Archive for June, 2008

Radical Discipleship

Monday, June 30th, 2008

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.
I could wish you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spew you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16).

One of the things I love most about the Bible is that it doesn’t mince words. You don’t have to wonder what Jesus meant when He said that our being lukewarm in our faith makes Him want to “spew” (spit or vomit) us out of His mouth. In essence, He is saying that ho-hum faith makes Him want to throw up.

Sound sacrilegious? It’s not. It’s what Jesus said. It’s part of His call to radical discipleship. Jesus hasn’t called us to a lukewarm faith that gives lip-service to His Word and maybe even sets aside most or even all of our Sunday mornings to attend church and mingle with other Christians and read the Bible and pray occasionally. He has called us to a sold-out faith, a level of devotion and dedication that readily gives up everything—family, possessions, career, ministry, relationships, wealth, even our very lives—to obey Him. A radical disciple holds back nothing and follows in everything. That’s the kind of life that receives a “well done, good and faithful servant” commendation when we step into eternity.

And it goes against everything we feel or desire. It also goes against much of what we have been taught from non-radical people. My dad, whom I loved dearly and who is now with the Lord, spent all but the last week of his life denying the existence of God. He was a “middle of the road” kind of guy, who taught us not to go overboard with anything. When it comes to nonessentials, like eating chocolate or spending time outdoors in the sun, it was probably good advice. But when it comes to serving God, it’s not so good. God doesn’t want us to be “middle of the road” Christians, afraid to take a radical stand and occasionally rock a few socially, politically, or even religiously correct boats. Jesus calls us to an “all or nothing” faith, a faith that denies self and follows Him, regardless of the price.

Our problem is that we’ve tried to turn the Lion of Judah into a pussycat, when indeed the Lion of Judah cannot be tamed—nor should we want Him to be. The Messiah came first as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but when He returns it will be to judge those who have rejected Him as Lord and Savior.

The call to discipleship is a radical one, folks, so let’s not take it lightly. I, for one, don’t want my faith to be lukewarm and to cause Jesus to “spew” me out of His mouth. Though radical discipleship is costly—requiring everything that is near and dear to us, including the right to “call the shots” in our life—it is the only thing that will assure us of joy here on earth and a heavenly reward when we pass on. May we all be found faithful—and radical—in His service!

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Are You Lost?

Friday, June 27th, 2008

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11 King James Version

Are you lost? Have you been trying to find the path to joy and happiness? Have you been traveling down the same path for years and you are still sad, lonely and heartbroken? There is only one path to life and it is through the precious blood of Jesus that He shed for us on the cross of Calvary.

Many people try to find joy and happiness and try to escape from their problems by getting drunk, doing drugs and having sex. It hasn’t worked and it never will work. Only our precious Saviour can remove the hurt, the horror, the terror, the fears and the loneliness from our hearts. He not only shows us the path of life; He is the path of life. He is the only one who can give us real joy and real happiness.

Some people try to find joy and happiness by spending time with their spouses, their children, and their grandchildren. This joy and happiness doesn’t compare to being in the presence of Jesus. I love being with my family and friends but they can’t give me the joy, the happiness and the excitement that I feel when I am in the presence of Jesus.

O dear people reach up and take the hand of Jesus and travel with Him on the path of life. You will never find real joy and real happiness on the path you have been traveling. You will always be lost and trying to find joy and happiness. Unless you get on the path that Jesus has prepared, you always be in the darkness of despair and hurt. I urge you to stay in the presence of Jesus. Not only will you find joy and happiness; you will make Jesus happy.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

God’s Caller ID

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. Psalm 91:15-16 King James Version

I had to get a caller ID for my telephone because I was getting a lot of calls that I did not want. Sometimes when I would answer the telephone, I would hear the person on the other end hang up. Other times, I would get calls from people who would say obscene things to me. As I was thinking about my caller ID yesterday, I wondered what would happen if our Heavenly Father had a caller ID. Would He answer when we called or would He ignore us when we called Him?

I think He gets tired of answering us when all we do is complain about things and ask Him for things. If you are a parent, then you know how good it would make you feel if your children would give you a big hug and thank you for all you have done for them without asking you for something. Just like we as parents would like our children to hug us without asking us for something, so our Heavenly Father would like us to hug Him and thank Him for all He has done for us without asking Him for something.

When is the last time you told God that you loved Him and thanked Him for all He has done for you without asking Him for something? Is He happy when He sees your name on His caller ID or does He say to Himself ?I will get nothing but complaints from this person.? Let?s start appreciating all that He does for us. We need to thank Him for what He has done for us instead of constantly complaining and asking Him for things.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

God’s Smoke Alarm

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5: 8-9 King James Version

Every night before I go to bed if I remember to do it, I check my smoke alarms to be sure they are working properly. God has given us a smoke alarm in our Scripture verse today and if we forget to do this we are in serious trouble. He is warning us about satan who hurls his fiery darts of criticism and sarcasm at us. Everything can be going wonderful in our lives; there are no crises or difficult situations and then all of a sudden, wham! That sneaky devil attacks us with so many fiery darts that we feel like we are about to go under for the last time. We must stay alert at all times.

The fires of satan are real and they are devastating because he attacks us with discouragement, depression, heartaches, abuse, criticism, sarcasm and judgment. Only Jesus can extinguish the fires of discouragement in our hearts with His soothing ointment of understanding and unconditional love. Our precious Saviour tenderly cradles us in His arms and holds us close to His loving heart as He whispers softly in our ears “I love you.” He replaces the hurt and turmoil in our hearts with His peace and comfort.

Let’s be on the alert constantly for the sneaky attacks of the devil so we won’t give him an opportunity to discourage us from serving Jesus. I believe that if we would stay on the alert at all times for the poisonous fiery darts of satan that we would live happier and more peaceful lives. Are you listening for God’s smoke alarm in your life?

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Proof of His Unconditional Love

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 King James Version

I have received a lot of emails from people who have told me that God doesn’t love them because of the things they did in their past. That is just satan lying to them and trying to deceive them. Our Scripture verse tells us that God loved us while we were yet sinners. This verse is proof of His unconditional love for us. So many people think they have to get their hearts right before they can ask Jesus to save them.

It is impossible to get our hearts right without Jesus. It is His precious blood applied to our hearts that removes the ugliness and stain of sin from our hearts. There is nothing that we can do to deserve His unconditional love and salvation. We can’t work for it. If we gave all of our money to charity, our hearts would still be dirty with sin. It takes the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and sin.

Several people have told me that they feel unworthy of His love. I feel unworthy of His love. All of us are unworthy of His love. It is only through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross of Calvary when He shed His precious blood that we have the privilege to go to our Heavenly Father.

It is extremely important that we always remember that we should approach our Heavenly Father with humility and thanksgiving in our hearts and not with demands and orders. Sometimes we try to tell God what to do in a situation and when we do that what we are saying to Him is that we don’t think He is competent to handle the situation.

Our loving Heavenly Father is a Holy God and our sins keep us from going to Him because He can’t look on sin. He had to turn away from His own beloved Son when Jesus was hanging on the cross because He had taken our sins on His body. How that must have grieved and broken the heart of our loving Heavenly Father when He had to turn away from His own Son! However, when we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour we can go boldly to the throne of grace.

We read in the Bible “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4: 14 – 16).

No matter what you have done in your past, God loves you unconditionally and He proved His unconditional love for you when He sent His beloved Son into the world to die for your sins. Don’t let satan deceive you and lie to you. You are loved unconditionally and nothing or nobody can take that unconditional love from you. Christ died for you. What are you doing for Him?

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Lasso of Love

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 King James Version

Yesterday morning while praying for the salvation of some very precious friends of mine before I got out of bed, I heard myself saying “Father, please put Your lasso of love around them and draw them into Your corral of protection.” I had never prayed like that before. Yet this is exactly what our loving Heavenly Father does for us; He puts His lasso of love around us and draws us close to His tender heart of compassion, mercy and grace and draws us into His corral of protection.

Our Scripture verse tells us that He loves us with an everlasting love. His love is everlasting. He will never stop loving us. What an encouragement that is to know that He will love us forever! It is especially encouraging to those of us who have dedicated our lives to Him in full time service because satan attacks us so often and so viciously. Let me repeat this again because it needs to go from our intellect into our hearts. He will never stop loving us.

O what a precious promise He has given to us from His loving heart of compassion and understanding. Do you understand yet? He loves you unconditionally and He will always love you. However, I think that it is extremely important and urgent that we search our hearts and see how much we love Him. Do we love Him unconditionally as He loves us or do we only love Him when He answers our prayers the way we think they should be answered? If we only love Him because of what He does for us, may God forgive us!

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Is God Good – All the Time?

Friday, June 20th, 2008

“Why do you call Me good?
No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matt. 19:17).

God is good – all the time!

How quickly and often we make that declaration, but do we really think about what we’re saying?

Jesus Himself, in response to being referred to as “good,” challenged His followers with the question, “Why do you call Me good?” The Savior posed this question in an obvious attempt to cause His listeners to recognize that He was God as well as Man, for His question was followed by the statement that no one but God is good.

And that’s where the problem comes in. Most of us,at least those who are truly born-again believers, have little trouble acknowledging that God is good – all the time, even when situations and circumstances in a broken, sin-filled world are not. But do we really believe that no one other than God is good? Have we ever made the erroneous statement that someone is a “good person?” That statement is true only if that person is born again and has the Spirit of God (who alone is good!) living within.

The apostle Paul confirmed this when he said in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Paul understood that it was ONLY the Spirit of a good God within him that made him good. He could not perform or earn a state of goodness by his deeds; therefore, it would be wrong to refer to Paul (or anyone other than God Himself) as good.

That doesn’t mean that some people aren’t “nice.” Of course, they are, and we all prefer to be around nice people rather than not-so-nice ones. But let’s don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the words “nice” and “good” are interchangeable. Human beings can choose to be nice – or not. But “good” applies only to God, for He alone is good – all the time.

My we walk in that great truth today and always, trusting that His Spirit within us will draw those lost in sin to the only goodness that exists in an evil world.

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Lost Your Way?

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3b

Traveling a rocky road? Going through a rough patch? Stuck in a quagmire of depression?

God never pretended Life’s road would be smooth. He warned us that the way to destruction was easy, but the path to Life was narrow and hard-to-find.

But you have a Guide. Jesus walked this earth, felt what you feel, experienced what you experience, and was triumphant. He has been over your path. He knows what’s ahead. He definitely does not want you lost.

If you feel you have lost your way, look for the Guide. He marked the way for you with His own bloody footprints.

Montgomery
Copyright 2008 by Rebekah Montgomery

Rebekah Montgomery, author/speaker/teacher, is a gifted, dynamic communicator. She is the author of more than five books and has penned 1,100 articles. She shares tough real-life topics and biblical application in a simple easy to grasp manner. To book Rebekah for your next event visit http://www.rebekahmontgomery.comRebekah is also the editor of Right to the Heart of Women and a publisher at Jubilant Press .

Can We Really Do What We Want?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

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 Cor. 6:19-20).

The world bombards us with the message that’s it our life and we can do what we want with it. God says otherwise. As Christians, we claim to believe what God says. But do we? If what we claim to believe doesn’t govern how we live, I question that we truly believe it.

For instance, if we claim to believe in the law of gravity, we probably aren’t going to jump off a mountain and see if we can fly. And yet, we claim to believe that God owns us, that He purchased us with great price?the blood of His own dear Son?and yet we often go through life calling our own shots and expecting God to bless our actions.

Even as the law of gravity wins out over trying to fly under our own power, so the law of sin and death wins out over trying to live a godly life under our own power. You and I have nothing within us that is good?except the Spirit of God if we are born-again believers. It is Christ in us that is our ONLY hope of glory (see Col. 1:27). Jesus said it clearly and concisely: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Jesus always said what He meant, and meant what He said. Unless we are born again and have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, we have no hope of glory, no hope of heaven?no hope at all.

But once we have made that commitment, truly repented and recognized our absolute inability to earn our way into heaven and therefore thrown ourselves completely on God’s mercy, asking Jesus to be our Savior and to send His Spirit to live within us – we must begin to live opposite the way of the world. When the world tells us it’s our life and we can choose what to do with it, we reject that lie and declare, “I am God’s; I have been bought by the blood of Christ. Therefore, I will walk in the steps He orders for me, devoting my life to His service?whatever that may be.” There is no room in the life of a true believer to claim ownership of our lives, our possessions, our relationships, our talents, or our time. We are here on this earth for one reason: to discover the purpose for which God has created and redeemed us, and then to fulfill it.

May we walk in the continual knowledge of the fact that we do not belong to ourselves but to Someone much greater – to the One who sent His only Son to shed His sinless blood on our behalf. And may that knowledge cause us to walk circumspectly, in grace and humility, integrity and mercy. For with every thought, word, and deed, we represent the One who owns us.

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

It Was and Is Love

Monday, June 16th, 2008

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8: 10-11 King James Version

It was compassion and unconditional love from the heart of our precious Saviour that caused Him to say to the woman “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” He did not say go and prove to Me that you have changed. He said “go, and sin no more.” Yet so often when someone hurts us instead of us forgiving them and asking them not to do it again, we say “You will have to prove to me that you have changed.” We need to stop condemning people and start having compassion and unconditional love for them just as Jesus has for us.

It was the unconditional love of Jesus that lifted me up from underneath that bed in a mental hospital and it is His love that sustains me from day to day. One of my favorite songs through the years has been “Love Lifted Me” by James Rowe. The words to this beautiful song have inspired and encouraged me countless times “Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help Love lifted me!”

Indeed only compassion, understanding and the unconditional love that Jesus has for us can heal the anguish, the tears of hurt, the horror and the hidden scars that are buried deep in our hearts from years of abuse. There have been many times through the last three and a half years when satan attacked me with his fiery darts of criticism and sarcasm that the only thing that helped me was knowing that Jesus loves me. Not only does Jesus give us love; He is love.

I was raped on Thanksgiving Day in 1979. In 1980, I had to place my daughter for adoption because I did not have the money to feed and clothe her or provide for her needs. Plus not being able to take care of her financially, I was emotionally unstable and couldn’t trust myself to raise her as she needed to be raised. That was the hardest and the saddest day of my life when I had to take my beloved April Dawn to the adoption agency and place her for adoption.

Yet even though I was heartbroken and hurting so much that I can’t possibly put what I was feeling on that day into words, I did not want my daughter, April Dawn, to feel that there was anything wrong. Even though she was only five months old, I knew that she could pick up on my feelings so I played with her at the adoption agency and told her that I loved her. When they took her out of my arms at the adoption agency, I felt that my life was useless and that my world had ended.

However, Jesus had other plans for me. He knew that one day I would surrender to the mission field and serve Him full time. In His loving kindness, understanding and compassion, He gently put His arms of tenderness around me and rocked me close to His heart as He whispered softly to me “I love you, Joanne, and I understand and I feel your pain.” He has been rocking me every day since then. Only His love could have gotten me through that day and only His love can get me through the days now as there is not one day goes by that my heart does not miss my precious daughter.

Many people have emailed me and asked me if it is difficult for me to share my life in my devotions. The answer to that is yes, it is extremely difficult and painful. However, I know what it is like to be depressed to the point that you can?t go on. I know how it hurts and how frightening it is when your heart is shattered into thousands of tiny pieces. If sharing from my heart can help just one person, then it is worth it all.

It is not easy to go through something as traumatic as a rape and having to place your cherished and beloved daughter for adoption. In fact, it is impossible to go through it without the understanding, the support and the unconditional love of our precious Saviour. It was the unconditional love and compassion for us in the heart of our precious Saviour that caused Him to walk that long lonely road to Calvary and die for us on that cross of horror and excruciating pain. The heartache and pain that I suffered is nothing compared to the anguish and heartache that Jesus suffered for you and for me on that cross.

It is still His unconditional love for us that causes Him to say to us when we fail Him and hurt Him “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” No matter what you have done; no matter how many times you have hurt Him and failed Him if you will listen with your heart you will hear Him say to you “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth! There is no one like Jesus!

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org