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Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Seeing Into The Future with CHEER!!"

Can somebody really be cheerful with all the setbacks they face in life? Let me ask, “How many of you like to hang out with somebody that’s gloomy, down, defeated, sad, dejected, discouraged, or downcast?” Jesus admonishes us with His powerful words for this journey. He tells us how to get through our challenges, potholes, and curves that we all face in life with CHEER!
The disciples had just been a part of the incredible miracle of feeding five thousand men plus women and children. Wouldn’t you have liked to have heard their conversation as they left heading out across the lake that night? They had never seen anything like that before! How do you feed thousands of people with two fishes and 5 loaves of bread?  “WOW”
No doubt, Satan was attempting to sabotage their faith and excitement in experiencing such a miracle. Jesus sent them across the lake as He went up to the mountain to pray. About 3 AM, a terrific storm came down on the lake that threatened their lives in the boat. Jesus was very aware where His disciples were the entire time. In the storm, Jesus came to them walking on the water. They were frightened. Some said, “Is it a ghost?” Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid.” (Matthew 14: 27)  The Greek word is “tharseĆ³:” meaning, to be of “Good Cheer.” Jesus was saying to us, “When you’re in your storm, Cheer Up, I’m still there; I haven’t gone anywhere and I’ve got you covered!”  Peter says, “Lord, if that’s you, ask me to come.” Peter walks on the water before looking at the winds and going under, then cries to the Lord,“Save me.” Jesus reaches for him and together they climb into the boat and then the winds became calm!
Today the Lord stands at the right hand of the Father making intercession for His children. He knows right where you are at every moment, every confrontation, and every dilemma you face. It’s a choice to be confident that He has you covered when these tough times come.
Some say, “Well, I’ll be cheerful when my marriage gets better, when my money matters work out, when I find the spouse I’ve been looking for.” Some say, “When my kid gets off drugs, when my health gets better, when my dream comes to pass, THEN, I’ll be cheerful.” That’s NOT what Jesus teaches! He says, “BE CHEERFUL NOW.” Don’t wait till your storm is over. Don’t put off your cheer till “One Day.” Paul was in the middle of a raging storm with 276 prisoners. God sent him a message on the ship, “I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.” (Acts 27:22) That was one rocky ride; yes, the ship broke into pieces, but God was saying, “CHEER UP! I’ve got you in my hands
Life is too short to live with defeat until you see the SUN rise again. Jesus, THE SON of GOD will show up and cause the sun to shine again for you. Nowhere does God say that life is without its bumps and bruises. Go ahead, SMILE today, God is FOR you. He says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” Be of good cheer, He knows how to finish what He has started in your life!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Proverbs 9 Living Life With Speculation or Revelation?

Does it really matter which table I sit at each day?  I’m not a health expert, but I do know that eating certain ways and certain foods can affect my weight, moods, and longevity in life. As much as I love Krispy Kreme donuts, eating a half a dozen donuts for breakfast each morning isn’t a good plan or idea.

It’s the same when it comes to gaining wisdom and insight for our lives. God’s wisdom can add YEARS to your life. One of my favorite recent quotes is, “Do what is right today and you won’t spend tomorrow fixing yesterday’s mistakes.” Much of our wisdom comes from making bad decisions, but there is a better way to learn and grow.

God invites us to sit at His table, and to do things His way instead of leaning to our own understanding and stinkin thinkin! You’re inviting trouble, grief and a lot of heartache when you ignore His “Table of Wisdom.” There is a better way to learn than just making more and more mistakes.

One of the issues we all deal with is; “The lust of the flesh.” It cries out for us to sit at its table. That table will only lead us into a deep, dark hole of deception that ultimately leaves us empty, dull, void and unsatisfied. There is a better table; “God’s Table that brings joy, life, peace and a long life. Even when you face setbacks and difficulties, there’s great peace when you’re following God’s plan and path. He is the way, the truth and the life. He invites each of us to sit with Him today.

  • 1-6     God Invites Us To His Table Of Wisdom 
  • 7-8     The Dangers In Correcting A Mocker 
  • 8b-9    Benefits In Rebuking A Righteous Man 
  • 10       Benefits In Fearing The Lord 
  • 11-12   God’s Wisdom Adds Years To Your Life 
  • 13-18  The World Invites You To Sit At Her Table Of Deception

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Seeing Into The Future “The Countdown Is On!”

My wife and I were sitting in a California restaurant on our 15th Wedding Anniversary. While sitting there, the table and an upper shelf on the wall with glasses on them begin to shake. We were experiencing our first literal tremor. It only lasted a few seconds but I was amazed how the glasses on the shelves above us didn’t fall. I asked the waitress, “How did they stay in place?” She said, “Oh, it happens all the time; that’s why the glasses are glued down to the shelf.”

Just how glued down are you in your faith and confidence in God? God warns us not to panic when trouble and tough times come in The End Times. He says, “Don’t allow your heart to be troubled.” He says, “Be not afraid!” “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matt 24:6)
John 14:1-3 is a very encouraging word for each of us as we approach the End Times. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

Friend, Satan is the source and the one who stirs up worry, panic, fear and paranoia in people’s hearts. Jesus describes many things that will happen prior to and after His coming in Matthew 24. In Matthew 25, He describes a picture of “The Judgments” that will come. He says, “Ten virgins will be heading to a wedding, five of them will have enough oil but five will run out of oil.” The oil is a symbol of those who live with the presence of the Holy Spirit. These are those who live with peace, confidence and without fear before the bridegroom comes. But then there will be those who will run out of oil before the bridegroom comes.
Are you living with His oil? Living without oil, or the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, will cause you to live in fear, panic, anger, nervousness, annoyance and frustration with the things that are prophesied to come in the end on the earth.

A few days ago I was up a bit early cleaning our hardwood floors. I noticed that several light bulbs were out, making it more difficult to see and clean. As I was changing one of the bulbs, I put in one that was making a lot of noise; it sounded like it was going to explode. I took it out and put one in that was much quieter. There are times that we’re a noisy light to the world. We’re all uptight, fearful, nervous, sounding like we’re ready to explode with the stress and tension in life.
Friend, refuse to live uptight! You will live a lot “quieter” and at peace when His Holy Spirit is in control of your emotions, actions and focus in life. His Word will help you to see clearly the things to clean out of your life. To put it in modern language, Jesus was saying, “Chill Out” and clean out your worries. “Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” He is coming! We should be excited, energized, keyed up with joy and an expectation that He’s coming any day, any hour anytime!!! I’m excited knowing that TODAY could be the day He returns for His Church.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seeing Into The Future "The End Times"

Have you ever had someone pull a prank on you? When I first began to date Vonnell, now my wife, I told her, “You know you could get a ticket for those two missing hubcaps. I laughed about it but never told her I was just kidding. Later she told me THAT every time she saw a policeman she got very nervous. “Ouch,” I really felt bad about that! (A little bit.)

Its one thing to have some fun with those around you or to play an April fool’s joke on a friend, but it’s totally different when it costs somebody their life. Jesus was asked by his disciples, “What shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world? 4

·      And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matt 24:3,4) Those were the first words out of the Lords mouth in response to their question.

The greatest burden on my heart and a tragedy that’s coming is this: “Many in the world will be deceived and be left behind when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.” I don’t claim to be an end time’s prophetic preacher, but there are a few things that are very, very clear in the Scriptures.

·      Jesus clearly says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt 24:37) NLT

So what was the culture and environment of Noah’s day? Noah was instructed to build an ark because the sins of the age were at their worst. Genesis 6:8 says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” But God told him he was going to destroy the world with a flood. Noah worked on the Ark somewhere between 100-120 years.

Can you imagine the teasing, ridicule, mockery and scorning that took place while he worked every day? Noah kept the hammer, saws and tools going until he completed his assignment. " 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes."

When people laugh at your faith, keep smiling, working, singing, and praising your Lord who has redeemed you! Nobody ever said that people were going to get all cozy and friendly with the Christ who lives within you. Nobody said that it would be easy to share the message of the Cross. Nobody said it would be easy conveying the truth that there is an “Ark of Safety” for eternity.

God has given each of us an assignment to share about our coming future with our spouse, kids, dad, mom, cousins, nephews, nieces and of course those that God places in our path. There is coming a day that Jesus will suddenly return back to this earth and take His bride away. No man knows the day or the hour.

·      Jesus also clearly says, “He will return like a thief in the night.” Thieves do not give you a hint of when they are coming. If we knew that, then we might do things a bit differently that night.

If Jesus were to come tonight would you be ready? Don’t play around with your eternity like Russian roulette! Eternity is forever. Get everything right TODAY while you still can. Today is the day of Salvation. Come now while He is calling you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Proverbs 7 "Living In The Fast Lane"

Jesus spoke 3 words that should get all our attention when it comes to temptations in life. “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32) Regardless of your position, status, location or standing in life, each of us is going to face temptations. Jesus is telling us that we can do something about the temptations that come our way. Refuse to put yourself in a place where you know the percentages are high that you will yield to that temptation.

One may be tempted to steal, another to lie, and someone else to cheat. We are all susceptible to temptations in life. Everybody is vulnerable when it comes to temptations. It doesn’t matter if you’re Dr Billy Graham. Recently I heard a story where a minister went to Dr Graham and asked him, “Would you pray for me.” Dr Billy Graham’s response was, “First, I want you to pray for me that I will stay faithful to the end.” All of us will have our own temptations in life.

God is faithful. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Cor 10:13)
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. God declares, “There is a way of escape from your potential failure.” God is for you today, Look to Him who is more than able to deliver you from the slippery slope that Satan has set for you.







Sunday, April 5, 2015

“Seeing Into The Future” Easter Sunday

Shad Khan paid $760 million dollars investing in the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has continued to invest in his team by finding players who can turn losses into wins. He’s also put up the largest flat screens in the world at the EverBank Stadium. Now in the works is his proposal to develop the Shipyards putting more than $1 billion in improvements!  That’s a man seeing into the future.

Steve Jobs became discontent with the technology available to him years ago. Because of his discontent, millions today own an Iphone, Imac, Ipod, Ipad, Itunes. Now, millions are considering the purchase of the New Iwatch. It all started with a man seeing into the future. What he saw has turned into a $727 billion dollar business known as The Apple Corporation.

Michelangelo had an incredible gift with a paint brush creating beautiful drawings on the cathedral ceilings in Italy. He hung many hours each day suspended 75 feet in the air painting beautiful images of Christ and other Biblical characters. One painting took him 4 years! Historians claimed for years that he used dull colors. Later, leaders decided to clean up those ceilings. They then realized the wax candles had developed a “soot” on the paintings. When the paintings were cleaned with a solution, they realized the paintings were bright, bold and beautiful colors.

At times, life has a way of giving you a false assumption that Christ is dull, boring, and lifeless. You may have developed that assumption because of someone you know in the faith. Possibly some preacher who is dull and boring in their walk with God. Maybe you got that assumption from your own upbringing in church. Paul declares, “Satan is the god of this world, and has blinded them that believe not.” Jesus is bright and bold and His beauty is greater than any words can describe.

On this Resurrection Day, I must report to you that Jesus Christ is anything but dull, dry, boring and lifeless. He is omnipotent which means “All Power”, He is omniscient which means ”All Knowing.”, And He is omnipresent which means “He is Everywhere all the time.” Right now He is at work in China, Honduras, Africa and around the world. He is the One who gives Life, Peace, Joy, Purpose, and prepares men, women, boys and girls for eternity.

On May 9th, 1980, a 600 foot cargo ship hit the Skyway Bridge in Tampa Fl. A strong storm and fog hindered the captain from seeing where his vessel needed to be in the channel. Thirty five lives went off the edge of that bridge and into eternity. Knowing where the channel is located is critical.

If nobody’s ever told you, Jesus came to “Build a bridge” that will never give out so we can make heaven our destination. That bridge was built through His own Blood, Love and Mercy. It was also built through His Sacrifice that He paid on the cross. There never has been a greater love or investment that He made for your eternity. Choose today to see into your future what He sees for your eternity. Will you allow Him NOW to OPEN your eyes and see His great plan of Salvation through His Mercy and Grace? “I am what I am by the Grace of God.”

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Seasons.... Is God 10,000 Steps Ahead Of You?

How ridiculous is it to surmise from having a flat tire that now you’re heading to the dealer to buy a new car? It’s true that a flat tire may slow you down from your destination, but it’s bizarre to conclude that you need a new vehicle just because your tire was punctured from a foreign object.

There are times some come to a similar conclusion; they have lost air pressure in their faith and confidence in God. They’ve hit a tough season in life so it must be time to make a change. You don’t look for a new spouse just because you are walking through a tough season in your marriage. “86% of unhappily married couples who stuck it out found out that 5 years later their marriage were happier.” You shouldn’t start looking for a new job because you had a run in with somebody at work. Should you start looking for a new church just because the church is in a tough season?
God says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Eccl 3:1)  I’ve watched people change the trajectory of their career all because they had a tough start.  I have pastored Oceanway Assembly now for 30 Years. If I would have changed churches every time I experienced a hiccup or a storm situation, I would have left Oceanway Assembly several times.
Somewhere in life, you have to plant your feet in His amazing love and grace and say, “This is the place that He has called me.” Why don’t you rise up and say, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” I can’t take the credit for being here these 30 years. It’s only been by His  cup of grace that He has given me the faith, confidence, courage and tenacity to press forward in the tough seasons of life. Some pastors haven’t set a good example for their people. They hop around the country every 3 ½ years because of a tough season. That’s the average stay of pastors in America.
Somewhere you have to decide that I’m going to learn whatever I need to see in this season that He has designed for me. God is a God of the EXACT. He doesn’t make mistakes. Many times we get flustered, frustrated, annoyed, lose heart, lose confidence and courage to go the distance. The same God who saved you with His grace is the same One who can give you the grace to brave through your storm. Paul was in a tough season but He told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Refuse to be stubborn with God. Realize He can steady your footsteps. Running from your problems isn’t God’s Answer. The reason I’ve survived some of my brutal seasons is that I have learned where the “Delete Button” is on the keyboard. When Satan puts a thought in your head to give up, hit the Delete Button and respond, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”

When the enemy says, “You won’t make it this time,” Say “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” Remember, God is always 100 x 100 steps and more ahead of your plans and the enemies’ plans against you. Say today, “No weapon formed against me will prosper.” Will you choose to change your attitude instead of your location? God has a great cup of GRACE to complete this season in you. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”(Phil 1:6)