I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ

2 Corinthians 2:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ"

To all of you, my friends and family, who have stuck with me this last year and a half, I hope that in some way you have been encouraged or ministered to in some way. My prayer is that a seed of hope will have somehow been planted in your heart that will bring strength in time of need. Today will be my last devotion and I just wanted to share with all of you the love that I have for you..and the fact that I am so greatful for each and every one of you.
The verse today is one of my favorites in scripture..probably because I feel every day, I am living it. The Corinthians pure and simple devotion to the Lord Jesus was being threatened by false teaching. Paul did not want these precious believers to lose their single-minded love for Christ...so he gave this warning..that just as Eve had been tricked..or deceived in such a subtle way...so can we be.

In the last few years, I have seen things that I thought I would never see. I have seen some of the precious children of God literally being led astray, from the simplicity that is in Christ. All of us in this busy day and age have so many distractions in our lives that it truly can be difficult to stay focused..simply, on Him. The Corinthian believers fell for smooth talk and messages that sounded good and seemed to make sense...and today, things have not changed much. There are many false teachings that seem to truly hold water..but that is simply not the case.

My prayer, as I leave you, is that you would follow truth...and when in doubt..go to the living Word of God. Paul's words further down in this passage are very eye opening.."For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ..and no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light". Satan, the prince of darkness, disguises himself as an angel of light..and he can deceive us by appearing helpful, good, and even moral.

May each of you know Him. May you be as the Bereans were..checking for yourselves into the Word of God, which is alive, quick, and powerful.and is sharper than any two edged sword. May you continue to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might...and may you know the love of Christ that neither life, nor death, nor any other creature might be able to separate you from. May your minds be clear, and solid. May you know what you believe and stand firmly. And may you trust deeply in the One Who laid down His life for you.

In the future, I hope you will all check out my blog..I will continue from time to time, to write and do devotions..it wont be a daily thing..but I hope you will check it out. Thank you all. I love you. He loves you. Don't ever forget it.

For when we were yet without strength, yet in due time Christ died for the ungodly

Romans 5:6-8 "For when we were yet without strength, yet in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarecely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die, but God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justifed by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life"

Today, my prayer for each of you is simply that you will take the thoughts in these verses with you as you go through your weekend. While you were YET sinners, Christ died for you...not because you were good enough..but because God loved you enough. My hope is simply that each of us would meditate this weekend on these verses. I promise that if you do, you will be strengthened in your spirit. God bless all of you

He will change your heart

Luke 19:8 "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look Lord, I have given half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold' "

Zaccaeus was a tax collector. He was despised because he was a deceitful man, cheating people out of their money, and being dishonest. Often tax collectors made themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews.

One day, Jesus visited Zaccaeus. The Bible makes no mention of Jesus rebuking him for his dishonest lifestyle. Instead, Jesus showed him grace by actually spending time with him. Before long, Zaccaeus stood up and declared to Jesus that he would restore fourfold to anyone he had taken from illegally, and he would even give half of his goods to the poor.

Time spent with Jesus completely changed Zaccaeus' heart. A moment with our Lord can change us too. Without accusation, condemnation or judgment, Jesus helped bring about an inward transformation in a short time in the life of Zaccaeus..so that he began to outwardly do what was right, and in a measure that no man would have expected of him.

Most of us truly want to live right. Sometimes that concern with right living can really turn our focus inward..on ourselves..and with the things that we struggle with. I remember a certain thing that I struggled with years ago. I would wake up in the morning and tell myself that today I wasn't going to fall short in that area. I was so focused on me, that I seemed to lose focus of the power of God in my life..and I really struggled for a long time.

I have truly come to the conclusion that it is right believing that produces right living. If you are trying to break free from something that has bound you for years, spend time with the One Who can change a heart in an instant. Pray, and ask for His help..and then ask Him to help you to simply believe that He loves you..that He cares..that He is good, and wants good for you..that He has a plan for your life..that He has paid the price for you to be free and whole.

Today, if you want to experience right living, find out what Christ has done for you and what you have in Him..and simply believe it.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God

Romans 8:14-17 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together"

I don't know about any of you, but for me, there are days when I truly feel like I don't know much. About all I know for sure, is that I am His. If that were the only fact that I could hang on to for the rest of my life, it would be enough. In fact, most of the time, I am greatful that I don't know much more than that. I am His...and that settles it. Whatever questions may come up in my mind and heart, whatever situation I may have to deal with during the day, whatever doubt may try to creep in, there is one fact that I know to be truth, and it is simple...I am His.

You see, He adopted me...and according to Ephesians 1, he chose me before the foundation of the world. He predestinated me to be His..to be brought in to His family. He longed to be my Father. He longed for me to be His child. It was His good will to make me accepted in the beloved. Because of Him, I have received redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, and I am joint-heirs with Jesus. I have obtained an inheritance and I am sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of that inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession...unbelievable! I am His.

On a typical day in my life, I don't think about all of those things. I tend to get focused on the things of the day..trying to figure out the glitch in my computer, refiguring my budget for the umpteenth time, answering the phone, etc. etc. But the last few days especially, I have been consumed by the fact that He loves me...that I am His. I shared with all of you yesterday that I was able, with the help of my wonderful niece, to discover the history of my family..all the way back to Adam on my mother's side. People on my mother's side especially were people who loved the Lord. They even named their children names like Comfort, Guidance, and Makepeace. I have spent the last few days just in awe of the heritage that I now know about..and the fact that God has given me such an incredible glimpse into my past, and where I came from. I have truly come to the realization that for many many generations before me, my family lived for Jesus. They were His...I am so greatful to be His.

Of course, it seems that whenever satan has the opportunity to throw a little dirt in our face, he certainly takes it. On Saturday, after spending hours looking back at the incredible lifeline that took me all the way back to Adam, I received a phone call. It was from a cousin that I haven't been in touch with since I was 14 years old. The timing in this was just incredulous to me, as that very day, I had learned so many wonderful things about my family. I was thrilled to now be in a wonderful conversation with this particular cousin..I remembered her very well because our moms were sisters..and I knew that God must have spoken to her to call me. We literally hadn't been in touch for over 40 years! I began to tell her of my day's events, and how I had found out all of these incredible things about our family..and she began to share with me, even more about our family. She lives back East and I began to realize that I have a whole family back there, that I don't even know! The excitement in me began to grow. This particular cousin is a little older than me, and knew my parents very well when we were little. She began to share with me the events that took place around the time of my birth. and I was about to get the surprise of my life..because I found out that day, that my father had never wanted me. In fact, my mother was so afraid to tell him that she was pregnant with me, that she waited months, trying to figure out what she was going to do, or how she was going to tell him. Finally, she could wait no longer, and she gave him the news about me. He was very upset, to say the least..

As a kid growing up, somehow I knew this. I mean, you know that deep deep sense that you get when someone simply doesn't want to be around you. Somehow I guess I picked up on my dad's indifference, and possibly even his resentment of me. My sister was ten years older, and I think that my dad just had other plans for his life. I am guessing here..but wonder if he thought that his days of raising children were over. The entire time I lived at home, I sensed my father's disapproval. I didn't know how to make him proud of me, so I didn't try. I didn't understand what I had done...I only knew that my entire life, there was always a knowing..deep inside..that my father wished I had never been born. On Saturday, I was to realize that I was right.

I truly believe that the devil would have loved to have destroyed me with that information..or at the very least to plant doubt in my heart..or even to create questions in my mind..that if my own father didn't, or couldn't love me, how could God? Was I simply unloveable? How could this heavenly Father, in Whom I have placed my trust, my heart, and everything that I am, love me, if I am unloveable even to my own father?

Ray and I had the privilege of serving at the Boys Ranch for five years. Time and time again, we would meet young men who had simply never known the love of their father. Many of them had never even met their fathers. I am happy to report that my own father, at the end of his life did grow to love me..and not only me..but months before he died, he received the love of HIS Father..his heavenly Father. My dad was "adopted" into the family of God..because God had chosen him, before the foundation of the world, that he should be holy, and without blame before Him..in love. My father was His.

For those of you who struggle with the way you were raised, the home you grew up in, the cutting words of a parent or sibling, or the fact that maybe you didn't know the love of a parent, or possibly even that you never met your father..today, may I simply remind you..that when you are a child of God, you are loved. God IS love. He cannot be anything else. For those who have never known the love of your earthly father, remember that God is the Father to the fatherless...and to Him..you are a great treasure of great price.. You have not received the spirit of bondage to fear. Your Father does not wish for you to be struggling with who you are. You are His. You have received the Spirit of adoption and you truly are...His!

God loved you personally, so much, that He gave His only begotten Son..so that you might have eternal life. John 3:16..The Bible says that you are not only His child, but His friend...John 15:15. You have been chosen and ordained by Christ..John 15:16. Romans 5:1 says that you are completely forgiven..and because you are in Christ, you have been made totally righteous. Romans 8:1 says that your God does not condemn you. Romans 8:31 says that because God is for you, who or what, can be against you. Romans 8:38 is a reminder that NOTHING can separate you from the love of your Father. Nothing! You are His.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor. 6:20 says that you have even been given the mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 6:20 reminds us that we were bought with a price, Christ's precious blood. II Cor. 5:17 reminds us that we have been made new in Christ. II Cor. 5:21 reminds us that we have been made righteous in Christ. I could go on and on. His grace is sufficient for anything that you need. His strength is unlimited and is made perfect in our own weakness. We were chosen, before the foundation of the world to be holy and blamess before God. We are His personal workmanship...masterpieces.

Beloved, you are LOVED. I can empathize with so many who have not fully understood the love of a father..but I share my heart with you today..that you are loved. I ask you to indulge me briefly, and do something that I believe will help you. Get out your Bible and open it to I Corinthians 13, and begin to read about what love truly is..and then begin to insert your name wherever possible. May each of you begin to truly understand the depth to which your Heavenly father loves you, and today may you know simply...YOU ARE HIS!

He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them

Psalm 78:2-7 "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old; Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children..showing to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children..that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments"

For as long as I can remember, I have had a burden to pray for coal miners. I know that sounds like a strange statement, but it's true. I never knew why. I just knew that whenever I heard about any type of mining accident, I felt compelled to pray for the trapped miners. One time when we lived in Lodi, some miners were rescued in the middle of the night. They had been trapped for several days, and they were now bringing them up..one by one, in this metal basket, from the depths of the earth. We had church the next morning, and had to be up early, and it was now about 2 am..but I knew I couldn't go to bed until the very last miner was rescued.

I have never known what nationality I was. When I was a kid, I used to ask my parents, and neither of them really knew. They thought we might be Irish..or possibly English. When my sister died several months ago, it seemed it was the last connection to my past, which I really knew very little about.

This weekend, all of that changed. I had an incredible experience on Saturday. I had mentioned to one of my nieces that I was interested in finding out about the genealogy of my family. I was considering Ancestry.com. It turned out that she had already been working on the genealogy of my husband's family, and she invited me over to begin to look into my own. To say that I am thankful to her wouldn't begin to cover it. What I found out on Saturday was life changing.

We were both amazed as we traced back the lineage in my father's family. I didn't know that many of them were farmers. I got to see some actual military documents, and was amazed. Going back even further, I found out that my family had originally come from Scotland, and going back even further than that, I found out that there was even some royalty on my dad's side. It was all pretty amazing. I didn't know that so many records were kept, but my niece was able to trace my dad's side of the family all the way back to 79 A.D.

When we got to my mom's side, I didn't think we would find much. We had been so blessed with finding out so much about my dad..I guess I just wasn't expecting much..but was I ever wrong! I never knew my grandparents. My family moved to California when I was 3 years old. I only remember meeting my grandparents on my dad's side once or twice..and on my mom's side, once. So, I was very amazed to find out my mom's father's occupation. He was a coal miner! I was stunned! All of a sudden, things began to make sense to me. I knew why God had laid it on my heart for years to pray for the men who mine coal, and their families.

But going back even further, I was even more blessed. We all know where we came from. We all know that we came from Adam..but honestly, to see it..to see HOW we came from Adam..and who married who..to bring us into the present, was incredibly amazing to me. My niece was actually able to trace back my grandfather's lineage to Adam! I found out that my family was from the tribe of Levi. I started seeing names pop up like Aaron, Moses, and eventually Seth..and then Adam. I know that my niece's heart had to have been beating as hard as mine was. It was astonishing!

Honestly, I wish everyone had the opportunity that I had on Saturday. I wish all of us could see the family tree..I wish we could all have a glimpse into our family bloodline, and see with our own eyes, where and how God brought us to where we are today. I don't feel like I am anyone special..and yet..in the eyes of God, all of us are special. Each of us are unique to Him. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Lord was clear in the scriptures that we are to make known to our children, and the generations to come His wonderful works! The above verse says that we are to share with them, His strength, and His praises! The reason..is that they might know Him..and that they might set their hope in Him. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, this is an important instruction from the Lord. We need to share our testimonies. We need to simply share Christ..with our families and with a lost and dying world.

The experience that I had Saturday changed my life. It cleared up some mysteries for me about my past..it helped me to understand the way I think and function..but more than that, it built hope in me for the future. I have had a sense of being rejuvenated, strengthened..and I am so greatful for the heritage that I now know about..I want to look forward now and pour into the lives of my own son, and my grandson.

If you read all of Psalm 78, you find that the people believed not, in God, and didn't trust in His salvation. Beloved, it is so important to teach your children..to live your life in such a way yourself, that they begin to discover the wonders of Him..simply by watching you. Truthfully, I feel like I have failed to some degree in this endeavor..but I don't believe that God ever sees us as failures. I believe that He simply says that it's never too late.

Today, my prayer for each of you is that you might simply look back at your own life, and see the many ways in which God has carried you, the times that He has been your strength..and your hope..the times that He has provided..and I am hoping that some of you might begin to journal some of these things. Journaling is a great way to remind yourself of the goodness of God..and then above all, I pray that you will teach your children..and that you will share your testimony with someone who needs a ray of hope in their life.

May you blessed today, as you move forward.

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding."

"My child, lean your head upon My bosom. Well I know your weariness, and every burden I would lift. Never bury your griefs; but offer them up to Me. You will relieve your soul of much strain if you can lay every care in My hand. Never cling to any trouble, hoping to resolve it yourself...but turn it over to Me; and in doing so, you will free Me to work it out."

This very simple statement was written by Frances J. Roberts..one of my favorite authors. I would simply add this to it..don't lean on what you think you know. Lean on Him. Offer to Him every hurt, every situation, every misunderstanding. Don't try to reason out your situation.

Don't think that you have to have everything in your life figured out before you can move forward. Trust Him. Often, we only have enough light on the path we are walking, to see the next step...and that's ok. We don't need to see the entire path. What we do need, is to trust God.

He knows every burden you carry. He is acquainted with your grief. Don't hold on to those things. Hold on to Him..in holding on to Him..you are letting go of the things that may hinder you. Hold on to Him, that you may be free to enjoy the life that He died to give you, beloved. May you have a deep sense of His presence as you go through your weekend. Much love to all of you.


II Kings 3:25 "And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water and felled all the good trees: howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it"

There were people in the Bible who were referred to as "slingers". They defeated their enemies by slinging stones and throwing dirt into their wells..thereby contaminating their life source of water.

We have all known people who sling accusation, judgement, criticism and who find fault with others. We have done it ourselves. The Lord has been dealing with me so much in this area of the mouth lately. We judge others for their actions, when we ourselves are equally guilty, simply by finding fault. We run to someone in the church under the guise of "praying for that person". If we honestly think about it, it's a little sickening. That is certainly the way that Jesus saw it. He said that it isn't what goes in to a man's body that defiles him, it is what comes out of his mouth that defiles him..

We defile people with our words. We stop up their wells..the very well of living water that runs through the Spirit of every believer. As a child, I remember when my grandmother died on my dad's side. He and his sister were planning her funeral. Somehow they got into an argument about who was going to pay for the flowers for their mother..they never spoke again for 35 years! What a terrible waste of time, and of a wonderful relationship. Words are containers for power, and when used incorrectly, they can do so much damage.

I have known people who simply want to be right..whatever the cost. Recently, I actually had to step back from a friendship because of the angry words that continually came at me from this person. It wasn't always directed right at me..sometimes it was directed at others..but I still had to hear it..it still went into my spirit, and at times stopped up my well. I would often come away from spending time with this person, feeling ill. The truth was, I was ill. I had been defiled.
Friends, how many of us could honestly say that some of the greatest hurt we have experienced in our lives has been started by words. Some of the biggest wars the world has ever known were started by words...and unfortunately, much of this is going on in the church.

Beloved, none of us want "slingers" in our lives..people who are constantly negative, critical, and judgemental..people who throw dirt on the very dreams that God has given us, people who hurl insults at others...and we certainly don't want to become "slingers" ourselves.

Refuse to be a "slinger" who contaminates your very own faith, and walk with God, or the faith of those around you. Begin to pay attention to what you are saying, and to what is being said around you. Ask for God's help in this endeavor. Spending time with Him will fill you with fresh "living water". You will be edified, and will become a source of encouragement not only for those around you, but even in your own walk.

Psalm 6:6 "I am weary with my groaning; all the night, I make my bed to swim'. I water my couch with tears"

I don't know about any of you, but it seems the biggest battles I have are in my mind..and thought life. Often, right before I go to sleep, when I am laying there thinking about the events of the day, or what I need to do the next day, it seems the biggest part of the battle takes place. Even before we are awake in the morning sometimes, the devil is bidding to deceive us, and to plant defeating thoughts in our minds. Even David struggled with this..David, who loved God and trusted Him so greatly..still had to wrestle at times with his thoughts.

Satan wants us to be hopeless, faithless, and negative. He has done his job when he can plant doubt and unbelief in the mind and heart of a child of God..because then we are rendered useless for the Kingdom. He definitely does not want us to have a positive outlook when we get up in the morning. He would rather see us have a bad attitude and to be self-centered, rather than God centered, offering our lives and our day to Him.

Thank God, that through Jesus, we have been redeemed..and we don't have to live, just accepting every thought that pops into our head. I lived that way for years, and let me tell you, it is not God's best for the believer. The Lord loves us. He has a plan for our lives. He wants to be able to use us..He wants us to have joy and peace, and to live hope-filled lives..because He is the God of hope.

Isaiah 26:3 says "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee..because he trusteth in thee"

To be "stayed", means to remain..to steadfastly think on the things of God..to not lose focus. We can never avoid all the problems that this life has to offer..but we can take control over our thoughts. We can choose to accept or dismiss every thought that comes our way. When we are steadfastly thinking about the things of the Lord, trust develops..and peace comes...perfect peace. When we are trusting Him..our whole attitude changes..and we become stable..supported by God's unchanging love for us..and by His mighty power..we are not shaken..but are firm.

Today, begin to resist whatever negative thoughts the devil may hurl at you..and begin to trust God's power in order to live a wonderfully victorious life!

These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however is found in Christ. Colossians 2:17

God’s intention from the beginning has been that one day all things would be summed up in Christ. All of the Father’s eternal purposes are found in His Son. Jesus is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. What this means is hard for us to comprehend with our finite minds and perspectives. But it is clear that in Jesus Christ, all that God has intended for mankind regarding life both here and now and into eternity is provided in Christ Jesus.

The Old Covenant dealt in types and shadows. Types that were an incomplete and insufficient picture of the fullness that Jesus would bring, and shadows that were at best only veiled glimpses into the glory of the Son of God. Paul writes to the Colossians that the reality is found in Christ. The blood of bulls and heifers could never cleanse the conscious of man, and their atonement was short-lived. They could only foreshadow the reality that the cross and its atonement would provide. The holiest of all feasts such as Passover were only a limited and preliminary foretelling of the power of the deliverance that would come from the blood of Christ. Even the Sabbath and its deep imprint on the hearts and lives of Israel was a mere hint at the complete and abiding rest that God would provide in His Son.

This is the danger of religious tradition. It quickly usurps the place that is reserved in man’s heart that the Father intended for His Son alone. The fall resulted in man needing to see what he worshipped. Today unfortunately, that remains true even in His church. We must never allow ourselves to make idols of shadows and incomplete reflections of the true glory, a glory that comes from the Son alone.

Jesus is the Reality of God. “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” John wrote. Truth, reality, substance, fullness, completeness, the beginning and the end describe this total work of God in and through His Son. We have everything we need for life and godliness in the Son of God. He truly is the “Yes” and “Amen” of God

R, Martinez

The Defeat Cycle

In the spiritual realm there are two kingdoms in conflict: the kingdoms of light and darkness, life and death, truth and deception. Those influences are calling out to you, not only for your attention, but your devotion. They seek to control every aspect of your life. Sadly, most people tune in the wrong signals. Eventually, rather than you merely having thoughts, those thoughts take hold of you.

From the time man was created and placed in a garden, God fully intended to fellowship with us. He wanted to bless all the earth through the stewardship and oversight of those who knew Him as father, walked in His will according to His ways and fulfilled His purpose. But in that garden there was a deceiver, more subtle and crafty than any beast of the field. You know what happened – they bought the lie. From that moment on, a tragic cycle of defeat began.

God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. That commandment expresses His will for those created in His image. The effect of the fruitfulness of our life will be multiplied. We are continually sowing seeds with our words, deeds and influence. God designed us to have a positive and profound impact on everyone we encounter. But instead, many of us live a life of continuous defeat.

Psalm 78 chronicles the Israelites’ cycles of defeat. These events illustrate a spiritual truth – a life lesson that speaks to us today. Throughout history, the people of God have cycled through blessings of God – forgiveness, fruitfulness and restoration – and the curses of sin – arrogance, self-centeredness and bondage. The Old Testament repeatedly recounts how God made His people to walk in his will, but the enemy took them captive, then He set them free. Sadly, the cycles of defeat were foolishly repeated.

Jesus, the promised Messiah, walked in and announced, "What the prophet said is fulfilled. I have come to set the captives free, to restore sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are oppressed." The Jewish people looked at him and said, "We have never been in bondage to anyone. We're descendants of Abraham!" If you read Psalm 78, as well as the minor and major prophets, you will find these people continually lived as slaves. Yet they said to Jesus, "We're not in defeat. We're not in bondage."

We are all born in this world as the children of wrath because of mankind’s fall. We must be born again to become the children of God. But from the moment you're born again, the kingdom of deception and destruction seeks to take you captive. When we turn away from the spiritual battle between these two kingdoms and do not walk the path of victory that the Lord has laid out for us, we fall back into bondage. Consider this account of God’s chosen people:
The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.

But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the desert? When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?"

When the Lord heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.

(Psalm 78:9-24)

Do you see the similarity today? God does great things in our lives, but we wander from His ways, His truth, His life and His love. We pay the price for our rebellion, yet God remains faithful, pouring out “the grain of heaven.” We deserve His wrath, yet He opens the doors of heaven.

God wants to break every bondage in our lives. He longs for us to live in fellowship with Him, hearing His voice and responding to His love. Only through intimacy with God can we receive freedom, fullness and fruitfulness that He wants for us.

We spend our time going to church, but God desires us to become the church. It is not a place; it is a people. We are to live to pierce the darkness, to bring about a transformation of everything we come in contact with because we have been undeniably set free.

Say to the Lord, “God, I'm in your hand. What's your purpose for me?” He wants to shape Christ-likeness in you. All things work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. That’s you. He wants to shape Christ in you.

The starting point for this process is His word. The word is alive! And I make you this promise – it’s really God's promise – if you will get His word out of that leather binder and bind it up in your heart, it will be like a fire in your bones. It will be like honey, gold and silver tried in a fire, reflecting the beauty of the purified work He has accomplished in your life. When you look at your life, you will see Jesus. And when God looks at you, He will see Himself in you, refined like silver.

God’s word is true. He is faithful to forgive and restore you to His freedom. So make the choice today and every day to live according to His ways, so that you can receive His life and impact those around you for His kingdom

J. Robinson

I have chosen you

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

I remember as a kid on the playground or during P.E. class, standing next to my best friend, and hearing the teacher or coach say, “Ok, now we’re going to pick teams.” When one of us would be picked we always tried to persuade the “captain” to choose the other of us to make sure we ended up on the same team. When we couldn’t make that happen, we found ourselves on opposing teams, and suddenly we were now opponents, just because someone had chosen us.

Jesus said that’s the way our lives are in this world. He is the “Captain of our faith”, and He chose each of us to be on His team. In being chosen by God, that immediately puts us at odds with the rest of the world, and Jesus says we will be hated, for no other reason than that we belong to Him.

One of the greatest mistakes we can make as believers is to try to “fit in” with the world. We have to realize we’re wearing opposing uniforms now and we can never fit in. We will always stand out, always be distinct, and always be at odds with the plans, dreams, and methods of the “opposing team”. The result is that sometimes we may not be liked. But we have been commanded to love them. “Love your enemies and don’t curse them”, Jesus said, “but rather bless them.” What a remarkable dichotomy we live in as followers of the Lord Jesus.

This is the power of the Christian life. We must realize we aren’t just passing time in this life. We have been called out of the world, chosen and set apart in order to now live our lives as a new humanity, His new creation in the midst of this fallen and dying world.

But in being left here to live we must never expect to just blend in, to fit in. The world is dying; we are living. The world is still in bondage to sin and death. We are free from both. The world is hopelessly looking for a reason to live. We have been found by God and been given the life the world is seeking. Yes, brothers and sisters, you were picked by a great Captain. You are on the winning team. But that isn’t a reason to gloat and coast through life. No, we must now call others to be a part of this great team

R. Martinez

Dear friends, God is good

Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Romans 12:1

Our bodies are pure and pleasing because of redemption’s sacrifice. It may seem hard for some to believe that, but it’s true. The cross has not only paid the price for the sins committed, it has also cleansed us from sin’s contamination and defilement. As a child of God, you are now clean. Paul said to the Corinthian church, in light of that truth, and in light of the great price that was paid, our bodies are now not are own, and so we are to glorify God in our bodies. He now says to the Romans, the best way to glorify God with our bodies is to present them to Him as a living sacrifice.

Worship always involves sacrifice. There is no worship of God without sacrifice. In the Old Covenant it was animal sacrifice. To inaguarate the New it was the sacrifice of Jesus. For us now, we who are benefactors of the blessings of grace in the New, it is the natural response to that great grace.

“Offer your bodies”, Paul says. Offer them to God as those alive from the dead, as those who now no longer live for themselves but for Him. Offer them as worship, as an expression of our love, devotion, and thanks for what He has done. Offer them for His use, for whatever and however He would choose to use us. Offer the members, the individual parts to Him. Offer the eyes that once lusted, the brain that at one time was filled with vain imaginations, the mouth that cursed His name, the hands and feet that were quick to run to and participate in sin, and your heart that once worshipped all of the above false idols.

“This”, Paul says, “is the most sensible way to serve God.” It is “reasonable”, other translations say, to serve God and thus worship Him in this way.

Christianity is very practical. Its not limited to great spiritual giants; children can and do experience the depths of the Christian life. It comes down to who and what we worship. In a world where countless gods clamor for our worship, Paul reminds us very simply that “God is good.” Offer your lives, hearts, and bodies to Him as living sacrifices as worship. It just makes sense.

R. Martinez

Psalm 103:4 "Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies"

There are four women who are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. One might think they would be Sarah or Rebeka..or even Rachel or Leah...the wives of the Old Testament patriarchs..but instead they are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba...three of whom had morally questionable backgrounds.

Tamar resorted to deception and prostitution to produce children through her father in law. Yet, it was from her line, the tribe of Judah, that the Messiah came. Rahab was a Gentile, and a prostitute in Jericho, who became a believer in the God of Abraham. She also became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth.

Ruth was morally upright, but as a Moabitess, she was a Gentile and therefore was considered unclean. Yet, she became the grandmother of David, whom the Jews regard as a great king. Bathsheba commited adultery with David. Later, she gave birth to King Solomon, from whose royal line Jesus descended.

When I see these stories in the scriptures, I am reminded that He..Jesus..is greater than our sins. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. Even when the world might want to disqualify us, He qualifies us...to be His..and to be blessed..and to be loved!

God is a God of second chances. He is actually a God of many chances. The stories of these women show us that even when we have troubles of our own making, they do not have to be final or even fatal. When we turn to Him, He can change any situation. He can change hearts. He can change us. He forgives. He loves. He restores. He can even use the most difficult thing to bring glory to His name!

Friends, do not look at your natural circumstances and therefore be discouraged. Trust the One who redeems your life from destruction, and who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Trust the One Who qualifies the disqualified!

Believeth on Him

Romans 4:5 "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness"

Some folks, when they realize that we are saved by God through faith, start to worry if they have enough. They wonder if their faith is strong enough or deep enough. When we are thinking along those lines, we are missing the point. It was Jesus Christ who saved us. It is He who has justified the ungodly, not we ourselves. Salvation is not based on feelings or even actions. Jesus is strong enough to save us, no matter how weak we may see ourselves. Salvation is a gift..simply because He loves us..not because we have earned it.

God also says that we can come boldly before His throne when we do bring our needs to Him. I personally do not believe that He wants us to come to Him afraid or even feeling unworthy. When we are "IN Christ", we can have the assurance that His death, burial and resurrection have justified us, and qualified us to not only come to Him boldly, but to receive from Him.

This was the kind of boldness that the woman with the issue of blood had when she touched Jesus. By touching Him, she knew that she was breaking a Levitical law which states that anyone with a bodily discharge is unclean and should not even appear in public..let alone touch another person. But she refused to feel condemned by the law. She believed what she had heard about Jesus and she was confident that there would be only love and compassion from Him. She boldly pressed her way through the crowd to touch Jesus, who in turn spoke to her.."daughter, your faith has made you whole".

Romans 4:5 talks about faith that believes that God justifies even the ungodly when they simply come to Him. When you believe this, it gives you boldness to come to God, even when you are feeling "unclean" because you've just blown it.

When you have failed in some way, don't run away from God. Run TO Him..boldly...knowing that you are justified by the blood of Christ and not by your good behavior. Remember today that you are not only His child..but that you are deeply loved.

The grace of God

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12

For many recently, there has been a rediscovery of the message of grace, and there is a returning to the centrality of the Good News of God’s gracious provision through His Son. But in re-emphasizing grace as foundational, much confusion theologically has entered the church. We’ve all heard the term, “sloppy agape”, which is to say that some understand grace to be a “free ticket” to now live however they want believing that grace will always be available regardless of how they live.

This is a dangerous and unbiblical understanding of the grace of God that has been provided in the Lord Jesus Christ. When grace is understood in a true Biblical sense, and is active in the life of a believer, Paul says it “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness.” In other words, grace is not only provision for sin, it is an enabling power to keep us from sinning! This is the spirit in which the text in Hebrews was written. It is an admonishment to apply diligence in our faith and it assumes a proper understanding of the work of grace in the life of the believer.

The writer to the Hebrews says that diligence is needed to the very end. Some translations use the word “earnestness”. In other words there has to be a seriousness and an effort in our faith. He warns of becoming lazy in their faith and running the risk of missing their full inheritance. That doesn’t mean “losing their salvation’, it means not living life to the fullest, and missing the full blessing of God in this life. That would be tragic because we also know that how we live this life as believers has great reward in the life to come. “Don’t forfeit any of your inheritance!” he warns.

What is needed the writer says, is diligence in our faith; earnestness, seriousness, and our full participation “to the very end”. Imitate others, he also says, who live this way. Imitate their faith and their patience as they live for God. Apply yourself to a life of faith, always dependent on the enabling grace and power of the Life that is at work in you, but also fully aware that our participation in this life is the outworking of our faith. True faith will always lead to good works.
Godly works come from resting in God’s grace. Rest and grace, works and diligence; two sides of the same wonderful coin. The rest and the grace is His part, that which is finished in Christ. Our part is to be diligent in believing, diligent in resting, and earnest in living out of His grace. This is not a time for casual Christianity. In fact there is no such thing.

R. Martinez

Do this in remembrance of Me

I Corinthians 11:24 "..and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me' "

If you take a close look at the Matzah bread that is often used during communion services, and which the Jews eat during their Passover meal, you will notice that it is unleavened. It doesn't have any yeast. It is also pierced with little holes that form stripes up and down the bread. It is slightly burnt as well.

This bread that we hold in our hands speaks of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ when He bore our sins on the cross. Like the bread, He was pierced in His brow by the crown of thorns, as well as in His hands and feet by the nails. He was also pierced in His side by a soldier's spear. The prophet Isaiah said that "He was pierced for our transgressions"

Jesus was also scourged on His back, until His flesh was torn and bleeding. Isaiah also spoke that "by His stripes, we are healed".

What about the burn marks? The full fire of God's wrath fell upon Jesus. He bore the fiery judgment that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven.

When you know the precious truths about our Lord's body on the cross, it brings to light in an even greater way, the love of our Savior. This is His body, which was broken....for YOU...don't think I can say much more than that.

Proverbs 29:25 "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe"

This week, I had a breakthrough in my walk with the Lord. I do not tell you that to brag in any way on myself. I tell you, to glorify God. You see, for many years, I have had an ongoing battle..the battle of being a man pleaser. I hate confrontation. I would rather get along with people. I don't like to disappoint anyone or let anyone down. This has at times been to my own detriment.

Several years ago, I had a ministry that was burning in my heart. I was certain that I was being led of God and I was so excited to think that he might use me to help others in this area. I went to a person that I trusted for counsel. That day, I was talked out of what God had laid on my heart. That day, the dream died. That day, I made a choice to follow man's advice, even though something deep inside me knew that it couldn't be right. Something deep inside me was screaming that I was being misled, and that possibly this person had their own ideas for my life and how I could be used. I didn't listen that day. I let go of the desire the Lord had laid on my heart, and I followed man.

For years after this, I would hear people tell me that God had spoken to them about this or that. I wondered why God only seems to speak to certain people. It didn't seem that He was speaking to me. I would spend time with Him, and question the fact that I didn't feel that I was hearing from Him. I needed direction. Most of the time, God was silent.

For many who feel that God is silent, it is a curious thing. We wonder why. We end up deciding that He only speaks to a certain few "chosen" people. We wonder what we did wrong. We fight the feelings of discouragement, and even isolation..and ask ourselves if the God of the universe, Who IS love, is rejecting us. We find that hard to believe, but can come up with no other answer.
This week, I got my answer. I was having a conversation with a friend who has stepped out in faith in a certain area, and I was telling him that I admired his courage. He began to share with me that he had come to a point in his life where he simply had to do what God had laid on his heart, even when it didn't make sense, even when others disagreed, even if he had to stand alone, even if it meant leaving others behind, even if it meant laying down his life. I was so struck by what he was telling me..and then God spoke. It wasn't out loud, but it was as if He "planted" something in my spirit..and it was simply this..."No one can hear My voice and follow My leading, when they have chosen to follow man". I cannot begin to tell you all, how deep this sunk into my heart. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot choose to follow man, over following Christ. It will never work.

Most of the time, I don't think we even realize what we are doing...and I am certainly not saying that we shouldn't seek counsel from someone wise from time to time...but I am saying, that God does speak. If you read the book of Acts, you will notice how the Spirit led, and how the Spirit even stopped people. This is normal. This is how it should be in the life of every believer. If we are not being led by the Spirit, then who or what are we being led by?

I know that this message is strong today. I do not wish to offend anyone. I must tell all of you that I had this devotion written out earlier this morning, and just as I was finishing the last couple of sentences, my screen went blank. It literally went blank. This has never happened before, and I had to take some time to rethink and pray, believing that God wants you all to see this.

The fear of man brings a snare, beloved. A snare is a trap that you cannot get out of on your own. Is there something in your life that you believe God is speaking to you? Are you making decisions based on His leading or based on what might be favorable with man? Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. My prayer for each of us today is that we might re-examine our lives and begin to ask God what or who we might be putting our trust in..our trust belongs in Him. His is the voice that we need to hear and to follow. May you have a deep sense of His presence today. His sheep hear His voice..and they follow Him. Today, may you hear the voice of your Savior..and may you simply follow Him.

"for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 "Not that we are sufficient of oursselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life"

According to the notes regarding these verses in my Bible, "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" means that trying to be saved by keeping the Old Testament laws ends in death. Only by trusting in God can a person receive eternal life through Christ. No one but Jesus has ever fulfilled the Law perfectly. The Law makes people realize their sin, but it cannot give life. Eternal life comes through Christ..and a new life is given to all who put their trust in Him.
I read something interesting recently. To the Jews, the feast of Pentecost is a celebration of the giving of God's law. It takes place 50 days after the Passover feast. When God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, it was 50 days after they had celebrated their first Passover, and come out of slavery in Egypt.

But what happened after God gave them the law on the first Pentecost? Three thousand people died. (Exodus 32:28) Contrast this with another Pentecost in the New Testament. In the book of Acts, it says that when Pentecost had fully come, God gave the Holy Spirit, and three thousand people got saved! (Acts 2:41)..which goes to show that the letter (the law) kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The law, which was "written and engraved on stones" ministered death. This is why the Apostle Paul called it the "ministry of death" (2 Cor. 3:7-9) . On the other hand, the Spirit ministers life!
When we come under the law by trying to keep God's commandments in order to be blessed, it leads to death.. lack of joy, discouragement, condemnation, depression, frustration, hopelessness. But when we rely on the Spirit, it brings life into every situation. We have a sense of hope, courage in the midst of adversity, a deep sense of joy, breakthroughs and new ideas, and a sense of being led..peace and wonder, and manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 3:5)

The law was given on Mount Sinai...but the Spirit on Mount Zion. This is why the Bible says that "you have not come to the mountain (Sinai) that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest..But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels" (Heb.12:18,22). The Lord blesses you out of Zion (Psalm 128:5).

Beloved, He has given you His Spirit. He has made you a new creation. Today, thank Him for all that He has done. You are truly blessed.

Psalm 105:4 "Seek the Lord, and His strength; Seek His face evermore"

If each of us could keep only one thing in mind every day, this would be a good thing to remember. Seek God. Look for His leading in every situation. I truly believe that He wants to lead us..He says that His sheep hear His voice, and they know it. He is speaking. It is often just so easy to get caught up in all the busyness of life, and the problems, that we come to the conclusion that God isn't speaking. We don't want to believe that He would leave us on our own to solve a problem..but we aren't hearing His voice.

If God seems far away, He isn't. Persist in seeking Him. He has not moved. Hebrews ll:6 says that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Jesus promised that if we seek Him, we will find Him...and David suggested that we look back and remind ourselves of the ways God has helped His people in the past. I suggest that you do that in your own life. Spend some time this week looking back..simply remembering the times that as you looked ahead to a situation, you truly didn't see any way through..but as you looked back, you could clearly see the hand of God as He gave you strength, made provision, changed, hearts, and worked in ways that you couldn't ever have imagined.

He will not leave you, beloved. Seek Him. Seek His strength..and seek, not only His hand in whatever you may be facing. Seek His face. He longs for intimacy and fellowship with you, as much as you do with Him. I know that many of us are busy and seeking God requires time. I urge you to prioritize your life. Seek Him first. Seek Him throughout your day. Listen for the Holy Spirit to give you a gentle nudge as you go through your day. I promise you..God will never abandon you..and He will not fail you or disappoint you.

Man shall not live by bread alone...

Matthew 4:4 "But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" '.

The Bible tells us that God breathed into man and he became a living being. (Gen. 2:7) It also tells us that all scripture is God breathed ((2 Tim 3:16). This means that when you read the Bible or when you listen to God's Word being preached, you are imbibing the very breath of God, which gives us life.

Have you ever walked into church on a Sunday morning feeling tired at first, but left at the end of the service feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and even energized? God's word has breathed life into your body! God's word is alive!

A friend of mine told me a remarkable story a couple of years ago. She was diagnosed with a disease that would have taken her life..the doctors really hadn't given her any hope of ever being well again..but she began to read God's word..she literally "bathed" herself in the Word of God...and she began to get stronger. One afternoon, as she laid down on her bed, she opened her Bible, and laid it on top of the area in her body where the illness was. I'm not at all saying that doing this is some type of "method" for being cured..but saturating yourself with the living Word of God according to Proverbs 4:22 gives life to all who find His word... and His word gives health to all their flesh. My friend today is whole and healthy. She took God at His word.

Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If it is important to our physical bodies to eat a healthy meal every day, of how much greater importance it is to "feast" daily on the Word of God. He made us..and He knows and recommends what our bodies need daily. We need Him!

So, whatever else you do today, remember to get your daily feeding of God's Word. Beloved, you cannot live when you stop breathing...and in the same way you cannot live without the Word of God because it is the very breath of God, which brings you life and health.

Psalm 34:10 "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing"

Some of us may question this statement that David made, because it would seem at times, that we are lacking, and do have needs. I don't believe that this is a blanket promise that we can all have anything we want. I think that God knows what our needs are, and that as Christians, no matter what physical poverty we may be in, or what hardship we may face, we will always have enough spiritual nourishment to live for God. To have Him, is to have anything and everything that we will ever need. He is enough.

David was praising God for His goodness..all those who call upon God in their time of need..those who seek Him in their neediness..will be answered..very often in some unexpected ways. God sees our whole life, and your life functions as a whole. The whole (entirety) of you is IN Christ when you are a child of God's. Therefore, He is involved in every area of your life. He has made you whole..and thereby He is involved in every aspect of your neediness. He is concerned with your spiritual needs, but also with your physical needs, your financial needs, your health needs, your emotional needs, and your relational needs.

God is infinite, and because we are IN Christ, we take on His capacity, not our capacity. We have a big God..who cares about every detail of our lives, from small to huge. He would never leave us uncared for. Today, seek Him..and find the nourishment and the sustenance you need to face whatever difficult situation you may be dealing with. He truly is enough.

Job 42:5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You"

Most of us know the story of Job. The Bible says he was a man who loved God and hated evil..and yet he went through so much in his life..the loss of his possessions, the loss of his children..the loss of his health..and with no real help or compassion from anyone. His three "friends" were clearly wrong. They had made the mistake of thinking that Job's suffering was caused by something he had done wrong, and they advised Job accordingly. Even Job's own wife told him to simply curse God and die.

Job must have felt so alone. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever gone through something so difficult, so traumatic, that you wondered how you would ever make it through..and then on top of everything else, you felt alone..you felt like no one understood, and you wondered where God was in all of this that you were facing?

Sometimes when we don't have an understanding of what is happening to us..or why it is being allowed to happen, we can form in our hearts, very unfortunately, a lack of trust in the Lord. When we simply can't see Him in our situation, when we have prayed and received no answer, or when a situation goes on for a long period of time..we can get to the point where we question..if God is truly in control, how could He let this happen?

I remember going through that when we first realized that Ray's children were missing. I remember thinking that I could never live through this. I questioned God, and wondered how He could allow something so awful to happen to us. I was, in a way, like Job's three friends. I questioned myself and wondered what I must have done wrong to deserve such a thing to have happened. Like Job, I could have easily said, My ears have heard of You God..but God wanted me to see Him.

It is so important for each of us to have a personal revelation of God..and of His love for us. It simply isn't enough to have heard of God only..to sit in church week after week, with no real personal revelation of Him in our lives. Without that personal revelation, that knowing in our hearts, that God sees what we face, He cares for us, He knows that it will be difficult, but somehow He is working in the situation to bring something good forth, we can easily live a life of defeat. And a life of defeat and depression is not what Christ died to give us. He came that we might have LIFE, and have it in abundance. The devil can easily steal our joy, when we don't have a deep and very personal revelation of the love of our Savior.

From the moment that Job had that revelation, things began to change for Him, and He could say with confidence, Lord, my ears had heard of You..but now my eyes have seen You. He still may not have had a clear answer from God about all the why's and what's of his situation, but He could look back and see that God had been with him throughout his entire ordeal. What a comfort.

I don't know how to instruct each of you on having this very personal relationship with God. I only know that it's possible. I only know that looking back at my life, and the loss of our children, I can say along with Job, that my eyes have seen Him. I have seen Him in our situation, the God of all comfort, strengthening us, deepening our faith, holding us up when we felt as though we couldn't take another step, giving us a determination to keep going, loving us into wholeness once again. I can see Him in the fact that there is no longer any bitterness in my heart, and I know that only God could have done that. I was so filled with anger at one time. God has helped me to pray for Ray's sons' mother, and He has given me a love for her that I could not have on my own. My eyes have seen Him.

I don't know what you may be going through today. Many of you have gone through things that are much harder than what I have faced. I can only encourage you that you have a sovereign God who loves you. I can only exhort you to "dig deep" into the things of God. Admit to Him when you can't even muster up enough faith to trust..I believe that often true faith begins with such humility. Realize that we are locked into time, and God isn't. There may be things in this life that go unanswered...but we can trust God when we know Him..when we have that revelation of His love for us..and realize that He sees the bigger picture that we can't always see.

God used our situation with Ray's sons, to change our hearts, and give us a burden for the young men at the Boys Ranch. For five years, we were allowed the privilege of going in on Sunday mornings, and speaking to them about the love of God. We will never know the work that God did in their hearts, but we trust and believe that hearts were changed. Our eyes have seen Him.

Beloved, when you are in a difficult situation..or when you are simply reading your Bible, or hearing God's word being preached, and you suddenly realize.."I see it, Lord"..that is when your personal revelation of God has come..and you will begin to see that God has been with you all along.

Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"

The world these days feels helpless as the systems of the country and of the world go up and down. Just to watch the news can cause fear and uncertainty to rise up. We hear about war, recession, crime, unemployment, inflation, and on and on it goes.

Beloved, God does not want you to feel helpless. You are not of the world. John 17:16 says "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". Whatever the world's situation is, fear not..because your God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.

Beloved, I am not saying that you will get absolutely everything you want. That is not what the verse is saying.

The verse says that God shall supply all your need. It doesn't say that He will supply sometimes. It doesn't say He will supply if you behave yourselves. It doesn't say that He will supply if He feels like it. It doesn't even say that He will supply sometimes. The verse also says that He will do it, according to His riches in glory. It is not according to this world's system..or according to the riches of the company you work for. It is according to God.

When you are feeling anxiety, because everything around you seems uncertain, fix your eyes on Him..the One who is unshakable, unwavering..the One Who cannot lie, Who never breaks a promise..the One Who died for you..the One Who loves you. Keep you eyes on Him..not on what is going on around you. Don't continue to saturate your mind with all of the "bad news" around you. Instead, look at the unshakable and eternal Word of God. Your heart will become stable, and you will see as God supplies for you, whatever the need might be..according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus.


Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. James 5:17-18

It’s good that James reminds us that Elijah was a man just like us, because it would be hard to believe otherwise. He called down fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel, he ran ahead of a chariot into the city of Jezreel in the power of the Lord. And his life ended by being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. Did he even die?

Yet James says, “He was a man just like us.” Ok James, if you say so. Yes, as far as the authority to pray and to move the hand and heart of God, he was a man just like us. And dare we say, that maybe we have even greater authority because of who we are in Christ.

The greatest issue with prayer is that you have to do it to be effective. Thinking about prayer isn’t prayer. Intending to pray isn’t prayer, and certainly just studying and reading books about prayer isn’t prayer. To pray we have to exercise our wills and speak the words and intent of our hearts. Whether it is audible or inaudible isn’t the issue, it is simply that we do it!

There are many kinds of prayer, but the most effective are those that are prompted by our faith. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, from gaining understanding of the will of God and then being moved by the Holy Spirit to agree with His will.

But faith can be exercised in many ways. Desperation and need that is expressed earnestly is also faith when it is accompanied with a confidence in God’s ability and faithfulness. Not all prayers of faith have great strength. Like the Centurion who petitioned Jesus to heal his daughter, sometimes the most powerful prayers are precipitated by our great need for God.

When we don’t know how to pray, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. He searches our hearts and prays for us according to the will of God in each situation and circumstance. This in itself should convince us of the importance of prayer. If God Himself wants to insure that our prayers are effective by His own intercession, we should be greatly moved to regular seasons of prayer.

Saints of God, the church is filled with good intentions. Prayer is not an area we can afford to have only an intention of engaging in. Our part on earth is to co-operate and agree with this great redeeming King who has given Himself for us. And as in every area of our lives, there is grace to begin, grace to continue, and grace to complete what He has called us to. Pray, and then run like Elijah.

R. Martinez

Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. John 20:27

Even though we know what’s true, at times it is hard to believe. Doubt creeps in when every circumstance appears to contradict what we know to be true. This isn’t sin, it’s part of the walk of faith, part of our learning to trust God and His Word and not our own emotions and conclusions. Our emotions and conclusions aren’t evil or bad, but they must be held up to the light of the Word of God and its truth, and not believed on their own.

Thomas was having a hard time believing the other disciple’s claim that they had seen the Lord now risen from the dead. Of course that would be hard to believe, it went against everything he knew to be true. Dead people don’t rise from the dead. Dead people don’t talk, walk or appear suddenly in locked rooms. It simply wasn’t believable. But as is always the case, the issue wasn’t what Thomas felt or sensed or held on to as truth, but what was in fact actually true. It was true; Jesus had risen from the dead. He was alive.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to the hope we have as Christians. Because He is raised, because He lives right now, we have hope for our future. It is the most essential of all truths to believe and to understand. Its implications release the power for living the life we are now called to live on the earth.

This truth must be settled in our hearts. The truth of the resurrection must be an anchor of our souls, a place we can always return to regain our bearings, to remind our hearts that this life is worth the price. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ is not raised from the dead, we are of all men most to be pitied. Because he understood it was the primary truth that guaranteed our future. And if it wasn’t true, our hope was a pipe dream.

Do you live your life from a place of confidence in your future, or are you still uncertain what lies ahead. Saints, settle your heart into the revelation of the Son of God, that He is risen, and lives evermore. He was the “firstborn among many brothers”; first born from among the dead. And because He lives and now has become my life, I too live in Him. This I believe to be true, in spite of what I see or feel.

Uncertainty isn’t sin unless we turn away from the truth. But the more I walk with God and come to know His heart and character, the more convinced I am of the truth of His Word. There is no greater truth that affects my life on earth than the truth that He has risen and overcome death. Set your heart and mind upon that truth. Settle it in your heart, not just casually, but deeply. It will set you free.

R. Martinez