hope

Because He Lives…

Just take a moment to fill in the blank, “Because He lives, I can __________ __________!”  This truth has to be more to us than the familiar lyrics of an old gospel song.  Because Jesus lives and death couldn’t keep Him and the grave couldn’t stop Him, there is power to live your life by.  His resurrected life enables us to do what we could not otherwise do.  Not only that, but because of His life, we are able to have a life.  What I mean is that we exist, only because He exists.  Think about it, if God somehow stopped existing this moment, so would every form of life, including human life.  The apostle Paul said,

The reality of our lives is that we are God-sustained and not self-sustained.  He is the One who gives us breath and keeps our hearts beating.  He is the One who holds all things together.  Because He lives, and only because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  I can get up in the morning.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Because He lives, I can go beyond my natural abilities and do what only can be done in His power.  I can love those who are not so loving.  I can forgive those who have wronged me.  I can walk where God wants me to walk.  I can endure what life throws at me.  I can love my neighbors as myself.  I can be the witness He wants me to be.  I can survive the fiery storms and I can walk through the valley.

Because He lives, I can face the giants that threaten.  God is your enabler!  Yes He is, because otherwise you would have quit a long time ago.  The reason you are still going and giving and loving and haven’t become bitter and angry and isolated is because of God.  His life means everything to the disciple of Christ.  Because He lives, you can go to bed tonight and have sweet rest.  Because He lives, you can live in complete confidence that He sees you right where you are, knows where you’ve been, knows how you feel and knows what you need.  Because He lives, I can believe and know that everything is going to be alright.  Because He lives, I can lift my head up and march on in the name of Jesus!  March on!

Learn this Prayer

Learn this prayer, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble…” Psalm 31. This was a prayer of David who cried out to the Lord in a time of need. This single petition is repeated around eleven or twelve times just in the Psalms. Perhaps you were like me growing up learning different prayers to pray, like the “God is great” prayer before a meal or the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer and the “Lord’s prayer”. There’s definitely nothing wrong with those prayers to the Father, but this humble and desperate prayer of David is the prayer for the times we live in. The proud will not say it and the oblivious will only petition God for what they want. But the sincere child of God who realizes the trouble we are in will recognize and repeat this prayer. Your life maybe great and I hope it is, but know that as a nation we are in the deepest spiritual waters we have ever been in. And mercy is our greatest need right now. The Lord asked the blind man, “What would you have me do for you?” Jesus would asked that question for our sake. What may look obvious to you may be oblivious to others and I say that because not everyone understands the trouble we are in and the mercy of God we need. Psalm 123:3 extends the plea for God’s mercy, “Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us.”

Let me encourage you today to learn this prayer because the trouble we are in will become increasingly obvious and you will already know what to ask the Father. His mercy is our greatest need!

Crushed

Keep this in mind! The enemy’s goal today is to crush your spirit. Recently I’ve been watching this couple who’s life God has really been working in. Last night we got a phone call from them telling us their dog had been ran over and killed. They loved their dog like we all love our animals and they were heartbroken over their loss. Was this really the unfortunate fate of an unlucky dog with bad timing, or just an accident or the work of the enemy? It’s hard to know what is behind every heartbreaking moment in our lives, but keep this in mind, the enemy doesn’t care how he crushes your spirit so long as he accomplishes his goal. And we all go through these moments in life, but especially in times when spiritual progress is taking place. Maybe you’re reading this and your heart has been broken. Keep this in mind what David said in the 23rd Psalm. “He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Our God is a restorer of crushed and broken hearts—Praise God! What needs to happen when you’re crushed under the weight of any kind of loss, rejection or betrayal is go to God in prayer and ask Him to restore you just like the word says.

Life is unfair and accidents do happen, but our enemy is ruthless, but God! Think about it, if God were not a restorer of crushed and broken hearts, we all would stay hidden in our homes living in despair. But God is a restorer of hearts!Let Him counsel you today back to the strong and powerful person He created you to be.

Never Saw it Coming!

“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark” Matthew 24:38.

This one verse describes the people living in the days of God’s judgement flood on the earth. They were busy with life, and there’s no word here about being evil or sinful, just busy. Busy is the answer we give to people who ask, “What have you been up to?” I have decided that if you want a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you must really want it and be more intentional about it than all the other things that are crowding Him out. Stop taking so much pride in a jam-packed schedule that only leaves 5 minutes a day for your Savior. We are all guilty of giving into life’s relentless demands and giving God our leftovers, but we don’t have to continue that way. Those who were wiped out by the flood judgement never noticed the dark clouds rolling in. They never heard the distant sounds of thunder. They never took much interest in what Noah was doing. They never noticed because they were stretched so thin with their busy lives even back then. They never noticed the change in the atmosphere because they were so concerned about keeping up with their neighbors.

Let me ask you, when was the last time you took time to really stop and take notice of what is going on in the world? Does anything seem odd or strange enough to slow you down so you would seek the Lord? Please know this, there is no way you can be ready for what is coming upon the earth unless you take notice of what is happening and then become intentional in growing in your relationship with Him. There were those that lived during the days of Noah that were so busy they didn’t even know where the Ark was when the flood came, but Noah and his family were working on the Ark everyday. I don’t know when the Lord is going to return, but I do know people will not be ready because they are so busy. Know this and be sure of it, just as the Ark was Noah’s only hope, so Jesus is our only hope. Take time to spend with Him!

Declare God!

“One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. 5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. 6 [Men] shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.” Ps 145:4-6


I was listening to a man pray about a week ago in between the songs he was leading and his prayer was so inspiring. He was declaring the power and dominion of the Living God. And I thought of how I fail to do this simple thing in my own life. The leper declared to Jesus as Jesus came from teaching the multitudes on the mountain in Matthew 8, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Declare God over your day and declare God over your family and workplace.

Do not assume things about God, but declare, “God in heaven, I declare Your power and dominion over my family today. Holy Father I declare Your strong presence in my life. And I declare your greatness and grace over my job and over my church and over my community. I declare that You are my supply and You are my shield. I declare Your love in my relationships and I declare Your throne over this nation. I declare God over this hospital and over the sick. I declare God over the weak, depressed and worried. I declare the light over the darkness and the truth over every false way. You are over ever spirit and there is no spirit that is not under subjection to You. There is no one greater and no one higher than You. By faith, I declare that You alone, O Lord, are over all things.” Just open Your mouth and declare God over all things!

Back Roads

When I arrived at the church this morning, I noticed the New Creation ladies were already there doing their Bible study.  Instead of going in, I sat in the parking lot for a while and then decided to go for a ride on some back road in the country.  In my younger days those rides on the back roads never led to anything good, but were a route taken to avoid getting caught doing what I shouldn’t have been doing.  But what a blessing this morning to get out and go a backroad route and listen to the worship music slowly paving my way.  I was so blessed that I just started praying out loud to the Lord over the music, and before I knew it, I got caught on the back roads.  It was the Lord who jumped in the truck with me as I was praying for different people and the things they were going through in life.  And what I discovered is that Jesus Christ is on the back roads.  He doesn’t need a cathedral or a nice chapel, but only an atmosphere He feels welcomed and wanted in.  There were two men in the Bible who Jesus found on the back roads.  They were headed home to Emmaus on the day rumors were circulating that the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb.  In Luke 24 it says,

“Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.”  

I don’t know, it seems a little strange to me that Jesus would take the time to go for a seven mile walk with two men who had given up their hopes in Him.  It’s strange, too, that Jesus could have taken the main road into the streets of Jerusalem, but stayed on the back roads.  He patiently walked with the two all the way to Emmaus, and would have kept going, except they insisted He stay with them.  As a result, their eyes were opened to the Lord and they immediately returned to Jerusalem.  This should give us some encouragement today knowing that there are those walking and riding on the back roads of life who can have an encounter with the Savior of the world.  There is hope for people in the back woods and on the back roads, because even there He will show up and touch their lives.  Those two headed to Emmaus were on the back road of unbelief, but Jesus saw them, joined them, and restored their faith in Him.    

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