The Ultimate Decision

February 25, 2015


Is JUST Jesus Enough For You



The Ultimate Decision
February 26, 2015starbucks-order-cups.jpg

In our life a lot of us gravitate to comfort. If we get hot we turn on the AC, If it is cold we turn on the heat and don’t go outside. We are creatures of comfort. Stand in a line at Starbucks and it can actually be quite nauseating what you hear. “And what you would like? “I will have a Tall, nonfat, lactose free, green tea from the jungle of Peru, mocha Grande with NO SUGAR, decaf,  with a no fat whipped cream and………….”  Good grief what happened to “I'll have a coffee.” Somehow our view of Christianity has turned into this same mindset.

 

There are many Christians or those who think they are that use the Lord as a chess piece. They put Him in at the right moment in a conversation, help to justify someone’s ethical compass, give someone credibility among the brethren and on and on. But my question to you today is one of the most important and thought provoking questions that not only I but that anyone could ever ask you.

 

If you lost EVERYTHING, never to get it back would Jesus still be enough for you???? I say never to get it back means that say you lost your child to cancer and they are no longer with you but with Jesus now. Or you are young and get news of an illness that will affect you the rest of your life or that you lose everything precious to you. Would you still be in love with Jesus?  Or are you in love with just the illusion? Could you take your coffee black if that was all there was or would you whine?

 

You see I have to ask you because our faith, your faith was BOUGHT, PURCHASED by BLOOD which is finer than gold which has no earthly price. Most of us will follow the Lord until something devastating happens then we think “I never signed up for this I thought Jesus would protect me”. 

 

Maybe you have heard these verses.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

What if prosper you was to give you joy instead of a great job and wealth. What is prosper was to put you in a jungle to minister to many? What if you were to be poor but happy, would you follow Jesus? Somehow we have this horrible “Name it and claim it” and “Prosperity Gospel” being taught. There is nowhere in the Bible that teaches this. In fact just the opposite usually occurs. When you follow Jesus Christ you are now an enemy of not only Satan but of this world.   So that is why as yesterday’s message said we have to strain ahead towards the future “Heaven” and not let anything (sickness, loss of a job, relationship, house, kids) or anyone rob us of the joy that we could have just being with Jesus. You see, we want Jesus as long as we get all the other perks we think we deserve. If I read my Bible, go to church, give to the poor, am nice to those who hurt me then surely God will protect me, right? WRONG.

 

Look at John the Baptist. He did all the right things and was highly anointed. What did he get? Beheaded!!  So my question again to you is Jesus plus YOU enough? That may not be so easily answered right away as there may be some things that you need to pray though. You may need to pray and ask the Lord to open your heart to see if there is any wicked way in your thinking.

 

John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

 

1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

 

Today you need to make a huge decision. Forget following Jesus with the world. Forget the click of a youth group, men’s study with the CEO or other groups just to get noticed. If it was just you and Jesus would that be enough? If it is awesome. If it is not then why not? No one can make you love God not even God. Now God does something to our hearts when we call upon Him. But it is through our prayers , searching for God and realizing what Jesus did on the Cross that shows us how much God loves us.

 

YOUR FAITH NEEDS TO BE ONLY YOUR FAITH. Not your friends, group, coworkers, spouse or kids. Your faith needs to be your faith ONLY because storms will come. I guarantee it. When the storms of life come if you blame God you are blaming the wrong person. Instead blame the serpent  Satan and CLING to Jesus for all you are worth. The 100 years on this earth is a paltry comparison to BILLIONS, yes hundreds of millions of years for eternity with Jesus in Glory. So please today throw off the illusion that Bible study , prayer plus love for God brings success and no trials. The hope I can give you is that when you are in the trial of your life God is now with YOU. Then He will be with you forever in eternity in Glory.

 

Today ask the Lord for forgiveness and then plead with Him to show you the way to make your faith just the Lord and you. If you truly knew of His greatness and love for you then He would be the One you would want to be with the most in this life and the one to come. Then your faith will be unshakable. Then the prosperity that many talk about will happen, not necessarily money but of peace in your soul which no money can buy.

 

Have an awesome day ALLOWING God to love you.

 

Brad

 




"Are You Kidding Me"
November 12, 2011

One of the best stories of God’s strength and desire for Glory is in the book of Judges in the Old Testament. First Moses had died and the Lord had given leadership to Joshua. Joshua captured in the Lord’s power many of the new territories in the Promised Land. After Joshua died there were rulers that God brought up to help lead the Israelites. Some did well in the eyes of the Lord and some sinned greatly. Then Gideon comes along and God picks Gideon to lead the Israelites.

Ok, now to the good part. Gideon is called to gather his fighting men and go up against the Midianites. So here is the score, Gideon and his army are 33,000 fighting men. The Midianite Army which he is to fight has 135,000 men. Now I don’t know about you but this doesn’t seem like  a fair fight. But God goes one step further to make sure everyone knows who is going to win this  battle and it is not Gideon or the Midianites.

Judges 7:2,3 “The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.”

The movies have it all wrong. Every time a deadly mission comes up everyone steps forward. Now out of 33,000 men22,000 men take a step back and run home. I would be yelling, “I didn’t mean it, you can hang out in the back and catch those who may get through our lines.”

But the above verse says that this is what God desires and it still pertains to us today

“In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,”

OK 22,000 men against 135,000. Bad but maybe God will help us fight. But Oh No, God really wants to get a point across that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. That there is no other God before or after and that he is the “I Am”. So here comes the death blow.

Judges 4:7-8 “But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.”

Ok 300 against 135,000. YIKES!!!!!!!! I might be thinking that I should have been one of the first 22,00 to leave. But God ALWAYS desires to come through for you, me and countless of other generations that trust in Him and Him alone. Now there is no way that 300 are going to defeat 135,000 UNLESS God comes through.

Today you may feel like you are outnumbered the same way. You have taken a stand and everyone in the office is against you. You may have Stage 1V cancer and only a miracle will save you. You may be in a tough marriage and so many things have happened that you see no way to reconcile. But let me tell you that this is where God does His best work. That is because

“In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,”

If you have not figured it out by now we have no control in this world. We may think we can scheme and work hard to get things done. BUT in the end it is God’s will that WILL prevail. So how is Gideon going to not only survive but win the battle?

Judges 7:19-22 “Gideon and the hundred men with him (the other 200 mean circled the camp) reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon! “While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbat”

“The Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.”

Now to be sure it did take some effort and will on Gideon's part but all 300 men saw “The power and Glory of the Lord.” They went and fought but God did the rest. Right now you may be so overburdened that you don’t feel like fighting anymore. You are either too far outnumbered or too tired to even stand. But as you can see from Gideon God does His best work when He alone gets the Glory. If you feel outnumbered today please pray this prayer with me.

“Lord, I feel so tired and worn out that I don’t feel like I can fight another battle. But Lord I want to trust in you. I want to see your Glory and I believe that you are God. I have _________________ going on in my life and I don’t see any way out. BUT today I am going to trust in you Jesus to help me through. Please help me to say and do the right things but then to get out of the way. Please Lord help me to increase my faith and have joy in my life knowing you are in control.”.

Then believe that God will come through for you just like He did for Gideon and His men. By the way God WILL come through for you. Just take the first step of doing what is right and then ask the Lord what you should do.

Have a great day and remember the battle in never too big to win, God will do your bidding and your fighting.

Brad


"Man Overboard" Jonah Part II  October 17, 2011

We left off in the last devotional on “Hope” where Jonah was on his way to Tarshish in the opposite direction of Nineveh. A tremendous storm came up and the sailors cast lots to see who was responsible for this problem. The lot fell on Jonah. Apparently Jonah had already told the sailors in verse 1:10 that he was running from the Lord. I want to stop here for a moment.

God can bring deliverance and salvation to others even in our disobedience. God can use ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to do multiple things for His perfect plan. Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard for the sea to be calm but the sailors rowed harder.

Jonah 1:13-16 “Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.”

First of all even though Jonah was being disobedient by running away he still told the sailors whom He served.

Jonah 1:9 “He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."

If Jonah had not told the sailors whom he served when the sea grew clam they would have cried out and praised their own created idols. Even though Jonah was running from God he told his fellow ship mates why and whom he was running from. He was still truthful.

So here is what we know so far and maybe you can make some parallels to your own life.

1. No matter which way you are running “God’s will WILL be done”.
2. Even though you may not like the circumstances you are in right now can you be truthful to yourself and others that God IS in control?
3. Other people are watching you if you are a believer. They may desire what you have as everyone is searching for the one true God, they just don’t know it yet. The best way to be a Christian is to be transparent. To tell the truth in and all circumstances. People can relate to hardships and disobedience mixed with the truth. People do not like being lied to.
4. I believe that some of these sailors were saved. They cried out to the Lord. They believed in His awesome power and then not only offered sacrifices to God but also made vows to Him.
5. Even in our disobedience God can bring salvation to others. That is why we need to have our own relationship with God. We need to ONLY be responsible for the relationship between God and us.

The story just gets started because when the sailors threw Jonah overboard and the sea became calm Jonah did not drown.

Jonah 1:17 “But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”

Even when we are disobedient God is still chasing after us for not only our salvation but to accomplish His perfect purpose. So here is the truth today. Some of you may be running from the Lord. Maybe you know why or maybe you do not. Start today by not looking at the relationship that others have with God. Search the relationship that YOU have with God. God desires to save you from hell, to love you and to make you part of His perfect plan. Will you go willingly or will you start to make a mess and include others in your drama. Remember this life is not just about you and I. Everything we do has consequences. These consequences can be good for others or bad depending on which way we are running. Please pray this prayer with me if you are running form the Lord

“Lord, at times I feel lost and I feel like I have strayed from you. Please forgive me for my sins and help me to be obedient for what you have planed for my life. I have made plans and not consulted you first. Please help me out of the mess I have created and to help my hearts desire to live for you and for your purpose. Lord I am tired of ruining, please bring me back home into your arms. Thank you Lord for always loving me.” Amen

Yes, Jonah is a great story and we have some great truths ahead that we will talk about again in the days to come. Remember you are never to far gone for God to bring you back. Don’t give up on God as He has not given up on you.

Have a great day and don’t let your circumstances dictate your joy.

Brad


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"Stop Before It Is Too Late" June 27, 2011
Have you ever received a beautiful brochure of a vacation spot and it never felt that way when you go there? Years ago I went on a business trip to the Bahamas and the hotel and surrounding area looked beautiful. The first evening in the hotel as I was drifting off to sleep I heard this pesky mosquito near my ear. I swatted him but they must have let out a battle cry as more came to the rescue. After getting bit numerous times I tucked all my sheets in and slept under the covers all night. I woke up and it looked like my face had measles I had so many bites. Then housekeeping came and fumigated my room. So much for paradise!

As we have been talking about the life of King David, David also tried to take some time off. God gave David victory wherever he went and whatever he did. David WAS ALWAYS fighting alongside his men. So it is very strange that he stopped.

2 Samuel 11:1 “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”

Falling into sin usually doesn’t happen by a frontal assault. Usually things build up over a period of time and before you know it, you are trapped. This was David’s first mistake. He stayed home instead of fighting with his men. Now I know there are times that we need to rest but an idle mind can wreck havoc with someone who is always eager to get things done.

The fall of David began with Bathsheba. Now the Lord had blessed David through Solomon but what is about to come did change the whole dynamics of David and his family. So the first mistake was not going to battle with his men.

2 Samuel 11:2 “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful”

Now David already was married and had many other women. If his eyes caught a woman bathing he should have acted like Joseph and fled. BUT HE DID NOT.

2 Samuel 11:3 “and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?””

Once we lust in our eyes it is difficult to stop the passion. All David had to do was go back inside but now he took it another step. He asked someone to find out who this woman was.

2 Samuel 11:4,5 “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

Not only did David find out who this woman was but David now seduced this woman even though he knew it was the wife of one of his battle commanders. Then she becomes pregnant. David devised schemes to try to have Uriah sleep with his own wife but everything David does not work. Uriah is faithful to his fighting men and does not relax as he knows his men are fighting in battle. David could have learned a lot from Uriah. Now David devises a scheme to commit murder.

2 Samuel 11:14,15 “In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

The rest of the story is that God speaks to Nathan the prophet and tells David of his sin and that this child who is going to be born to Bathsheba will die because of David’s sin. Here is the frightening part.

All David had to do was to walk away when he first saw Bathsheba. There were over five times that David could have rectified the situation but he kept getting in deeper and deeper. Right now some of you may be in step 1-5. God desires that you flee RIGHT NOW but will you? Passion can cloud over many good and honorable decisions. In our heart we can justify anything for our pleasure. It all comes down that we think “I deserve___________” I love the verse from the story of Joseph when he was doing everything right and honorable and Poitphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph. This is what Joseph thought in his mind.

Genesis 39:9 “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"

Joseph wasn’t thinking that he deserved some pleasure for being sold by his brothers into slavery. Joseph wasn’t thinking that he hadn’t been with a woman for a while and he deserved this. Joseph knew that he served a loving God and that his love was more for God than anything in the world. That is why his first thought was that he would be sinning against God, the one whom he loved.

Today you can change the path of destruction that you may be going down. DON’T let Satan tell you a lie. It is NEVER TOO LATE to repent, ask forgiveness and flee. God will reward you for coming clean. If you need prayer please call or e mal me and we will keep it confidential but PLEASE come clean. Please don’t build a barrier between you and the Lord. God loves you and does not want harm to come to your doorstep. Make the right decision; don’t put it off another day.

Take care

Brad


"Trusting God" Part II June 24, 2011

We left off yesterday that we were going to discuss the first part of David’s reign as King. King Saul had been killed and now David was battling to secure his right to the throne which God had ordained. Before David went to battle he inquired of the Lord. There are two sets of verses that I want to go over. The two verses are David’s questions to God and then there are two different answers from God.

2 Samuel 5 18,19 “Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD answered him, “Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.”

2 Samuel 5 22-25 “Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.”

This is what we can take away from David’s faith in God.

1. Do you ask God before you make a decision?
2. If you do ask God a question do you expect God will answer the same way again? If so does that stop you from asking again?

How many times in this life do we move so fast that we miss and mess up? David could have asked God the second time and not waiting for the response because he felt that God would give him favor. But if David did not wait upon the Lord then he would have gone straight up against the Philistines and probably been defeated.

So how long do we wait for an answer to our prayers? As long as it takes to get an answer.Let’s say you have a big meeting coming up or a crisis in your marriage. How long do you wait to get an answer from God till you make a decision? God treats each person differently but in a loving way. God is not vindictive. If we are not used to praying to the Lord often we will have a difficult time when a crisis comes up. God won’t have a difficult time but we will.

DO YOU HAVE A REATIONSHIP WITH JESUS? If you are unsure then this is the most important decision of your life. I would ask you today to send this e mail to as many people as you know that you love. Because you and they can know for sure if you are going to heaven after reading this link.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

If you are saved you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you that will help you make decisions and guide your life BUT you need to ask. Have you ever gotten on your knees to pray for a very important decision with your mind already made up on what you are going to do? Do feel bad you are not alone. God is the opposite of humanity. Humanity says that you are only as good as your last deal. God says that you can be renewed each day. God will forgive and forget the past when you come to Him with a repentant heart. That’s the God I want to get to know. He desires to wipe the slate clean and give us a fresh start. Today the questing is “Will you follow and listen to Him” or will you put God to the side and still do your own little deal in your own little kingdom?

The choice is yours. You will always have pain and anxiety when you do NOT WAIT upon the Lord. The devil can masquerade as the voice of Jesus when you have not been listening to Jesus. How do you know who is talking to you? That is why we need to be constantly asking God for protection against the evil one and really trying to listen to what God is trying to reveal to us. Isn’t that amazing that God in all His creation is trying to reveal His plan to us? Today slow down enough to put God first and your burdens will start to be light. Your anxieties will lessen and your joy will start to come back. God is God and we are not. If you don’t know how to talk to God a good way is just to say “Help me Lord get to know you”.

Have a great day as God made it and get to know the one who holds the stars in the skies and the ONLY One who truly knows YOU.

Brad



"Trusting God" Part I June 23, 2011

Too much information can be a bad thing. A couple days ago I had an MRI for my shoulder. The initial damage came a number of years ago when I was training for an Ironman. A car pulled out in front of me and that was all I remember. I remember having road rash over most of my body but especially my left shoulder. At that time they only took an MRI of my head since I had been knocked unconscious.

Years later since I cannot lift my arm over my head there must be a problem so my doctor scheduled an MRI with contrast dye. The contrast dye is supposed to show any tears in the tendons and ligaments that would not show up in a normal MRI. For those of you who don’t know me too well I am a hypochondriac. I spent 4 years of college in Pre Med. I know enough to be dangerous. But what is really dangerous is the internet. The night before the test I looked up the test called an Arthogram. Well the dye they out into you can cause some serious side effects. If I get indigestion I think I am having a heart attack, a migraine can be a brain tumor, and a pain in my knee could be a blood clot, Oh the humanity!!!! Well the side effects to this dye are shutting down of the kidneys called Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis.

Nephorgenic Systemic Fibrosis is a progressive disorder which is associated with the development of excessive scar tissue and thick, hardened and tight areas of skin which often cover the joints, resulting in severe limitations on movement. In many cases it renders the victim unable to walk or fully move the joints of their arms, hands, legs and/or feet, and they become dependent on a wheelchair within weeks of the onset. There is no known cure or effective treatment for Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, and in some cases it can lead to death.

Ok so what is worse the constant pain in the shoulder or dying form the dye? Oh, oh the word dye is in dying?? Can you see where my mind is going? So I decide to get the dye as we all have to die of something. They put an x ray machine over you so the doctor can see where to insert a LONG needle into your shoulder and then they inject the dye into the shoulder joint. Then they take you over to the MRI tube and you listen to beating and banging for 25 minutes. Now when the doctor calls you the next day that usually isn't good. Apparently I have 4 tears of different muscles so let the games begin. I will definitely be putting out a prayer request for this one. But what this test taught me was that too much information can be a bad thing.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”

In this life the Internet has allowed us to be our own doctors, therapists and psychos. Am I trusting everything I read or am I trusting in the Lord? If a professional doctor tells me I need a test do I believe in me because “I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night”?

Faith in Jesus is far superior to any knowledge we can acquire. So where are you today on this spectrum of trust and lack of trust in Jesus? A lot of us know about the person Jesus but do we have Him in our lives? Not only that but do we ALLOW Jesus to direct our lives. Do we go to the internet first or do we go to God? I am going to write a story on David tomorrow and how he inquired of God for a battle. This will be part 2 of Trust.

Today will have many trials and anxieties. God already knows the outcome. We have to get to the point in our lives where we trust God more than man and intellectual content. God IS intellectual content, God is ALL. Today let us all take a deep breath and know that God is still on the throne. NOTHING can come between you and God, NOTHING. Pray today that you would rest in God and do the best that you can do. Then let everything else go. God has it covered. Trust Me?

Have a great day and try not worry, yeah right!!!! OK I am working on it.

Brad



"Are You Content" June 22, 2011

Content - To be satisfied

Many of us spend all or waking hours trying to find contentment. We desire to be satisfied. Satisfaction can come in many forms. Satisfaction can come from helping others to achieve their dreams. Or satisfaction can come from helping our own self build US up. Satisfaction can also come from being the best that you can be at a particular trade.

There are some of you that will never be content unless…….. I will get to the answer later. When I was a high school and collegiate runner it is was not good enough to break a record in running. If I did not break that record again and again then I felt like a failure. No coach or person put pressure on me. I put more pressure on myself than anyone. Ever been there? I was setting myself up for a fall. If I finished well ahead of the field and was not wasted at the end then I did not do my best. If I left something in the tank then I defeated myself. One race went particular well but I ran so hard I threw up at the end of the race. Then every practice, every race I needed to run till I threw up. I wish I had a psychologist as a coach but no one saw me self destructing. All anyone could see was performance. All I could see was my performance. My whole life was running and my joy was dictated upon how I ran each week.

Many of you are gauged not only by what you have done but also how good you are today. You may have put together a great deal that helped the company. The problem is you have raised the bar. Now you have to keep equaling or surpassing that level of intensity and perfection. In the back of your mind you may already know that you are in a no win situation and wonder how you will get by.

Let me tell you today that you are not alone. The bible teaches us a lot about contentment but the bible also teaches us to do the best with the talents that we have. Do you know your talent and are you using it? If so here is how to be content in your circumstances. I will bring up two scripture verses.

Hebrews 13 5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Philippians 4:12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The apostle Paul wrote Philippians but Paul could have also written Hebrews. So let me give you a number of things to interject into your own life from the life of Paul. Paul used to be the number one person who persecuted Christians till His life was transformed by Jesus. Then Paul suffered many trials for the name of Jesus.

1. Money is not bad, it is the love of money that is evil. If you are consumed with making money then you will never have money enough. The love of money is the ROOT of all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) – A root goes in many different directions that are not seen. So with all the worries that the love of money brings.
2. God will never leave us but man will. No matter how hard or good you do your job you will eventually be replaced. But God will never replace you. Who is your hope in?
3. Pray for trials – Trials are life’s way of making things simple. Trials cut out the clutter and reveal to you what is really important. When you are standing at the bedside of a loved one nothing else matters. But rely on God to get you through or the trial will not lead you to contentment.
4. Do the best you can but do the best you can FOR the glory of the Lord and not your own glory. Quit trying to build your own little kingdom here on earth, even if you are a billionaire. Compared to God your kingdom is like a pauper compared to a King.
5. KNOW that God is in control and that he loves you. Many of us are not content because we are trying to find loved based upon our performance. Performance in the world will never be enough.

Pray today that the Lord would start to show you how much He loves you. Your life will not turn from performance to love till you can feel the Lord’s love, grace and mercy. All you have to do is ask with a repentant heart and Jesus will fill you with His spirit. He will give you abundant life. He will help you not to worry but to have hope. You will wake up and be joyful instead of having despair. I know you want that in your life. Stop letting the devil get a foothold in your life by chasing after things for contentment. Chase after God and the desires of your heart will be filled to overflowing.

Have an awesome day thinking about the Lord and helping others.

Brad



"Is This The Right Way" June 21, 2011

Julie and I took the boys to the park last night to play basketball. While we were sitting there a young woman with a baby came up and we asked her to sit down with us. Her older son joined in shooting baskets with Bryce and Chase. Now I have been in some odd conversations in my life but this had to be near the top. This woman proceeded to tell us that she just had “Tubal Ligation” (to not have children anymore) and then stood up pulled up her shirt and her pants to expose her scar!! Oh that is just the beginning of the story.

She said that they put air in her abdomen so that the doctors can easily see all the organs. At the end of the procedure she asked the doctor how the excess air got out of her system. The doctor told her by belching. OK I am just the messenger here. They gave her some paperwork to take home and to follow the directions. The directions said to

 1. Not do much activity for 14 days.
 2. Swab the scar with soap and water
 3. Daily raise your left arm repeated times.

Apparently the bloating was not going away and she wondered why raising her left arm and not her right arm would enable her to belch. After 5 days of the treatment the incision started to open up and she had to go to urgent care to get sewn back up. Hence the showing of the scar. Now listen to this one!

She told us that they had given her the paperwork for the woman who was before her that had shoulder surgery. The woman who had shoulder surgery got the paperwork for a tubal ligation. So the woman with shoulder surgery laid on her back for 14 days and only took sponge baths and our friend (she had to be a friend she showed us her scar) was trying to belch by doing shoulder exercises. Now I have heard some good ones but last night God knew Julie and I needed to laugh. To tell you the truth we laughed so hard I got a headache.

The bible is very clear on the direction on how to get to heaven. VERY CLEAR!!

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus cannot lie. He IS truth. There are many religions and factions of the same religion. But the truth is NO ONE and the bible says that NO ONE will come to God unless it is through Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, sin entered the world. Beforehand there was no sin in Adam and Eve but they disobeyed. Since sin is in the world and there is no sin in heaven God loved us enough to make a way. God’s way was to send His son, Jesus to pay the ultimate price. Our death would not do. God needed a perfect sacrifice. One that is pure without blemish and without sin.

That is the gospel, the good news. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13) Don’t take the wrong directions or listen to people who distort the truth. Jesus is the only way. I continue to thank you for forwarding this devotional onto others. We have had numerous people sign up in the past few weeks since you have been asking others to sign up. The link is below. We don’t know how long we have on this earth but let us in the Lord's power make the most of every opportunity. I thank all of you who have been praying for us and for lifting us up.

Please also pass this link onto people who may not be sure if they are saved or need assurance of their salvation.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

I thank that Lord that many of you have made the most important decision of your life and the life to come. Let us know how we can pray for you. YOUR burden is to be shared with others so we can lift you up in the Lord’s power, grace and His mercy. He is more than able.

Oh by the way I have an MRI this morning as I am going to need shoulder surgery. Please pray that the procedure goes well and that I get the correct paperwork when I leave

Have a great day and don’t allow the evil one to steal your joy.

Brad


You Could Be The Next Joseph" June 20, 2011

I love the story of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph’s brothers did not like him and sold him into slavery at the age of 17. Joseph went to Egypt and was sold to Potiphar who was a high ranking official in Egypt. In many instances in the life of Joseph the bible says

Genesis 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of the Egyptian master.
Genesis 39:5 “….. the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.”
Genesis 39:23 “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”

Joseph did everything Potiphar asked and Potiphar’s household was blessed. Then Potiphar’s wife came onto Joseph and he fled. But Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph and Joseph was thrown into prison. But in prison “The Lord was with Joseph” and the warden put Joseph in charge. Joseph interpreted the dream for Pharaohs officials but the officials forget him till the appointed time. I say the appointed time because the Chief Cupbearer did not have much influence. But when Pharaoh had the dream now the Chief Cupbearer remembers Joseph. Not only that but now Joseph came into contact with Pharaoh the head of Egypt. Joseph interpreted correctly Pharaohs dream and then he was put second in command only under Pharaoh. Joseph was 30 years old when he was elevated to this position. This trial of Joseph lasted 13 years.

Some of you today are in dead end jobs. You may also be in a good job with bad people. Or you may just be plain miserable in your settings. Know this, if you are working hard, treating people right for the sake of the Lord the Lord will notice. As Joseph was put down to be brought back up you may go through the same thing. You may be fired for not being in the “IN” crowd. You may be let go for other reasons. But if you are in a dead end job God may need to move you. Don’t be discouraged when God is on the move in your life. Don’t be discouraged when things look bleak and that things aren’t happening the way you planned. I doubt very much that when Joseph’s brothers threw him in the pit that he was thinking “Great I am going to become second in command to Pharaoh”. No he was thinking “Why Me” and when will I get out of this situation. If Joseph got out of prison early he would not have been able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

No matter where you are in your life right now “God KNOWS your situation.” Pray that you would be able to work to the best of your ability no matter what is thrown your way, no matter who try’s to thwart your efforts. Why? Because no one can overcome God. Do everything in your life as unto the Lord and you will never have to look back. Things may not seem right, going your way or getting the acknowledgment you deserve. But know this, God knows and that’s all that should matter. If you have a story similar to Joseph please e mail me. God is still in the miracle business and you may be the next Joseph. NEVER give up hope.

Have a great day

Brad




"Do You Feel Far From God"  June 17, 2011
If you were honest there are a lot of times that we feel far from God. So why is that? In China and other Communist or Muslim countries the “Persecuted Church” thrives. So why doesn’t the church thrive in the United States like it does in China? Let me clarify the Christian Church in China. The above ground church which is government run has a couple million members. But the “Underground” church that meets in secret has tens of millions of members.

Persecution - a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: American Dictionary

Acts 5:17-20 “Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

If the Apostles had not been put in jail then they would not have seen the power of God at work.  The persecuted church and persecuted people thrive with the gospel because

THEY HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO.

In this country we have many places to go for comfort. Our churches are not stopped from worshipping, we have food on every corner and if we don’t like one group of people we just move. In our own mind we don’t need God. We only call on God when we are in big trouble.

The prophet Joel in the Old Testament foretold about the coming of Jesus. But he also told us how to be close to God.

Joel 2:12,13 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

If your life is on cruise control and you do not feel the presence of God you may want to pray for trials. It is better to NEED God and rely upon Him than to have a false sense of security that we are in control. If we think we have any control of our lives that is arrogance towards God. In the Old Testament and some people today in mourning they would rip their clothes and throw ashes on their head. There have been times I have been so anguished that I could have ripped by shirt in despair. But the above verse talks that we can get into a habit of this and it then has no meaning. We can be “Religious” on the outside and our heart is far from God. Have you ever been so sad or distraught that you wailed? “Weeping and Mourning” get the attention of God. Weeping and Morning are an outward appearance of an inward condition called brokenness. We can’t fake brokenness to God. But if we truly come to God “Broken” with no where else to go then you WILL feel the presence of God. God loves the brokenhearted and those who truly seek after Him.

Today you have many choices in life and that is part of our problem, we have too many choices. Today try to have a garage sale of your heart. Throw off all that clutter that is making God cloudy or non existent in your life. Get back to the simpler times and God will be there. Actually He always was. We just need to slow down, get rid of stuff and make God number one. The choice is yours. How will you choose? If you are having trouble, ask God for help. If you need prayer please call or e mail me. Get back to God today and your life will thrive.

Take care

Brad



"Sue" June 15, 2011
I got back yesterday from speaking at my cousins funeral in Ohio. Sue died unexpectedly at least in our eyes but the perfect time according to God’s plan.  I have known Sue for 55 years but there was a lot I did not know about Sue. That is because when you are a servant there are no parades and no write ups in the papers. My cousin Pam spoke to Sue everyday and she will have a hard time not seeing that cell number pop up each day to talk to her sister. Pam had told me that she lost her best friend. Then Pam jokingly told me that she thought she was Sue’s only best friend.

The person who delivered Sue’s mail came up to Pam crying and said that “She had lost her best friend”. Now come on how many of us even know our mailman’s name more in less have them as our best friend. The woman at the flower shop, food bank, grocery store, bank and high school friends said the same thing. Sue was their best friend. Pam told me that when she was talking to Sue on the cell phone that Sue would often hand the phone over to a friend and tell them “Hi I am talking to my cousin Pam” and give them the phone. You see Sue wanted her friend to be Pam’s friend. Sue wanted all of us to be friends.

Sue was my biggest cheerleader for giving out books. She was on a tight disability budget. But the money she had she would buy books and give them out to her friends (which was anyone she would come into contact with). Then she would not have any money for food and need to get food from the food bank. Are you kidding me? We hold onto our money like it is a treasure especially when we get down to our last dime. Most of us don’t use our last dime to help one another. We usually use an excess dime or excess time. Sue had worked at a mental hospital and a patient hit her with his fist and broke numerous bones in her face. She had numerous surgeries and grafting of bones over the years but none of those worked. She lived in constant pain. When I had a migraine she would always e mailed me or call to tell me she was praying for me. Then she would give tell me a joke!

In life we have many opportunities. We have opportunities to make money, to do good, to do bad to hurt and to help.

Colossians 4:5 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Opportunity - a chance, especially one that offers some kind of advantage – Encarta Dictionary

The above definition is a worldly definition. Opportunity for the gospel SHOULD NEVER be taking advantage of another. If anything could you let someone take advantage of you to further the gospel? Would you give your last dime? Would you stop to chat with the mailman? Would you even step foot in a food bank? My life has been richer because of my knowing my cousin Sue. Do you have a Sue in your life? Or are you a “Sue”? How do you see opportunities and what is your definition of an opportunity?

We need to work and earn a living but the older you get the more you realize that it is the Lord that brings in the harvest. It is none of our craftiness that increases sales. It is only the Lord’s favor. My challenge today to you is this. Can you change the way you think about opportunities. Sues life was cut short in our eyes but fulfilled to the very second in Gods eyes. Your life may be demanded of you today. Luke 12:20,21 gives a scary description of those who help ONLY themselves.

Since your life may be demanded from you today does that that change the definition of YOUR opportunities? Storing up treasure in heaven is not saving your money here. It is building into other people’s lives. Now listen to me very carefully as this is the most important part of this lesson. Are you building into people’s lives that can not return the favor to you? Or are you only helping those that in some way that can further your career? Today there will be MANY opportunities that will pass you buy if you are only looking for that person that can help you. What if you changed your thoughts to think like this? Jesus saved me when I didn’t deserve to be saved. I now have heaven in my future. Before God brings me home I need to share that good news with as many people not only that I know but who I come into contact with. It may be a stranger crying on the street. It may be the mailman or the clerk at the grocery store.

Sue you taught me a lot on how to serve and how to laugh. I will see you again. Until I do may I get to know all kinds of people. May I never think that I am better than someone else. I know you can’t tell me but I will ask. What does it feel like for Jesus to hold you and say “Well done good and faithful servant”?

Have a great day and make the most of every opportunity for the Lord.

Brad

"Do You Know Him" June 14, 2011

Sometimes in this life we can exaggerate a little. You have met people who say they know someone but in reality they may know someone, that knows someone that knows that person. Many people know about Jesus, even the devil but that doesn’t mean they are going to heaven. So just knowing about Jesus will not save us.

I have heard people use the name of Jesus in conversations that talk like they know Jesus. They may say Jesus can heal you or Jesus is my rock. Now I am not here to say whether one person is saved or another as only Jesus knows that but not everyone who talks about Jesus all the time is saved.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

There are many preachers, Sunday school teachers and teachers of how to be saved that will not enter heaven. Some people say it is a long 20 inches from the head to the heart and that is true. Head knowledge does not guarantee heart knowledge. We are only saved by the grace of God BUT we need to accept that free gift by confessing our sin and asking Jesus to come into our life.

Again if you have not read the plan of salvation and if you are not sure you are going to heaven please click on our link to be sure.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

We only do good things in this life out of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for us. Good works will not get us into heaven. Being baptized, confirmed, going to church, being kind to others and giving to the poor will not get you into heaven either. Ephesians 2:8,9 says that works plays NO part in being saved. If works could get us in then Jesus died for nothing.

We all need to get back to basics in our Christian walk. Before we go out and evangelize the world we better make sure we are saved. Then we need to cultivate that relationship. So the question today is do you really know about Jesus or do you know Him personally. Do you really know Him? If not don’t despair. All you have to do is ask. A lot of times we can get too religious and think we should know the answer. But Jesus loves the humble and broken hearted, not the arrogant and prideful. Today if you have Jesus in your life but are not sure how to move forward please pray this prayer with me.

“Jesus thank you for saving me. I desire to know you so much better but the world has taken the number one spot over you. I desire to know you but I get distracted by what I need to do each day. I know I need to provide for my family but at times I worry. Jesus please help me not to worry anymore. Please help me to feel your love and how much you love me. Please help my heart to be still. Please help my hearts desire to be for you more than anything in the world Jesus.”

The Christian walk is a walk and not a sprint. It is a day by day process as any relationship is. But in order to have a relationship you need to spend time and you need to make that a priority. God knows your heart but His desire is for you to know what is in your heart also.

Make this the day you start to put the Lord first in everything you do. God can handle ANY problem you have and can give you His peace in the process. Let us try to be a light in a dark world no matter what the world throws at us. Remember, Jesus knows what is going on and that is all that matters.

Have an awesome day

Brad


"Changing Seasons" June 13, 2011

No one can be at the top for ever. This life is all about seasons. We have seasons of pain and triumph. Seasons of prosperity and drought and seasons of love and loss. One thing for sure is that in this life things are constantly changing. But most of us do everything in our power to prevent change. We work countless hours trying to have a secure future. We try to be friends with the right clientele to further our aspirations. Some of us even get excited to have our picture taken with a celebrity. Why can't our own lives be exciting enough? Why do we think that taking a picture with someone important makes us important?

In reality we all want to make a difference in this life. But it is the deep desires of our heart that ring true in the things we do. If we desire to be seen with "The in crowd" then our heart is focused on "Me" and getting ahead for our own desires. If our heart is more interested in building others up instead of ourselves THEN we have a chance to make a real difference. But changing form a "Me" mentality to an "Us" mentality takes more than our will. It takes the Holy Spirit of God doing a good work in us.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Some have faith that they will build a great empire for themselves. So not all faith is religious in nature. Some have great faith in their abilities to get "The job" done. But in the end you have to ask yourself this question. What am I building? Am I building into something that will last for eternity or am I building something that will only last a short period of time? The only thing that will last for eternity is one's soul. There is nothing wrong with building a worldly empire as that employs a lot of people. But if profits are more important than a persons soul to you then you will be in trouble and be ineffective for the Lord.

The bad news is we cannot get back all the time we lost. The good news is that the Lord can always give us a fresh start to make a difference for Him and His kingdom. No matter what season you are in things will change. If you are trying to control your life you will always be in disarray. If you can give over your life to the one who not only holds your breath but who created and knows you then you will find joy. The change in seasons will no longer matter and you will be free to live the life God has planned for you.

"Lord I desire to be free from the trouble I am in. I have built up walls around myself to protect me but now I see that no wall is high enough for you Lord. By thinking I am trying to protect what I have; I have kept you out of my life. Lord break down all the walls in my life that I have built up. Help me to be a transparent servant not only to you but to everyone I come into contact with. Please forgive me for thinking that I am better than others. Lord please restore the fullness of your Spirit into my life and lead me on the straight and narrow path."

Don"t get down on yourself. Faith is trusting that God will lift you up and set you on firm footing. Faith is not a one time action but many actions over the course of a day and a lifetime that look to God instead of man for our provisions and our hope. Make the decision today as you have to choose. Please do not place your hope with anything in the world.

Be careful out there today.

Take care

Brad

 


"Getting To Know God" Part V June 10, 2011


Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Yesterday I received a call that my cousin Sue had died. My aunt and uncle found where she had fallen.  Sue was one of my biggest cheerleaders when it came to giving out books or helping me with speaking engagements. She once got an entire case of books so she could give to the Amish where she lived in Ohio. Sue did not have hardly any money but what she had she gave to others. She had more trials in her life than most and lived in constant pain. She used to work in a mental hospital and a patient punched her and broke many bones in her face. That pain would last till Jesus took her home.

The last time we talked Sue said that she was "Ready to go". As Christians you know what I mean. Now Sue did not desire to escape this world but she knew where she was going. Yesterday we talked about having a road map in the bible and a relationship with God. If you don't know where you are or where you are going then a map is useless. I am not sure of the last person that Sue spoke with but that person ended Sue's work in this life. It was time and Jesus called her home. She now has no more pain and has NO MORE BURDENS.

The above verse that we have been talking about all week has been about letting go of our burdens and giving them to Jesus. Very few of us know what our burdens are. Some are discontent and don't know why. Satan loves for us to live in Chaos. Jesus desires order. Which one are you? As we recap this past week let us go over a few truths.

1. Jesus said as a command "Come to me"
2.  Not just some He would take but he would take ALL who are weary and burdened and He will give YOU rest.
3. Read God's word in the bible and pray so that you know how to be guided by the only One who has the road map of life. This is being Yoked to Jesus.
4. We need to have God change us from being arrogant to having a gentle and humble spirit. This may take some trials but please ask for this to happen. God opposes the proud.

Since you are getting this e mail then God has not called you home yet. I say home in heaven because this earth IS NOT our real home. We are renting space here for a short time. What are you doing to get ready for your real home? If you are spending a lot of your effort building an empire here then that is a foundation built on sand which will fail. Or are you building into others that the only way to live a spirit filled life and have heaven in your future is through Jesus. No matter how much pleading we do it will be too late to ask for forgiveness when we meet the Lord. We need to do that NOW. We need to make sure we are right with Jesus by being saved before our burden will be light and we can find rest for our souls. Things happen in life that we rarely expect. Don't be caught off guard by putting the most import decision of your life off another second. This may be the day that the Lord calls you. Will you be ready?

Trials will always come but it is the one who trusts completely in Jesus that will get through those trials with joy. We can only have joy when we know where we are going. Nothing in the map of life tells us when trials will come but there is one who can walk us through those tough trials holding our hand. BUT you have to give it over, you need to become humble in spirit and realize that you are no longer the captain of your ship and in control of your destiny. There is ONLY One and His name is Jesus. Do you know Him?

"Lord, thank you for this series on trying to get to know you. Please forgive me for trying to get to know everyone and everything in the world but you. Even when I try to know you I seldom put you first in my life. Today please change the way I think and the way I do things. Please make my hearts desire to be for you and not THINGS. Those things I am tried of chasing after. Please help my hearts desire to be to chase after you."

If you have made the decision to follow Jesus please e mail me and I will send you some materials to help you grow in your faith. We are all a team of believers and we need to try to hold each other up through payer and kindness.

Look for an opportunity today to smile and give of your time. Not to further your kingdom but the Lord's.

Have a great weekend.

Brad

"Getting To Know God" Part IV June 9, 2011


Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have received numerous e mails that many of you have felt that the prayer of having a burden taken from you was just what you needed. Many of us desire rest, thank you for being honest and praying for the Lord to deliver you from all anxiety and pain. IF you "come to Jesus HE WILL give you rest". So how does this look and how do we do it?

Again we can only have the power of the Holy Spirit in us if we are saved. To make sure you are saved please read

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

When you are saved you have the power of God living inside of you, YES taking up residence. Now what is the rest that Jesus is talking about? Have you ever been on a vacation and then felt like you need another vacation because you were so tired? That is this life. A lot of times we do things that we think will bring us peace and contentment but in the end they just make us more worn out. The more you TRY to be a "Good" Christian the more you will fail. There are NO GOOD CHRISTIANS. There are only Christians who are sinners that are saved by the grace of God. Being saved does not stop sin in your life. It just makes us more aware of the sin. The only way we can sin less is to know the horrible price that was paid for us to be redeemed. It was the ultimate sacrifice of love. Sin is really selfishness. If we can get past our own desires and see what God has done for us then our chance of being selfish and sinning will be a lot less.

So this brings us back to "Getting to know God".  If you have read the above link on "How to be saved" and have made that decision then God lives inside of you. Up until that point He has not. Please get a bible preferably a NIV (New International Version) study bible. If you are having trouble deciding which one please e mail me and I can give you help. God's word is not only salvation for us but a road map for our lives. But with any map you have to know where your are and where you are going for the map to work. In this life do you know where you are and where you are going? If not then you will just wander this earth without any purpose. That is NOT God's design for your life. So we need to hear from God on what to do and where to go. It is by prayer (just speaking to God), reading the bible and having fellowship with other believers that we can get a sense on where we are. Then it is a process on how to get there.

God cannot be contained but He chooses to live inside of the believer. Amazing isn't it that we have the power of the creator of the universe that lives inside of us. If we have any questions or concerns we should ask God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-14 "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

The bible will not make sense unless you have the Spirit of God living inside of you. Please make sure you have the Spirit. Then ask for wisdom from God as God freely gives us His wisdom when we ask.

"Lord help me to lead a Spirit filled life instead of a life that makes me the center of everything. I desire to know you but have a long way to go. I have sinned and I feel guilty. Please forgive my sins Jesus and help me to understand the love you have for me. Help me to stop trying to find this love in so many things other than you. Lord you tell me you love me but at times I feel alone. Please reveal to me the path I should go and the steps I should take. I desire to follow you Lord".

Thank you for taking the series on "Getting to know God". As I have said in the first part God already knows YOU. Let us spend time getting to know our creator, the one who loves us more than we could ever imagine. AND the one who controls the outcome of all things. Please get a good bible and start to read who God is. You will be amazed.

Have a great day and think about Jesus.

Brad


"Getting To Know God" Part III June 8, 2011

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The third part of the series "Getting to Know God" is about being gentle and humble. When God says in the above verse to learn from me why do you think the next statement is "for I am gentle and humble in heart"? Let's forget about the world for a second and let's concentrate on your heart. The world will not change unless we can change one heart one person at a time. A lot of times we don't even try because things seem so overwhelming. I know a lot of you are right there. There are some getting this e mail right now who want this to be their last day on this earth. PLEASE don't give up hope on the power of Jesus. Don't believe a lie of the devil that there is no way out or no hope left. If you are there now please call me at 704 907 8396. If you are in darkness light is right around the corner with Jesus. We can help you get there.

Proverbs 16:5 "The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished." 

Humble and proud are complete opposites. You have the choice on how you will live. Will you live in arrogance thinking more of yourself than you ought to? Or will you humble yourself before the Lord? Time over time the Lord can keep a persons heart hardened when they are arrogant. If you are going through a strong trial, part of the reason for that trial might be to keep you humble.

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

If you feel like you are at the bottom of the pit, IF you humble yourself before the Lord He WILL lift you up. But God will do it His way. God has compassion on the brokenhearted. We can learn more through the trials of life than the victories. If you have a problem with arrogance and desire to change please pray this prayer.

"Lord please forgive me for thinking I am the captain of my ship and in charge of my destiny. Forgive me for an arrogant spirit. Please help me to see my need for you instead of trying to do everything in my own strength. Please also help me to give You all the glory Lord when victories come. If my heart is hardened Lord please break it. I am not sure how that will happen but I am going to trust in you Jesus. I would rather go through a tough trial and have a humble heart and spirit than to live in this pit of arrogance that is robbing the joy out of my life. Lord please keep me close to you."

Yes Jesus please change us all to be more like you. The time we are in the world is short. Help us to serve you, see the need for others to be saved instead of serving ourselves. We can't do this in our own strength. Please pray for everyone who gets this email that we would let go of STUFF and allow God access to every part of our life. Then and only then will that elusive trait called joy flood our soul.

Try to encourage someone today.

Brad



"Getting To Know God" Part II June 7, 2011

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Yesterday we talked about the "Yoke" of God. Today we will be talking about why we should wear this yoke and how it can set us free. Everyday we learn new things. Even if someone doesn't teach us we still learn by watching or listening. Jesus says that IF we take His yoke THEN we will learn from Him. Isn't that an awesome thought that we can learn from Jesus instead of the world? Not that there is anything wrong with the world as God created the heavens and the earth. But what we want to do is to be able to have God's love and wisdom filling us to overflowing. THEN we need to go out into the world and witness and love, not the other way around. I tried the other way for 38 years and made a fool of myself.

The first part of this verse is :Come to me". I cannot stress enough the importance of having a relationship with Jesus.  Since many new people get this devotional each day some of you may not be saved. To find out how to be saved and to be set free please click on

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

It seems like the older we get the more weary and burdened life becomes. The trials of life can really beat us down. But life doesn't have to be that way. A lot of people are miserable in this life because they have not learned to GIVE their burdens over to Jesus. Let's say you have a burden of worry about your health. Maybe you are waiting on a test to come back from the doctor's office. You may pray and give it over to the Lord and have peace. That test result may come back negative and then you forget all about Jesus and get back to life as normal. We are all guilty of this. The key to having joy in this life is to REMEMBER that God loves YOU and He is not out to harm you. But we need to have a thankful heart and not a heart that is full of entitlement. A lot of times in life we are miserable because we think we deserve _______________. We deserve hell but God saved us. Why can't that be enough to set our hopes on and give us joy? No wonder we have burdens. We desire things that will not last and have our hope in things that are fleeting.

Please try this experiment. Take out a piece of paper and on the left side of the paper write down all the things that you are burdened with. On the right side of the paper write down all the things that God has either protected you from or trials that He has gotten you through. If you do not journal (writing daily what God is doing in your life) you will forget a lot of God's miracles in your life. Satan is a great deceiver and will try to make you forget all the great and good things God has done for you. When I read my journal I almost get embarrassed that I doubted. I see everytime that God delivered me. I am sure that you could say the same thing. Now God may have delivered you in a different way than you asked but it was better than what you wanted.

Many of you have a front row seat to what we have been going through with our finances. I truly believe that God is revealing His glory to you through this. He is showing ALL of us that we need to be content with our Daily Bread which we are promised and not our monthly or yearly bread. Day after day God always shows up and we are more and more grateful. We also know that we need to stay close to God. Plus so many of you have partnered with us that we now feel like a team. God has made us to be a team that goes out into a dark world. We are not meant to be alone.

Have you ever watched the nature channel where the lions are hunting? The lions go after the animal that has gotten away from the pack. We can become weary, disillusioned and depressed when we try to go this life alone. DON'T GET PICKED OFF!! If you are there now we have an awesome group of "Prayer Warriors" that desire to pray for you and lift you up. Please e mail me your burdens. Also Jesus is waiting for you to speak to Him. Try to slow your life down so that not only do you have time to read what God has to say about His love for you but He will also speak to you though His word or His Spirit.

As we end part two try to listen to God. We had a huge response on the "Tell Me" series. A number of you wrote in telling me what God revealed to you through His word or by praying. As you memorize the above verse in Matthew "Tell Me" what burden God is asking you to give up so that we can pray for you. Also if you have read the devotional on our website on how to be saved and you made that decision please e mail me and we will send you out materials to help you grow in the faith.

I pray that after two days that you will see a couple things. Jesus desires to take your burden from you BUT you need to give it over and let it go. That takes faith. Ask the Lord for faith as Jesus desires to give you an abundant life. Do not feel guilty about letting that burden go. Jesus also desires our heart and mind to slow down. We are not in control Jesus is! Tomorrow we will talk about the power that Jesus has to offer and how to experience a Spirit filled life.

Have a great day

Brad



"Getting To Know God" Part 1 June 6, 2011


I am excited to start this journey with you on "Getting To Know God". Some of you reading this have not made the decision to follow the Lord yet and some of you have been following Jesus for many years. Some of you made the decision to follow the Lord but somehow the worries of this life have gotten in the way of making God number one in your life. I am here to tell you that all of these scenarios are OK. That is because as we try to Get to know God,

 

God ALREADY KNOWS YOU.

 

I do not want this series to be like a high school or college classroom. I am not trying to fit anyone into a mold. My purpose here on this earth is to have you have a desire to know the One who created YOU. Isn't it amazing that YOU were created in the image of God, Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them". Since you were fearfully and wonderfully made YOU MATTER, Psalm 139:14. A lot of times in our lives we can get discouraged and downright depressed when people either don't like us or our performance does not meet their expectations. Part of this series will be seeing how God sees and values you. If you can grasp this then never again will you fret over what people think of you.

 

The verse last week we used to start this series is

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

We all desire rest for our souls. But most of us try to find our rest in the most unusual of places. When Jesus says to "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me" we need to do that. This is not a question this is a command. So what does this verse mean?

Jesus bore all of our sins so that we might be redeemed. There is no way to heaven except through Jesus. A "Yoke" for oxen is a burdensome device. Doesn't sound like this makes much sense to take the yoke of Jesus. But you see a "Yoke" for oxen directs that oxen in the way he should go. Without a yoke that oxen would not plow or even know where to plow. The oxen would probably just eat all day and do no work at all. Being led in this life is not bad when the leading is from Jesus. But a lot of times when left to our own desires we fail and fail miserably. So the "Yoke" of Jesus is restraining but in a good way. You may be thinking "but I don"t want restrained by anyone or anything, I want to be free". The truth is if you are not yoked to Jesus then by default you are yoked to Satan. A scary thought isn't it?

A lot of new people are on the Daily Devotional and we welcome you. If you are unsure if you have a relationship with Jesus or would like to know how you can be saved then please click on this link to our website. It will explain how you can know for sure if you are going to heaven.

http://www.theultimatedecision.com/howtogettoheaven.html

For today's lesson we are talking about "Taking the yoke of Jesus upon ourselves, because when we do we will find rest. Over the next week we will be going over all the ways that we can take the yoke of Jesus and feel freedom instead of feeling tied down. We will see that everything the world has to offer comes with a price. Jesus offers a free gift with no strings attached. I would like you to learn and memorize this verse from Matthew. Remember we fight with the word of God that cuts to the heart not by a physical sword.

This devotional is attached to a Blog on our website. Feel free to voice any questions or concerns that you may have. Just click on the word "Comment". The link is http://www.theultimatedecision.com/dailydevotionalblog.php Maybe share what you have been "Yoked" to in the past and how your desire to be set free. Tomorrow we will be going over how to be set free from the worlds yoke and start to see how we can wear the Yoke of the Lord and not be burdened anymore. The challenge for today is to memorize this verse and then pray this prayer. "Lord I have chased after many worthless things. I am tired, worn out and need rest for my soul. Please help me increase my faith Jesus and to truly trust in you and you alone. Thank you for setting me free and putting my feet on firm footing. Please help me to live without doubt in my soul." Amen

Have a great day and we will see you here again tomorrow.

Brad

 

 

 




"Getting To Know God Series"

June 3, 2011
Next week we will start a series on "Getting to know God". One of the verses that we will use for this series is:

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Now since God can't lie as there is no deceit in Him we can hold onto this promise. This particular promise is

"Come to me and I WILL give you rest for your souls"

Many of you work from morning to night building a future that is trying to secure rest for your souls. But in reality most of these building blocks will crumble as they do not have a firm foundation. We will explore the truth that God promises and then how YOU can have that promise and feel a burden lifted. The older we get the more we realize that security is not in money, a job, a relationship or good health. All those things come and go like the wind. Security and joy is in the Lord. When we have that then we can go out into a dark world and nothing can harm us. We can have a bounce in our step and a smile on our face when the Spirit of God is controlling us, not when we are trying to war against the Spirit inside.

I am excited about this series because so many of you have written in desiring to be closer to God but don't know how to do that. Let me just say that Jesus is waiting on you. He is always there we just need to slow down a little to see His miracles and more importantly His love for you.

As this weekend fast approaches please try to read the above verse and commit it to memory. Our fight in this world is not physical but spiritual. Our ONLY effective weapon against Satan is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. We need to have some weapons on hand, ready to fight. When you start to feel defeated and worn out, that you can't take another step then you can call to memory the promise that you have in Jesus.

Have a great weekend and thank you for all your prayers. They have sustained us, given us hope and encouragement to keep on keepin on in the faith. You are a huge blessing to us.

Brad
 





"I Have Sinned"

June 2, 2011

There are two trains of thought when we read this. Sorry to say there are a lot of us who would be excited to know "What did Brad do?" Then there are few that would think "How Can I pray for Brad". When our lives are full of discontent we will be eager to know how other people struggle. That is because since some of us are miserable there is part of us that hope others will be miserable also.

Have you ever seen a husband and wife at odds? Maybe the wife is calm and the husband is a tyrant or the other way around. The more compassion the wife shows the more bent out of shape the husband gets. Since he is miserable he wants his wife to feel the same way. Where does this desire to do evil and cause harm come from?

Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Now let me be very careful how I write this next portion. All of us have pain in our lives from our past experiences. Some of us come from homes of sexual and physical abuse. We may have been told that we would never amount to anything and we spend night and day at the cost of others trying to prove something that will never be able to be proved. We can start to  realize "Why we act the way we do" but that is NOT AN EXCUSE to continue that behavior. To be sure some of you have suffered some horrific past hurts. I am not trying to minimize that pain. But what I am here to tell you today that if you do not forgive that person or persons then you will be the one who suffers.

Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Lack of forgiveness NO MATTER WHAT someone has done to you will eat away at your heart like a cancer. It is not the one who caused you this harm that will suffer but you will if you don't let it go. When I said "I have sinned" and it raised up something in your hear to learn more about what I might have done that is an indication of a deeper heart issue. As a doctor asks questions to understand where your pain is coming from you can do the same thing. If you are prone to violent outbursts, maybe keeping secluded from others or having sarcasm then PLEASE pray to the only One who can heal your heart; Jesus. Pray this with me.

"Jesus, I am in trouble. I want to forgive but I have a hard time forgiving what they did to me. I know that I sin against you every day and not only do you forgive me but you wipe the slate clean. Jesus, I cannot do this on my own. I want so desperately to follow you, to feel your presence and to have the power and love that you have to give. I am going to trust in you Jesus to help me through this process. I pray right now that I can forgive ____________ for all the past hurts and wrongs. Please help me to forgive them as you have forgiven me. I desire to be your child and I desire to not be held captive by the evil that lack of forgiveness brings. Jesus please free me today."

Yes, Jesus will free you. He already knows your heart but sometimes you have to verbalize what you feel to hear it yourself. Many of you have called me so we could pray together. If you need to pray please call me at 704 907 8396. Or call your pastor or a friend. But make sure you can trust the one you are sharing the burdens with. As King David had Jonathan as a friend we all need a friend who will not think less of us because of what we share. Love is accepting people as who they are, NOT what you want them to become or what they can do for you.

I pray that each of you will be able to accept the joy of the Lord through a forgiving Spirit. Pray the above prayer and let God take over. God loves to reveal His power in your life. Open your hands and your heart and turn it over to Him now. Your life will never be the same. It is an awesome journey. Trust the Lord and joy will fill your soul.

Take care

Brad



"This Happened Because......."

June 1, 2011


Can I have weak faith and be healed? We can certainly get on a guilt trip if we have an illness and for some reason we don't get better. We can second guess ourselves and our relationship with Jesus?  Mark 9:29 talks about the disciples not being able to drive a demon out of a deaf and mute boy and Jesus said that this demon can only come out by prayer. Now hadn't the disciples been praying? Had they been praying too much and now it became a rote prayer?

In life I have seen that anything in excess is not good. Even following Jesus. Let me explain. If you pray for morning till night trying to be spiritual you will eventually tire of this practice. If your serve in a line at a soup kitchen every day of the year you can tire of that even though your motives are good.  If you want to get to know God better and I know you do then you need to be around people. Not to make money from people but to look into their eyes and be available to help them. Prayer starts the heavens in motion to things that we cannot comprehend. But prayer without action will only work for awhile. Prayer will give us the power through the Holy Spirit of Jesus to go out into a dark world and bring light. That light will open the dark recesses of people's lives. Prayer is action. This next verse has always made me feel guilty.

Matthew 17:6 "He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you".

Now we can take this verse two ways. First of all we can think of times that our prayers were not answered and think that our faith is smaller than a mustard seed. Or we can think that IF I can just have a little faith then great things will happen. Yes that is the one we should choose to hold onto.

The disciples prayed a lot and they had Jesus as their model of prayer. But the disciples said to Jesus

Luke 17:5 "The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

If the apostles asked this how much more should we? In this life we will suffer trials of many kinds. Odd things will happen to us and some things will bring us to our knees. I always come back to this story of the man born blind.

John 9:1-3 "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

Today you may be wondering "Why". You may have guilt over what you think is a lack of faith. You may look and others and see that they were healed but you are not. Right now forget all that junk. This is the truth of the matter. Jesus loves YOU. Things WILL happen in your life. All those things that happen are for a perfect purpose even when we don't understand nor should we. But these things will happen so "that the work of God may be displayed in your life.


Don't fret, look over your should or wonder when the other foot is going to drop. God knows you intimately and that is all that matters. When things come know that they are part of God's perfect plan to reveal His greatest in YOUR life.

Yes Jesus, "please increase our faith to trust in you no matter what comes our way. Help us to place our joy not on our outward circumstances that change like the wind but have our hope and joy in you and you alone."

Have a great day; God is at work in YOUR life right now. Not to harm you but to bring you to Himself.

Brad
 



"Don't Give Up"

May 26, 2011

I am so encouraged by all your support, prayers and e mails that I could not write any words that could explain how I feel. We still don't know from month to month how we will make it but God promises our Daily bread not our monthly or yearly bread.  There is nothing better in this world than to rely upon God. We have seen that we have nothing else to hold onto. While that is scary we are thankful.

The last four weeks the Lord has been revealing to me many truths that I have passed onto you. There have also been many, many miracles happening. I truly believe that you, feeling the need to help us, is part of God's plan to help you to feel part of something bigger than yourself. We can not do this alone and we desperately need your help and support. A good friend yesterday sent me this verse

Galatians 9.10 "Let us not become weary in dong good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Please pray that everyone on our team and all believers would not grow weary in doing good.  Some of you who have prayed for us and have given have experienced attacks from the evil one. Helping us is engaging the enemy. Please let us know how we can pray for you. We are in a horrible war; there is nothing good about war. But as Christian soldiers we are called to fight not with earthly weapons but with the sword of the Spirit. God's word is POWER and God's word is sufficient to break down any stronghold. Just know that when you do things for the kingdom of God that you are going to get fired at by the enemy. But in this life it is much better to get fired at and be effective than to sit in the comfort of home not being effective for the One who saved you if you are a believer.

It is not strange that the problems have gotten bigger. That is because God is healing people, saving people, having people repent and turn in their street clothes for the amor of God. No wonder the devil is worried. Amen!!!!!

As Aaron held Moses arms up YOU have helped hold us up in the power of Jesus. I now see that the hardships we are facing are now in part as much a lesson of faith for you as they are for us. God can do a million things with one prayer. Let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us put on the armor of God and profess His name in the face of all adversity. Let us know that this world will quickly fade away and then what is left? Only those that have given their life to the only one who can save ,Jesus.

Thank you for serving alongside us. We are grateful beyond words. Pray for everyone who gets this e mail today that we would all be able to stand firm in the faith. That we would not fall into the world's lies and that we would instead fall into the arms of Jesus.

Have a great day.

Brad



"Are You Afraid To Fail

May 25, 2011

You will never succeed in this life if you are afraid to fail. Let's see how "Success" is defined.

Succeed - to manage to do what is planned or attempted  - Encarta Dictionary

To have a successful marriage you need to love, plan, pray and have a strong commitment. But couldn't this definition go for everything we do in this life? Now here is where YOU come in. YOU all have influence over someone. It may be one child or a business of 1,000 people. Do you encourage people to fail or do you foster an environment where people are afraid to do anything wrong?

In this life if we are always put down for doing something wrong or failing then we will not have the imagination to try so hard the next time. We will start to think safely instead of creatively. When that starts to happen we lose our God given gift of imagination. Now if you have failed in this area as a leader of one or 1,000 then take that as a plus and try again. But this time pray first for the Lord to allow you to have the personality that fosters an environment of hope and imagination instead of a rule of tyranny.

Most of us are self driven people, even those who don't think they are. If you feel you are a slouch then you are not in the right job. Most people who do poorly in a job have been hired for the wrong position. Put me in as an accountant and look out, I would have a migraine from morning to night.

If you are a perfectionist and joyful then great. But if you are a perfectionist and a yeller, screamer or tyrant the Lord will not bless you in what you are doing. The Lord may let your profits soar but He may not let you enjoy them!

Today YOU have a choice on how you live and how you treat others. Realize right now that everyone has something going on in their life that is tough. I don't care how well someone is dressed, how good they look or how much money they have SOME THING is going wrong in their life. If we can give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt and not scream but encourage then others will feel the freedom to dream and succeed. It us up to you.

Remember that it is NEVER too late to start over. If you have failed before that doesn't mean that you will keep failing. But if you give up you will never know what could have been. The world is full of great stories of adversity. Let the world see that you are one of those stories. But when you succeed remember to give the One, The ONLY One who allowed you to have that success and that is Jesus the glory. Let Him have the glory and your heart will be filled to overflowing. Look around you today and see who you can influence in a positive way. God will smile when you treat His children right.

Psalm 20:4 "May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

Brad




"What Pleases God"

May 24, 2011

Every morning while praying I ask God to give me a verse or a word of encouragement that I can send to you. I have learned a long time ago that if God is not in it, I can't write. Actually I can't do anything worthwhile unless God is in it. As soon as I asked God for a verse He gave me Ephesians 5:10. So like any inquisitive pupil I looked up Ephesians 5:10 and this is what it said.

Ephesians 5:8-10 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord."

For the most part the world we live in is all about pleasing ourselves. So what can I do that pleases God?  Have you ever sat down and thought of that? So I started to gather some verses on what pleases God.

1 Thessalonians 4: -1-12 "Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Peter 2:1-4  "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 5:4 " But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

1. To be saved - God loves us and desires that we are all saved.
2. Avoid Sexual Immorality
3. Learn to control your own body
4. Love each other - No wiggle room here. God loves us when we are sinners and we need to love others as well.
5. Lead a quite life and mind your own business - NO Gossip!!
6. Taking care of your family
7. Respect those in authority as God has placed them there for a reason.

I don't want this to be a lesson that is a set of rules. God saved us by grace and not by any works we can do. But since God loved us with an unconditional love what pleases God is that we do the same. We try all sorts of things in this world to please man to get ahead. But we very seldom search out those things that please the One who created us. The One who holds our lives in His hands. The only One who can save us.

Today please find a quiet place and pray this prayer. "Lord forgive me for chasing after the world instead of you. Please help my hearts desire to be what you desire, not what I desire. I know I need to work but help me to be defined who I am in you and not defined what I do for a living. I do desire to please you and have fallen short. Please set me on a path Jesus that pleases you and protects me from the evil desires and the Prince of this world." Amen.

The Christian life is a marathon not a sprint. Each day we need to come before the Lord and ask for help, not just for an hour on Sunday. Your life will change in miraculous ways when you can pray and seek the Lord. Make the Lord your hearts desire and the Lord will handle the rest.

Have a great day and expect God to show up!!!

Brad





"What Should I Be Doing"

May 23, 2011

 

Since the beginning of time we have asked What is Gods will for my life? 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.

Is that it? This doesnt say where I should work, who I should be with or what my day should be like. So lets look at this verse more closely as this passage is explicit for Gods will in our life.

First of all we need to be joyful ALWAYS. If you have not realized it by now even though we have a free will God directs our paths. There are no coincidences in this life. Everything you do is orchestrated by God. If I know that God is orchestrating my life I should try to be joyful. Now there are times we fall into sin as we are humans with sin. Romans 3:23 says that we all sin. But God can use ANY circumstance in your life to turn that around for His glory, ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. So dont get down on yourself if you feel too far from God. All you have to do is turn around and He is right there. That should make you joyful.

Second is pray continually. So how do I pray continually when I have a job that is demanding? Pray continually means that we think about God continually. 2 Corinthians 10:5 say that we are to take all thoughts captive before God. As you go throughout the day many decisions and emotions will come into your mind. You need to make a decision to ask God through His Spirit to give you His wisdom. If you are having trouble with an addiction, ask God to take that thought captive. We are weak in our own flesh BUT God is more than able. We need to stop trying to do this life on our own. This life was meant to be lived with us on speaking terms with God. Dont ever leave Him out of the pictures of your life.

Thirdly we need to give thanks in all circumstances. When we can do this we see each circumstance as from God. We can rejoice that God has our front and our back covered. God will take everything and make it good unto His glory not ours. Our trouble comes into this life when we want to glorify ourselves. You get that big deal signed and think that YOU did it. No, God gave you the talents to do the deal and not only that He pulled all the people together to have favor that you got the deal done. So please dont puff yourself up as this is something that the Lord detests. When you can give the Lord the credit not just 99% but 100% of the credit for what you do in this life then you can give thanks in all circumstances.

We can get into trouble when we read all these self help books first and seek God second. God knows what is best for you and your circumstances. He holds the oceans in place, breathes out stars, keeps the earth on its axis and can answer a billion prayer requests with trillions of actions at the SAME TIME. That is the God we serve and the God who created us. No matter what is going on in your life today, know that God knows about it. He desires to be intimately involved in whatever you do.

When you take one step to God He takes 20 steps to you. Run to God today and you will be joyful not having fear of any circumstance in your life.

Dont let ANYONE or ANYTHING steal your peace as God has it covered.

Please click on the link for todays blog What Should I Be Doing if you have any questions or comments. http://www.theultimatedecision.com/devotionalandprayerblog.php

Brad


 

 

 

"Confidence"

May 20, 2011

 

When things are going great in our lives we seldom ask ourselves "What are we doing wrong". But when things get bad we can second guess almost every decision we make. We usually ask ourselves this because nothing we try works. Ever been there? Confidence is a strange thing. Confidence seems to have a mind all its own. You can have it one day and then the next day it evaporates into thin air

 

In the sport of football there are players who kick field goals. Not only is this a pressure position as they are usually called in when the game is on the line, but this position definitely is all about confidence. If you miss a couple times then doubt starts to creep in. There are very few kickers who can block out that doubt.

 

Philippians 3:13,14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

The apostle Paul has the perfect verse for us living our lives full of confidence. Today you may be beaten down and you feel like you can't go on. Or you have failed so many times that you are thinking "Why Try". The outcome will be the same. STOP right there. First of all God doesn't make junk. YOU were created to do great things. Not just mediocre but great things. Make a line in the sand today May 20, 2011 and don't let the devil get a foothold again in your life. In the above verse we need to

 

1. Forget about our past failures. What's done is done

2. Not only look ahead but strain towards what's ahead - look forward with joyful expectancy that something great is going to happen.

3. Keep on keepin on in the faith. No matter what arrows the devil throws know that He that is in YOU is greater than he (Satan) that is in the world - Amen!!

 

Jesus is all about forgiveness and a fresh start. A lot of us can't move past our circumstances. God has forgiven us but we can't forgive ourselves. We feel that having some guilt is a good thing. We may feel that we need to make ourselves pay for a mistake. If that is the case then Jesus died for nothing. Jesus died to set you free not so you could live in bondage to ____________. Make today the day you throw off everything that hinders your joy and strain toward a glorious future. Don't doubt, BELIEVE.

 

This devotional is now up on a blog on our website http://www.theultimatedecision.com/devotionalandprayerblog.php  You can ask questions or comment.

 

Have a great day and expect a miracle in your life.

 

Brad

 

 

"Camping"

May 18, 2011


I hear the word camping and run for cover. Through the daily writings most of you know that a number of weird things happen to me. How much more in the open woods. Of all the times I camped OUTSIDE I have never had a good experience. If there are 1,000 people in a field and 1 mosquito guess who will get bit? I once had so many bites on my head that my glasses wouldn't fit!!!! Bugs are another vermin that I choose not to be around. I was in a store once looking at potted plants. As I bent down to look at something on the floor a large fern was hanging above me. Well when I stood up the fern touched the back of my neck. In a millisecond I screamed, grabbed the plant and all the dirt and pulled it down. That is in the safe confines of the store. Can you imagine me in the woods with a real bug?

I once went on a fishing trip with some fraternity brothers in the middle of nowhere. The float plane dropped us off and said he would be back in 7 days. Sounded pretty fun until after 4 days we hadn't caught any fish. Luckily someone had a gun but it was pretty hard to shoot a duck out on the lake. There was a mouse in the cabin that would only show himself at 2:30am. Oh the horrors and screams and that was just from me! And to think I paid for that trip.

But there is something to be said for a safe campfire. Of course there was the time we were roasting marshmallows and a friend flicked his flaming marshmallow at me. Luckily I was wearing glasses. It looked like a meteor coming at me. Burned the part around my eye. Yes the woods are not safe for me.

Psalm 34:7 "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

I definitely need someone to encamp around me in an out of the woods. Back in the times that the Psalms were written there were a lot of nomadic people. Coming together to camp was security. In today's world we face the same type of anxiety as our ancestors. We worry about our job, health, being blindsided, and our children's future. Fear in the above verse is more of reverence for the Lord instead of being afraid of Him. Wouldn't you like the Lord to encamp around you wherever you go?

Today you can have the Lord encamp around you at all times. BUT you have to ask. You see God is a gentleman and will not come where He is not wanted or needed.

If you say "Lord I need you. I have sinned and have failed in many parts of my life. I desire to have you lead me instead of me trying to lead you. Please direct my paths and my steps. Please help me Lord to feel your presence in my life. Protect me and help me to live for you."

If you have said this prayer and you meant it from your heart then the Lord is not only in your camp right now but will encamp around you as long as you trust in Him. Pray today that we can put off our arrogant self. Pray we can do the best possible job with the talents the Lord has given us but let us give the Lord the glory and not take it upon ourselves. Then when all is said and done may Jesus be revealed in your life.

Have an awesome day and don't invite me camping?

Brad

Pain