Blog Archive

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gift of Prophecy

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. … he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (1 Corinthians 14:1,3 NKJV)

And [Jesus said to His disciples], “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’.” (Luke 8:10 NKJV)

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge … but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

The gift of prophecy is not the ability to foretell the future, but to see past, present or future as the Lord does, and meaningfully forthtell it to someone else. Its purpose is never to exalt the one who uses it, but the God who gives it, by lovingly providing His edification (building up), exhortation (urging, advising), and comfort to those He loves.

Prophecy is a gift available to all of Jesus’ disciples—as are all spiritual gifts—entrusted to them as a test of their love.

Oh God, You are my God. We are not worthy of the least of all the truth and love You have shown us. Make our hearts pure and fill them with love that we may prove ourselves Your own.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everlasting Love

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NKJV)

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)

We use the word "love" to describe a feeling which says, "I must have you in my life because of how you make me feel and I will do anything for you." What becomes of love on the day when you don’t make me feel good and I fail you?

Everlasting love says, "I must have you in my life because of who you are and who I am with you, and I will be for you all you need me to be." Love is not conditional on feelings or actions.

Love’s sacrifice still loves even when it hurts to love, even when we are not face to face. It is God’s everlasting love for us. It is to be our love for Him.

Lord YHWH, Your deep love reaches the depths of heart, soul, mind and strength. Draw us to love You as You love us. Let us see one another as You do, and love accordingly.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Glorious Diversity

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. (1 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV)

For it was fitting for Him … in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of the salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Hebres 2:10-11 NKJV)

All that is good and almighty and loving fills our glorious God beyond human comprehension. In the many names of God is revealed an awe-filling glimpse of the incredible diversity of His divinity.

Though His Holy Spirit resides in human flesh, no one of us is capable to manifest all that He is. So He puts a little of Himself in each of us, and all that He is becomes present—but only in the entire body of believers. In church unity, human diversity reveals divinity.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, Precious Paraclete, Your holiness and glory and love overwhelm us. Make us one, that You might truly be manifest to the world.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:27-28 NKJV)

Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
(Hebrews 11:28-29 NKJV)

The Israelite marriage covenant was sealed in ancient times by the bridegroom and bride sharing a cup of wine in the presence of witnesses, both upon betrothal and at the later wedding.

Jesus betrothed to Himself a bride with His blood, and sealed the covenant by sharing a cup of wine with the bride (the disciples of His church). Until the day we again share the cup with Him, we share it in commUNION with the other members of the bride, remembering the price our Bridegroom paid to make us His, and honoring the covenant it represents as sacred.

Lord Jesus, thank You for making us Yours, when You might have passed us by as You chose the members of Your bride. Thank You for the great price You paid for us. Please make our hearts pure for our wedding day.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stand of Faith

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV)

Jesus said, "Come!" So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink. He shouted, "Lord, save me!" Immediately, Jesus reached out, caught hold of him, and said, "You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:29-31 GW)

All the disciples doubted the resurrection, yet only Thomas is called "doubting"—and he was the one who encouraged going to Jerusalem to die when everyone else said stay away. Peter’s weak faith caused him to sink, but he was the only one with enough faith to walk on water in the first place.

Exercising faith brings potential for failure if we forget that we are spiritual cripples who stand only because God upholds us.

Exercising faith also brings potential to walk on water with Jesus.

Lord, all things are created for Your pleasure. Please enable us to remain standing and glorify You. Please keep us just unsteady enough to remain fully dependent on You at all times.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Guilty of Hypocrisy

Necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! ... Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:16,26-27 NKJV)

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." (Matthew 23:2-3 NIV)

Perhaps more than for any other reason, Christians are despised for our hypocrisy. We spout on about all that is good but fail to unerringly model it.

This is our destiny, to remain for now imperfect, even while God completes His work to perfect us. There’s no shame in admitting that we’re as impatient as anyone for that work to be completed. The shame lies in thinking we’ve arrived, and thinking little of anyone else, whether they’re inside or outside the lifeboat we’re blessed to occupy.

Lord, only You are good, and Your goodness is infinite. Please put Your goodness in us, that others might recognize You and give glory to You. Let us not shame Your name upon us.

"Don’t be angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be." — Thomas A. Kempis

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Many Gods

We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 NKJV)

"For the sin of divination [witchcraft] is rebellion; insolence [self-will] is both iniquity and idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:23 LITV)

Who would commit idolatry? The idea of worshiping an idol of wood, stone or metal is disgusting. Yet God equates idolatry with patsar—to persistently press or peck against His authority with self-will. He equates rebellion to the same alliance with the devil used for occultic practices, which elevate demons as gods. And there is no denying that we have idols, for that is exactly what we call the famous and pretty faces even God’s people may gaze upon and emulate.

YHWH of Hosts, Lord of Heaven and Earth, You alone are our God. You alone are worthy to receive our adoration and give us counsel by Your Word, Your Spirit, Your people. To You alone may we give ourselves.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Joined as One

If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. ... For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:12-13,16 NKJV)

"So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. ... Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." ... His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." (Matthew 19:6,8,10 NKJV)

Marriage is a sacred and miraculous creation of God. How else could two so utterly different creatures become one in body and soul? Our nature is to resist the loss of self-identity for the sake of unity, and throw up our hands in futility.

But we must persevere in unity between spouses, for marriage represents all that is sacred and miraculous in our unity as Christ’s bride, and the bride’s unity with her Bridegroom. The power of God makes possible all three impossible unions.

God Almighty, nothing is too difficult for You. All of it is impossible for us without You. We are selfish and prideful. Please make us humble and selfless. Please make us like You. Please make us one.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Liberty’s Responsibility

Everything is allowable to me, but not everything is profitable. Everything is allowable to me, but to nothing will I become a slave.
(1 Corinthians 6:12 WNT)

"What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers? ... The sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go ... you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."
(Matthew 17:25,27 NKJV)

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
(John 8:36 NKJV)

Being a child of the King means freedom—and responsibility. Life as a slave of law is seemingly easier, when every move is governed by the commandment. Once the commandment is met, one can see obligation as fulfilled and expend no further effort.

Life as royalty requires far more. Duty demands meeting the very spirit of the law. We must not offend. We are never "off the clock." We are required to think about our actions—does this profit? Or will it make me its slave?

Lord Jesus our Savior, thank You for the cross. Thank You for our liberty. Thank You for Your Spirit, to guide us in Your perfect way, through which our Father means to abundantly bless us.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

True Unity

I didn't tell you that you could not have any contact with unbelievers who commit sexual sins, are greedy, are dishonest, or worship false gods. If that were the case, you would have to leave this world. Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don't [even] eat with such people.
(1 Corinthians 5:10-11 GW)

"And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. (Ezekiel 36:23 NKJV)

Those in Christ belong to a new kingdom, and adopt the lifestyle of royalty. It will not do to have the King’s Own children undermine His authority, dishonor His name out among the subjects, or compromise family unity.

We accept that immorality prevails in the world, for both belong to the enemy’s realm. But if clear immorality enters the King’s house, His humble children must remove it, gently (Gal. 6:1-3)—first making every effort to disentangle its victim (Matt. 18:15-17).

King of kings, You show great mercy and love to make us Your children. We are unworthy to dwell with You. Please keep us mindful of this as we work toward family unity with all Your other kids.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Power to Endure

To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. ... For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:11-13,20 NKJV)

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified ... the power of God and the wisdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:22-24 NKJV)

I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don't depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6 CEV)

Life is an endurance event. We wish it to be a pleasant stroll through a beautiful garden. It is a triathlon through harsh terrain, in which we must overcome the devil, the world, and Self. By ourselves we have no hope to prevail.

But we do not run alone. We have the power of God to endure, available through His Word, His Spirit, His body of believers. The ability to overcome against the odds is the sign of the power and wisdom of God in our lives. We falter without it.

Father in Heaven, You are infinite in wisdom, power and love. We are but weak and foolish children with short attention spans. We need You. Please keep us close to our sources of strength.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

You CAN Take It With You

Each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:13-14 NKJV)

The Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household? ... To whoever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked." (Luke 12:42,48 HNV)

It’s been said that we brought nothing into this world, and we’ll take nothing out. Not so. There’s at least two things in this world that can follow us to the next: people and works. Works will never get us into heaven, nor can we use them to barter with God. But the talents He put in us and everything else entrusted to us is either invested in His kingdom or used for this world.

It would be unwise to overlook the many passages in Scripture describing eternal reward for spiritual investment.

Lord Jesus, our Master, You have been generous in bestowing talents to us and providing to us. Please prompt us to be good stewards, and wise investors who see eternity as a bull market.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reaching the Kingdom

But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NKJV)

"The kingdom of God does not come with observation. ... For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Then [Jesus] said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it." (Luke 17:20-22 NKJV)

The Jews asked Jesus when God would bring the kingdom—that is, restore political sovereignty to Israel. Plenty of Christians (me too) ask when we’ll reach Heaven, when we’ll experience the full joy of God’s presence and escape this messed-up world.

If escape was the plan then we would be raptured the moment we came to Christ. The plan is for us to live in the spiritual kingdom that Jesus is building on Earth through His Spirit’s presence in our hearts. The kingdom is here, now.

Oh Lord, Your abundant love puts eternity with You in our hearts. Let our perception of that kingdom be our blueprint for what this kingdom should look like. Show us each step to build it.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Perfect Only as One

Now I plead with you, brethren ... that there be no divisions among you. ... Each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
(1 Corinthians 1:10,12-13 NKJV)

"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:20-21 NKJV)

If the church wishes to convince the world to believe that the Father sent His Son for their salvation, here’s the recipe from Jesus: be one. There is no room to say, "I’m a Baptist / Catholic / Calvinist" etc.

We are Christians. We live as ambassadors who represents our Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ—not a denomination or faction.

Christ will return for His bride, not brides. Jesus is one with the Father, and has prayed that we would be just as mysteriously "be made perfect in one."

Almighty Father, Beloved Bridegroom, Precious Paraclete, Your incredible union is absolutely perfect. Please make perfect Your people as one, that we may be united with You as one.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Place of God

Joseph's brothers ... said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him." So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying ... "Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father."
And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face ... Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?"
(Genesis 50:15-19 NKJV)

My sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight. (Psalms 51:3-4 NKJV)

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 12:18-20 NKJV)

Some forty years had passed since Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. The memory and pain of their sin remained fresh. Such are the consequences of sin.

Any injury to a bondservant belongs to the slave’s owner, not the slave—for slaves own neither themselves nor anything that comes into their hands. In the truest sense, we cannot forgive sin, for we have no right to claim the injury in the first place. Joseph, Moses, David, and Paul all gave full ownership of sin to God alone.

Father, in You is only blessing for Your children. You allow in our lives only the evil You intend to use for good. You alone can forgive sin. Please help us, lest we attempt to lay claim to what is Yours.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Willingly a Slave

"There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. ... Buy us and our land for bread ... that we may live and not die." Then Joseph said to the people, "Indeed I have bought you and your land ... here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh." ... So they said, "You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants."
(Genesis 47:18-19; 23-25 NKJV)

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:13-15 NKJV)

When the people of Egypt saw they would die, they willingly sold themselves to the one who could give them life. Joseph generously allowed them to remain on the land, and keep eighty percent of the produce. It seemed a small matter to become slaves.

How much more generously has our God purchased us to save our lives and provide for our every need? And though He owns us as bondservants—slaves for life—He graciously calls us His friends as we participate in His plans.

Lord, we are servants unworthy to even know Your wonderful plans, let alone be a part of them. You show us great favor. Put in our hearts understanding and strength to perform all You desire of us.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trouble Along the Way

"Load your animals and depart; go to the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your households and come to me; I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land ... See that you do not become troubled along the way." (Genesis 45:17-18,24 NKJV)

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ... These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 14:27; 16:33 NKJV)

The hunger and desperation of famine that drove Joseph’s brothers to Egypt for food would endure for seven years. Yet their hearts were to be not troubled, for all their needs would be met.

We want trouble-free lives. But Jesus warned us to expect tribulation (with a small "t") as we walk through this world. He also assured us that all our needs will be met. No matter what we face, whatever agony our soul feels, Jesus provides peace, good cheer, and power to overcome.

Lord, You are mightier than the worst of this world. Your peace is deeper than any pain. Your great love can overcome all hostility. Draw our hearts to speak with You, and to know Your Word.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Who is the Enemy?

"If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ " (Genesis 43:4-5 NKJV)

Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
(Ephesians 4:1-6 NKJV)

Joseph’s brothers and father thought him an enemy, for they did not yet see who he was—one of them. Joseph would unite their family, more fully than when they were once together.

Why are we often at odds with our own family while getting along better with the world? No one within the body of Christ is an enemy, for we are connected by a blood tie more eternal than natural blood ties. We are meant to be one. The evil one is the true enemy, and works to divide and conquer.

Lord Jesus, thank You for shedding Your blood to purchase us. Please let us see the value You have placed upon each member of Your body. Please unite us with one another and with You.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind

"Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:29-30 NKJV)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)

It is entirely too easy to be overcome with the moment’s affliction, and forget the unseen—both the plentiful blessings which came before and the incredible joy to follow.

But we walk by faith, not sight. We remember the faithfulness our mighty God has demonstrated innumerable times in the past. We believe Jesus is our Mediator with our Father, and the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, Comforter and Keeper in the present. We confidently wait for the weight of glory, exceeding and eternal, lying in the not-so-distant future.

Holy Spirit, thank You for living in temporal flesh. Give us Your passion for the Son of God. Draw us to the Word and show us more of all we do not see.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Only One Thing

And he was there in the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison ... the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper. (Genesis 39:20-23 NKJV)

When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7 NKJV)

The Lord answered, "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." (Luke 10:41-42 NIV)

We continually try to please those around us, whether the motive is self-serving or to love neighbor as self, whether we are truly good or merely indulgent. We want their acceptance, esteem, cooperation—even their love. Only the arrogant completely disregard the perceptions of others.

Yet ultimately, we need please only One. If we walk with the Lord, in His ways, He can give us favor with others. He can make whatever we do prosper. He can make peace with anyone.

Oh Lord, Your love, grace, and favor are amazing. Your wisdom is beyond our comprehension. Your ways are perfect. Thank You for letting us know You. Thank You for Your Spirit’s enablement.

"If we make it our first goal always to please God, it solves many problems at once." — Philip E. Howard Jr.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Life as an Alien

Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. (Genesis 37:1 NKJV)

Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. (Philippians 3:18-20 NIV)

Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and exiles to keep on abstaining from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul.
(1 Peter 2:11 ISV)

The Israelites had sovereignty over their land for less than five hundred years (about 1051-587 BC). Even then, control was often compromised by nearby enemies who waged war against them, and maintained only as God gave them strength.

We likewise live as visitors—aliens, exiles, strangers, sojourners—on earth, where enemies of the soul surround us and war against the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in our lives. The only control we can hope to keep is in the strength of the Spirit.

Our Father in Heaven, Your kingdom come! Please keep us mindful of our true citizenship. Let Your kingdom of all that is good, holy and true reign in our lives. Let us see the world as You do.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Call Me Bethel

Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel [House of God]. (Genesis 35:15 NIV)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV)

Those who belong to Christ—"the anointed One"—are called Christians, both because He purchased us with His blood and we belong to Him, and because we are anointed with His Holy Spirit.

Each of us replaces the Old Testament temple as a place of sacrifice and as a place for the glory of God to be made manifest. The temple was a beautifully adorned house of prayer for which Jesus was zealous. Would it be accurate to call us "Bethels?"

Lord Jesus, thank You for sanctifying us with Your blood, so Your precious and glorious presence may remain with us. Thank You for Your Spirit’s love, joy, and peace. Please make us a fitting residence for Your Holy Spirit.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Have Enough

And Jacob said, "No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand ... Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough." (Genesis 33:10-11 NKJV)

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV)

Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. When one has been blessed with abundance from God, the blessing may then be multiplied by sharing. Both giver and recipient benefit.

It would not be prudent to ever see God as being in debt to us, believing He owes us something by virtue of His promises. Yet we are able to rely on His Word, and His promise to pay back what is given to the poor in mercy is a curious way for Him to make us a lender to Him.

Lord, great is Your faithfulness! Your compassion does not fail—it is new each morning. Please enable us to see how blessed we are. Please give us generous hearts, eager to share the abundance You pour out.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The God Named Fear

"Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed." (Genesis 31:42 NKJV)

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:19 NKJV)

After lying on the altar of sacrifice, Isaac knew to fear God and evidently conveyed that fear to his son Jacob. Jacob did not declare his fathers’ God to be his God until he had his own personal encounter with YHWH.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, and a fertile place for faith to sprout up. And after fear becomes faith and faith becomes perfected love, perfect love casts out fear.

Holy and Almighty God, You are awesome and terrifying, marvelous in all Your ways. Please do not let us fail to fear You until our love for you has been perfected.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Does God Care?

Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. ... When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and [said] ... "The LORD has looked upon my affliction..." She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also." (Genesis 29:17,31,32-33 ESV)

The things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:28-29 NKJV)

Beautiful Rachel won the heart of Jacob. Despised Leah won the heart of the Lord. Leah pined after Jacob, desiring his love, for years—perhaps for her whole life. Yet in the midst of her affliction, she looked to YHWH and somehow understood that this foreign God of Jacob took note of her husband’s hatred and blessed her because of it.

God is often accused of not caring that suffering occurs. But to those who look for Him, His loving concern for suffering is manifest.

Loving Father, Your goodness and love are more abundant than we can comprehend. You can abundantly bless in any situation. Please make our hearts patient and give us strength.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Plans for the Future

Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob."... So [Rebekah] sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, "... Arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away ... then I will send and bring you from there."
(Genesis 27:41-45 NKJV)

Some of you say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money." But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away. So you should say, "If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15 NKJV)

It’s been said that sin "will take us farther than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay, and cost us more than we want to pay." Rebekah’s deceit resulted in the need to send her son away for "a few days" that turned into twenty years. (There’s no indication she saw him again.)

Isaac anticipated his death and lived some fifty more years. We know neither how long or short life may be, nor how our lives will be used by God. We do know that living in step with the Lord is the means of true fulfillment.

Father, Your sovereign will over the events of our lives is perfect. Please give us hearts to make You Lord over each choice, to trust You for Your timing.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

What Price Feasting?

But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day." And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?" ...
And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
(Genesis 25:31-32,34 NKJV)

Every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—
it is the gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 3:13 NKJV)

The drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty.
(Proverbs 23:21 NKJV)

If there is a time for everything, surely there is a time for feasting
(like July 4th), and a time for fasting. When does drinking become drunkenness? When does feasting become gluttony? When the wine and food become the master which controls us and compels us to pay an unworthy price for the sake of immediate gratification.

The Christian’s body is the temple of God’s Spirit. It is a place of rejoicing, and a place of sacrifice. To destroy its life violates, "You shall not murder."

Lord, thank You for making us a place for Your glorious presence to live, act, and speak—lights who reflect Jesus, The Light of the World. Please perfect and polish us, so we may shine brightly.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Way of Truth

"And I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son." (Genesis 24:48 NKJV)

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
(John 16:13 NKJV)

How often do we intensely desire to know what the future holds? If we knew what lies ahead, might we better choose what to do today? We are only servants. We need only go as the Master directs, and trust Him to go before us.

The voice of His Holy Spirit is not that of a general—sharp and booming. But His voice is clear and direct if we will be still and intimately know Him who is God. The sacrifice of time and what the time might have otherwise bought will be richly repaid.

Our Father, You are good, and Your faithful love surrounds us. Please move us to listen to Your Holy Spirit, that we might be filled, better know You, receive guidance, and be empowered to act.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Father’s Agony

So Abraham rose early in the morning ... and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, "... the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." ... Isaac spoke to Abraham his father ... "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering."
(Genesis 22:3-5,7-8 NKJV)

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19 NKJV)

Abraham’s story shines despite countless retellings. His love of God stood ready to do whatever might be asked, started without hesitation, persisted through a long journey, believed God’s promise, and testified to others with faith that defied reason. Finally, Abraham simply obeyed. He followed through on the act that would cause suffering to the one he loved, and hurt more deeply than if he applied the knife to himself.

God asked all this of no one else but Himself.

Dear Abba, loving Father, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Beloved Son. Thank You for Your suffering, for not withdrawing Your hand at the last moment. Please teach us to say, "Here I am" to all You ask.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Members of One Another

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife. ... Now therefore, restore the man’s wife. ... But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours." (Genesis 20:3,7 NKJV)

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Romans 12:5 NKJV)

Once unleashed, sin consumes as many as it can touch, near or remote, visibly and in the soul. It is deaf to any cry of "unfair" that one suffers for the sin of another.

I might reason that some of my sins affect only me, and that the soul’s secrets are safely out of sight. Yet the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart, nothing is hidden which cannot be revealed, and no one exists as an island. Our lives are knit together with all those around us.

Father, thank You for Your presence, so we are never alone. Thank You for designing us to be dependent upon You and one another. Please keep each of us mindful of our unique place in the picture You see.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Can’t Not Bless

The LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." ... Then [Abraham] said, "... Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." ... Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:26,32; 19:24 NKJV)

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate. ... You shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ " (Matthew 23:37-39 NKJV)

There is a saying among writers, "I can’t not write," for we feel words must come out of us like a baby must be birthed. The righteous can’t not bless the Lord. We may not start out that way, but eventually, the praise that wells up within us must come out, or the rocks themselves would sing.

Satan’s goal is that we curse God and die (Job 1:11; 2:5,9). God searches throughout the earth for the righteous who bless Him—so He may bless in return (2 Ch.16:9).

Blessed are You, O Lord YHWH our God, King of the Universe and Eternity! Please put blessing in the mouths of those in Jerusalem—blessing for Your Son sent in Your name—so we might witness His return there.

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