Pray for Someone Else

Have you ever gone to church or to a friend, and you were so down that you felt like you just didn’t have much to give? And then when you left, you even had less? Well, this shouldn’t be. We are to encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 4:8-10). We are not to tear each other down with our words. Likewise, we are not to abandon brothers and sisters in the Lord who need help.

It has been said that the Christian army is the only army that kills its wounded. This sounds harsh, but many times it is true. Often when a Christian falls into trouble or sin, we can’t wait to get on the phone and start calling around to have others “pray.” I wonder sometimes what we enjoy the most – the calling or the praying. Ask yourself this question: Do I pray first or call first and pray later?

A lady once told me that everyone in her church thought she was a great prayer warrior. They trusted her with their problems and secrets because they knew she would pray. She said the reality of the situation was this. She stayed so busy talking to people about their problems and calling others to pray about the problems that she rarely prayed herself. One day she realized that instead of being a person of prayer, she had slowly turned into a person of gossip.

Satan is a deceiver and the king of deception. Sometimes he can get us so wrapped up in the process of doing good that the process becomes more important than the purpose.

Today I want to encourage you. You may have problems in your life. God’s promise does not say there will be no mountains (problems) in our path. His promise gives us the authority to remove the mountains as we encounter them (Mark 11:23).

Just because things look like they are going wrong in your life, it doesn’t mean you are not in the will of God or that you are a bad person and have done something drastically wrong. The Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers [us] out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). So don’t accept the guilt that some people may try to put on you. Do not walk by what you see but walk according to what God has promised. Remember, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Let me also encourage you to build up someone else today. Pray for another person. If you know of someone who is having financial problems, pray for them. If you know of someone who is sick, pray for their healing. If you know of someone who needs their family to be healed, pray for them. Don’t condemn them. Don’t spread rumors. Pray for them. Be an encourager. Don’t bring others down. Lift them up.

Devotion 0008

Where’s the Power?

My wife and I were sitting in the balcony one Sunday morning and the meeting was about to dismiss. The deacon of the week walked onto the platform and took his place behind the pulpit. He was about to give the benediction when an older man, looking to be in his seventies, began walking down the long center aisle toward the front of the church. Even with the large crowd, the church was quiet. All eyes were on the older gentleman.

Upon reaching the front, he spoke to the congregation. In a deep cracking voice he said, “I’ve never gone to church much, but last week I did go to the doctor. He said that I had cancer and that there was no hope for me medically. The doctor said that my only hope was God. I thought that if God could be found, it must be in a church, so here I am.”

The church was silent. The deacon of the week was visibly shaken. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It wasn’t in the bulletin. What could he do? The pastor sat still and solemn on his red velvet padded chair. The deacon quietly quoted his closing prayer without even mentioning the old man. The service was over, and people began to leave.

We went to the edge of the balcony and looked down at the scene. The old man was still standing in front of the church, alone. Everyone was moving away from him toward the exits. My heart sank. It seemed that no one had the ability or desire to minister to him. By the time we could get down the stairs and through the crowd, he was gone. I asked myself, “Where’s the power in the church today?” Could this be what the passage means in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that says in the last days men will hold to a form of godliness but deny its power?

People in the world are hurting. There are many pressures in these last days. Financial stress, illness, and disease have pushed many to the edge. Sometimes they realize their only hope, their only way of escape is God. But it’s so sad when the lost world reaches out toward the Christian community and only finds more of the same problems. Where is the power? Is there any hope?

Everything Jesus said was and is true. He never lied. He said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). Peter, a disciple of Jesus, seemed to be strong in faith and power, but after the soldiers arrested Jesus and took him away, Peter became fearful and denied that he had ever even known Jesus (Matthew 26:47-75). Yet within weeks, Peter was preaching boldly in public, and many signs and wonders were taking place at his hands. What happened? What changed this man from fearful to bold? The answer is he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

We need this same power working in the lives of all Christians today. The promise of the Holy Spirit was not just for first century Christians. Peter said on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off” (Acts 2:38-39).

Where’s the power in the church today? It’s in those of us who have been born again and received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8.) The question is, what are we going to do with it?

Devotion 0017

Do Not Remove the Ancient Landmark

“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:9‑10).

The Word tells us that one day with God is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day (2 Peter 3:8). Eternity is limitless. Time cannot be measured in the midst of eternity because in eternity, time does not exist. In the midst of eternity God carved out seven days called the dispensation of man. Each of the days consists of one thousand years. At the end of the fourth day (4,000 years), God gave Jesus to the earth.

In the two thousand years since then (two days), we have the Church age, or the age of grace. The seventh day is the day (1,000 years) Jesus will rule and reign on this earth. We call this the millennial reign of Christ. From eternity to eternity and all the time in between, we find one thing that is consistent. God never changes.

In order to find the will of God on the earth today, all that needs to be done is to look to the ancient times of the past. God’s plan of the ages has not changed.

While it is true that we as Christians live under a new covenant that was instituted by our Lord Jesus, it is also true that when God gives His word, He keeps it. God’s promises to His chosen people are still valid and true and anyone who opposes God’s will is in a dangerous place.

As the world looks on and observes the Church, many are confused when they see Christians opposing the Jews when the Lord and Savior of the Christians Himself was born on this earth as a Jew.

The world is full of anti-Semitism, but there should never be, under any circumstances, even the slightest hint coming from the Church of opposition to God’s chosen people. No logic from the mind of man can justify the opposition to God’s plan concerning the Jews. God did not give the land of Israel to the United States of America. God did not promise it to the Syrians, or the Egyptians. God has already given it to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

As a Christian, there should be no confusion on where you stand on the issue of the land of Israel.

“And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.’” (Genesis 35:10‑12)

“Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)

“Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless; for their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.” (Proverbs 23:10‑11)

Devotion 0420

Leaders Need a Vision

Every Christian should have a vision of what God has for them to do in their life. One of the biggest problems we have in the church today is people working without direction.

Have you ever met someone who always seems to stay busy, but never really accomplishes anything? They are involved in all types of projects and duties but never quite reach their goal. Or, if they do reach their goal, there is no satisfaction.

It is very satisfying to have a goal that you know is important. You accomplish that goal in such a way that you can stand back, look at your accomplishment and be at peace. But all too often this is not the case. In churches around the country, people work religiously on projects, and many times never accomplish anything. Frustrated and tired, they drop out of the church, or they continue to work and just burn out. Even ministers are leaving the ministry at an alarming rate. Why? Usually it’s due to burn out. Why are they burning out? They are working without a vision.

Proverbs 29:18 says,“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (KJV).I am convinced that many toiling away at duties in the church have no vision of where they are or where they are going. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, you won’t know it when you get there.

Getting a vision of what God wants you to do and accomplishing that vision requires two things. First, seek God and find out what it is He has for you and second, do it. Do what God has told you to do, not what He has told someone else to do. Do what He has for you to do. You are responsible to God primarily for one person – you. You are responsible for one vision – yours.

Seek God and do what He has for you. Move in your vision. Be a voice, not an echo.

Habakkuk 2:2 says, “The Lord answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.’”

Seek God, get the vision, and then write it down. If you’re a Christian without a vision, you are in danger of living a dull, unfulfilled life. If you’re a Christian leader without a vision, it not only can be disastrous for you, but for all that follow you.

Write your vision down. Make it plain (or understandable), so that those who read it may run with it. If you don’t know what your vision is, others won’t know where to follow. Follow your God-given vision. But don’t be a fanatic. Remember, a fanatic is a person who, after he loses sight of his goal, doubles his efforts so he can get nowhere faster.

You can live three weeks without food, three days without water, but you cannot live three minutes without hope. If you’re frustrated, you may not be as far off track as you think. Seek God concerning your vision. Sometimes all it takes is a minor adjustment in your thinking to get back on track.

King Saul looked at Goliath and thought, “He’s too big to hit.” David looked at Goliath and thought, “He’s too big to miss.”

Seek God, renew your vision, and do it!

Devotion 0013

Will You Pray for Me?

As a pastor, I see people in the church requesting prayer from others as they greet each other or pass by. Sometimes it may seem very casual, but when someone takes your hand and says, “Please pray for my family. We’re going through a tough time,” and you say, “I will,” you must follow through on your promise.

Asking for prayer or saying that you will pray should not become a Christian cliché. When someone asks for prayer and you say you will pray, you must pray. If you don’t, you are a liar and have allowed an opportunity to minister to pass by.

You may say, “I don’t know enough about the situation to pray. How can I pray God’s will for their life when I don’t know much about their life?” Well, I’m glad you asked and here’s your answer.

First, according to 1 John 5:14, if we pray God’s will, He hears us. Verse 15 says that when He hears us, we have the petition that we have asked of Him.

Of course, we must pray His will. According to Romans 8:26, when we don’t know what to pray for, we should pray in the Spirit. And verse 27 says that when we pray in the Spirit, we are praying the will of God.

So the next time someone says, “Please pray for me. I’m going through a bad time,” you can reply with a definite, “Yes, I will!” Then, pray in the Spirit and you will be praying God’s will and you will know by praying His will that He heard you. And when He hears you, you receive your request.

Devotion 0414

What is Your Heart?

The Greek word for heart is kardia. This word is where we get terms like cardiovascular and cardiac arrest. In other words, kardia simply means the organ in your chest that pumps the blood through your body.

However, in the Bible the heart is many times used metaphorically as the essence of a person. It is the unseen, non-physical place that is either good or evil. The physical heart has valves that meter the flow of life-giving substances.

Likewise, the spiritual heart regulates what we say when we speak instinctively without thinking. Of course, we can take time, ponder our thoughts, and make a decision on what to say and we can say anything we want to say. However, when we speak instinctively without thought, those words come directly from the heart. That’s what Jesus was referring to when He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). While our calculated words can be chosen by the mind, our heart does not calculate. It simply pours out of itself what it has inside.

I have heard many great men and women of God, whom I respect and honor, teach that the heart and the spirit are the same. While this could be true in some instances, according to biblical doctrine, this cannot be a definitive truth. If the spirit and heart were the same, then a person’s mouth would never instinctively utter anything evil. Why? Because the spirit is without sin, cleansed and made righteous by the blood of Jesus (1 John 3:9), and is possessed by the Spirit of God, who is light and in whom there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). If the spirit and the heart were the same, then a believer would never speak anything other than faith-filled words that align with the Word of God. I have never yet met that Christian.

It is as though your heart is the place between your soul and your spirit and it is fed good or evil by the decisions made in the soul that allow words of faith from God or words of evil from the enemy through the gates of the mind. What you see and what you hear come into the realm of the soul. Thoughts taken captive and rejected are of no effect, but sights and sounds that are pondered, nurtured, and meditated upon seep into the heart and fill it. Then in times of crisis, without thought, the heart pours out through the lips what is in it.

I have known Christians through the years who have had good hearts, and I have also met some who have evil hearts. With both groups, their spirits had been cleansed and made righteous, but their lifestyles reflected the abundance of the Word of God or the lack of the Word of God. This is why Paul urged the Church to be mature in the faith.

The soul must daily tap into the knowledge and revelation that is given by the spirit. However, it is difficult for the soul to access the wisdom of the spirit when it is drowning in the pollution of the world. “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man” (Matthew 15:18).

This is why the mind, which is a part of the soul, must be constantly cleansed and refreshed with the Word of God so that the good soil between the soul and the spirit will not be polluted with bad seed or with earthly debris. Although your spirit is sealed by the Holy Spirit and darkness and corruption cannot enter into it, the pollution in your heart prevents the light, the wisdom, the understanding, guidance, and revelation (that comes from the spirit) from reaching the soul. The result is decisions are made that are not spirit-led.

In His glorified body, Jesus was able to pass through walls and nothing could obstruct Him. I believe this is because the earthly flesh was gone and without it, nothing hinders the spirit. With this in mind, we must understand that as we cleanse our soul of worldly corruption and increase in holiness through the washing with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26), not only do we renew our mind, but we systematically clean the heart and out of the abundance of our heart, the things of the spirit flow into our soul and dominate our life. This is when true holiness can be seen.

Devotion 0661

Is It Possible to Not Sin?

When someone hears the statement, “our spirit man cannot sin,” sometimes confusion comes in and causes some people to stay on the milk of the Word their entire lives (Hebrews 5:13). They see a statement like this, but they don’t believe it because they don’t understand the principles of the Word of God.

Someone who doesn’t know the Word of God will see 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin” (referring to man’s born-again spirit), and 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (referring to the soul and flesh) as a paradox. They think they have found an instance where the Bible is wrong. They think, “One place it says a Christian cannot sin and another place says they can. Which is true? One has to be wrong. If one of these scriptures is wrong, then there is a false statement in the Bible and there is a possibility that John 3:16 is wrong.”

This is how atheists attempt to tear the Bible apart. They don’t understand God’s basic principles and how they work. They don’t understand that we are a three-part being.

Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” You have the ability to not sin.

On the surface, these two scriptures (1 John 1:8 and 1 John 3:9) might seem conflicting. How can these two scriptures both be true? First John 1:8 says if a man says he has no sin, the truth is not in him. But the other scripture, 1 John 3:9, says whoever is born of God does not sin.

First John 3:9 is talking about the spirit of a born-again Christian. Man is a triune being. Man is a spirit, he lives in a body, and he has a soul comprised of his will, his mind, and his emotions. The born-again spirit cannot sin. However, the body and soul can.

Until we renew our minds and emotions and exercise our wills, and until we perfect the practice of making right choices all the time, we do occasionally sin. This confirms what 1 John 1:8 says—if a man says he does not sin, he is a liar. Thank God that we have an Advocate who is with the Father. Thank God for 1 John 1:9 that says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our transgressions and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (in this case, unrighteous acts).

There is no conflict in those two scriptures.

Devotion 0662

Same Body, Same Mind, New Spirit

When I was born again at age seven, deep within me, my spirit became new. Old things passed away; all things became new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I was new and the same old Larry was not inside.

But when I got out of bed the next morning, my mom didn’t say to me, “Who are you, kid? I don’t recognize you.” No, she fed me breakfast just like she did every day. Why? Because my body was still the same. My body didn’t change.

When I went in to get my bowl of cereal that next morning, I knew what my mom meant when she said, “Hand me the box of Wheaties out of the cabinet.” I knew what was going on. My brain was not cleared or wiped clean from all my previous memories during the night. I knew where everything was; I knew how to put on my clothes; I knew how to talk. I had the same brain.

What changed? My spirit changed, which is the real me. My spirit changed and became new, but my body and mind were still the same.

We are three-part beings. We are spirits that will live forever. Saved or lost, we will exist forever. I am a spirit that has a soul (which is my mind, my will, my emotions, and my intellect) and I live in a body. When I got saved, the spirit man who had been in control of me passed away, and a brand new, God-begotten spirit was born in me. I became a new creation in Christ.

The spirit within us does not sin; it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). It is renewed daily by the Lord. “Even though our outward man (our body) is perishing, yet the inward man (our spirit) is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Regardless of how our bodies or our minds may sin, we have the Spirit of God residing within us. When we sin like we did before we were saved, it doesn’t feel right anymore because our spirit man is who we really are, and our spirit man is trying to get through to our soul realm and to our body.

God says we must renew our minds daily. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Other scriptures also talk about how we need to renew the mind through the daily washing of the mind by the Word (Ephesians 4:23; Ephesians 5:26). As Christians, we need to be brainwashed: we need our brains washed with the Word daily. We still have the same mind and still remember things that have happened. I remember collecting baseball cards as a kid. I have the same brain, but I am renewing it daily through the washing of the Word. But the spirit is renewed daily by God.

Our spirit is being renewed, that’s a fact. We must understand we are righteous because our real existence, the real us — our inward man — has been born again and will live forever. However, the body we are in right now is not going to live forever, although it will be renewed someday. It is our spirit man that will live forever and is incorruptible. The old things have passed away, all things have become new.

Devotion 0663

The Protective Power of the Blood

Romans 5:8-9 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

We need to realize we are saved from destruction because of the blood of Jesus. It’s not your good works that save you from destruction. There are Christians having disasters happen to them all the time. However, the protective power is available for a Christian just by accessing the blood of Jesus that has already been shed.

Let me show you how the blood of the lamb protected the Hebrews before Jesus came to earth. It is found in the 12th chapter of Exodus: “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you’” (Exodus 12:21-23).

That was the protective power of the lamb. Everything that happened in the Old Testament was a foreshadow of what was to come for us under the new covenant. “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever” (Exodus 12:24).

The God-fearing Jews of today still observe the Passover. They commemorate the Passover because the death angel passed over their ancestors.

Would you like to have the destroyer stay outside the walls of your home? The blood of Jesus protects the Christian today. Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

God has not changed. “For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Malachi 3:6).

Jesus has not changed. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

And the same things He did then, He does now. It’s just better now because we have a new and better covenant.

Devotion 0243

If We Sow the Word, What Will We Reap?

Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Here Jesus shared one of the great principles of the spirit realm. What you sow is what you will reap. And the greatest thing to sow is the Word.

In Mark 4:14 Jesus said, “The sower sows the Word.” With this in mind, if we sow the Word, what will we reap?

Well, here it is. We will reap what we sow. If we sow words of prosperity, then we will reap prosperity. If we sow words of healing, we will reap health. If we sow words of love, we will reap love. If we sow words of peace, we will reap peace. That’s the way it works. If we sow the Word, we will reap what the Word says.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

When the Hebrews were in the wilderness just after they came out of Egypt, they became discouraged. The Bible says that they went to their tents and complained against Moses. Not only did they complain, but they also began to make rash statements. They began to speak negatively. They said, “We will never get out of the wilderness. We were better off in Egypt. We are going to die here.”

That’s what they said and that’s what they got. Not a single Hebrew that complained went into the Promised Land. The Bible says the entire generation died. Only the children and Joshua and Caleb entered into Canaan. They spoke it and it happened. Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

Thousands of years have passed since then, but God’s Word is still the same. Death and life are still in the power of the tongue.

In Mark 11:23 Jesus said, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” Jesus put a lot of emphasis on words.

We as Christians cannot speak defeat and expect victory. We cannot speak sickness and expect healing. We cannot speak death and expect life. We will get what we speak. God’s Word speaks victory. God’s Word says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

The Word says in James 5:15, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

When we sow our words, we must speak words that agree with God. We must sow good seed. When we say we are defeated, we are disagreeing with God. When we are sick and do not believe we can be healed, we are disagreeing with God.

That’s what the Hebrews did in the wilderness. I suggest it’s not good to disagree with God.

Devotion 0192

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