Monday, October 29, 2012


“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” Eph. 1:18-23 (NLT)

Is your life filled with Christ?  Does He have authority in your private life, public life, family, marriage, relationships, finances, giving, serving, your time, answers to your questions, plans, and dreams?  Only when we give the authority of our lives completely to Christ do we come to know fullness of life.  Only when we really believe God with our lives, families, material possessions, money, our actions, our words… will we know His power flowing through us.  Are you believing what God says?  That’s the key.  Jesus stated a lasting truth that recognizes God as the source of our lives.  This is worship of God:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt. 6:33.

A.W. Tozer wrote:  “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God… The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us.”

Oh that we would turn completely to the Lord God, re-direct our lives to Him, and truly worship Him as our God.

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”. John 17:3.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.  Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:10-13 (NAS)

Paul expresses his joy in how the Philippian church gave to him.  They took the opportunity to give, and Paul rejoices in the fact that they showed their concern and care for him and his ministry.

Paul did not speak from lacking anything, because he had learned to be content in all circumstances.  He learned the secret of getting along in very circumstance, with much or with little.  There were times when he was filled and times when he was hungry; times when he had an abundance and times when he suffered need.  He learned how to get along with all of it with the strength of Christ.

The strength of Christ is what brings contentment.  Being content doesn’t mean the absence of suffering or the absence of hunger.  Contentment is being able to deal with every circumstance in the strength of Christ, even when the circumstance doesn’t change.  Paul was chained to a Roman guard 24/7 when he wrote these words of encouragement to the Christians at Philippi.  And throughout his letter he continually expressed his joy in Christ.  Contentment is an inner strength that Christ gives.

How can you have the strength of Christ in order to be content in every circumstance?

1. Rejoice in the Lord.
Find your joy in growing your relationship with the Lord.  Lasting joy is not found in circumstances because they change.  You have circumstances where you work, with your co-workers, where you live, with your family, where you go, with the equipment you use, with your health, … and the list goes on.  Circumstances are constantly changing, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  And that’s why we can’t depend on them to “feed” us contentment.

2. Learn to be content.
Life is a classroom in which we are constantly learning.  School is never out.  Therefore, take the opportunity to learn what you can about contentment.  Learn the truth about it – it comes from Christ.  And keep learning.

3. Know how to.
The way we learn “how to” is to exercise contentment in every situation.  That’s the way to know how to experience it.  Put it into the equation.  Practice it and refine it.

4. Say “I can with Christ”.
It’s not “I can’t.”  It’s “I can.”  Take a step of faith.

5. Obey Christ.
Do what He teaches.  Stay in His Word.  Act according to His will.  He will deliver on His promises and He will strengthen you.

Monday, October 1, 2012


As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.  While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”  On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:9-13

Jesus quotes from the prophet Hosea:  “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”  Hosea 6:6

To begin with, God is not diminishing the importance of sacrifice, for anyone who has sacrificed, God has sacrificed more.  He chose to love a sinful world.  He chose to give up His only Son to suffer and die for the whole world.  God knows sacrifice.  And He expects His followers to love and sacrifice in their serving. 

The true essence of sacrifice is not the issue here.  The issue is the motive, the heart, the inner person, because that’s where the real sacrifice is made, before outward action is taken.  “Self” is sacrificed in order to give “life” to others.  The problem with the Pharisees is that they were not sacrificing “self”.  Their motives were all about looking good, their reputation, doing all the “religious” things, and patting themselves on the back for all their external actions from empty hearts – empty of God’s sacrificial love.  And Jesus says it doesn’t count.  It’s worthless in God’s eyes. 

What then does God really want from us?  Jesus is saying at least two things to us in these verses.  One, God wants your life and my life to be changed from the inside out by His mercy, compassion, and sacrificial love.  True transformation doesn’t happen by going through external religious rituals, regardless of how noble they appear.  God blesses the person whose heart has been transformed by His mercy and love because that person will have a loving heart toward God.  And a right heart toward God produces right actions for God’s glory.

Secondly, it takes a compassionate heart, more than religious activity to bring people to Jesus.  God is more concerned about changing a person’s heart and life through love and compassion than with a lot of religious activity.  Certainly we must take action to go and love and introduce others to Christ, but the prerequisite is mercy.  Therefore take the initiative from a merciful heart to express compassion and mercy to those who haven’t yet become followers of Jesus.  Don’t put on a “religious” front for them.  Just love them and introduce them to Jesus’ love for them.  When you do, that’s when you know you really have a merciful heart.  Mercy is not stagnant. Mercy by its nature reaches out to bring God’s merciful Good News to others.  Become immersed in God’s mercy and be a messenger of God’s mercy to others.