Monday, October 31, 2016

Enter God's Rest...

Hebrews 4:10-11 “…for anyone who enters God’s rest (peace/communion with God) also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

The Hebrew writer here is reflecting back to the Israelites in the wilderness--they had been delivered from slavery and God had made His covenant with them -- to be with them and give them peace in a Promised Land of blessing.  But in stead of focussing on God's ABILITY they focused on their own weakness and failed to trust God... they failed to enter the rest God had promised to them.

So, the Hebrew writer says to us--Learn form their example---don't be like them--trust God and press into the rest He offers you!

What is this "rest"?

It's salvation-------which includes forgiveness of sin, redemption, adoption into the family of God, peace for our hearts--no matter what circumstances try to dictate.  Joy that this world can't touch... etc... As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul puts it this way...

Ephesians1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

EVERY spiritual blessing...

Life, peace, joy, strength, hope, assurance, vision, direction, purpose, patience, comfort, etc... I could fill a thousand pages with the list---God gives us ALL of Himself in Christ.  That is mindblowingly awesome!

So, like the Hebrew writer says... don't just say you believe this stuff... "...make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”   I.e. press into Jesus today--trust, surrender, obey, walk with, fill up on Him and allow Him to be your ALL & ALL!

Hope this encouraged you.  Remember to share!  And if you are looking for an awesome daily resource for quiet time with Jesus---definitely check out Streams In The Desert (below my signature).

Blessings,
Brad


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

LIFE--Breathed in...

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed…”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God-breathed life into His Word so that His Word might breathe life into us.

This is why--when we abide in God's Word and fill up on the Living Word, JESUS, who is the Way the Truth and the Life---we are renewed, refreshed, revived and reinvigorated spiritually.  We are refueled with spiritual power to surrender, repent, stand, work and walk faithfully -- honoring our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children---living in a desperately broken world.

Seek Him every day my friend.  Fill up on His Word and let His Word breath fresh life into you!

Remeber to comment and share!  If you're not sure how or what to read---Streams In The Desert is a wonderful little daily devotional tool--you can learn more about it via the link below.

Blessings,
Brad


Monday, October 24, 2016

WORK for the night is coming.

John 9:4 “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”  ~Jesus

This is an agricultural illustration. Picture a hard working farmer in the days before modern farm machinery. He rose early each day in order to be in the field before "first light" to take advantage of every minute of daylight—cultivating his crop for the harvest to come. He knew that night would come, so he worked hard all day and when the night came he "rested hard" ...well deserved rest for his diligence in the daylight. He knew that if he was going to have a crop to harvest, he must work diligently every waking minute for time was short.

God’s Word instills within us a very specific world view: God is almighty and He is holy—and thank God—He is also gracious—because all of us have sinned fall short of His glorious standard. God has made a way for us to be forgiven and to be reconciled back into a loving relationship with Him as Father—through faith in Jesus & the cross. That’s what the gospel is all about. In the Kingdom of God every Recruit—becomes a Recruiter… every adopted child is commissioned as an adoption agent---with a mission to invite others into the family through faith in Christ... and time is clicking down.  The result is urgency--an ever-present awareness that every day counts; that our words, deeds, relationships, choices matter---as we live our LIVES as living sacrifices for Him (Rom. 12:1).

Friend I hope that: a) you know Jesus as savior and God as your awesome faither today!  And 2) that you sense the URGENT call of the Spirit to live--intentionally for the Kingdom... to "be about your Father's business" like our Elder Brother and Savior--Jesus was all of His earthly life.

Make today a great day IN HIM!

Thanks for reading---if you were encouraged---remember to share!

Blessings,
Brad


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Throw that thing off!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..." (Heb. 12:2)

What an AMAZING command!

Note, he draws a distinction between "things that hinder" and "sins".  I have plenty of things in my life that hinder my walk with Jesus--that aren't necessarily "sin."  In reading Streams in the Desert today--I was really challenged in this area.  Let me share a little bit of this this with you...

There are weights which are not sins in themselves, but which become distractions and stumbling blocks in our Christian progress. One of the worst of these is despondency. The heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness. 

The failure of Israel to enter the land of promise began in murmuring... Just a faint desire to complain and be discontented. This led on until it blossomed and ripened into rebellion and ruin. Let us give ourselves no liberty ever to doubt God or His love and faithfulness to us in everything and forever. We can set our will against doubt just as we do against any other sin; and as we stand firm and refuse to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid and give us the faith of God and crown us with victory. 
It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes are to end in failure. Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. Let us “count it all joy” when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real.

Oh friend--choose Joy in Jesus today!  Thanks for reading--if you were encouraged, remember to share!  And if you think you might enjoy the Streams In the Desert devotional---check out the link below!

Blessings,
Brad


Monday, October 17, 2016

FREE from YOU...

Jesus is teaching me something... let me share...


Jesus said:
Luke 17:33 “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.”


John 8:31-32, 36)  “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Do you want to be free: like really free... like FREE INDEED?  Here's how...

Die to you.  Embrace the awesome truth that life is not about YOU.  It's ALL about God--loving Him and being loved by Him.  When you die to self--you can be ALL about God and when you are ALL about God, He can be ALL about you----I.e. when you take self off the throne and place Christ there--God can pour grace and worth/value, blessing -- EVERY THING YOU NEED into you... But when you're all about YOU--self-focus slams the door closed on God's ability to pour anything into your life.  Do you get it?

Do you want to be free from people--what they do, say, think, etc?  Die to self and realize it's not about them --- it's all about your Heavenly father who is crazy about you... period.

Do you want to have an awesome marriage?  Quit looking to your spouse to meet all your needs---look to God... then when He meets all of your needs--you can love and bless your spouse out of the overflow!

Do you want to be free at work or school? Quit looking to your work or your coworkers/classmates for your sense of worth.  Quit comparing yourself to others.  Stop dwelling on what they say or think about you--die to all of that poisonous garbage and look to God for all that you need. Let Him fulfill all of your needs and set you free.

Wow--how might work/school change if you walked in tomorrow TOTALLY sold out to God and free from people?  By the way being free FROM people--empowers you to to TRULY LOVE people----When you're full of grace--you can love others--NOT--because you want/need anything from them (God has filled that void)... but purely because God's love flows out of you.

Needy, self-centered people can't bless anyone.  Only free (dead to self--alive to Christ) people can.

Grab onto this today friends!  Let this declaration from Paul---which reveals the secret of his joy and freedom --- become your declaration today!

"I have been tcrucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives uin me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, vwho loved me and wgave himself for me." (Gal  2:20).

Thanks for reading!  If you we're encouraged---remember to share!  Also--If you love reading solid, biblical words that grow strong faith--I totally encourage you to check out STREAMS IN THE DESERT (link below).  Have a great day in Him!


Blessings,

Brad






Thursday, October 13, 2016

When you go to prison...

"Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor..."  (Gen. 39:20-21)

I'm so encouraged and challenged by Joseph!  Joseph loved God--I'm not talking about a sentimental love... I'm saying Joseph loved God with his life... his actions... he refused to sleep with his master's wife when she seduced him--and in response she lied and accused Joseph of trying to rape her--and as a result Joseph ened up in prison.

Have you ever been unjustly treated harshly BECAUSE you loved God?  That's where Joseph was.

But notice what the text says, "...while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him..."  Oh friend.  never forget that if you are a Christ-follower--God is WITH you, no matter what hardship or trouble you face.  Never forget that God has promised to WORK in EVERY circumstance of the believer'slife -- for good. (Rom. 8:28)

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

Friend--if you are IN CHRIST, never fear the circumstances of this life.  For those in Christ---the old saying, "If God leads you to it--He will lead you through it..." is one-hundred-percent true.  And evem MORE than that.  He will USE it--to deepen you walk with Him and develop Christ-like character within--and in the light of eternity--NOTHING is more important than those things.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  (James 1:2-4).

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Thanks for reading.  Remember to share!  Today's blog was inspired by my reading in Streams In The Desert---If you were encouraged, you might really enjoy this devotional--check out the link below for more info!

Blessings,
Brad


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Do not fret..."

Man, God is really working on me in this area.  I have a tendency to obssess over "what ifs."

What if...
Hillary Clinton actually wins this thing?  We've already killed 56+ million babies in this country since Roe v. Wade... She could potentially cement the deal with liberal supreme court justices for the next 50 years... that's a lot of innocent hearts silenced in the name of convenience (a.k.a. "choice")...

What if...  North Korea... China... Isis...  the economy...

What if... my health...  my job...  my kids...

ETC... I could go on... I know, you could too...

But against all of this "stuff" God says, "Do not fret..."

I've been reading Streams In The Desert -- a lot -- lately.  And God is really using it to encourage me.  Here's the Oct. 10th devotional on this very subject.

"Do not fret..."  This to me is a Divine command; the same as “Thou shalt not steal.” 

Now let us get to the definition of fretting. One good definition is, “Made rough on the surface.” “Rubbed, or worn away”; and a peevish, irrational, fault-finding person not only wears himself out, but is very wearing to others. To fret is to be in a state of vexation, and in this Psalm we are not only told not to fret because of evildoers, but to fret not “in anywise.” 

It is injurious, and God does not want us to hurt ourselves. A physician will tell you that a fit of anger is more injurious to the system than a fever, and a fretful disposition is not conducive to a healthy body; and you know rules are apt to work both ways, and the next step down from fretting is crossness, and that amounts to anger. Let us settle this matter, and be obedient to the command, “Fret not.”—Margaret Bottome OVERHEARD IN AN ORCHARD 

Said the Robin to the Sparrow: “I should really like to know Why these anxious human beings Rush about and worry so?” Said the Sparrow to the Robin: “Friend, I think that it must be That they have no Heavenly Father Such as cares for you and me.”

Thanks for reading, remember to share!
If you enjoyed today's thoughts, you might really enjoy the Streams In The Desert devotional--check out the link below.

Blessings,
Brad




Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chose LIFE

I was blessed last night to attend and offer the opening prayer for the the Michigan Right to Life annual banquet here in Bay City.  It was an amazing, inspiring and heart-rending evening at the lovely Lumber Barron Banquet Hall.  Our speaker was Melissa Ohden, an amazing sister in Christ--who is the survivor of a "failed" saline solution abortion.  I posted her miraculous story below.  I strongly encourage you to watch it.  And friends--please consider "life" when you go to the polls this year.  I've never been a dyed-in-the-wool "D" or "R".... but I am an unashamed, adamant supporter of "L"  ... life.  Thanks for reading & watching.

"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." (Deut. 30:19)