Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Monday, May 28, 2018
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, [the valley of the shadow of death] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NIV
Just as God goes before you in battle to conquer the giants in your promised land, He also is with you to take you through the darkest valleys of turmoil, pain, and despair. Evil lurks everywhere in our fallen world because the fullness of God’s holiness is not manifest because of our sin and rebellion. Yet the Holy Spirit resides in you and His holiness will deter all evil. Evil may tempt you and evil may speak lies to you and evil may try to influence you, but evil cannot control you nor harm you eternally. You have God’s seal of the Holy Spirit within you. No weapon of the enemy will prevail nor can deter your entrance into your promised land. God goes before you. God is with you. And God is inside you. Enter into your promised land of victory. Your land of milk and honey awaits.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Giants are in the land. Giants are in our minds. And giants are in our hearts. We all have giants to face and overcome in the world around us and from the depths within. The giants are unlikely to totally disappear, but we choose to either address them, ignore them, or relinquish and succumb to them. Fighting the giants is not easy, for the battles and wars may rage daily. In our own strength, victory is unlikely. With God, victory is more likely, and if not total victory, perseverance. Remember, God doesn’t always remove the thorn, but His grace is sufficient to give us all the more strength to carry on and enter into the promised land.
“Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:27–28, 30–31, 33 NKJV
“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.” Numbers 14:8–9 NKJV
The Lord is with you. He is ready to take you into the promised land. Giants are there but do not fear. With God, you will overtake them. Your land flowing with milk and honey is waiting. Go! Go with God!
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018
As difficult as the journey of this life is, rest assured that you are not an afterthought or here by accident. God certainly has a glorious and wonderful plan specifically for you. Sometimes, this plan may be obscured by the trials and tribulations that this life will certainly bring. But know assuredly in your heart that God is working in you and through you to bring about His good and perfect will. You can ask for none other than that. God’s ways are higher than our ways and His ways are perfect.
If you are struggling just to make it through the day, just ask yourself, “Am I making a positive difference and having a positive influence in the lives of others?” If you are, then you are walking down the path that God has prepared for you. Most importantly, remember, God often uses the difficulties in our lives to help those who are similarly struggling. Why me? We never know. But we can be sure that the Potter is molding and shaping us into a most beautiful heavenly ornament. Behind the scenes in the invisible spiritual realm, God is always working for us, and one day truly we will perceive the grand and glorious plan that God worked out in us and through us and for us, and we’ll see all those we’ve helped along the way.
“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9–10a NIV
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.” Isaiah 64:4–5a NIV
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Sunday, May 6, 2018
In Greek, the word bema meant an elevated step or platform that orators would speak from or courts of law would be held. This is very similar to our courts where you stand before the judge who’s seated on an elevated platform.
The Bema is the Judgment Seat of Christ, when all believers after being taken up to heaven at the Rapture will stand before Christ to give an account of what they’ve done to further the kingdom of God using all the spiritual gifts, talents, resources, and abilities that Christ through the Holy Spirit has given to them and empowered within them. This has absolutely nothing to do with saving salvation for you are already saved and in heaven and all your sins are fully forgiven at the Cross. This is all about your sanctification and what you’ve done with all that Christ has given to you to use in His service. You are not penalized at the Bema, but you do risk losing additional rewards that Christ has prepared for you if you were a faithful servant doing the Master’s business here on earth.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person's work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 AMP
If your good works for Christ and the kingdom are “gold, silver, or precious stones,” they will survive Christ’s test of fire and you will receive additional rewards. If, however, the best that you have done in the Master’s service only equates to “wood, hay, or straw,” then your works will be burned in the test of fire and not be worthy of additional reward. You are still in heaven’s glory, but you will realize all the opportunities that you missed in your willingness to serve the Lord. You have arrived in heaven, in other words, scathed by the test of fire, but you made it by the skin of your teeth. Still a better place to be than the alternative lake of fire!
Jesus makes all this quite clear in the Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11–26) and the Parable of the Talents (Bags of Gold) as seen below. This parable is quite lengthy, but your success at receiving your reward at the Bema may depend upon reading and understanding it.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 25:14–29 NIV
It’s your choice. Make the best of what God’s given you and take advantage of every opportunity to serve Him and others. What words will you hear at the Bema standing before Christ, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” or “You wicked, lazy servant!”?