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Category Archives: Spiritual Food

Practical Application of God’s Word; taking what you read and making it visible in your everyday life.

It’s Settled

Isaiah 1:18 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

 

When we believe Jesus Christ is Lord and He died for our sins……..It’s Settled!!!!!

You are Forgiven…….

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2016: A Year of Discernment & Vindication Resulting in Blessings

Each year I look forward to the New Year’s message. It is great to hear how the Lord is speaking to the whole church. It has often been my experience, that the same scripture, principle or theme for the year would be given by God to a number of Pastors I follow, which to me just confirms what God is saying. During Praise & Worship last week God sent me to Chapter 20 verse 16 for 2016. I could not wait to sit down and find this scripture; that is before realizing that there were well over 20 books in the bible with a Chapter 20 and verse 16. However, there are two principles I use when studying scripture; Jesus in the book of John & First Mention. Whenever I want to know something more about Jesus I go to the Gospel to John, this Gospel speaks to the Divine Nature of Jesus. First Mention is when you find a topic first mentioned in the bible, you’ll find God’s original meaning/definition of that topic. So using these principles, I focused on John and Genesis 20:16……are you following yet?

  1. Discernment

John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”   She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

When I read this I was excited, because I immediately remembered this story. The verse highlights a moment when Mary was in deep despair, after all Jesus had just died and now it seems someone has come in and stolen His body from the grave. Angels were on the scene and had just started a conversation with her, but she could not focus with so many distractions demanding her attention. Jesus was even talking to Mary, attempting to give her peace, but she was so lost in her current circumstances, she had no idea the Lord was talking. “Mary,” a voice pierced thru the chaos and all of the noise, now she was finally able to clearly hear and discern the source of this dynamic voice. It was Jesus. Immediately, everything changed, the Prince of Peace calmed all of Mary’s anxiety and pain, giving her a completely new perspective on her circumstances. Everything that Jesus taught her had now become clear.  Just like Mary, in 2016 we will be able to hear Jesus thru all of the chaos in our own lives. We will discern His guidance and direction like we’ve never experienced before. Where we’ve been hesitant to make major decisions, in 2016 our path will be made plain. Major project milestones that needed to be met in 2015, the Lord will make our next steps clear and He will complete what was started. Where we’ve been afraid to make moves; Jesus will make it Clear in the New Year…… (you know you have to make it rhyme ;). Get ready for clarity in 2016.

Jesus will be our JEHOVA-RAAH (Our Shepard who tenderly leads us, Loves us and will keep us safe)

  1. Vindication

Gen 20:16 Then to Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody.”

Genesis tells the story of one of the times Abraham, in fear lied to protect himself while leaving his family at risk (Abimelech, the King of Gerar, could have easily made Sarah one of his wives and took her away from Abraham). Read the story, he did this twice, but don’t get is twisted Abraham is still the Father of our Faith (Thank Goodbess receiving Jesus’ righteousness does not depend on our actions).  Even though Abraham made a poor decision, God stepped in to protect Sarah from any harm, then He turned around to vindicate and  exceedingly bless them both. The word vindicate depicts a coverings or a veiling; I’d like to think of it as our own suit of armor…..can you say a robe of righteousness.

Have you made a bad choice?  One that put your entire family at risk? Maybe you are living out the ramifications of those choices. Guess what?  God knew us while we were still in our mother’s womb.  So He knows every thought we think and every choice we make well before we’ve ever considered it. He will protect us from harm and in 2016 He will vindicate us!!  That thing you’ve been accused of, Jesus is your lawyer and will argue your case.  He will ultimately turn the tables on your accuser.  He will cause those seeking you harm, to restore all that was lost and even more. You see Abimelech, after Abraham  lied to him and put his family in jeopardy, gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver. Now how much that is worth in today’s dollars has been estimated by different sources to be anywhere from $500 to $200,000. Regardless, Abraham was blessed immensely by the very one that he feared would destroy his family. God will use your enemies to bless you; and in 2016 we will begin to see this happen in our lives.

Jesus will be our JEHOVAH-NISSI (Our Banner, a Banner of Love and Protection).

Recap: While there are so many powerful chapter 20 verse 16’s in the bible. I sense the Lord leading many of us to the Book of John and Genesis, preparing us for the New Year.   2016 will be a year of Discernment & Vindication resulting in tangible blessings. Next year we will see and experience the “Lord our Shepherd” as depicted in Psalm 23. I don’t know about you but I’m excited for the 2016!!!

 

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Don’t Fear Destiny…Check Your Receipt

Numbers 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

Who said these words? Was the leadership so bad that an immediate change at the top was needed? What was so bad that a return trip to Egypt was imminent?

This was a quote from the children of Israel, after a select group of 12 leaders were sent into the Promised Land. They were sent to prepare an assessment of an unfamiliar place they were destined to occupy; a promised gift from their leader. Oh did I mention that the leader they so anxiously wanted to replace was Jehovah God, the very God who’d created them. Yes, Moses was the human put in charge, but the people knew he was merely a figurehead as all of his direction came straight from the mouth of God.

Don’t be so quick to judge; how many times have we latched on to someone else’s leadership (especially our own) and gone in the opposite direction of God’s leading? Yeah, we’ve been there….each and every one of us. Even though God’s not speaking to us like He did with Moses, in a cloud during the day and fire at night, we’ve chosen our ways as better than God’s.

Well why they were so opposed to God’s plan, that they would even consider going back to the enslaved life of bondage and despair they’d recently been delivered from?????   They were PETRIFIED of their destiny and could not believe that God loved them enough to keep His promise. Fear will challenge faith and distort reality. The devil knows that fear hinders faith; which is why God’s perfect love casts out all fear. The Israelites felt they we’re a mess, a failure, weak and insignificant. There is no way they could go up against the Giants of this new land and win. There is no way this unbelievable land, new homes and gorgeous resort style country could be for them. God could not possibly love them enough to keep that promise he made back when they left Egypt. After all, they’d broken His commandments and complained. He would never follow-through on His promise because they did not deserve it.

That was their mindset, it was what they believed about God. Oh, it’s hitting home now isn’t it?? You’ve felt like this before, maybe even right now. I’ve been there. With all of the wrong that I’ve done in my life, how could God possibly want to see me “living the dream?” The dream that is salvation, freedom, blessings, health and prosperity….you know the blessed life. I do not deserve it…..but God loves me so much (John 3:16).

You know what we have that the Children of Israel didn’t? A receipt for God’s promise. Jesus Christ is our blood stained receipt for God’s love and destiny for our lives. God has paid for our future, one of eternal life with Him, by giving His Son as a sacrifice for all of our sin, past and future. So God knew our future before we started our past and just like us He knew the promise for the Children of Israel. They did not see God as Joshua and Caleb did (we’ll dig into that a different time).   It’s time for us to check our receipt and know that because of Jesus’ work on the Cross, the destiny God has given us is paid for. Although there are giants occupying that place now, they will fall because Our God is Greater, Stronger and More Loving than anything that will ever stand in our way.

Change your mind and like Joshua and Caleb say, “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’   Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”

 

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The First Happy Meal

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

Today we began what we hope to be our final home church search, as we have settled in the Houston area for good. As far as we know what God’s plans are. We don’t always look forward to this because it has very often been a very long and arduous process for us, because Jesus Christ and His finished work is not the focus of many churches out here today. Anyway that is not the topic of today’s blog.

In the message we heard today, the preacher gave an illustration using some of McDonald’s old jingles and other fast food chains. I could not help but think of the Happy meals I used to each as a kid and now my kids enjoy. Well at least my daughter, my boys feel “too old” for those kid meals.

Today’s verse really serves as a reminder to me about just how grateful we should all be that Jesus gave us the first “Happy Meal.” Let me show you:

Prior to this verse, the disciples were with Jesus and departed to go find food. They were in the middle of a 70 mile trip from Judea to Galilee. So after leaving Jesus to rest at this well, they came back with a meal for Him, so He could be replenished.  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. What they did not realize is that Jesus had already had a Happy Meal of His own. I use the term Happy here because the Hebrew word for blessed (Esher) means Happy or Happiness and it blessed Jesus to do God’s will and to finish His work. But really it blesses us for Jesus to do God’s will and Finish His work. Because that work was finished on Calvary’s cross and redeemed us all. Jesus’ great act of love is what feed Him. This was truly the first Happy Meal….Praise be to God!!!!

 

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It’s Not My Past I’m Worried About…..What About My Present?

Rom 8:1-2 “Free from Indwelling Sin” 8:1 there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

I was all set tonight, I got a lot of work done earlier in the day and evening so I could sit and watch the game unabated. Then I received a devotional with this text and was reminded about not being weighed down by my past. I thought that was pretty cool, but as I read more, I thought I’m good with my past, as a matter of fact I embrace that I was a mess and have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. My concern and struggle at times is my present….I still mess up and fall. I know that I’m by myself because everyone else that is saved keep it all together. J But I will share why this text is so valuable to me.

Even the heading; “Free from Indwelling Sin” speaks volumes. Indwelling means to be permanently present in (someone’s soul or mind); possess spiritually. We are free from the indwelling of Sin, sin is no longer present in us when we are saved. Jesus died on the cross for all of our Sin, past…present… and future. This is the blessing, God provided a way for all of the guilt and regret of sin to be destroyed forever. On The Cross

We no longer have to deal with the guilt and regret of Sin because Jesus took it from us and placed it on His shoulders. God then destroyed them both and put them in their place….Hell with Satan. Which is why Satan always attempts to give it back to us. When we sin, Satan tells us we’re dirty, filthy and deserve to die for what you did. BUT GOD tells us to “look at the cross and remember what Jesus did,” He goes on to say “you’re Holy, Anointed and greatly loved.” When we know this to be true, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus

Be Blessed!!

 

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When You’ve Finished Your Race

2 Tim 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

On Friday, May 15th, 2015 I retired after 20 years of Active Duty service with the United States Coast Guard (the country’s premiere military/humanitarian service). What an unbelievable 24 total years it has been, when you include my time at the CG Academy. As I was preparing my final speech as an Active Duty Officer, I could not help but be drawn to Paul’s letter to his colleague and mentee Timothy, in preparation for his departure. I was able to use this text to highlight many very important things I’d experienced over my career both professionally and personally.

I like this text because:

Paul discerns that God is bringing him to the end of his mission. We often want clear direction of what our next step in life should be. Trust that the Lord knows and wants to direct you. “Trust Him with all of your heart… and he will direct you path,” which includes the closing of one chapter and opening of the next.

Paul really appreciated his battle. God gave Paul a passion and led him through many obstacles. He also allowed Paul to win many to his side of the battle along the way. This ensured that many would be able to continue the battle after he left. We have the opportunity to touch many along our journey and there should be many left to keep the fight alive.

Paul took some time to acknowledge his many accomplishments. His work was significant, much of which is still being realized even today. It is really easy to keep pressing and never acknowledge all that God has accomplished through us. God delights in using His Son/Daughters to carry out His work and we must acknowledge it and appreciate God’s hand is bringing it to pass.

He held his faith in high regard. The text says that he “kept the faith,” the Greek word for kept means to attend to carefully, to take care of, observe and hold in very high regard. He took very good care of his faith, feeding it, exercising it, acknowledging its source and guarding it from outside influences. Paul understood that his faith was the most significant part of his journey. It’s what sparked his passion, strengthened his endurance and help to visualize the promise. Remember that what you believe will impact your actions in life.

Lastly, Paul saw the big picture. He saw what his ultimate goal was. When we see the big picture the journey is just a little bit more tolerable. The Crown of Righteousness he knew was waiting on him, made the tough times seem a little bit better and the fun time that much more enjoyable. See what is at your finish line, it will help you press beyond your breaking point and look forward to your future.

Paul’s Valedictory letter to Timothy and the church is a perfect model for reflection on our life’s journey. A model that helped me articulate God’s greatness during my 24 years in the Coast Guard. I’m so grateful for His active role in my career and life……and I’ll tell it everywhere I go; including the next chapter….

 

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He Is Risen…..&…..He Is Coming Back

John 20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,   7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Today is a glorious day….We as a Christian church are diverse and mixed, but on Resurrection Sunday every church preaches in unison the Gospel message of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!! The bible tells us that when Jesus is lifted up He will draw all men unto Himself. Which is why so many come to know Christ on Easter, even today many where drawn to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be something if we did that every Sunday!!!!

Anyway, John reminds us in this text that even though we are celebrating the greatest story ever told, His story is not over. You see Peter found an empty tomb and that was wonderful it meant that our Savior conquered death and the grave; in doing so secured eternal life for each of us that believe in Him.   Now check this out; Peter found an empty tomb, the linen cloths Jesus’ body was wrapped in and lastly the handkerchief which wrapped His head. To understand the significance of the folded handkerchief, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition. The folded handkerchief or napkin (the best translation) is best summed up in these two stories of Hebrew tradition.

1) First is the story of traditional Jewish hospitality. For the Jewish guest, if he/she was well received and thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of their host, at dinner’s end he/she would simply fold the napkin and place it at the end of the table to demonstrate their satisfaction with the evening and a desire to return again. If the guest was pleased and planned to return the host would find a folded napkin on the table, just like Peter found when he arrived at the empty tomb.

2) Secondly, a story of the Master and his servant.  “When the servant set the dinner table for the master, and then the servant would wait just out of sight, until the master had finished eating. Now if the master was done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’. But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’”[1]

He is Risen and as we celebrate today remember….He is coming back!!!

[1] THE FOLDED NAPKIN; http://www.propheticrevelation.net/misc/the_folded_napkin.htm