400 - Count the Cost, Pay the Price

May 8, 2017

Life teaches us that anything worth having has a price attached to it.  Nothing of value, other than salvation, comes free.  "No pain, no gain," as the saying goes.  Jesus spoke that same truth in Luke 14:26-33. And the same principle applies when it comes to understanding and experiencing spiritual gifts.  There are some things we must do and some things we can expect.  Let's look at our part first:

You must have a desire for more of the Lord.  A desire for the Spirit's gifts.  But that desire means more than calm, wishful, thinking.  Consider the following

1 Corinthians 14:1 - Pursue love (agápē), and desire (zēlóō - to burn with zeal, to be heated or to boil with envy, to lust, covet) spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Then you must cultivate a vibrant prayer life.  This takes time and effort.  But the rewards are life-changing.

And finally, you must be willing to fast.  Why?  Because the Lord links fasting, for some reason, with prayer and spiritual fervency.  They seem to come in a package.  Two for the price of one.

Do you want to know more about growing deep in your intimacy of the Lord?  Do you want to begin living in the realm of the gifts the Spirit has given you?  Do you want to let Him manifest HImself to the world through you (1 Cor. 12:7)?  Great.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

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331 - The Stuff Life Throws at Us

December 7, 2015
Sometimes, life throws us a curveball.  Scripture tells us to expect "trials and tribulations" (James 1:2) and even "persecutions" (2 Tim. 3:12)— but what seems to knock us down the hardest are the things we don't see coming, just the bad stuff that happens to fallen people living in a fallen world.  

All people, both good and bad, sometimes get cancer, lose their jobs, or suffer from broken relationships.  No one is promised an easy road this side of heaven.  Which, if you think about it, should make heaven more appealing.  But often it doesn’t.  Instead, we get overwhelmed and depressed by daily life.

Did you ever wonder why?   And have you ever wondered why your prayer life gets overwhelmed by the problems of life when it should be the other way around?  If so, this message is for you.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Prayer and Luke 18:1-8.

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328 - Your True Nature = Your First Thought

November 15, 2015
Believe it or not, your first thought about something is a telling indicator of your core nature.  It's your knee-jerk reaction that shows what you are made of and who you belong to— the god of this world or the One you claim as your Lord.

Ask yourself this:  When you're faced with a problem or an inconvenience, what’s your first thought?

Is it, how does this problem affect me?
Or, is it how does this problem affect my family, or others, or the ones I love?

Is your first thought about you?  Or is it about the welfare of others?

Your answer may be a key indicator as to your true nature.  And your true nature is the single, most important indicator as to whether or not you're saved.  Confused?  Maybe a bit angry?  Good.  Then keep listening to find out what you need to do.

The following is a study on Colossians 2:11-15.

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308 - Going to War in Your Underwear

June 14, 2015
There are several questions that each Believer will ask themselves sometime during their spiritual journey.  And these questions usually go something like this:

How are we to be delivered from the guilt of sin and the unrelenting attacks of Satan?
How can we walk in faith and confidence and guard against the “wiles of the devil”?
How are we to daily face the struggles of the enemy and our fallen flesh?
What has God provided for our victory?
And how can we continually live in that victory?

But remember, the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10) is found when we live in the victory already provided by Christ.  And to do that, we need to simply “put on” what we often leave behind.

Confused?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 6:13 and Ephesians 6:10-18.

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283 - The Sheep, the Shepherd, and the Meditation

January 14, 2015
One of the most theologically packed words spoken by our Lord is found in John 10:27-30 where He says:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."

In these few words of Jesus we find the doctrines of grace, election, the state of the lost, the effectual call, salvation, regeneration, sanctification, eternal life, eternal security, the perseverance of the saints and the trinity.  It's a literal treasure trove of truth given as a gift to each of us.

Want to know more about this gift?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on John 10:22-30 and the importance of meditation.

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241 - Playing Spiritual Whac-A-Mole

May 19, 2014
As crazy as it may sound, many of us spend our Christian lives playing Whac-A-Mole with the strongholds of sin and consequences of disobedience that we have allowed to take root in our lives.  And why do we do this?  What's the point?  Where's the payoff for us?

There isn't any.  We strive and struggle again and again, whacking one mole only to have another pop up in its place, with no end in sight.  Our so-called "abundant life" can easily become one of frustration and defeat.

But it doesn't have to be that way.  We can live victorious over the enemy and experience true freedom in Christ.  How?  Keep listening to find out.

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233 - The Timeless Message of Haggai, Part 2

March 19, 2014
The entire message of Haggai can be summed up in these three words:  Consider your ways.

After all, consider this warning given five times in Haggai:

Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: "Consider your ways!" - Haggai 1:5

Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Consider your ways!" - 1:7

"And now, carefully consider from this day forward." - 2:15

And again, "And now, carefully consider from this day forward." - 2:17

There is something - something important - the Lord is trying to tell us through the words of Haggai.  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study of Haggai 2:1-23.
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220 - The Faith of Noah

November 13, 2013
In the hall of faith of Hebrews 11 we see Abel standing out as our example of worship, giving to God what He desires and not what seems appropriate in our own eyes.  Next, we move to the area of intimacy with God, walking with God, day by day, moment by moment, as illustrated by the life of Enoch.  

Question:  But what comes after worship and intimacy with the Lord?

Answer:  Obedience.

And obedience is shown in the life of Noah.

Want to learn more about the faith of Noah and obedience to the Lord?  Then keep listening.  

The following is a study of Hebrews 11:7.
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212 - Lord, I Didn’t Sign Up For This!

July 31, 2013
In Acts 27 we find a narrative account of the shipwreck of prisoner Paul as he sailed to Rome.  And in this narrative account there are at least 6 lessons that we can learn from watching Paul deal with the storms in his life.  They are:

1.  Get Alone with God
2.  Meditate on His Presence
3.  Believe His Promises
4.  Count Your Blessings
5.  Encourage Others
6.  Remove Excess Baggage 

But this is only the beginning.  Keep listening to find out more.

The following is a study of Acts 27:1-38.
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205 - The Joy of Being “Undone”

May 4, 2013
Early in the book of Isaiah he states:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple."

From that moment on, everything in Isaiah's life changed.  

Have you ever had an encounter with the Lord that has changed everything?  Has the Lord ever revealed Himself to you in such a way that everything this world has to offer suddenly seemed nothing more than junk or rubbish or, to quote the Apostle Paul, dung?  Have you experienced an intimacy with the Lord that dwarfs all others? 

If you have a stirring in your soul for something more, something deeper, in your walk with Christ... well, keep listening. 

The following is a study on Isaiah 6:1-8.
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