Something More Valuable

I heard a story about a young man who was graduating from college who wanted a new car for his graduation gift. Finally, graduation day arrived, and his dad handed him a box. He opened it with anticipation, only to find a Bible inside. He was so angry and disappointed that he handed the box to his dad, walked away, and never spoke to him again.

Years later, his father died, and it was the young man’s responsibility to go to his father’s home to put his affairs in order. As he was looking through papers on his desk, he spotted the box. He opened it up, and sure enough, there was the Bible his father had given him.

For the first time, he opened the Bible. There inside the Bible was an envelope. He opened it and found a cashier’s check dated the same day as his graduation and made out for the exact amount of the car he wanted.

If he had taken time to open the Bible, he would have discovered that what he really wanted was there all along. Instead, he missed out on all that his father had done for him.

But there was something far more valuable in that Bible than a cashier’s check for a new car, because the Bible contains the words of eternal life. It is the user’s manual for living. Our Heavenly Father has so much that He wants to show us, if only we will read, believe, and apply the Word of God. Yet so few people really take the time to find out what it has to say.

In fact, have you ever noticed how people react when you pull out a Bible?
I have seen people visibly recoil from the mere sight of the Bible. The Bible is a powerful book, not just because of what it says, but because people know that something of significance is inside.
Reflecting on this significance, David wrote in Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Let’s consider a few things from this verse. The phrase, “the law of the Lord,” in Psalm 19 is a Hebrew term used to describe Scripture. You could just as easily insert the phrase, “the Bible.”

First, we read that the Word of God is perfect. There is nothing that you need to add to the Bible and nothing that you need to take away from it. What’s more, as society changes, you don’t have to flow with the winds of change.

You can stand on the firm foundation of God’s Word. By that, you can know right from wrong. The Bible is the roadmap to knowing God.

Second, we’re told that the Word of God transforms us. If you read the Word of God and really believe it, then it will change your life. As Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are” (NLT).

I don’t know about you but I need living power in my life. This book is living power that can change your life if you believe it, do it and trust God for the results!!

Third, we see that the Word of God gives incredible wisdom. The Hebrew word translated as simple in verse 7 comes from a root word that speaks of an open door. It was the idea of someone having a mind like an open door, through which everything comes in and goes out. This person doesn’t know what to keep in, what to throw out, or what is right and what is wrong.
Such a person is simple-minded. But even the simple-minded can become wise by reading God’s Word.

Ultimately, success or failure in the Christian life depends upon how much of the Bible you get into your heart and life on a regular basis and how obedient you are to it. If you are not reading the Word of God, then it only will be a matter of time until you will fall apart spiritually.

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Are You A Good Translation?

When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior you not only receive his love, forgiveness and power, but you also inherit a responsibility of representation.

You are to represent hope, good fruit, His grace, His word, His life, His healing power, His Holy Spirit, His Faithfulness, His Joy, and His Son.

God wants you to be a walking demonstration and trophy of His Grace. 

You may be the only bible some people will ever read.

So let me ask you…Are You A Good Translation? 

Giving Thanks and Praise

Sometimes, worship and thanksgiving can be a sacrifice. That may be because we are down or depressed or things aren’t going all that well for us. Maybe hardship or tragedy has struck our lives in some way and we don’t want to thank God.

Yet the Bible urges us to give thanks to the Lord. Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

We are told in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

And Hebrews 13:15 says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

We are not told to give thanks to the Lord because we feel good; we are to give thanks to the Lord because He is good.

As we approach God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to say thanks for the blessings already given. We should be just as definite in returning thanks as we are in requesting help.

But many times we aren’t. We are quick to ask for help, but we are slow in giving thanks.
 
Sometimes, this can be difficult, because we feel as though we have been dealt a bad hand in life or there are things that have happened to us that we don’t understand. But here is something we need to remember: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

This verse doesn’t say give thanks in some things or in what you think are the good things. It says to give thanks in everything.

Now it is easy for me to give thanks when something wonderful happens to me. When something bad happens, however, I think, I won’t give thanks for that.
 
But I don’t know that we ever will fully know what was good or bad in our lives until much later. I would even suggest that what you think is a bad thing today may turn out to be a good thingtomorrow or down the road. And what you have thought of as a good thing may, in time, turn out to be a bad thing.

As you look back in time, you will be able to say that the Lord knew what He was doing.

We need to trust God, always thanking Him recognizing
that God is in control of all circumstances surrounding our lives. We must realize that God loves us and is always looking out for our eternal benefit, even if what we are presently going through is difficult.
We must remember that God is wiser than we are. He is always dealing with us for our best and eternal good. But sometimes, what is good for us eternally is not easy for us temporarily. God will make that decision and work in our lives.

There is so much to give thanks for. Have you been thanking God? Don’t wait until Thanksgiving Day. Every day should be Thanksgiving.

Be Blessed and Encouraged 

Bill Rieser

Jesus Will Meet You In Your Gethsemane!

Before there was a Calvary, there was a Gethsemane. The sorrow Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane on the last night before His crucifixion seemed to be the culmination of all of the sorrow He had ever known, which would accelerate to a climax the following day.

This time at Gethsemane, next to the cross itself, was the most difficult moment of His life. He underwent stress of cosmic dimensions.

We must remember this in our moments of loneliness, when we feel as though we have been abandoned by friends or perhaps even betrayed by our own family.

When you feel as though no one cares about you, you have a glimpse of what Jesus went through. Jesus experienced all of that—not only the betrayal of His own disciples, not only the people turning against Him in masses, but also the Father himself turning His face away from Jesus for a time as He bore all of the sins of the world—past, present, and future.

So Jesus has been there. He knows what it is all about.

Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

Don’t think you are talking to a God who doesn’t care or is disconnected. To the contrary, Jesus has experienced it. He has felt it. He knows it. That is why verse 16 says, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

We will have Gethsemanes in our lives, so to speak, times when life isn’t making any sense. That is when we need to remember that Jesus has been there too.

And Jesus will meet you in your Gethsemane!!!

Do Not Spend A Lifetime Trying To Discover Who You “Already” Are!!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

A real transaction took place when you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

You were born again…your old life…your old nature…was crucified when you gave your life to Christ.

You are accepted, secure, and significant in Christ. In Christ you are a friend of God. In Christ you have been justified. In Christ you are God’s adopted child. In Christ you are complete. In Christ you are God’s original masterpiece. In Christ you are free forever from condemnation.

In Christ you can never be separated from the love of God. In Christ you are a citizen of Heaven. In Christ you do not have a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind. In Christ you can find mercy in time of need.

In Christ you can approach God with freedom and confidence. In Christ you are God’s co-worker. In Christ you are a minister of reconciliation.

In Christ you are seated with Christ. In Christ you can do all things. In Christ you can be set free from every hurt, every habit, and every hang-up and remain free in Christ.

You need to know who you are In Christ. You need to know what the Word of God says about your new and true identity In Christ.

If you don’t take the time to learn who you are In Christ, your old identity and your old nature will want to take over your life again.

But the more you believe who you are the more you will be able to walk in that new and true identity.

The more you understand that it is your duty to put off the old self and dress yourself each and every day with your new self the more freedom you will have.

Every day we have to reserve that daily time with God for self examination, prayer and studying the Word of God so that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The battle for our lives always starts in our head. And God simply wants to give us a better way to think. If God can change our minds…if God can have access to our hearts…if God has permission to give us His Wisdom and Knowledge…we will start thinking a whole new way which leads to a whole new way of living!!

The more we allow the truth of God’s word to wallpaper our minds and let it direct every step we take…the more transformation we will experience.

But you need to know this…your biggest battlefield…your greatest war…will always be in your mind.

Listen to me very carefully…God can do anything He wants to do but He rarely chooses to change people like you and me…Sorry for the bad news…God waits for us to stop playing God, admit our spiritual bankruptcy…(Blessed are the Poor in Spirit)

Surrender our lives and our wills to Christ care and control and that is when God gives us certain things.

Things like His Word. His Mind, His heart, His desires, His gifts, His Holy Spirit…He gives us himself to live inside each and every one of us.

The next thing that God does is He invites you and me to tap into that power each and every day. And gives us the opportunity to choose His thoughts, to choose His Word, to choose His Power, to choose His Son, and choose His righteousness.

And the moment we make the decision to renew our minds to the truth of His Word, to the truth of the Holy Spirit living inside of us and get honest with God and align our lives up with that truth…

Friends, that is when God chooses to change us, heal us and set us free from our hurts, habits, and hang ups, compulsions and addictions.

Friends, we are not in the process of becoming children of God…we are children of God who are in the process of becoming like Christ.

Who we are determines what we do and God wants us to know that we are His children when we receive him into our lives.

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Do not spend a lifetime trying to discover who you already are!!!

8 Important Facts To Remember When You Face Trials

Romans 5: 1-5 NLT Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Paul is stating some significant facts when we face problems and you may want to study and meditate on this passage for the rest of the Christmas season.

 Fact 1…You have been justified!

Fact 2…You have peace because of what Christ did for you!

Fact 3…You are brought into a place of underserved privilege in which you now stand!

Fact 4…You look forward to the future with confidence and joy.

Fact 5…You can rejoice in the storm because your endurance, character, and confidence in God will soar to new heights!

Fact 6…This “Hope” will not lead to disappointment.

Fact 7…God still loves us!!

Fact 8…The Holy Spirit in us fills our hearts with love!!!

Relapse Proof Your Life

2 Peter 1:3-11 Making One’s Calling and Election Sure

In just this very short passage God tells us 15 things that will relapse proof your life with 2 great promises if we do them and 6 consequences if we don’t apply them to our lives.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So just in this short passage here are the 15 things that will relapse proof your life with 2 great promises and 6 consequences for not applying them to your life.

  1. His divine power…Reference Ephesians 1:18-21
  2. Knowledge of Him…Reference Ephesians 1:17
  3. God’s Promises…Reference 2 Corinthians 1:20 Deuteronomy 7:9
  4. Participate in the divine nature…Reference Romans 6:1-11
  5. Escape the corruption…Reference James 4:6-7
  6. Make every effort…
  7. Add to your faith
  8. Goodness…Reference Philippians 4:8-9
  9. Knowledge…because God said my people die for a lack of it.  
  10. Self-control
  11. Perseverance…James 1 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
  12. Godliness
  13. Brotherly Kindness
  14. Love
  15. Possess in increasing measure  

 If you do these things:

1. You will never fall

2.  You will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 If you don’t do these things:

1.  You will be ineffective

2.  You will be unproductive

3.  You will be nearsighted

4.  You will be blind

5.  You will have no concept of who Jesus Christ is and what he means to you.

6.  You will forget what Christ did for you on Calvary!!

 Be Blessed and Encouraged!!!

Bill Rieser

 

Praying for God’s Best!

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.

Now let’s take a look at this scripture a little closer. God is saying; I know the plans I have for you, but the key to getting that plan is in verse 12, 13, and 14.The key to that plan is to be like the persistent widow who kept coming, kept bothering and eventually tried to wear God out with her prayers!  And the mistake that most of us make is that we expect God to move and do things for us without asking him to.

God never responds to the things we do like he does with the things we ask him for.

Verse 12 says: then you will call upon me. So God is saying I know the plans I have for you and here is how you can have that plan. Pray!! Verse 13 tells us how we should pray—seeking Him with our whole heart. In other words if you pray just when you need me or want something , that is not how you get this plan.

When you come with your whole heart surrendered you can pray for this plan and you find this plan when you find me in verse 14.

So this is what I call a prayer with a promise. And there are many prayers in bible that you can pray that have a promise attached to it.

 For example Philippians 4:6-7 It says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul says first don’t be anxious about anything but in everything—pray and when you pray do it with thanksgiving (that whole 1 Thessalonians thing) in other words with an attitude of gratitude—and if you do that, now here comes the promise—you will get the peace of God!!

Oh how we forfeit the peace of God by not praying.

You need to go to the throne before you go to the phone. Instead of going to “Facebook”…you need to open up this book and seek his face!! I like this “Facebook” a whole lot better!!

And prayer needs to be a first response instead of a last resort.

You know what the best prayer I ever prayed was? It was a prayer asking Jesus Christ to come into my life.

Best decision I ever made…you are looking at one Satisfied Customer!!!

How to Speak to the Mountains in Your Life!

Are you aware of the power you have through prayer!! The power you have to pray your way out of every storm and trial that comes your way–the power to pray for the mountains in your life that seem impossible to move. And Jesus has something to say about praying to the mountains in your life. Mark 11:22-24 Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. So Jesus gives us the choice to either climb mountains or speak to them. But leave it to Jesus to tag a huge condition to this great prayer promise in verse 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins. So let me ask you again…are you climbing mountains or speaking to them?

You Are Not Your Defect

In order to become God’s best version of you, you will have to discover who you are in Christ and humbly ask God to help you be that person.

 And this is what God does for so many. He does not change you—he changes the way you think—he transforms you by the renewing of your mind—and gives you a better way to think—because the bible says as a man thinks so he is.

 And if God can reshape your mind—you will still be you but your thought life will be different, your values are now God’s values, you love what God loves, you hate what God hates, you have a whole new way of thinking which always leads to a whole new way of living.

 It is God’s best version of you!!

 And it is in that new identity that God starts making transformational changes in your life. He makes the changes—you submit to the changes and stop playing God by trying to change on your own.

And the more you believe who God calls you, the more power you will have to be that best version of you that God created in the first place!!

 So who are you? Most people when asked that question will say what they do.

 What is your identity? How do you describe yourself to others? Have others shaped your identity? Have circumstances shaped your identity? Has your childhood shaped your identity?

 Have your trials in life shaped your identity? Of course they have, but here is the critical question, Have you confused your defects with your identity?

 This is a big problem because we often confuse our identity with our defects. You are not your defects. You are not your faults. You are not your sins.

They may be something you do but they are not your identity.

 In other words, a lot people, rather than saying “I work too much,” will say “I’m a workaholic!”  Or instead of saying “I have a tendency to put off and procrastinate,” will say “I’m lazy.”  You create it as an identity. 

 You are not your defects.  This, by the way, is the difference between Celebrate Recovery and something like Alcoholics Anonymous. 

 In AA meetings the person will stand up and they will say, “Hi!  I’m Joe and I’m an alcoholic.”  In other words they identify their identity with their defect. But at Celebrate Recovery we stand up and say, “Hi!  I’m Joe.  I’m a believer in Jesus Christ who is in recovery from alcohol.” 

You see the difference?  You are not your sin.  You are not your defect.