I’m Free

1

Change comes in the life of every single person alive. From the day of our conception until the day of our death, there is some kind of change taking place. In little ones the changes seem to take pace almost daily. They learn to hold a bottle, smile, or rollover. Next thing you know they are running around the room and climbing on everything in sight. Some are fearful of new things, while others have absolutely no fear of the unknown. As we get older, we might learn something new at school or on the job. Our style of dressing changes as we mature. We all desire to better our self and our family.

But the truth is that from the day of our birth, we are all rushing headlong toward death. There is nothing we can do to stop that fact. However as we face the end of our life here what about eternity? Are you prepared to meet your fate after this life here? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Are you sure that you are sure that you are sure that your sins have been covered by the blood of the Lamb?

Evidence of salvation comes in a one way that is unmistakable – CHANGE! It is hard to describe but the words of a song my children sang when they were young reveals a little part of it. They sang “Bullfrogs and butterflies have both been born again!” Butterflies are a beautiful sight to watch as they flit around the flowers traveling gracefully on the air. Yet, before their drastic transformation these creature crawled on their bellies going from place to place. How like many of us were like that before we came to know Jesus as our Savior. We were lost in our sin – crawling around in our shame and disgust knowing we needed something.
Often we had no idea what it was we were looking for – but there had to be something better than what we had. Then we heard the Word of the Lord saying “I love you!” His love wrapped around us like a warm cocoon and when we emerge – we were free. Free from our past, free from the wages of death, free from all the pain we have carried for so long. His gift of salvation freed us from wallowing in our sin to fly and soar as free as that beautiful.

Some of the rest of us are like those tiny tadpoles. We are living our life to the fullest, swimming back and forth in our little pond. Slowly that pond, our life, begins to shrink and closing in on us. We turn to the left and all the fun spots are gone. Then turn to the right and there is nothing is there but slough. What we left behind doesn’t bring any joy to our life anymore. Then we begin to seek after the Living Waters of the Lord. As He ministers in our life, we begin changing. What held our interest before this encounter with the Lord seems to be nothing but miry clay.

Yes, change is the greatest sign of a soul that has been touched by the Lord. I have seen heavy smokers lay down their cigarette to never pick it up again. Alcoholics freed from their bondage. Women set free from prostitution. Men addicted to porn liberated. I have seen snarling, bitter men and women become smiling, joyful individuals who shine with the love of the Lord. Change comes as we press in to the Lord and seek His face. Change comes as we cry out asking for forgiveness. Yes, change is possible. To be cleansed by the blood of the Savior will change us into new creatures in the Lord.

Have you changed? Rejoice in His name. If you have slid back into the miry clay, cry out again for His touch and forgiveness. Allow His touch once more and find the freedom and hope that comes. Yep, it’s possible to soar in the air and leap out of the muck. Just look up for your redemption draws near.

Advertisements

Part of the Whole

1

The voice echoed in the room as the speaker pointed at various people in the room. “You have a calling. You have a calling and you and you and you. Without a shadow of a doubt, there is a call on every single one of you. Think about his statement for a few minutes. You have a calling on your life. Yes, so does the person sitting in the room with you or the Christian neighbor next door. Or perhaps you are thinking about the woman or man that sits two rows in front of you.

The Lord has a place for you and a job for you to accomplish. It might something big but often our part seems small and insignificant. Well, that is, insignificant to us. There are no trivial jobs in the Kingdom of God. Every single task is important from cleaning the toilets to standing behind the pulpits. That deacon who labors in maintaining the house of the Lord reveals a servant’s heart, just as much as the pastor who labors over his sermons. The ladies who staff the nursery and children’s church show as much dedication as the music leader who strives to bring us into the presence of the Lord.

You see it’s not about the job; it’s about the heart doing the work. It’s about those that want to serve the Lord no matter what their call is. It’s about those who are just as willing to pick up a mop and broom as they are a guitar. It’s about those who are willing to take the children in Sunday school and share the gospel with them on their level as the door greeter who welcomes the visitors making them feel like they are wanted. It’s the youth leader dealing with the raging moods of teens or the women who prepare meals for the shut-ins and sick.

Unfortunately, too often, there are those who want to be in the limelight. This hinders what the Lord wants to do in their life and in the heart of those who were called to that position. Then there are those who refuse to anything but sit warming a pew. Their attitude is “I am too busy! I got to live my life!” But we need to face the facts; most of us would not even be alive today without the grace of God.

The Lord has given us so much. We have the gift of salvation. We deserve death for our sins and yet when we call out to Him, seeking His forgiveness, He freely covers us with His blood and we are cleansed. Grace, mercy, and love are revealed to us daily. How can anyone just sit and do nothing when so much has been forgiven? No, we can’t earn our salvation. No one can! But what we do in return is a revelation of our love for the Lord.

Our age or health sometimes factor into our ability to operator in calling. The Lord knows our ability and heart. He would never ask a feeble man to climb onto the roof and make repairs, but He will call on him to make war against the enemy in prayer. Some have difficulty in attending services due to situations beyond their control or because they are caregivers to a loved one. Those same individuals can cry out for the hearts of those who are sitting in the church listening to the sermon.

Yes, you and you and you have a calling on your life. The Lord has a purpose for you. There is a task for you and when you press in and give it your best, you will be amazed at how your heart will soar with gladness. Yes, you are a part of a larger part and your part is just as important as someone sitting two rows behind you or in front of you. Pick up your tools of the your trade and get busy.

Crying out in Need

1

There is absolutely no “1, 2, 3…” method or way that work every single time when you are seeking the Lord. Some people think this works for them and others say that works but God is God, and He cannot be boxed in. He doesn’t fit into our little mold or in our concept of this will work or that will work. So what does work? That depends on you, the situation, and your relationship with the Lord. And in all honesty, when we are in desperate situations, our attitude becomes just as desperate as our need.

Throughout Scriptures, we see different approaches that brought about answers in the life of the person praying. From the very being in Genesis until the end of Revelations, we see God’s people reaching out to the Lord in various ways. Until the fall, Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in sweet fellowship in the cool of the evening. Of course, they lived in a perfect garden, surrounded by everything they needed. How their heart must have ached for the “good old days” as they toiled for their daily living.

Enoch ‘walked’ with God. Enoch had one of the most perfect relationships possible with the Lord. His walk was so intense that he never experienced death. Scripture says that the Lord took him to live in heaven with Him for eternity. Now, Enoch knew how the reach out and touch the Lord in a close relationship. Just as Elijah did and at the end of his time on earth was taken in a whirlwind. How many reading this would love to have that type of bond with their Savior? I know I would love to be closer than ever before.

Abraham kept pressing the Lord for the righteous that were possibly living in Sodom. Six times he interceded for the innocents in Sodom. In each effort, he reduced the number by either five or ten people. However at the same request, Abraham also asked for the Lord’s mercy and for Him not to be angry. The question is are you willing to intercede repeatedly when you feel so strong about the need. Have you been in a hard place and you kept pressing in and asking the Lord to move?

Think about the lady with the issue of blood. This poor woman pushed through to touch the hem of His garment. Her heart cry was “If only…” Or maybe Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they were forced closer to the fiery furnace, They knew that even in the face of death – their voice would only cry out in reverence to the Jehovah. David cried out in worship on the long lonely nights as he watched over his flocks. His very name revealed his relationship; David – a man after God’s own heart.

Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord in his determination to obtain a blessing. No matter how it took, he was going to hang on until he got what he wanted. Daniel mourned before the Lord in prayer for three solid weeks after receiving a vision of what was to come. Moses climbed a mountain to see a burning bush. Then just a short time later, he climbed another mountain to receive God’s instructions for the children of Israel. Moses spoke to Jehovah face to face as a friend. Joshua remained in the presence of the Lord even after Moses left the Tabernacle.

There are so many more examples of His people crying out to the Lord. Some fell on their faces, others cried aloud and still others reached out just to touch Him as He walked past the place they stood. One of the most precious scenes to me is John the beloved. During the Last Supper, John laid his head upon the chest of Jesus. If the room was quiet enough, he probably could hear the heartbeat of the Lord.

No matter what you are enduring today – cry out to Him. Lift your voice, weep, shout, or whisper – the choice is yours. How great is your need? How great is your desire? Just call out and let the One who loves you until the end of eternity hear your heartfelt cry. Be like a Daniel willing to cry out day after day until you hear His answer. Or like Isaiah until you see Him high and lifted up. Take that step of faith and reach out for the hem of His garment. He waits to hear your voice even now.

Overcoming Fear

1

Chaos, turmoil, hatred fills the atmosphere of too many places in our world. Murders, ambushes, genocide, gang wars, thugs and men and women without consciences take the life of another just because… no particular reason, just because. Overseas, Christians are tortured and beheaded simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Here in the USA, we are hearing more about drive-by shootings, road rage, vicious unprovoked attacked of people simply out walking or shopping. People are afraid to go out of their homes, and truthfully in some areas, they are afraid even in their homes.

Many Christians are anxious to speak out about the Lord, simply because they are fearful of becoming targets themselves. They are afraid to offend someone or maybe they won’t be ‘politically’ correct. Someone might think that they are judging others. If they speak words of truth – it might mean someone won’t like them anymore. Often they are accused of ‘cramming their religion’ down someone’s throat.

Yet, the Word says “Fear not” appears in Scripture 365 times. There is a verse that we can hold-on to and proclaim over our lives every day of the year. In fact, before the children of Israel was preparing to enter the Promise Land after 40 long years in the desert, the Lord spoke to Joshua twice to be strong. The Lord knew that after all these years of walking in circles that this was a major change for His people. “Be strong and of a good courage” – simple words but powerful when they come from the Lord of Host. Fear was not an option.

Fear does strange things to people. It can cause some to run screaming, others to be frozen in place, unable to move. Yet, we know that fear is not form the Lord. Yes, there is a heathy fear of the Lord, and as it should be. To fall into the hands of the Almighty God and Creator is a fearful thing. But for those who know the Lord as their Savior, fear of the things in this world is not an option. Isaiah 41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

He is right here with you. The Lord we serve is not some faraway God who only comes in major events. The God of your Salvation is always with you. He never leaves you. His eye is always upon you – twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. His love is so strong and powerful that nothing and no one can compare. Even as you combed your hair this morning, he knows exactly how many strands came out; just as He knows exactly how many strands are on your head this very second.


There is a Scripture that fits every need you have to overcome your fear. A “fear not…” is available for you every single day of the year. Lamentations 3:55-57 I called on Your name, O LORD, From the lowest pit. You have heard my voice: “Do not hide Your ear From my sighing, from my cry for help.” You drew near on the day I called on You, And said, “Do not fear!” No matter what you are enduring at this moment. He is right beside you telling you “Do Not FEAR!”

I pray that today you will feel the presence of the Lord helping you to overcome. I pray that He will minister His peace to your heart and spirit. I have that like Joshua who was facing a great battle you will hear the Lord speak to your heart telling you to “Be strong and of good courage” Remember the battle is the Lord’s and He will help you overcome.

Just a Touch

1

The cry was real, just as the anguish in his heart. “I need a touch. I need to hear the Lord deep within my spirit once more. I don’t know just how much more I can take. I try to read His word and the letters run together. Prayer seems like dry sawdust filling my mouth. I have cried so much that there should be a roaring river flowing from my home. I don’t understand what I need to do. I don’t know how to get out of this pit of despair. I know what He has said in my head, but I can’t get it into my heart. I am failing His daily.”

This is a conversation that has filled my ears almost daily lately. His saints are tired and weary and there is no question that many are walking in agony and have no idea how to overcome. Their spirits have been attacked, and beaten up. Much like a fighter, they feel they are down for the count and the count is at …7, 8, …. Many have felt a deep heart wound, and truthfully the wound was meant to totally destroy them. It might have been an unimaginable betrayal from someone that they loved with all their heart. Or as in one case, it came a personal attack over something that had been laid at the foot of the cross many years ago. Or perhaps, a backstabbing event has left the wounded floundering unable to open up again as their fear overwhelms them.

“I need to hear from the Lord!” This heart is desperate and longing for a touch from the very One that they have served for years. Their cry is much like the Israelites as they suffered under the rule of the Egyptians in over 400 years of slavery. Generation upon generation had never known the Voice of the Lord. Yet as they cried out – He sent the answer.

Can you imagine the agony Peter felt after he failed and denied the Lord those three times? As the rooster crowed, his heart must have felled to his feet. Failure loomed over him larger than life as he wondered what could he do now. Jesus was dead. Even as the women reported “He has risen,” did he wonder if there was a chance for him? Or did his sin weigh heavily on his heart? But the Lord knew Peter and the need he had to know that the Lord loved him in spite of his mistakes.

Out of His grace and mercy, the Lord sent the answer even before the question was asked. Mark 16:6-7 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Go and tell Peter – Jesus has risen from the dead. Hope in the middle of his darkness, a message of hope and not despair. The joy of knowing the Lord still loved him.

Today, He is sending the same message to you. Tell my sons and my daughters that I am alive and well. I have called them by name and they are mine. Just as I called out the name of Peter, I am calling out your name. Allow My Holy Spirit to flow over you and fill you afresh. I have seen your anguish and I know your need. Yes, I am calling you out by name even now. I am alive and you are Mine. Rest in that. See More

Say What?

1

How often in your life, have you wanted to undo something? Maybe it was a spoken word or a reaction to someone else. It would be nice to have a back button like the one on the computer; unfortunately, that is not the case in life. You simply can’t unscramble the eggs of life. Once something happens, that’s it, it’s a done deal.

Peter probably felt that same way. Put yourself in his sandals for just a minute. He spent three years following the greatest teacher in the world. Miracles of healings and people set free from various diseases happened every day. Even demonic spirits fled in the face of the master. Peter stepped out of the boat in a raging storm and walked on water with Him.

In an instant, everything changed. As he stood, watching the torture of his beloved master – he denied Jesus. Not once but three times, he proclaimed, “I do not know Him”. Suddenly the cock crowed three times. I wondered if he imagined the noise sounded like the words “You failed”, or “I told you, so!”

Every person alive both young and old makes mistakes. It might be a word misspoken, a glaring look, or maybe rolling the eyes. Some make their displeasure known by their body movements. Maybe, the message is sent loud and clear by total silence or in isolating ourselves from the world. We make our displeasure known, regardless the delivery method.

It is such a comfort knowing that even when we fail the Lord or fall into sin, He doesn’t hold the offence against us when we repent. The key word in the last sentence is repent. His love is everlasting, and He promises to never leave us, but there are times when we turn and walk away in our sin. We want our way instead of His. We demand our freedom. We desire our way instead of His. Maybe we might feel His ways are too legalistic or rigid. So we rebel, insisting on our own way. Of course, it’s because we know so much more that the God of all creation. Yea, right!

Once the reality of our situation becomes clear, we have to acknowledge our mistake. Nothing we say or do can undo the state of affairs in our life. These eggs (our life) are scrambled into one big blob. But we still have hope. The One who created us hears our cry. He extends His hand of mercy. As we cry out in repentance, we can stand in His love and forgiveness. Yes, He is there, waiting even now for us to turn to Him and seek His face.
Psalm 38:15 For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.

Let Praise Arise

1

“This is the day that the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.” No one else could have made this day. No one else could have ensured that YOU would be here. No one else can sing your praises for our Creator. No one can lift their voice in worship and then say “I’m standing in so-and-so’s place. You are the only one who can sing for you and say that He is worthy.

The question is do you believe that the very One who called you since the beginning of time is worthy of your praise? Do you believe that the One that made the sun, moon and stars deserves your praise? Does the Lord of lords and the King of Kings really merit you taking time to lay everything else aside and spend time lifting His name up?

The answer is “Absolutely yes and always!” It doesn’t matter what is happening in your life at this very moment. The Lord is still worthy of praise. He has given you so much, and blessed you in more ways than you can even count. If you are alive and reading this should be motivation enough. You are alive and breathing and no one else deserves worship like the Lord our God.

His grace has never failed us. His mercy reaches to the ends of the earth. His forgiveness is beyond measure. His love is unending. His truth is everlasting. His strength is unfailing. His touch is real. His hope is relentless. His salvation is free. His Words are eternal. His death is redeeming. His resurrection is forever. His life is continuous. His blood was shed for you.
Yes this is the day the Lord has made. Make the decision today that you will lift up your voice in worship and praise to His Holy Name. No one can compare to Lord and no one will ever love you with a purer love than Him.

Rejoice, rejoice, and again I say rejoice, for the Lord God Almighty reigns.

Lifeguarding Our Souls

1

One look at the young girl’s face revealed much of her story even without knowing any details of her life. Extremely shy and timid, she had the look of a little petrified rabbit that feels the eyes of a hungry hawk stalking her from above. This young lady is still several years from her twenties and yet according to the world she is almost grown. Yet, one look at her tugs at your heartstrings as you wonder what this little one has endured in her few short years to bring about the intense pain that is in her eyes. This is one of God’s children, which has never known love, not even from her parents. She has been bullied and tormented what seems like every single day of her life. And the truth is that unless something changes, her life will continue in the same manner. She needs a touch from the Lord.

Or maybe it’s that homeless alcoholic that sits at the corner holding his sign for help. Have you thought about what brought him to that place? Maybe he relives the horrors he saw while fighting in a land far away. His nights are filled with nightmares of the worse time of his life. Or maybe it’s the young boy who lives on the streets just trying to get by a day at a time and sometimes an hour at a time. He does whatever he can just to live. Yes, there might be track marks on his arms, but why? We never saw the abuse and torment he endured at the hands of the very ones who were suppose to protect him. Maybe it’s the woman who has been abused emotionally and mentally by every man that she thought loved her. Each time her choices take her further down that road called “Rejection Ave.”

We all make our choices and we are all quick to point out the failures of others because of their choices. Yet, we fail to look at what caused them to come to the place they are today. Is it right? Absolutely not! Am I making excuses for their actions and failures? Again NO! Their life is a shamble and will remain so until someone, somewhere begins to show them godly compassion. Did you try it with someone and nothing good came out of it? So what! Try again! How many times did the Lord try to get your attention? Did you turn your life around the very first time He called your name? Probably not!

Even if your attempts have failed – don’t give up. You might have to pull back and regroup – but you can still pray. Pray for divine intervention. Pray for mercy and grace. Pray for blinded eyes to be open and deaf ears to hear once more. Pray for God’s love to overcome their darkness. Pray and then pray some more. The Lord never gave up on you – allow His love for them to fill your heart. Ask the Lord to let you see them through His eyes.

Think of the Samaritan woman who gave Jesus water at the well. He knew of her five failed marriages and truth that she was living in adultery then. Yet, He never turned away from her need of salvation. When He called Matthew as His disciple, Jesus knew of his life as a tax collector. They were considered some of the worse sinners in Israel and yet the Lord looked past his choices and saw his heart. Throughout Scriptures, we see the second chances the Lord gave His people. Just as He gave you and I second chances.

Allow the Lord to minister to your heart today those that you need to be lifting up before the throne of grace. Let His Spirit show you how He sees them. Then begin standing in gap for them, asking them Lord to redeem their souls unto salvation. Follow His leading and reach out when He ministers to do so. And simply faithfully pray when He ministers to do nothing but pray. Share when He tells you to and keep quiet when He says to keep quiet. Be His instrument, be His tool working for His glory and for His Kingdom. Remember that you are making a difference in the light of eternity. It’s time to turn the tide in the lives of His lost little ones.

Me? How Can it Be?

1

You are loved far beyond anything you can imagine. Yes, you! No one can ever love you more than the Lord God Almighty. No matter how young or old you are – you are loved. No matter where you are standing or sitting – you are loved. Your health doesn’t change the truth of His love. Your financial situation doesn’t lessen His love. No matter how many mistakes you have made, His love is still true. No matter how many bad choices you have made – His love is real. No matter if you turned your back on Him, He waits with open arms.

You see, the Lord’s love is not like our love. Some humans fall in love and out of love. Friendships die. Betrayals happen and people turn their backs on one another. But this is not the case with the Lord. His love is eternal and everlasting. Scripture tells us that even before the world was formed, He loved you. Think about that for a moment. The Lord God thought of you, before He created this earth you are standing on. That is an awesome thought.

Even more so is the truth that He called you by name. Your mom and dad might have placed your name on a birth certificate but He placed your name on their hearts. Another truth is that no matter what the circumstances of your conception was – you were wanted. There are three possibilities in your conception. You were planned and wanted by your parents. You were un-planned but still wanted. But the most hurtful is to be unplanned and unwanted. If you were one of the unlucky ones that were in that last category, there is a sense of isolation that most people cannot understand.

Yet, in the midst of everything, there is one truth that you can hold on to. You were and are wanted by the Lord. You are were and are loved by the Lord. No one can take that away from you. He was willing to send His only Son to make a way for your salvation. Your heavenly Father wanted to ensure that you had a way of redemption. That is only possible when you cry out for forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus.

Yes, it is true that our sin separates us from our Heavenly Father. But, all we have to do is yield our hearts and spirits back to Him in humbleness. Just as David did when his sin of adultery was confronted by the prophet Nathan, his words revealed a humbled and repentant heart. He cried out to the Lord, “Against You and You alone I have sinned.” That should be our cry also when we fall short of His ways.

Where is your heart today? Are you walking in His love or have you strayed from the path He has for you? Have you laid it all at His feet? Or maybe, you need to cry out as David did in repentance for choosing your way instead of His. As you examine your heart, allow His love to begin ministering afresh to you. His love will never fail, or fall short. His love is eternal. And His love is towards you. Press in today to all He has for you. See His love for what it is – true, and everlasting. Yes, you are loved. You are wanted. And you are cherished in the eyes of the Lord. Return to your first love and rejoice in His love for you!

Men, Walk in Your Calling

1

Dad, Daddy, Pop, Pa, Father – are names used by the multitudes to identify the man in their life known as their father. He might be the biological father or even a stepfather who has stepped up to the plate to raise a child. No matter what name is used; a father should be one of the most important relationships a child has in their life. Some ask why. The answer is easy – our earthly father should be a representative of our Heavenly Father.

Too often in today’s society, that is not the case. Men have failed to realize the importance of their role in the home and the hearts of these young children. They are too busy trying to get ahead in life providing more for their families, failing to realize spending time is more important that the “things” that money buys.

Psalm 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. Pity in today’s society simply means to feel a deep sorrow in a certain situation. However, in Scripture it means “fondle, love, compassion, mercy, and pity.” One beautiful picture is a child throwing their arms around daddy’s neck and hugging with all their strength. That freedom reveals a child secure in their daddy’s love.

Psalms 68:5 states the He is a Father to the fatherless. Think about that for a moment. To all the abused and deserted kids in the world, He desires to show Himself merciful. To the lonely, He wants to demonstration His fellowship. Those that have never known a touch of tenderness, He longs to pour out His love and grace. Those that are afraid – He longs to reveal His saving arm.

In the life of those children that have never seen the heart of a true father’s love, the Lord desires to show them truth and reality. To do this He will use the men who walk in His ways. That is seen throughout His Word in many of His servants. Abraham watched over Lot. The disciples watched over each other. Paul led and guided Timothy as he grew in the Lord.

Men of the Lord, walk in your calling. Be all the Lord has called you to be – an example of His love and compassion to those who are hurting. Show pity to them just as Psalms 103:13 says. You may be the only example of the Father’s love that His lost children will see. Dads, you are His hands and feet, He entrusted you to carry His love to His lost and dying children.