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All These Things

During the times before, during and after Jesus, most people were poor, at least by the standards we would use today.  They had to depend on a harvest of some sort to survive.  Things like food, water, shelter, work, health, clothing—the most basic of needs—were all daily challenges for most people back then.

In Matthew 6:31, Jesus said to the people of His day, “Therefore do not worry, saying what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear?  For after all these things the gentiles seek. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Things are different now, and things are the same now.  Most of us don’t have to rely on a harvest to meet our needs, but we must still rely on something beyond our own capabilities.  To eat we must work.  To work we must find and keep a job.  To find and keep a job we must have some sort of skill.  To gain a skill we sometimes must pay to be trained.

The cycle of chasing after our needs seems to go on endlessly.  And there are many today who wake up, live, and go to bed seeking all these things.  Jesus invited the people of His day to trust our Heavenly Father enough to seek His Kingdom first as pursue all the things we need to live each day.  He continues to invite us today.

Jesus reminds us continually, just as He told satan long ago, that man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  He is saying to us, the way to get all these things is to first get on the right road to live out our lives.

We typically look to get on the road called Wants and Desires when we want to fulfill our basic needs.  But this road leads us to a place of dependency on ourselves for all these things.  The Lord wants us to get on the road called Provision because it leads to a place of dependency on Him for all these things.

Jesus says to us life is easier when we put first things first.  In 1 Kings 17:13 the Prophet Elijah meets an old woman who is in desperate need for basic things.  There was a drought in the land.  There had been no real harvest for the previous three years.  Elijah asks this woman to please bring him a morsel of bread and some water to drink.

She tells him, she and her son are destitute and that she has only enough flour and oil to make one last meal for them before they die.  Then he says this to her.  “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for you and your son.  For thus says the Lord God of Israel:  The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”

She did what he asked her to do and God did what He said He would do.  Jesus speaks to us like He spoke to this woman.  When we put first things first, we place ourselves in position to have the provisions we need to be provided by the God we serve.  He provides all these things to us.

So, when you wake up each day make sure the first thing that you do is to make it a day that you seek the Kingdom of God.  With your life, make the Lord a little cake and provide Him a little water.  When you do this all the things you need will be provided to you.  Get on the road to provision and you will see the bountiful harvest of all the things available to you.

If it is food you need, the road to Provision will lead you to the Word of God.

If it is healing you need, the road to Provision will lead you to the healing of God.

If it is shelter you need, the road to Provision will lead you to the Arms of God.

If it is work you need, the road to Provision will lead you to the company of God.

If there is anything that you need, the road to Provision will lead you to the blessing and favor of God.

All these things and more He will provide when you wake up and get on the road to Provision. The little water and bread you have will never run short with God when you first get on the road to seek His Kingdom.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Offering Your Best

This as a very difficult message for me to receive.  I have asked myself many times why don’t I give the Lord the best that I have.  You see, giving Him your best and giving Him the best that you have are not the same things.

Do I give Him the best of all that I am, or do I give Him the best from what I don’t mind not having?  I am sad to say that too often I have been more likely to give Him the best that I want to give rather than to give Him the best of what I love the most.

And, even though I know that blessings and favor come to me when I give Him the best of who I am, I often find it difficult to give up my best for Him.  I suppose I love what I have and who I am more than I love giving it to Him.  Instead of giving Him the best that I have, I want Him to accept the best that I am willing to give.

I imagine I am not alone in how easy it is to be stingy towards the Lord.  I have heard it said many times that we can come to the Lord just as we are because He will accept us just as we are.  There is some truth in that statement, but it is also a statement that invites us to be selfish and stingy with Him.

In Hebrews 11:4 scripture says this to us: “By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous.”  This scripture references a time when Able offered God the first and the absolute best of all that he had, but Cain—well, he simply offered something from what he had.

The truth is that both Cain and Abel presented an offering to God.  We know the offerings were different, but why were the hearts of the two brothers different?  I believe the reason is that Cain was selfish and Able was selfless.  Able didn’t just give his best, he raised up his best with the intent to give it up to God.

Abel’s offering was also an acceptable sacrifice.  Cain’s offering wasn’t a sacrifice at all.  God is more pleased when what we offer Him is a sacrifice to us. What we sacrifice of ourselves for Him is the best offering we could give.

Today I am happy to say that I try to be selflessly different in a way that my heart would always please the Lord.  If you can give God better than you have given Him, do that!  Your standard should be giving Him the best and all of what you love the most.

Here are some things the Lord wants to help you see and learn:

  • We should never simply offer the best that we want to offer; instead, we should offer the best of what we want to keep for ourselves.
  • We should be willing to sacrifice what we want for what He wants; if what we offer is not a sacrifice to us then it probably is not an acceptable offering at all.
  • We should only offer to Him things of great value to us and be willing to part with them for Him.
  • Offering Him much from our abundance does not make it our best; sacrificing the best from what we have is what pleases Him.
  • Deciding to be the best so we can give it to Him is what makes it an acceptable offering and sacrifice.
  • God is not simply looking for us to offer our things to Him; He is looking for us to sacrifice the life we want to have for the life He wants us to have.
  • And finally, the best that we want to give Him is hardly ever the best that we have.  God wants to get at the self in us; He wants to help us learn to become selfless rather than selfish.

Sacrificing our best for Him will live with Him always.  He wants to help us learn to see the best as something we don’t have but we obtain just for Him.  He wants to help us learn that He is Holy so we should come before Him in holiness.  When you are offering God your best, you will learn to hold back giving Him what is convenient for you to give.

So, I urge you, that by the mercies of God, present yourselves as a living breathing sacrifice to Him, holy and acceptable to Him.

Don’t give the best that you want to give while holding back what you are unwilling to sacrifice for Him.  Instead offer and sacrifice to Him the best of who you are.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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What You Mean to Others

When I’m coaching people or business leaders, I often tell them this: Learn to be more of a value than a than a cost to your customers or employees.  Do this by what you mean to people, not what you do for people.

Many of us spend a lifetime trying to become important to others through what we do for them.  But this approach to life often means we spend a lifetime failing with others.  People are careful.  They will easily accept what we do for them, but they may never allow us to mean anything more than that.  Unfortunately for us, when we don’t mean much to people, they can easily learn to do without us.

We see this most clearly in the workplace.  People are hired because of what it’s believed they can do.  But the organization will hardly pay a person more than the value of what that person does for the organization.  This will never be best for the individual.  We should learn to be more value to others than the things we do for them.

We also see this in our Spiritual walk.  Many of us place a value on Christ for what He has done for us.  That is good—better to value Him for what He has done than to not value Him at all.  But there is more and better for some of us.  2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  People who believe like this value Christ for what He means to them.

The Spirit of the Lord lives in our hearts.  When we allow Him to have a home in our hearts, it means freedom.  Christ isn’t just about setting us free from a chain or a prison or a stronghold so we can go on our way.  When He lives in our hearts it means we are free from anything that could take away our freedom.

It is better for us to desire what Christ means to us more than to simply live for what He has done for us.  There is no bondage where Christ lives.  When you learn to value Him more than to place a value on what He can do, you will have all that He means.

With the Lord, we must learn to want more than the pearl; we should want the ocean where all the oysters live.  Matthew 13:44 tells of a man who thought like this.  It says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  This man valued what produced the treasure more than he valued the treasure.

Learn to mean more than simply do more.  When someone comes along who can do what you for less cost, people will value you less.  You must learn to be more value to others than you are a cost to others.  This is more easily and effectively done when you let the Lord live in you and through you.

There is nothing we can do that is bigger than Who the Lord is.  There is nothing we can do that is better than Who the Lord is.  But nothing the Lord does is bigger or better than Who the Lord is and what He means to us.  When we live by the value of who we are to others, it makes what we do for others of greater value to them.

Christ living in us, rewriting the letter of our lives before others, enables us to:

  • Live in freedom in the middle of what tries to make us captive;
  • Live like we have much in a land that has little;
  • Prosper in the middle of a famine;
  • Shine in the brightest sun;
  • Stay dry in the middle of a storm;
  • Light up the darkest darkness;
  • And be joyful in the middle of the most sorrowful moments.

So, just as Christ means all these things to us, we also should work to become the same to the people we encounter daily.  We make life harder than it is because we live by what we can do more than by what we mean to others.

Let the Lord have Life in your life.  Then He will make you the doorway out for people who are in bondage to something.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, we come to mean more to others than what we can do for them.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Deliverer

Sometimes I look at my life and I wonder why on earth would I ever complain about the things I go through.  Nothing that I have to deal with can compare to the stuff Jesus went through for me.  At one point in His ministry, Jesus told His disciples things were about to get tough, but it would be ok.

He said to them, “The Son of Man (that would be Himself – Jesus) is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.”  Matthew 17:22.

Well, I don’t complain too much too often anymore.  I see that Jesus went through some stuff I can’t understand so that I would never be alone in the stuff I have to deal with.  Jesus had to be delivered into the hands of evil men so that He could become the deliverer we need to take us through the hands of the evil we will face.

Our Deliverer was first delivered.  He was delivered so that He could see us through the things we will face daily.

Psalm 18:1-3 says, “I will love You, oh Lord my strength.  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.  I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.”

This one thing I know for certain.  Our Deliverer can deliver us from anything that comes against us.  

To say He is our rock and our fortress is to say He is the most solid thing on which we can stand and the most impenetrable thing to surround our lives with.  We are never alone; He will see us through.

To say He is our strength is to say He will see us through anything that is before us when we walk in His strength.  We are never alone when He is our strength.  He makes sure those who come against us knows this.

To say He is our shield and horn of salvation is to say He will see us through anything that the enemy can throw at us.  He stands as a shield that cannot be penetrated.  For us, He speaks loudly the sound as if it’s a horn.  Others recognize He is our Champion.

His horn says He has already won the battle for us.  He will not allow us to be delivered back into bondage after He has Delivered us into His presence.  His horn says to the evil we will face, “Watch out!  You are messing with what’s Mine.”

To say He is our stronghold is to say nothing will prevail against us.  Though some things may come at us over and again, He will not allow us to be defeated by anything.  God will see us through what we cannot get through on our own.  I know this one thing for sure.

Our Deliverer was delivered into all the things that will come against us so that He could become the thing that Delivers us daily.  He will see us through.  We are never alone with Him.  It doesn’t matter what you are facing, you have a Deliverer Who is here to see you through all things.

So, if there is one thing you should know for certain it is this.  God is going to see us through because He is our Deliverer.  In Psalm 18, David is saying, “Lord, I see you at Your best when I realize how weak I am against the things that come against me.”

David was saying, “This one thing for sure I will do.  I will Love you Lord for You are worthy of all love.”  He was saying, “I can do nothing lasting without You, but everything done through You will last beyond me.  This one thing I know for sure.  You are My Deliverer in Whom I will trust.”

Now you may not see the need for a deliverer in the things you face daily, but I hope that you do.  Don’t be mistaken.  The power of God to deliver us is greater than our abilities to get ourselves out of the mess we get into.

If you recognize Him as your Deliverer, He will see you through the things that come up against you.  Praise Him for having been delivered so that He would become our Deliverer.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Prayer: A Conversation with the Lord

Some people find prayer frustrating.  They don’t know if their prayers are effective.  They don’t know if God hears them.  People wonder if they are saying the right things in the right way.

At one point in Jesus’s teaching, the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray.  They had observed Him as He often withdrew from their presence to have a time and a moment to pray to God the Father.  They wanted to be able to pray effectively like Jesus prayed.

In Matthew 11: 1-4, one of Jesus’ disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”  So, Jesus responded to them by saying, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

I suppose many of us have repeated this prayer many times because we believe this is what Jesus wanted us to say.  It is.  But these are more than just words.  Notice these things about prayer that you may not have seen yet.

  • Our Father in heaven.  It does not say my father in heaven.  If you want to pray effectively, and if you want to be heard, pray for everyone more than for yourself.
  • Hallowed be Your name.  Acknowledge that His name alone is too awesome to be spoken of lightly.  You will get His attention.  
  • Your will be done.  Whatever may be your requests or desires, let the Lord know that you seek His will more than your own.  God’s best in your life is better than your requests for your life.
  • Give us this day our daily bread.  Ask for provisions or heavenly manna for the people of the world and your provision will be included.  Don’t put your needs ahead of the needs of others.  Even if it is healing you seek, learn to seek that for the benefit of the people you know and love more than just for yourself.
  • And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  Acknowledge that we are imperfect people coming before a Perfect God.  Seek forgiveness for your sins just as much as you have forgiven people who may be indebted to you in any way.
  • And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.  Ask that the Lord does not leave us alone to our own ways because this is what satan wants.  Our ways will lead us to satan’s ways.
  • For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  End your prayer by letting Him know He can do all and more than we can ever ask because all power and glory and kingdoms belong to Him.  Let Him know we want to be His more than we want Him to be ours.

Jesus withdrew and prayed because He wanted to have a conversation with His Father as a part of communicating with God.  Effective prayers are first conversations with the Lord more than they are simply communication with the Lord.

Communicating is typically one way. We say what we want to say, and we hope you hear. Communicating is impersonal. We speak, and we decide when the communication is complete.

Conversations allow for a two-way exchange of thoughts. Conversations are personal; you speak to someone who wants to hear you speak, and you listen to someone whom you want to hear from.

Learn to make your prayers more conversations than communications with the Lord.  Jesus is teaching us learn to have conversations with Him.  He wants to listen to what you have to say, and He wants you to hear what He says in response.

Psalm 55:17 says, “Evening, morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”

I encourage you to have conversations with the Lord often each day.  If you do, He will hear your voice and He will respond.  Likewise, you must be ready to hear His voice when He withdraws, and He tries to have a conversation with you during the day.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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New Year 2023

Today is the first day of the year 2023.  We rightly refer to this as New Year’s Day.  A New Year really means it’s a year that we have not had before.  In the end, it means we will have 365 new days that will make up what we will ultimately call a New Year.

By the time 365 days have come upon us, the idea of the new year will give way to the idea of the coming new year.  So, God gives us 365 New Days each year to live new lives in new ways.  Since we cannot look back at yesterday to live it like new, we ought to look to today and tomorrow to decide what will be new about us.

In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God tells the people of Israel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”  That is what was new for them.

I typically end each of my messages by encouraging you to live a Delivered Life.  This is what I mean by a Delivered Life.  When we come to a saving faith in the Lord, He comes into our lives, He gives us a New Heart, and He puts His Spirit within us so that we can live more like He wants us to live.  He delivers us from our old hearts and our old ways.  He makes us new.

So, my encouragement is to live like you are a new person who has been delivered from your past way of living.  Live a Delivered Life.  As we start the first day of the year 2023, realize every day you live going forward should be a New You, living in a New Day.  Wake up each day in some way with something amazing that is new about you.

After God did the work of creating creation, scripture says, “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”  This was done seven times.  To me this means we are given the period between the end of the day we are living till the beginning of our tomorrow to let something new happen within us.  That is what is new.

God does not bring old things into a new day.  He does not allow us to live in what we might call yester-tomorrow.  Every day is a new day to Him.  So everyday day should be a new day that we bring forth something new in our lives.  Something old about us must die so that something new can come to life.

So, what is new about you?  When the evening gives way to the morning of the day, why don’t you ask yourself, what did I allow to die so that I can be something new?

If you have a new heart, do you love like you never did before?  To be new you will be a new love.

If you have a new Spirit, do you walk like you did before?  To be new you will walk a different walk.

If you are a new creature, old things will pass away and all things you are and all things you face today and tomorrow will be new.

If you are saved from your old life, then you won’t live like you are still in bondage to that old life.

If you know more about Christ, you won’t think like you did yesterday.

If you are found by the Lord, you won’t continue to live like you are lost in yourself.

In every new day of the New Year, when you are awakened, a new you will walk differently, talk differently, dress differently, look differently, and live in ways that you have never done before.

Since today is the first day of 2023, start by committing to be something new and different each day of the year.  And if you find yourself waking up each day the same person that you were the evening before, go back to bed for a bit.  Wait for what’s new.

So, what’s new for you?  Why don’t you ask the Lord to help you to wake up a new person in some way each day of your life for each new day that you are given.

Live A Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Christmas 2022

In the second chapter of Matthew, we have the story of what happened just after Jesus’ birth.  It says wise men came from the East to Jerusalem looking for the baby born King of the Jews.  They said they had seen His Star in the East, so they had come to worship Him.

The scripture says they saw the star.  It went before them and stopped over where Jesus was.  The wise men were very happy and joyful at seeing the star because they knew what it meant.  Matthew 2:11 says, “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him.  And when they had opened their treasures they presented gifts to Him, gold frankincense and myrrh.”

The wise men are an example for us.

First, they saw His star in the sky.  They followed His star from where they were to where He was.  When life is so dark and hard that you don’t know where you are, find and follow the Bright and Shining Star that is Jesus.  Follow His Star and not your own.

Then, they celebrated His birth instead of a holiday.  They were joyful at His birth and not just because it gave them time off work.  Rather than celebrating a holiday, they celebrated a Holy Day.  Let’s follow their example and celebrate the Holy Day of His birth more than the holiday that we have made it.

To celebrate the Holy Day of Christ’s birth, the wise men left their homes to go worship Him.  It wasn’t about getting but more about giving.  They gave Him their worship, a priceless gift.  Let’s give Him the most treasured thing we have, our worship on the Holy Day of His birth.

But they didn’t stop there.  In addition to giving Him their worship, the wise men also gave Him the most valuable things they had acquired—gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  These were gifts for a King.

Gold was the most valuable thing on earth at the time.  A gift of gold was fit for a King, but they gave Him this valuable gift.  Let’s give Him the most valuable thing we have that is fit for Who He is.   Let’s give Him our lives.

Frankincense is an expensive, rare oil used for fragrance by the most privileged individuals of the day.  Let’s give Him the rarest treasure we have.  Let’s give Him the Frankincense of our hearts.

Myrrh is a perfume used to anoint one for death, so that the smell of death does not overwhelm those who are now alive.  Let’s give Christ the gift of myrrh as our lives become dead to what they were and alive to living for Him as our Savior.

After all this, the scripture says the wise men went back to their country full of joy because they had celebrated the Holy Birthday of Christ.  So, let’s do the same.  Let’s celebrate the Holy Day of Christ before we celebrate the holiday of Christmas.

Be blessed this Holy Day of Christmas.  Give to Him as you would want Him to give to you.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.  

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Who Is Like You?

In Psalms 89:13 David asks himself a question of amazement.  He says to God, “O Lord God, Who is Like you?”  David didn’t wait for an answer.  He goes on to exclaim how amazing God is in everything!

David says that God’s faithfulness surrounds Him.  He rules the waves, the seas, and the whole world.  He created it all.  The north and the south were His idea.  Righteousness and justice are His ways.  Mercy and truth go before Him.  David was simply saying he cannot see how there could be anyone like God.  He is too amazing.

For sure, there isn’t anyone who can do the things God does, but we must remember how we were created.  In the beginning God created man to be like Him.  In Genesis 1:26, God had the same conversation with Himself that David was having with Him in Psalm 89.  God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”  He said, “Let’s do something more amazing than anything!”

When you understand that you were created in His very likeness, you should realize that God asks you, “Who then is like you?”  You must look beyond simply looking at your children or your close family members to answer this question.

Since we have never seen God, it is not enough to say that we look like Him.  But God gave you an amazing way of appearing like Him that goes deeper than your outward appearance.  He does amazing things in your heart when you let yourself be like Him.  Who else is like you?

Since we are not as powerful as God, it is not enough to say we are as strong as He is.  But God gave us the blessing of His favor which is His way of working through our weaknesses to show His strength in amazing ways.  Who is amazing in strength like He is in your weaknesses?

Since we do not know as much as God, it is not correct to say that we are knowledgeable like Him.  But He gave us the gift of His wisdom so that we can know more than we should know.  Who shows His amazing wisdom like you do in your ignorance?

Since we cannot talk like God, it is not enough to say that we speak His language.  But God gave us His Spirit to speak through us to the world so that we are amazing in the things we say.  Who is like you in your language?

And, since we have our own minds, it is not enough to say that we think like Him.  But God gave us the gift of Christ so that as believers we could transform our thinking by having the mind of Christ.  Who is like you in the amazing way Christs teaches you to think?

I believe if God were asking Himself, “Who is like Me?” He would answer by saying, “You are, and you are, and you are, and you are.”  You see, God is great enough that He has no problem creating you to be someone like Himself and of Himself.  God is either fast at work in you, or He is fast at work on you.

So, who is like you?  Are you a good enough version of yourself that you would want someone out there to be like you?  Do you love well enough, talk well enough, or walk well enough that you would want someone to be like you?

By myself, I am not good enough to want anyone who knows me to be like me.  But since I know the Lord, this is what I want.  I want the work that He does in me and with me and through me to be so amazing that I will be like the many of you who show the great work the Lord has done in you.

So, who is like you and me?  It is people who present themselves daily to the Lord to allow Him to do the work He wants to do with them.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Gain from Loss

Change is one of the most difficult things for us to do.  Many of us are unwilling to change who we are because we are afraid to risk losing something we have gained.  We are unwilling to move from something certain to something uncertain.

Most of us spend a lifetime trying very hard to remain the same as we are while acquiring all the things we want.  We may say we want something different or something greater, but we are unwilling to change anything about ourselves to have it.  Life for us is a battle to remain just as we are.

We know that the Lord offers many things that are gains to us.  But to have the gains that He offers to their fullest, we must learn there will likely need to be a loss in something about us that we like.  I don’t believe the Lord blesses us so that we can remain the same as we are.  He expects His blessings of gain to result in the greater blessings we get in the of loss of something about us that keeps us back.

Scripture tells us something like this in Philippians 4:7 where Paul tells the Philippians, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.”  Paul was saying he counted all his past gains as losses so he could gain the love of Christ.  He couldn’t have both.

This mindset was very difficult for me to accept.  I didn’t want to give up any of the things I had or to change anything about who I was.  But I still wanted the things that God had for me.  I learned life with God doesn’t work that way.  Where there is gain with Him, you will always be asked to find loss for Him in something about who you are.

If you want His friendship, you must learn to lose your friendship with the world.

If you want to gain the favor of hearing Him, you must lose the desire to hear the world too.

If you want to gain the favor of Him speaking through your life, you must become silent in how you speak about your life.

If you want to gain the favor of having spiritual eyes, you must lose the use of your earthly sight.

If you want to gain the favor of His love, you must lose the trap of loving yourself more than you love others.

Gain through loss is God’s way of helping us understand that we must always find ourselves changing something about ourselves.  

If you have given up your life as an unbeliever, that loss is a blessing by itself.  Rejoice!

If you have gained the life of becoming a believer, that is a blessing that happens because you had a loss.  Rejoice!

If you have stopped living an unbelieving life and are now living a believer’s life, your gain and loss are each a blessing.  Rejoice!

If you were blind to the truth but now you see, this gain and this loss are both blessings.  Rejoice!

If you were deaf to God but now you hear Him, you have a gain and a loss that are blessings.  Rejoice!

If yesterday you spoke more like the world but now you can hold your tongue to allow the Lord to speak through you, that is a gain and a loss, and both are blessings.

Look at your life.  If you find you want more for your life, but you have not given up much, it may be because you are unwilling to lose what you must lose about you to gain something greater about you that you do not have.

Be blessed by the gains and the losses God has in His plans for us.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Live Like

In the first chapter of the book of Matthew, scripture gives us the genealogy of Christ.  Genealogy is a look back at the line of descent from someone to find an ancestor.  It is usually a look back from you to someone in your past.

But the genealogy of Christ is not a look back. It is a look forward—from a man to a Savior.  The reason for that is simple.  Jesus and God are the same, so we cannot look back from Him because there was nothing before Him.  So, we look forward from a man to a Savior.

In Matthew 1:17, scripture says, “So, all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations.  From David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.”

Now these three time periods have an important meaning for us.  God wanted each of us to know that He has always had a plan in place for our salvation and our adoption into the family of Christ.  We were a part of His future genealogy.

Jesus looked forward to the day that we accepted that plan.  He is watching us daily to see if we are living like we know what the plan is for our lives.

God has always had plans for the Promise He wanted to make to us; He started this with His Promise to Abraham.  He has always had plans for a type of man to show us how to pursue Him; He did this with David.  And He always had a plan for a Deliverer for us after we were held captive because of our failures; He provided this with Jesus.

In the book of Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  And lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”  

With Abraham and the generations that came after him, God was saying, like He says to us today, “I have a plan for you and for your family.  Will you accept it?”  If we live like we have accepted His plan for our lives, we will go where do not know.  We will stay where we have no home.  We will look at our lives through His eyes.  We will do all this because we Trust in the Lord with all our hearts.

With David and the generations after him, God was saying, as He says to us today, “I have a plan that includes not only your obedience but also a relationship between us.”  If we live like we have a relationship with Him, we will live the way we believe He wants us to live.  If we live like we have a relationship with Him, we will get our understanding about life and the things that concern us only from the relationship we have with Him.

With the generations that returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, God was saying to them, and He says to us today, “I have a plan to provide for you a Deliverer, a Redeemer, a King, and a Savior.  If we live like we are going home to Jerusalem, we will not live like we are in bondage to sin any longer.

If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will live like the most valuable thing that we have is the thing He promised that is yet to come.  If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will live like we acknowledge Him in everything such that He directs our paths and every step we take.  If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will proclaim there is nobody like our God.

He wants us to live like He is our God and that there is nothing that can compare to Him.

God is the only one who can show us what our futures will be.  He doesn’t ask us to look back where we started.  He wants our genealogy to be a look forward to what it will be in a life with Christ.  Let’s live like that.

So, let’s learn to live like we can see how our futures will be with the Lord.  Let’s live like we are not our own but His.  And let’s live like we are more than children of our parents; let’s live like we are also children of the Most High God.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.