Does He Know You?

Scripture: Luke 13:

24 "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
       "But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

26 "Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

27 "But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Zechariah 7,8,9; Luke 13 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: Knowing about Jesus and believing in Jesus is only the beginning, we must be in relationship with Him.

Application: Jesus came to change the way that God and man relate to one another.  No longer is God somewhere out there, now because of Christ’s work on the cross, because He has bridged the gap between God and man, we can know God and God can know us because His Spirit dwells within.

Even the demons know of Jesus, they believe that He is the Son of God, they tremble in His presence, but they don’t have a saving relationship with Him.  There must be a relationship with Jesus.  In the book of Revelation Jesus gives us the picture of Him standing at the door of our hearts and knocking, desiring to come in and fellowship with us.  It is more than belief, it is more than acknowledgment it is a putting on, a welcoming in, it is a relationship between God and man that brings salvation.

Belief and acknowledgment of who Christ is may be the first step but it is certainly not the last.  As we grow in knowledge and in the grace of the Lord, we must not only call out to Him, but we must also listen for His guidance, and experience the relationship.

The old question of "Do you know Jesus?" is important but an even bigger question is "Does Jesus know you?"

Prayer: Almighty God,

Thank you for your Son Jesus Christ who makes my relationship with you possible.  Help me to not only know you, but to be known by you as a Child of faith, and as a servant of your will.  Forgive me when I oversimplify the gospel and help me to share the truth of the deeper commitment that is necessary for those who seek Your Kingdom.

Love Michael

Too Much Worrying Is A Sin

Scripture: Luke 12:

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life [b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Zechariah 4,5,6; Luke 12 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation:  When we spend too much time worrying, we are showing a lack of faith in God’s plan.

Application:  Some have said that worrying is a sin, and if you worry even a little, you’re sinning.  Why?  Because Jesus says right here in our scripture – "do not worry" and Jesus’ word is law.  I think that calling all worry a sin may be pushing the point that Jesus was making to an extreme, but there is no doubt that Christ is discouraging us from worrying too much about things.

Worrying is something that I think everyone who cares about anything at all is going to do naturally from time to time.  If you care about your family, you’re going to worry about them when you think they may be in danger, if you care about your job, you may worry if you think you may lose it.  We can’t help but to worry a little bit, but I think the sin comes in allowing that worry to fester up and become the biggest part of who you are.  Worrying can overtake you, it can enrapture you and control you and that, I think, is when we start being in danger of sinning because we have allowed our worries to turn into fears, and our fears have crushed out our faith in God.

I have seen some incredible circumstances unfold in my life that ultimately brought me to where I am today.  I bet you could say the same thing.  Some people may call them coincidences, but I call it part of God’s plan.  All the good and all the bad things that I’ve endured and encountered have been a part of that plan, and yes I have had some times of doubt fear and worry, but none of those negative emotions changed anything for the better.  So if God is ultimately in control, and there is really nothing that surprises Him then why should I waist time holding on to negative emotions, why should I worry, why should I fear?  This is what Jesus is saying I think. 

The disciples were going to face some difficult times in the coming years, and I think Jesus was giving them something to reflect back on with these words.  And they are good words for His disciples still today.  "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! "

Prayer:  Father of All The Universe,

Help me not to worry so much about the future, or about what I’m going to do, where I’m going to live, what I’m going to eat, or what I’m going to wear.  Help me to put my trust for myself and my loved ones firmly in your hands and go forward each day in joy and happiness.  Grant me peace and serenity in the face of the storms of life and a knowing that you are watching over me and the ones I love.

Love Michael

Asking God For The Same Things

Scripture: Luke 11:

9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened.

11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for [f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Zechariah 1,2,3; Luke 11 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: When I pray the same prayers for the same things every day, it’s not about reminding God – it’s about reminding myself.

Application:   I’ve often wondered if God ever gets tired of hearing me ask for the same things day after day.  My prayers change when certain circumstances arise of course, but there is always a foundation from which I ask the same things daily from God. Protection for my family, strength to serve, forgiveness for failure, these are elements that are always in my prayers.  Does God get tired of hearing the same things over and over?  I mean I am talking to the supreme creator of the universe, the one who has all knowledge and all power, and who am I to constantly remind him that I desire these things?

I read this scripture and Jesus is encouraging us to ask from the Father isn’t He?  Yes I think so.  I think He’s saying ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking and if you ask and seek and knock long enough, the door will be opened.   So since God is all knowing, why do I need to keep on asking? 

I think the answer is not that I need to keep reminding God of what I need, but rather I need to keep reminding myself that I need these things through God’s help.  I can’t claim victory in life without acknowledging that it came from God.  All blessings flow from God!

I think back to a sign I once saw at a church in my hometown.  The church has been gone for years, and a bank stands where it was now, but the message of the sign stays with me, it said "Prayer doesn’t bring God down to man; it brings man up to God."  So the act of prayer, the reminding of what I need and where the source of my strength comes from is something that is more of a reminder to myself.  Yes God knows my needs and I don’t have to tell God what they are, but I need to know that when I see those needs met, that it is by God’s grace and because of His love for me that the doors are opened.

Prayer: God who hears prayers and answers needs,

Thank you for the great gift of prayer.  I praise you that I can come to you and be lifted up in my spirit, make my petitions to you, seek your face, and find forgiveness through prayer.  Help me to pray in the right way, and through your Spirit allow me to make a difference not only in my life but in the lives of the ones I pray for.

Love Michael

Let The House Be Messy

Scripture: Luke 10:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. [f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Haggai 1,2; Psalms 129; Luke 10 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: Sometimes we worry too much about little things, and let the bigger, more important matters go unattended.

Application: There was a woman standing in a checkout line of a grocery store behind two younger women.  The younger women were complaining about how messy their houses were and how no one would help them keep it clean.  The older lady interrupted and said, "Girls, I used to have a messy house like you and I used to complain about it to.  Now I have a very clean house, but my husband has passed on, my children all grew up and moved out and now I’m in that big clean house alone.  I would trade my clean house for your messy house any day.  Be thankful for your messy house."

There are lots of things in life that seem very urgent, and demand our attention now, but just because they are the most urgent, doesn’t mean that they are always the most important.  Learn the difference and tend to the important things instead of the urgent.  Sometimes its better to say no to an urgent thing and let it go, than it is to let an important thing be neglected by you. Don’t miss your life’s most precious times tending to all the little things that can be done later – don’t worry about washing the dishes if Jesus is in the living room!

Prayer: God,

Please help us all to set our priorities in proper order.  Let us attend to the important things first, and then get to the urgent things when the important things have been given our attention.  Keep us on the right track and help us to serve you in all that we do, forgive us when we fail to do the important things first.

Love Michael

God Of Our Work

Scripture: Psalm 127:

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
       the builders labor in vain.
       Unless the LORD watches over the city,
       the guards stand watch in vain.

Ezra 4; Psalms 113; Psalms 127; Luke 9 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: Without God, our labors in this life are useless.

Application: No matter what kind of work you do, you need God to be involved.  We can ask for God’s blessing on our work whether we are caring for or serving others, or whether we are mopping floors.  God is interested in what you do, and more importantly how you do what you do. 

We spend a great deal of our lives in whatever vocations we find ourselves, and too many times we forget about God during those hours.  It’s like we think we should turn God off during work time, and then when we leave the job and are on our own time, then we can let God back in.  We should remember that God is responsible for allowing us to have a vocation in the first place.  Your boss may not be a person of faith, they may consider work hours their time, but God does not go away because of any lack of faith. It’s all God’s time. 

This scripture says to me that if I’m not able to bring God into my work, then my labor is in vain.  It is as useless as chasing the wind.  Work is more than bringing in an income, it’s more than paying bills, it is a part of who you are and the way you behave at work can speak volumes about your relationship with God.

I"m not saying that if you’re not allowed to talk about God at your workplace you should quit your job or endanger your family stability.  If God is in your heart, then there should be no way that they can keep God out and let you in at the same time.  Think of new and innovative ways of sharing the love of God.  Pray, and ask Him for wisdom and guidance and to be a part of what you do.  Allow God to move through you.  If you are a willing tool of God, He will use you in ways you might never have imagined.

Prayer: Father of all time, and all places,

Grant me the boldness I need to bring you into every area of my life.  No matter where I am or what I’m doing, let me do it with you in mind and with you at my side.  Keep me in service to you always and teach my hands to do your work.

Love Michael

Powerful Faith In Jesus

 Scripture:  Luke 8:

46 But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me."

47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Ezra 2,3; Luke 8 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation: Our Faith in Christ Jesus gives us power to overcome our biggest problems.

Application:  The woman from this scripture had exhausted all of her resources in the natural world to cure her, and had gotten nowhere.  But when she heard of Jesus she must have thought, "this is God himself sending me a cure, if I can just get to this man and touch even the hem of his garment I know I’ll be healed."  In her weakened condition she fought her way through the crowd, not allowing anyone to stop her or get in her way.  Finally she was within reach, and she stretched out her hand reaching through the crowd around this person and that and as He went by she touched Him.

Although people were all around Him, pressing into Him, Jesus knew immediately that someone had reached out in a special way and touched Him with faith, He felt power go out from Himself and He looked for who it was that had received the blessing of that power.  When she revealed herself to Christ, He told her "your faith has healed you" even though the power came from Christ, her faith had activated that power. She knew that God had placed this moment and opportunity before her so that she might be healed, and she took advantage of it and found the blessing.

God wants to bless you today.  It is His desire that your life be abundant and full, and it doesn’t matter what your issue is, there is power available when you reach out in faith to Jesus.  Distance and time are irrelevant when it comes to spiritual matters, so no matter where you are or when you are reading this I join with you right now in agreement that God is present and is ready to Heal, Deliver, and Set Free!

Mat 18:20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

My Brother, My Sister, Jesus is walking by you right now.  Reach out in faith and be made whole.

Prayer: Father God Almighty,

Thank you for the power of faith in your son Jesus Christ.  Allow me to join with all those who are in need and reaching out to you right now in faith.  Grant a miraculous manifestation of your power in their lives and let it be a witness of you and your Son Jesus, of your glory, power, mercy and love.

Amen.

The Dwelling Place Of The Almighty

Scripture:  Psalms 84:

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
       LORD Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints,
       for the courts of the LORD;
       my heart and my flesh cry out
       for the living God.

Ezra 1; Psalms 84,85; Luke 7 – Passage Lookup – Today’s New International Version – BibleGateway.com

Observation:  God dwells in hearts that are prepared for Him, and which desire His presence and power.

Application:  I think about this Psalm and how it speaks of entering into the courts of God’s dwelling place.  For the author of this song it was about the temple, and the words are describing a pilgrimage and traveling to that specific place where the Spirit of God resided. 

I am so thankful for Jesus!  He has made it so that we don’t have to journey to some far away land and look for a temple that is in a specific place.  The temple of God is no longer a building of wood and stone, rather the temple of God is the hearts of His people.

Because Christ said that He would send the comforter who would reside within us, it is now our body which has become a holy place for God.  Purified by the blood of Christ and our faith in Him , we are prepared to be that repository of His Spirit. 

Oh how precious a gift God gave us in Jesus, now we are truly His children. 

Prayer:  Father who dwells within,

Thank you for Jesus.  Thank you for the fact that your dwelling place is now within the hearts of those who have put on Christ.  Help me each day to be that dwelling place, and to prepare myself for every good work in You.  Forgive me when I fail to remember that it is within my heart that Your Spirit lives and works and help me to always be mindful and reverent, happy and thankful that You have come so near.

Love Michael