Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Fill Your Horn

King Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites; he was given a command from the Lord. He disobeyed that command and God said, “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night (1 Samuel 15:11-12 NIV).

Samuel was greatly disturbed when the Israelites wanted to have a king over them instead of recognizing God as their King. He was upset again when the anointed king would not follow the command of the Lord. He mourned. He went to Ramah and continued to grieve. God asked Samuel how long he would mourn—because there was still more to be done. God was to have him anoint a new king, King David.

There are moments in life when we get stuck in a hole, whether it be the sinking sand of failure or frustration or mourning or comfort (yes comfort), we don’t want to move. We embrace where we are at when God wants us to move forward. God told Samuel to fill up his horn—to get prepared and press onward and accomplish the task at hand. There’s more to be done my friend. Let us keep on keeping on.

“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” 1 Samuel 16:1 [NIV]

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Prayer

[Acts 4:23-31, Acts 12:1-19]

1) Made In Faith

See Mark 9:14-29 –“I believe; help my unbelief!”

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:24-25 [NIV]

2) Forgive Others

3) Abide in Him

To remain or abide in God means to obey His commandments. Love God. Love Others. (See John 15:8-12)

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7 [NASB]

“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” – 1 John 3:22 [ESV]

4) In Jesus Name

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” – John 14:13-14 [NLT]

5) For God’s Will

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” – James 4:3 [NIV]

“We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for.” – 1 John 5:14-15 [GW]

6) Persistent and Bold

Ask, Seek, Knock – Continuous (Not Single Request – Present Tense)

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” – Matthew 7:7-11 [MSG]

This is one of the 4 part Acts series:

Acts: Prayer

Acts: Possessions

Acts: Persecution

Acts: Proclamation

Three R Challenge

This was a message I shared with a challenge for Lent. It can be a challenge for anyone at anytime of the year. At the end of the day, it is my prayer that we all will be relentless in our pursuit of Jesus as He is relentlessly pursuing us each day.

The Three R Challenge

1) REMAIN in God (John 15:8-12)

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; ABIDE IN MY LOVE. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” [NASB]

 Challenge 1: Show Love through Acts of Generosity

With Will and Purpose – Sometimes this requires us to change /adapt. About putting God / people first.

With Actions – Act, not just observe. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16 NIV).

With Possessions“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry’” (Luke 3:11 NLT).

With Words“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24 HCSB). “Say only what helps, each word a gift” (Ephesians 4:29b MSG).

With Love“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:15-18 NLT).

With Faith – Philip taking the time to run to and speak with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). The Woman at the Well going into town to tell people about this man Jesus (John 4). Do you share your hope?

With Forgiveness“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Colossians 3:13 NLT).

(see 40acts – Do Lent Generously)

2) RENEW yourself in Him (Romans 12:1-2) – Change the way you think

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, FIX YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” [MSG]

Challenge 2: Dig deep into His Word – Daily Bible reading, Daily Devotion Reading, attend Sunday School &  Small Groups.

3) REST in Him (Philippians 4:6-7)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” [NLT]

Challenge 3: Daily Prayer – Go to God first with everything. Familiarize yourself with the Psalms.

Colossians 1:15-17 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [NIV]    —— YOU WERE MADE BY HIM AND FOR HIM

Turn My Eyes

Moses had a very intimate relationship with God. Moses said to God, “Let me know your ways so I may understand You more fully” (Exodus 33:13b NLT). He desired to understand God—to truly know God. The Psalmist wrote that, “He (God) made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel” (103:7 NASB). God’s ways must be made known. Israel only knew God by His actions; Moses knew God more intimately. God spoke to Moses. Moses wanted to hear Him, wanted to listen and obey.

I love what the Psalmist writes in 119. Verse 34 begins, “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. The passage continues, “Lead me in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways” (34-37 ESV).

What an amazing prayer! Give me understanding. I want to keep Your law with all my heart. Lead me. I delight in Your commands. Incline my heart. May it all be about You. Turn my eyes to You. Keep them away from those things that are worthless. I only want You. Give me life in Your ways. Life everlasting. Lord, fix my eyes on You.

A Valentine from God

Valentine’s Day is not a day single people usually like to observe. When you don’t have a Valentine, the day seems pointless—or even like a slap in the face. Valentine’s Day can be a day people feel even more alone because they hear about all of the flowers, candies, and fancy dinners enjoyed by friends and acquaintances.

For me, Valentine’s Day was just another day. I went to work and was at a vantage point where I saw what people were buying their Valentine for later that evening. So many people poured into the store seeking out flowers and candy. Roses. Chocolates. Hours passed. Then someone came up to me with a single carnation. We didn’t sell single carnations. The lady handed me the carnation, smiled and said, “Everyone needs a Valentine.”

I looked down at the slip of paper attached to the flower. It was a church outreach with John 3:16 written along with their church information. I smiled and placed the flower to the side. You see, some people might consider themselves alone on Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, but you always have a Valentine. For God so loves you. You are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not on Valentine’s Day. You are loved.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

The Mirror

Every morning as I get ready for work I find myself brushing my teeth and glancing in the mirror. The mirror reflects what I look like at that moment. It is the truth. It is real. There is no façade, no clouded view, no distortion. But when I leave the bathroom and can no longer see that mirror image, the mirror is useless to me. It means nothing. My appearance will change throughout the day. Hair will stick up. I might get a scratch from my dogs. One never knows. But the mirror image is useless.

In James we read about self-deception. People hear the word of God and it goes in one ear and then out the other. The Bible says that it’s like someone who looks in the mirror and walks away and doesn’t remember what they look like. What the passage is referencing is how the mirror is useless when we walk away. It means nothing. When people hear the Word of God and walk away without acting upon it, it’s like that useless mirror. It is useless. They are deceived. The word is irrelevant in their opinion and ignored.

James spent the time speaking about self-deception because it is something we all fall prey to if we just take the Word of God and nibble on it but do nothing else. It gets us nowhere. It’s like pushing the gas pedal on a car that has a dead battery. There is no action. When you truly hear the Word of God, you act. You embrace. You love. You live the Truth.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” – James 1:22-24 [MSG]

Folly Hands

Did you ever hear about Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool? “Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick” (MSG). How does one build a lovely home? How does a woman build a great household? Only with a strong foundation. A Strong Foundation.

We have the opportunity to build our life on the Rock or to build our life on something else. If we build upon the Rock, the storms can rage around us but the house will stand. If we build upon the Rock, it doesn’t matter what comes blowing on by because the house will not be moved. If we build on the sand, if we build our life as Sir Fool, we place our lives on the foundation of something other than Jesus. When the cookies crumble, oh how they crumble. A small breeze will knock us down. A storm will come and the house will fall, and it will be a great fall.

Folly hands are not hands that I wish to have anymore. I remember days when those were my hands. I remember when I tried to control everything. I remember when my foundation was myself. I remember when my foundation was money. I remember when my foundation was pleasure. I remember when my foundation was lies. Folly tears down brick by brick. Praise the Lord, He builds us up strong in Him. By His Truth and through His grace and because of His love, we can embrace Him and build on His Solid Foundation. Nothing will shake us. Nothing will break us. Nothing will snatch us from His hands.

“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” – Proverbs 14:1 [ESV]

Made Me Trust You

Trust is a difficult subject. Earning a person’s trust takes time and even then it can be lost in the blink of an eye. The Psalmist wrote, “Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.” The Message translation states, “When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you’ve been my God.

The Psalmist speaks of trust, of a trust that comes from early on. From his early days, the Psalmist remembers his days cradled by the Lord. The trust he had for God led to hope and expectation. The trust he had for God made him secure. God was His hope, his security—his everything.

As you look back on your life, you will find reminders of God’s embrace. He cradled you time and time again. Maybe you haven’t been a Christian for a long time or maybe you have professed the name of Jesus for decades. No matter the time you have declared Him as your God, you have been cradled and loved. Today remember that the God you trusted to get you through everything in the past is the same God that is with you through each step today. You are not alone. He is still your hope and your security. Trust Him.

“Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.” – Psalm 22:9 [ESV]

A Man’s Steps

In Proverbs 20:24 we read, “The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” (MSG). The Lord directs our steps. We are not going to understand everything along the way. But still we are to walk in faith.

I have planned many plans. I thought they were the best possible plans for me. They looked good. They sounded good. But after I followed those plans, I stumbled, failed, or simply didn’t get the outcome I expected. It didn’t make any sense. God’s plans are now the plans I follow, but still the plans don’t make sense. How can man understand his way? I often wonder what is going to happen next because I only see with limited sight while God has the big picture.

There were many occasions when I walked in faith and expected a particular outcome, but got something so very different than I could have imagined. Remember, His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Our God is a God of the impossible. We often limit God by coming up with our miniscule plans. We think they are grand plans, but if we could see His plans, we would laugh at our little ideas. Today I challenge you to seek God as you envision what He has for your life. Walk forward taking the steps he directs. Praise Him along the way and don’t forget to tell people when you have a “Boom” moment. What’s that? That’s when you finally reach the end of a season and you see what He has done. Boom. So much more than I imagined. Boom. Wow, that’s incredible! Boom. Get blown away by God. Don’t limit Him. Fly with Him. Soar high my friends.

“A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [ESV]

Bold Confidence

When we approach God in prayer, we are to approach with humility but we also are to approach with bold confidence. When praying, it should not be reciting a list of what we think we are supposed to say. When praying, we should not be following some tradition without our heart saying what our lips say. There are many people who pray but do not even believe the prayer will be answered.

In Acts 12, we read of an “earnest prayer” that was made for Peter to be released from prison (v. 5). Peter was sleeping bound in chains between soldiers but an angel led him to freedom. He went to the house of Mary (John Mark’s mother) where they were gathered in prayer. He knocked and Rhoda came to the door. When she told everyone that Peter was standing outside, they called her “crazy” (v. 16).

The Roman Centurion in Luke 7 approaches Jesus with bold confidence. He realized that he was unworthy to have Jesus follow him to his home, but he believed that Jesus could heal his servant by just speaking. He said, “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (v. 7 NLT). Just say the word. He had faith in the power of Jesus. He had faith that Jesus could speak and it could happen. Jesus commended his faith as faith that He had not seen in all of Israel.

If you are not confident in your prayer life, pray for help. In Mark 9, there is a son who was possessed by a spirit. He was mute and the spirit would cause him to get thrown down, to foam at the mouth and grind his teeth. The disciples were unable to cast out the demon. Jesus told the man, “All things are possible for one who believes” (v. 22). The man replied, “I believe; help my unbelief” (v. 24).

Today I encourage you to boldly approach the throne of God. Pour out your heart in confidence. Boldly claim the Word of God by speaking the Word in your prayer. Claim it for your own. Pray for the Spirit to reveal any unbelief. If you are dealing with something that is limiting your prayer life or not allowing God to move in an area, speak these words – “I believe; help my unbelief.”