End the Evil

End the evil of those who are wicked, and 01b7684b395f9efe1256f9a389ae43a5783932aee9defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God. Psalm 7:9   (NLT)

Gat looked deep into the eyes of the man before him. “I know you been at that place. I can smell it on ya. What’d I tellya?”

“But Gat, I never…I mean…I was only…” Billy slumped in the chair. How does Gat know everything about everyone in the club? It’s like he’s telepathic or something. Maybe he can read minds. “I guess there’s no use me trying to say otherwise.”

Gat laughed, a hollow sound that sent chills up the spine of any man under his scrutiny. “That’s right. I know, just by looking at ya. Now what’re we gonna do about this?” Gat reached into the drawer in front of him. Billy trembled.

Only God knows what’s in our minds and our hearts. He searches for the real person under the façade that we present to the world, the good Sunday Christian who looks and acts one way in public but another way when we are away from our church buddies. Nothing is hidden from God, a fact that can be terrifying or comforting. God searches our motives. We have no place to hide.

Unlike Gat, we don’t have to try to impress God or put up a false front with Him. We can trust Him to help us work through some of our weaknesses so we can serve Him as He planned from the beginning.

Father, search me thoroughly. Help me weed out the impure thoughts toward others, the Achilles heel that the enemy tries to exploit. Dig into my mind and remove anything that does not glorify You. I want to reflect You to the world and only You can help me be that perfect reflection. Amen

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The Lord is Right

012ed652ac7682fffbf785e841d66e82ac0a76355dThen the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is right in doing this to us!” 2 Chronicles 12:6 (NLT)

Gord looked over the faces of the men standing in the alley with him. They anxiously slammed clubs into open palms as they listened to stomping feet echoing off brick walls. This rumble was going to cost them.

A young recruit, not yet wearing gang colors, peered nervously toward Gord. “I guess…I mean…I know I’ll handle myself the way you taught me Gord.”

“Yeah, you’ll do alright, kid. Just keep your head protected. They outnumber us but…” Gord tallied the number of men with him. Not enough. “If’n  y’all had obeyed the rules, none of this would be happenin. We had a truce with the Despards. We stay off their turf and they’d stay off’n ours. Now we has ta fight.”

A tall muscular man spoke next. “Maybe if we apologize, they’ll go home. What da ya think? Not that I want ta grovel but…”

“We messed up so now it’s our turn to pay the piper.” Gord stood front and center as he watched thundering feet materialize into a large group of men at the end of the alleyway. Was it too late to right the wrong done to them? He didn’t know but he had to try. He walked slowly toward their leader.

Just like the Israelites during the reign of Jeroboam, in the days when Israel was split into two kingdoms, the biker gang that Gord was president of had broken some rules, The Israelites had also broken God’s rules and consequently, the army of Egyptians gathered against them. They repented, though, and admitted that they deserved God’s anger and His punishment. God was lenient with them after that.

The Lord has the right to punish us when we mess up. However, since Christ, the punishment has been paid. When we confess, and admit that we messed up, God forgives the sin and forgets it ever happened, thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross. God sees us as righteous which means we once again have a right relationship with Him.

Father, thank You for looking at me through Jesus’ death on the cross. Thank You for seeing me as Your righteous servant and forgetting my sins when I confess and ask for forgiveness. You are a just God and You deserve to punish us when we mess up. Thank You for making a way for us to come directly to You to confess. Amen

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Justice By His Hands

But the Lord is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day he hands down justice, and he does not fail. But 014dfcbf4d57d779a3c1fed9b9f3c6122650909cdathe wicked know no shame. Zephaniah 3:5   (NLT)

Daria locked the doors to her home. She bolted it and then placed the anti theft bar across it so no one could come through. Then she pressed a button and the steel gate clanged shut in front of it. Her home had become a fortress. Daria made sure all the windows were closed and barred as well and then moved toward the back door. She never opened that door this morning so it should be okay.

Daria lived in a neighborhood overrun with gangs, drugs and gang wars. Every night someone ended up dead, sometimes right in front of her house. Every night the gangs prowled outside looking for someone to beat up or steal from. Or worse. Daria couldn’t afford to move so here she sat every night after work.

She opened her Bible. She read the verses that talked about God still being in the city of Jerusalem even though the people were corrupt and they knew no shame. She knew that God was still in control in her world too. She had to remind herself of that often.

God is in control. The economic downturn that has occurred in this country and in every country in the world lately seems to indicate that the bad guys are winning but not so. God still operates freely but people are still given free choice, to accept Him or not. In some countries, people are sold into slavery just because they are Christians. In others, they are thrown into jail and yet, God still loves them and will sustain them either in this life or in the next and they know it, trust it, and would freely die for that truth.

God is the same today and forever more. When our world seems chaotic and out of control, God is our source of strength and peace. Rest in His will for your life. Keep your eyes on Him and you will know his everlasting peace today and always.

Father, help me keep my eyes on You even when the world seems to be out of control. Help me know that You are still in control and as long as we Christians live on this earth, we have the strength to change people’s lives by introducing them to You. Amen

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Lord Watches

0162eb710b86505ff4576c34d0f2372f14f0839b22For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.            Psalm 1:6  (NLT)

Terri watched Mik do the bidding of the 1% club he’d decided to prospect for. For thirteen years, he’d tried to tell Mik about God’s ways and about God’s love for him, He demonstrated in a variety of ways how much God loved him and it seemed for a time that Mik was responding. He certainly liked to hang with Terri and his friends as often as they gathered.

In fact, Mik had been best man at Terri wedding last year. He couldn’t do enough for Terri in fact. He’d said all the right things when he was around Terri’s family. After all, he’d hung with Terri for all those years, motorcycling all over the country one year. 

But Mik chose to turn his back on God. He decided that the Biker club was a better choice than God and a year later he died in a bar fight. Terri grieved the loss of someone who had so much going for him. It was such a waste he said over and over again. In fact he felt like a complete failure until his pastor read him a few verses from the Bible.

“God doesn’t judge people on the basis of race, sex, or national origin. He judges them on the basis of their faith in Him and their response to His revealed will. Those who diligently try to obey God’s will are blessed. Their happy condition is like healthy fruit bearing trees with strong roots and God promises to watch over them. God’s wisdom guides their life.” The pastor looked Terri in the eye. “You took every opportunity to share Jesus with Mik but in the end it was Mik’s choice.”

Terri winced. Had he done all he could? The pastor continued. “In contrast those who don’t trust and obey have meaningless lives that blow away like dust, just like Mik’s. Only two paths of life lay before us – God’s way of obedience or the way of rebellion and destruction. Mik chose the latter and his life ended in destruction, didn’t it?”

God wants us to choose His path of our own free will. He never pushes and leaves us to our own devices but He does put people in our way who will share His love with us, point us in the right direction. We need to be sure to choose God’s path because the path we choose determines how we will spend eternity.

Father, I love You and I choose to follow You no matter what. Help me love others to You but Lord, when they choose a different path, help me keep my eyes on You and Your justice. Protect me from the enemy who would have me walk around defeated and a failure. Keep me aware that those feelings are not from You. Amen

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Faith Gives Life

So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through 014dfcbf4d57d779a3c1fed9b9f3c6122650909cdafaith that a righteous person has life.” Galatians 3:11   (NLT)

Jeri slid in the ice covered sewage that lined the street. She’d awakened to find herself, again, in the gutter…literally. I’m no good. I keep messing up. I just wanna die. Jeri had been out of rehab a whole month. There she’d met Jesus and through Him, she’d acquired her freedom. At first she had no desire to hang with the same people who’d been her friends before. She had no desire to do the same things either. But now…

Jeri stood, brushed the debris from her clothes and then staggered toward home. What had happened last night? At some point she must have blacked out. Jeri hung her head. She was stupid…stupid. She was worse than that. She was worthless.

When anyone, even a new believer, especially a new believer tries to walk the road of life all alone, they are open to failure every time. Satan, a devouring lion who prowls the streets looking for someone, anyone to steal, kill, and destroy, will do whatever he can to mess us up. If we are not read up, and prayed up from the Word of God, we have no defenses.

Jeri was a new believer. No one had seen to it that she was plugged into a Bible believing church when she left the rehab. There she would have found people to pray for and with her. She would have learned the power supply she had at her finger tips, one that would help her when temptations were flung in front of her.

Trying to be good, to keep God’s laws all on our own is impossible. Jesus Christ is our power supply. He’s the one who will keep our eyes off our circumstances and on Him, for whatever our needs are. Jeri was lonely. She had no one to chat with, to hang with. That was what she missed that took her to the gutter again. Jesus would have been that friend if she’d only known to turn to Him.

Father, keep me in your loving arms. Bring people into my life who will keep me accountable and who will love me just as I am. Lord, help me discover the truth of Your words in the Bible and help me live by them and not the rules made up by a world who only wants to see me destroyed. Amen

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Handed Over BUT Raised

He was handed over to die because of our 01b7684b395f9efe1256f9a389ae43a5783932aee9sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.    Romans 4:25 (NLT)

Terry listened as the TV commentator recounted the plight of certain men during the Second World War. She watched as a dramatization clearly depicted an exchange of prisoners. As some walked from one side of the bridge spanning a river that separated two opposing forces, others began their trek from the other side. “See, that’s what Christ did for us.” She spoke loud enough that her husband in the other room could hear.

‘What’re you talkin’ about?” She watched him rise from the chair where he’d been cleaning his rifle. Hunting season started tomorrow and he wanted to be on the road early. He sat beside her on the sofa. “What did Jesus do?”

“He was exchanged for us, just like the prisoners in this film are being exchanged for prisoners from the other side. Only He was innocent. We were the guilty ones.” Terry patted the Bible she’d been reading, now lying beside her on the sofa. “He walked the streets of Jerusalem, carrying that cross and I’ll bet He was walking just as slowly as those guys are walking. He knew what He faced and yet He went anyway. Cause He loves us.”

Deke had just accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior two weeks ago. He understood a little of what Jesus had done but the picture on the TV transfixed him. He watched the silent march of each group of men, some heading to their friends, others heading to the other side to be executed, according to what the commentator said. He could picture Jesus doing the same thing and it hurt his heart. How could someone love him that much?

Jesus was our exchange. God had delivered the verdict for our sins a long time ago. Jesus walked to His death in exchange for the price we owed for our own sinful nature. His love was a tangible, touchable gift, one that we have free will to accept or reject. Why would anyone want to reject that kind of love? Would you?

Father God, I can touch Christ’s love in so many ways. Mostly I feel His love touch my heart and I thank You for that. I thank You for loving me so much that You asked Your Son to walk that exchange road. Even though He was going to be crucified. Lord I love You. Amen

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Unfailing Justice

photo 2For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.            Psalm 1:6  (NLT)

Terri watched Mik do the bidding of the 1% club he’d decided to prospect for. For thirteen years, he’d tried to tell Mik about God’s ways and about God’s love for him, He demonstrated in a variety of ways how much God loved him and it seemed for a time that Mik was responding. He certainly liked to hang with Terri and his friends as often as they gathered.

In fact, Mik had been best man at Terri wedding last year. He couldn’t do enough for Terri in fact. He’d said all the right things when he was around Terri’s family. After all, he’d hung with Terri for all those years, motorcycling all over the country one year. 

But Mik chose to turn his back on God. He decided that the Biker club was a better choice than God and a year later he died in a bar fight. Terri grieved the loss of someone who had so much going for him. It was such a waste he said over and over again. In fact he felt like a complete failure until his pastor read him a few verses from the Bible.

“God doesn’t judge people on the basis of race, sex, or national origin. He judges them on the basis of their faith in Him and their response to His revealed will. Those who diligently try to obey God’s will are blessed. Their happy condition is like healthy fruit bearing trees with strong roots and God promises to watch over them. God’s wisdom guides their life.” The pastor looked Terri in the eye. “You took every opportunity to share Jesus with Mik but in the end it was Mik’s choice.”

Terri winced. Had he done all he could? The pastor continued. “In contrast those who don’t trust and obey have meaningless lives that blow away like dust, just like Mik’s. Only two paths of life lay before us – God’s way of obedience or the way of rebellion and destruction. Mik chose the latter and his life ended in destruction, didn’t it?”

God wants us to choose His path of our own free will. He never pushes and leaves us to our own devices but He does put people in our way who will share His love with us, point us in the right direction. We need to be sure to choose God’s path because the path we choose determines how we will spend eternity.

Father, I love You and I choose to follow You no matter what. Help me love others to You but Lord, when they choose a different path, help me keep my eyes on You and Your justice. Protect me from the enemy who would have me walk around defeated and a failure. Keep me aware that those feelings are not from You. Amen

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No Life in The Law

Ponce Inlet 006So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Galatians 3:11   (NLT)

Jeri slid in the ice covered sewage that lined the street. She’d awakened to find herself, again, in the gutter…literally. I’m no good. I keep messing up. I just wanna die. Jeri had been out of rehab a whole month. There she’d met Jesus and through Him, she’d acquired her freedom. At first, she had no desire to hang with the same people who’d been her friends before. She had no desire to do the same things either. But now…

Jeri stood, brushed the debris from her clothes and then staggered toward home. What had happened last night? At some point she must have blacked out. Jeri hung her head. She was stupid…stupid. She was worse than that. She was worthless.

When anyone, even a new believer, especially a new believer tries to walk the road of life all alone, they are open to failure every time. Satan, a devouring lion who prowls the streets looking for someone, anyone to steal, kill, and destroy, will do whatever he can to mess us up. If we are not read up, and prayed up from the Word of God, we have no defenses.

Jeri was a new believer. No one had seen to it that she was plugged into a Bible believing church when she left the rehab. There she would have found people to pray for and with her. She would have learned the power supply she had at her finger tips, one that would help her when temptations were flung in front of her.

Trying to be good, to keep God’s laws all on our own is impossible. Jesus Christ is our power supply. He’s the one who will keep our eyes off our circumstances and on Him, for whatever our needs are. Jeri was lonely. She had no one to chat with, to hang with. That was what she missed that took her to the gutter again. Jesus would have been that friend if she’d only known to turn to Him.

Father, keep me in your loving arms. Bring people into my life who will keep me accountable and who will love me just as I am. Lord, help me discover the truth of Your words in the Bible and help me live by them and not the rules made up by a world who only wants to see me destroyed. Amen

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Substitutionary Death

Tybee LighthouseHe was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.    Romans 4:25 (NLT)

Terry listened as the TV commentator recounted the plight of certain men during the Second World War. She watched as a dramatization clearly depicted an exchange of prisoners. As some walked from one side of the bridge spanning a river that separated two opposing forces, others began their trek from the other side. “See, that’s what Christ did for us.” She spoke loud enough that her husband in the other room could hear.

‘What’re you talkin’ about?” She watched him rise from the chair where he’d been cleaning his rifle. Hunting season started tomorrow and he wanted to be on the road early. He sat beside her on the sofa. “What did Jesus do?”

“He was exchanged for us, just like the prisoners in this film are being exchanged for prisoners from the other side. Only He was innocent. We were the guilty ones.” Terry patted the Bible she’d been reading, now lying beside her on the sofa. “He walked the streets of Jerusalem, carrying that cross and I’ll bet He was walking just as slowly as those guys are walking. He knew what He faced and yet He went anyway. Cause He loves us.”

Deke had just accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior two weeks ago. He understood a little of what Jesus had done but the picture on the TV transfixed him. He watched the silent march of each group of men, some heading to their friends, others heading to the other side to be executed, according to what the commentator said. He could picture Jesus doing the same thing and it hurt his heart. How could someone love him that much?

Jesus was our exchange. God had delivered the verdict for our sins a long time ago. Jesus walked to His death in exchange for the price we owed for our own sinful nature. His love was a tangible, touchable gift, one that we have free will to accept or reject. Why would anyone want to reject that kind of love? Would you?

Father God, I can touch Christ’s love in so many ways. Mostly I feel His love touch my heart and I thank You for that. I thank You for loving me so much that You asked Your Son to walk that exchange road. Even though He was going to be crucified. Lord I love You. Amen

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Not God’s Way

IMG_3340If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. Romans 4:2  (NLT)

“Hey, Blondie, what’re you looking at?” Bets walked into the living room of the apartment she shared with her best friend. Blondie and she had gone to high school together and had run into each other at a biker rally just a couple of months ago. Now they shared the rent and the utility bills.

The young woman named Blondie smiled. She was blond alright. A bottle blond. “I love watching this guy talk. He’s good people. He helps out everyone.” Blondie turned the sound up on the TV. She was mesmerized by the politician whose campaign she’d watched closely during the last election. This man could get things done.

“Aw, he’s just like all the other politicians. They say one thing, make all kinds of promises and then…”

“But he’s keeping his promises. He’s a good one.” Blondie rested her head in her hands, placing her elbows on her knees as she leaned closer toward the television set.

“There’s no such thing as a good person. Jesus said…”

“Aw, here we go again…that Jesus stuff. Lay off will ya?”

No I won’t. I care about you and you don’t seem to realize that the guy may be doing some good things but the Bible says that as long as he doesn’t have Jesus in his heart, God will never recognize the good that he does. His deeds are not even acceptable. He’s getting his rewards here.” Bets sat on the sofa. She leaned back against the cushions. Blondie waved at her to silence her protest and her sermon.

But Bets was right. There are many good people, doing all sorts of good things here on earth. Even some politicians. If they don’t know God, he doesn’t know them nor does He recognize any of the deeds they do. Jesus died on the cross so we could be forgiven and counted as righteous before a Holy God. With Jesus, we gain eternity but we also gain recognition from God who sees the motives behind the things we do. We do them now because we love Jesus, not because we want someone to gaze in rapt attention as we’re hailed on the TV.

Father, sift my motives. Help me do things with the love of Jesus so You will be honored and gloried, not me. Help me do them because you’ve asked it of me and not because I want people to think I’m a good person. I love You Lord and I want to love others the way You do. Amen.

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