Friday, January 25, 2013


(Gen 35:1) Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” 
Jacob had a favorite place.  It was in Bethel where he fled to after stealing his brother’s blessing.  It was there he had a dream of a ladder and angels.  It was there God spoke to him and assured his heart.  It was there he realized the presence of God.  It had been over twenty years since he had been there.  Now God was calling him back there to build an altar and worship Him.  Jacob had gotten comfortable.  He enjoyed being comfortable because for so long he had faced adversity and hardship.  But in his prosperity he had lost his first love.  Now God was calling him back to Bethel. 
What is keeping you from a closer walk with the Lord?  Have you grown so accustomed to your lifestyle that you have neglected your relationship with God?  What are some things that keep us from a closer walk Jesus?  (Mark 4:18-19) "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, {19} "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  God is calling us back to our first love.  (Rev 2:4-5) "…I have this against you, that you have left your first love. {5} "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent. 
In returning to his first love, Jacob called upon his family to put away the foreign gods amongst them (Gen 35:2).  Returning to our first love will cost us all other loves. (Mat 16:24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Mat 10:37-38) "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. {38} "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (Luke 14:33) "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (1 John 5:21)  Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 
Our hearts are forever straying away from the Lord. (Isa 53:6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…  Sometimes we don’t even know we are drifting away. (Heb 2:1) Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  We refer so much to the sinner coming to Christ for the first time and we also make appeals for the backslider to return to the Lord.  But what about those of us who need to make a fresh rededication?  And doesn’t that begin every day as we start a new day and present our bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice? (Rom 12:1) 
It’s time to get on that road “back to Bethel” like Jacob and rededicate our lives to the Lord! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013


(Eph 6:13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 
Well, there Paul was incarcerated in a Roman prison for the cause of Christ.  As time went by the Spirit begins to speak to him as he peers at the guard he is chained to.  He gets the thought that the Christian is in a spiritual war against Satan and his minions and must be dressed for battle.  What should the Christian wear in the spiritual struggle against darkness?  (Eph 6:10-18) 
BELT OF TRUTH (v. 14): This belt was worn around the waist and served to brace the armor tight against the body.  It supported daggers, short swords, and weapons of the sort.  This refers to a believer’s integrity and faithfulness. A dishonest Christian cannot withstand the father of lies (John 8:32, 44). 
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 14): The breastplate was made of hard leather or metal and so protected his chest from an enemy’s attacks.  So righteous living guards a believer’s heart against the assaults of the devil.  Of course this righteousness is from Christ! (2 Cor 5:21) 
GOSPEL SHOES (v. 15):  A Roman soldier’s feet were shod with hard, studded shoes to be firm in battle in rough terrain.  The Christian’s feet should be clean (John 13), beautiful (Rom 10:15), and always ready to go share the good news of Jesus (1 Pet 3:15).  
SHIELD OF FAITH (v. 16): The Roman shield was about two and a half feet wide and four feet long and protected the soldier’s whole body as he crouched forward in battle.  It was overlaid with linen and leather to absorb fiery arrows.  Trusting in the Lord and not doubting will keep Satan from penetrating our effectiveness for Christ. (Pro 3:5; Rom 4:20-21) 
HELMET OF SALVATION (v. 17): The intricately designed Roman helmet protected the soldier’s head and also made him look taller and more impressive.  This refers to protection of the mind (thought life) and the hope of future deliverance when Jesus returns (1 Thes 5:8).  Satan wants to make us doubt our salvation and the bright future we have in Christ. (Phil 4:8) 
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT (v. 17): Christ defeated the devil in the temptation in the wilderness by using the offensive word of God (Mat 4:1-11).  We too have the same weapon available if we will but read and study God’s Word and apply it when under spiritual attack. (Heb 4:12) 
Paul goes on to talk about prayer in verse 18.  This means we put all our armor on in prayer and keep it on as we pray.  Let’s fight our enemy with spiritual and not worldly methods (2 Cor 10:3-5).  Remember it’s a good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12).  The victory is ours in Christ! (1 Cor 15:57) 

Saturday, January 12, 2013


(Mat 14:28-29) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
Taking a risk. Taking a risk means the possibility of harm or loss. Isn’t that just what life comes down to sometimes? It makes you feel shaky but you know you have to do something. You weigh it out. You look at it from all the angles. You ask people’s opinions. But when it comes down to it, nobody can make that decision but you. What do you do when you’re in the arena of decision making and the risk factor is pressing hard into you mind and soul? Let’s take a look at Peter in the Bible. He took a risk one day and what happened can speak volumes to our lives.
Jesus had sent the disciples away on the boat while He sent the multitudes away. He said He would catch up with them later. He went up on the mountain to pray. But while he was praying a stubborn storm hit the Sea of Galilee and the disciples were struggling getting the boat to shore. In the fourth watch of the night (3am-6am) Jesus came to them walking on the water and they thought He was a ghost. Jesus assured them it was Him and that they were not to be afraid. Peter then said that if it was Him then to command him to come to Him on the water. Jesus said to come and the next thing you know he’s walking on water too. But after a while it hit him what he was doing and he became afraid and began to sink. He cried out to the Lord and Jesus saved him from drowning. Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith and for doubting and then calmed the sea. The disciples were blown away and declared their faith in Him.
The story of Peter is the story of us all. Sometimes life does come down to a risk. But the question is, how do you know if you are to take that risk or not? I believe the answer lies in the prompting of Jesus. Peter sought the Lord about the possibility. Jesus prompted Peter to come. Peter got out of the boat and he did float. (First surfer?) Surely we are not to do anything rashly or foolishly (Isa 52:12; Eph 5:15) or presumptuously (Psa 19:13). We are to pray about all things and get the go-ahead from the Lord. Getting godly counsel is also a good idea, especially with weightier matters (Pro 11:14). But when all is said and done and we feel we have that green light from the Lord, we are to step out and take that risk.
The big question is what if I fail? Well, you just might. All good people have risked and failed but that failure has been the very thing that eventually made them successful. If you hide in the safety zone all your life and never take a risk, that would be the biggest failure of all.
Think about the risk God took on us. God gave His only begotten Son. Would any believe and receive this costly and gracious gift? We did. That proves that when God is in it, risk produces results without regrets.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


(Phil 2:13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Well it’s a new year and it’s time to set goals and get motivated!  Time to leave the past behind and to press forward to the new things God has for us (Phil 3:13).  God has put His desires in our hearts and it’s time to pursue them with a passion (Psa 37:4; Rom 12:11).  Let’s forget the resolutions.  It’s time for a revolution of God’s Spirit in our lives to live for the Lord and to be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49).
Some people have asked me if it’s wrong to set goals.  Are you kidding?    When God places something in your heart…go for it!  (Luke 9:51) Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. (Acts 19:21) When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit…to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”  
But you say you lake motivation?  Feel hazy?  A little lazy?  God works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  That means He gives us the inspiration for the motivation, the drive to thrive, and the umph for the triumph.  He has promised us power to live for Him and to do His will on earth (Acts 1:8).  Now we just have to step out of the boat in faith (Mat 14:28-31).  
The new year is a time to reassess your life.  Out with the old and in with the new.  Time to try something different and to shore up those weaknesses in our lives.  What might be some worthy goals for the new year?  Here’s some ideas: Less time on the TV/computer; create a sensible exercise plan; eat less intensely and more nutritiously; make that dentist appointment; cultivate your mind by reading a few worthy books; add on a Bible study to compliment Sunday morning church; be more optimistic about life; tithe consistently; support a missionary; be less selfish with your time; follow through on that desire to volunteer; learn that musical instrument; plant a garden; daily devotions; plan that vacation you’ve been dreaming about.
This is what I figure:  If something is placed on my heart I will surely pray about it.  Then if I feel the Spirit in it then I’ll give it a shot.  If it doesn’t work out then at least I tried.  But what if it does work out?  Then praise God for it!  If you aim for nothing you will surely hit it!  But you just might hit the bull’s-eye for what God had for you and life will definitely be more exciting!  
Sometimes we get so caught up living life that we fall into that rut and life loses the luster it once had.  The new year is a time to clear out the “clutter” of our lives and make sure we’re on the right path of things.  Let’s not play it safe this year.  LET’S GET MOTIVATED and get it done!
(Phil 3:14) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


It's the new year and it's time to get into the Word! Want to know where to start? Take the pastor Louie challenge and start from the beginning and read through the whole Bible in a year! This program averages three chapters a day at the rate of twelve minutes a day. Just think of it...this time next year you would have read through the whole Bible. Print out the handy guide from our church resources tab and keep it in the flyleaf of your Bible.

This year let's get the spiritual muscle that we're going to need for all that lies ahead in 2013!

1 John 2:14 ...I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,And you have overcome the wicked one.