Monday, April 30, 2012

John 17; Obedience/Discipleship, Read His Word.

Being from Nebraska, I'm automatically expected to be a devoted follower of Nebraska football. But if anyone asks me, I say, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I'm a fan, but not a fanatic." What I mean is that while I enjoy watching the games, I can't, for instance, name any player on the roster let alone his stats for the last two seasons.

When it comes to being a Christian, I would hesitate to call anyone fanatic--that word has a negative connotation. Fortunately, the Bible has a much better, more positive word to describe a devoted follower of Christ: disciple.


What does it take to be a disciple? Let's look at Jesus' description. In John 17, Jesus prayed specifically for the disciples. "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you" (John 17:6-8, ESV).

To be a disciple you need to know Jesus. That's the first step; but, unfortunately, many people never get beyond that step. They recognize Jesus and even put their faith in Him, but they never take the next step towards being a disciple (kind of like me and Nebraska football).

To be a real disciple, you not only need to know Jesus, you need to know and keep His Word. Jesus said, "and they have kept your word." This is where a lot of us stumble. There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians and probably have made a genuine confession of faith, but they know next to nothing about the Bible.

And to be a really effective disciple, you have to read God's Book.


Start by reading the rest of John 17 and think about the following questions.

  • What challenges did Jesus know the disciples would face in following His Word?
  • Why was Jesus confident the disciples would be able to overcome these challenges?
  • What does Jesus pray for the disciples that would come later?
  • Why is it worth it to be a disciple and not just someone who knows Jesus?


The Bible's not as intimidating as you might think. Instead of one large book, think of it as 66 smaller books--and almost half of them (27) can be read in less than 15 minutes. As you read your Bible, ask God how He would have you apply what you read. Ask Him to show you how to be a true disciple.

Back to the Bible Ministries

My Comments: When I was just finishing 7Th grade, I went to Alaska to live for a short time with my Dad’s parents. My Granddad had been sick with cancer and he wanted to see me. I was given a room upstairs for my stay and felt quite grown-up with my own room as my sister and I had always had the same room.

I knew my Grandparents went to church a lot and wanted to please my Grandma whose Dad had been a Priest until he died, so I purposed to read a chapter of my Bible ever night. I started at Genesis and was progressing nicely when one night my Grandma called up the stairs and said “Rebishka, what are you doing up there with the light on so long in the evenings?” I replied with pride, “My Bible Grandma.” When I was done for the night I shut my light out and went pleasantly to sleep with the Lord's Prayer on my mind.

The next day when I came home from school my Grandma sat me down on the couch in the quiet living room and proceeded to talk to me about how much and why I was reading my Bible so much. Then she told me of twin sisters when she was younger so only read their Bible day and night they read it and one day some men came and took them away because they had gone crazy.

She did not want me to stop reading it just to not make it only what I lived to do. I still continued to read a chapter a night and eventually finished the Bible and found I loved the Words and believed what they said. I especially loved Revelation and at that time I though I understood what all the symbolism meant. Of course I did not yet from then on I loved reading the Word, hearing the Word and talking about the Word yet it has been a long time learning the meanings the Lord has in His Word. I wish I had stayed committed to reading it as much as I did then for the rest of the time until now. I am sad to say I did not yet the love of it remained and as I grew older the call of it pulled me back to them.

Every story that has ever been written is contained in those 66 books of the Bible written my authors that did not know each other and yet speak the same all through out because they are the inspired words of God the Creator of the Universe and our Creator as well.

I still love Revelation and now Daniel and Job and Ezekiel as well as all the rest though I am fascinated with the end time prophecies through out the Bible the most. I love reading of the love and forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus and the promises He has given us. I love reading of the righteousness of Jesus Christ and especially the Words He spoke Himself. I pray you will as well.

Abba Father, I pray You will guide us all as we read and study Your Word to show ourselves approved. Grant us the guidance of Your Holy Spirit to teach and give us understanding of Your Word, Knowledge and Wisdom of Your Word and hearts to accept Your Words. In Jesus’precious Name. Amen.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

2 Chronicles 16:9, Romans 5:3-4, Job 42, Trials, perseverance, character and hope.

2 Chronicles 16:9
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."

Few of us look at difficult times in life and automatically think of them as opportunities. Often, we see them as an obstacle to avoid, or at the very least, something to complain about. Yet, each trial we walk through is indeed an opportunity to grow in faith. Just like the hard ground must be tilled in order to remove hard stones and prepare for seed, so it is with our lives. During trials, we often come face to face with our inadequacies as well as God's goodness, if we are willing.

Romans 5:3-4 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." NKJV

As we suffer on this earth, we have greater and greater opportunities to grow in Christ as we trust Him--even in the midst of hard circumstances. When we trust in His Word, we will find that we are growing in Godly character. In short, we are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. So the question each of us must ask is, "Would I rather live for comfort or live as Christ?"

Life Lesson: Every new trial brings with it the chance to trust God through difficult circumstances.

Dear Father,
Thank You for Your love for me. Your love is not a superficial love but a deep abiding love that desires my very best. Help me to see each pain as an opportunity to trust You more. May every trial lead me to the cross and make me more like Your Son. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee

Senior Pastor
The Bridge

My Comments: As a Native American this verse always held my attention. I used to tell stories to children and there was one about a crab and how he got his eyes. This always flashes in my mind when I read this verse. The story is about deceit and stealing and the consequences. This verse is similar as it shows us what happens to us when we do not follow the Lord as He has directed us to do. He won’t force us to follow or to do the right thing yet there are consequences built in to each and every directive from Him.

It reminds me of when I was raising my children. I could not force them to obey my directives nor could I enforce their obedience or their joy in obeying. Yet if they disobeyed there were consequences. If they obeyed there were joyful consequences. If we obey God and take on His Sons Righteousness then we receive the joy of our Salvation from and through Jesus because of His sacrifice on the Cross. We then are assured of eternal life. Some of my children learned easily others not so easily and some took the hard road and had many hard consequences. A few have found the joy in receiving the Lord as their Savior.

One of the things I have learned and the few who have accepted the Righteousness of Christ, is that when we accepted His Righteousness we were not being accepted as His to sit on the side lines and rest or to have life served on a silver platter. We would be given and allowed trials and bumpy and sometimes very rough roads which would give us strength for what ever battles God would allow to come our way. Though He gave us the strength to go through them yet our muscles were likewise exercised and strengthened.

We grew in His Word, grew in our Love of God, grew in our joy to be used by Him, grew in our understanding and knowledge of Him who created us, grew in virtues and grace and were able to use all for His glory and praise.

Job was always one of my favorites because I felt I was like him. Yes, I went through many trials and sufferings in my life (even before my Salvation) and I confessed my sins often yet even after my salvation I did not see how arrogant I was. Job realized what he was and in Job 42 he tells God how much he did not understand and how his eyes are opened and his ears hear and he repented in dust and ashes. We are as nothing yet He loves us. That is amazing! He has produced hope through those things He has allowed to come into my life and that hope in my salvation.

Abba Father, thank You for the hope that is with in me. Thank You for the Cross. Thank You for sending Your Son to be our Salvation. Thank You for Your love. We praise You and glorify You and pray we give glory and honor to You in all we say and do, think and are. In Jesus our Lord we pray. Amen

Luke 10:25-29, John 3:16, Luke 18:18-23, John 10:28; Do You want Salvation?
Twice in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is approached with very similar questions: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25, ESV); "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18, ESV). Each time, the questioner left dissatisfied.
Let's look at these passages to find out why.


The first time this question was asked, the questioner was a lawyer--someone who was an expert in interpreting the Jewish law. Read Luke 10:25-29.
  • Jesus turns the question back to the "expert." What does the lawyer say?
  • What is Jesus' response to the lawyer's answer?
  • How did the lawyer react to Jesus' response?
The second time this question was asked, the questioner was a rich young man. Read Luke 18:18-23.
  • How does Jesus respond to the young man's question?
  • What does the young man's answer indicate about his heart attitude?
  • What flaw in the young man's character does Jesus reveal?
  • What was the young man's response?


If you look carefully at both of these questions, you'll find that the lawyer and the young man had three important words in common. The first word is "I." Each was focused on himself. "What can I ...?" The second word is "do." They were both seeking a salvation that came from doing something. And the third word is "inherit." An inheritance is something you receive in the future based on your relationship with the one who died. No wonder the lawyer tried to justify himself and the young man went away disappointed. Neither understood the way to eternal life.

Let's contrast this with Jesus' version of eternal life. He told His Father, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me" (John 10:28, ESV)
  • Who is the source of eternal life?
  • How does a person gain eternal life?
  • When does this eternal life begin (notice the tense of the verb "give")?


Are you looking to "inherit" eternal life or to receive eternal life? Are you seeking to "do" or to be given? If you've never received this special gift, why wait? Visit our "Meet Jesus" page, and begin your eternal life right now.

Back to the Bible Ministries

My Comments: I did not know I was looking for eternal life when I reached out and asked the Lord to be my Savior. I thought up till then I already had it. I was baptized as an infant and raised in the church which all of my family had gone to for many generations. My Great-Grandfather was a priest and he was buried in the back of the church I was raised in. My Grandmother was his daughter and my Dad’s Mom and she took care of the parish and the cleaning/cooking at the church. I loved going to church and never missed going even though it meant long hours in the services. And even longer on holiday services like Easter which was all night.

I had what I thought of as a relationship with God who I totally believed in. I knew who His Son was and believed in the Trinity. Yet one day just before 911 the Lord let me know that I was not “saved” and if I wanted to be I needed to seek His Son. I did not give it a second thought.

 I asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me and to be my Savior and to come in and abide in me and be my Savior. Later I learned to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with His presence and to ask Him to guide and teach me what I needed to know.

 I am glad I did not drown what I was younger, or when I was beat, or in car accidents or even in childbirth. At that moment I knew what a wonderful God I served who loved me enough to lead me to the truth and help me to see and hear how much He loved me that He sent His only Begotten Son to die on the Cross for my sin. Thank You Father, Thank You Lord Jesus for the love You have for me.

Abba Father may Your Grace be upon any who read Your Word and I pray You remove the scales from their eyes, unstop their ears and soften their hearts towards You. May they seek and receive the righteousness of Your Son Jesus Christ. May they have a hunger and thirst for Your Word and be satisfied by the blood of the Lamb. In Jesus’ precious Name. Amen


Monday, April 23, 2012

 John 15:1/2, John 15:8, Ephesians 5:9, Hebrews 12:11, Colossians,

1:10, Hebrews 13:15, Philippians, 1:9-11, John:5 4-6; Pruning bears fruit

"Our rose bush looks so weak and scraggly," my wife said. "It has beautiful blossoms, but somebody needs to prune it."
"No problem," I assured her, as I visualized a splendid crop of big, pink roses blooming the next year. "I'll take care of it."
I did take care of it. I pruned the bush so it was much shorter than it had been and, lo and behold, the next year there were flowers on it--very small, unattractive, pale ones that didn't resemble our beautiful pink blooms at all.
As it turned out, I had pruned the rose bush below the spot where it was originally grafted into a wild rose root. All I had left was an unsightly wild rose plant and an unhappy wife.
This all goes to show that correctly pruning a vine, bush or tree requires some expertise which I apparently lacked.
God, however, is an expert in pruning--both physical and spiritual.
Jesus says in John 15:1-2 (ESV): "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
  • What is the expected outcome of pruning?
  • Who does the pruning?
  • Why?
What are some of the fruits that God wants to see in your life? See the following Bible verses; jot down the fruit that is mentioned and answer the questions.
Consider the different spiritual fruits you listed in the "Reflect" section above. Do you see any areas where your life isn't producing those fruits? Can you identify specific twigs He needs to prune away?
Here is a helpful verse to commit to memory: "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples" (John 15: 8, ESV).
Back to the Bible Ministries

My comments: I can look back at my life and know the pruning occurred even before I became His by asking Him into me as my personal Savior. Before I knew the whole Gospel and understood what it meant. Yet those pruning were for bringing me to Him. Now they are to strengthen me in Him and burn away the dross and taint of the world from my soul.

John 15:4-6 (ESV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If any one does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

His pruning is for His glory yet for my good and so I can bear much fruit and the world will know I am His disciple.

Abba Father, Thank You so much that You pursued me and persisted until You had won me. Thank You for pruning me and refining me and bearing fruit through me. May all who read this commit themselves to You through Your Son Jesus Christ and come to know Your gentle love. As a plant of rare beauty is trained to show forth not only the beauty the grower can bring forth so you train us and prune us so we can produce the most fragrant of fruit and bring glory to You who trains and prunes us. We pray you take everything out of us that hinders us from becoming all You envision us to be. Only You could have seen the potential in our sinful selves and only You can prune away our corruption. We praise You Father for all You are doing in our lives and through us. We praise You for the fruit You have allowed to grow on our branches. We bask in the light of Your son and are refreshed by the waters that flow freely from Him and we thank You for planting us in the soil of Your Word and growing our roots deep within Your word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

John 15:1-11; Christian Living/Situational, Obedience/Discipleship, Faith/Trust, Abiding in Him

"Abide in Christ": It's one of those classic Christian phrases we like to toss around to explain how to live as a believer. But what does it mean for us in practical terms? In His parable of the Vine, Jesus shows us what it means to "abide."


During His last teaching session with His disciples, Jesus talked about abiding in Him. In John 15, Jesus says He is the vine and God the Father is the vinedresser or caretaker of the vine. Then, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, ESV).

Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. He is the core, the source, the root that feeds us, connects us, and helps us grow to fruitfulness. Without Him, we're just dried-up twigs. Abiding means we're connected to His life. John 15:4 underscores this, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me" (ESV).

The root meaning of abide is "to dwell" or "to take up residence." It has a sense of moving in and settling down--you're at home. And with Jesus, it works both ways: We take up residence in Him and He lives in us. As branches on the vine, we need Him to live in us, to pour His life through us. Without Him, we can do nothing. It's that connection at the core that brings us life and fruitfulness.


Go back and read through John 15:1-11.

  • What is the Father looking for from us as the branches of the vine (15:2-4)?
  • What happens to those who do not abide (15:2,6)?
  • What's the blessing for those who do stay connected to the vine (15:5-7)?
  • How do we prove we're disciples (15:8)?
  • How does love fuel this "abiding" (15:9-10)?
  • How does Jesus demonstrate abiding (15:9-10)?


There's a lot of good stuff that comes with abiding: love, growth, fruitfulness, answered prayer, glory for God. But it's the daily-ness of abiding that we stumble over. We often let the cares and busyness of life crowd out our connection with Jesus.

Would you say Jesus is "at home" in your life? Or do you treat Him like someone who just drops by once in awhile? Do you find yourself thinking that you just have to "go it alone" most of the time? Or are you drawing on all the strength and hope and purpose He offers? Do you find your life and joy in Him? Is it a matter of love?

The best way to stay connected or plugged into Jesus is through the Word of God. The Bible offers all the words of life we need; it's how we see, listen and learn from Jesus. It's how we know that God loves us and how we can respond to Him in love as well. When you make daily connecting with Jesus your focus, you're on your way to a fruitful life of abiding.

Back to the Bible Ministries

My comments: Before I even knew the Lord as the Lord of my life I remember teaching my older daughters (5) that Jesus was always present (I did not know we could have Him always in us) and so we would often set a place setting for Him at the table at mealtime. I wanted Him to be real to them because God was real to me. Even though He was real to me I did not have Him abiding in me. What a glorious day it was when I asked Him to abide in me and I in Him. How sweet the relationship when the one You love abides in you and is ever present. How empty I was before My Lord and Savior came to abide in me. How bereft I was before I abided in Him. Imagine a balloon before it is blown up. I has substance, is a balloon, can be used yet is not fulfilled. When we blow oxygen into it it becomes filled and has a true purpose and beauty. We are like that balloon. We do not have a true purpose or beauty until we are filled with His presence.

Abba Father, thank You for coming to abide in me and allowing me to abide in You and be filled with Your Holy Spirit who teaches and imparts knowledge and understanding so we may be stronger in our walk with You.  Open our eyes to the truth of Your Word and fill us with knowledge we can put into words to guide others to Your truths. Thank You Father for breathing Your life into us and giving us a purpose. We praise You Father for the gift of true Life. Amen


Thursday, April 19, 2012

 John 15:4-6, John 14:6, John 15:1, Philippians 1:11, Romans 7:15-19; Jesus, Christian Living/Situational

What's the biggest frustration for people who want to live godly lives? For many (including me), it's the inability to do just that. Do you ever feel that way? Well, the Bible has a solution.


First, let's look at the problem. Below are the words of the apostle Paul:

"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate....For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Romans 7:15-19, ESV).

Now, let's look for answers to this problem. Look up John 15:5 and answer the following questions:

1.        Whose words are these?

2.        What does He expect you to be able to do on your own?

3.        Which words in that verse stand out to you?

4.        Why do those words make such an impact on you?

The Bible teaches that only through Jesus can a person have a relationship with God (see John 14:6). And now we see that there is a parallel truth--the only way to have the strength to live a godly life is through Jesus.

Let's read a bit more of the passage in John 15 so we'll have a better understanding of what Jesus is teaching.

"'I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.'

"'Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned" (John 15:1,4-6, NLT).


Take a few moments and write down what you think Jesus wants you to know about the source of your strength and ability to live for Him.

Why is it so critical that a Christ-follower know this truth?


Listen to the apostle Paul as he affirms this truth.

"May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God" (Philippians 1:11, NLT).

What difference will it make in your day and your life to know that good things are produced in your life, not by your effort, but by the presence and power of Jesus? That's worth praying about and praising Him for!

 Back to The Bible

My comments: When Paul is saying he does what he hates he is not, I am sure, saying he purposes to do wrong or that once he does it he continues in it or revels in it. What he is saying is we like him are not perfect. We have a sin nature and we still sin. Though we have been bought by the blood of the lamb and cleansed us still because of our sin nature, sin. The difference in unsaved and saved or born again ones is we turn back to our Lord and savior and seek forgiveness and strength from our Heavenly Father who supplies all our needs. We can do nothing with out Him who supplies all, all, all our needs! It is Christ Jesus living in us that bring us up out of the mire. He allows the pruning of us the branches so we will bring glory and praise to God. This is when we produce much fruit, when we by His strength overcome our sin nature and persevere to become more and more like Christ Jesus.

I do not like that I still sin. Yet He living in me, strengthening me, guiding me; enables me to become more and more like Him and in that I rejoice. I yearn for the day I am with my Lord so I will not offend Him anymore with my weaknesses.

Abba Father, thank You for my salvation and for helping me to overcome my sin nature. Where I am weak, You are strong. When I stumble, You pick me up and carry me on. When I walk away from Your teachings, You send Your Holy Spirit to bring me back to You. I praise You Father for all You have, are and will do to keep me as Yours. I pray You will bring all my family & loved ones into Your family so they may enjoy fellowship with You. Thank You Lord. Amen


Romans 13:1, 2Timothy 3:16/17, Romans 13; For instruction
Romans 13:1
"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."
There are some verses that I love and others that, quite frankly, disturb me. All of scripture is given for our instruction.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." NKJV
We aren't to observe some scripture and then sweep others under the rug. In Romans 13, we are instructed to be subject to authority - but what is the limit? What are the exceptions? There is something very telling about ourselves in the moment we read this verse. We try to think about what the exceptions could be. I know you did - I did too. I do not like paying taxes. I can't drive 55! When this scripture was written, the Roman government was pretty messed up. Nero was the Emperor and he would torture Christians – even burn them alive as living candles to illuminate his garden. Yet Paul says, we should submit to every ordinance. Jesus could have summoned legions of angels, yet He submitted to Pilate. David had several opportunities to take Saul out and rightfully claim the throne, but he didn't. Certainly, there are times when civil disobedience is called for, but those times are rare. If the government told me I could not teach the Bible anymore, I would be in jail! OK, that's an extreme circumstance but the truth is that when we submit, we honor God. Is there an area of your life where you harbor rebellion? Take some time and seek the Lord about it. What is He telling you?
Life Lesson: We should submit to authority.
Dear Father,
Thank You for giving us Your Bible. Lord, if there is any place in my life that I am being rebellious or harboring a rebellious attitude, please reveal it to me. Please teach me to be in submission to the authority you place over me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee

Senior Pastor
The Bridge

My Comments: As a Native American I have always struggled with this one. Our children were taken away and put in sometimes very bad places where they were beat or worse because they wanted to speak differently or eat and dress differently. Alaska where I am from did not experience it as drastically as my Native brothers and sisters in the rest of America. Blacks were bought and sold and poor people have always been mistreated around the world. I was raped as a child. My first husband was an authority over me and he wanted a second wife with us. I often wondered was I supposed to have allowed those in authority to treat me the way they did, because they were the people in “authority?”

No, I do not believe that we have to accept it because there are bad or evil people in the world. God does not want His children to follow others into sin. Then what? Christ allowed Himself to be beat, spit upon, hung on a cross though He could have demolished all of them in a heart beat. Seems confusing doesn’t it?

I think we can go to the Lord each time and submit to Him with out problems and if He tells me to submit then I do. I have never heard Him tell me to submit to the atrocities of the people of my youth or my people yet I know there are no laws that make it legal in our country for anyone to treat a child or a women as I was treated by some people in my life (may God have mercy on their souls and if they read this I want them to know I have forgiven them a long time ago and pray for them always). Sometimes we are given or allowed to go though things to help others find Christ or to grow us closer to Him. I do not know all the answers to this.  I do not believe God wants us to murder or do atrocities as has happened in other countries as well, like Germany, just because the authorities have decreed it. I feel there are times we say, “No” when it goes against what God has said we must do. His authority for me is the highest authority I follow.

I do believe we follow the laws of the land that bring glory to God.

Abba Father, please show me if there is a place in my heart where I am not listening to You and following Your instructions. Your Son Jesus came to You before He was crucified and asked if the cup could be taken from Him. You did not remove it. If my cup cannot be removed then help me to bear it whenever it becomes more than I can bear. Let us always know You are there going though all things with us. Give us the strength to live our lives to give You all the glory. May all we do be in Your name and be used to bear much, much fruit. Shows us Your answers in Your Word and help us to hold all Your truths dear to our hearts. In Jesus’ precious Name we praise You and thank You. Amen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Acts 23:11, Romans 12:11; Keep your eyes on God

Acts 23:11
But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."
Notice that God did not say, "Paul, you big loser; no one got saved! You are so useless." God was pleased with Paul not because of the results, but because he stepped out. God did not say, "Now Paul, I told you not to go to Jerusalem and look what happened!" Instead, God encouraged him. In this 'results oriented' world, success is defined by payoff, not by obedience. But God operates on a different economy. God is pleased by obedience. This is great news! You are not responsible for the results. Understand, this isn't an excuse for doing shoddy work.
Romans 12:11 reads, "Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically." NLT
You can wholeheartedly serve God without worrying that the results aren't meeting His expectations. God is responsible for the results. You are responsible for doing what the Lord has told you to do. Sometimes, God may allow you to see the results of your labors. If He does, thank and praise Him... but be careful not to take the credit. If you serve only to see results, friend, you are going to become discouraged. If you serve because God wants you to, you will be in that place of peace and joy that comes through obedience to God.
Life Lesson: Don't always look with your eyes to see the effect you are having by serving God.
Dear Father,
Thank You for loving me so much that You allow me to serve You. Please give me the ability and the opportunity to be obedient to You. Please forgive me for the times when I have not. I thank You that the results are in Your almighty hands. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee of Cross the Bridge Ministries

My Comments: When we keep our eyes focused on God, His will and follow His direction we bring Him glory. Often we turn our focus on other things or people and situations in life and then we stumble if we keep our eyes there (I urge all to quickly turn to God when things happen and let Him work it out).

When my children were teens I would keep my eyes on them and what they were doing and rarely turn to God and mean what I said, “Their Yours Father, take care of them and teach the; I can do nothing only You can.” Well, loved ones I am here to tell you within the next few minutes I would be calling their friends homes, hospitals, even the morgue a few times and was not keeping my eyes on my Abba Father. Nor did I trust in Him. In fact I rarely gave Him time (my time limit of course) to take them in hand and guide them to home or the true safety found in Him.

If my eyes had been focused on Him and I had trusted in Him I would have backed off and let Him work all out for their good and His glory. It took me many years to come to the point of waiting on the Lord. I was not a good witness for the Lord to my children or my family or even my neighbors. I called myself a Christian yet when I truly accepted the gift of God’s Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ I was so convicted by my lack of trust and faith in the Lord that my heart sorrowed yet the Lord showed me that is not where He wanted me to stay. He wanted me to trust in Him and change my life. He wanted to grow my faith in Him.

It was many years before I knew by His word what faith and trust looked like. My children did not have the stability and guidance they deserved and needed yet God in His mercy preserved them. He has brought some to His understanding and with His time He is working in the others to guide them to His glory and not mine.

Do I struggle? Of course! Do I fail, yes, when I do not lean on His understanding and trust in Him. He succeeds in my weaknesses and my strengths are as dross. He is refining me and helping me to trust Him more and more daily. I rejoice to know He loves me so much. He goes with me through the fires He allows. He protects and grows me.

Serving the Lord with all my heart, mind, body and soul,


Friday, April 13, 2012

John 14:8-11, John 2:11, 4:52, 6:14, 12:17/18, Obedience/Discipleship

H.G. Wells, the English science fiction writer, was not known as a religious man. But after he studied the history of mankind and observed life, he decided this: "Until a man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning and he works to no end. He may have friendships, partial loyalties, even some honor. But all these things fall into place and life falls into place only with God."

Has your life fallen into place? Perhaps, as H. G. Wells suggests, you need to get to know God better. Let's see how you can do that.


"Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves'" (John 14:8-11).

·   How does Jesus respond to Philip's request to be shown the Father?

·   According to Jesus, on whose authority did He speak and act?

·   What effect were Christ's works to have?


The disciples had spent nearly three years with Jesus. They heard Him teach and they saw Him do many miraculous things--healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water. Through the eyes of the Gospel writers, we, too, have seen those things.

And for what purpose? John made a point to call these works "signs" (John 2:11,4:52,6:14,12:17-18). They were like neon arrows pointing to the Savior. See Him have compassion for those who were in trouble; see His power over nature and even death itself. That's what the Father is like.


The better you know Jesus, the better you know the Father. And how do we get to know Jesus? By reading God's Word. Plan to read through the Gospel of John during the next week (that would mean three chapters a day). Take special note of those passages where Jesus performs a "sign" (a miracle). Write down the "sign," and indicate what it reveals about Jesus and the Father; also indicate what it means to you.

Back to the Bible w/ Woodrow Croll

My Comments: Many who have never encountered or have known they have encountered Jesus will take His word and in faith accept Him at His word. Then the Lord through His word shows Himself to be truth and the relationship with their Lord, God and King grows.

The disciples and Apostles walked and talked with Him, heard His words telling them He was "I Am", yet they still did not understand. They walked with Him in faith and trust until their eyes were opened and then nothing could get them to renounce Him or the truths of God!

When I accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gracious gift God gave me through His precious Son I did not understand all I was saying "yes” to, yet "yes" I was saying and as time went on He showed me what I had said "yes" to and blessed me with His presence, guidance, comfort and strength. I liken it to the peeling away of layers as I open a preciously wrapped package to find the jewel within.

Abba Father gracious You are, were and will always be and I cannot express completely and fully, our love for You yet we know You are always there, always guiding us and loving us through all that we must go through. Help us to see, learn and recognize those arrows that point us to our Savior and the Cross. Give us compassion for those in trouble and those who do not know You. Help us to see others with Your eyes and love them with Your Heart and speak to them with Your Words. Help us to know You more and become more like You in thought word and deed. Thank You and we praise You Father for all You do in and through us. Amen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Acts 24:1, Psalm 90:12, 2 Corinthians 2:5, Romans 12:5; Keep our focus on God and we will love as Christ Jesus did and does.

Acts 24:1
"Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul."
What was Ananias doing chasing Paul around? As the High Priest, he should have been serving God and ministering to the people of Israel. Ananias was around 80 years old, yet he was so caught up in resentment that he was willing to make the 60 mile journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea to bring accusation against Paul. It's been said, that "a distraction is what you see when you take your eyes off of the goal." When we spend our time chasing distractions, we accomplish nothing. We only have so much time and so many hours in a day. In Matthew 5:37-40, Jesus told us to love God and love others, yet often we take our eyes off of Jesus and place them on ourselves.
Ps 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." NKJV

If you are over 35, you are probably more than half way through your lifetime. At the age of 50, you have likely used seventy percent of your time. Friends, as you get older the numbers don't get better. Take a moment and reflect. Are you distracted? If you are focused on Jesus, then you will love God and love others. Do you love others? How? If you are making a long journey and your course gets off by even one degree, you will miss your destination by hundreds of miles. This is why we have to constantly make course corrections in our lives. Are you focused on Jesus or distracted by other things? Distracted? Uh oh, time for a course correction. Do you love other people? No? Oops... time for another course correction.
Life Lesson: As we follow Jesus we should not get distracted.
Dear Father,
I love You. Please help me to love and serve others. Please forgive me for times when I have been distracted. If I am off course Lord, I ask that You would show me through Your Word, through a Bible teaching church, and through fellowship with other Christians, so that I make corrections. I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
2 Corinthians 2:5
"I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me."
The church of Jesus Christ is a family. In fact, I would say it can be an even deeper relationship than those found in a family. As believers, we weep together over heartaches, rejoice together in victories and share our lives with each other. This is not odd; this is the way God intended it to be.
Romans 12:5 "so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other."
If I was to cut my hand and you began to bleed, we would know there was a deep connection between us. In the church, we all are connected. When something good happens to you, I will be there to rejoice with you. Unfortunately, there are Christians who would rather pout over the blessing of another believer than to experience the joy of celebration with them. That person is missing out on one of the many joys of the church. Today, look for ways to connect with other believers. If they are struggling, then be there with them. If they are excited, then cheer them on as they seek Christ. Let's unite under the name of Christ and find fresh unity among all believers.
Life Lesson: When part of the body is hurt, we all feel their pain. When part of the body is attacked, we all stand with them.
Dear God,
Thank You for Your church and the fellowship of believers. Help us all to remain united and not to allow petty issues to cause division. Give me a heart that rejoices with others and is willing to mourn with them as well. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Back to the Bible, Cross the Bridge Ministries

My Comments: In the first lesson we see mans lost focus on God (we all do that at times don’t we?) and we see it, also, in the second yet the focus is in differing directions. We as mankind seem prone (because of sin) to loose our focus on God and divert it onto other things (not profitable to us or anyone else).

Ananias, the elders and others took their focus off of God and sought to discredit and harm others (doesn’t gossip do the same thing) and some in the church body do the same when they gossip. Some in family groups gossip and seek to hurt other family members and the church body is no different. This stems from pride. The same kind of pride Satan fell from heaven from.

If we have love we do not need to make ourselves look better to others nor make others look bad. We seek to ease pain not bring pain to others especially our brothers and sisters and most especially our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Ananias did not have the love of God in him. Many claim to have the love of God in them yet if we listen to them or watch them we know they do not. Friends we all must look closely at how we treat others, what we say and how we say it. We must, if we say we are of Christ Jesus, lift others up not seek to tear them down or beat them up emotionally. Love builds up and cherishes and forgives as God has done for us; as Christ Jesus did when He loved us enough to allow Himself to be crucified on the cross. We can love that much if we Love Him and accept the gift He offers to us; the gift of salvation. Then we have His love in us and we can with His love, love others that way.

Abba Father, thank You for the love You have shown us and given to us freely in offering Your Son as a propitiation for our sin. Thank You for forgiving us and accepting us into Your family as Your adopted children. We praise You for Your grace and pray we will be filled with Your love and speak with Your words, love with Your heart and not listen to the Words of the evil one nor follow any of his ways. We pray we will be wholly Yours, that we will be Your light in a dark world. Amen
Matthew 28:5-7, Romans 11:30-32, Acts 12:11, Luke 24:5/6; Jesus died so we could be born again.
(I felt these four messages should be presented together, let me know what you think)
Matthew 28:5-7
"But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
The Bible mentions several people involved in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is something that you rarely, if ever, find in fairy tales and folklore. You find Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimethea, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and five hundred other witnesses. Either this was the most cleverly concocted hoax ever perpetuated on the world even fooling Roman politicians and Jewish spiritual leaders, or it really was the most pivotal event in human history.
Life Lesson: The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus are historically recorded events that would stand up in a court of law.
The intriguing thing to note is that how you look at this tells how you look at heaven, hell, life, death, faith, love and forgiveness. There were five hundred witnesses and some of them were famous. There was overwhelming and undeniable proof!
Millions of lives today have changed because of this, including mine. The calendar itself forever changed with the birth and death of Jesus (BC and AD). The church would forever after worship on Sunday. Are you are still waiting for more information? Friend, you have enough information to make an educated decision but it still requires a step of faith. Take the chance. I did. My life was forever changed for the better. Today can be the start of a brand new life for you. Ask God to forgive you right now and He will.
Life Lesson: Jesus claimed the power to heal illness. He did it. He also claimed He had the power to forgive sins. He did it.
Dear Jesus:
Thank You for dying for me so that I could be forgiven. Thank You for being resurrected, and that I could have a new life. I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins. Lord, I have done wrong things, and I am sorry. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Please give me the power to live for You, all the days of my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Romans 11:30-32
"For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."
God offers all of mankind His mercy. Who are we to put limits on His mercy? When we choose not to minister the Gospel to another, we do just that. The definition of mercy is to not receive what you deserve. As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us remember that in no way did we deserve God's merciful action. By no means did we merit Jesus' suffering at the hands of the unrighteous and that He would bear the tremendous weight of our own sin on that cross. Through no power of our own, these events unfolded through the benevolent, merciful and loving Father which many want to push away. Let us commit ourselves to making sure that everyone hears God's message of mercy to the broken. May all mankind hear the Gospel and make their choice. This Resurrection Sunday, we will not have a sunrise service. We will have a Son-Has-Risen service. On the other side of that breaking dawn, let us brace ourselves for our God given duties and make sure that the whole world hears.

Life Lesson: God is a merciful God.

Dear Father,
Thank You for being my God of mercy. I believe that Jesus is alive and accept Him as Lord of my life. May I live only for You. Purify my heart with Your Truth and guide me in the way of Your will for my life. May I always do what is pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Acts 12:11

"And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people."
Today, we rejoice in the most incredible event in the history of mankind. We celebrate the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet, how many of us stop and consider the wonder of what really happened? Often, we find ourselves caught up in the planning and celebration of this extraordinary event, never giving thought to the significance this has for us. Let me encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on the impact of Jesus' victory. Take some time with your spouse, family or friends and read the story in Matthew 27 and 28. Reflect on what this means to you. For me, it means that I can be forgiven, death has been conquered and the guilt of my sins can be washed away. This event not only changed human history, it changed my history. Jesus is alive. His tomb is empty... this changes everything.
Life Lesson: We should live our lives in amazement at what the Lord does.
Dear Lord,
Thank You for conquering death, sin and the grave. Help me to stop and consider what You have done for me. Lord, I often go through my life without pausing to reflect on the most important things. Help me to take the time to consider what happened. Lord, please forgive me afresh for all of my sins. Help me to live for You and to love others. In Jesus' name,  Amen.
Luke 24:5-6
"The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee,"
No matter who you are, the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. It changes how we think about life and death. It changes the way we approach relationships and grieve over losses. The resurrection also establishes a big difference between Jesus and other spiritual or religious leaders. Out of all the religions of the world, only one can boast of its leader being raised from the dead and that's Christianity.
So the question remains, "What is your response to the resurrection?" Do you deny it and claim to have a greater source than the God-man, Jesus, who didn't stay dead? If, so there is no change available to you. You will still be a slave to your sins and without an eternal hope of heaven. On the other hand, to believe in the resurrection is to experience life change. No fear of condemnation for sins. No fear of eternity separated from God. Only the peaceful assurance of God's love demonstrated on the cross and proclaimed from the empty tomb. Jesus is alive, and He wants to change your life today!
Life Lesson: The resurrection of Jesus from the dead changes everything.
Dear God,
I come to You today in faith, trusting in Your death and resurrection. I believe that You died for me and that three days later, You were alive again. I believe that because of Your resurrection, I can be forgiven. I ask today that You would forgive me of my sins. Change my life today and use me to tell others about the amazing power of Your resurrection. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Congratulations, you just made the best decision you will ever make or recommitted yourself to the greatest cause...the cause of Christ.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Back to the Bible, Cross the Bridge Ministries

My Comments: My prayer is for all who read this blog and all who I come in contact with, that they will accept the grace freely offered by Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection were for us. He chose to come to earth, live in a human form and be crucified on a cross for our sins and then was resurrected so we could also be resurrected spiritually now and physically later, to be with the Trinity in Heaven forever.

When I think of all He went through for me; the suffering and the pain of His Father pulling away while He became sin on the cross for me; I could never bear it if it were not for His mercy and grace. He has cleansed me and made me new after all I did to separate me from Him. He never left me, He chased me and He won my heart.

Abba Father I pray all who read this blog, all I come into contact with, all my family and friends and those You give me to pray for, will come to trust and have faith in You and accept the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ.

Open their ears, take the scales from their eyes and soften their hearts so they will lift their voices and call on the Name of Jesus to forgive them and save them and take their sin from them and make them new again.

We praise and thank You Father for all Your love, Your grace, Your mercy and pray You will send Your Holy spirit to guide, teach, give us a thirst for Your Word and wisdom and discernment to know the truth at all times. Amen
Living for God,