Saturday, May 29, 2010


“All Scripture is inspired by God
and is useful to teach us
what is true and to make us realize
what is wrong in our lives.
It corrects us when we are wrong
and teaches us to do what is right.”
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

Some people have the tendency not to read instructions. They start putting the thing together - or start trying to operate the gadget – not really knowing how it works.

In this digital age, new communication devices are hitting the market in a steady stream – only to become obsolete in a very short time because somebody created something new and better. Replacing a ten year old computer or switching from a PC to a Mac certainly requires a good look at the owner’s manual. A brief overview will probably enable us to work some basic functions, but if we want to enjoy all the latest features of the new machine, we really need to become familiar with the instructions and follow them.

It is amazing how people go about attempting to live life without consulting God’s instruction book. They see what other people do, and pick and chose what suits them. The result of lives lived like that fill News Programs every day. It doesn’t have to be that way! God has provided life’s instruction book through inspired prophets and apostles - The Bible, and it never becomes obsolete! “It is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

It instructs us how we can be set free from the deadly consequences of sin – (something everybody needs to know and take advantage of). It tells us how to best get along with people – how to cope with life’s problems – how to see God’s loving hand, even in the hardest of times. It tells us how to experience his joy and peace - a sure hope for the future – the assurance of being raised from the dead and spend eternity with our Lord in heaven!!

James, our Lord’s half brother wrote, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Just as with any instruction book, it is not enough just to know what it says - we need to FOLLOW ITS INSTRUCTIONS in order to reap the benefits.

Friday, May 21, 2010


For I can do everything
through Christ,
who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT

If we isolate the first phrase of this verse by its self, it sounds like absolute arrogance. No one “can do everything.” Furthermore, “everything” we can do in our own strength, is not always beneficial to ourselves or others.

The second phrase “through Christ,” is the heart of this verse and sets the parameter of what we can do. Whatever comes through our Lord is always good, and is a blessing to everyone it touches, and brings honor to God.

“I can do everything through Christ” does NOT mean we can do anything and everything we want to. Our desires can often be self-serving and have nothing to do with honoring God. Our perfect Lord will not “give us strength” to fulfill carnal and selfish desires.

Paul wrote these words while he was in a Roman jail for preaching the Gospel. These words are part of a thank you letter to the Philippians who supported him with gifts while he was in prison. He had just written “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Then adds, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Through the strength that Christ gives, we can learn the secret of living victoriously in every situation – poverty or riches, (and I believe) in poor health or the peek of health. Often with financial prosperity and good health come inclinations to ignore God. We feel we are pretty much in control. There is victory over that temptation - “through Christ, who gives us strength.” On the other hand, financial need and poor health have a way of bringing discouragement and depression with them. But "through the strength that Christ gives, we can learn the secret of living" above those negative feelings and emotions!

By faith, we can join Paul in declaring, "I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH CHRIST, WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH!!"

Saturday, May 15, 2010


“I’m not asking you
to take them out of the world,
but to keep them safe
from the evil one.”
John 17:15 NLT

Later in this prayer for the twelve, Jesus added, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” That means you and I are covered by this prayer.

When we pray for safety, it’s normally about things like – accidents – violent weather – terrorists – diseases – or anything else that threatens us or our property. Our physical well being is a natural concern when we are in danger. I am sure we would be amazed if we knew how often the Lord has protected us against accidents or illness, and all sorts of physical harm. But living in this world, we get sick and bodily harm comes to us like it does to everyone else.

When Jesus prayed that we might be kept safe from the evil one, his main concern was not our physical safety and comfort, but rather our spiritual welfare. His prayer is that we will remain faithful to him, and become more like him. When various misfortunes come crashing into our lives, the evil one whispers thoughts of doubt – fear – self-pity into our ears, telling us “God doesn’t love you. If he loved you, he wouldn’t allow things like this to happen to you.”

The troubles God allows into our lives are always for a good reason as James tells us, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” (It takes God’s grace to see “troubles” in that light.) “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

The enemy of our soul is waiting to use every misfortune of life to do us spiritual harm. We are so blessed by Jesus’ prayer for our safety from the evil one, not only does it shield us against Satan’s intended harm, but actually makes misfortune a means by which we can grow in character, and in the likeness of Jesus!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


“You will receive power when
the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
And you will be my witnesses,
telling people about me everywhere.”
Acts 1:8 NLT

In the early 50’s Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ wrote “The Four Spiritual Laws.”
“1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life.
3. Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.
4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.” After each “Law” Bright lists supporting scriptures.

In many communities, training sessions were held where people practiced on each other, then went out to share the “Four Laws” with non Christians. I recall being part of a team which was sent out to a small town to share the “Laws” with anyone and everyone who would listen. We knocked on doors – stopped people on the street – I shared the gospel with a utility man while he was hanging in his ‘Safety Harness’ at the top of a pole. He prayed the prayer! Whether he was sincere, only God knows.

We both know there are more conventional and acceptable ways of witnessing than sharing the gospel with someone at the top of a telephone pole. However we go about it, Jesus promises “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…you will be my witnesses.” Peter instructs us, “if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”

The most natural situation to share our faith is when our friends notice a difference in us, and start asking questions. If we are prepared to explain the way of salvation, and rely on the Holy Spirit to empower us, we are equipped to witness to anyone, a longtime friend or someone whom we have just met. Doing our part, we can leave the results in the hands of God.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


“I have opened a door for you
that no one can close.”
Revelation 3:8 NLT

An open door can mean different things depending on the circumstances. Say for instance you come home at night, and find your front door standing open. Fear grips your heart! All sorts of threatening thoughts whirl through your mind. Someone has broken into the house – maybe they are still in there – the entire house is ransacked.” But you push aside your fears, and cautiously reach inside and turn on the light - everything is in order! Suddenly it dawns on you why the door is standing open - your neighbor had said something to you just as you were about to lock up, and you stepped aside to talk with him. You forgot to lock the door!!

There are also doors which are deliberately opened for us by our loving Lord so we can enter into the ministry and blessings he has for us. Paul repeatedly mentions such open doors. Concerning Ephesus he said, “There is a wide-open door for a great work here” and “When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me.” “When they had arrived at Antioch and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” God opened doors for Paul to enable him to accomplish the plans he had for him.

God also has plans for us, and he opens doors to make it possible for us to fulfill those plans. I can imagine him saying to us what he said to the church in Philadelphia, “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”

It becomes our responsibility and privilege to recognize the doors God opens – step through them and proceed to carry out his plan for us. We don’t need to be afraid of what’s on the other side of God’s open doors – he will be there with us to protect and enable us