Real Imitation

To obey God is commanded of the believer.  It’s as simple as that.  You really have no option.

Text for Today – Ephesians 5:1 – Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children:

The word “follower” in the New Testament, and that includes our Text for Today, is from a Greek word that means to mimic or to imitate.  This word takes on a whole new meaning to us when we understand that imitation, or mimicry, can be one of the highest forms or flattery known to man.  Certainly, no man, and surely not a believer, would imitate God as a manner of mockery.  The world does such things to make fun of famous individuals.  However, we read in the Scriptures that God cannot be mocked; for anything one sows, one will reap.  If one jokes or jests about God, it will come back on that person. 

On the other hand, when one imitates God in obedience to the Word of God, one is doing a holy and righteous thing; and it will not go unrewarded.  But why should one mock God?  Well, first of all, it is commanded that we do so.  You see, if you want to win, imitate, or follow the winner.  I am sure you agree that God is always a winner.  Therefore, to always win, follow, or imitate God.  But how can you imitate someone you’ve never seen?  By obeying His Word and being led by His Spirit.

God and His Word are One.  Jesus is the Word made flesh.  Holy Ghost is the Author of the Word of God in written form by using men to pen the Word.  In His Word, He commands us to obey that Word.  To obey the Word of God is to walk in love.  God is love, and for you to walk in that love is to imitate God. 

You must also be led by the Spirit.  Since Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are all in perfect agreement, to be led by the Spirit is to walk in the light of God’s Word.  He will NEVER lead you contrary to His Word.  His Word is absolutely pure, unchanging, unshakable, and immutable.  He will always lead you according to it, so follow Him at all times.

What am I saying to you?  I am telling you to imitate God.  If in your spirit man, it is revealed to you that He would operate in a certain manner in a given situation, you do the same thing.  Say what He would say.  Do what He would do.  Go where He would go.  Hear what He would hear.  See what He would see.  Act as He would act.  Just be the REAL DEAL!  Imitate your God in all things at all times in all places.  Be a REAL IMITATION!

Manna for Today –  John 1; Galatians 6:7; 1 John 5:3; 1 John 5:7

A Real Cut-up

Learn to use the Sword of the Spirit well.  There is much to do in the Kingdom of God.

Text for Today – Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

“Quick” means alive; “powerful” means just what it says, and in that we must realize that God’s Word is God’s power.  In this passage, the truth of God’s Word is likened to a two-edged sword, that is, sharp on both edges, not just one edge like a saber.  Being two-edged, it cuts both ways; going and coming.  And further, that Word, that sword of the Spirit, is so sharp it does something no other cutting instrument can do.  It pierces so quickly and accurately that it can separate the spirit, soul, and body of man into their integral parts without killing the man. 

With that in mind, think on this.  The Word of God, that sword of the Spirit, rebukes sin, sickness, disease, poverty, lack, and Satan who brings them.  That same Word edifies and ministers grace to the child of God who will receive it and walk in obedience to it.  What an awesome thought!  The same glorious Word of God that harasses Satan heals those who will believe.  The same Word that devastates your enemy delivers you.  The same Rhema (Word) that binds demonic forces blesses those who obey it.  The same Message from God that prevents the enemy from destroying you provides to you the power to get wealth and provisions you for all your Lord calls you to do.

Be encouraged today, saint of God.  Put on the whole armor of God.  Be girt about your loins with truth (the Word).  Put on the breastplate of righteousness (you’re made righteous by the Word).  Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel (the Word) of peace.  Put on the helmet of salvation (the engrafted Word saves your soul – mind, will, intellect, and emotions, and renews your mind).  Never fail to take up the shield of faith (faith comes by hearing the Word), and remember to take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

Jesus is the Word made flesh.  The Word of God never fails.  Jesus overcame Satan in the mount of temptation with “It is written.”  There’s so much more I could write to you, but what I have given you should suffice.  So, today, be encouraged, go out to be a blessing and defeat your enemy.  Separate your enemy from those he holds in bondage; set people free.  Separate your enemy from the blessings he has stolen from you and others, taking back what the enemy has stolen.  Go forth today with the Word of God in your mouth and be a real cut-up.

Manna for Today –  Ephesians 6:10-18; Romans 1:16; Revelation 1:12-16; Hebrews 1:3

Man o’ God – Man o’ War

You are who God says you are.  Learn to live with that identity.  There is none higher for you.

Text for Today – Matthew 11:12 – And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

We’re in the kingdom of God and we have the kingdom of God in us.  We are sons and daughters of God.  We are heirs of God.  We are joint-heirs with Jesus. 

At the same time, we have an enemy of our soul, and his name is Satan.  He has his own kingdom of darkness, and he is at total odds with us and our Lord.  Since Satan cannot get to God or to our Lord Jesus, his best bet is to try to hinder or thwart the work of God by attacking God’s image.  That, my friend, is you and me. 

But I’ve some great news for you, my fellow joint-heir in Jesus.  As a child of God, you are, of course, a man (or woman) of God.  But more than that, you are by default, a man of war.  Interestingly, in the 17th through the 19th centuries, many ships of the high seas that were designed for fighting were called “men o’ war.”  That distinguished them from ships that were used for carrying freight or passengers.  Under the leadership of the right captain, they were a powerful force with which to be reckoned, and very dangerous to anyone foolish enough to underestimate them.

Well, dear friend, as a child of God, you certainly are a man of God.  And as I’ve already told you, you are a man o’ war, too.  On the sea of life, you have been well equipped by your Lord to fight the fight of faith and win.  He has made you more than a conqueror; you are an overcomer.  You have been chosen by your Lord to carry His banner, and to take by force all the Lord has promised, and especially that which the enemy has stolen.  You are likewise charged with the work of being a faithful steward, guarding and keeping that which the Lord has placed in your possession.

As a Man o’ War for the Lord, you have some marvelous assurances.  You are an overcomer, more than a conqueror.  You can do all things through Christ Who is your strength.  Your God meets all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Your enemies come against you to be smitten before your face, coming one way, and fleeing seven.  You’re never alone, nor can you be defeated in serving His Majesty, the Lord Jesus Christ.  So, meet your day today, soldier, as a Man o’ God and as a Man o’ War!

Manna for Today –  1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

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