The time is NOW!

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  – Matthew 3:1-2

If it was true back then (and it was), then how much more true is it now? John the Baptist went through the countryside warning people that Jesus was coming. Yet many still refused to believe. Today, those people don’t have any more time. Their bodily death has come upon them, and those who didn’t repent are condemned to eternal damnation.

However, YOU still have time. BUT…you might not have much time. Jesus is coming back. And our lives are getting shorter each day. If you haven’t repented of your sins by now, you might not have time. Tomorrow may never come. Come to Jesus today!  Visit this website to learn more: http://whativaluemost.com/Gospel_main.aspx 

Pray to God for your salvation and free gift of eternal life now.

 

Life and Peace

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. – Romans 8:5

What is your mind focused upon? Why do I ask this question? Read the very next Scripture in Romans below:

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Therefore, the ultimate question: Are you full of peace in your life? If not, what is holding you back? What is causing you to remain focused on something other than life and peace?

God wants us to be focused on Him. When we are focused on Him, our hearts are filled with love. Take time to pray today and ask God to help you refocus your life on Him.

question to God

You may know this story, but I want you to think about it from a different perspective. It’s OK to ask questions. An old chinese proverb states: 

He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes;
He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.

I surely don’t want to be a fool forever – therefore I ask questions when I have them. In this story, a religious leader, Nicodemus, also asks a question. But here’s the interesting part – he asks the question to God in person – face to face with Jesus…. 

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked…”Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit….” 

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked….  [Jesus replied] “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:1-17

You see, it’s definately OK to ask questions. If you don’t understand, read the Bible, pray to God, ask your Pastor, ask a friend. With today’s technology there are endless resources out there to answer our questions. I’m not encouraging you to beleive everything you read, but generally the internet can help you find scripture passages concerning every topic under the sun. Then you can use your Bible to verify the truthfulness of what you’ve read.

Ask a question when you have it. You never know what God might say in His reply to you. In the case of Nicodemus, a religious leader of his day, Jesus replied with what we know of today as the most famous verse in the Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Last night, I had the blessing of being able to be present as a student came forward to confess their belief in Jesus Christ. This youth now has the blessing of eternal life that is shared among all of God’s children. Their belief in Jesus as the Son of God and desire to have Him as Lord and Savior of their life has given them an eternal life in Heaven.

Do you have that free gift of eternal life? If you haven’t been saved, but want more information or prayer for your life, please contact me at eflowsemaj@gmail.com

You can also visit this website for more information: http://whativaluemost.com/Gospel_main.aspx

Shhh!

“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.” – Mark 6:31-32

This is a story about Jesus reminding us, as Christians, that we must sometimes get away from others in order to refill our spiritual gas tanks. The disciples had just returned from being in the countryside preaching, teaching, and healing (Mark 6:7-13). Now that they had spent so much time ministering to others, it was time to refill their spirits again.

Ministering to others is very fulfilling, but it is also very exhausting. If we don’t stop once in a while and take time for our own daily devotions, we will run low on spiritual fuel. We, too, must stop and refuel our own spirit in order that we can continue witnessing to others.

Even Jesus took time alone to be with God and pray (Mark 6:46, Mark 14:35, etc).

It’s best to take time EVERY day to sit down and spend just a few minutes alone with God. You will find that after a few days of starting this habit, and realizing the rewarding outcomes, it becomes addictive and you will want to spend even more time with Him. Start today, take just a few minutes, right now and be with God in His presence. Go away to a private place and speak to God, but also take time to listen.

No Excuses!

When I was a freshman in college, I was told I could say 4 things:

1) Yes Sir…, 2) No Sir…, 3) No Excuse Sir…, and 4) Sir, I do not understand.

That’s pretty limited in what you can say, but it reminds me of the story out of John 5:1-9 when Jesus asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda if he wanted to get well:

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there…He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool….While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured, he picked up his mat and walked.” – John 5:5-9

This man wanted to get well, but didn’t know what to do. What he did do, was make an excuse: “I have no one to help me…someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Unfortunately, we also make excuses why we CAN’T. But how often do we try? And how often do we ask God for help?

Once this man listened to Jesus, he got up and walked – healed of his disease.

Do you want healed of your disease (whether it’s physical or spiritual)? Do you want to be able to witness to others, but are tired of making excuses? Then listen to Jesus, follow Him. You will find that He WILL HELP YOU!

God’s Answering Machine

Imagine praying and hearing this:

“Thank you for calling My Father’s House.
Please select one of the following four options:

Press 1 for a request.
Press 2 to praise God.
Press 3 to complain.
For all other inquiries, press 4.”

So you press 1 and hear: “We’re sorry. All of the angels are helping other customers right now. Please stay on the line. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.”

Or what if you heard the following responses as you called God’s answering machine?
“Our computers show that you have called once today already. Please call back again later.”
or “This office is closed for the weekend. Please call again Monday.”

Thank God you can’t call too often. You only need to ring once and God hears you.
Because of Jesus, you never get a busy signal. God takes each call personally. God knows each caller personally!

“THEN YOU WILL CALL AND THE LORD WILL ANSWER; YOU WILL CRY FOR HELP, AND HE WILL SAY: HERE AM I” (Isaiah 58:9).

Moreover God often calls us. Are you waiting for God’s call, or will your answering machine pick up the call? If you listen carefully, you will hear music in the background and God singing, “I just called to say I Love you! I just called to say how much I care….”

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now? You’ve heard him say it on TV for years. The Verizon dealer who walks all over the world trying to make sure Verizon’s cell phone coverage is leaps and bounds above other carriers. Yet, Verizon will never get better coverage than God. He is everywhere all the time, and no cell phone tower is needed to talk on God’s phone line(s).

The only remaining question then, is “Can you hear Him now?” Are you listening for God to call you? Are you having conversations with Him, meaning…do you listen to him? That’s right, are you listening?

Jesus said “But when He, the [Holy] Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and Hhe will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” –John 16:13-14

You may be talking to God – that is praying, but are you having conversations with Him? Conversation requires communication in both directions. If your prayers are always “Dear God, I need….” or “Dear God, thank you for this food…” then you may be missing the point of prayer.

Prayer is NOT just something you do because you’re supposed to, or because you need something, or even just because you want to thank God for something. Yes, those are reasons to pray, but prayer involves more than talking. It should involve listening. Can you hear Him now?

Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:9

Next time you pray, slow down, don’t just recite something you’ve heard somebody else pray. Don’t just say a habitual “Dear God, thank you for this food.” [I didn’t say NOT to pray like this, I said don’t JUST pray like this.]

When you pray, really mean what you say. Take time to speak to God from your heart. Pause and reflect on what God has done in your life. Dwell in His presence and listen for Him to give you wisdom and knowledge so that you can carry out His duties on earth.

Simply put, make sure your prayers honor God, and live out your life to glorify Him.

Little Johnny’s prayer

Little Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room.

After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and had said a prayer.

“Great!,” said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.”

“Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Johnny. “I asked Him to help you put up with me.”


 – what kind of prayers are you saying?

Big Oak 2009

Wow, if you missed this year’s mission trip to Big Oak, you missed a real blessing.

Although this was only my second year to attend, this year’s trip was over the top compared to past trips (ask the students!). What normally happens on the 4th night at the barn, happened on the 3rd and 4th nights, and in a much bigger way! The Holy Spirit was present all through the house!!!

This year’s theme was focused on Ephesians 5:1-2 .  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Martin Houston led as Camp Pastor and spoke to us about being a “carbon copy” or imitator of Christ. His illustration focused on Christ as the top copy, while we are the bottom copy. The Carbon paper in the middle is the Holy Spirit, and the Pressure of writing is applied by life with its ups and downs. The transfer of pigment happens as the transformation of becoming like Christ occurs in our life.

This year, we had an extraordinary service on the 3rd night as we had a “mock funeral” to our old ways of life and gave up the sin in our life. Malachi 3:2-3 reinforces this notion of refining our life:

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He islike a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap. And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. And He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may be offerers of a food offering in righteousness to Jehovah.  

I never really thought about this much before – but as the refining process is done, the refiner knows it is complete when ALL the impurities have been skimmed off the top through the process of heating up the precious metal. We are the precious metal in God’s eyes, and we are undergoing a process of refinement. As we live through life’s ups and downs, we are being refined, having all of our impurities removed from lives so that we can be imitators of Christ.

God’s Will in your life

Do you pray for God’s Will? The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10 states “Thy Will be done.”

 

What we find ourselves doing often is praying to know God’s Will for our life. I have even encouraged my students at church to pray to know God’s Will. However, as I re-examine Scripture, I must ask if we are truly following God’s direction for our life when we pray to know God’s Will. After all, God gives us His Will and direction in His Word (the Bible).

 

The problem I have is that many times I already “know” God’s Will, but I fail to follow it. Therefore, what I believe we should pray for is to do God’s Will. We all know right from wrong, but we sometimes fail to do right. We know we ought to glorify God in ALL that we do. And If we pray just to “know” God’s Will, our bodies are still weak, and we may fail to follow God’s Will. Therefore, I challenge all of us when we pray –  to pray for strength to do God’s Will, not just to know it.

 

Throughout the Bible, a recurring theme is to “glorify God.” Psalms 22:23, 50:15, 86:9, Luke 2:20, 5:25, 18:43, John 17:1, Acts 13:48, Romans 15:6, 1 Cor 6:20, 1 Peter 4:16, and Rev 15:4 all reference the need to glorify God. If you have any doubts about what God wants you to do, these passages clearly state that we are to glorify the Lord in ALL things. Pray now that what you may do today will glorify Him.

 

>> Lord, we are blessed to have the freedom to choose freely in America. We are free to study and read Your Holy Word. I ask that You continue to instruct us in all things so that what we do may glorify and honor You. I therefore ask and pray that you strengthen us to do Your Will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.