Salt Of Earth Light Of World

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:12-17

He hardened his heart.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. Exodus 8:15

There are several examples in the Old Testament where God had hardened the hearts of men to accomplish his will and demonstrate his power. I’m sure we all know some in our lives who’s hearts are hardened. Have you ever stopped to consider that their hardness might be for God’s will to be fulfilled in you? So many times I have looked at the other person and seen obvious reasons why their hearts have been hardened. I was confused as to why they would stay that way, in hindsight I guess I was judging them. Until now, I never looked at them with hope and faith that someday God’s will would be fulfilled in them. While dealing with someone with a hard heart, we tend to get inpatient, unloving, and uncaring, which results in our own hearts hardening. If God has the power to Harden hearts, does He not have the power to unharden them?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The Great Depression

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Luke 12:25

My great aunt used to tell us stories of when she grew up and went through the great depression. She said, “We never even knew we were in a depression, we were so poor we thought it was just normal.” Today, with the economy the way it is and the lifestyles we have all become accustomed to, we can say that some are experiencing their own ‘depression.’ Many are losing jobs, losing homes, gas prices are rising, and we are getting worried. But there is hope! All the Lord wants us to do is to depend on Him. “…O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:30-33. The Lord knows what we need and he presents us with the means to provide for ourselves and our families. It’s easy to become overwhelmed in the face of what seems a hopeless situation, but if we first put our faith in Him and be sure to give Him the glory He deserves, He will certainly provide us with what is necessary to live! Soon we will be able to say “I never even knew we were going through a depression” and not because you are poor, but because you are rich in spirit!

Abba Father

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6

Recently my son was feeling ill and we prayed all night for healing. He seemed to have a fever and he felt nauseous. I laid my hands on his head and over his stomach and asked the ultimate physician for the restoration of his health. The next morning he woke up feeling restored! I told him to remember to thank Jesus and he said, “You know what I’m saying in my head? Thank you daddy!” When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested he prayed, "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36) His relationship with the Father was so intimate that he referred to him as Abba which is Father. Sometimes we think of the word father as formal and often when using this term the emotion we have for God is reserved. In our language Daddy usually brings a feeling of security and is an intimate expression. For those who have a disconnection with their earthly father it may be hard to know God as Daddy. He is more than what we define as a Father, He is the architect of our lives and not just a contributor to our existence, but our Creator. In Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus had called out to a child amongst the crowd and said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Like my son; a child has an expectant faith, one that produces results, a child is able to love unconditionally and without judgment, a child can believe in God without doubt, and a child can know God as Daddy!

Laying A Foundation

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25

What foundation have we laid our life upon? When the world shakes do we stand firm or do we crumble to the ground? If we are firm, is our foundation cracked? Will it sustain us until the end? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.” Many have been taught to lay their foundation by worldly wisdom, which Paul also states in 1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.” We know that God and Christ are one with the Holy Spirit and He is our rock, He alone is our foundation. When it is our time to be tested through the fire, will Jesus be the only one standing in our place? He is the only way to receive eternal life, as Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” John 14:6. Those who have laid Christ as their foundation must take care to keep it from decay! Stay in the spirit, for Paul warns us, “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.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Measuring Truth

He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. John 7:18

How do you know what you believe in is true? Is it because what you believe has been taught to you from childhood, a trusting friend has told you, does it just seem right in your own eyes? Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” One of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. How will we ever get to the truth without seeking it out? One major problem we have today is focusing everything around ourselves and not realizing the importance of Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In today’s world most listen to doctrine that sounds good, not sound doctrine. In 2 Timothy 2:15 it says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” We must be diligent in our quest for truth. The bible is not just a book of do’s and don’ts, rather an inspired, tangible, life-giving, gift that God left for us. Some argue the credibility of the bible because of missing books, but if you read the bible you know that there is sufficient enough information for salvation and understanding the truth. The bible is not our only source of truth; if we seek out a relationship with Jesus he will show us truth and make it real in our lives. If we seek Him, we will find Him!

The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him!” 1 John 2:4

Does God Help Those Who Help Themselves?

Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:5

The famous quote “God helps those who help themselves” cannot be found in the bible. The reason being is God can only help those who are willing to surrender their will to His. We cannot help ourselves without the Lord’s help. If we are too proud to ask Him or think He has better things to do and try on our own, we will continually come back to the same situation and never truly have victory over our trials. Some lose heart when they don’t see prayers being answered. One saying that comes to mind is, “God always answers prayer…sometimes the answer is no! Not getting what you want can sometimes be a blessing.” Sometimes the help we need is not to take the situation away, but to have strength and perseverance to walk confidently with peace through the storm. When asking God for healing, restoration, and help, it would be wise to ask for the knowledge to prevent the situation from happening again and to maintain a godly character through the trial. Proverbs 28:26 explains, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” Sometimes the vary situation we are in is self inflicted and we are hindered by not seeing clearly our own fault. As we grow in our walk with God, he will give us discernment over decisions we make in our life and we will always be in the midst of a trial. As we learn to call on Him we will walk in confidence and peace!

The Face of Death

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:9

At the face of death people often say that there must be some “reason” God still wants them here. Of course there is a reason but it is not one most think. It is not to save an old lady from being hit from a bus or to obtain a position of authority in the workplace; it’s to know the Lord as a real being. I believe he spares the lives of some to bring them into a relationship with Him. Mark 3:13 says, “And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him.” If indeed He calls us to Himself, he would not allow us to go before we fulfilled the required connection He meant for us to have. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6. God is the only one who can lift the veil from our eyes that clearly allows us to see Him and raises our spiritual life from death into a living testimony of His goodness. God uses our lives to show His grace, but in ourselves we could never do anything for God that he could not do Himself. Before we came to Christ we were dead and he will continue to work in us and save us from mortal death until His work is complete in us. "He has rescued us from a terrible death, and he will rescue us in the future. We are confident that he will continue to rescue us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10


Rejoice in suffering. Romans 5:3

According to John MacArthur’s book The Quest for Character, he claims the biblical word longsuffering is often neglected and is actually a character quality of real maturity. He goes on to say that “Longsuffering is a particular kind of patient, gentle, persevering self-control that especially comes into play in our dealings with people who deliberately try to provoke us.” Whether we are provoked deliberately or by the nature of a situation we will always have longsuffering to deal with. Endurance is a key trait of longsuffering 2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we endure, we will also reign with him.” And Romans 8:18 it explains, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” We get entangled in a web of deceit that tells us when we go through trials it is a bad thing, rather than being joyful for being tested through fire. When metals go through the fire they are not burned but refined. Our Father wants to do such work in us so that we can have not only His character but peace within ourselves. If we suffer by the hand of our own ignorance what credit do we receive? To suffer with patience and be innocent, that is commendable in the sight of the Lord.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,
If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:12-19

Fruit Of The Spirit

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Most of the time the fruit I bear is none that I should be proud of: bad attitude, tiredness, and selfishness. The author of Ecclesiastes had written about his life, "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” Today we often toil over things which are meaningless: position, power, beauty, financial gain, and worldly wisdom. Of course there is nothing wrong with being successful in this world, but to whom does it bring glory to, ourselves or God? We can do everything under the sun to bring joy to ourselves and others and be a good person in general, but if it does not bring glory to God our Father it is all in vain. Proverbs 31:30 says about beauty, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Worldly possessions are an added gift in this life but often bring temporary and artificial satisfaction. To possess a spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will take a lifetime to obtain, but the reward will be enjoyed for an eternity spent with our Father. The Lord is calling us to character, one of which He possesses. We are to prepare ourselves, with His help, to enter into an everlasting kingdom which calls for a certain demeanor and the only way to achieve it is not by our own merit but by the grace that God gives us.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13

I’m pretty sure that most of us are familiar with this passage, what I’m not so sure about is the fact that we pray this but continue to put ourselves in temptations way. It’s funny once you start coming to the Lord the things he reveals to you about yourself. In so many ways we are still like children who need constant correction and guidance. It’s humbling to know that if we continue to run our own lives without surrendering it to God we are ultimately headed for destruction. Matthew retells us the words of our Lord, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." We may have every good intention of resisting temptation but when we think that ‘we’ can do it on our own steam we fail. If we are not on constant guard and conscience of the world around us we are vulnerable to the enemy. In Luke 22:46 Jesus told the disciples, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." We don’t want to be caught spiritually asleep, because it alters our perception, our decisions, our morals, our attitude, and our priorities. Being asleep also blocks our vision of God and allows our flesh to overcome us. If we call out to Him He listens. If we reach out to Him, He draws us in. If we trust in Him, He conquers for us! We know that this battle between good and evil is not ours, but we are caught in the middle. “The battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Guard yourself with the armor of God trust in Him and He will provide for you a way. Don’t continue to put yourself in temptations door but if you are tempted (and you will be) rely on the Lord to deliver you, this is the promise of our Lord.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

What do you Treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

In our daily living, we hardly pay any mind to our mind. Our thoughts tend to be uncontrolled and under no clear submission. I used to think that my mind was my only real sanctuary. To me it was a place where I could think about how I really felt and about what I could or should have done. My mind was full of should of, would of, could of, and if only. I used to dwell on things that I couldn’t change or simply should have let go. The mind is filled with passion, raw, and untamed. Until you learn to bring it under the obedience of Christ you will always be slave to it. My very favorite passage is in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The things we seek after effect our ‘heart’ and how our whole demeanor is perceived. Our earthly treasures will pass away and what we work so hard for is mostly in vein. When we ‘keep our eyes on the prize’ which is Christ, he rewards us with providing us with our needs. What we hold dear here and what we dwell on, is where our heart is. Do we dwell on things of the Lord and store our treasures in heaven instead of earth, or do we still chose to be slave to the ways of the world?

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

There is None Good But One

"There is none good but one, that is God." Matthew 19:17

I have heard this passage many times in my life. I have agreed with the statement and also have quoted it before, but to actually know the meaning is something completely different. I had a dream awhile back. I dreamt that I was in a tall building and I was looking outside among many other people. It was gray outside and seemed like there was a storm about to come in. I saw the clouds across the sky and they were moving quickly, as I focused in on them I realized that it was actually a massive flock of birds. The number of them was substantial and quite scary to say the least. As the crowd of people where all drawn to the windows, one bird spotted us and started to fly towards us. As it approached, its size grew and its features were evil. The bird caught my eye and marked me as its target. I was terrified that I was going to be overcome by this creature. Then without a thought going through my mind, I grabbed the closest person and shielded myself behind him. The bird was distracted and flew away. As I stood trembling with fear I suddenly realized that I had just put someone in front of me to save myself. I had put someone else in harms way and that realization made me feel sick. There is none good but one. When I woke up my first thought was I would never put someone in harms way, but that’s not true. My initial reaction without any thought was to save myself. In daily situations in life we have the chance to ‘think before we react.’ Think!? We can say that we do that all we want but most of the times our actions are reactions without any mind to consequence. In result we upset our spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and yes Christ. There is none good but who? Christ. When we truly accept Him and He dwells within us, He works out our selfish desires. The way to eliminate our initial reaction of selfishness and negative reactions is to dwell on his word day and night, to be in constant fellowship with Him, and to pray always. Then the goodness that radiates from within you will not be your goodness; but the goodness that is in Christ, who dwells in you.