When Sin Stares You In The Eyes

Daniel (1:8-13 ESV)

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

Daily we are faced with tough decisions, decisions that test our FAITH and BELIEFS. We live in a “Fallen World”, a world in which has become corrupted in almost every matter. The enemy has taken all the wonderful things God created and has found a way to pervert them. Whether it’s music, television, books, the way we think, see and speak, have all become victims to this DEADLY EPIDEMIC.

The fact is that the enemy will do whatever it takes to separate us from our RELATIONSHIP with God. It started in the garden of Eden and has gradually become worse. Any new technological advance, invention or new communication advancement that comes about, becomes corrupted before we have the opportunity to use it. The ability to SIN IS AT THE CLICK OF A BUTTON.

Daniel was faced with a situation many of us are faced with on a daily basis, he was living in a new land, under the control of a king who did not worship the same God as Daniel. However, Daniel was given favor by the Lord and was being honored for the Wisdom and Knowledge God had given him. He was being taken care of and then the enemy attempted to sneak in and separate his relationship with the Lord. Daniel was given the opportunity to eat a five course meal, or in our terms a Ruth Chris steak with all the sides he could scarf down, however Daniel knew the meat had been offered to idols and was not going to risk any form of separation from God. So he kindly denied the meat. The part that I love is the Chief Eunuch’s reaction. He was assured that if Daniel did not eat the same type of food as the others then he would not receive enough nutrition and would surely look different. I love this because that’s the same reaction we, as Christians, receive when we kindly say “No, thank you I don’t _____”, you can fill in the blank, drink, smoke, party, have sex out of wedlock. As Christians we always get the “crooked” eye from people when we choose to stick to God rather than give in to the perversion. Others give in to the temptation because they simply do not want to be looked at different, or as the Lord calls them “chaff, being tossed to and fro.”

What choice do we make daily with sin staring us in the eyes? Do we choose to avoid corruption and separation from God or do we choose to avoid separation from The World? Daniel chose to separate himself from the world for the sake of his personal relationship with God. My question to you today is, Are you willing to do the same? I know I am. God Bless.

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I Have A…. Vision?

Ezekiel 1:1-3 (ESV)

“1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.”

There are times when people feel led to do certain things, some have good reasons, some have selfish reasons, others say they have no reason and then there are those who do things and make decisions for Godly reasons. Well what is a Godly reason? A Godly reason is when God speaks yo you, through visions (as we see in the passage above), through His Word (Bible), and prayer (meditation). When He does speak He will confirm and continue to tug at your spirit.

Then the devil creeps in and attempts to keep you from following the vision God has given you. We begin to doubt and second guess our decisions. We ask God for another sign or vision. Then He follows through a second time and we continue to doubt. However, as we see here with Ezekiel, he was receiving visions from God and then the Lord speaks to us, through the scripture to sure up our doubt. The scriptures say, that the HAND OF THE LORD WAS UPON HIM. It does not get any clearer than that. Ezekiel was receiving vision, direction, instruction, whichever allows you to understand best and the hand of the Lord was upon Him.

Whenever the Lord sends you into a certain direction or gives you a specific vision, there is no need to doubt or second guess, because when the Lord speaks to you, HIS HAND IS WITH YOU. Therefore, there is no need to fear, because when HIS hand is with you HE will provide the resources and equip us with everything we need and more! Walk with your God given confidence today, trusting that God will provide the rest! God bless.

Setting The Bar High

Acts 15:7-11

“7And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

        As Christians we sometimes tend to forget what the Lord has given us grace on and saved us from.  We begin to think that this walk is easy and hold others to extremely high standards.  For some of us we forget that this walk we now have with Christ, like any any relationship, took time to build.  There are times of feeling disconnected, lazy and doubtful.  Yet, we expect others to be able to achieve this relationship with Christ at the snap of OUR fingers.  The fact is that God doesn’t move at the sound of our voice or when we feel it is necessary.  We move at the sound of His voice, at the time He deems appropriate.

        Many tend to turn into a person who becomes resentful at the things others do because they can no longer do them.  A bitterness sets in and the grace and mercy God shed on us, we cannot shed on others, which in return takes that covering of grace and mercy off of our own lives.  There were two commandments that Jesus gave during His time on earth: 1. Love the the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Have you ever heard someone say ” Well I love God, I just think that some of the people around me are idiots.”  I can’t help but laugh when I hear comments like this, or with somewhat of the same meaning, because if you love God those who act foolish should be receiving more of your love than those closest to you.  Jesus said that He came for the lost, yet we feel that the lost having nothing to live for and should just be wiped off the face of the earth.

        In the passage above the people were exclaiming to the Apostles and Elders that the gentiles were not baptized therefore they should cannot be saved.  I love the response of Peter when he says why should we place a yoke on the disciples that not even our fathers were able to bear.  In other words, why are we requiring others to be holy before coming to the Father, when even when we were circumcised we acted worse then them.  Why are we setting standards for others, that we were never able to attain?  Why do we not show the grace and mercy that the Father showed to us?

        Don’t hold others to standards that we were once not able to reach ourselves.  Shower others with love and encouragement and allow God to be in charge of the increase.  I urge you to shower people with love and encouragement today, let the love of God flow out of you.  I’m going to end today’s post with a prayer, be open to the spirit and receive it. God Bless!

“Heavenly Father we come before you Lord with longing hearts,desperately seeking grace, mercy and favor in your eyes. We ask Lord that you would forgive us of the standards we hold others to, when we ourselves cannot attain these standards. We ask Lord that your hand would be among us today, that as we pour out love and encouragement on others today, they would receive it and fell YOUR touch. Their hearts would turn to YOU and YOU would begin to lead them in righteousness. I ask that YOU watch over us and continue to guide our footsteps and make clear the path YOU have set before us.  In the name of YOUR SON JESUS, AMEN!”

Why Must They Despise Me?

Psalm 35:11-14 (ESV)

“11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
13But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
14I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.”

We all know how it feels when a loved one is in need. Whether they are sick from a horrible disease or desperately financial support, to name a couple examples. When these situations arise we pray and fast with our whole heart, desperately seeking the Lord to move His hand and turn the situation around. These loved one we agree in prayer with are also people who have teased us or wronged us in some way or another, however we still find it in our heart to intercede in prayer for these people.

However, when someone else wrongs us or talks badly about us we somehow forget that we are children of the Most High God. We forget that the Lord loved us even when we resented everything every word of His. He loved us even when we sentenced His Son to death. We arose against Him and beat His Son to a bloody pulp! He still stands by our side to aid us in our daily lives. So why do we seem to feel that the people who arise against us should be sentenced to death and deserve none of our compassion and mercy.

Would you like to see an example of what our compassion should look like when our “enemies” persecute us? Perhaps you should re-read the passage above, King David, a man after God’s Own Heart, gives a very detailed description of the way he prayed for his enemies. Lamenting, or weeping, as if it were his own brother, sister or loved one. Laying himself down in sackcloth, which was a form of atoning for one’s sin and fasting until his body was greatly ailed.

In order to love as God loves us we must look past our family and friends, even the family and friends that pretend to not be related to us, or the family and friends that only run to you in times of need. We must look to those who greatly despise us, wish for nothing but evil to come upon us and our families and WE MUST PRAY for them. In order to fully experience the wholeness of God’s love we must love others as He has loved us! God Bless.

Disaster Prevention

Proverbs 1:28-33 (ESV)

28 “ Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
      They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
       29 Because they hated knowledge
      And did not choose the fear of the LORD,
       30 They would have none of my counsel
      And despised my every rebuke.
       31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
      And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
       32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
      And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
       33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
      And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

        Have you ever known or met a person who just denies any existence of God?  Or worse, maybe they claim to know God and believe in Jesus, yet they believe they can live life in which ever manner they please.  On top of this they seem to be taken care of, they never seem to be out of money, have nice cars, always on vacation and seem to have a peaceful family.  This facade just makes us cringe, doesn’t it?  Well it shouldn’t!

        The fact is that while these people may be thinking they are living the good life, in fact they are living a very shallow life, a life that if all these materialistic components were taken away, they would no longer have a meaning for life.  Sure the fruit of their labor looks good for the time being, but when tragedy strikes, as God promises it will, where will they go?  Many extremely wealthy families have been broken up over the past few years because of the economic depression our country is in.  People are divorcing, turning to drugs and alcohol, and taking their own lives.  This happens because the image the devils paints in our head is one that shows us that money is all we need to live at peace and we believe this.  However, the devil doesn’t tell us that one day we will be left with nothing but our heart and soul, which is to be examined and judged.

        Verse 33 says those that listen will dwell securely  and will be at EASE, without dread of disaster.  Ever notice how all these rich men put their money into stocks to attempt to capitalize on the money they already have earned and then they sit there and constantly watch what the stock market is doing because if their stock crashes they could lose everything.  This raises their stress level and blood pressure and also takes their attention away from their family.  This is why God urges us to take our safety out of our money and lay it into His hands.

        The ONLY way to fully be happy and safe is to invest in the Lord.  Invest with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, because HE is the only disaster protection we need.  He will watch over your family and lead them to the Promised Land.  God Bless!

Good Roots

Psalm 1 (ESV)

“1Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”

“I don’t need to go to church or read my Bible, the Lord knows my heart.”
This is the number one excuse believers use when asked how their spiritual life is going. There’s no need to lie, the fact is that we all have busy lives and at times can become lazy. It is extremely important that we discipline our daily walk and create time to spend with our Father.

As Psalm 1 says, the tree that is planted near the stream of water shall not wither. When we plant our roots in the Word of God and prayer we give ourselves the nutrition we need need to grow. Just as a flower must be watered and nurtured in order to bloom into beauty, we also must nurture our spiritual lives so we blossom into the perfect creation God has placed on earth. When our roots are planted near the stream of life, we are able to soak up all God has blessed us with. You see because when the tree is planted near the stream it does not need to rely on an individual to water it everyday, during the hottest days it is still being refreshed from the moisture in the soil. The same rules apply for us, when our lives seem dry an others begin to mock our faith, the Lord is there to refresh us!

I was the Christian who was taking reading for granted, relied solely on church and prayer. However, I stand here today to tell you that I would not e where I am today if I didn’t discipline myself to read on a daily basis. Get your roots planted deep so you can experience the Lord on a higher level today!

Watch Out For Snakes

Psalm 18:1-3 (KJV):

 1 I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
         My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
         My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
         So shall I be saved from my enemies.

        When a child is told not to play with fire, what is the first thing that child asks himself?  “Well why can’t I play with fire?”  When my oldest younger brother was 3 years old he was told not to touch the curling iron because it was hot.  Sure enough as soon as he knew my step-mother was not looking, he went for it and grabbed it.  The result was a trip to the emergency room and a severely bandaged hand.  My brother cried, said sorry and never touched a curling iron, hot or cold, ever again.

        With the evolutions in our society, people become curious and are encouraged to test their limits.  Encouraged to “play with fire”, however, they do not realize that there are some fires that are inescapable.  There are parameters that the Lord places around us because He knows, although they may not have an immediate effect, we can become consumed and burnt to the core.  The Lord will allow us to go through some fire as it is, but as prideful humans we believe we can handle more, while the Father already knows the outcome of certain actions.

        This subject came to mind the other day as I was hiking with my girlfriend and a couple of my Christian brothers.  As we were hiking there were noises in the bushes that sounded like Rattlesnake rattles.  In the beginning when I heard these noises I just kept walking, wanted nothing to do with them.  However, as we continued on the hike I started to become curious.  I had reached the top of one of the hills before the other three and as I was attempting to catch my breath I heard the same noise in a bush nearby.  So I started to get closer to see if the noise was truly a rattlesnake or just the wind hitting the brush.  So I was cautiously getting closer I began to think, if it’s not a rattlesnake I’ll have the comfort of knowing that these hills are not infested with rattlesnakes and if it is a rattlesnake, I’m just going to end up running away anyway, unless it’s too late and I get bit.  However, there was also another option, stay put cause they are not bothering me as it is and I’m safe.  So I became curious no longer.

       The Lord will protect us and even when it feels that we are being persecuted it is never a situation that He is not involved in.  Trust in the Lord because He is our Rock and keeps us protected under the shadow of His wings.  Although it may seem hot, the Lord is there to cool us down and refresh our spirit. We must discipline ourselves to stay away from the traps the devil attempts to lay down in our path.