"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." Colossians 3:17, KJV

Praise the Lord

Welcome to In His Name, a devotional site where the Word of God is posted and explored. This site embraces the love of Jesus Christ, encouraging Bible study.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God is Love

"If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands." John 14:15, AMP

If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. In the previous post, I used 1 Corinthians 13 as a reference for love. The attributes of love are patience, compassion or kindness, forgiveness, and endurance amongst other things. But it seems as if that word is over used to the point of complacency. Some may say they love their clothes, they love their car, they love drinking, or they love smoking. Is that what love is? Has it really been reduced to that?

As I ponder this scripture, I think about the absolute meaning of love. Love is God. Isn’t He patient? He has been and still is patient with me. He searches my heart and nourishes my soul. He teaches when I feel like I’ve had enough “classes” for the week. He’s there to guide me back when I choose to take side roads. And for many who haven’t accepted Him, just as He did for me, He stands at the door and knocks, patiently waiting for His invitation to come in, not to just visit, but to reside.

God is compassionate. If we got what we deserved, this would be a sad day, but God is compassionate. Compassion is a deep awareness of and sympathy for another's suffering and a willingness to do something about it. Although it was man who had sinned against God through disobedience, He had compassion. He did something about our sinful nature through Jesus Christ. He knew that we would suffer through our own actions of not keeping His word, so He sent Jesus. Compassion is a characteristic of love that God shows every time we come to Him.

God is forgiving. No matter how many times we may fall, He is ready to forgive. How many of us do that? Again, we can lock ourselves up in a prison that we’ve built for someone else through unforgiveness and that person has gone on with their life, smiling and laughing while we may sulk. To forgive does not mean that it was okay for them to do us wrong, it just means that we won’t hold that against them. What if God was unforgiving? What if He held every wrong we’ve ever done against us? God’s love is unconditional.

God is enduring. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s not changing. What a standard to govern our lives by. He does not complain, He does not rejoice in evil, and He does not fail. He sets forth standards that will profit us, not tear us down. He uplifts and encourages, he teaches and corrects those whom He loves. We ought to obey because we love Him too. We do it not because we are trying to be saved, we do it because we are saved. It should be a natural desire to please Him. He wants for us to show Him that we love Him. He does so much to show us that He loves us; all He asks is for us (His children) to show Him that we love Him too. “If you love Me. You will keep My commandments.”

Additional References: 1 Corinthians 13, John 14:15, Revelation 3:20, Hebrews 12:5-7, Hebrews 13:8, Galatians 2:19-21

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

By One Spirit

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13, KJV

The analogy of the human body and the spiritual body of believers is wonderful. We must all labor collectively. Just as fingers work together to pick up a cup of water or to write an email, members of the church body must come together as one to accomplish a goal or complete a given task. Each has an integral part. No one part is better than the other, they just have different functions.

Often in churches, many are “title seekers.” The only title that really matters is Christian. We’ve heard the term “true Christian,” I’ve used it as well, but I wondered, what is that? A Christian is a Christian—either you are or you aren’t. That’s like saying a little pregnant, either you are or you’re not. But then I looked at the words Jesus spoke, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth...," John 4:23, KJV. I understand now that He knew in advance that this term would indeed be needed. There are so many make-believers that the distinction has to be made clear.

What about the person behind the title? It is the same outside of the church, a doctor is no better than a janitor, a CEO of a company is no better than a person at entry level, a pastor is no better than an usher or choir member—just different functions. And each function must be occupied to make the operation run effectively. Have you ever seen a call center with no customer service representatives? Have you ever effectively printed something out with no paper and ink, but you had a printer? What about a car with no wheels? Where would you go? “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:18-20, KJV.

We all need one another as believers, a gift God has given you I may not have. I believe God did this for a reason, so people won’t get full of themselves or the big head. No one person has everything. If a person did, that person would be God, and Jesus is no longer walking on this earth. “So that there should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another,” 1 Corinthians 12:25, AMP

Do we care for one another? Do we offer friendship, a helping hand, or a kind word? What about a smile? Do we even care …enough to love?

Additional References: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, 1 Corinthians 13

Monday, September 28, 2009

House of Prayer or Den of Thieves?

“Come get your supernatural blessing!” Have you ever heard that phrase before? Or, “give your five hundred dollar sacrificial seed offering for your breakthrough?” Of course the amount varies, usually more than five hundred dollars, but the concept is the same. And what is this about chicken dinners and bake sales to keep the church doors open? What is this? What ever happened to just plain obedience? To obey is better than sacrifice. If people paid their tithes and made offerings, nobody would have to put a crowbar in their palms to get it out. Now, I am not saying that it is wrong to have events or programs to raise money for specific outreach projects. Nor am I saying that charging for the production of sermons and radio broadcasting is wrong because I don't believe that it is. But what I am saying is that the house of God should focus on Him and not our personal agendas.

It seems as if we’re in an era of “right now” deliverance—the “gimme” syndrome. Now, it is true that God does deliver instantly and has full capabilities to bless those whom He chooses when He chooses for He is sovereign. But what are we doing for Him? We want Him to do all of these things for us, but nothing for Him. God is not a prostitute where we can pimp Him. He is not on some street corner holding His hand out for money. He does not need our money (which by the way is His anyway). He desires our faith and trust...our love.

Look at the expression of love He poured out for us, His only begotten Son... to be beaten, ridiculed, lied on, talked about, and disgraced. All of this and some still reject Him. I didn't understand how so many people wanted to go to heaven, but rarely wanted to go to church. Then a friend of mine enlightened me. She said that they don't want to go to heaven; they just don't want to go to hell. Hmm, hell, now there's a thought. Are we serving God just because of danger of hell or is it because He is God? He is good, He is awesome, He is a deliverer, He is “I AM”. Do we think about it only when we see a hearse backing up with someone in it we many know, or on a daily basis to wake up in the morning and say, “Lord, make this day what you would have it to be, letting your will be done, not my own”?

What are we asking God for that He hasn't given us already? He said that He'll provide all of our needs. Needs, not wants, well I've already talked about that in the Grace and Mercy blog post. Are we seeking money, things, fame, or are we after God's heart? Check out Psalm 37:4. That's what it means to delight yourself in the Lord, and He'll give you the desires of your heart. What do you desire? I desire more of God, more of His presence; I just want to be next to Him because He is everything to me.

Romans 8:27, KJV, states, “And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” So, whatever we ask for must line up with God’s will. It does not matter what supernatural anything that you may give, if you're not living right, the Holy Spirit isn’t going to even take that to God. It says it right there in His word, according to His will.

But Jesus summed it up best in this passage of scripture: "And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the House of Prayer? But ye have made it a Den of Thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared Him, because all the people was astonished at His doctrine." Mark 11:15-17, KJV

Does His doctrine astonish you?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beware of Dogs

This is usually seen on signs as you walk down a street or ride past homes while driving in a car: Beware of Dogs. The dogs they are speaking of are in the house or somewhere near the property. They are not strays that belong to someone across town or in another community. The sign is referring to dogs that may be right in the back yard.

Often we try to escape evil, but it may be right in the house with us or in the same family, or in our circle of friends. People can be hateful, mischievous, malicious, and jealous, yet call you brother, sister, or friend. Some may claim to have your best interest at heart, yet motives for getting next to you extend beyond what the surface presents. How do you deal with this?

Well, it is quite simple, put up a fence. If there are dogs in the area that may be a danger to you or harmful to your well being, put up a fence. This means creating boundaries that you will not allow them to cross. When people hurt you or “bark” in your direction, stay on your side of the fence because they cannot cross. But when you open the gate, that’s when trouble enters.

I try not to entertain foolishness. I aim to live with the peace of God, which passes all understanding, because it does keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Yes, there are times when situations arise and words are said that may “startle” us, but we have the ability to recompose ourselves and keep it moving in the right direction. Remember, they have no power over you, only the power that you give to them.

"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of concision,” Philippians 3:2, KJV.

Additional Reference: Philippians 4:7

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Bad Case of the Complaints

I never use to think this about myself until I heard a sermon—that was just for me. I was pretty much “the victim” and felt I had reason to object what had been done to me over the course of my life. I felt that the world had singled me out for ridicule, but I didn’t look around at all of the others who had experienced the same or even worse.

My life, in my eyes, appeared to be tumultuous—to say the least. It went from having my identity stolen to getting tangled up in a relationship with a drug dealer. It ranged from evaluating blood that held the AIDs virus (and disputing the accuracy of those results to my then supervisor where I ended up leaving because of it amongst other things) to looking into the teary eyes of a person living with that very disease. But I thought I had something to complain about.

God answered me when I asked, “Why me?” with “Why not you?” He reminded me of Joseph being sold into slavery, Daniel in the lion’s den, Jonah in the belly of the whale, John the Baptist having been beheaded, and of course Jesus Christ who hung on a cross—blameless. Jesus said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I realized then that I had nothing to complain about.

I remembered those who can't walk, talk, or even get dressed on their own. I took note of those who have been raped, maimed, and crippled. I considered those who grew up in foster homes and broken families. I took the medicine to cure me of the bad case I had ...of the complaints.

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5, KJV

"Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you [yourselves] may not be judged. Look! The Judge is [already] standing at the very door." James 5:9, Amplified version

Additional Reference: Luke 23:34

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where is your Heart?

What do we treasure most, holding it nearest and dearest to our hearts? Is it material things such as cars, homes, jewelry, money…or our faith in our Lord? Yes again, it seems a silly thing to ask, but when examined, the truth is revealed. Often people don’t even know that they’re holding materialistic things close to their heart.

Consider this: “Don’t touch my car, no you can’t ride in it while you’re eating! I don’t care if you’re hungry,” or “No those dishes are for display, you better go buy some paper plates because I won’t have you eating off of my fine China,” or even, “I’m busy talking on the phone, child, your problem can wait until I finish up,” and the conversation is idle chat. The child may really need your advice...but you have no time for them. They may be walking away with tears in their eyes and you're too busy to see them.

Do you consider your faith in the daily decisions that you make? If on a job and the boss asks you to do something out of the will of God, would you do it just to keep the job…uh, because this is a declining economy and jobs are hard to come by? No one will know, you think. God does. Where your treasure is, there you’ll find your heart.

I’ve found that it is not worth it to lose the favor of God just to gain the approval of man. This world can offer me nothing in comparison to God’s blessing—absolutely nothing. I have learned that it is better to lose things of this world than to lose my soul. It’s just not worth it.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6: 19-21, KJV

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Daily Bread

When we say the model Lord's Prayer, we ask for daily bread. We don’t ask for weekly bread or quarterly bread, we ask for daily bread. Consider if you only ate physical food once a week, on Sunday morning, and it was expected to last you all week long. Would you be able to be strengthened and properly nourished by that one good meal? Well, for some, that happens when the Bible isn’t opened but once a week, if then. We start to spiritually decline.

I was there at a point in my life. I went to church and praised God, went home and thought about Him during the week. Prayed to Him, especially in time of need, but was I being fed? I don’t think I was because I was not eating everyday. I ate a few times a week, if that, and wondered why there wasn’t any real growth. I knew this because I charted it by what was going on in my life. If I kept encountering the same things over and over, I realized that I was in the same place and hadn’t moved very far because of my baby steps. Does this describe someone you may know?

Do we consult horoscopes for advice instead of eating our daily bread? Horoscope is a prediction of someone's future based on the relative positions of the planets. So, why would one seek a horoscope to determine their future if they are a Christian? This is spiritual adultery, another form of cheating on God. We don’t need a horoscope to tell us our future. We don’t need someone to read our palms to “predict” our lives. We need God to guide us because He is the beginning and the ending. Remember, Alpha and Omega?

God tells us to study His word and show ourselves approved. And if we don’t, he lets us know that we perish because of lack of knowledge. But He promises to fill those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. How wonderful it is to know that He provides my daily bread and more!

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11, KJV

Additional References: Matthew 6: 5-13, Revelation 1:8, 2 Timothy 2:15, Hosea 4:6, Matthew 5:6

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cheating ...on God

Is it possible to cheat on God when you proclaim to be a Christian? The explanation is quite clear when relating this to someone on earth. You can cheat on a spouse, a girlfriend or a boyfriend. You can even cheat on a test by sneaking notes into the testing room, or looking over at your neighbor’s answers. But how can one cheat on God?

God said to have no other god before Him. Of course a Christian is not going to bow down to another god, right? How dare someone think that a person who has “followed” Christ for years would submit to another god, hmm? What about flirting? In relationships with one another, that’s not even tolerated. If married, or in a committed relationship that may lead to marriage, would it be okay with you if that person flirted, held hands, or “hung out” with another while you’re sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring? I don’t think so. You would be upset and ready to give that person a piece of your mind. But if we did this to God we just want Him to give us peace of mind.

When anything takes the number one slot in our lives other than God, it’s cheating on Him. Paying a bill before rendering tithes (and remember taxes are taken from us, God allows us to offer tithes to Him), never thanking Him when we can say thank you all day to coworkers, or shutting Him out of what we consider to be the most important decisions in our lives by not seeking His will, but our own. God has feelings too…and to think He has given us everything that we have. Give back to God what is God’s.

“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” Matthew 22:15-21, KJV

Friday, September 18, 2009

Getting out of Prison

Imagine that someone has stolen your identity, stripped you of your innocence, or has abused you and then turned around to say, “I love you.” Consider the times you’ve remained loyal, endearing, kind, and patient, yet your faithfulness is returned with continued and consistent bouts of neglect. Would you forgive or just place the anger and resentment in your back pocket for the next time you meet up again?

That’s called unforgiveness, harboring or holding hostage those negative feelings that locks you up in a prison you’ve built for someone else. Yes, it is simple to say “just let it go,” but it’s not an easy thing to do, especially when feelings are hurt and friendships appear to be ruined. There's the evidence of broken bonds that you thought were made of steel.

Not an easy thing to do, forgiving, but necessary. We should never allow the past to overshadow our future. Not only that, but when we forgive it opens the door for Our Father to forgive us. We’ve done so many things against Him. We’ve told lies by making empty promises, we’ve stolen by not paying our tithes, and we’ve stood Him up each time we’ve made appointments to meet Him in intimate time by not showing. Considering this, how can we not forgive those who have done the least of these things to us?

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6: 14-15, KJV

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Weapon that is Formed

Sometimes in life we can be thrown curve balls that we never saw coming. We wonder why people attack us, we wonder why others lie to us, and we wonder why we're rejected when all we try to do is help. Well, Jesus experienced all of this and then some. Just as it states in the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun. The evil and evils in and of this world is not going to vanish just because we've arrived. So, what must we do? How do we salvage the remnant left behind from crushed feelings, failed relationships, and broken promises? The answer is indeed in the Bible.

Now, some may say that is an old adage that has been repeated many times, but does that make it any less true? Because you know something or of something and is tired of hearing it, does that make it any less potent? It can, in your life, if you allow it to, but that does not make it any less real. When God said I am the beginning and the end, He meant it. When He lets us know that He holds all power in His hand, He spoke truth. And in the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. I believe it.

So, when things get you down and people disappoint you and some talk behind your back, trust in the Lord. He is our very present help in our time of need. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28, KJV

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord." Isaiah 54:17, KJV

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grace and Mercy

Have you ever ministered to someone with AIDS? Have you ever fed or clothed the homeless? Have you ever visited the sick and shut in?

These are just a few questions to consider the next time you get a clean bill of health, put on new clothes (or old for that matter), sit down in a restaurant (or at home) for a nice meal, or lay in bed with the flu (and you had someone to care you). If you have, you understand how humbling these moments can be. You understand how much it means to the person on the receiving end. Often, we can get complacent with the "little" blessings that God gives to us, not realizing that there is someone out there who doesn't have the basic necessities in life. Many times, tears come to my eyes when I see others in pain...I thank God every day for His continued grace and mercy. It could have been me.

It is good to fellowship with like believers and attend church every week, but is that all we're doing for God? Or is that really for us? Giving back a portion of what God has given to us does not stop at finances. We love Him, so let's show Him. In Matthew 25: 35-36 (Amplified), Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.”

This video describes in film what I've just posted in words...please view.