Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Most Important Part Of Your Day

Today’s Bible readings are Judges 6:1-40, Luke 22:54-23:12, Psalm 95:1-96:13, & Proverbs 14:5-6

Psalm 95:6-7
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, 7for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!

What is the most important part of your day? Is it your morning coffee? I know for me, I really look forward to the cup of coffee each morning. It warms me. It wakes me. I need it. I want it. I don’t want my day to go far without it.

My kids really like breakfast. I have watched them stagger through the house barely able to open their eyes, go straight to the fridge, & get something to eat. Many times, I wonder if they can even see what it is that they are eating.

We all have things that really matter to us. We make time for tem each day. It doesn’t matter if we wake up late. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. The reason is because it is important to us.

What would happen if worship became that important in each of our lives? What would happen if we decided to be people of action? What if we all decided to live out this Psalm in our lives?  What if we all made the decision that we were going to worship our Father, God, & Savior every day NO MATTER WHAT?

I am somewhat convicted, that a cup of coffee can take precedent over my Savior. There is nothing that is going to rob me of my morning Joe. If I don’t get it at home, it is the first thing that I do when I get to the office. The point is that IT MATTERS ENOUGH TO ME TO MAKE SURE  THAT IT IS A PART OF MY MORNING—EVERY MORNING!!!

When we look at all that God has done for us, it only makes sense to worship Him. I send out a challenge today; “Are you willing to make worship the most important part of your day?”

Worship in more than songs. It is more than singing. Worship is a way of life. Here are a few over looked ways to express worship to our God:

1.      Reading the bible.

2.      Giving

3.      Fasting

4.      Praying

These are all ways that we show worth to our God. Don’t be shy about. Worship is a lifestyle. Let’s make the change to make the most important thing in our life each day is to give worship to our King!

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Stone's Throw Away

Today’s Bible readings are Judges 4:1-5:31, Luke 22:35-53, Psalm 94:1-23, & Proverbs 14:3-4

Luke 22:41-42
41 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

This was one of the most trying times in the disciple’s lives. They were under tremendous spiritual pressure. Jesus had just told them that one of them would betray Him. They were being pressed by the authorities. There was an unseen pressure from the spirit realm that was trying to crush them & Jesus. Not to mention the fact that they were physically exhausted. They had been very active in ministry & now they were very worn out. Satan was beginning to put his plan in motion to destroy Jesus & the His followers.

Jesus sensed the things that we are talking about but the disciples did not. It is interesting to me that we are sometimes unaware of the spiritual battles around us. We can be clueless of these battles. We can feel the weight & the pressure but are unaware that it is a spiritual thing. We try to fight it through natural means but a spiritual battle can only be won through spiritual efforts.

Jesus showed us the way to win spiritual battles—PRAY!!! As he walked away a stone’s throw, the disciples fell to sleep. This can represent the way that many people try to fight spiritual fights. They think that sleep can solve it. This is trying to fight a spiritual fight through natural means. They felt the pressure. They felt the weight. They resolved to sleep, while Jesus resolved to pray.

The end result is what we want to pay the most attention to. Jesus won the battle while the disciples lost. They walked away from Him. They caved in when the pressure became too great. They ran & hid when things got difficult.

The main reason the disciples lost this battle was because they didn’t fight it through spiritual means. Jesus won the battle because He fought it through spiritual efforts. He never bent under the pressure of the enemy because He was prayed up.

Which of these do you want to see in your life? Do you want to have strength to endure? Do you want to have power to rise above the violent attacks of satan? Do you want to win the spiritual battles in your life?

Then here is the answer—Be a person of prayer!!! When everybody else is trying to handle things through natural means, withdraw about a stone’s throw to the place of prayer. You too will see that prayer is powerful & mighty to the pulling down of strongholds!

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How To Make Them Thirsty

Today’s Bible readings are Judges 2:10-3:31, Luke 22:14-34, Psalm 92:1-93:5, & Proverbs 14:1-2

Judges 2:10
10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.

We begin to see here the danger that is involved with a people who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord. There was a generation that served God faithful. Now, with this generation, we are getting into a place where they no longer remember what God did to bring them into the blessing & freedom that they have. This always leads to decline.

When Joshua was alive the people of Israel saw the mighty wonders that God did to bring them out of Egypt. They also saw a generation perish in the wilderness for not trusting God. Then, they witnessed firsthand the power of God as He led them to victory over all the surrounding people.

Judges 2:7

And the Israelites served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him—those who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Because of the relationship that they all had with the Lord, they served Him faithfully. He was real to them. He was important to them. He was worth honoring to them. It was God who gave them victory. It was God who protected them. It was God who provided for them. They had great appreciation for God. That led them to honor Him in their lives.

Now that generation is gone. There is a generation that is living that doesn’t have that intimate, personal relationship with God. They have never experienced Him the way the previous generation did. They were born into the blessing. They didn’t have anything invested in it so they seemed to appreciate it less. In addition to appreciating the blessing less, they also had little honor for the One in which the blessing came from. This led to them living a very different kind of life. They abandoned the God of their fore fathers & started to serve the images of Baal.

I can see that this is a pattern for people. Each generation that doesn’t develop a personal relationship with the Lord starts to fall further & further away from the Him. This is happening in our churches all across our nation. There is a generation of people who never developed a relationship with the Lord for themselves. They have never seen God move in power. They have heard stories about it from their grandparents, but never experience it for themselves.

It is very possible to end up with a generation of people who don’t honor God. People can be church goers & still not be God honoring. This was the case with Israel. They were still very religious people but their hearts were far from God. That is why they began to give their hearts to other things. Remember, God is a jealous God. He refuses to share you with another.

In order for us to break this pattern in our generation today, we have to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us. Here are some things that we can do to position our young people to experience God for themselves.

1.      Share with them all the wonderful things that God has done in your life & the difference He has made.

2.      Teach them songs that will sing of God’s great love & power.

3.      Read the bible to them.

4.      Pray with them, especially when they are having struggles in life. Teach them to go to God for His help.

5.      Make sure that when they are young that you MAKE them practice the disciplines of the faith—tithing, giving to missions, fasting, & praying.

6.      Let them see you living your faith out loud.

7.      Take them to place where they can experience the power of God—church, revivals, prayer meetings, etc…

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. Practicing these things will cause a hunger to grow in our young people. It is also enough to make them curious. We cannot make them develop a personal relationship with our Lord, but we can do many things that will position them so that when the right moment comes they will choose God & chose to honor Him. It is like the old saying:  “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Yet, when he sees the water he is bound to get thirsty.”

The last thing that I want to remind each reader about is the power of our prayers. We must all begin to pray fervently that there will be a great outpouring of God’s Spirit in this generation that will captivate the hearts of young people like what captivated our hearts. Revivals can change a nation & a people. But I remind you, that revivals always start with ME first.

So my prayer today is that there a stirring in each readers heart to be closer to God than ever before. As we experience personal revival it will lead to a revival of these things that we have talked about. This generation needs it. Let’s be the ones who give it to them.

Pastor Richard Schlotter

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Safest Place To Be

Today’s Bible readings are Judges 1:1-2:9, Luke 21:29-22:13, Psalm 90:1-91:16, & Proverbs 13:24-25

Psalm 91:1-2
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

There is a place for you & I to live that will keep us safe from all harm. It is a place that offers protection, rest, & security. It is a place that is available to every believer. It is called the “Secret Place”.

The secret place in the place where we rest in our Father. It is a place where He looks after us & cares for our every need. It is what happens to us when we chose to live in Him. We make the choice to enter into a relationship Him & rest in His loving arms.

In this crazy time that we live in it is great to know that we have a Father who can protect us. With all the talk of war that is going on, we have a place of safety in our God. He protects us so we have nothing to fear.

The enemy loves to sow fear in the hearts of people. He is sometimes successful in sowing fear in the hearts of Christians. But he cannot sow fear in the heart of a believer who is in the secret place. Fear is unable to grip the heart of a person in the secret place because the love & the comfort of the Father guards them.

This psalm goes on to tell us specific things that God will do for the person who enters the secret place. I want to make a list of them for us to meditate on.

1.      He will rescue us from every trap.

2.      He will protect us from deadly diseases.

3.      We don’t have to fear terror or terrorists.

4.      We do not have to be afraid of the things that are happen to the multitudes around us.

These are very encouraging promises for you & me to hold on to. I want to remind you that God is faithful to His promise. He keeps His Word. We have to make sure that we have chosen to enter into His shelter so that we can receive the blessings & provision that comes to those who are in His shelter.

Let’s talk for a moment about how we enter into the secret place.

1.      We rest in His Word.

When life starts to get crazy, rather than getting caught up in the moment or the emotion, we remind ourselves of the promise that God has given us. We then move into a place where we let that promise fill our minds & hearts. It may even be necessary to speak the promise out loud. The more we hear it, the more we will believe it. Tell yourself that you are healed. Tell yourself that you are blessed. Tell yourself that you are free of fear. Tell yourself that you are safe in His shadows.

2.      Surrender to His care.

One of the hardest things for people to do is surrender. It takes great trust to let go & let God. If we are to enter into His shelter & rest we have to trust Him. Trusting God is not as difficult as we make it once we consider the source.

1.      God has never failed.

2.      God can never lie.

3.      God always faithful.

4.      God is stronger than any other.

5.      God loves us & wants the best for us.

Knowing these things about our Father really makes it easier for me to trust Him. He has ever disappointed me. It is like the old hymn says:

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

Always remember, Jesus is worthy of your trust. He has made a place for you in Him where you can share in all that He has to offer. It is our choice of whether or not we will enter. He welcomes us to come live in the shelter of His wings. There we will be safe & sound from all the chaos unraveling around us.

Pastor Richard Schlotter