, 2017

How important is making your bed? (Luke 5)

June 30, 2017

11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5: 11

“Make your bed before you leave.”  If Sherry has said this once she has said it a thousand times over the years as our kids were growing up.  That statement has always been a constant reminder of the differences people have in their value system.

Honestly speaking, in the grand scheme of life, how important is it that your children make their beds? I can hear all the responses and many are valid.  But consider this, If you child had to choose between reading their Bible or making their bed, which would you direct them to do?

This morning I was touched by Luke’s commentary of what happened when Peter, Andrew, James, and John heard the Lord’s words.  They left everything and followed Him.

What could be more important than making a living?  What could be more important than making a bed each morning?  Answer, “Following the Lord.”

Jesus said:   “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

It is God’s desire that every believer would understand his or her purpose is fulfilled in making Jesus famous in the world.  When this is in place, it changes everything about our lives.  Everything now has a focused purpose.

I work for the glory of God to be on display.  I spend time in the community of the glory of God to be on display.  I even make my bed for the glory of God!!!

Oh how I pray that each who read this come to see the greater purpose of life!!!!

What if I told you… (Luke 4)

June 29, 2017

 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. Luke 4:1

One of the moments in Jesus ministry that has always left me wanting to more is this one before us in Luke 4.  Jesus has begun His earthly ministry in the baptismal waters of the Jordan.  God the Father has given His approval by given a divine word from heaven.

But then the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness.  In the wilderness Jesus becomes hungry (showing us His humanity).  In the wilderness Jesus gets harassed (showing us His understanding of what we face).  In the wilderness Jesus overcomes hell’s traps (showing us how we can overcome).

This is an amazing story, but for me there is more I want to know.  You ask, “What more is there to know?”  I want to know more about this being both “filled with the Spirit,” and “led by the Spirit.”

We see these two descriptive statements throughout Jesus earthly ministry.  The truth of our Christian success in both warfare and in work lies here.  Jesus teaches us how to appropriate His power in our lives.  As we submit to His ways we are submitting to His Spirit who is Jesus representative on the earth.

This very day you will face both spiritual attack and spiritual assignments.  The question is, “have you learned to be led by the Spirit?”  The Spirit does not only want to lead you to war He wants to be your source of victory in the war.

At the end of the day, Jesus was victorious over the enemy.  Father, lead us and empower us to surrender to the power that overcomes our enemies!!!

Its Time (Luke 3)

June 28, 2017

during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:2-3

The world had been waiting for 4000 years for this moment.  It was a moment that demanded advance advertisement.  It was a moment that the world needed and needed to know about.  It was the moment when the Messiah would begin His public ministry.

The question was, “Who was on the advance advertisement team?”  Luke 3 gives us the answer.  One man lead the charge.  His name was John the Baptist.  His task was not easy.

He was charged to announce the coming of the Messiah in a time when the world leaders were corrupt, Luke 3:1, as well as the religious leaders of the day.  Isaiah had prophesied, 40:3-6, of the clarity and conviction by which this man would advertise the coming of the Messiah.

John did come and he did speak with clarity.  He called the people what they were, “a den of wicked snakes.”  He clearly told them to repent.  John alson spoke with conviction.  He outined how repentance evidences itself in the way one lives his or her life.  John pointed people to Jesus and not to himself.

His ministry would lead to his arrest and eventually his death.  Such could be the work of the advance team who is called to prepare the world for the Lord’s Second Coming.

However, consider this truth: “The sacrifice is worth it for the worth of seeing souls won to Jesus.”

It it your time to prepare people for the coming of the Lord?  As the signs are all around us, it is time for you and I to engage the world with the clear and convicting gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The package has arrived (Luke 2)

June 27, 2017

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Luke 2:6

One of my youngest sons favorite moments in the day is when occasionally the UPS truck drops off a package.  The reason for his joy is because he (usually) is the one who has ordered something from Amazon.  I always find it cool to watch as he opens the package with an eye to examine everything in the package.

This morning I had the joy of reading about the day when Jesus came to this earth.  Zechariah had said, “The promise of God was coming.”  He had quoted from Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 23:5-6.

I know it is June and I know Luke 2 is usually read in December.  But read the chapter one more time.  Here is an outline of the first 22 verses to follow:

  • The package arrived in the poorest of places, 2:7 “Jesus was born in a stable.”
  • The package was announced to the poorest of people, 2:8-14.  “Shepherds were keeping watch over their flock.”
  • The package was worshipped by the poorest of people, 2:15-22. “The shepherds came to see the baby Jesus and they went out and spread the news of what they had heard and seen.”

As I read these words, I was reminded of one of the beatitudes;  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Matthew 5:3.  

When you and I came into this world we were exactly the opposite of Jesus.  He was rich beyond all measure.  He was the Son of God.  We came as spiritually poor people beyond all measure.  We had no spiritual live.  This is why Jesus came and this is (in my view) why He came in a poor place to poor people so that we would understand that we who see our desperate need might be brought to spiritual life.

When someone hears the gospel, opens their heart to the gospel, and is redeemed by God, he or she recognizes the great value of the package they have received.  This day I challenge you to not keep this package to yourself.  There is enough of Jesus to go around.  Imagine the same joy you have being shared with others.

Bottom line: “They are looking for a package.”  Will you and I be the deliver’s today?

Possibilities (Luke 1)

June 26, 2017

30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luke 1:30

What can God do in your life today?  This is an awesome question for us to consider on Monday!!!  Usually this is a day that most approach with a hope of just making it through the day.  Consider this, “You have found favor with God.”

Yes, it is true!  If you are a Christ follower, you have found favor with God.  In Luke one we each find God’s favor in that God used Luke to write the accurate account of Jesus life and ministry.  We could not possibly know about Jesus apart from His Word.

In Luke one we see God’s favor on two families:  The family of Zechariah and Elizabeth and the family of Joseph and Mary.

Zechariah’s family would experience the miracle of having a child in old age.  This child would become the last and maybe the most significant of the Old Testament prophets.

Joseph’s family would experience the miracle of having a child before they had even consummated the marriage.  Mary was still a virgin when God implanted in her the seed of the Messiah.

Each family joyously accepted God’s favor.  Each family walked in that favor.  Each family was redeemed by Jesus Christ.

When I look back at their lives I praise the Lord for His favor.  Two verses leap off the pages of Scripture for me this morning:

37 For nothing will be impossible with God.

 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.

Brothers and sisters, You and I have the favor of God on our lives because of His mercy!  This very day God has a plan for our lives and nothing can stop that plan if we are obedient to him.  Both families did not have a clue about God’s plan for them until the day God spoke.  I challenge you to listen to His voice through the Word.  Then I challenge you to walk in the possibilities of God.

What would you do? (Philemon 1)

June 23, 2017

14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. Philemon 1

Yesterday morning I presented this passage to the Band of Brothers I meet with each week. Here was my question: “If you were in Philemon’s position what would you do?”

Here is the deal.  Philemon lived in Colossae.  He was a member of the Colossian church.  Actually the church was meeting in his house.  He owned a slave (Onesimus) who had run away to be with the Apostle Paul.  Now Paul was sending him back home.

The question is: If you had been Philemon, how would you have responded to Paul’s request?  First, is the issue of slavery.  God is never for slavery.  Second, the issue is in the New Birth work of God in seeing Onesimus come to the Lord.  Third, the issue is in how Philemon would conduct himself in response. Would he respond in the Spirit or in the flesh?

Paul was confident that Philemon would respond in obedience to God, Vs: 21.  My question to you is this, “In whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, will you respond in the Spirit or in the flesh?”

Look at the last verse of this book:

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

God’s grace must be at work so that my spirit would be obedient to what God’s Spirit says for me to do.  Brothers and sisters it is not about figuring out what to do.  It is all about being obedient to what God is already telling you to do.

What will you do?

How is your summer shaping up? (Colossians 4)

June 22, 2017

I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, Colossians 4:8

Wow, it is already June 22!  No big news here, but some alarming news is this, June is almost over.  In just a few days I will travel with a team to Honduras for a week-long mission trip.  Then I will fly home, have my clothes washed and then repacked for a week of camp where our focus will be on the subject of being chosen by God.

Summer is always busy in church life.  Question, how is your summer shaping up?  This question came to mind as I read Paul’s final greetings in Colossians 4.  Paul writes:

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities.

Brothers and sisters, this really stood out to me.  Paul’s activities were very pointed even though his present place of ministry, according to his own writing, “was in chains.”  Paul was in Rome under house arrest for his faith, Acts 28.

God’s favor was on his life.  He was not hindered from sharing the gospel.  Paul is sending Tychious to the church to share with them everything that had taken place in Rome.  I imagine there were many testimonies of people coming to the Lord, plus the news that Paul had written four letters: “Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.”

I wonder, “How could a guy in prison be so successful in the gospel?”  I believe Paul’s instructions in 4:2-6 give us insight:

  1. We must be a people who pray with intentionality, Vs: 2.
  2. We must be sensitive to the open doors for the gospel, Vs: 3.
  3. We must be willing to openly speak the gospel in the open door ways, Vs: 4.
  4. We must be wise and loving to those who have never heard the gospel, Vs: 5.
  5. We must be salt and light in every circumstance we encounter, Vs: 6.

As we focus on these must our summer takes on new meaning!  It is my prayer that your summer shapes up to be filled with open doors that you walk through for the glory of God!!!

What did you do? (Colossians 2)

June 20, 2017

. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses Colossians 2:13

When I was a child there were many foolish moments in my life.  One that sticks out is the day when I decided to experiment when an electrical outlet and a screwdriver.  Let’s just say, sparks began to fly.  I tried to hide the results of my experiment.  But a few weeks later dad came into my bedroom with the screwdriver in his hand.  He asked one question.  Keith, “What did you do?”

Since then there have been many worse moments when my heavenly Father has asked the same question.

This morning I was so moved by Paul’s teaching in Colossians 2.  Paul was laboring hard in writing this letter so that the believers would be encouraged with the love Christ has for them.  Paul desired for every believer to understand what Christ had done for them.

When any person receives Christ there are no less than three amazing things that must come into the believer’s heart and mind:

  • I must walk in Christ, Vs: 6-7.

The believer’s life is in Jesus (rooted).  The believers growth is in Jesus (built up).  The believers maturity is in Jesus (established).

  • I must trust in Christ, Vs: 8-15.

Jesus is fully God and fully man.  Those who come to Christ must fully embrace all of who He is.  This is what it means by being buried and raised with Him.  Brothers and sisters, I trust in Christ fully for my salvation.

Notice verse 13 once again.  Before Christ you and I had zero spiritual life.  It was Christ who brought us to spiritual life.  Now pay close attention, “He gives us a clean slate with Him.”

R. C. Sproul comments:

“It is more characteristic of Paul to speak of justification than of forgiveness, and of sin in the singular than of sins in the plural form (Rom. 5:12-21).  His purpose here is to emphasis that God has not only overcome sin as a general power, but he has also put away the guilt that stems from particular acts.”  Cited from Pg. 1731, “The Reformation Study Bible.”

Brothers and sisters, when I read that last line I began to praise the Lord because of what Jesus did for me.  The enemy does his best to keep us in dread, shame, and fear concerning our past.  But Christ had freed us from all of this.  Now we can walk in victory through Christ.  He nailed it all to the cross.

  • I must tell others of the power of Christ.

Brothers and sisters, this is too good of news to keep to myself. I want everyone to know what Jesus did and what Jesus is still doing for all who come to Him!!!

Bearing fruit in the world (Colossians 1)

June 19, 2017

which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, Colossians 1:6

There are days when I just want to close out the noise of the world.  Question, do you feel this way from time to time?  As Paul writes to the Colossian church we get the sense that there is some noise being spread around that Paul was seeking to close out.  The noise is coming from false teachers who were seeking to tear down who Jesus was and they were seeking to teach people a view of life that was wrong.

Paul lifts up the deity of Christ and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation.  There are three words in Vs: 13-14 that describe Christ’s work on our behalf.  These words are qualifies, delivers, and transfers.

Jesus has qualified us for heaven by His payment.  Jesus had delivered us from the power of darkness by His blood.  Jesus has transferred us in His Kingdom through His redemption.  We can say, “We are forgiven by Christ.”

This is glorious news. But to be honest there are moments when I just want to get away from the people who need to hear the news. Recently I heard a pastor say, “90% of the people around the average Christian will never get to hear the good news of the gospel.”

Brothers and sisters, that statement broke my heart.  The pastor I was listening too went on to say, “the longer I am a Christian the less I meet lost people in whom Jesus died for.”  Again my heart broke.

Paul wrote, “The gospel is bearing fruit in the world.”  Here is why, people were sharing what they had heard.  My prayer is that I would not seek to isolate myself from the world.  Yes, we need to be insulated from the world.  But we need to daily penetrate the world with the gospel.  May it be in our lives today.

A Cry for Help (Philippians 4)

June 16, 2017

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:3

As we turn the page to chapter four Paul cries out for help with an issue that we have little details about.  We could do as does the news media, make up the story as we go.  But the known details are these: “Two women who served with Paul are in a relationship crisis.”  Paul encourages them to get it straight.  He also cries out to the other members of the church to help.  He then outlines how they can help.

What a Scripture for our day.  Our nation is having issues.  It seems that everyone is taking sides on the issues.  Violence and hatred have erupted throughout our land.  The recent shooting of a congressman has brought this to a clear point:  “We need help.”

Paul gives direction to the church concerning how they can help:

  1. You must be in the right frame of mind, Vs: 4.
  2. You must be in the right spirit, Vs: 5.  “Let your gentle spirit be known to all for the Lord is near.”  NASB
  3. You must be continually in prayer, Vs; 6-7.  No matter the test, trial, tragedy, temptation, and trust we have a God who has the answer to our crisis.
  4. You must focus on correct things. Vs: 8:
    1. truth-things that are reliable
    2. Noble-distinguished
    3. Right-God’s standards
    4. Pure-wholesome in nature
    5. Lovely-promotes peace
    6. Commendable-lift’s up the good
  5. You must do the right things, Vs: 9

After reading these directives I understand three things that have to happen in my life:

  • I need to turn off the TV.
  • I need to reject the will of my flesh.
  • I must resolve to love my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:25-37).

Father, may all who read this see to answer your call to help our nation in its time of crisis.