The King’s Heart

If your heart is in God’s hands, He will always turn it in the right direction to please Him and be blessed.

Text for Today – Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.

Who is the king?  In our Text for Today, it refers to the person in charge; the person who has control over something, or is in charge over it (there is a great difference).  It could be the President of the United States, a state governor, a military officer at command level, or your boss on the job.  It could be the head of the household, the principal of a school, or the owner of a company.  In any of these situations, his (the king’s) heart is in the hand of God, and God CAN turn that person (that king) whithersoever He will

So, why doesn’t God just force all such people to always to the right thing at the right time at the right place, and thereby always bring about the right results?  The answer is simple; He (God) has turned all His authority in the earth over to His church.  He has given His church the power of attorney to use the mighty Name of Jesus in order to accomplish all He could do.

When the church prays, God moves.  When the church has a need, God already has the provision available, and when the church prays and operates by the principles of faith God has prescribed, God can move by whatever means He must, including turning the heart of a heathen (who may be in charge) to make provision for the work of His kingdom.  The Lord says in His Word that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.”  Well, understanding that we won’t need money in heaven, that can mean only one thing.  God has it in store for us to use in this age as we serve Him and His kingdom.

Please don’t think I am talking about coveting what someone else possesses.  I am not!  I am talking about applying Biblical principles and the faith God has given you to accomplish all He has called you to do.  Just as surely as God has a plan for your life (and He does), He has already put in place the resources you will need to accomplish it.  Keep your eyes (spiritual and physical) open to opportunities.  Just as wise men brought gifts to the Christ-child, and just as foreigners brought gifts to David and Solomon, there are men with gifts for you.  You, too, are a child of God (a Christian), and you, too, are a king (Jesus being King of kings).  Believe it, pray for it, expect it, and receive it.

Manna for Today – Ephesians 6:10-18; Psalm 24; 1 Timothy 2:1-17

Trees of Righteousness

Plant it, water it properly, give it all the light you can, and reap a great harvest.

Today – Isaiah 61:3 – . . . that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.

I have enjoyed being a student of the handiworks of God most of my life.  I am convinced that everything God created, made, and did reveals something of His nature and character, and of His plans for us as His people.  I remember talking to a man who managed a plant nursery some years ago.  He spoke of the importance of watering plants.  He indicated that, all other things being equal, perhaps the most important aspect of a plants life and ability to produce was the manner in which it was watered.  Too much or too little water, and the plan could be damaged or stunted.  Just the right amount of water was critical.

Well, for you and me, the water of our lives is the Word of God, and according to the Lord, we need it continually.  That water is the Word of God.  We are to hear it, read it, study, it, speak it, and meditate upon it.  Read about God’s armor.  It’s all Word product, and we are to wear it.  It is indeed critical to our fruitfulness.  Read Psalm 1.  There we are told that we will be planted by rivers of water so we can be fruitful in our season.  Make not mistake about it, the water of God’s Word is critical for your fruitfulness as a believer.

Not long ago, I heard the following statement from a botanist.  She said, “Because of a plant’s response to light, it is assured to blossom and produce fruit in the proper season.”  One might say, “But I thought it was all about water.”  Such a person has missed my point.  I’m not talking about the green plants of the earth, but rather about you and me, the “trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD.”  You see, Jesus, the Word made flesh, is also our Light.  Any place the Word of God enters becomes enlightened by that Word.

As a tree of righteousness, as the planting of the Lord, as a tree planted by rivers of water, your fruitfulness is tied directly to the water (the Word of God) and the light (the Word of God) you receive on a constant basis.  In Alaska, where the growing season is quite short, the size of fruits produced is astounding.  There they have discovered that it is NOT the length of the season that permits such huge fruit to be produced, but the duration of constant light.  You see, in Alaska, during the summer, there are days when darkness only lasts an hour or two, and the sun shines for 22 or 23 hours.  Part of that country are called the land of the midnight sun.  When the water is plenteous, , the light makes the difference.  How is it in your life?  The water of God’s Word is plenteous.  Are you living in the light?  Are you producing fruit?  Go, grow, and produce.

Manna for Today – Psalm 1; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; John 1; John 8; John 12:35-50

Having Done All

Regardless of  how busy we are, or what tasks lie ahead, at this moment, it is TODAY.

Text for Today – Ephesians 6:13 – Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Well, here we are at the close of another year.  What is past is now past; we cannot change that.  We must deal with what we have in our hands presently, and plan to utilize well all that comes to us in the coming days.  Today is that last day you have to make sure you are ready for the tomorrow.

There was a day called TODAY in which Shadrach, Meschach, and Abed-nigo had to be sure they were ready for what was ahead.  They faced the fiery furnace.  There was a day called TODAY in which Daniel had to be sure he was ready for what was ahead.  He faced a den of lions.  There was a day called TODAY in which David had to be sure he was ready for what was ahead.  He faced Goliath.  There was a day called TODAY in which Jesus had to be sure he was ready for what was ahead.  He faced Calvary, and the judgment of God on sin, sickness, poverty, darkness, death, hell, and the grave.  In every case, and especially in the last on, they were ready for what their TODAY brought them.

Soon, tomorrow will be TODAY, and then every day you live will be another TODAY.  Before you enter the year ahead, you can be sure you are ready for what is ahead.  Your heavenly Father knows what you will face in every TODAY you live.  Put your life and trust in Him and He will help you be prepared, spirit, soul, and body, to face whatever arises.  And just like all those named in the previous paragraph, you, too, shall not only be ready for what comes, you will be ready to overcome it and walk out of it into your next TODAY with victory. 

So right now, take time to be sure you are ready; that you have done all you can do to stand.  Make sure you are well clad in the whole armor of God.  He has provided it for you; it is all His Word, and it will enable you to stand facing anything you may encounter in this world.  It is a complete covering; salvation for you headrighteousness for your breastplatetruth for your loins, the gospel of peace for your feet, the sword of the Spirit for your offensive weaponry, and above all, the shield of faith as protection from every fiery dart of Satan.  Put it onkeep it onlearn to use it effectively in every arena of life.  Now you’ve done all you can to stand, so STAND!

Manna for Today – Ephesians 6:10-18; Matthew 16:19; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Joshua 1:8; Isaiah 55:11

No Offense to God

Seek first to please the Lord.  If you do, other things will get into line.


Text for Today – Acts 24:16 – And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.


James writes in the third chapter of his epistle that “in many things we all offend.”  But he did not stop there.  He added that “if any man is able to bridle his tongue, he is a perfect man, and ABLE to bridle his whole body.”  Note that James said “able.”  He did not say it would automatically happen, but rather that the ability to do so was present. 

The direction of offense that should be most important to all of us is offense toward our heavenly Father.  My dear reader friend, I strive with all my heart to NOT be an offense to anyone, especially to those of the household of faith.  But if I am put into the position of having to make a choice between offending another human being (believer or not) and God, then a human being will stand offended.  However, even then, that person would be offended at my action in obedience to the Word of God, and not at some arbitrary action or word of my own.  Still, our primary focus in avoiding offense should be towards our heavenly Father.

So here we are, hurtling through space at more than 1.6 millions miles a day..  Before us is whatever time the Lord yields to us before He sends Jesus for His church.  Let us purpose in our hearts to make every moment of that time, be it days, weeks, or years, rich with fruitfulness that is pleasing to our Lord.  May we all be able to stand before Him and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 

You don’t need to wait for some starting point.  Start NOW!  Make a quality decision from which you will not turn, determine now in your heart that for the rest of your life, you will constantly endeavor to please your Father in every word and deed.  Remember that without faith you cannot please Him, and with faith, all things are possible.  Let your faith, your servant, serve you well in the coming year.  Feed you servant (faith) well daily with the Word of God, and then expect your faith to perform for you just like it did for Jesus.  It was Jesus Who authored and finished your faith, gave it to you, and made you His joint-heir.  So make the coming year one of great expectancy, believing with your whole heart that God can and will do all He said in His Word.  Then believing it, act on your faith with corresponding action, giving no offense to the Lord Who is your redeemer.  Keep faith as your daily exercise regimen, growing stronger each day, once again, giving no offense to your Lord and Savior.

Manna for Today – 1 Samuel 25:31; Luke 17:1-8; 2 Corinthians 6:3; 1 John 5:3; James 3:2

For Those Who Could Not Attend

Take the time to be grateful for those who serve you; truly grateful.

Text for Today – Colossians 2:5 – For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

It is a rare day that awake and do not stop at some point shortly thereafter to reflect, if only briefly, on how blessed I am to a citizen of the United States, and especially of the Kingdom of God.  Regardless of what some might say, or try to get us to think, the United States is still “one nation under God.” 

Let us be a thankful people, a truly grateful family of Christians fully and constantly expressive of our thanks to our God, and to and for those He provides to serve us.  During this Christmas season, I have been constantly aware of those whose service to us prevented them from being with their own family and personal friends during this time.  They have been daily in my prayers, as I pray they have in yours.  Among them :

  1. United States Military Forces – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Military Reserves – whether serving in hostile zones such as Iraq or Afghanistan, in more peaceful areas such as Korea or Europe, or in US Military bases around the world and at home, yet away from home and family, pray for them daily, and remember their work.
  2. Law Enforcement – Local, state, national, or international, some of them were on duty all day on Christmas day, unable to be with their family.  They are God’s ministers for our good, and as such are meritorious of and should be the focus of our faith and prayers.
  3. Fire Fighters – Once again, regardless of their connection to local, state, or otherwise, many of them were on duty on Christmas day, sacrificing their day with family and friends to be at our disposal for safety and service.
  4. Medical Workers – Doctors, nurses, EMT workers, and many others who serve the medical community were likewise spending their day available to us for our well-being, rather than being able to be with their family and friends.  These like all the rest are worthy of our faith and prayers on their behalf.

These folks serve us 24/7 across our nation and around the globe.  Pray for them.  Intercede for them.  Give thanks for them.  And if you have the opportunity, do something special for them, like buying their lunch if you see them in a restaurant; and do it without notoriety; do it secretly.  And dare I add, remember those who serve you in the Lord, too.

Manna for Today – 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Romans 13; Ephesians 6:10-18; Psalm 24

A Question of Experience

Don’t waste your time on that which is truly not beneficial.

Text for Today – 1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Now here is a Scripture, that if taken out of context, can be abused to the extreme, becoming a self-justification for committing all kinds of sin.  But it will not be so with us in this study.  Let’s begin with the word “all.”  In Scripture, when taken in proper context, “all” does not always mean every- thing.  For instance, before the birth of Jesus, a decree went out from Caesar that “all” the world should be taxed.  “All” in that case simply meant all the world that was under the control of Caesar and Rome.  It did NOT mean “all” the world that existed. 

There are some things, dear friend, that will never be lawful for the believer to do; cheat, steal, lie, murder, etc.  All such actions would be in direct disobedience to the Word of God, and that is, simply stated, sin.  And we know that sin separates one from fellowship with God.  Still, there are many things in life that the Scriptures do not directly address, such as what to watch on television, what your personal diet should be, the value of the automobile you drive, and the specifics of how you manage your finances once you have given God His tithe and your offering.  And these are only a few. 

I am convinced that most believers already know reasonably well how to apply this passage to their life.  If you know that certain foods cause your body to react in a manner that is detrimental to your health, and as such can have a detrimental affect on your ministry to the Lord, your family, your employer, or otherwise, then while it may be Biblically legal for you to eat it, it is certainly not expedient.  To eat it puts you under its control, or at least under the control of the reaction your flesh has to it.  When something controls you, it has become a type of god to you, and you need to be free from it.    Hence, Paul said, it is “not expedient.” 

Examine your life.  What has controlled you at any point in this year?  If it was sin, confess it, repent of it, and turn from it.  If it was something that to you was “lawful,” but by your embracing it, it became a controlling element in your life, then it was “not expedient.”  Remember, it is the little foxes, the small things that get us so easily.  Sleeping is good, but habitual over-sleeping brings poverty.  Getting a tan is fine, but being sun-burned is not good.  Truly, let your moderation be known to all men in ALL THINGS.

Manna for Today – Philippians 4:13; Romans 7; 1 Corinthians 8

Give It to Jesus First

You belong to Jesus, and so does all you possess.  Give Him first option on it all; you included.

Text for Today – Mark 6:38 – He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.

What you need may already exist in what you have.  Now there’s an interesting thought!  But how can that be?  Well, stop and consider the reasoning behind such a statement. 

First of all, take a look at the miracles of supply the Lord performed.  When the people needed wine, He used what they already had; water and earthen vessels in which to carry it.  When the disciples had fished all night and caught nothing, He simple had them do things a bit differently; cast their nets in the daytime.  Now that was novel.  When the people were hungry, and He would not send them away in that condition, He used the five loaves and two fish, and on another occasion, seven loaves and a few small fish. 

Even in the Old Testament, we see the same thing.  Elijah and Elisha both operated in that manner.  Whether it was having a widow bake a cake for the prophet first, or having a widow who was about to lose it all simply borrow all the vessels she could when all she had was a small vessel of oil.  In the wilderness, it was either manna or quail.  When the people were thirsty, God had a rock ready for smiting. 

So what am I saying to you today?  It’s really quite simple, and at the same time, rather profound.  As the prophet asked the widow, “What have you got in the house?”  Make what you already possess available to the Lord to use and do with as He pleases.  When you don’t have a sufficient amount to take care of the situation you are facing, listen closely to the voice of the Lord.  He may tell you to make it available to Him in some way.  Your obedience prepares the atmosphere for the Lord to perform a miracle of supply beyond your own expectations. 

There was a time when the Lord spoke to me to give my last $7 to a person who wanted to go to a week of Pentecostal meetings.  My $7 wasn’t all he needed, but God said give it, so I gave it.  As I said, it was my last $7.  It was my gas money and lunch money for the week.  The next day, someone bought my meals.  The next day, someone gave me the money I needed ($750) to begin a phase of my ministry, and paid for my meals.  The next day someone blessed me again financially.  I didn’t miss a meal, my car was filled with gas, and ministry went forth, all for $7.  So, one more time; if what you have isn’t enough, give it to Jesus first.

Manna for Today – 2 Corinthians 9:8; Mark 10; Luke 6:38

Keep Playing

Jesus said that men ought always to pray and not faint.

Text for Today – Hebrews 11:15 – By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Around Christmas time, we hear carols sung for weeks, and that’s good.  For weeks, Christmas programs and special family times are planned, and that’s good.  Now it would be so easy, with all the busy-ness of that season, or any other time for that matter,, to sit back, take it easy, and just coast for a while.  But now is not the time to stop celebrating Jesus or playing your instrument.

Now don’t think I’m telling you not to rest.  That should be a part of your own personal schedule.  Even God rested on the seventh day.  What I am saying to you is that now is not the time to become idle.  Now is really the time to keep playing.

Let us enter into the new year with high praise in our hearts and on our lips.  Our Text for Today calls for us to offer the sacrifice of praise CONTINUALLY.   That means “without cessation.”  Our praise and worship to be ceaseless, ongoing, never-ending, and ever increasing in intensity and excellence.  The coming year should be one of higher praise than the past year.  That praise should be of a more excellent manner, better rehearsed during the past year.  That praise should be fresh from a heart that is in continually contact with a God Who renews your strength daily like the eagle. 

So, instead of thinking of celebrating Jesus, praising Him, and prayer in the terms of seasonal things, make them life-styles.  While you have praised Him for saving you, He is still your Savior every day you live.  While He has healed you in the past, He desires to keep you in health throughout your life.  While you praise Him for His provision, know that He is evermore your Provider.  He it is Who was alive, and died, and is now alive forevermore.  He was there with you when you awoke this morning, and He’ll be with you again tomorrow morning, and every moment between.  Now, it not the time to stop praising Him, but rather it is time to keep praising, AND playing your instrument.

Whatever your instrument of praise; voice, clapping hands, a holy dance before the Lord, or some traditional or non-traditional instrument of music, turn it into an instrument of praise to the King of Judah that is our Lord and Savior, and KEEP PLAYING!

Manna for Today – Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 John 5:3

He’s Not a Baby Anymore

Jesus is now King of kings and Lord of lords, risen, glorified, and seated on Father’s right hand.

Text for Today – Galatians 4:19 – My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Alright, I know we’re celebrating Christmas right now.  Still, we have a marvelous opportunity to talk about Jesus, demonstrate His love, especially to those less fortunate than we are, and to give gifts one to another in a representative fashion of blessing the Lord.  In fact, Jesus said if we do something to one of the least of His brethren, we have done it unto Him.  So, enjoy your Christmas and the joys it brings and represents.

But on a personal not to you, I want to remind you that Jesus is NOT a baby anymore.  Today, He is risen Lord, conquering King, delivering and healing Savior, and the Provider of our every need, as well as supplier of our desires. 

When you were born again, you were formed in Christ.  Paul indicates this when he writes, “If any man be IN Christ, he is a new creature.”  Well, my dear fellow believer, while being “IN Christ” may get you to heaven, it won’t cause you to walk in victory down here.  For that, you need something more than the new birth; you need to grow up.

Think about this; when a woman is with child, particularly as she comes closer to her delivery day, her physical appearance gives clear indication of her pregnancy.  Because there is a baby growing in her womb, her physical body has to adjust to accommodate that new life.   Well, a similar statement can be made about the believer maturing in Christ.  As a new believer grows IN Christ, Christ is formed in the believer.  John said that he must decrease so Christ could increase.  Think of that!  Less of me and more of Him.  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? 

So remember today, Christmas day, that Jesus is not a baby any more.  He grew up to become Lord and King.  Don’t you believe we should follow in His footsteps?  He grew up from a baby, and so should we.  We should grow up to be the lords and kings over whom He is Lord and King.  Jesus grew up to fulfill the will of the Father; so should we.  He grew up to preach, heal, and save.  He has said we are to do whet He did. So let’s do it.  Once again that means growing up.  He’s not a baby any more. Let us grow up in the coming year to be babies no longer, honoring him.

Manna for Today – John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

The Eve of His Birth

The head of the body of Christ is already glorified, but the body itself is yet to be fully born.

Text for Today – Luke 2:7 – And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

While it is certainly not the Christmas season, here is a story with which I am sure you are already familiar.  We see Jesus, the Son of the living God being born in a stable and laid in a manger.  But please note, dear reader, that this did NOT occur because Mary and Joseph were poor.  In fact, they had come to Bethlehem to be counted and pay taxes.  Jesus was born in the stable because “there was no room from them in the inn.” 

Imagine for a moment with me, if you will.  Joseph has brought Mary a long distance and is seeking a room for their night’s lodging.  We don’t know if Mary was already in labor, but Joseph loved her and diligently sought for a room for them for the night, but could find none. 

I am sure that Mary, too, would really liked to have had a room with walls, floor, and roof over here head in which to give birth to her first-born son, Whom she well knew, as did Joseph, was the Son of the living God; the promised Messiah. 

Still, no room was found for them in the inn, and so it was, as the Scriptures declare, there is a Bethlehem stable, she brought forth her first-born son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now consider this.  Jesus is the head of the body of Christ.  That body is still being formed daily as new babes in Christ are born into the kingdom of God.  While sons and daughters of God are still being brought into the world today, the Father God, represented by Holy Spirit, and the true church, which today serves as the womb from which babes in Christ are birthed in travail, are still seeking for places for those new babes to be born.  Every time we encounter an unbeliever, a lost person, we have just found a potential place for a new birth.  For you see, your body is the temple of Holy Ghost, and every unbeliever is a potential temple for Holy Ghost as well.  But before a person can become the temple of Holy Ghost, they must first be the residence of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us say like David of old, I will not rest, or give sleep to my eyes, until I have found a dwelling place for my Lord (Psalm 132:2-5).  Let us make the time remaining in this year a time of soul winning (house hunting) for Jesus.

Manna for Today – Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 1-2; Luke 1; Psalm 132:2-5