Dec 31, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - The Decision

It's New Year's Eve - a time when people take stock of their lives and decide to make changes moving forward.  Today, I challenge you to make the most important resolution you will ever make.  Come to Jesus.

God loves you.

Such a simple statement but it changes the world.  He loves you.  He wants you to accept His love, He wants you in His family.

Invisible Attributes of God - No Excuses
He will not force Himself upon you, He is a gentleman, not a stalker.  He does not capture you and hold you prisoner and force you to accept Him.  Because He loves you - He wants you to come of your own free will.

Simply, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to save you from your sins, pray it out loud, and ask Him to come into your life.

That's it.  There is no ritual, no church service you have to go to, no special ceremony.  Just believe, confess, and ask.

At the Foot of the Cross
Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for you is that you may be saved. (Romans 10:1)  Faith comes through hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).

So today, do not harden your hearts it might be your last chance.

Pray - I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God and that he lived a perfect life.  He sacrificed Himself for my sin and on the third day rose from the dead.  I am a sinner that needs a Savior, please cleanse me of my sins and fill me with your Holy Spirit that I might be called a child of the Father.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Dec 30, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 30 Messiah

Jesus, the Jewish Messiah fulfilled over 300 prophecies in the Jewish Scriptures.  The odds of just one person fulfilling 8 of the major ones have been likened to covering the entire state of Texas in silver dollars three feet thick, marking one coin in red, and dropping a blind man in the midst, while allowing him to select only the marked coin with one try (read more here).

Jesus was a Jew
Yeshua belongs to the Jews first (Romans 1:16) and then to the gentiles,  Jesus said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24).   It is estimated that at the time of Jerusalem's destruction in 70 AD that upwards of 70% of the population believed in Yeshua.

With the temple destroyed and the people expelled, Rabbinic Judaism was born.  It bears little resemblance to the faith of Moses and Aaron.  The Rabbis were more interested in retaining their power than accepting the truth:

John 11:47-50 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

After the Resurrection, they paid off the guards who had witnessed the event to claim that the disciples had stolen the body, "And having taken the money, they did as they were instructed. And this report is spread abroad among the Jews until the present day." Matthew 28:15

We see this Anti-Christ spirit among the Rabbis today as they organize counter evangelism campaigns against the large number of Messianic Jews.  Alas, the Spirit of the Lord is pouring out among the chosen people.  I Met Messiah are video testimonies by Jewish believers.  These Jewish believers encounter intense hatred and opposition from the Rabbis, but while the Rabbis might have bluster and arrogance on their side, the Messianic believers have truth.

The Forbidden Chapter is one of the most powerful pieces you will ever watch.

Pray - Lord, I believe you are the Messiah.  I believe that you died for my sins and that through your sacrifice I can be reconciled to Yahweh and saved.  Thank you for being the perfect lamb, please fill me with your peace.

Dec 29, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 29 Judgement

God knows how the story goes - for all the universe but even for your individual life.  He knows every word you have ever spoken, every thought you've ever had, every dream you've ever dreamed, the number of cells in your body.  He is the beginning and the end, your life when viewed under the microscope will have not secrets - things you have forgotten will be revealed.  Without the covering of Jesus blood, you will be utterly exposed and judged.

The Great White Throne Judgement
"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done." Revelation 20:12

This is the Great White Throne Judgement and all who have died without Christ are judged a final time before being thrown into the eternal Lake of Fire.  There will be no innocent people there, everyone will have made their choice.  You are making that choice right now, you have been making that choice through the whole 30 Day Jesus Challenge.  If you choose yourself instead of Jesus, YOU send YOURSELF to Hell.  When the tapes of your life are played across the screen for all to see, this Challenge will be before your eyes, every time someone witnessed to you, every radio program that you skipped by, every time the Lord reached out to you and you rejected Him will be reviewed, there will be no excuse and no escape.

Pray - Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner who can not make myself clean, I accept your sacrifice on the cross.  Please come into my life, save me, cleanse me of my sins, and give me eternal life with you Lord.

Dec 28, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 28 The King

King of Kings
Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[d] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Pray - Jesus, I crown you of king of my life.  I praise you as the King of kings and the Lord of lords!

Dec 27, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 27 The Return

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

The Rapture of the Church
John 14:1-4 “Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in me. In my Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you. Since I am going and preparing a place for you, I will return to take you with me; so that where I am, you may be also. Furthermore, you know where I’m going; and you know the way there.”

Isaiah 26:19-21 "Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. 20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. 21 For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.”

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O death, where is your victory?
   "O death, where is your sting?”

The great hope of the church, the return of Christ for His Church.  Do you want to be among those that are taken to Heaven or will you take your chances down here?  Never doubt you have a choice.

Pray - I never wanted to come to you in fear but I also recognize that fear often motivates me to do the right thing.  I don't want to be left behind, Lord.  Save me today.

Dec 26, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 26 The Bridegroom

Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Friends, this is a deep and complex subject, but my promise to you at the beginning of this challenge was a minute a day.

Waiting on the Bridegroom
So in a nutshell, in 1st Century Jewish culture a man that was accepted by a woman became betrothed.  It was a contract equivalent to marriage and the man went to prepare a house for his bride.  When his Father declared the house was ready he returned for the bride, often in secret.

Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you might also be."  He is today, preparing that place and as the Bride of Christ we eagerly await his return.

Pray - Lord, I want to be among those that you have chosen and loved.  I eagerly look for your coming.

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 26 Ascension

After Christ was raised from the dead He appeared to as many as 500 people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).  The Disciples only understood his coming in the context of 1st Century Jews and that was Messiah would restore an Earthly Kingdom.

The Real Face of Jesus - Ray Downing
Acts 1:6-11  So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”

Acts 1:7-8 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:9-11 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

Pray - I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I believe on the third day He rose again and then ascended into Heaven.  I believe that He will one day return again.

(If you are interested in a scientific and scriptural look at the 40 day period between the resurrection and the ascension, I'd invite you to enjoy this compelling documentary by Ray Downing and the History Channel.  This is the sequal to the "Real Face of Jesus", which is also an amazing tale of the Shroud of Turin and is where the above picture of Christ came from.)

Dec 25, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 25 God's Gift of Christmas

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

These are just two of the Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus.  Prophecy is the absolute undeniable proof that Scriptures are real, inspired, and trust worthy.  Alas, there in lies the rub.  Prophecy forces the issue of Biblical inerrancy (read here for more) and if the Bible is true then Jesus is true.

He is the Gift.  He is the reason for Christmas.

Messiah is the Gift of Christmas

Pray - Lord, on this day of celebration, I pray that the real and true meaning of Christmas find its place in my heart.

Dec 24, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 24 Good Shepherd

The Bible is full of Shepherds and sheep.  This is one of the deepest subjects in all of the Bible, but it's Christmas Eve and I promised you one minute... so consider:

Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (Why Shepherds and why Bethlehem?  read here)

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Matthew 18:12-13 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.…

The Good Shepherd
John 10:27-28 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.…

Pray - Lord, I believe you are the good shepherd.  I have been lost, please find me.  Please rescue me.  I take comfort knowing that I can never be lost again.

Dec 23, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 23 The Resurrection

He Is Risen!  Perhaps the most beautiful words ever written.  This Christ, who sacrificed himself for you, conquered Death, Hell, and the Grave and as the Redeemer, He lives!

Paul writes: 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve. Then He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain to this present time, though some have passed away. Then He was seen by James and then by all the apostles. Last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born at the wrong time.

The Resurrection
Throughout this series, I've promised a one-minute devotional to introduce you to Jesus.  Every subject, every day of this series could have books written about it.  The resurrection is perhaps the most difficult to condense.  In the end, I'll let Paul finish it:

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Now if Christ is preached that He rose from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen.  If Christ has not risen, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yes, and we would then be found false witnesses of God, because we have testified that God raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ has not been raised.  If Christ is not raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.  Then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

At the end, former atheist Lee Strobel explains how as an investigative journalist, he looked at the evidence and came to the only logical conclusion.  I hope you come to the same conclusion.

Pray - I believe that you Jesus rose from the dead and through faith in you I can also be a participant in this resurrection.

Dec 22, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 22 The Cross

"Except of course that a cross is always something more."  Diana Gabaldon, Fiery Cross Book 5 in the Outlander Series.

Yes indeed, a cross is always something more.  Paul writes in Galatians 5:11 that the cross is an offense.  The cross is the ultimate test of the man, the one who chose to hang on it, and the one who must decide if he accepts it.  There is no room for compromise at the cross, no wiggle room, no gray area.

The Cross
Brutal, violent, excruciating: we recoil in horror - in the reading, in the writing, in the listening, in the watching - no one is untouched by the Cross.  To the believer it is where we start the journey and ultimately where we end it, at the foot of the Cross.  Dr. Billy Graham, in this 3 minute video says it best.

Pray - Today, Lord I find myself at the foot of the cross.  I believe in you, I believe in your sacrifice.  Thank you for the cross.

Dec 21, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 21 The Blood

All religions have a blood element to them, some deep down, but there none the less.  Modern Western people are removed from blood.  Our food comes in plastic from the grocery store, modern medicine sterilizes and staunches blood, and we have virtually no concept of sacrifice.  The Blood of Jesus was always very confusing for me until I began to see and understand, the key was the Garden of Eden.

The First Covering of Sin
To set the stage, Adam and Eve have fallen and are about to be expelled from the garden: Genesis 3:21 "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them."  This is the first sacrifice, the first shedding of blood to cover sin. The Lord himself made the clothing to cover the nakedness and the sin of man.  This sacrifice to cover sin continues through the Old Testament law.  God is orderly, He set up laws and rules, He abides by them.

The imperfect animal sacrifices had to be performed over and over again, until Jesus.  A loving God knew that only a perfect sinless sacrifice would pay the debt, would fulfill the law, would meet the requirement.  Only He could redeem us, only He could shed his blood and save us, once and for all eternity.

Pray - Lord, the blood has always confused me.  Please help me understand your sacrifice and the power of the blood.

(Interesting Legend - It is said the clothing that the Lord made for Adam and Eve was the finest clothing the Ancient World had ever known.  Legend holds that it was made of leopard skins and was worn by Adam and Eve until their deaths 900 years after the fall.  The mythical clothing was said to be a price of war and won by the mighty man Nimrod who was a great hunter.  The tradition of leopard skins in worship can still be seen in Africa.  The Shembe consider the leopard skin integral in their worship of God.  As CS Lewis was fond of saying, there is truth that survives as legend.)

Dec 20, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 20 The Holy Ghost

I agree with Pastor Ross Rhoads who proclaimed one Sunday that he liked the name Holy Ghost vs. the more modern Holy Spirit.  "The Ghost" he proclaimed in a loud booming voice!  "The Ghost":  mysterious, powerful, and evoking reverential fear in the Believer and terror in the heart of the damned.  The Third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost is at once the most familiar to a believer and the most unknown.

The Holy Ghost
The Wind, the Fire, the Omniscient Presence of God, the Helper.  The sealing of the Christian with the physical presence of the Holy Ghost is a mystery most will never contemplate.  If at some point along this journey, you have believed in your head and accepted with your heart, the sealing of the Holy Ghost is the completion of your faith.

Pray - Holy Spirit, I ask you to come into my heart.  Help me to live the life you want me to live.  Convict me of my sins and give me the power I need to walk with you in this dark world.

Dec 19, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 19 The Son

I am shocked when I watch, I Met Messiah videos that so many Jews think Jesus was an Italian Catholic.  I have witnessed to Jews who insist that Christians believe in multiple Gods; the reality of the Trinity is lost.  Jesus is the physical manifestation of God.  We meet Him in the Old Testament.

Jesus in the Fiery Furnace
Daniel 3:24-25 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?" They replied to the king, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!"

The fancy word for when God appears to man in the Old Testament is a Theophany.  We see him wrestling with Jacob, meeting with Abraham, and fighting with Joshua.  Jesus is not an invention, He is God.  If you struggle, listen to this parable read by Paul Harvey.

Dec 18, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 18 The Father

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.  –Matthew 18:14

God the Father
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  –Luke 6:35-36 

The Heavenly Father is a perfect father, caring for His children, protecting them, loving them, caring for them.  He is a God of mercy to his children, to those that are covered by the blood of Christ, he is tender and warm.  In a Fatherless generation, this Father's love is needed above all else.  

Pray - Father in Heaven, I want you as my Father.  I want to know you as my perfect Father.  Protect me, feed me, be merciful upon me.

Dec 17, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 17 Abundant Life

Jesus Loves You.  It is actually hard to comprehend.  The person that knows everything about you, loves you anyway.

Jesus 10:10 tells us, "The thief comes to steal and to kill and to destroy, but I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

Abundant Life
So He came because God loves you and wants you to live an abundant life.  The thief will try and twist what abundant means; it's not wealth and riches.  Living an abundant life in Christ is living without ambiguity, living without being the center of your own universe, believing in an all powerful and all knowing God that loves you is the definition of freedom and abundance.

Pray - Jesus, show me today what an abundant life means.  Help me understand how the life I live now is not the one you would have for me.

Dec 16, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 16 The Truth

Somewhere along the way the inane expression, "Your Truth" made it's way into the lexicon.  Probably used by someone who was intellectually backed into a corner.  When reason and logic invalidated their positions, "Your Truth" was the rebuttal; this oxymoronic phrase feeds delusions and instability in those that employ it.  By definition, there is only one truth.

Have you ever considered that Truth is a being?  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6.  In an age where Truth seems ephemeral and subjective, the comfort and surety of knowing The Truth is refuge.

One of the greatest reliefs of my life was not having to figure everything out.  When I accepted Christ, I rested in the fact that I could believe Him.  Today, He invites you to know The Truth.

Pray - Jesus, the Truth is very hard to discern in this time.  I believe you are truth.

Dec 15, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 15 The Way

The Way... it was what followers of Christ said of their faith.  (Acts 9:2)  Consider for a moment - Not "A" way but "THE" way.

The Narrow Path
"Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14).

There are directions to God, how to come to Him, how to find Him.  If you are lost, get a Bible and read it, you won't be lost much longer.  Bill Wiese says it best in this short video.

Pray - I have been lost, without you Jesus I do not know the way.  Help me today to walk with you.

Dec 14, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 14 You Can Not Hide

"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8

Hiding From God
Man has been trying to hide from God ever since.  It won't do you any good.  This Psalm of David should either bring you comfort and scare the mess out of you.

Psalm 139:7-12

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Pray - Lord, I realize that I can not hide from you.  Today, I am going to stop running and let you find me.

(As a new Christian, the song touched me deeply.  It's about stopping and being found.)

Dec 13, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 13 The Beginning and the Ending

Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?"  This is a pivotal question and the door of eternity hinges upon your answer.

What does God say about himself?  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13

The Alpha and the Omega
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

The known universe is made up of Time, Space, and Matter - this Supernatural God must exist outside of those things, His creation.  We, as finite beings, can not truly wrap our heads around a being that has no beginning or end.  This God, this Creator, chose not to create and then depart to let us figure it out on our own.  Instead He gave us a manual, He gave us our story, He gave us Himself but make no mistake - He is fierce, He is fire, He is Holy and He is not to be trifled with.  It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of a living God.  Hebrews 10:31

Pray - Jesus, I do not understand your eternal nature.  Help me to know you today.

Dec 12, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 12 Double Minded Man

Perhaps at some point in this journey, you may have come to a point where you began to believe but then you changed your mind.  You are confused, conflicted, and swaying in the breeze.

Jesus' half brother James writes about this in 50 AD "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." James 1:6-8

Double Minded Man
In this 30 Day Jesus Challenge, we are walking a path, a journey, a discovery - at each juncture along the way you are asked to make a choice.  Today, you need to commit again to the challenge but moving forward, you need to stop being double minded about it.  For the next 18 Days, get on board fully or quit.

Pray - Jesus, I don't want to be double minded about this.  I want to fully commit to the remaining challenge.

Dec 11, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 11 Not Smart Enough

The airwaves are full of smart people claiming to be smart.  They mock God and those who believe in Him as weak, foolish, and pathetic.  Richard Dawkings and Steven Hawking are among the most outspoken, perhaps even the most convincing.  This doesn't surprise God, nor is it new.

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, "He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness." 1 Corinthians 3:19

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." Proverbs 14:12

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

Ask yourself, of all knowledge that has ever existed, how much do you know?  What percentage of everything can you honestly say that you know?

Not Smart Enough
If you are really smart, maybe you said 5%; 5% of all knowledge.  That's pretty impressive.  Now ask yourself this, do you think it is possible that God exists in the 95% that you don't know?

Pray - Jesus I recognize that I am not smart enough to understand you or this faith.  Give me wisdom as I finish this journey.

Dec 10, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 10 Not Good Enough

In today's culture, where everyone gets a trophy, where everyone is special, to say, "You are not good enough." is shocking, even hateful is some circles, but it is the truth.  In all faiths, except Christianity, the god asks for you to be good enough, like there is some cosmic scale in the afterlife where your good deeds are measured against your sins.  If you can just be good enough you will get to heaven.  This is not new and it is not enlightened.

Why do you think Muslims blow themselves up in the name of Allah?  Why do you think Mormons walk door to door?  Why do the Jehovah's Witnesses hand out tracks to strangers at a gas station?  Why do Hindus and Buddhist leave food offerings for deities?  Why do all other religions demand that their followers be good enough, do enough....  How do you ever know when it IS enough?   The short answer is, you don't.  Not until you die and then it's too late. Where is the peace in that?

Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6.

"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

Pray - Jesus, I know that I am not good enough to save myself.

Dec 9, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 9 Get It Together

We've all said it, "I should do better."  We try, honestly we truly do.  We are going to start that diet, that workout, that class - starting tomorrow.  Perhaps you are struggling with something that has it's hooks in you: addiction, adultery, porn... We all have our addictions and struggles.  We deceive ourselves by thinking we are going to get our act together but we fail time and again.  Perhaps in these last nine days you have felt a tug on your heart and you think, "I've got to straighten up before I get serious with God."

I'm hear to tell you, that isn't what Jesus tells us, he calls to us, just as we are - come, let me heal you.  You can't make yourself clean, you can't get it together.  He knows that, so he did it for you.

Jesus Calls Us Just As We Are
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pray - Jesus, I've always thought I need to get it together before I face you.  Help me understand that I can't do it on my own.  Today I ask you to help me.

Dec 8, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 8 The Sin Problem

We don't like that word, "Sin".  It's too absolute, too judgmental, too ugly.  It's hate speech.  You know - you are right.  Sin is ugly, absolute, and hateful and that is exactly what we look like to a pure and perfect God.

We all sin, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23.  In 60 AD, the apostle John wrote, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."  1 John 1:8

"Humanity is tainted by sin and is therefore separated from God. As a result, we cannot know God's wonderful plan for our lives." Romans 3:23

We rationalize and make excuses, we don't think we are bad people.  What we fail to realize is that we sin everyday, in thought, word, and deed - by what we have done but also by what we have left undone.

Prayer - Jesus, I would ask you today to show me the sin in my life.  Amen.

Weight of Sin

Dec 7, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 7 I'm Tired

Jesus Holds Us
It's exhausting to live in this world.  Everything seems to be a struggle.  From finances, to traffic, to finding time to read.  Even this challenge at times is just another thing to do.  There is no surprise about that, 2600 years ago the prophet Daniel wrote:

"But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”  Daniel 12:4

We have at our fingertips the knowledge of the entire world, yet we are no smarter.  We run around from activity to activity, yet we have no rest.

Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves.  My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Pray - Jesus, I have been so tired.  Today, I want to rest in you.  Amen

Dec 6, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 6 This is Foolish

Some time in the last six days you might have thought, "Alright, this is stupid.  It makes no sense, it's just a fairy tale for the weak.  Yeah, I don't buy any of this.  My friends and family are going to think I've lost my mind!  I'm here again but I don't get it."  You are not alone, we all feel that way some times.

"The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." 1 Corinthians 2:14

Pray- Jesus, I have been nervous.  This journey seems foolish to my mind but I promised that I would do the 30 Day challenge.  Please calm my mind and help me stop feeling stupid.  Amen.

Trust God

Dec 5, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 5 No Excuse

We all have excuses.  If we are honest, we make excuses every day.  We get away with not doing something we were supposed to do if we have a good excuse.  God knows that about us and He warns us against thinking that we can make excuses to Him.

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."  Romans 1:20

Pray - Lord, I make excuses all the time.  Help me.  Show me your invisible qualities and don't let me make an excuse to explain away what you show me.  Amen

A Cross Section of a Pine Needle

Dec 4, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 4 Ears to Hear

Have you ever heard a preacher and you recoiled at them, while not hearing the message?  Has anyone ever quoted Scripture to you and you could hear the words but did not understand them?  The Bible tells us, you are not the first one.

"If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable." Proverbs 28:9

"But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear."  Zechariah 7:11

Pray - Jesus, I can't hear.  I can not understand with my ears, I have been deaf.  Please open my ears.  If you are really there, I want to hear your Word.  Amen.

A Dear Woman Hears

Dec 3, 2016

A Hairdresser's Fantasy Trump Make Over

Trump's Make Over
I love The Donald but you have to admit THIS hair is a way better look.

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 3 Eyes that See

Do remember in the movie the Matrix, where the character had a choice to see the world as it was or to stay in ignorance?  Everyday, the Lord reaches out to you and challenges you to see.

Jesus Heals the Blind
Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.

Pray - I haven't seen you Jesus and your words have been nonsense to me.  If you are there, open my eyes that I might see you and open my ears that I might hear your voice.  I can not do it myself, it has to be you. Amen.

Dec 2, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 2 Heart of Stone

Yesterday, you asked God to take your hand.  Today, we will deal with the your heart.

Ezekiel 36:26 "I'm going to give you a new heart, and I'm going to give you a new spirit within all of your deepest parts. I'll remove that rock-hard heart of yours and replace it with one that's sensitive to me."

Pray - God, my heart has been hardened toward you.  Please soften my heart - if you are there, please let me feel you. Amen.

Heart of Stone to a Heart of Flesh

Dec 1, 2016

30 Day Jesus Challenge - Day 1 Commitment

Have you ever wondered about Jesus?  Are you an atheist?  Were you raised in the church but as you grew up you left the faith?  Maybe you don't know the first thing about "religion"? Were you once on fire for the Lord but find you are cold and doubting that God is real?  Perhaps your friend or your significant other has come to faith and you are angry about it?  Maybe you don't know anything at all about Jesus other than what you've picked up in the culture?  Then again, you might believe Jesus is just another path to the same heaven we are all headed to.  You might be a Jew, a Muslim, or a Buddhist - perhaps you are just spiritual.

If you fit into any of these categories, this challenge is for you.  You are challenged to give Jesus 30 Days.

For the next 30 days, you open your mind and your heart to him.  A blog will post every morning and it will take you about 2 minutes to read.  That's it.

If at the end, you feel the same way then you can honestly say you've given it a  chance. It costs you nothing.  Commit to this and I promise you will not be sorry.

Day 1 - Commitment

Isaiah 41:13 For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Pray - Jesus, if you are there, I am putting my hand into yours.  Please do not let me go. Amen.

Put Your Hand in Mine