Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Lord Looks At The Heart

1 Samuel 16:6-7
The Lord Looks At The Heart 

     Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 
     To preface this, God has sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel after Saul had sinned against the Lord, and Samuel does not know that it is David who will be king, only that God has chosen one of the sons of Jesse. 
This message holds a wonderful truth for us to grab hold of today. God had singled out David to have the high honor of not only being the next king, but also to have Jesus born into his family and he was chosen, not by his appearance but because of his heart. It says in the Bible that David was a “Man after God’s own heart.” 
     So the question for today is, “Do you love the Lord with all your heart, and need Him to be your strength and support in all that you do?” So often, we find, that we are just a hopeless mess. We’ve made a mess of our lives. We’ve made the wrong choices that lead us into sin, tragedy, loss, and despair and we think, “What is there in me, that would make me worthy to be rescued and helped by God?” We must realize that all our accomplishments and talents, or lack thereof, were not what God was looking for when He picked David, we find that it was his humble heart that recognized it’s need for God’s help and strength. 
     Do we think we are strong? Do we think we can make it on our own? Do we have a life that looks like it’s got everything going right? These are the false qualifications that the world looks at in order to be counted worthy of more good things. But God does not see it that way. The only people He can truly call His own and bless with His help, are those who have lost their “self reliance attitude” and have let go of trying to make their life appear to be perfect in every way, and have recognized that they really do need God’s help. They have let go of their pride and have realized that on their own they have continually chosen wrong and with those choices, suffered all of the consequences that went with them. And they are tired of trying to hold “Life” together on their own and are ready for help. 
     This is the foundation for the grace and support and promises of God to begin. He does not look at your appearance or at how well you are doing. He looks at your heart and says, “Is this person ready for My help.” And by ready I mean, longing for an end to the messes you have made of your life and wanting a way out. You see, until we are ready to let go of “our way” of doing things, we are not ready for His help. 
     Where is your heart right now? Is it tired of the endless and stressful consequences of the choices you have pursued and followed after? Or is it happy with your life the way it is, stress and all? God allows us to run on until we are tired of our choices that we have made without Him, and then, when we have lost all confidence in ourselves, and are no longer full of “self-confidence” and “self-reliance”, then we are at the place where we are ready for Him and are ready to be someone that He can begin to bless. David was at this place. He knew He needed God for every act of courage and that God was his strength and support for every trial and temptation. He was not full of admiration at his own abilities. He trusted in God fully for all his help. 
     So we also do not need to be anything that the world would look at as admirable or as someone who has really made a success with his life. All we need is to be humble and know without a doubt that without God, we always give in to sin, we always make a mess of our lives and choose the things that make our lives miserable and fall apart. We need God! We need His help! We need Him to rescue us from our sinful desires! We need His strength and his support and for Him to be in all the decisions we make every day! When we have no doubt that this is the truth, then we to are ready to be called out by the Lord into positions of honor. 
                               ~ Rejected by the world but blessed by God! ~ 

     Let us be encouraged today! We do not have to be important in appearance in the eyes of the world, to be highly favored by God.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spoiling Our Eyes With The Riches Of Christ!

Luke 11:33-36
Spoiling Our Eyes With The Riches Of Christ!

     “No one after lighting a lamp puts it away in a cellar, nor under a peck measure, but on the lampstand, in order that those who enter may see the light. The lamp of your body is your eyes; when your eye is clear; your whole body is also full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you may not be darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it shall be wholly illuminated, as the lamp illumines you with its rays.” - Jesus
     Let us begin with a one simple definition for what the light is that we are to put on the lampstand. There are two parts. One is the written word of God and the other is the fruit of Godly men who have been obedient to His word. If therefore we keep the word of God and the works of Godly men and women closed and in some corner of the house we have not put God’s lamp on the lampstand in our house. We have the light but we have covered it up. If we have covered it up –what is the light that we have put in its place? If for twenty three and a half hours a day we are most likely not reading our Bible, what have we put in its place?
     What do you do with your time every day? How much of what you put in front of yourself all day long actually causes you to think of Jesus? Do you think of Him? Do you think about what He would have you doing for Him today? Do you reflect on how your character is like His or not like His? Putting these thoughts in front of you during the day is to put God’s lamp on the lampstand. But if you put down your Bible in the morning and turn on your favorite non-Christian radio station or your favorite TV show or start reading the magazine you picked up at the grocery store, this is placing an ungodly light upon the lampstand. Jesus says that the eye is the lamp of the body. The body is filled with the light that the eye sees and if the eye is subjected to God’s light all day long then the body will be full of light all day long. But if the eye is subjected to other things no matter how short that period of time may seem, the body will be filled with darkness!
     Jesus concludes with saying that the entire body is affected by what it sees. It is either full of light or oppressed by darkness and He says to be careful that what you fill your sight with is not darkness.

                    (Application and perspective)

     Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
     Often we talk about the light that comes to us as being how we view it. We say that it is our understanding, or our perception of the circumstance. This is true, “understanding” is a lamp that the body uses to see by, but if the eye is only subjected to seeing what is wicked then it does not give the understanding anything to compare its wisdom to. Therefore, good and holy things must be placed in front of the eyes that the understanding might have something to build upon.
     The eye needs to be fed and spoiled with the riches of Jesus and His words! There can never be too much of the Light of Christ in our eyes! We all know that a child can easily be spoiled by continually giving him gifts of whatever he desires. – This is our chance to be spoiled with the riches of the wisdom of Jesus, spoiled with what can only make us better! Let us spoil our eyes with continually placing Him in front of us all day long! Let us partake of His wisdom and never be satisfied. Truly He is the only one who can satisfy us and at the same time leave us desiring more of Him! All things have a beginning and an end, but not Jesus; there is only a beginning with no end!
     So let me encourage each of you today to spoil your eyes with the light of Christ. Place Him before you all day long. Get into His word whenever possible. Read stories of His faithful missionaries. Write out memory verses and take them with you to work. Turn off the TV and spend that half hour with Jesus! Ask Him what you can be doing for Him. Be faithful with the little He has already given you and He will make you faithful with much!
                      God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Luke 11:4

     “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves do forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” –Jesus

     Forgiveness from the heart is a special thing, it is to be a reflection of the forgiveness that God has had toward us.

                        “He who is forgiven much, loves much.”

     Forgiving others who have hurt us or stolen from us or said sharp words toward us or spread false rumors about us, is not an option. Jesus does not say that it is good to forgive if you can, but that, as God has forgiven us so must we forgive them.
     There are two requirements that I can see right away that are needed for this to take place. One is a real understanding of how much God has forgiven us of, and the other is a real love for our neighbor, as Jesus said, we are to love our neighbor as our self.

     1. The real understanding of what God has forgiven us of. This is not just a matter of saying that our sins are so bad that Jesus Himself had to pay the penalty for them with his death, which is true. But it is coming to understand just how corrupt each of us really are. It is understanding how sinful and selfish our motives are and how truly mean and spiteful we can be, particularly when someone gets in the way of something we want. We are capable of lusting and coveting with our eyes while at the same time maintaining an outward, seemingly selfless friendship. It’s amazing how we are always able to defend our motives no matter how much they might be hurtful to someone else. However, even more than these things, is how capable we are of hurting our Heavenly Father! We mistrust His motives toward us, suspecting Him of treating us how we treat others. We have a corrupt nature and so we suspect Him of all manner of evil, not understanding what pure and unselfish motives really are. They are like another language which we will never learn how to speak unless our Heavenly Father will teach us. God forgives us continually while we are constantly hurting Him with our thoughts and our actions.
     It is amazing how quickly we just assume that God will have grace towards us, as though we deserved it! We don’t. We assume that He simply understands and won’t take what we are doing the wrong way or have to punish us. But let someone do something that hurts us and we never put the best motives on their actions, in fact, very often we take offense at things that didn’t even happen. A look or a shrug, talking, or not talking, we quickly assume that what they did or didn’t do was meant to hurt us. Yes, we are quick to assume that others will forgive us and at the same time we are slow to forgive them.

     2. Real love for our neighbor. Real love for our neighbor is to always love them no matter what they do that hurts us. Unselfish love is the only thing that can accomplish this and unselfish love is a gift from God. It is not something we have unless He gives it to us. I want to encourage each of you to read some stories from the organization called Voice of the Martyrs. Pastor Richard Wurmbrand demonstrates amazing unselfish love in action. His life is a testimony of real love for those who tortured him day and after day for holding on to Jesus. It makes our fights and disagreements with each other and our neighbors (this could be anyone), look like nothing in comparison.
     We all have such shallow and surface love unless God gives us one that is deeper. Let us pray earnestly for God’s love, and let us pray earnestly for one another. God generally seems to teach us true love through real trials. He doesn’t test our love on situations that our shallow love can overcome. They will be trials and challenges that require constant prayer and time in God’s presence to be able to overcome. So let us keep each other in prayer! We will need each others support! God Bless!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Choosing The Good Part

Luke 10:41-42
Choosing The Good Part

     But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered by so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.”
     Jesus is addressing Martha who is rushing around the house trying to take care of all the pressing concerns of running everything and taking care of her guests. This is a very good lesson for me today and I’m sure you can all relate to it as well. I feel all the pressing concerns of staying alive in this world and trying to take care of my needs and it seems like an endless losing battle and I turn around and see someone just sitting at Jesus’ feet letting go of the stress of this world and I complain to Jesus and say, “Lord there are too many things going on in my life that need to be taken care of, I don’t have any time to spend with You.” And Jesus says, “Mary has chosen the good part, and it shall not be taken away from her.”
     Lord, this is such a comforting word from You. That if I stop and sit at Your feet and stop worrying about the world I will have chosen the better part and it shall not be taken away from me in spite of the impossibility of even having a moment to sit down with You. Lord this is such a comfort to my soul! So here I am sitting at Your feet desiring to learn from You, and to just enjoy Your company! Lord You are the Beauty of the Ages! Your wisdom and love are beyond my comprehension and yet You speak to me in the simplest of ways! Lord I love You and want to be like You. Do not let this portion be taken from me.
     “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matt. 6:33-34
     These are good verses for all of us. Jesus tells us that Mary chose the better part and that there is truly only one thing that is important and it is found by sitting at Jesus’ feet. The concerns of this life will keep us going in endless circles and will continue to do so until we stop and spend time with Jesus. Getting our lives in order will never be finished as long as we live so learning this lesson early in life will be a great blessing to us! And Jesus reassures us saying that this blessing will not be taken away from us if we will do it. Hallelujah! Let us all pause and take a moment to pray and seek out His Company.
     Lord give us rest from our fears and concerns this day! Lord help us to seek the safety of Your Company. Lord we are torn from Your side by an endless gale (strong wind) of worldly distractions and fearful necessities! Lord we seek You out this day and desire to sit at Your feet. Lord fill us with Your peace and speak to us with Your gentleness and wisdom. Amen.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Go Forth In Boldness

Luke 10:18-20
Go Forth In Boldness

     “And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning, behold I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. And whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” -Jesus, (Luke 10:8-9)
     Jesus is talking to the seventy disciples He was sending out to preach the Gospel. And when they returned He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” What an amazing testimony to the authority Jesus gave to His disciples! What a testimony to the authority He gives to us! The disciples returned saying, “Even the demons are subject to us by Your Name.”
     We are soldiers for Jesus. But how is the battle to be won? Jesus says that all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Our desire is to see men believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Authority over sickness and demons is a way to make things better for the people we desire to help, but it is their belief in Jesus that we are after. These things are tools for the greater work of belief in Jesus. It is Belief in Him that saves their soul and no amount of healing can actually redeem them. “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”-This is our message. Jesus follows up with, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
     We must boldly move forward as those seventy disciples, bringing the Kingdom of God near to all men. Jesus has given each of us great authority to be used for the validation of the truth of what we speak, that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus’ disciples were just regular men who at that time hardly new the truth of who Jesus really was, yet they were able to destroy the Devil’s kingdom! “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” So also can we who have hardly even started down our own road as a Christian! We are able to destroy the Devil’s kingdom and all of his fortresses! He is no match for the power of God, and Jesus has told us to go forward in His power and rescue the lost from the power of sin. The Devil trembles before the smallest Christian for he cannot stand against them when they seek God for the downfall of his kingdom.
     Sin holds all men captive and looks daunting as it invades our cities, and towns, and schools, and homes. But it is a lie meant to keep us cowering in the corner or hopelessly mired in it’s enticements so that we do not try to stand up against it. Gideon took a band of three hundred men with no weapons against an invading army as numerous as the sand. He won! The enemy was scattered! Joshua went against the city of Jericho with an army of men blowing trumpets. The walls fell! No siege or siege weapons! Victory belongs to our God and we are in His army!
     Let us be bold and go forward in victory today! God bless you all!