Friday, April 27, 2012



(Mat 3:16-4:1) When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
There’s a phrase we use around the church because those who have stepped out for the Lord know it true:  NEW LEVEL, NEW DEVIL!  It’s when you go to that next level God has for you and Satan gets so mad that he attacks you like crazy.  You see he wants you to always stay on that same level of complacency.  If he can’t get you to backslide then he’ll work on the next best thing and that is to get you to stay where you are.  Never take risks.  Never go forward.  Stay comfortable.  Say no to a challenge.  Tell people you’re too busy.  That you have enough on your plate.  Satan just jumps for joy at the Christian who refuses to go to the next level.  But when a Christian decides to press on,  it’s NEW LEVEL, NEW DEVIL!
This is seen in the life of Jesus.  When he was baptized the Holy Spirit came upon Him like a dove.  God spoke from heaven and said He was well pleased with His Son.  What a glorious experience!  But then the next thing you see is Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.  Satan hates it when are filled with the Spirit and are moving out for the Lord.  He’ll come after us and try to get us to succumb to the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  
Consider also Elijah.  He is seen in 1 Kings 18 as a mighty man of God who challenged the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal to a showdown.  Would it be Elijah’s God or Baal who would send fire down from heaven and consume the sacrifice on the altar?  Elijah went all out to prove only God could send the fire.  And that He did!  Then all the false prophets were slain.  The very next chapter we see Jezebel sending a threatening letter to Elijah.  Elijah fled far away and crawled into a cave where he remained depressed and defeated until the Lord coaxed him out and put him back to work.  
The Bible says we are to move forward to that next level and never look back.  We are to go from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18), faith to faith (Rom 1:17), and strength to strength (Psa 84:7).  In doing so it will aggravate Satan to no end and he will come a knocking trying to menace us with all types of hassles and exasperations.  But rejoice because it means you are growing and going for the Lord.  He would leave you alone if you were carnal and worldly.  So it’s really a kind of compliment when you step out and face satanic opposition.  But don’t worry, the Lord has you covered.  He wouldn’t ask you take a step forward and then leave you! (Heb 13:5)
NEW LEVEL, NEW DEVIL.  You and I must be doing something right!  Forward on for the Lord!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



(Mark 13:32) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

It’s as old as time for people to set dates for the Lord’s coming. All throughout Church history there have been predictions made from earnest and sincere individuals that the Lord would come on a particular date. They use some kind of formula or interpret some kind of event as a signal that the Lord will come at a particular time. And what gets me besides these false predictors is the gullibility of many people of faith who are swayed by a strong voice and then are stumbled when the anticipation never comes to pass. When will we learn that no one knows the day or the hour?!

1843-1844: William Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller's one-year timetable ran out. Following the Great Disappointment most Millerites gave up their beliefs.

1914: The Jehovah’s Witness religion has made a number of predictions about the end of the world. The first was 1914 – they based their prediction on prophecies from the Book of Daniel. After the end did not come, they changed the meaning of the prediction and stated that it was the date that Jesus would begin to rule invisibly. Some other years that the group have predicted the end of the world to come are: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, etc.

1988: Edgar C. Whisenant predicted the Rapture would occur in 1988, sometime between Sept. 11 and Sept. 13. He published a book about this entitled “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and copies sold like crazy.

2011: Harold Camping predicted that on May 21, 2011 Jesus Christ would return to Earth, the righteous would fly up to heaven, and that there would follow five months of fire, brimstone and plagues on Earth, with millions of people dying each day, culminating on October 21, 2011 with the end of the world.

2012: New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012.

We don’t know when the Lord is coming back. We are just to be ready! (Mat 24:44) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Don’t be taken in by false prophets in and outside the church who set dates. It’s all a distraction. Keep your eyes on Jesus and live like He will return at any moment!!


Friday, April 13, 2012




Ruth is such a great little book set in the time of the Judges. It’s both a love story and a story of redemption that portrays the work of Christ as our redeemer. I encourage you to read the book of Ruth this week. As you see Ruth glean in the field of Boaz, you too will be able to gather some gleanings from Ruth:

- Ruth was dedicated to her mother-in-law Naomi. Her famous words of devotion are recorded in 1:16-17. She sets a pattern for all relationships, especially in friendship and marriage. (Pro 17:17) A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

- Naomi was bitter from all the negative turn of events in her life and family. She told people not to call her Naomi which means pleasant but Mara which means bitter (1:19-21). But God turned things around and she is a happy grandma in the end (4:13-17). (Heb 12:15) looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

- As Ruth went to glean in the fields, she “happened” to come to Boaz’s field where she and Boaz would eventually fall in love (2:1-3). Nothing is an accident. God is always working behind the scenes bringing about His marvelous plan. It’s not coincidence…it’s Providence! (Eph 1:11)…who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

- The story of Ruth is set in the apostate times of the Judges. You would think there would be no godly husband for Ruth. Wrong! Boaz was a man of God (2:4) who was brought into a virtuous woman’s life (3:11). God is the great matchmaker. Wait for God’s best to come into your life! (Pro 18:22) He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.

- Boaz was the kinsman redeemer (close relative) of Ruth (2:20). According to the Mosaic law he could buy her deceased husband’s field (Lev 25:23-34) and take her as wife to perpetuate the family name (Deu 25:5-10). Jesus is our redeemer who has purchased us with His blood. We are now His bride! (Col 1:14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

- One night Ruth asked Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer. In the morning he went out to take care of business. Ruth was anxious how things would turn out. Naomi told Ruth to sit still because she knew Boaz would not rest until he had concluded the matter (3:18). The Bible instructs us to wait on the Lord as He works out His plan! (Isa 64:4) God…acts for the one who waits for Him.

There’s a lot to glean from Ruth. Enjoy the book and see what I mean!


Thursday, April 5, 2012




(Rom 4:25) who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

You know when you think about it the resurrection doesn’t get much focus in people’s minds. On the religious side the emphasis is Jesus hanging on a cross in what is called a crucifix. It can be worn around a neck or you see a larger size in many churches and cathedrals. On the other side of the spectrum you see the skeptics disregarding the resurrection altogether. To them Jesus was just a man and not God. But is the resurrection really essential to a person’s belief and more notably to a person’s salvation? What is the IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION?

The apostle Paul wrote an extended treatise concerning the resurrection that is often overlooked. In this grand chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 he outlines the Fact of the Resurrection (1-11), the Significance of the Resurrection (12-19), the Order of the Resurrection (20-28), the Moral Implications of the Resurrection (29-34), the Body of the Resurrection (35-50), the Mystery of the Resurrection (51-57), and the Motivation of the Resurrection (58). Paul really makes you think through the resurrection. My favorite part is when he speaks of how our faith rises or falls on this cornerstone of our faith:

(1 Cor 15:13-17) But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Just think of it…if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then Christ is still in the grave and our hope of a Savior is gone! He died for our sins but doesn’t live to forgive us of our sins. That means we would still be in our hopeless unregenerate position and would forever perish! Then all of our preaching would be in vain and we would have nothing to live for on earth or to look forward to beyond the grave.

But Jesus did rise from the dead! He was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification. The resurrection seals the deal of our salvation. The empty tomb is crucial to our redemption. He died. He rose. He lives. We live through Him! Jesus said it the best: …Because I live, you will live also. (John 14:19)

I love the cross and the symbol of our Lord’s death. But wouldn’t it be great if we had more depictions of the empty tomb? It would remind us that every day is hopeful and a wonderful future is before us, even in the worst of times. Don’t leave Jesus on the cross! He is risen!!


Sunday, April 1, 2012



The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, {13} took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!" (John 12:12-13)

Did you know there is only one reference in the Gospels about the palm tree branches that people took to meet Jesus when He came into Jerusalem in what we call the Triumphal Entry? Only John shares that detail and Christians historically have referenced this day as Palm Sunday.

Waving palms was a mark of triumphant homage to a victor or a king (Rev 7:9). Palm trees grew on the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:8) on the road from Bethany to Jerusalem so the trees were naturally accessible for this wonderful moment when Jesus was openly presenting Himself as the Messiah, the King of Israel!

Palm Sunday begins what has been called Passion Week in the Christian church. This was the last week of our Lord’s life which included His final teaching, the Last Supper with His disciples, His agony, betrayal, and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, His unjust trials and beatings before the Jewish and Gentile authorities, His crucifixion on what we call Good Friday, and then His glorious resurrection on Easter morning. What a special season to worship the Lord and to think about all He’s done for us!

But to tell you the truth, I’ve been thinking about that word palm. Just a few days after Palm Sunday was the painful passion and brutal beatings of our Lord. And during this time there is another reference to the word palm but it’s not the palm of a palm tree but the palm of a cruel hand: (Mat 26:67) Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands.

Then I think of our Lord’s crucifixion where they drove nails into His palms: (John 20:25) …he (Thomas) said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails,…I will not believe."

Will the Lord always keep His scars for us to behold? Perhaps He will to remind us of His great love for us on the cross. The scars were there in His resurrection body and it says in Revelation 13:8 that Jesus is spoken of as "…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

Palm Sunday…nail-scarred hands. Beautiful hands. The hands of my Savior who died for me! Now I look at my palms and what will I do? (Psa 63:4) Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. Thank-you Jesus! I’ll praise you and love you forever!!