Stay Put Keep It

Why would anyone ever give up the greatest abode mankind could ever know?

Text for Today – John 15:7 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Our Text for Today has been a comfort to me so many times I have easily lost count.  It speaks to the absolute truth of His Word, the immutability of His nature and ability, and His covenant Word that is forever settled in heaven.  These twenty-four words are a key part of the unshakable foundation of His Word upon which I stand as a believer and child of the most high God.

Jesus said, “If ye” [that’s me} “abide in Me” [that’s Him].  That word “abide” is a term of permanence, meaning to take up residence.  Remember, the Lord didn’t rent you, He bought you, spirit, soul, and body.  Knowing that, I live my life hidden in Him.  Being in Him makes me a new creation, a new spiritual species of reborn spiritual being that never existed before Jesus became the first born from the dead.  Being in Him makes me one with Him, a joint-heir with Him in a covenant that cannot be broken or disannulled.  Now that is a secure place to be, and I’m there.  Rejoice, my friend, for you’re there, too, if you’ve made Jesus your Lord!

But there’s another side to this Scripture.  You abiding in Him gives you access to His safety and keeping power, but His Word abiding in You gives you access to His ability and working power in this present world.  Romans 1:16 clearly states that God’s Word is God’s power.  Hebrews 1:3 says He is upholding all things by His Word.  And we know, of course, that His Word will NEVER pass away, but will surely be fulfilled.

What we’re seeing here is a part of the mystery of the Gospel.  How can box A be in box B while box B is in box A?  In the natural, it cannot be; but in the spirit, you can be in Jesus while He is in you.  You’ve got God on the inside and God on the outside.  Now that’s a great place to live.  That’s the place where covenant is fulfilled, where blessings flow, where the power of God is manifest.  Without a doubt, that’s THE place to be!  So, are you in Him?  If you are, STAY PUT!  Does His Word (that’s Him) abide in you?  If it does, KEEP IT!

Manna for Today – Isaiah 55:11; Romans 10:17; John 6:63

He Knows Where You Are

If you feel like you’re in the dark, but know you’re following Jesus, don’t fret.  He’s only a few steps away.

Text for Today – Matthew 14:22 – And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away

Here is a story you probably know well.  Jesus had gone into a desert place to pray and be alone.  But His power was in such demand that multitudes followed Him.  Seeing them and their needs, Jesus was moved with compassion toward them.  He used this ministry opportunity to bless the people through His healing ministry, and then, because they had come so far and been with Him so long, performed a supernatural miracle of supply and feeding them.  Then He sent His disciples away by ship to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Having sent the multitudes away, Jesus then departed alone into the nearby mountains to pray. 

His disciples obeyed His command, entered into a ship, and started for the other side, but in their journey, they were hindered and ultimately stopped in their progress by a great storm that arose.  Now look at this picture; a small ship being tossed about somewhere in the midst of a body of water with more than 60-square miles of surface, it’s the middle of the night, and the storm clouds block any moon light,  Jesus is miles away in the mountains praying, and then, without any beacon, search light, or electronic location device, Jesus walks straight to them, ON THE WATER!  Now that’s awesome!

The point of today’s Second Miler is not that the disciples saw Him, nor that Peter called out to Him, nor that Peter went to Him walking on the water, nor that Peter began to sink and had to be rescued, nor that Peter then walked back to the boat with Jesus.  The point of today’s devotion is that Jesus knew exactly where to find them, and that nothing, not even the impossible, could keep Him from them.  They were doing their best to carry out His command to go to the other side and meet Him there.  The storm with its wind was preventing them, but it could not prevent Jesus from getting to them.

So, how about it, my Second Miler friend?  Are you walking in obedience to what the Lord has called you to do, striving to fulfill what He has commanded of you, giving it your best shot despite the storms of life that rise against you?  Well, if you are, fear not.  Though the present circumstances may make it look like Jesus is far from you, He knows precisely where you are, and He will not let you sink, drown, or fail.  If you are walking in obedience to Him, then you are walking in the love of God, and love NEVER fails.  Look through the storm; He’s coming your way.

Manna for Today –  Matthew 14; 1 John 5:3

What Have You Found?

What a Friend I have in Jesus!  I owe Him all.

Text for Today – Matthew 13:44 – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field

Yesterday we caught a glimpse of how highly treasured you are to the Lord as a possession for which He would sacrifice everything in order to make it His own.  Today, let’s turn that scenario around.  What is there for which you would suffer the loss of everything you possess?

I can honestly say that I would give up my own life for my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and for many I know who follow me in ministry.   I cannot, however, say I would give up all I possess that is needful for the well-being of my wife, children, or grandchildren for those who follow me.  These are heavy words, I know, but I am required to speak truth.   You see, I have priorities, and first on that list is the Lord, and then my family. 

But I can also make this next statement unequivocally.  There is nothing more important to me than my relationship with the Lord.  I didn’t find Him; He found me.  I did not love Him first; He first loved me.  I did not die for Him; He died for me.  I did not suffer for Him; He suffered for me.  I did not purchase Him; He purchased me.  I did not cleanse Him from sin; He cleansed me.  I did not heal Him; He healed me.  I did not supply His needs; He supplied mine.  I did not deliver Him; He delivered me.

When I consider all that He has done for me, not counting all He has done for those I love, I have no choice but to speak as Paul the Apostle in Philippians 3, and “count all things loss.”  When He found me, I was without hope; now He is my Hope.  When He found me, I had no access to God; now He is my Access to God.  When He found me, I was a fool in the darkness; now He is my Righteousness and the Light of my salvation.  Surely, for Him, I can easily “count all things loss.”

How about you, today?  What have you found in Him?  What has Jesus done for you?  What has He wrought in your life?  How often and in how many ways has He manifested His great salvation power in your life?  How can you do anything but to “count all things loss?”  Surely the treasure of Jesus in your heart is worth whatever it may cost to hold fast to it.  Surely the treasure of Jesus in your heart is worthy of giving due attention to your walk, your talk, and your lifestyle, including the way you look after yourself.  After all, you are the temple of Holy Ghost.  I can say that I have found everything I can desire and all I need in His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Manna for Today – 1 Corinthians 13; John 15:13-17; Philippians 3:1-16

What Has He Found?

Oh, the priceless treasure God has placed in us that He would go so far to redeem it!

Text for Today – Matthew 13:44 – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Our Text for Today tells an awesome story.  Can you imagine finding a treasure in a field, a treasure of such incredible value that you immediately sell everything you have (and I do mean everything), and then take what you gained from that sale and buy the field in which you found the treasure?  On the surface, we could quickly say “yes.”  But think about it for a moment.  Sell your house, car, clothes, keep-sakes, family heirlooms, and even your pets; now that’s a lot for some of you to consider.  Also remember that in the day in which Jesus said this, people didn’t have banks, savings plans, 401-k’s, mutual funds, stocks, and retirement accounts.  This verse said “selleth all.” 

Notice, too, why he sold it; “. . . for joy thereof . . .”  Wow!  That treasure must have been something to behold!  Well, dear reader, that’s what happened to the Lord when He lost His man to sin.  What God had made when He made His man was the crowning glory to all of His creation.  Then man sinned and fell to the wiles of Satan and Satan’s lordship over the earth.  And remember here, we are earthen vessels.

God looked upon the man that WAS His, and wanted him back.  God saw such a treasure on the inside of man that He gave up all He had through the form of His Son, Jesus.  God had poured Himself into the earth in the form of a man.  That man, the Son of God, was the very fullness of God.  Jesus was the perfect outshining of the Father.  All God had, all God was, and all God could do was sent forth in the form of Jesus.  Jesus became sin for us, died on a cross, was buried, and then raised up the third day.  All that suffering, death, and finally the manifestation of resurrection power for one purpose; to redeem His man.

Now think of this.  God gave up all He had in order to redeem His man in whom was a treasure so great, it was worth all God did.  Your spirit, alive unto God and in right fellowship with the Lord is worth all God did, including this entire world.  But look once again at our Text for Today.  The man did not sell all he had and buy the treasure; he bought the field in which the treasure was hidden.  God bought more than your spirit and soul.  He bought your flesh, too.  And somehow, I can’t imagine God buying a parcel of property for what was in it, and allowing the property to remain messy, run down, grown up in weeds, and filled with rocks.  When He made His man, He put him in a garden.  He does the same today with what He has found.

Manna for Today –  John 3:16; Matthew 22:34-46

Don’t Shoot Yourself

There is enough trouble in the world without doing things to harm yourself.

Text for Today – Psalm 64:8 – So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.

If you’re a hunter, shooter, law enforcement officer, or military, gun safety is definitely (or certainly should be) a major part of your training.  If you shoot a bow and arrow, you should be taught and understand shooter safety.

A device far more powerful than any gun or bow is the human tongue.  Man’s words have driven the world to chaos, caused war, disrupted peace, rained confusion, gendered strife, inflamed fears, bred ignorance, and destroyed enlightenment.  They have likewise led the world to calm, ended war, brought peace, brought order, created unity, built faith, birthed knowledge, and enhanced enlightenment.

With such a powerful device at the disposal of every human being, I would think the believer should press to understand “tongue safety.”  The power of the tongue needs to be understood.  Sadly, for most people, they don’t have a clue.  The creative ability of the tongue needs to be truly appreciated.  Sadly, once again, negative, destructive speaking about others is a strong demonstration of a great lack of understanding here, while at the same moment modeling hurtful intentions..

To engage in evil or negative speaking toward or about a person is to unleash the potential of incredible destruction.  If one speaks in such a manner about a fellow Christian, it is highly unlikely that person does not understand the potential outcome of such talk.  Read Psalm 64, and read it closely.  Take its teaching to heart.  With all the talk in our world about gun control, what we really need to learn is “tongue control.”  If you speak evil or destruction upon a child of God, and especially if that child of God knows who he is in Christ, the evil and destruction you speak will come back upon yourself.  Remember the words of the Lord Jesus.  If you judge, you will be judged.  And we know that it is the same judgment that you use toward others that will be brought upon yourself.  It is the fruit of what we have called the Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I know there are people who will and do speak evil of you, but you MUST refuse to fall prey to the same spirit.  What do you want to receive from others?  Give what you desire to receive, and then expect that return.  God will see to it that His Word is fulfilled in your life.  Just remember to learn and practice “tongue safety” and “tongue control.”  Whatever you do, don’t shoot yourself.

Manna for Today – Psalm 64; Isaiah 54:17; James 3; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Mark 11:22-24

Active Duty – Always Training

The closer a combat soldier is to the end of their tour of duty, they sharper they must be.

Text for Today – Ephesians 4:11-12 – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We are living in an incredibly fast-moving world.  Information and data can be transmitted across our world at almost the speed of light.  And as fast as that is, we live even faster; we are living at the speed of life

As fast as the world is moving, the church must move faster.  God has told us that grace abounds over sin.  We know that He Who is in us is greater than he that is in the world.  We know we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.  All of that is truly good news.  Still, there is a daily spiritual battle into which we must enter. 

In spiritual warfare, one can never go backward or retreat.   To prevent that from happening, the soldier of the cross MUST stay on active duty.  There are no reserves in God’s army.  And in order to stay on the offensive in a strong, active-duty function, soldiers need to be in ongoing training.  Training improves and sharpens needed skills, makes soldiers more alert, melds them into a strongly united fighting force (we might call it unity of the faith), and makes them critically able to discern needed action. 

So, soldier of the cross, combatant in the army of the Lord, the battle is on.  You’re in action, and at the same time you must continue in your training to become daily more effective. While none of us knows the day or the hour in which our Lord will come for us, we can be, and I believe are, aware of the time.  I believe the time is now.  But soldiers in a combat zone CANNOT and MUST NOT lower their guard just because they are a few days from the end of their tour of duty in a combat arena.  If anything, they become sharper, more alert, and quicker to respond and react to the enemy of their soul.  The enemy doesn’t know when their tour of duty ends.  But what could be more demoralizing than taking out top combat troops just days before they were to ship out and go home with total victory? 

Once again, soldier of the Lord, we are nearing the end of our tour of duty.  Jesus is coming for us soon, and we will be departing this combat arena.  Now is NOT the time to get lazy, lethargic, or loose.  Now is the time to rise to our greatest potential.  Pray, stay in the Word, keep constant fellowship with the Lord and His army, and maintain a right relationship with your Commander.  You’re in active duty, so train daily.

Manna for Today – Ephesians 4: John 14:12-14

Godly Passion

We need the ZEAL of God in our hearts  to be passionate, high-level performers in Father’s kingdom.

Text for Today – Isaiah 9:7 – Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

I believe the Bible.  God said what He meant and meant what He said.  More than that, His Word will always come to pass and never fail.  And yet more; His Word will prosper in what He sent it to do.  Now, to the believer, all of that should be truly great news.  Because God and His Word are One, this news brings great assurance to the believer.  It is a true cause for rejoicing.

And still, there’s more; more work for the believer.  Look at our Text for Today.  “Of the increase . . . no end.”  There will be a constant work to do in ordering and establishing it properly.  And it will be performed by the “zeal of the Lord.”  What the believer needs to grasp is the fact that ZEAL is an element of the living, and the believer is the living being through whom that ZEAL of the Lord will work to accomplish this prophecy.  This ZEAL, this burning, fiery desire shut up in our bones must be released.  This Godly passion must perform and fulfill its purpose.

So, what’s eating you?  Are problems at work, attitudes with other people, your past, unfulfilled desires, failings and faults, or a sense of inadequacy constantly hounding your life?  Are one or more of these things, or things like them, draining your energy, robbing you of your enthusiasm, and even stripping you of the desire to rise and face the day?  If any of this is true, I have good news for you.

If Jesus is your Lord, then the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart by Holy Ghost.  That love NEVER fails.  It is that love by which your faith works, and faith pleases God.  I don’t mean to make light of the problems you face, but your problem is not your problem.  Your real problem is that you’re looking in the wrong direction.  Turn around and begin to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith.  It is looking unto Jesus that will enable you to continue forward in your daily walk and fight of faith.  As you continue to gaze upon and draw nearer to your God Who is a “consuming fire,” not only will those things that hold you down be consumed by the living God you serve, but that same fire will be kindled once again in your heart, and your Godly passion will rise again.  The ZEAL of the Lord of hosts will indeed perform it!

Manna for Today – 1 John 5:3; Isaiah 59:11-21; Romans 3:4; Luke 1:37; Jeremiah 1:12; Hebrews 1:3

Forgiven? Walk!

Sometimes you simply need to focus on the key issue.

Text for Today – Luke 5:24 – But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Here’s the story.  A man with palsy was carried to Jesus by four men.  After removing a section of the roof, they lowered the man before Jesus.  Jesus, upon seeing the faith of the four men, said to the palsied man, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”

Now notice what Jesus DID NOT say.  He DID NOT say, “Man, you are healed.”  After telling the man he was forgiven, the next thing Jesus said to him was, “Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”  A shorter way of saying that would be, “Get up, gather your stuff, and walk home.” 

You see, sickness and disease are both under the curse of the law.  Sin brought the curse into the earth.  When sin is defeated, when it is dealt with properly, all the results that arose from the sin are also defeated.  If you are forgiven, then healing belongs to you, too. 

We can even see that in our prison system within the United States.  When a prisoner has served his sentence for the crime committed, he is released from prison.  But more than that, anything that was taken from his person upon his arrest is returned to him.  When sin came into the earth through man’s disobedience, man also lost his rightful health and provision.  When Jesus was raised from the dead, the price for all sin, including yours and mine was fully paid.  Therefore, all that man lost in his transgression should be returned to you and me upon our release from the prison house of sin; being separated from God.  So, when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, all your sins were forgiven.  At that very moment, you became the rightful possessor of health and provision

So, I ask you a question; are you forgiven?  If the answer is “YES,” then I have a command for you as well.  “Arise, take up your couch and go into your house.  You are free from all sickness and disease, and all poverty and lack that came into the world as a result of sin.  Jesus paid the price for you.  So, if you’re forgiven, then WALK!

Manna for Today – Galatians 3; Deuteronomy 28; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Go On to Nineveh

God has called, assigned, anointed, and equipped you for His divine purpose.  Obey!

Text for Today – Jonah 1:1 – Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying . . .

You know the story. God called, Jonah heard, Jonah fled, and Jonah went down; down to Joppa, down into a ship; down into the sea, down into a great fish.  Finally, Jonah repented and obeyed the Lord in going to Nineveh to deliver God’s message to the city of Nineveh. 

Now let’s turn to you.  What is it that God requires of you that you don’t want to do?  What does God require of you that you find so impossible, so uncomfortable, that you run from it?  Jonah’s problem was one of race, and possible acceptance.  Jonah was of the seed of Abraham, and as such saw the Ninevites as people of a race unacceptable to himself.  What would he have to do with these uncircumcised heathens, these Gentiles?

So, what’s your problem with being obedient?  Whatever it is, get over it NOW!  Stop your running from God’s will NOW!  Turn around, NOW!  Repent NOW!  Determine to obey God NOW!  And at least, begin the journey to obedient fulfillment NOW!  You are too close to the coming of Jesus for His church to be disobedient, rebellious, and stubborn.  Souls are hanging in the balance while you hesitate.  There are good works with your name written on them going undone daily while you choose to go your way, and not God’s. 

Your personal Nineveh can be one or more of any number of things.  Is God calling you to join or begin a prayer ministry?  Is He calling you to serve in the nursery in your church?  Is He calling you to prepare yourself and enter into the five-fold ministry?  Is He calling you to go across the street and witness to your neighbor, telling him about the love of Jesus, or His healing power? 

The point is this. Your point of obedience is your Nineveh.  Go there, and start your journey NOW!  Someone is waiting for you to deliver God’s message to them, regardless of its form.  They are waiting to hear that God knows about them and cares for them; that Jesus died for them and wants to save them.  Your obedience will impact multitudes in the valley of decision.  Those who need you are waiting for you there, and so is the power of God.

Manna for Today – 1 John 5:3; John 14:15-17; 1 Samuel 15:22

Occupy

We are part of a divinely established occupational force known as the church.  Let’s do our job.

Text for Today – Luke 19:13 – And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

When Jesus came into this world, He emptied Himself of all divine privilege and operated as a prophet under the law of Moses.  When He finished His earthly ministry, He was received to the right hand of the Father God, where He now lives to make intercession for the saints according to the will of the Father.  He finished His earthly fight, and like our Father when He finished the creation renovation, sat down.  But before He was seated, He equipped and supplied the Church, His body, to “Occupy till I come.” 

The term “occupy” is a military term.  It means to stay in charge, to police, to defend, to put down insurgency, to stand guard, and as some of the terms have already implied, fight when necessary.  As good soldiers of the cross, we are God’s occupational forces in this present world. 

As occupation forces, we need to realize that we are not on our home turf; we are strangers and pilgrims here in the earth, with a divinely ordained citizenship of another country.  While we have a fixed base of operations from which we continue with our occupational work, we must at the same time be ready for immediate movement to a different base.  I am very sure that any military man or woman in an occupational situation, while prepared and alert to any situation they may encounter, is at the same time ready to go home at a moment’s notice.  Military personnel are usually given tours of duty that fall within specific time frames of deployment; six months, 12 months, etc.  With that in mind, my fellow soldier of the Lord, think on these things.

We are living in the last days.  The Word tells us what must happen in the last days.  Jesus is coming for His Church, His occupational forces in the last days.  We are those occupational forces.  That means Jesus is coming for us.  Because we know we are living in the last days, and because we know He is coming for us, we should be ready to redeploy at His trumpet call.  From the moment you read this, to the moment of our departure, there still remains much to be done.  Therefore, as good soldiers, let us endure the hardness that comes against us, stand in the power of God, truly busy ourselves with the great work of the Kingdom, renew our commitment, rekindle our enthusiasm, and refire our passion that He has shed abroad in our hearts.  In short, let us occupy!

Manna for Today – Luke 19:11-27; 2 Timothy 2:1-7; Ephesians 6:10-18; Matthew 24-25