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The Heart and The Day

20 Jul

The Heart and The Day…

How’s your day going? You probably think that if things are going bad you’re having a bad day and if things are going good, it’s a good day. But the Bible says something completely different. And it can change the way you live your life.

Proverbs 15:15 says: “All the days of the downcast are bad, but a cheerful heart has an everlasting banquet.” – or – ‘All the days of the downcast are bad, but a good heart has a never-ending banquet.’

In other words, it’s not bad days that make the downcast heart. It’s the downcast heart that makes all the days bad. And it’s not the continual banquet that makes the good heart. It’s the good heart that makes the continual banquet. Get it?

If your heart is complaining, your days will be rotten. If your heart is full of praise and thanksgiving, your days will be full and beautiful. So… you want a good day, a good week, a good year, a good life?

Stop seeking after a good day, and seek instead to have a good heart. Give thanks in all things, and praise to God, and your life will become an everlasting banquet.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

No matter what’s around you today, give God thanks and praise Him as often as you can, and you will have a never-ending banquet.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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More Than Fish

18 Jul

More Than Fish…

Jesus told his disciples to go out into the deep waters and let down their nets for fish. When they did, their nets were filled to the point of breaking.

Now, being fishermen and businessmen you’d think they would have gotten more into fishing. Instead, they left the fishing business and went off with the Lord. Why? Because the point of it all was not the fish.

The fish were just vessels to show them God’s power and love toward their lives. He was blessing them with fish not so they’d get more wrapped up in the fish, but so they could get their eyes off of the fish and onto the Lord and the greater call He had for them.

So it is with us. We seek the Lord for blessings, prosperity, and success. But true discipleship is not about fish. It’s about dropping your nets and leaving the fish behind.

It’s about rejoicing in your blessings but focusing not on the blessings of the Lord, but on the Lord of the blessings. Rejoice in it; get your eyes off of the fish, and onto the Lord and His love.

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Today, instead of focusing on having blessings, getting blessings, holding on to blessings, focus on drawing closer to the Giver of those blessings.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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Sufficient In Christ Alone (7/18)

17 Jul

Sufficient In Christ Alone – Mysteries Of The Lamb…

We were sitting under a tree down in the canyon. Grandfather pulled out a small book and began to read. “I looked and behold in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders stood a lamb. …In the midst of the throne stood a lamb.”

This is the vision given to Yochanan in the Book of Revelation. Do you see anything strange about it?

I sat up and responded everything, the four living creatures, the elders, the lamb… He then asked what about the lamb on a throne? I said why is that any stranger than the rest?

Let’s think about it. A lamb, the most defenseless of creatures, so weak it must be protected not only by it’s mother but by a shepherd… That’s what’s so strange about the vision. The Lamb is on the throne. The Lamb is king. The Lamb reigns over all. A lion would make sense, but not a lamb… the most powerless of creatures reigning on a throne with all power and over all.

And it’s the symbol of Jesus, the Messiah! I said.

Yes, Grandfather said, He who reigns over the kingdom of God. So the kingdom of God will be the kingdom of the Lamb. How radical is that …a Lamb upon a throne? It goes against the way of the animal kingdom and that of man’s kingdoms. But the kingdom of God doesn’t work according to the laws of the world, but by it’s own laws. So to prosper in God you must learn the secrets of that kingdom.

In the world, it is the strong and the fierce who rule. But in the kingdom of God, it is the Lamb that rules. So in the kingdom of the Lamb, the weak are strong and the strong are weak. So, in this kingdom if you would have, you must let go. If you would receive, you must give. If you lower yourself, you will be lifted up. If you become little, you will become great. If you lose yourself, you will find yourself. If you surrender, you will prevail. And if you die to yourself …you will find life.

As He died and found life, I said, and as He surrendered all and has prevailed over the world and has become all.

So, if you walk in the footsteps of the Lamb, you too will prevail and overcome the world. For we are the most radical of the kingdom …the kingdom of the Lamb.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12: 9-10

Live this day in the way of the Lamb. Let go that you might have. Die that you might live. And surrender that you might overcome.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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Hineni

17 Jul

Hineni…

In Hebrew, there’s a very special word used by God’s people to say “yes,” to His call. It’s “Hineni.” Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah said it. Hineni means, in effect, ‘Here I am, Lord. Use me. Send me.’

It’s amazing how many of the great people of Scripture said “Hineni.” But what about all the people who never said “Hineni” to God’s calling? Where are all those ‘non-Hineni’ people?

You see, they never made the Bible or became prophets or disciples. There is no vision given to a prophet, or an epistle written by an apostle who didn’t say “Hineni.”

They are the unprophets, the unapostles, the undisciples, and the ungreat. They missed the call and their purpose. Don’t miss your calling.

God has a purpose for you and a calling on your life. Say “Hineni, Here I am Lord, Use me, Send me.” Don’t be named among the nameless, the unprophets, the undisciples, the unapostles, the ungreat.

Answer the voice. Rise to the call. Be named among the great, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Mary, Peter, Paul. For God has called you to something great when you answer the call. Say “Hineni.”

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk. Isaiah 58:8-9

Raise your hands up high to the Lord today and say “Yes”, here I am Lord, use me, send me.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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The Church Pig

16 Jul

The Church Pig…

In the German town of Wittenberg, you can find the Town Church in which Martin Luther used to preach to the German people. But if you walk around to the back of the church, you’ll find a sandstone relief with an image of a pig, about three feet in length called the “Judensau,” which means, “The Jewish pig.”

It was erected to spite the Jews and to celebrate their expulsion from Wittenberg. Here, the people who claimed to follow the King of the Jews publicly hated the Jews of the King, His own people.

From this sin of anti-Semitism, from Luther’s words himself, Hitler and his Nazi associates were able to stir up the German people against the Jews to the death of six million of Abraham’s children in the Holocaust.

The Holocaust did not happen in non-Christian lands, but where the Gospel was preached. If you leave the devil an opening, he will be glad to use it for destruction.

So put away that unforgiveness, lust, compromise, and pride, because you never know what the devil will do when you give him a foothold.

“In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

Begin to close up any unresolved areas in your life today that can easily give the enemy a way in.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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What Is Forgiveness?

14 Jul

What Is Forgiveness…

A few weeks ago I asked my Sunday school class to send me what their personal definition of forgiveness was. I told them I was going to use their responses as a format in a future post about what forgiveness is.

I didn’t get as many responses as I had hoped but the responses I did receive showed me that we, as Christians, have a big problem forgiving ourselves and others.

The definition of Forgiveness; The action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.

What is forgiveness? The entire Bible points to Jesus Christ and his divine mission to save us from our sins. The Apostle Peter summed it up like this:

We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen — by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:39-43

One of the class members wrote: “I’d say forgiveness is letting go of resentment, not clinging to the memory of a wrong done.” This is a very good example of forgiveness.

Another basically said he was too busy to respond and to please remove his name from my email list. He went on to accuse me of seeking a pat on the back for my efforts. I’m not quite sure where that came from. I originally took this as a slap in the face, then realized this is one of the problems we face on a daily basis. We tend to see problems in others that we ourselves have. We don’t take the time to consider how our actions and words affect others and we certainly aren’t readily going to admit we are wrong. That includes each and everyone of us at some point of our life.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

One other response I received reflected my feeling upon returning from the war. Holding onto resentments and venting my anger about them with a hair like trigger. I could not find a way to forgive myself or those who I felt offended me. I remember those days well and also remember when a pastor told me that if I learn to forgive myself, then I will find it in my heart to forgive others. This was the key that changed my outlook on life.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6: 14-15

So now we know what forgiveness is, why do we have so much trouble doing it? The answer just could be it is easier to see the faults of other than it is to admit we have some, if not all the same faults.

It’s easier to turn our backs than it is to offer a hand up. Its easier to look down on others than it is to look at them as equals. It’s easier because we, as Christians, choose to take the easy way rather than step up, set the example and shine our lights.

The time has come for each and everyone of us to wake up and see what we have done and how we have failed God. It takes love to reach out and help someone, but that love is returned many times more. It takes love to forgive our neighbors as God has forgiven us. There are two keys here: Love and humility. So what is the next step?

When I look at the divide and hate in our Country over the past 20 years or so, I wonder if it is a failure of the church or a failure of us as Christians. It could be a combination of both. I just know that if we are to survive we all have to change our outlook on life and each other.

Love and forgiveness go hand in hand! So when Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, He also said forgive others for their transgressions as I forgave yours.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

Let us all go out and shine our lights to honor Him who gave His life for each and everyone of us.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

 

 

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The Common Law Of Life

14 Jul

The Common Law Of Life…

We were sitting under an old oak tree one sunny afternoon when Grandfather started talking. You heard the saying: As the twig is bent so grows the tree… Well back in the mid 1800’s Douglas Mollock wrote a poem called Good Timber. Though it talks mostly about trees, it is also a very good lesson for man.

The tree that never had to fight
     For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
     And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
     But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
     To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
     Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
     But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease,
     The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
     The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
     In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth
     We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
     Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
     This is the common law of life.

We, as Christians, need to realize our life is only as strong as the wind that blows. Meaning our willingness to be flexible and listen to the thoughts of others with respect and share ours with them without demeaning will determine just how strong our values are.

We are the Church, God resides in our hearts. Our root system is firmly planted in the Bible. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we approach people with a my way or the highway attitude all we will do is turn them away. Our light is to be the guide to lead others to God, not to turn them away.

One asks why are so many people turning away from the Church and God? The answer just may be how we share or fail to share His light and blessings. Remember we just may be the only Bible some ever see so we best shine our lights brightly. Like the tree, we are only as strong as we flex. It’s something to think about.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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Thou Shalt Be Loved

14 Jul

Thou Shalt Be Loved…

Many commandments out there are not from the Bible. For instance, some of you went to Mt. Sinai and received a tablet that read, “Thou shalt be loved by everyone. Everyone shalt thou please and verily cause them to likest thee.”

It sounds as if it could’ve been in with the other ten. So you’ve been obeying this command. You try to get people to like you, saying what you think they want to hear. You want to impress people so they will love you, praise you, accept you, adore you, receive you. Moses never carried down those words from Sinai.

It’s not a command; not even a suggestion. I’ve got good news for you. Not everybody has to love you, like you or even accept you. So you’re free! Stop trying to impress people. Here’s a new command, “Thou shalt not spend the rest of thy life seeking the love or approval of people.

It’s enough that God loves thee and accepted thee as His beloved. Therefore, seek no more love. from people, but rather love them as He has loved thee. For thou art loved, and don’t thou forgettest it.” Amen.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

Today, focus on God’s thoughts and His acceptance and not the thoughts of man.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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Heaven and Earth As One

13 Jul

Heaven and Earth As One…

The Feast of Tabernacles is a beautiful and even mystical feast. For it celebrated two things at once. They would celebrate God’s faithfulness to them in the wilderness while living in the Promised Land.

The tabernacle in which they camped out represented the wilderness, and yet it was made of branches of fruits from the Promised Land. It was a joining together of the wilderness and the Promised Land.

This is a profound thing. For the Promised Land represents to God’s children the Kingdom of Heaven. And the wilderness, or the journey to get there, represents this life right now. So the Feast of Tabernacles reveals a rarely understood truth….

For the child of God, Heaven and earth are joined. What does it mean? It means, though you journey on earth, your journey is not to be of earth. It’s to be of Heaven. For it is written that even now, you are to dwell in the Heavenlies. And you can only do that if Heaven is here and now.

Learn to see Heaven in the midst of your life today, walk Heavenly, live Heavenly. For where the Lord and His camp is… there is Heaven.

 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:40-43

Think about one situation where God has brought you out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land – and celebrate.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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The Butterflies Rage

12 Jul

The Butterflies Rage…

Alright, you’re not really satisfied with your walk, not real happy with the way you act. You’re sick and tired of living less than joyous, less than holy, less than consistent, and less than victorious.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. The sin isn’t good, nor is the defeat. What’s good is that you’re not content with it. Suppose you spent your life something like a worm, crawling around, eating dirt.

You’re doing all this, but you’re not happy with crawling, and you don’t even like dirt. It means you’re not a worm. If you were, you would have no problem with it; you’d enjoy it. If you’re not content with it, it points to something else.

Are you not content with your present life, or that sin, that compromise, that failure? Good. Because you’re not a worm. You’re a butterfly. You’re not of this world. You’re born from above.

You’re a beloved child of God. That raging discontent in your spirit is that of the new self: victorious, waiting to break free. So be discontented, but be encouraged and rage through to victory. Your very struggle is proof of your heavenly call.

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. Hebrews 3:1

Look now at that thing in your life that doesn’t line up with where you want to be in your walk with the Lord. Break it open and break through to your calling.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed