Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Leave the Same Way

If you read Ezekiel you will see that the prophet spends a lot of time describing the Temple and all of its gates. Sometimes when reading this I wonder "what does this have to do with my life?"

In Ezekiel 46:9 it says "... no one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate." (NIV) Gates don't mean much to us in the Western World but at the time of this scripture the Temple in Jerusalem was being described. We don't meet in temples, but church buildings. So what does this mean? We all come to the House of God burdened and full of cares of this life. Wouldn't be great if we would come in the doors of the church and leave our burdens there?

It is possible to come to church discouraged, but leave encouraged. It is up to you. Will you leave different then you came?

Fresh Fruit

The greatest joy of the summer is fresh fruit. Don't you wish that you could have fresh fruit all year long? You can. Let me explain.

The Bible promises fruitfulness to those who are committed to the Lord. "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green..." (Psalm 92:14)

So what is the secret? You must have a life source to produce fruit. When the life of God flows through you (no matter your age) you will enjoy fruitfulness all year long.

Outward Conformity

Does God want clones? The idea that God is looking for outward conformity is not precise. God doesn't want clones, He wants people with similar hearts.There is a passage of scripture that deals with this issue. It is found in Ezekiel 44:7 "... you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary..."

What does God desire? People that are changed from the inside out. The sin that concerns the Lord is that there are people serving Him that have never had a change of heart. They have never allowed their hard hearts to be replaced with a heart after God. In the Jewish world the emphasis was placed upon the transgression of bringing a non Jew into the Temple. God was more interested in heart condition not cultural background.

Let us repeat the words of David found in Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God."

How about you what is heart condition?

Three Pitfalls to Avoid

It is a sobering, and yes depressing to read about the kings of Israel and Judah. The other day in my reading I read about King Joash who was seven years old when he became king. Could you imagine? God provided a wise mentor for Joash by the name of Jehoiada who helped him rule the kingdom of Judah. In verse 17 of 2 Chronicles 24 we read "after the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king and he listened to them." (NIV) Three mistakes of young leaders as found in 2 Chronicles 24.

  • Listening to the flattering words (and believing them) of those who are trying to gain from your position (vs. 17)
  • Disobeying the Lord's commands (vs. 20)
  • Not returning kindness to those who mentored you (vs. 22)
Joash soon realized that his leadership abilities were yet undeveloped. In response to this deficiency he listened to the wrong people and paid for it with his life.

A word of advice: honor those who mentored you, your life depends on it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Changed Life: Maria Durso

I told a true story during an altar call in my church about Maria Durso. She is now a Pastor's wife in Brooklyn, NY; but she was anything like that before. Watch the video below.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Gives You Joy?

Today I was reading Erwin Lutzer's book "Failure the Back Door to Success" and he made a great point about joy. I want to share that with you. John the Baptist was fading from the scene and Jesus was drawing large crowds, how did John handle this?

Listen to his words in John 3:29 "The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full." John recognized his ministry was to introduce Israel (the bride) to the bridegroom (Jesus). He said he was glad to hear the bridegroom's voice, it gave him joy. Why?

In the Middle east the friend of the bridegroom (best man) guarded the room of the bride so that no one else would enter but the bridegroom. John likened himself to the best man who had been guarding the door to the room of the bride until the bridegroom came for his bride. When he heard the voice of Jesus (bridegroom) he realized his job was finished.

What gives you joy? Are you successful, great. Do you consider yourself a failure? If so remember God has called us to faithfulness, not success.

Keep listening for the voice of the bridegroom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seeking the Lord

King Asa is now at the end of his life and he is very ill. It would be natural to think that King Asa would turn to the Lord, but he didn't. Because he didn't he died. Why?
  • He relied on man and not God
  • He no longer sought the Lord
  • He preferred the honor of the people over the honor Of God
Where did Asa go wrong? He was committed to the Lord, and then he wasn't. I think the key is found in 2 Chronicles 16:1. Asa's enemy attacked his land. Asa had two choices. He could trust God to deliver him from his enemy or he could hire an army to protect him. Asa chose to hire an army for his protection.

Who you turn to in difficult times reveals where you have put your trust. Where have you put your trust?

The Hand of God

King Asa has been the focus of my daily reading lately. He was a man of changing values. First he is faithfully serving God, then later in life he is bargaining with the enemy against his own people. He even mistreated the servant of God who brought a message from God.

Asa bargained with the enemy and the Lord spoke through Hanani that Asa had sinned because he did not rely on God but on the King of Aram for protection. You might think that Asa would have repented and made things right. No he didn't. Here is what the Lord said to him through the prophet Hanani as found in 2 Chronicles 16:7-10.

  • Because you relied on man and not God, the enemy of God has escaped from your hand.
  • Because you forgot how the Lord delivered you in the past you will be at war with your enemies.
  • Because you were not fully committed in your heart to the Lord you will not be strengthened to fight your enemies.
Asa had done a foolish thing by relying on man and not God. It is still the same today. God is looking for people who are committed to Him. Those who are committed to Him can expect to see the hand of God revealed in their lives.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

E- Mail Rage

Have you ever received an e-mail that made you mad? Maybe this e-mail was written in all caps or the tone of the e-mail was not very positive. What should you do?

According to Nance Guilmartin on there are some things we can do to defuse "e-mail rage." One of the most interesting suggestions was to respond to the e-mail but don't use the reply button. Make sure the "To:" is left blank on the e-mail. This is a sure way to "vent" without doing irreparable damage. To view article in its entirety,

I like what Nance mentions before this in the article she mentions to stop and pray at least 30 seconds. That is what I call good advice. If we pray we may begin to understand what is really going on. Don't give in to rage, but pray.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't Bargain with Your Enemy

This morning I read the account of King Asa as he made a treaty with an enemy king. The interesting thing was that he hired the king of Aram to destroy his fellow Israelites. You can read about this in 2 Chronicles 16:1-3. There are three things that I want to point out about this story.

1. Asa thought that the money in the treasury was for his personal use. (He hired Aram to fight Baasha King of Israel)

2. Asa consulted the King of Aram before he consulted the Lord.

3. Asa thought he could buy his way out of trouble.

Is there ever a time that we should work together with the enemy to destroy our own flesh and blood? The answer is no.

Let us remember that people are not our real enemy, but our enemy is the devil himself.