Question to Open, Not Close

Faith opens God’s channels to you for everything you need.  Ask the right questions.

Text for Today – Luke 1:34 – Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

I remember as a young Christian being told it was wrong to question God.  Sadly, in those younger years as a believer, I believed what I was told.  Well, I have learned differently, and now, after more than 50 years in ministry, and more than 60 years as a Christian, I can recall questioning the Lord often, and it has always been to my benefit.  But let me explain something about questioning the Lord.

There are many questions one may ask of the Lord, but they will fall into one of two categories.  In Luke 1, Zacharias asked one kind of question that him into serious trouble.  In fact, the trouble was so great that the Lord prevented him from speaking until after the birth of his son, John.  When Zacharias was told he would be a father, his question opened the door to doubt and unbelief.  He asked how  could he know he was really hearing from the Lord (How can I know this?).  Questions that open the door to doubt and unbelief will not be answered by the Lord.  Such questions themselves, being questions of doubt, are outside the realm of faith, and being such, cannot please the Lord.  Hence, He will not answer such a question.

On the other hand, Mary’s question did not open the door to doubt and unbelief, though it did open a door.  The door Mary’s question opened was a door to faith and possibility.  Her question did not doubt God’s ability, or the fact that it was God’s Word coming to her.  Mary’s question was one of “how.”  She was a virgin, and knew such a thing as a virgin giving birth could only happen by the hand of God.  She believed it was the Lord’s Word, and she believed it was possible.  She simply wanted to know HOW.  Her question opened the door to faith and possibility in the angel’s response.  The angel responded by telling her how it would happen.  Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the glory of the Lord would overshadow her.  She asked a question that was answered by the Word.  Having faith in that Word, she said, “According to your word, so be it unto me.”  Her question opened the door for an answer that built faith in the possibility of the impossible.

Make a note here.  The questions you ask of God will do one or the other.  Never doubt God; that’s sin.  Always believe God, but never be afraid to ask Him how a thing can happen.  His response will be according to the Word, and that will build faith in you to receive the impossible into the realm of the possible.  Before asking any question of God, always ask yourself if this question genders doubt, or does it raise possibilities?  Only ask the questions that raise possibilities.

Manna for Today – Luke 1:18; Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 45:11; Isaiah 55:11

Rest for the UN-weary

Imagine living a life where you reason for resting it simply cessation, not recovery of strength and energy.

Text for Today – Hebrews 4:9 – There remaineth therefor a rest to the people of God

Generally, when you think of taking a rest, you are likely also thinking of someone who is tired or weary, and therefore in need of rest.  Keep in mind, however, that in the kingdom of God, we are told that we should “run and not be weary.”  We are likewise told that we are not to be “weary in well doing.”  So, if we’re not tired, or weary, why should we consider rest?  Let’s take a look at that.

In our Text for Today, the words say, “rest to the people of God.”  Notice that “tired” or “weary” are not mentioned.  Just what does God consider “rest?”  In Genesis, the Word says that on the seventh day, God rested from His labor.  In that case, “rest” means a cessation from a particular function or activity.  For God, it was a Sabbath; a day of cessation from His labor.  But ceasing from one’s own labor does not necessarily mean ceasing from all labor.  In the great fasting chapter of Isaiah 58, the Lord tell us how wo delight ourselves in Him.  That occurs when we cease, or enter into a cessation of doing OUR OWN ways, finding OUR OWN pleasure, and speaking OUR OWN words.  That does not mean we cease from doing, finding pleasure, or speaking.  It simply means we cease from doing all those things OUR OWN WAY.  Instead, we seek to do HIS ways, find HIS pleasures, and speak HIS words.

When a person does this, that person has entered into a personal Sabbath, and in so doing, entered into the realm of pleasing God.  In that place are the greatest blessings you can know.  Not only does God promise to give you the desires of your heart, but to take you far beyond even that and onto the high places of the earth, and to feed into your life blessings beyond description.  Now that’s rest for the UNweary.  I don’t know about you, but I can surely enjoy that kind of manifestation of the Lord in my life, and not only would I not become weary of the blessing, but by doing those things that please the Father, I would find myself empowered with supernatural ability and energy by the Lord to accomplish all He sets before me without being wearied.  Imagine it; living in a continual state of rest, while not being weary from the labors I perform.  Once again, that is rest for the UN-weary.

Manna for Today – Philippians 4:13; Isaiah 58:6-14; Psalm 37:4; Isaiah 40:31

Don’t Just Say It, Live It!

Keep your fragrance to God and before the world a sweet one.

Text for Today – 2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

If you say it and live it, you’re a true witness.  If you say it, but don’t live it, you become a perjured witness.  In the courts of  our land, a witness who commits perjury has violated the law, their oath to tell the whole truth, and their own personal integrity.  In short, such a person has shown himself to be a hypocrite.

It has truly and rightly been stated that the only gospel some people will ever read or hear is the life they see you lead.  We all know people who do not go to church, and do not watch Christian television, nor to they listen to Christian radio.  The only church they see is you and the life you lead.  The only gospel is what they see and hear from you, and of course, what others say about it.  Keep in mind that while you are living FOR the Lord, you are living BEFORE mankind.  Needless to say, the judgment from those two sources can be, an often is, extreme in its diversification.  God will speak of you as He did of Job.  Consider that story.  Regardless of how Job was behaving, speaking, and believing, all God would say about Job was, “that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.”  But mark my word, reader friend, this world watches you like a fox watching a hen house.  They are looking for any opening they can find to attack and devour you.

To that end, I come back to my opening statements.  If you say it and live it, you are a true witness.  If you say it, but don’t live it, you become a perjured witness.  Don’t forget the words of James, that “faith without works is dead.”  Dead faith stinks.  Consider this question about yourself.  Could it be that the stench in the nostrils of the world regarding the church has arisen from me?  Apply the washing and cleansing of the Word of God and the perfume of obedience to your life.  it will please your Father and change the mind of the world around you.  It’s up to you, so don’t just say it, live it!

Manna for Today – John 14:12-17; John 15:1-17; Matthew 5:13-14

The Time of the Evening Breeze – 3

Learn how to make every day you live count for something great.  Enjoy the evening breeze.


Text for Today – Genesis3:8 – And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . .


This is now the third time I have written to you from this passage.  Today I want to share some thoughtful observations concerning this passage and this statement we have already examined for two days.

  1. For God, the evening was the beginning of His day.  This was “the time of the evening breeze,” and speaks to the fact that God will begin His day with a refreshing, and He’ll do it for you.
  2. Where the evening breeze is blowing, there is not only refreshing, but you are being refreshed so you can rest well.  Just imagine, when you enter into His labor, you enter into that “evening breeze” where you time in Him is called “His rest.”
  3. While our Lord is not controlled, on in any way manipulated by time, He has immaculate timing. 
  4. It seems that God’s chosen time to come on the scene is “the time of the evening breeze.”  If we will heed Him then, we may avoid much trouble for which we find ourselves calling on Him later.
  5. At “the time of the evening breeze,” God came to talk with His man.  Could it be that when God initiates the visit, He brings the cooling and refreshing of the evening breeze with Him?  Why don’t you invited Him to come at the time of His choosing?
  6. The time of His choosing will not be during or after the labor, but before the labor begins.  He early presence will always serve to make your day better than it could otherwise be.
  7. God arrives in the early evening, at “the time of the evening breeze,” in order to plan for the work that has to be done in the light.  Remember, you sleep in the night and work in the day.  God come with His plans and refreshings so you can rest tonight, rising refreshed to carry out His plans in the light.

Now take these seven observations and put them to work in your life.  You have probably made certain observations about our Text for Today in this series of Second Milers that I have not mentioned.  That’s great!  Put them to work daily in your life.  Determine to plan you work at “the time of the evening breeze.”

Manna for Today – Genesis 1:3; Isaiah 45:11; Isaiah 58; Hebrews 4:1-12

The Time of the Evening Breeze (Part 2)

Walking with God when the pressure is off is absolutely marvelous.

Text for Today – Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . .

I love the thoughts this devotion brings to my heart and mind.  “The time of the evening breeze” speaks volumes concerning the mind-set of the Lord.  You will remember that it was in Isaiah that the Lord said, “Come, let us reason together . . .”  I know His point of that statement deals directly with our redemption.  At the same time, we must realize that His reason for coming to Adam in the “cool of the day” was all about His love for His man.  That is, after all, the whole point of redemption; showing His love for His man to His man.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that we should “take no thought for tomorrow.”  Look closely at that passage.  It is referring to the provision of your needs for living.  It does  NOT, however, refer to what you will do in your work for the Lord and service to  Him for the next day.  Oh, now there’s the joy of our Genesis passage. 

Have you ever tried to plan something important when all around you is stress, tension, and distraction?  I have, and simply stated, it just doesn’t work well.  I much prefer a quiet and as comfortable a place as possible for planning my day’s work for tomorrow.  Apparently, that is the mind of God as well.  He came to Adam in the garden in the “cool of the day,” at the “time of the evening breeze.” See this picture in your mind.  God had given His man two commandments.  (1) Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, and (2) subdue the earth and have dominion over it.  Both of those responsibilities require planning.  Kevin Lehman, noted Christian author and counselor said, “Sex begins in the kitchen.”  In short, to keep your marital relationship where it needs to be you need to plan for special times.  By the same token, to be successful in your role in life, you need to plan for it.  God knows this, and that’s why He had already made plans for Christ’s crucifixion even before the foundation of the world was laid.  God is an extraordinary planner.

Now it’s times for us to imitate Him.  And eve more so, it’s time for us to learn how to run according to His schedule for our success.  He is NOT hooked to time, but in this present life, we are.  We have the command to “redeem the time.”  Part of that work is optimizing our time.  God hasn’t changed.  He will still come to you at “the time of the evening breeze,” that time of the day when you can be most relaxed and focused on what He desires and what you need to do in the “evening and morning” before you.  Planning with God for the work ahead prevents worry about that work.  So, daily, expect to hear the voice of God coming to you at “the time of the evening breeze.”

Manna for Today – Genesis 1-3; Ephesians 1:1-14; Revelation 13:8

The Time of the Evening Breeze

We need to listen to God because He can show you the end before you ever start.

Text for Today – Genesis 3:8 – And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . .

Ah what a powerful significance this passage holds for us, especially in our time-oriented AM/PM world and lifestyle.  In our world, our days begin in the AM and end in the PM, but this was not so in the world of the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament language and lifestyle, the day began in the evening at about 6 PM and ended the next day at the same time.  In the renovation story of Genesis, each day is recorded as “the evening and the morning were the ___ day.”  With this information in hand, let’s move forward in today’s Second Miler.

As it relates to our Text for Today, let me ask you to consider the following questions.  When do you make time for the Lord in your day?  You should be ready to make time for the Lord at any moment in your day when you hear His voice.  Jesus has said He would never leave nor forsake us.  I am so thankful for that promise.  Still, there are times when He desires to say something to me that is critical to my well-being.  At those times, when I hear the “voice of the Lord God walking” in my world, I need to be attentive to listen and obey.

Still, it seems that this time of communion with His man was one of God’s Own choosing, so allow me to ask a similar question.  Are you available to the Lord at the times of His choosing?  I would pray that your answer is a resounding, “YES!”  However, let us examine the time of God’s choosing.

It was the beginning of the day.  Don’t you think it wise to have the wisdom and mind of God for the entire day, and not just part of it?  it was in the “cool of the day” that God chose to come and walk with His man.  I have discovered that if I will meet the Lord at times of His choosing, He will keep me well informed of what is coming so I don’t have to run to Him in the heat of the day.  Sure, you can call on Him at any time, and He will hear.  But wouldn’t it be marvelous to hear from Him ahead of time what you need to do on time to avoid the need of calling on Him behind time?

Let me urge you to listen for His voice, and when you hear His voice calling to you in the cool of the day, at the time of the evening breeze, before the labor of your day fully begins, respond to Him, obey Him, and maintain that wonderful sense of relationship, connection, and fellowship with Him throughout the day.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:20; Genesis 1; Psalm 23

Not Knowing, but Trusting

While I surely do NOT know EVERYTHING, I will ALWAYS trust the Lord in ALL THINGS.

Text for Today – Hebrews 11:8 – By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing wither he went.

Here we are today with complete copies of God’s Word in multiple translations, the new birth working effectively in our lives to make us alive unto God, the baptism in the Holy Ghost enabling us to commune with God in a measure and level totally unknown to the Old Testament saints, and the promises of a covenant that cannot be disannulled or cancelled.  Oh, how blessed we are as the people of God!

Now, for a moment, imagine Abraham, who while still known as Abram, was approached by the Lord Whom he really did not know, told to leave behind all he knew (with the exception of his wife), and then to go to a place of which he knew not, not knowing he had arrived there until the Lord told him.  If such a command were given to most of us, the response would be, as best, a litany of questions, because inquiring minds want to know.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am writing here.  We should seek to learn, grow, and attain knowledge.  There is great wisdom in that work.  The more you know (of truly useful knowledge)the more you can bless others.  Jesus said the “children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.”  Too many believers think that just because they belong to Jesus, success should just automatically  happen in their lives.  Too many other believers have a “que sera, sera” attitude in life, believing that no matter what happens to them, good or bad, God is doing it for a purpose.  Both of these philosophies of life are lies of Satan into to which far too many believers readily buy.  Don’t YOU believe them!  Seek knowledge, proving what is good, and hold fast to it.

And whatever you do, know that you can trust God.  If you follow Him, there will be times in your life when He will lead you to something about which you may know nothing.  It won’t be a surprise.  You’ll know it’s happening, though you may not know the outcome or the ultimate destination.  At those times, take on the attitude of the father of our faith, Abraham.  Go out, following the Lord, obeying the Lord.  You may not know where you are following Him, but He  certainly knows where He is leading you.  And He will never lead you into cursing; only blessing.  Never into defeat; only victory.  Never into destruction; only blessing, health, and provision.  Once again, remember, you should KNOW you can trust God, so, follow Him, trusting.  The rewards are awesome.

Manna for Today – Matthew 6:5-15; Genesis 12; 1 John 5:3


There are times we should listen intently to hear what is being said.

Text for Today – Revelation 1:10 – I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice . . .

Overhearing something important by accident is, I am convinced, really quite rare.  International government agencies listen to overhear one another.  Neighbors in apartments do the same thing.  Family members likewise do the same.  In most cases, we might call it eavesdropping, or even more simply, being nosy.  Regardless of what we call it, or the reason it happens, it is a common occurrence.  In almost every case in which one overhears what one wishes to hear, it is because that person chose to be in a particular place at a particular time, often in hopes of overhearing, or someone desires that  person to overhear something, and therefore creates the opportunity for it to occur.  In some cases, it is the work of both parties, the one overhearing, and the one desiring to be overheard, coming together to cause it to occur.

Such are the examples set before you here.  John, in the Spirit on the Lord’s day on Patmos; Isaiah in the temple following the death of Uzziah; and Moses in the cloud in the mountain where he was to receive the commandments of the Lord.  In each case, God had something He wanted to reveal, and those to whom He would reveal it were willing recipients, placing themselves in a position to receive the revelation God wanted to share.

When was the last time you overheard something from the Lord?  It could have been Sunday when someone in the church uttered a Word from the Lord.  God wanted you to hear the Word, and when you were in place, He allowed you to overhear it as it came from Him through someone else.  You see, you need to take such an opportunity as a very personal privilege from the hand of the Lord.  If God had not wanted you to hear that Word, I am sure He could have prevented you from hearing it.  Yet you heard it.  God wanted YOU to hear it; YOU personally.  Though you may have been in a crowd, God intended that Word to be heard by you personally.  Whatever you do, never pass off such an opportunity to overhear what the Lord is saying as not applying to you personally.  When you are privy to such a marvelous occasion, relish it, remember it, and respond to it.  Such a Word from the Lord can change your entire life.

Manna for Today – Isaiah 6:1-8; Revelation 1-5; Romans 10:6-17

The Cost of Obedience

In Christ, what appears to be a cost for you is, in reality, an investment with enormous returns.

Text for Today – 1 Samuel 15:22 – . . . Behold, top obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Obedience to someone you really love costs you nothing.  Rather, it is a pleasure to comply with that person, and especially if that person loves you with an equal or greater love.  There is no love that surpasses the love God has for you, and if your obedience to Him is due to your love for Him, your obedience really costs you nothing.

The cost of obedience is not to the loving servant or child, but to those who would seek to cause that servant or child to do something outside the love walk.  Your obedience to your heavenly Father upsets the religious minded, the carnally minded, the backslider, and the lost.  Your obedience to your heavenly father will cause the plans of all manner of people to be upset, and they won’t like that at all.  Your obedience to your heavenly Father irritates, and even angers those who have pridefully chosen to follow the lyrics of as well-known song by some even better-known singers who declared, “I did it my way.”

In life’s ledger books, those who obey the Lord will not show a loss column, and their liabilities column will be totally clear.  However, their profits and assets columns will be filled with the richness of the Lord Whom we obey.  You see, the Lord gives His beloved rest and sleep.  He gives great peace to those who live His law, and to love His law is to be a doer of His law; that is to say, obedient.

The true cost of your obedience to your heavenly Father is carried by those who choose to disobey.  You see, your obedience to your heavenly Father sets clear standards that the world should follow, and shows clear evidence of the blessings of God on His obedient children.  Disobedience to God breeds fear, and fear has torment.  That’s a horrible cost.  Sickness and disease arising from the lax moral atmosphere of our world is rampant.  All those diseases are horrible, and many are fatal.  The result is a cost that cannot be calculated.

Your obedience to your heavenly Father sets you forth as the light of the world, and into a light by which all can observe.  The cost of your obedience is paid by those who choose not to walk in the light, but rather walk into darkness that is made even darker by the presence of light; that’s you.  Your obedience to your heavenly Father costs you nothing in reality, and is, in fact, quite profitable.  Ho, those in the darkness may think it costs you something, especially when they see you walk away from what they may count valuable, but what you gain is far superlative to anything you appear to give, or give up.

Manna for Today – Luke 23:26; Psalm 119; Psalm 64; Psalm 91; Job 33:23-24; Mark 10:29-20

Under the Cover of Darkness

There is no need for you to work in darkness.  Speak the Word.  Light up your work space.

Text for Today – John 3:1-2 – There was a man . . . named Nicodemus . . . the same came to Jesus by night . . .

He came by night, in the darkness, hiding behind his fears.  But after being with Jesus, though he may not have had the courage to tell other Pharisees, he would no longer hide in the darkness.   You see, the entrance of the Word brings light.  Now there were no more excuses.

That was Nicodemus.  Sadly, today, there are multitudes in his condition.  On the brightest summer noon day, they are still living in the night, hiding behind their fears in the darkness.  There are multitudes awaiting their own Nicodemus encounter.

Multitudes have waited in the past.  Almost 900 years ago, Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, invited the Christian world to send 100 educator priests to his people to tell them about Jesus and Christianity.  When the invitation was delivered, the Pope only sent two friars, and they turned back mid-journey due to their fear.  With no response from the Christian world, Kublai Khan then sent the same invitation to the Buddhists of Tibet.  They came, and today, the vast majority of the population of that part of the world still live in a Christless society.

Today, the Word of God is finally getting into that area of the world.  But what of the multitudes who still remain in darkness in our own communities, on our jobs, in our schools, and sadly, even in some churches?  For Nicodemus, Jesus was the light of the world to which he came.  Today, you are the light of the world.  Are you shining enough to provoke those in darkness to come to you?  Are you so full of the Word that wherever you go, the Word in you brings light into the darkness?  The Father God brought light in Genesis.  Jesus brought light in the Gospels.  Are you bringing light from the church into your world?  All you have to do is be who you are.  Jesus has already set your identity.  “You are the light of the world.”

Manna for Today – John 9:5; Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 10:17-22; Isaiah 60 & 61