1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Right Perspective for being Called

Romans 1:1b

Thoughts for Today:

I think one of the most classic illustrations of "being called" comes from the Old Testament story of Samuel (from 1 Samuel 3:1-10). If you recall, Samuel was working in the temple under Eli when one night the Lord called Samuel. Samuel ran to Eli and answered, "Here I am, you called me." But Eli said, "I didn't call you. Go back and lie down." The Lord called Samuel two more times, and each time Samuel ran to Eli thinking it was Eli calling him -- not recognizing the voice of the Lord. Finally Eli understood it was the Lord who called Samuel, so he instructed Samuel to answer right from his bed: "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."

We can learn a lot about our own calling from Samuel as well as Paul's experience when they were called. Although different they are similar in many ways. For example, neither Samuel nor Paul recognized the Lord's voice when He first spoke. Samuel thought it was Eli, and on the road to Damascus Saul/Paul didn't know what to think (see Acts 9:5). Probably the most important example they both provide is the perspective from which they answered the Lord. Many of us think a "calling" implies something we must "do". While this is somewhat true the doing is not initially a task. The Lord was not calling "for" Samuel or Saul/Paul to do anything; rather He was first calling "to" them. This is a profound difference because before the Lord will instruct or direct us -- He requires our undivided attention, recognition of His person and authority, and willingness to obey.

To be called we need Samuel's perspective which he demonstrated when he replied: "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."

Questions to Ponder:

 John 10:27, Jesus said,
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
So how do we know the Lord's voice? 
By being in the Word (reading the Bible) we become familiar with the Lord --
we come to know Him -- so when He speaks to us we recognize His voice.  
However, there are three parts to this story:
first -- recognizing His voice,
second -- listening to what He says, 
third -- our willingness to obey.
It is not enough to just be hearers of the Word, we must also be doers.
What is your perspective right now relating to the Lord?
Would you know His voice? If so, when He speaks what will your answer be?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Business of Those Who Have Received Grace

Romans 1:5a
Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship...

Thoughts for Today:

Grace and apostleship are very important terms.
Grace is "unmerited blessing" and represents God's system of salvation.
None of us could or would ever be saved if it wasn't for God's graciousness.
The Greek word for "apostle" is "apostello" meaning "to send out".
Therefore apostleship is "those who are sent out or commissioned" --
Every believer should be one sent forth with a message -- the Gospel message.
It is the business of everyone who professes belief in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Questions to Ponder:

When you became a believer you received salvation and forgiveness of your sins.
Not by anything you did, but because of God's grace.
Have you been sharing your joy?
Every believer should be a witness, one sent out with a message.
Have you been sharing this message -- the Good News?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Destination but not the End of the Journey

Acts 28:14b
And so we came to Rome...

Thoughts for Today:

I would say it was quite an adventure getting to Rome which Luke (the author of Acts) now sums up rather simply, "And so we came to Rome."

I paused for a moment this morning to consider: "And so, how did I come to be here at this particular time and moment? What have been some of my adventures, trials, tribulations, victories, and defeats that have led me to sitting here right now writing these words to you."

I can't help but also think of what the Lord has in store for me around the next bend -- what new adventures might await. I wonder, "What has the Lord been preparing for me or rather preparing me for?" Jeremiah 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you." I think that's why the words from our passage today are in the middle of the chapter rather than at the end. Luke knew that Rome was the destination, but it certainly was not the end of the journey.

Questions to Ponder:

Do you know that the past does not equal the future?
Or what you've been is not necessarily what you are or who you will be?
Who, what, or where we are today is not our final place.
It is only one leg of the journey -- a pit stop. Don't stop here. Look around.
In what way can you be of service today?
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

4 Steps to Recovery: Summary

Pocket Devotions

Acts 26:16-18 (review)
[The Lord speaking to Paul] "Now get up and stand on your feet I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."

Thoughts for Today:

 Step 1: Now Get Up.

God's first word of instruction to us -- it's hard to see Him and His solution, if we let our problems cripple us. We need to stop looking back at what we've lost and instead (as Paul said) "forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead."

Step 2: Divine Appearance and Appointment.

When we are serving Him and witnessing to others, then our focus is upon the Lord -- not on our own problems. When our heart is centered on what He has done for us it is so much easier for us to see what He is doing and what He has planned.

Step 3: The Lord's Rescue Plan.

Follow the Lord's plan even if it seems too simple and easy. Remember it is God's plan, not ours, and God uses ordinary people and commonplace events to accomplish some pretty amazing things. We shouldn't decline an offer to be rescued just because it doesn't fit within our expectations.

Step 4: Our Purpose Found in Him.

When our eyes are open to sin (which the previous 3 steps allow us to see with greater clarity), then we are able to turn from darkness to light (from the power of Satan to God). It's a choice we all must make either we cave into the darkness of depression, despair and hopelessness, or turn to the light and our hope of glory in Christ Jesus

Questions to Ponder:

Every road, every step to recovery from a knock down event in life is littered with choices we must make, but truly there are only two -- either follow God or Satan.
In Step 1 our choice is to either stay down and succumb to our perceived defeat or get up and follow God;
In Step 2 we acknowledge we will serve someone -- either we choose God or Satan;
In Step 3 we allow God to rescue us His way or we ignore Him;
In Step 4 as the Holy Spirit reveals sin to us in our own lives, we have a another choice to make -- cave in to the darkness or turn to God.
These are decisions that can't be postponed or procrastinated over, because if we don't make a conscious decision to choose God then our sinful nature makes the choice for us.
Which will you choose today?

Friday, November 8, 2013

" Will You Pray This Prayer Today ? " - - - - - - - - - - - - - " Está dispuesto a hacer esta oración ahora ? "

Dear Lord Jesus,

Querido Padre Celestial:

I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
sé que soy un pecador, y pido tu perdón.

I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.
Creo que has muerto por mis pecados y que te levantaste de la muerte.

I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.
Doy la espalda a mis pecados y arrepiento por ellos.

Guide my life and help me to do your will.
Te invito a venir a mi corazón y a mi vida.

In your name, amen.
En su nombre, amen.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Think of these as handy starting points for sharing.

God's complete love

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." KJV

Jesus as God, eternal

John 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." NIV

John 10:30

"The Father and I are one." NLT

John 17:5

"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." KJV

Certainty of our salvation

John 3:36

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." NIV

John 5:24

"I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." NLT


John 6:47

"I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." NIV

John 8:32

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." KJV

John 11:25-26

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" NIV

No other way to God except through Jesus

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. KJV

Evidence of the resurrection

Luke 24:22-23

 "Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive." KJV


Luke 24:36-43

"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence." NIV


John 20:27-29

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!' 'My Lord and my God!' Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, 'You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway.'" NLT

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Who Did the Sending?

Romans 1:1c
...to be an apostle...

Thoughts for Today:

The word "apostle" from our passage today means "one who is sent out". For example, in Jeremiah 1:6-7 the Lord chose Jeremiah to be a prophet when he was just a young man, "Then I said, 'Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.' But the LORD said to me, 'Do not say, "I am a youth," because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.' "

Whether it is a prophet or an apostle, the Lord chooses us -- we do not choose ourselves for the role. God chose Jeremiah to be a prophet and He chose Paul to be an apostle. Later, in Jeremiah 23:32 the Lord spoke about false prophets: "Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit."

Today, we might question whether an apostle, prophet, or pastor comes into our lives because he or she is from the Lord -- with God's power and authority -- or of his or her own accord. Unfortunately there are too many in the ministry today who were not called or sent by God. So how do we know the difference? I think the answer is in the last phrase of Jeremiah 23:32, "...nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit." In other words, "They are in it for their own gain and as a result, lives are ruined by their falsehoods and reckless boasting." Once again, how do we know whether an apostle is sent by God or not? By the fruit. Disaster or salvation.

Questions to Ponder:

Have you been led astray ?  Did you miss the signs or ignore them ?
Were you told what you wanted to hear ?
To guard against being led astray by false or incomplete teachings,
always place the authority of the written Word of God over the opinions of men.
When listening to men, always ask: " Where is that in the Bible ? "

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daily Bible Reading

The Pocket Testament League                            

Do you struggle to read God’s Word each day?
The Pocket Testament League has a free resource to help. It’s our Scripture Journal. 
The Scripture Journal is easy to use!
  • Read ONE chapter of Scripture
  • Choose ONE powerful verse
  • Leave ONE comment 
You may keep the comment private, or share with others who are also reading the Scripture.
Here's how the Scripture Journal encouraged Henry M. from New Jersey:
“I enrolled in the Scripture Journal program that PTL offers. It has helped me be encouraged by God's word to the point where I can share with others with great confidence.”
Start using the Scripture Journal to keep you in the Word.
Register today and join other believers who are committed to reading the Bible daily.
You'll be amazed at the difference just one chapter can bring to your day! 
Start Now! ?

The Lord's Rescue Plan

Pocket Devotions

Acts 26:17
[The Lord speaking to Paul] "I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles."

Thoughts for Today:

In our passage today, the Lord tells Paul that He will rescue him from the Jews and the Gentiles. I'm sure Paul wondered how all that was going to happen. In a similar situation, if we are not careful our own expectations for how the rescue might occur can impede the Lord's plan.

Here is an old joke I am fond of:

A small town preacher had been lecturing his congregation on faith, "We must have it without doubt or fear -- the Lord will always provide a way out for us no matter how desperate our situation may appear. We simply have to trust Him!"

About this time a major rain storm had descended upon the town and surrounding areas. Water began to flood the streets and the river rose to dangerous levels. Many of the church members packed up their belongings in a truck and drove by the church. "Pastor, we've got an evacuation order, the river is rising, grab your things and let's get going," they shouted. "Nonsense," the Pastor replied, "Didn't you learn anything from my sermon? The Lord will provide a way out!"

A few hours later the police department did one last sweep of the town by boat to look for anyone left stranded. Standing on the steps of the church knee deep in water they found the Pastor. "Come aboard now Pastor, you're the last one to leave," the policemen ordered. Steadfast in his faith the Pastor replied, "I am safe; the Lord will send His help to rescue me -- He will provide a way out!" "Have it your way," they shouted as they motored off to safety.

The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew over the flooded town now with only rooftops still visible -- its searchlight found the lone figure of the Preacher sitting on the roof of the church. "Grab the ladder, the levee is about to break and the town will be wiped out," they cried concerned for his safety. The Pastor refused, and shouted back "We must have faith and trust in the Lord, He will provide a way out."

The levee broke and the pastor drowned. Upon arriving in Heaven the Pastor asked to speak to the Lord, "You know Lord I have always tried to live a good life and preached your Holy Word. You heard my sermon, so why didn't you provide a way out for me? Why didn't you rescue me?" Concerned the Lord asked, "What did you expect? I sent a truck, then a boat, and finally a helicopter... you just kept refusing!"

Questions to Ponder:

Are you having trouble and see no way out?
Have you prayed and asked God for help and rescue?
Are you waiting for a miracle?
Is it possible God may choose to answer your prayer in a way you do not expect?
Is it possible for you to miss the Lord's blessing entirely because you are so firmly entrenched in your own expectations?

Monday, November 4, 2013


We weren’t meant to go it alone. God gives us friends who encourage and walk beside us as we share Jesus with our family, co-workers and neighbors.
Here's 3 steps to build and mobilize a team of believers who are ready to share God's Word effectively:
1. Invite - Do you have friends that support you and have a heart to reach more people for Christ? Why not ask them to join you as a member of The Pocket Testament League?
2. Train - Sometimes it can be hard to be bold in sharing our faith. Gather your team together to take our FREE online Evangelism Training. It's self-paced... and just think... you might gain the courage to lead a loved one to the Lord!
3. Equip - Order extra pocket-sized Gospels and invite your friends for coffee. Show them the Gospels and tell them how easy they are to share. Then equip them with a supply of Gospels that they can share.
Are you ready to build your team? Start by inviting your friends and family to be a Pocket Testament League Member. Whether it’s one friend or ten, take a few minutes to enter their email address and send them their very own invitation to The Pocket Testament League.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting Our Attention

Acts 26:12-14a
[Paul speaking] "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground..."

Thoughts for Today:

"How do I know what God's will is for my life?"
"How do you respond to the glory of a sunrise, the majesty of sunset,
the smell of a first rain, or the stillness of new fallen snow?
Is it to fall on your knees and listen to God?"
You see God is not the sunrise, sunset, rain or snow --
they all are evidence of His glory, majesty, and authority --
all are intended to remind us of Him.

In our passage today,
Paul retells his experience on the road to Damascus and his response:
"We all fell to the ground."
The Lord reveals evidence of Himself to each of us - everyday, all the time -- if we pay attention.
Some are just more stunning than others. But the event itself is not God.
It is the "gentle whisper" following the event that we must listen to ever so carefully.
The Lord spoke to Paul just like He speaks to each of us -- but some things you will notice --
He spoke following an event, He didn't shout, and no one else heard.
Think about that.

Questions to Ponder:

Have you been paying attention to the Lord?
Have you become blinded to His presence in every day life?
The Lord is not the event -- He is the gentle whisper following the event.
Are you listening?
What is the Lord saying to you right now ?