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Showing posts from April, 2010

"IF"

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Proverbs 2
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
There are many conditional things in the word of God. By conditional I mean that there are promises based on our obedience and consequences when we are disobedient to what God is saying. You can see this is in todays Proverb. Let's break it down:
IF you accept and store
accept what the Word of God says-it's His Word
pile it up within you: read, retain, read, retain
IF you listen and apply it
turn your ear in the direction of God's wisdom: holy reverence for Him is where you start(Proverbs 1:7)
applying what we learn with ALL of our heart moves us forward in His direction
IF y…

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

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I just spent a few day in the Ozarks, editing and proofing the daily devotionals that are going to be part of the new Cup of Joe Daily Devotional.(coming to stores this fall) My daily routine was dialed down from about a 9 to a 2.5 once I hit the hills of Missouri. I was able to sleep in a little later and had no real agenda except finishing my fifth book. What I did not have was my coffee maker and the special blends that I have every morning. Once I got up, there was no wonderful aroma filling the air! I could not wake up till I smelled the coffee! My morning devotions were not the same without my morning blend! Thank the Lord there was a Starbucks 2 miles from where I was. After nearly three days of 5 hours per day looking at the words that I penned on each page, I finished!
I must say that it felt very strange to slow down and change my routine. Strange, but good. I think we all could benefit by allowing our system to reboot once in a while. My phone was off, there was no TV and n…

Trust in the Lord

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I have experienced many seasons in life when I needed direction...divine direction. The bible says to trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. That's where it begins. It goes on in Proverbs 3 to say "and lean not to your own understanding". This is where my struggle often begins.
I do trust in the Lord but I start trying to break everything down so that I can wrap my mind around it. I want to figure out why things happen the way they do. Why are circumstances the way they are at this time.
Reading on it says "in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path". So my course of action is laid out pretty plainly: trust, don't lean on yourself, and acknowledge Him. If is can do this He is going to make the path I walk the path that He desires that brings me joy.
Today, if you need to make a big decision, trust in the Lord with all that is in you. Lean on Him, towards the things that take you closer to His presence. Acknowledge Him by letting Him kno…

Buckets-N-Boards

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Last night at the place I am hiding out in to finish my latest book, they brought in several of the area entertainers during the dinner hour to promote their shows. The duo known as Bucket-N-Boards came out and it was very uplifting. (check out their FB page!)
They set up a couple of large plastic drums and buckets and then began a rhythm pattern that had everyone captivated. Two guys, playing some plastic buckets and tap dancing on boards and we were all just staring at them and smiling!
It made me think about how creative we can be when we allow the Lord to use the gifts He placed in us. I remember when we started The Landing Community Church we had a program called Tribal Arts where our kids made music with A/C vents, trash cans, PVC pipe and boards. Even then it was awesome to watch them express themselves in such a unique way.
You may be battling some fears or depression in your life right now. Your hope and happiness can often be found in the simple things. I was encouraged and ble…

R & R

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Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Jesus asked us to come in His direction when we were feeling tired. I'm in Branson MO putting the finishing touches on my Cup of Joe Daily Devotional which will ship out later this year. I left town to rest but you know, it doesn't always turn out the way you think it will. Let me explain.
I have realized that Jesus' definition of rest is not to "cease activity" but rather to do His activity rather than yours. It's an exchange of stuff. So yes, I am in Branson, attempting to rest. But to do the work of the Lord, I will have to review a years worth of devotions for the last time before I hand them off to my friends at Word and Spirit Publishing to put it together in such a way that everyone of you will want to pick it up this fall for your Christmas presents!
If you are an avid reader of the Cup of Joe blog, I would love to have some of your comments in the new boo…

Here For a Reason

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Ever asked the question, "why am I here?"" What is the reason for me living where I live and doing what I do?" Each of us wants to know the meaning of life and the purpose for why we were created. The longing for that revelation is actually the revelation that you were made for something greater than yourself!
Let me offer you a very simple reason for why you and I are where we are. It's not the only reason but it is from the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
As we live our lives we face some difficulties. We suffer afflictions and pain. The good news is that God promises comfort when we ask for it. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble and will always help us go through what we are going through. …

Build Wisely

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Matt 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
In Matthew 7 Jesus was giving a building seminar. You see each of us is in a building program. He said that when we are obedient to His commands it is like building on a solid and stable foundation. When we are rebellious and self-serving, we are building on sand which is unstable and tends to shift. The fact is that rains will come down and winds will blow against all that we build. If we start with the right fundamentals and the proper fou…

Soul Searching

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3 John 1:2 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."
When was the last time that you just stopped to pray for something good to happen in the lives of those that you are connected to? For good health and for all of their needs to be met? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in "our world" that we don't see the difficulties and struggles that others are facing that are right next to us. This reminder today is not just to stop and smell the roses: stop and say a prayer for the rose garden!
There is one more nugget of truth hidden in this verse. Our health and well being is directly impacted by our spiritual well being! Your SOUL is the house of your mind, will and emotions. In others words, the thoughts, actions and feelings are there. Yet they can still go haywire. Ever lost your mind, done something stupid or felt broken-hearted? Me too! We need to do some soul-searching. The only wa…

Preach the Word

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2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
There is a dire need in our world today for people who will correct, rebuke and encourage. To correct you will need to know the truth...the truth which is the Word of God. To rebuke you will need to believe the truth that you know so that you are passionate about it and spiritually persuasive. But notice the last part. It's the most important. Encourage! We have got a lot of folks in the church that are great at correcti…

Moving Rhythmically

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"He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ."
God had a plan. Create mankind in His image and equip him with some unique talents so that he could accomplish some incredible things. Gifts like apostles(messengers of God) and prophets(discerners of the future) to past-teachers and evangelists...all for a great purpose. To work with God's people...the church...so that the church could move rhythmically and easily with each other. Did you get that? We were designed to all work together! The last time I looked at the church in general, there was nothing rhythmical about it. Some folks were doing the twist, others the robot, and a few engaged in hip-…
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"See you in church this morning...I've got some wonderful things to show you." God

Cuts Like a Knife

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John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
Take a look at this verse closely. It describes God as the Ultimate Gardner, inspecting all of the branches that are connected to His son Jesus. Jesus is the vine. If the branches are not fruitful, He cuts them. If they are fruitful, He cuts them! The difference is the degree of the cutting. So let's just set the record straight today...you will experience some pain in your life. Life cuts like a knife at times. The question is: are you going to be pruned or amputated?
The reason we go through a pruning process is to arrive at the place God wants us to be...more fruitful. Doing good works so that people can see that God is on us and in us and give Him the glory. Fact is, He cares about every branch. And every branch is connected to the vine so that it can grow and be frui…

Sweet Peace

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Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."
To be justified means to be placed in right standing with God. To be declared not guilty and set free. The only way that I could ever grasp that is to accept it by faith. Why? Because God said it. He made me right because I stepped out in His direction. And now that I am going in the right direction, in right standing, I have peace with God.
I saw this peace in the hospital yesterday. I was with some dear friends and we all gathered around our loved one and sang spiritual songs. Old songs...like "peace, peace, wonderful peace" and "only believe"and "revive us again". As we sang, a sweet peace filled the room and the presence of the Lord was all around us. He fell off to sleep.( I have that affect on people!) This was a deep, peaceful sleep. The…

Words that Stick

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“Strive not about words to no profit, but to the
subverting of the hearers”. 2 Tim. 2:14
I've been watching the words that come out of my mouth and the words that go into my ears. I have realized just how powerful words are and how they can alter my day and change my attitude. There are non-profit words and words that are fruitful. Bottom line...words stick with you.
I also believe that you need a healing word to negate every hurtful word. When someone says something negative, you and I must say something positive to cancel it out...to keep it from sticking. Saying something full of faith out loud so you can hear it is important. Jesus said that faith came by hearing...not by just thinking about it!
Remember Peter and the three denials of Christ before the rooster crowed? It wasn't long after that when Jesus had a heart to heart with Peter(John 21) and asked him a simple question..."do you love me?". Peter said yes. Jesus asked it again..."do you love me?" &q…

Detour!

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What emotion rises in you when you see this kind of sign? On the highway it means that the road that you are on is changing. The way that you were going is no longer possible. And it usually means that not only will you go out of your way, but that you will also be late to your destination. Detour and frustration often go hand in hand.
I find myself at times wishing that life had signs like these. Unfortunately it always seems that I am in the middle of a detour and had no idea that the road had changed! What if we were so in tune with the Lord that we just went with the flow of traffic and didn't get bent out of shape when we saw this sign? What if God was changing your course to keep you from an accident or a bad patch in the road? Wouldn't that change the way you looked at this sign?
Today, trust the leading of the One that paves the way for ALL of your successes. He knows the way through the wilderness and the best way to get to the place that you need to be...right on time…

Why Do You Tell Stories?

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As I was reading Matthew 13:10-17 in the MSG bible this weekend I realized something that I want you to experience with me…we are special to God! There is something about you that the Lord was interested in when he began to fashion you in your mothers womb. He desired to be in fellowship with each of us. He told stories to bring us close to Him. The disciples were somewhat amazed at the way Jesus told His story. Why do you tell stories they’d say? And that is when Jesus told them about themselves.
He said…
You’ve been given insight-you know how it works.
How many times have we asked the same questions over again when we really already know the answer? If we are saved…if the Lord is our Savior we have been illuminated. You are different! I wonder if sometimes we are just simply unwilling to do anything ourselves or maybe we are a bit spiritually lazy and we do not launch forward with the insight that has been placed in us by God. We are different! Not just that but let me go on…
He said…
No…

Older and Wiser

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Proverbs 9:9
Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11 Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
In today's reading from Proverbs, we get some insight about wise people.
Wise people get wiser with instruction. They are meek: which means they are
teachable. It's very easy in our culture today to distinguish between the
teachable and the un-teachable.
Where does this kind of wisdom begin? It begins by fearing God!
When we have a holy reverence for the Lord we put ourselves in a position to grow in wisdom.
And that leads to a long life. When we gain knowledge and insight, we are the ones that benefit!
If we stop growing in wisdom, we suffer.
Do you have a holy respect for God and His ways?
Are you consid…

Letters from Christ

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2 Corinthians 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Have you ever thought about what this verse is telling us? As believers, fully devoted followers of Christ you and I are letters from Christ. We are being sent to people all over the world. We carry information, life lessons and encouragement. The big question is what is your letter saying? Some letters just get thrown out before they are even opened. Others are read and then torn apart. Some come with special greetings and even gifts!
My desire is that I would be one of those letters that makes people smile and feel better just for reading it. I want to touch the heart of my reader and breathe life into them.
You are a living letter. Sent to a world that is lost with a hope that well last. A Special Delivery! No one likes to receive a letter marked "postage due". Don't …

Press On

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Philippians 3:14 says,
"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
How many times has life taken an unexpected turn on you? Have you ever been ambushed by horrific news or a fast spreading disease? What should we do when we face those kinds of situations? Keep pressing. Keep moving. There is a goal...the goal for the believer is heaven and an eternity with Christ.
The worst thing we can do when life changes suddenly is to stop. We cannot afford to become inactive or idle. When we stop we lose the momentum that comes in the natural ebb and flow of life. Inactivity leads to self-pity and depression. And that is when our mind starts to play tricks on us. Keep moving!
Scripture tells us to "cast down imaginations" and take our thoughts captive. Keep your eyes on the prize and the mind on he desired result. Every one of us will face something that was unexpected...something that may knock the wind right out of us. If that happens, fi…

A little short?

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Luke 19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly."
I love this story for a couple of reasons. First, because I see a man that did not fail because he came up "a little short"! Second, because Jesus knew where this man was all the time.
Many of us don't live with the same passion as Zacchaeus. He put himself in a position to "collide" with the miraculous. Just because he did not measure up to everyone else, he did not let that keep him from doing what he could to level the playing field. He was jus…

Know Him Better

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"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." Ephesians 1:16-17
I wonder what could happen in America if we all adopted the thought in this verse of scripture and made a habit of giving thanks to God for our friends and family and those we associate with? Imagine every day having a thankful heart, thinking of others and remembering those people in our prayers! Paul was always thinking of other people which is why he was able to be happy in whatever situation he was in. He played the cards that were dealt to him and won every hand. His heart was that others would be given a Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God so that they would know Him better.
Today would be a great day to get to know the Lord better. Ask Him to give you insight and a special understanding of His Word. Spend some time toda…

May Your Easter Be Blessed!

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Crucifixion

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According to Wikipedia, crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross (of various shapes) and left to hang until dead. Crucifixion was almost never performed for ritual or symbolic reasons outside of Christianity, but usually to provide a death that was particularly slow and painful ;hence the term excruciating. (literally "out of crucifying")
It’s hard to imagine authentic “great love” today…the kind that will lay down its life for its friends. We all seem to be so consumed with what we need and how we feel and what is best for our situation. On this Good Friday, or as some call it God Friday, take a few moments to truly capture the essence of just how much God loves YOU. So much in fact that He sent His only son to go through a particularly slow and agonizing death so that you could live a full and joyful life.
That’s the Good in Good Friday!
My prayer for all of you is that the Lord will enlight…

Anticipation

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There is a different "spirit" around Easter this year. I've been going to church for many years now but I have not seen as much anticipation as I have seen this year. At The Landing we have been doing some soul-searching and getting the trash out of our lives so that the Lord can fill us up with all the things that He desires us to have. For the last month we have been writing our struggles down on slips of paper and literally nailing them to a huge wooden cross in our worship center. Last night we took off those papers and burned them up forever! Some folks cheered as they threw them in the fire, others were prayerful. Everyone was liberated.
Perhaps that is why there is anticipation because we have made some room for blessing and favor to come. Kind of like cleaning out the garage as you prepare a place to park your new car!
Are you looking forward to this Resurrection Sunday? God is up to something this year and I believe that He wants to surprise us right now when we …