Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 NLT

When a problem behavior or relationship is developing in our lives, we don't want to face the truth about our actions because of the painful feelings honesty would bring. Instead, we try using defenses to cover the truth or excuse ourselves. Defenses can be used appropriately, but when we use them to avoid facing the truth about ourselves, they make delusion even darker.

Each person has a favorite set of defenses. A few of the commonly used ones are blaming, denying, explaining, joking, justifying, minimizing and rationalizing.

What defenses have you used? And are you using any right now to cover up a problem in your life?

Are you hiding from the truth in some area of your life? Take a giant step: Be honest with yourself. Be honest with Jesus. Be honest with others. Jesus is the Truth … and the truth will set you free!


Father, thank you for your promise that the truth will set me free. Please set me free from delusions in my life. Set me free to become all that you want me to be. In Jesus' name …

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Living Free - Denying a Personal Problem

A scoffer seeks Wisdom in vain [for his very attitude blinds and deafens him to it], but knowledge is easy to him who [being teachable] understands. Proverbs 14:6 AMP

Thoughts for Today

Are you "protecting" yourself by denying a problem in your life?

Denial is the refusal to believe the truth about our actions. Most people with life-controlling problems at some point begin to deny having a problem. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they refuse to admit the truth. Instead, they tend to rationalize their behavior. "It's not that bad." "I'm not hurting anyone." "I don't really have a problem."

Continued denial leads to a state of delusion, a condition where people no longer recognize the truth about their actions. They sincerely believe their own excuses and become blind to the truth. In the end, denial of the truth will lead to destruction.

Consider this …

Are you hiding from a problem in your life? Are you like the "scoffer" in today's Psalm—asking God (or friends) for guidance but being blinded and deafened by your attitude … by your denial of the truth?

Do you love the struggling person in your life enough to let go … and lean on God?

Personal Reflection:

I confess, I have been denying a personal struggle. My old life is surfacing and for some time I have been justifying my actions. Don't get me wrong, I still have guilty convictions and the Lord never failed to remind me and provide a way out for me. But I didn't listen to Him. Now I want to admit that, Yes! This is a big problem.

Lord I want to say sorry and I ask your healing mercy be upon my life today. Help me deny, reject, refuse, and run away from the everyday temptation that the enemy shoots at me. I admit I cannot do this alone, I need You! As a response Lord I commit myself to strongly fight this temptation using your word everyday. I will faithfully read my Bible, pray, and write my journal everyday. Help me Lord. I know I am already victorious and I thank You Lord for a new start that you have blessed me with. I commit all this to You, in Jesus name. AMEN!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


1 John 2:16
The boastful pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world

This temptation is at the heart of the New Age Movement: the temptation to direct our own destiny, to rule our own world, to be our own god. Satan teased Eve concerning the forbidden fruit: "The day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). Satan's offer was an exaggerated call to our God-instilled inclination to rule. "Don't be satisfied ruling under God," he seemed to say, "when you have the potential to be like God." When Eve was convinced that "the tree was desirable to make one wise" (verse 6), she and Adam ate.

Satan's promise that the couple would become like God was nothing more than a lie. When Adam and Eve yielded to his temptation, they didn't become the gods of this world as he claimed they would. Instead, they fell from their position of rulership with God, and Satan became the god of this world by default--exactly as he had planned.

Satan tried the same trick with Jesus: "All [the kingdoms of the world and their glory] will I give You, if You fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9). When you think about it, Satan's offer was pretty ridiculous. Why would Jesus be tempted to worship Satan in exchange for the world when He already owned the universe? So He replied, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only'" (verse 10).

The temptation of the pride of life is intended to steer us away from the worship of God and destroy our obedience to God by urging us to become our own god. Whenever you feel that you don't need God's help or direction, that you can handle your life without consulting Him, that you don't need to bow the knee to anyone, beware: That's the pride of life. Whenever you stop worshipping and serving God, you are in reality worshipping and serving Satan--which is what he wants more than anything else. Instead, your life should be characterized by worshipful humility and obedience to God (1 Peter 5:5-11; John 15:8-10).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Occupy then Expand (DON'T STOP THERE!)

One of the warriors of old made this statement: "The purpose of war is victory, and the purpose of victory is occupation." In the Kingdom, we add one more step to the process: The purpose of occupation is expansion.

The Lord would not give the Promised Land to Israel all at once because they did not have the ability to occupy all of the territory. By only giving them the amount of land they could occupy, He positioned them for expansion.. Expansion is vital to advancing the Kingdom of Heaven. The man who was given the one talent and buried it simply occupied and protected that accomplishment but suffered tremendously because he did not take what he had and position it for increase (Matthew 25:15-28).

It's important that we view life with the perspective of expansion and forward motion. When we think this way, we are positioning ourselves for increase and promotion. It's not healthy to simply find a place you want to stay in and occupy. The moment you have found a leveling-off place is the moment you begin backsliding.

When your passion begins to decline, you already start to die. You were born to burn. Elisha came to the king and said, "Please strike the ground with these arrows." And he struck the ground three times. The prophet became furious at the king and said, "If only you had struck the ground five or six times you would have annihilated the enemy, but now you're only going to have three temporary victories.." Because the king did not live out of passion, he couldn't carry the anointing that God wanted to give him, and it cost the nation. When leaders don't have passion, it costs everyone who follows.

Passion and the anointing run in parallel courses. A person with passion will take risks. Everything you want in the realm of the Kingdom is found through this veil of difficulty by stepping into the realm of inconvenience. You don't get it by coasting on yesterday's breakthrough. You were born for expansion.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Plan A vs. Plan B

Proverbs 3:5, 6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight

Untold numbers of Christians are spiritually unaware and defeated in their daily lives. They don't realize that there is a battle going on for their minds. When struggling believers perceive the nature of the conflict and realize that they can be transformed by the renewing of their minds, they will experience freedom.

Faith is God's way to live and reason is man's way, but faith and man's ability to rationalize are often in conflict. It's not that faith is unreasonable, nor am I suggesting that you ignore your responsibility to think. On the contrary, we are required by God to think and choose. God is a rational God and He does work through our ability to reason. The problem is that our ability to reason is limited. The Lord said: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). We are incapable of determining God's thoughts through human reasoning, therefore we are dependent on divine revelation.

So we can live God's way: operating by faith, which I like to call Plan A. Or we can live our way: operating by our limited ability to reason, which is Plan B. Plan B is based on our tendency to rationalize, "I don't see it God's way" or "I don't believe it," so we do it our way. Solomon urged us always to live God's way when he wrote: "Do not lean on your own understanding" (Plan B), but "in all your ways acknowledge Him" (Plan A)(Proverbs 3:5, 6).

The strength of Plan A in your life is determined by your personal conviction that God's way is always right and by how committed you are to obey Him. The strength of Plan B is determined by the amount of time and energy you invest in entertaining thoughts which are contrary to God's Word. You may really know God's way is best. But the moment you begin to entertain thoughts or ideas which are contrary to God's Word, you have established Plan B as an escape route in case Plan A should fail. Is it rational to choose our way over God's way?

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Word of Warning and of Hope

Malachi 2:17-3:6

You have wearied the LORD with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?" "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." (NIV)

It does not say in verse 2 that he is like a forest fire, or like an incinerator's fire. It says that he is like a refiner's fire. A forest fire destroys indiscriminately. An incinerator consumes completely. But verse 6 says, "I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed—you are not destroyed."
A Word of Warning and a Word of Hope

He is a refiner's fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner's fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner's fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner's fire.

It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper "fear and trembling" in the process of becoming pure. We learn it from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it's a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don't fool around with it.

But it does say, he is like a REFINER'S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction.
Four Questions About This Text

Now, to unfold this text, let me ask four questions, and point you to their answers in the Scripture in the time we have.

1. Who is like a refiner's fire?
2. Why must he be like a refiner's fire?
3. How can we experience his fire as refining and not consuming?
4. What is life like in the refiner's fire?

1. Who Is Like a Refiner's Fire?

Verse 3 gives the answer. As I read it, look for three individuals.

Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

Three Individuals Mentioned

The first individual mentioned is "I"—"Behold, I send . . . " This "I" is identified at the end of the verse: "Says the Lord of hosts." The speaker is Jehovah, God the Father.

The second individual mentioned is Jehovah's messenger who prepares the way. "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me." Who is this? Well the New Testament quotes this very verse to identify John the Baptist, the one who came to prepare the way for Christ (Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27).

But you don't have to read in from the New Testament that this is a kind of prophet whom God would raise up in the last day. It says in Malachi 4:5, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." So the first messenger mentioned in 3:1 that God will send to prepare his way is a kind of Elijah or one like Elijah. That is why Luke 1:17 says that John the Baptist went before Jesus in the Spirit and the power of Elijah.

The third individual mentioned in verse 1 is "the Lord who comes to his temple." "And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight."

The Identity of the Third Individual

This is another messenger, different from the first. Who is this person? Three things point to the divine Son of God and Messiah.

1. He is called "Lord"—a term that Malachi would not apply to Elijah or John the Baptist. This person is someone greater.
2. The temple is said to belong to him: He will suddenly come to "HIS temple." Of whom could you say that he is the owner of the temple of God?
3. This person seems to be almost identical with Jehovah, not only because Jehovah's temple is his temple, but also because he seems to take the place of the word "me" in the first half of the verse. It says, "Behold, I send my messenger [Elijah=John the Baptist] to prepare the way before ME . . . " But then he switches without any difficulty and instead of saying, "And I will suddenly come to my temple," he says, "And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple." It looks as though "me"—Jehovah—is virtually interchangeable with this other person called the Lord, who owns the temple of God.

So I conclude that the messenger of the covenant, the Lord, the owner of the temple of God, is none other than the Son of God, who is with God and is God, and who came into the world and made himself known to us personally in Jesus Christ.

So when verse 2 goes on to say, "But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears, for he is like a refiner's fire," I conclude that it is talking about the Son of God who came to us in Jesus Christ.
2. Why Must He Be Like a Refiner's Fire?

The answer is implied in the word itself. He must be a like a refiner's because we need to be refined.

We Need to Be Refined

We were created in the image of God with the potential to reverence God and trust him and obey him and glorify him, but we were born in iniquity and in sin did our mothers conceive us. We are shot through with the impurity of rebellion and unbelief, and we fall short of God's glory again and again.

You can prove this to yourself in many ways. For example, you can notice how readily your heart inclines to those things that will show your strengths to other people, and how resistant your heart is to communion with God in solitude.

So we are impure by nature and by practice. But God will have no alloys in heaven. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And yet he will have someone in heaven. He will have a redeemed people. His banquet hall will be full. And therefore he must be a refiner's fire. If he were only a forest fire, heaven would be empty. If he were only an incinerating fire, heaven would be empty. And if he were no fire, heaven would be empty.

Why God Won't Abandon Impure People Like Us

But how do we know heaven will not be empty? Or to put it another way, how do we know that God will not simply abandon impure people like us? We don't deserve salvation? Why are we not simply consumed? Why does Christ come as a refiner's fire and not a forest fire?

Verse 6 gives the answer? "For I the Lord do not change; therefore, you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." But by itself that doesn't make sense. What if God were changelessly bent on being a forest fire? What if he were changeless in unrelenting wrath? What sort of changelessness is it that guarantees that we are not consumed?

It is covenant-keeping changelessness. According to verse 1 the Lord comes as "the messenger of the covenant." The reason Jesus is a refiner's fire and not a forest fire is because God made a covenant. And Jesus is the emissary of that covenant. He confirms it and seals it with his blood. So his blood is called in Hebrews 13:20, "the blood of the everlasting covenant."

The book of Malachi began with a statement of how the covenant began. "'I have loved you,' says the Lord. But you say, 'How hast thou loved us?' 'Is not Esau Jacob's brother?' says the LORD. 'Yet I have loved Jacob!'" (1:2). This is what never changes—the free and sovereign choice of God to save sinners. "'I have loved you,' says the Lord . . . 'And I the Lord do not change. Therefore you are not consumed.'" Therefore, Jesus is a refiner's fire and not a forest fire.
3. How Can We Experience His Fire as Refining and Not Consuming?

Verse 5 makes it clear that when God comes, not everyone will be refined. Some will be consumed.

Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

This is not the work of refinement, but the final judgment of condemnation. It is ever clearer in 4:1,

For behold, the day comes burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

So when the Lord comes, some are refined and some are consumed. How can we be sure to experience the fire of God as refining and not consuming?

What the Answer Cannot Be

Notice very clearly what the answer cannot be! The answer cannot be: get rid of your own sin. If you got rid of your own sin, you would need no refining. Refining is for sinners! You can't answer the question, How do I qualify to get refined? by saying, Get rid of your sin! That's what refining does—it starts to burn up your sin? But how, then, does a sinner qualify to have his sin burned up? If it takes the merciful fire of God to destroy the rebellion of sin, what can a man do to have that mercy?

The Answer of the Whole Bible

And the answer of the whole Bible is: trust in the purifying mercy God! Or to put it the way Malachi puts it again and again: fear God—which means mainly fear to dishonor him with unbelief. Fear the irreverence of distrust. Fear the impulse to jump out of the refining fire of mercy into the forest fire of judgment because it looks cooler. Trust the goodness of God. Believe that his ways are the ways to infinite joy. Don't doubt his expertise as a Refiner.

He knows the time for joy, and, truly,
Will send it when He sees it meet;
When He has tried and purged thee duly,
And finds thee free from all deceit.
He comes to thee all unaware,
And makes thee own his loving care.

The way to experience the fire of Christ as refining and not consuming is to trust his promise to bring us through the fire to endless joy. Salvation is by grace through faith in the purifying mercy of God.
4. What Is Life Like in the Refiner's Fire?

The most important thing to say is that it is a life of confidence in God. And the foundation of our confidence is this promise: The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. "I the Lord do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob!" Which simply means that life in the refiner's fire is a life of trust in the unchanging, purifying love of God.

And perhaps the next most important thing to say is that there is no painless path to heaven. Why? Because Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And it is no more possible to become pure painlessly than it is to be burned painlessly. Purity comes through the refining fire. And the fire has two forms: one is the fire of affliction and the other is the fire of intentional self-denial.

The Fire of Affliction

We see the first fire, for example, in

* 1 Peter 1:6-7, "Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
* James 1:2-4,"Count it all joy, my brethren when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
* Hebrews 12:5-10, 14, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord . . . for the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives . . . If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children . . . he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness . . . Pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

The Fire of Intentional Self-Denial

And the other form of purifying fire is the fire of intentional self-denial. We see it for example in

* Matthew 5:29-30, "If your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out . . . and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away."
* 1 Corinthians 9:27, "I pommel my body and subdue it."
* Romans 8:13, "If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live."

Unshakable Trust in God's Purifying Fire

What is life like in the refiner's fire?

More than anything else it is the unshakable trust that all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.

And on the path to purity and heaven the other truth is this: no pain, no gain.

Both things are true: the Lord is like a refiner's fire; and a refiner's fire is a fire.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Our Authority

Luke 10:17
Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name

It was an eye-opening experience for the disciples to discover that the demons were subject to them in Jesus' name. Subject ( hupotasso ) is a military term meaning "to arrange under." It pictures a group of soldiers snapping to attention and following precisely the orders of their commanding officer.

Perhaps the disciples suffered under the same misconception which blinds many Christians today. We see God and His kingdom on one side and Satan and his kingdom on the other side. Both kingdoms seem to be very powerful, and here we are, stuck in the middle between the two, like the rope in a tug of war. On some days God seems to be winning and on other days the devil appears to have the upper hand. And we don't seem to have anything to say about who wins the battle.

But the disciples came back from their mission with a new perspective, a true perspective. Spiritual authority is not a tug of war on a horizontal plane; it is a vertical chain of command. Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18); He's at the top. He has given His authority and power to His servants to be exercised in His name (Luke 10:17); we're underneath Him. And Satan and his demons? They're at the bottom, subject to the authority Christ has invested in us.

Why, then, does the kingdom of darkness exert such negative influence in the world and in the lives of Christians? In a word, the lie. Satan is not an equal power with God; he is a vanquished foe. But if he can deceive you into believing that he has more power and authority than you do, you will live as if he does! You have been given authority over the kingdom of darkness, but if you don't believe it and exercise it, it's as if you didn't have it.

Authority is the right to rule based on position. You have the authority to do the will of God because of your position in Christ. It's an authority you could never have independent of God, so you need to remain dependent on Him to live victoriously.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Romans 7:25; 8:1
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! . . . There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Romans 7:22, 23, pinpoints the battleground for the contest between me and sin: "For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members."

Where does my desire to do what's right reside? Paul uses the phrase "the inner man," referring to my new self where my spirit and God's Spirit are in union. This is the eternal part of me. And where does sin wage its war to keep me from doing what I really want to do? In the physical members of my body (James 4:1). Sin operates through my flesh, that learned independence that continues to promote rebellion against God. This is the temporal part of me. Where then do these two opponents wage war (Galatians 5:17)? The battleground is my mind. That's why it is so important that we learn how to renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Paul concluded his description of the contest between sin and the new self with the exclamation: "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). Notice that he didn't say, "Sinful man that I am !" Wretched means miserable, and there is no one more miserable than the person who has allowed sin to reign in his mortal body. If we use our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness, we give the devil an opportunity in our lives, and he brings only misery.

The good news is that Romans 7:24 is followed by Romans 7:25 and Romans 8:1: "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! . . . There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." The battle for the mind is a winnable war.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Distorted Concept of God

Matthew 7:11
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Most people in spiritual conflict have a distorted concept of God. Mentally they know the correct theology or concept of God, but emotionally they feel something different. True concepts of God are filtered through a series of negative experiences to produce false concepts of God. These false concepts must be replaced by truth in order for freedom to be realized.

There was this story of a pastor's wife who came to a counselor for counseling and she told the counselor about her rigidly moral home which was dominated by her demanding mother. The father was a wimp who knew better than to interrupt the mother's outburst against their daughter.

"You really love Jesus, don't you?" the pastor asked the pastor's wife.

"Oh, yes," she responded.

"And you really love the Holy Spirit?"

"Yes, I do."

"But you don't even like God the Father, do you?"

The pastor's wife could only respond with tears. Her concept of the heavenly Father was distorted by the image of her earthly father. She perceived Jesus and the Holy Spirit as actively involved with her, but in her mind God the Father, like her earthly father, just sat around passive and uncaring while she went through torture in her life.

I often ask, "If you performed better, would God love you more?" Most people know the right answer: no. But when I ask if they feel loved by God, most express that they show more love and concern for their own children than they expect God to show for them (see Luke 11:9-13). This is all part of Satan's strategy to raise up thoughts against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). If the enemy can keep people from a true concept of God, he can destroy their hope in God.

In application lets try to evaluate ourselves and reflect on our own concept of God. Is our concept of God distorted? Lets pray and ask God to reveal His true self. Lets try to open our minds and release all the distorted concept of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit. Allow God to fill us with the real thing. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." Let us seek Jesus and walk in His counsel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Living in bondage?

Thursday, February 12

John 8:31-36
Freedom is one of humanity’s most prized possessions. That’s why our national heroes fought the colonists who tried to conquer our land. Their sentiment ignited a revolution and helped bring about the birth of our free nation.

Yet many inhabitants of this land are in captivity. You see, people aren’t simply physical beings; they’re also spiritual. And they can be enslaved spiritually as well as physically.

Jesus said that anyone who commits sin is in bondage to it (John 8:34). He was referring to continuous wrongs that become a lifestyle, even for the believer. Almost anything—including the pursuit of power, money, or relationships—can develop into a pattern of sinful living.

Usually, ungodly habits begin in a way that seems innocent and fulfills a desire or need. For example, a person might justify working too much in order to take care of his family. Over time, he may become desensitized to any guilt he originally felt. As he gradually senses less conviction by the Holy Spirit, the habit becomes a comfort and eventually controls him. Though he may hate it, he is powerless to stop. Ironically, people in this state often say and believe that they could stop the behavior
if they so chose. But they are deceived.

Neither human determination nor effort can overcome the bondage. Yet what man is unable to do, God can achieve (Luke 18:27).

Take an honest look at your life’s motivations. Is there some habit, emotion, or dream that “owns” you? Jesus —and Jesus alone—can set you free.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Open Our Eyes Lord

1 John 5:14, 15
If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him

Everyday is a spiritual warfare. We have several concerns that we need to pray regarding spiritual warfare. One need relates to the condition of blindness which Satan has inflicted on unbelievers (1 Corinthians 4:3, 4). People cannot come to Christ unless their spiritual eyes are opened. Theodore Epp wrote, "If Satan has blinded and bound men and women, how can we ever see souls saved? This is where you and I enter the picture.

Prayer is a primary weapon in combating spiritual blindness. The apostle John wrote: "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him" (1 John 5:14, 15). Then he immediately challenged believers to apply this principle by asking God to bring life to unbelievers (verse 16). Our evangelistic strategy must include authoritative prayer that God's light would penetrate satanic blindness.

We also need to pray, as Paul did in Ephesians 1:18, 19, that the eyes of believers may be enlightened to understand the spiritual power, authority and protection which is our inheritance in Christ. As long as Satan can keep us in the dark about our position and authority in Christ, he can keep us stunted in our growth and ineffectual in our witness and ministry. We need to pray for each other continually that Satan's smoke screen of lies will be blown away and that our vision into the spiritual realm will be crystal clear.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Six Steps to facing problems in obeying God's plan

1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Cast all your anxiety on Him [God] because He cares for you

Let's assume you have sought God's will for a certain direction, and you believe that He has led you to make specific plans. The problem is you are still worried about whether your plans will come about as you have hoped. When I'm facing such situations, I try to follow the six steps described below to limit my anxious feelings.

First, state the problem . A problem well stated is half solved. In anxious states of mind, people can't see the forest for the trees. Put the problem in perspective. Will it matter for eternity? The danger at this juncture is to seek ungodly counsel. The world is glutted with magicians and sorcerers who will promise incredible results. Their appearance may be striking. Their personality may be charming. But they are bankrupt of character. Avoid them (Psalm 1:1).

Second, separate the facts from the assumptions . Since we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, we make assumptions, and we usually assume the worst. If the assumption is accepted as truth, it will drive your mind to its anxiety limits. Therefore, you must separate assumptions from facts.

Third, determine what you have the right or ability to control . You are responsible for that which you can control, and you are not responsible for that which you can't. Don't try to cast your responsibility onto Christ; He will throw it back.

Fourth, list everything you can do which is related to the situation that is under your responsibility . When people don't assume their responsibility, they turn to temporary cures for their anxiety, like eating, TV, sex or drugs.

Fifth, once you are sure you have fulfilled your responsibility, see if there is any way you can help others . Turning your attention away from your own self-absorption and onto helping people around you is not only the loving thing to do, but it also brings a special inner peace.

Sixth, the rest is God's responsibility , except for your prayer, according to Philippians 4:6-8. So assume your responsibility, but cast your anxiety on Christ.


Devotion from Daily in Christ Devotionals

Monday, February 9, 2009

Though We Dont See.

Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith ; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
In Scripture, we read that strong faith is essential for facing life’s uncertainties. It prompts us to look beyond our trials to the One who’s promised to guide and sustain us.

As trust in the Lord increases, obedience becomes a higher priority than pleasure or profit. Moses’ life illustrates this—he chose to forsake the advantage of Egyptian royalty in order to be identified with God’s people. Placing his future in the Almighty’s hands, he became the Israelites’ leader and gave precedence to the Lord’s interests over his own.

As devotion deepens, a second outcome is spiritual discernment—believers develop an ability to look beyond the external appearance to see things as God does. The attractiveness of sin will decrease, and its offer of satisfaction will be recognized as false. At the same time, eternal matters will become more valuable to us. Moses left his livelihood of 40 years to become God’s appointed leader. Pursuing the Lord’s plan became more important than anything else in his life. Despite his misgivings and sense of inadequacy, he placed trust in his heavenly Father.

Finally, a growing faith will not permit misunderstandings and criticisms to deter us from pursuing God’s plan. The Hebrew slaves didn’t make it easy for Moses to lead, but his beliefs enabled him to move forward.

The Hebrew leader’s faith became the defining quality of his life. The Lord wants the same to be true for us. By trusting God deeply, we, like Moses, will be able to meet each day’s challenges with courage and determination.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Call to Obedience

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands" (2 John 6).

A distinguished Indian evangelist named Sadhu Chellappa was on a mission trip to a village north of Madras, when in the middle of the night he suddenly sensed God speaking to him: "Leave this house quickly and run away!"

Not exactly a convenient thing to do. But Chellappa was accustomed to accepting even strange instructions from the Lord without debate, so he dressed quickly and ran into the darkness.

After a while, he was in open country. As he passed beneath a large tree, he felt God tell him, "Stay here and start to preach!" Now, even for an experienced evangelist, this was puzzling--because there was no one to be seen. Why did God want him to preach to an empty field in the middle of the night? But he stopped under the tree and began to preach the gospel.

Finally, he reached the point at which he called on his unseen listeners to give their lives to Jesus. He was surprised to hear a voice from the top of the tree and see a man climb down, crying. The man tearfully gave his life to Jesus. When Chellappa asked why he was in a tree out in the middle of nowhere, the man admitted, "I came out here to hang myself."


How is your obedience to God? God calls us to be obedient to that small voice inside that can direct us to sometimes do strange things. Jesus was obedient in ALL things.

"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (Rom 5:19).

God can do exceedingly great things through one man or woman who is willing to be obedient to God's voice. Ask for His grace today to be obedient to His voice.

I myself had problems when it comes to obedience, but God is the one who will give us the capability to obey. I accepted God's call as well even if the means and the ends seems blurry. Right now I can say that I am very much blessed and happy with the decision I made three years ago. Obedience is rewarding. Obey now and experience God's presence in your life.


Story taken from the book "Who Can You Trust?" by Howard E. Butt, Jr.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Which among these relationships show true love?

Please comment on this and if possible, please explain your answer. Thanks!

1. Not married but live together under the same roof for more than 10 years.
2. Married for more than 10 years, but got separated on the 11th year.
3. Non-Christians married for more than 10 years.
4. Christians married less than a year.
5. Married for more than 10 years, but the same gender.

Any suggestion of a scenario that shows true love? Please post.

Live Free!

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!" Proverbs 3:5-8 MSG

God has planned for each of us to enjoy self-worth, security and a sense of belonging—things we can only experience as we learn to trust him. Life brings challenges, but God does not intend for us to have to face those challenges alone.

Consider this…

No matter what your circumstances … No matter what you have done or what you are feeling inside … God loves you and is waiting for you to trust him—and to be willing to do things his way. You'll soon learn that his way is always the best way.


Lord, I'm beginning to realize that I have been trying to exercise control in my life with my own strength. Help me to give up that need for control to you. Help me to trust you and do things your way. My way isn't working. I believe yours will. In Jesus' name... AMEN

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be a man of courage, be strong; do everything in love.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be on your guard. Be ready, be alert. Expect God to be involved, expect Satan to attack. Let the wonder of creation still catch your eye.

Ephesians 6:10-18

God's armor brings victory because it is far more than a protective covering. It is the very life of Jesus Christ Himself. "[P]ut on the armor of light," wrote Paul in his letter to the Romans, "...clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 13:12-14) When you do, He becomes your hiding place, and shelter in the storm--just as He was to David. Hidden in Him, you can count on His victory, for He not only covers you as a shield, He also fills you with His life.

"I am the vine; you are the branches," said Jesus. "If a man abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Since living in the safety of the armor means oneness with Jesus, we can expect to share His struggles as well as His peace. Remember, God has promised us victory in the midst of trials, not immunity from pain. So "do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you, but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ..." (1 Peter 4:12-13) Christian heroes who have been tortured for their faith continue to testify to the supernatural strength--even joy--that enables them to endure unthinkable pain.

They affirm with Paul -

"that in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers.... will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)

This wonderful truth has become reality to all who believe and follow Jesus. When you put on His armor, His life surrounds you, keeping you safe, close to Himself, and free to be His precious friend and trusted companion. So "put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27) He is your victory!

Stand firm in faith. Be unmoved because you know intimately that of which you believe in. Become biblically literate.

Be a man of courage. Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7), so go your way boldly. The worst that can happen – even death – still ends in victory and glory for the Christian.

Be strong. Physically, yes, let’s take care of ourselves, and present our bodies as holy. But remember that the Lord is the strength of the strong (Ephesians 6:10), and that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Do everything in love. Here’s your motivation, because he that doesn’t love doesn’t know God (1 John 4:8), and the world shall know you by your love (John 13:35).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Celebrate Life!

Life is a Celebration

How we view our life will make difference in how we live life. If we live our life viewing it from a biblical perspective, it will have deeper meaning than if we see it through a pessimistic view. In Ecclesiastes 11–12, we find Solomon’s ultimate conclusion to his view on life, and the lessons he learned.

1. Life is a stewardship; invest it wisely. Ecclesiastes 11:1–6

Everything in life—not only possessions, but also family, friends, relationships, everything we have—is a gift from God. He entrusted us to manage all of His creation/blessings on His behalf. we don’t own it, but He’s giving it to us for us manage it for Him. we see, the whole of life, Solomon said, is a stewardship, and so we must invest it wisely.

2. Life is a celebration; delight in it. Ecclesiastes 11:7–12:8.

For us to enjoy life and to see it as a celebration, there are three things that we must do—rejoice (11:7–9), remove (11:10–11), and remember (12:1–8). Rejoice in each day. Anticipate every new day as a gift from God, and look forward to literally waking up and unwrapping that wonderful gift each day. Start our day with gratitude. Remove bitterness, false beliefs, bad habits, and unwholesome relationships from our life now before they endanger our future. Remember the constant presence of God. Wherever we go, He is with us and He is watching over us. Remember to obey His Word, to seek His righteousness and His kingdom first—for that is the secret to our success. Remember to place Him first in every decision we make.

3. Life is a school; grow in it. Read Ecclesiastes 12:9–12.

How does God teach us in His school of life? Primarily, it is through His Word. Our textbook is the Bible, and our teacher is the Holy Spirit. There are always new lessons in God’s school. There are always new examinations coming up and every time we think we’ve passed one exam, there is another one on the way. We always have opportunities to grow, progress, and advance.

4. Life is a responsibility; succeed in it. Read Ecclesiastes 12:13–14.

Life is a gift from God. And like any gift, there is an obligation associated with it—an obligation to value it, to cherish it, and to gratefully use it. We need to fear God with a godly fear—an attitude of gratitude, reverence and awe. It is an attitude of love and respect for the poor and the greatness of the giver of the gift.

we may feel that we have been heading in the wrong direction. This is the time; this is the moment for us to get back into the game of life. Begin to see life as a stewardship to be invested wisely. Begin to see it as a celebration to be delighted in. Begin to see it as a school in which we grow. Begin to see it as a responsibility in which to succeed. Jesus Christ lives and prepared everything before us. Lets not put Jesus' preparation in vain. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, February 2, 2009

“When you have nothing, anything is possible.”

“When you have nothing, anything is possible.”

This is a year for hope – not despair. Hope or optimism is not about denying reality; it’s about seeing the possibilities for creating a better reality than you currently have.

Yes, I’ve always been an optimistic guy because I really do believe that every problem brings with it the seed of a solution, and I believe that the search for a solution can itself be inspiring and hopeful. If you lose hope, you will not be looking for solutions and will miss them even it they pass right in front of your nose.

More can be gained by focusing on those talents and gifts you know God has given you. Focus on what you’re moving to, not what you’re moving from. Circumstances beyond your control may lead to losing your job and maybe your home – but losing hope is a choice. Remember, “When you have nothing, anything is possible.”

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are You Ready?

Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.
Exodus 23:30

In Chapter 23, God grants the Israelites various promises, including overthrowing and completely cutting off their enemies. The Lord further states that He will bless their bread and water and take their sicknesses away. With the Lord on their side, the Israelites cannot lose. But in verse 30, the Lord says that He will fulfill His promises by driving out their enemies little by little.

Why doesn't God just wipe their enemies out like He did the Egyptians as they entered the Red Sea?
What benefit is there to do it little by little?

Exodus 23:29 says "I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field become too numerous for you." In other words, if God grants our wishes in an instant, this could be harmful for us. Blessings are not true blessings unless they come when we are able to handle them. Even the blessings can become curses if we do not have the wisdom, maturity and honesty to handle them.

The Lord's timing is never too late nor too slow. He is patient and kind, assessing the whole situation, so that when He fulfills His promises in us, we will be able to receive them in peace. We want the quick fix or the instant answers to our prayers or desires. We want the immediate and the miraculous. However, God's ways are not our ways and He desires to give us a future life in His promises. Little by little, complete victory will be ours by having faith and patience day by day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Heart

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.

--Ezekiel 36:26

You and I need a miracle… the miracle of transformation that comes from accepting Jesus Christ.

Maybe you’ve experienced that miracle by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If so, you know just how amazing the transformation is.

First it is a changing experience. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When you repent, God gives you a new heart and changes you inside and out.

It is also a cleansing experience. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Every sin, stain, and blemish from your past, present, and future is forgiven because Jesus bore your sin and guilt when He died upon the cross.

And finally, it is a continual experience. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statues” (Ezekiel 36:27). Jesus promised that when His Spirit lives inside of you, you have a dramatic, dynamic connection with God.

If you’ve experienced the miracle of salvation, I encourage you to share your story with someone who needs to hear it this week.



I acknowledge that right now Lord I dont have the power and strength to overcome my struggles on my own. I am filled with worries and things to be done internally and externally and I need your power to pour upon me so that I may be able to overcome and claim my victory in Your name. I am crying within and wounded from battle. Lord please pull me out and redeem me again to become a great warrior again. I love you!