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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shining Light

Given November 28, 2007
During my morning devotion time, I was thinking about Christians being the "light of the world", Matthew 5:14. I realized that we, as Christians, are supposed to shine wherever we go but that's not always the case. So how do we increase our luminance?

One way is to realize we have a gift of fire within us and we have to stir it up, "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6". Paul told Timothy to stir up his own gift into a shining flame that others could see and be drawn to. We do this by prayer, saying positive things, hanging out with Jesus, joining with others of like mind, listening to uplifting music, being reminded that we are stronger than the enemy and of past victories, and staying in the Word.

Then I got a vision of another way to light our fire. Think of a football coach giving a pep talk to his team before the big game or high school students whipped into a frenzy at a pep rally. With that thought in mind, I saw my pastor before a crowd of thousands in front of our church. He was stirring up the crowd with the encouraging and edifying Word of God. Soon, out over the crowd, one started to shine, then another, then five, then ten until the whole crowd was shining brightly. The light could be seen for miles like it is with a football stadium at night.

Then the people started leaving and going up the road to their neighborhoods and homes, lights brightly shining as they went. What a picture! It's like the end of the movie "Field Of Dreams" where you saw the car lights coming to the field in the dark. And these well-lit Christians would now be shining the light of God wherever they went. Oh, what a difference we could make in our communities if we all were bright, shining lights!

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank You For The Harvest

Given August 8, 2007
As we gather today to celebrate those things for which we are thankful, I'm reminded of where the harvest comes from; the seed. "And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:12". The things we are harvesting today come from the seeds we've planted in the past. If you're not seeing the kind of harvest you want, or in the amount you want, try planting different or more seed.

This summer, after planting some bean seeds, I harvested a bumper crop. I love to count things, so I counted the bean pods I got off of several plants. You know I got 27 bean pods from one plant with about 8 beans in each pod. That's 216 bean seeds that came from the one I planted! Now that's a good return! I had planted a bunch of seeds so I got a bountiful return. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6". And, since I wanted beans, I planted bean seeds. I sowed according to what I wanted to harvest.

But I didn't just let the seeds sit there. No, I watered them, got the weeds out, kept the soil loose around them because I wanted the best harvest I could get. And it took awhile. But I had faith that the process would work. It works the same way in the Spiritual realm. You get what you sow and in the amount you sow it. "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38".

As we give thanks today for what God has done for us and the things He has given to us, realize it comes from this principle of seed-time-harvest; plant the seed, give it some time, reap the harvest. You know, we should be out looking for opportunities to plant into the Kingdom of God in many areas of our lives and expecting, by faith, a bountiful return.

Be blessed!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Needs - Part 2

Given November 9, 2007
Yesterday, I wrote about the most important need in God's eyes...to focus on Him. That same morning, He showed me another view of the "prayer need" exchange.

When I go to God with my list of prayer needs, it's like me as a kid going to my Daddy with all these things I need. "Daddy, I've got this need, this needs to be paid, I need help doing this, I have this pain, that needs to be taken care of, this is broken, my friend needs your help........". Then my Daddy says to me,"Son, I'll take care of it. Just turn it all over to me. I've got unlimited resources and power, I'll handle it all. I love you so just give it to me and don't worry about it!" "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25".

That's comforting. God is telling me to just hand it all over to Him and don't think any more about. Then we can spend quality time together just "walking in the garden in the cool of the day", Genesis 3:8. That's what He wanted all along anyway.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our Needs - Part 1

Given November 9, 2007
This morning, as I looked at all the prayer needs on my list and was asking God to meet every need, I asked Him what was the greatest need. I've got names listed for salvation, healing, and for various other needs. I wanted to know which ones God saw as greater than some of the others. Which ones were my perceived needs and which ones were needs God saw as important. His answer was this, "The greatest need is for you all to totally commit and submit to Me."

I was then reminded of the verse: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7". Peter was telling us to toss all our needs over to Jesus and He'd take care of them because He loves us. And, going back to what the Lord told me that morning, if we'll not focus on those needs and totally commit and submit to Him, they'll all be taken care of anyway! "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33". So what is the greatest need in our lives? To focus entirely on Jesus and living a Christ-like life and we'll find those needs just sort of fade away. Hey, we might even find ourselves walking on water! Matthew 14:29.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just A Man

Given November 8, 2007
Many great things have been done by people who were just ordinary folks. I was reminded of one recently and the Holy Spirit brought him to mind again during my devotion time this morning. He is Ananias.

In Acts 9, we read the story of Saul's conversion to Paul. The Spirit of Jesus knocked Saul off his donkey, blinded him, then told him to get up and go into the city of Damascus and wait for further instructions. He waited there three days, (Acts 9: 1-9).

In the mean time, here's this believer Ananias, a regular guy, who was going about his daily business and the Lord called him in a vision. Ananias answered and Jesus told him to go pray for this guy who'd been throwing Christians in jail. He gave him the guy's name and the address where he was staying. Ananias was a little hesitant about confronting this bad dude, (aren't we just like that?), but the Lord said "Go" and Ananias went, (Acts 9: 10-17).

Here's the point: God had a plan, Ananias was chosen to perform a task in that plan, he did it, and went back to his regular life. We don't hear of him again. The Lord called, Ananias obeyed, God's plan was implemented, and the world was changed! Just for the obedience of one regular guy!

I'm sure Ananias didn't realize the impact his obedience would have. He probably went back to his wife and said something like, "Honey, you won't believe what just happened over on Straight Street". Indeed. But, what if Ananias had not obeyed? Would God have chosen someone else? But because he did obey, I imagine he and his family enjoyed overflowing blessings even though we didn't hear about it.

We are just regular people too and God could call us, (and probably has), to do something for Him. Notice, He didn't just call some bum off the street in Damascus; He called a believer. I want to be ready when God calls me. How about you?

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Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm Blessed!

Given October 24, 2007
I've been reading and hearing a lot lately about who I am, what I have, and what I can do as a born-again Christian. The Bible is full of promises made to me, as a believer, that can impact my life and those around me. I'm saved by faith, Ephesians 2:8, I'm a child of God, John 3:1, I have authority over the devil, Luke 10:19, I'm healed, Isaiah 53:5, I can do all things, Philippians 4:13, just to mention a few.

But there's one promise God has directed me to go a little farther in than just knowing it and declaring it over myself. How many times a day do you meet somebody, say hello, and then they ask, "How are you?" For me, it's all the time! My answer for years has been, "Great!" or "Wonderful!". I just didn't want to say, "Fine."; that didn't tell how I really am as a Christian. I'm better than fine!

On this day I read Ephesians 1:3 which said, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ". That verse says God HAS blessed me, He's already done it, so I'm blessed! All the time, I'm blessed! So, God directed me, when someone asked me how I was, to say, "I'm blessed!" And that's what I've been saying for a few weeks now.

About half the people I say that to do a double-take and make a comment about what I said. It's a witness! Sometimes I say, "I'm blessed and so are you." It's the truth. We are all blessed and I'm enjoying telling people about it and seeing God get the glory! How are you?

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